My Conversion: Accepting the Impossible

“You thought, as a boy, that a mage is one who can do anything. So I thought, once. So did we all. And the truth is that as a man’s real power grows and his knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower: until at last he chooses nothing, but does only and wholly what he must do …”

Ursula K. LeGuin

When I began medical school at the University of Minnesota, I was convinced that the common medical practice of our time, allopathic medicine, was the only method of healing worth considering. Still, I attended the meetings sponsored by the Humanistic Health Committee to introduce medical students to alternative therapies. That way, I would at least know what alternatives were available. The committee invited practitioners in acupuncture, applied kinesiology, chiropractors, rolfers, Trager therapists, psychic healers and others. Some of these presentations seemed credible; others did not. But when a homeopath lectured, I was outraged! It made absolutely no sense! I was certain that anyone who practices something so ridiculous must be a complete idiot or a crook, though this gentleman didn’t appear to be either. The whole concept sounded so improbable, it fired up my curiosity. I knew I’d have to investigate it further, if only to disprove it.

I got a homeopathic first aid book and a few remedies and waited for a suitable trial case. I didn’t have to wait long. My grandmother suffered from mild, but frequent, anxiety attacks. Since immigrating to the United States, she couldn’t find the tincture of valerian she always used in Russia. When she had her next anxiety episode, I gave her Aconite 6X from my homeopathic kit and told her it was valerian. She gladly took it and calmed down immediately. Of course, I assumed the result was only a demonstration of the placebo effect (the power of suggestion). Just thinking she was getting valerian calmed her. So, I set out to prove this assumption by giving her a placebo the next time she became anxious. It looked and tasted exactly the same, and I was surprised when it didn’t produce the expected calming result. So once again I gave her Aconite and she calmed down. Since then, she has used bottles and bottles of the stuff and it always helps.

Since I was a child, I dreamed of doing magic. I wondered what it would be like to have special powers like my heroes in fairy tales, and later, in science fiction stories. Using this homeopathic remedy on my grandmother felt very close! I gave her something that couldn’t possibly work and yet it produced a significant, reproducible effect. I was hooked; I just hadn’t realized it yet.

My final and irrevocable conversion to homeopathy took place in 1985, when my father developed what appeared to be a case of an auto-immune disease. He had severe muscle pains, sweats, a fever, weight loss and a very high sedimentation rate (130), indicating severe inflammation somewhere in the body. He was admitted to Mount Sinai Medical Center in Minneapolis after having been ill for about a month. He had a complete workup, but after ten days, the diagnosis was still uncertain. He was still getting worse and, by this time, was bedridden. Steroids were the suggested treatment. Instead, my father saw a doctor who treated him homeopathically, and he improved dramatically. He was almost pain free the next day. Within a month, all his other symptoms resolved, and his sedimentation rate came down to 10.

My father’s case convinced me to investigate this system of therapy more closely. I researched the literature and sat in with several homeopathic doctors. I became so impressed with homeopathy, I decided to study it myself. Once I finished my residency in Internal Medicine, I studied homeopathy as comprehensively as I could, which took me all over the world. When I returned to the United States, I started my homeopathic practice while also working part time as a conventional internist. I soon realized that although conventional approaches can definitely be of some use, nothing can come close to the effectiveness of homeopathic medicine. I now only use allopathic medicine either as a palliative (that is, to help deal with symptoms temporarily, while homeopathy takes effect), or in the rare case when homeopathy would not be appropriate.