This is a reference post for anyone interested in a brief general history of my experiences in Alternative Medicine. BTW, for the last twenty years I have practiced orthodox Western Medicine (Allopathic Medicine).
Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine
I landed in Japan for a brief 3 weeks vacation on my way back from philosophy Ph.D. research in India and Pakistan. I was enamored by Japan and saw no rush to return to the States and my 3-week vacation turned into 7 years and I never finished that Ph.D. My first year and a half I spent much of my spare time at a Zen Temple practicing Shorin-ji Kempo (Shaolin Kungfu) and meditation. We also acupressure methods to massage each other after 2-3 hours work-outs. Finding that interesting, I then took two acupressure classes in town, then I also found a Scottish acupuncturist who then took me on as an apprentice. After two years in Japan I was able to pass the National Japanese language boards and was accepted into an acupuncture college. After 3 years of intense acupuncture training (4 pm – 9 pm, 5 days a week), I graduated (the only non-asian foreigner that year in Western Japan to graduate from an acupuncture college). I then passed the national board exams. For the next year I did apprenticeships in 3 clinics (I will write on these later) and took a graduate diploma in Chinese Herbal medicine. Then for one year I opened my own clinic in my home town, Kyoto. I was called several times to give presentations on Acupuncture to various foreign groups in Japan.
On returning to the States I only practice acupuncture occasionally, and now don’t practice it at all. I do still do acupressure to help people with headaches and sore backs.
On returning to the USA after 7 years in Japan, I went to Duke Medical School’s 2-year Physician Assistant program ( a crammed version of a Physician’s 4-year program). But during those years I also casually studied Homeopathy. After graduating from Duke, I got two jobs in Seattle Washington. One in an Emergency Department for 30 hours per week and a second at a Family Practice Clinic with two MDs who only used Homeopathic medicine — again 30 hours per week. During my first year at the homeopathic clinic, I also took a certificate program (180 hours) from the International Foundation of Homeopathy. But I stopped practicing Homeopathy after only 2 intense years of practice. I will write more later.
Diet is probably one of the most important forms of “medicines”. I became a vegetarian after eating goat brain from the skull of a goat as a guest in a village in Pakistan when I was 19 years old (my first trip to South Asia). I remained a vegetarian for about 7 years. Part of that time I did a raw food diet for 6 months but became weak and stopped it. I stopped being a vegetarian when I reached Japan and decided to start eating fish. But fish proved to be “gateway” flesh and soon I was eating almost anything (whale, raw horse, live fish …).
During my stay in Japan I became sick, probably due to stress, and then started a Macrobiotic diet which drove me into worse health until I gave it up about 1 year later. For the next 10 years I would eat largely vegetarian with 1-2 meat meals a week, buying food at coops and always striving for whole grains and unprocessed foods. Oh yes, alcohol always remained a vice on each diet.
About six years ago I became much more lazy in my diet and started eating a lot of sweets. I gained wt, developed high blood pressure and GERD. A year and a half ago I started a low-carb (Paleo Diet)– more later. Since then I have lost all my excess weight, was able to stop all my medications and am probably the healthiest I have been since I was younger, but my old vegetarian friends would be deeply ashamed of my unabashed carnivore habits.
I have always exercised — with periods of lethargy, of course: jog, martial arts, kayak …
Yoga & Meditation
I studied for two years to be a Yoga teacher and have practiced various forms of meditation for many years- Yogic, Zen, Vipassana, Tibetan. I am a very unskilled, lazy meditator. Some consider these forms of alternative medicine. More on this later.
Other related posts:
- My Alternative Medical Posts: My index post of all alternative medicine posts