Holistic Medical Therapies
31 March 2010
Looking back at my medical school experience at the University of Michigan, I remember hearing the word homeopathic once. I believe it was when one of my internal medicine professors talked about the small amount of replacement thyroid hormone needed for someone who had had their thyroid irradiated (and destroyed) as a treatment for Graves disease, a form of hyperthyroidism. He called this minute quantity a “homeopathic dosage.” Despite using this term, I’m virtually certain he had no idea what homeopathy really was. At the time, I wondered what he meant by this statement but quickly moved on as I was trying to absorb the voluminous amounts of information coming my way. Little did I know that I would later spend a life time studying, contemplating, absorbing, and practicing this absolutely fascinating, therapeutic system of medicine.
My first exposure to homeopathy came in 1975 when I was studying meditation and yoga with an American trained psychologist and meditation teacher, Swami Ajaya. I was doing a residency in psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin and he introduced me to the work of his teacher Swami Rama and to one of his fellow students, Rudolph Ballentine, MD. They were living and practicing holistic medicine in the Chicago area, incorporating conventional medicine with the complementary approaches of nutrition, yogic therapies, meditation, psychotherapy, Ayurveda (traditional medicine in India), and homeopathy. Their work at the time was brilliant, unique, and inspiring.
Swami Rama invited my wife, Jan, and I to study with him at the Himalayan Institute and to work in Dr. Ballentine’s medical clinic, the Center for Holistic Medicine. Our one year commitment turned into a four year stay which included the birth of two of our four children, two years of supervised training in homeopathy, and two years of helping train many other young physicians in the art and science of homeopathy. In the mid 70’s, there were only a few living homeopaths in the US and these people were bridges to the great physicians of homeopathy’s golden years. We were fortunate to study and learn from these the elder statesmen, including Drs.Rood, Panos, Sutherland, White, Williams, and Rodgers.
During this period, the doctors and staff would have weekly clinics to discuss difficult cases with Swami Rama, himself was an experienced Indian trained homeopath (and accomplished yogi), seeing many patients in a short time. We would all have huge Indian lunches together, teach classes, and meditate in the evening together. We were a community brought together with a common goal of healing, study, and meditation. This
When my family moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1981, I set up a solo medical practice, using and refining the same methods and modalities that I had studied at the Himalayan Institute. In 1987, we bought two beautiful Victorian homes and moved these buildings three miles from downtown Ann Arbor, restoring and connecting them together to create a truly complementary and holistic medical center. Presently, I continue to treat patients there and to teach interested doctors, health care practitioners, medical students, and lay people about homeopathy.
In 1996, an engineer from Minneapolis, Kurt Swanson, asked me to write the information for a software program on homeopathy. Because I had already co-written one book about homeopathy (Homeopathic Remedies) and another on holistic medicine, which included a chapter on homeopathy (Health: A Holistic Approach), I thought creating a CD on homeopathy would present an interesting new challenge. After one year of hard work, we finished the program and we were pleased to have won an award as the best new software program of 1997.
Many patients, colleagues, and friends, especially those with Apple computers and those who don’t especially like using computers, have suggested over the past few years that I write a book based on the same information contained in the CD. This book, then, is in response to
I would like to thank several people who have helped and studied with me during my thirty year homeopathic odyssey. Swami Rama, who died in 1996, initiated me into this science and for this I am extremely grateful. Rudolph Ballentine, MD helped me get started and encouraged me to be precise and at the same time to think creatively. Several fellow homeopathic physician colleagues who studied with me in those early years still remain good friends and confidants. This includes: Greg Manteuffel, Rick Frires, Jerry Gore, Dale Buegel, and Barb Bova. Kurt and Carla Swanson were instrumental in helping to compile and edit the original information on homeopathy for the CD.