I started medical school in 1972. But my time as a healer truly began in 1975, after I came down with postviral CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) and fibromyalgia. This forced me to drop out of medical school and left me homeless, sleeping in parks. It was during this spiritual journey that I learned intimately about the chakra system, met a wide array of healers including nutritionists, energy workers and even naturopaths. As a med student, I didn’t even know these existed!
So even though I still have an enormous amount to learn, here are a few things I’ve noticed that I hope you’ll find helpful:
1. Honor the Intensity of the Work That You Are Doing
Healing work requires quite a bit of focus and presence. Personally, I have found that 24 hours a week of one-on-one caring for people is the maximum I can do without getting compassion burnout. I have chosen to add other things to this, such as writing, expert witness work and teaching, to support both my soul and my income.
2. You Are Not Responsible for Other People’s Getting Well. They Are!
Remember the old story? That in ancient China people only paid the healer if they got well?
Well forget it.
That is a story for children. People are responsible for their own health. Our job is to simply guide them the best that we can. Taking responsibility for their getting well is abusive to both them and ourselves.
I’ve noticed something else interesting about this. Sometimes the people who don’t get well are the most appreciative. It seems that what they often truly need is simply somebody who cares about them, to be present with them and hold space while they go through their process.
In a situation where you simply don’t know what to do? I find then I simply listen to the person. For those familiar with doing so, I also find that it helps to simply energetically mirror them, while saying nothing. Remarkably, the problem then seems to sort itself out.
3. Take Note of Things That You Are Repeatedly Recommending to People
I find that these are pointing me to the lessons that I am most needing to learn myself. This is a good thing, so don’t stress over it.
For example, I am still learning to say no to things that don’t feel good. Which is simply a matter of having the integrity to set my boundaries. I am also learning to not sweat the small stuff. I find that most of my stress is self-induced. For example, pushing myself with things can be done even more effectively from a place of ease. I’ve also learned to support my adrenal glands with Adrenaplex and Adaptra (two excellent EuroMedica products).
I am also learning to ignore negative self-talk by looking at these thoughts from the “witness space.”
4. Health Is Not About Giving Up Pleasure
We seem to suffer from the misconception that anything that feels good is bad for people. This is simply part of the old Puritan ethic. But if you think about it, the Puritans were so annoying that the English understandably forced them onto ships. So they came and settled in the U.S. where we continue this annoying tradition.
Think about it. Whether you believe in God, evolution or both (as I do), it makes sense that things that feel good would be good for us. What kind of evil God would have everything that feels good to be bad for their children? And why would evolution do such a thing?
I suspect that overall, the simple truth is that things that feel good are good for us. But the processed food industry has learned how to fool our bodies. So some common sense is sensible.
I would also note that chocolate, coffee, tea, butter and so many of the other things that are enjoyable are actually health foods. So, I teach people to cut out excess sugar, and eat a whole foods diet when reasonably convenient. Bottom line? No one diet is best for everybody. That is likely why we have such a variety of foods to choose from. I invite people to see what feels best, and over time to see how that diet works out for them.
But perhaps most importantly, I teach them to…
5. Notice and Be Guided by What Feels Good to You
Our Western culture has taught us to be embarrassed about our feelings and only follow our thinking. There’s a good reason for this. Our thoughts basically analyze the data at hand. But those in power tightly control the information available to us. So our minds will come to the conclusions they are leading us to.
But our minds, that amazing part of us and wonderful tools that they are, truly have no idea who we are. So what to do?
Our feelings know what is authentic to us. So they are a bit harder for others to manipulate over the long-term. To me, how something feels is my soul or intuition’s way of telling me what is authentic. So I’ve learned to follow what feels good, and what works.
The analogy I give people is that of a GPS. The GPS is like our mind and thoughts. It has no idea where we want to go. So if you tell the GPS “take me where I want to go!”—it has no clue. Eventually, the updated GPS will point you to wherever their advertisers are recommending.
But our feelings know. So let your feelings decide where you want to go. Plug that into the GPS, and let your mind guide you there and create it.
6. The Problem With Freebies
I used to think that giving free care was a wonderful and spiritual thing to do. It was quite a shock to me to routinely see, over the years, that it just doesn’t work. The people I treated for free not only were less likely to get well. They were also the ones most likely to be hostile and overly demanding.
People seem to honor what we have to offer them based on how we honor it. This is often reflected in what we charge for our time. Also, people are less likely to simply run you around in circles, and get down to the job of doing their own inner work if they are paying.
So I rarely (I do make occasional exceptions based on how it feels) will take on a new client for free. On the other hand, once they have paid the money to get in the door, I am sensitive to when they are having financial problems. I will then often discount significantly or treat for free for a while. But if it starts feeling bad (usually because of the problems I noted above), I do go back to charging them a discounted rate.
Having said this, over half of the time is not paid for. I do an enormous amount of work making tools and teaching to make effective treatment available for everyone. Even those with little or no money. This gives me a lot of joy. But for the clients I work with I will charge.
7. We Have No Enemies. Everybody Is Us
In truth, I find that we actually are all one. Yet being in holistic medicine can seem very threatening, given medical boards and such. I have often found myself feeling downright defensive!
But here’s a little trick I found, which works very well. The few times I would get “love letters” from the medical board, I would simply set it aside for three days until I got past the “kicked in the stomach” feeling. Then I took comfort from realizing that these letters were generally not complaints from the people I was treating, but rather from other people who have a “standard medical mindset.”
So, here’s the trick. Instead of getting defensive, simply take it as an opportunity to teach. In drafting responses, I put on my “teacher hat” and note that “ I understand the complainant’s concern, as this is a specialty area that they are not familiar with. Had they asked me directly I would’ve been happy to supply them the research supporting what I do. I am happy to supply it here, in the hopes that these studies will better help them care for the people they treat.”
Then I do so. For those dealing with CFS and fibromyalgia, and its multiple component parts (e.g. hormones, infections, etc.), I have drafted a lengthy letter with several hundred study references covering each of these areas.
Taking this approach, the medical board has always dropped the complaints. I also work as an expert witness for holistic cases, generally with good results. (Bonus tip: don’t be bashful or humble in promoting yourself!
8. Trust Your Intuition and Listening More Than Tests
Most of you are quite familiar with the problems with lab testing. These problems are also present for many of our holistic tests, which often seem to be positive on everybody (as opposed to standard tests, which seem to be negative for everybody). So I find that for holistic issues, most tests tend to have a problem will either sensitivity and specificity.
Rather than relying on testing, I find that listening to the person, and then using my own intuition and experience, is most helpful. Then I add in the results of testing as one further piece of information. This approach is a critical part of the Art of Medicine and Healing. Sir William Osler put it well. “Listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis.” I will paraphrase it to this. “Listen to the person for five minutes, and they will tell you what’s wrong with them. Listen for another five minutes, and they will tell you how to get them well.”
So there you go. Hope this is helpful!
Love and blessings!
Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, is one of the most frequently quoted integrative medical authorities in the world. He is the author of the best-selling From Fatigued to Fantastic!, Pain Free, 1,2,3!, the Complete Guide to Beating Sugar Addiction, Real Cause Real Cure, The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution, Diabetes Is Optional and the popular free Smart Phone app “Cures A-Z.” He is the lead author of four studies on effective treatment for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, and a study on effective treatment of autism using NAET. Dr. Teitelbaum appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and FoxNewsHealth. Learn more at www.vitality101.com.