W. Saul (right) with
|1. Tell us something about your
background, and how you got involved in doing the work that you do.
Andrew: I have taught clinical nutrition for New York Chiropractic College, and health science and biology for the State University of New York. I've been in practice as a natural therapeutics consultant in upstate New York for nearly 30 years. I also publish the free-by-email Doctor Yourself Newsletter, and am the author of the book Doctor Yourself: Natural Healing that Works. I am currently Contributing Editor for the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, where my regular Journal column, "Taking the Cure," honors the pioneers of nutritional healing.
2. Just what is orthomolecular medicine, and why is it that we don't hear that much about it?
Andrew: Orthomolecular medicine is megavitamin medicine. It is nutritional therapeutics. Practically everybody's family doctor is an M.D. Medical doctors are called medical doctors for a reason. They go to medical schools and they learn medicine and practice medicine. Now substitute the word "Nutrition" for the words "Medicine" and "Medical" in the sentences above and see how impossible it sounds. Most medical personnel remain largely unfamiliar with non-medical treatments, and tend to dismiss them without knowing about what they're dismissing. This is a great loss to the doctor as well as to the public. DoctorYourself.com seeks to change that immediately.
3. What are the problems you see with conventional medicine?
Andrew: In 2004, a major paper entitled "Death by Medicine" statistically demonstrated that medical care kills about one million Americans each year, making it the number one cause of death in the USA. (http://www.doctoryourself.com/deathmed.html) Unfortunately, this is by no means a recent revelation. A reading of Medical Nemesis by Ivan Illich (NY: Bantam, 1977, and I understand there was a revised edition in the 1980's) provides similar meticulous substantiation (one sentence actually contains seven footnotes) that medical care is harmful to health, and even at best is statistically valueless. One out of five patients today is in the hospital because incorrect treatment by a physician put him or her there. This is called the "iatrogenic" or doctor-caused illness. Malpractice suits are numerous enough that one may reasonably conclude that there is certainly no guarantee of proper health care by contracting it out. Can we do better? Quite possibly. No person knows your body better than you. The world's most sophisticated and sensitive diagnostic apparatus is your own body's feelings. We also can take more time and interest and give more attention to our personal health than a hired professional can. We have learned to go get medical help, not to give it. We have learned to relay our body's needs to another, not to provide them ourselves. This can be turned around again.
4. You seem to be saying that we have to change the whole way we look at the relationship between doctor and patient.
Andrew: Yes. A physician's authority in America often exceeds his or her knowledge. Whole bodies of knowledge in healing are ignored because they are unorthodox and non-medical. A doctor's education seems exhaustive, yet M.D.'s study so much of drugs and surgery, and so little of nutrition, fasting, herbal remedies, spinal manipulation, massage, vitamin and mineral therapy, homeopathy, and more that we realize their qualifications are only partial. This takes nothing away from their dedication as individuals, but being individuals they are prone to following certain theories over other theories, particular practices over other alternatives, and holding opinions as well as facts. This is true with any person, certainly, but it is our responsibility to cover all possible ground in our efforts to cure and prevent illness. If we learn more than the doctor in areas of value to our health, it is our duty to apply this knowledge to the betterment of ourselves and our family. We need total health more than medically approved health. Our wellness should not be limited to our doctor's experience, but enhanced by our own experience.
Modern medicine has created more co-dependents even than co-pays. We've learned to hold out for a magic bullet, such as a new miracle drug, breakthrough surgical procedure, or new organ transplant. What rubbish. Oddly enough, we've also "learned" to discount the healing power of Nature, and the tremendous therapeutic benefit of lifestyle changes, vegetarian diet, raw food juices, and vitamin supplements.
Okay, that was then; this is now. There is a new paradigm, an entirely new way of seeing health, opening in front of us. You may have heard that the Chinese word for "crisis" is the same as the word for "opportunity." On the other hand, the very word "patient" implies passivity and powerlessness. The Doctor Yourself philosophy is against that. When people ask me for a solution to their particular health problem, they would have me fall into the role of being their doctor. The Doctor Yourself philosophy is against that, too. Me-teacher-you-dumbell, or me-doctor-you-patient, or me-politician-you-voter, or any other paternalistic or maternalistic stay-in-your-place tradition will not pass muster with me. Such were the old ways, and they are obsolete and unproductive. You want productive, you follow leads and dig. Whether it is for oil, gold, or information, it requires action, your action. Question authority. Do it yourself.
If you want to change your health, you have to change your life. That's what Doctor Yourself is all about.
5. Tell us something about your website. What inspired you to create it in the first place?
Andrew: I looked at other health websites and saw that most were utterly pharmaphilic, that is, pro-pharmaceutical-medicine. If they were about nutritional therapy, they almost always had a commercial product interest. I decided to present a website that I myself would want to read. The DoctorYourself.com website was launched in 1999. Our commitment was, and still is, to offer orthomolecular healthcare education, free of charge, to help people get well and stay well. Millions of vitisors later, our strict non-commercial stance has become famous in cyberspace. There are very few large alternative health websites that remain free of product influences. So the DoctorYourself business model is to not have one.
We do, however, have a success model: present lots of practical natural health information clearly, plainly, and make it fun to read about. As we do this, we also provide medical references for what we say, and writings by orthomolecular physicians to back us up. This is an essential part of our work. The public seems to like it: http://www.doctoryourself.com now receives nearly 40,000 hits a day. But don't take my word for anything. Be cautious of any website run by anyone, including mine. Use my CELERY system: Check Every Literature reference and personal Experience, and Read for Yourself.
6. Tell us something, as well, about your own lifestyle preferences and the connection you see between them and the world of orthomolecular medicine.
Andrew: I am a long-time health homesteader. I raised my kids all the way into college without a single dose of any antibiotic. I eat a near-vegetarian diet, juice vegetables, and take lots of vitamins. I have four organic gardens and zero doctors. I turn over my gardens by hand, and walk four miles each day. At age 50, I am in better shape than when I was in college. I can do 2,400 crunches in 50 minutes. 90-year-old, near-vegetarian Jack LaLanne is right: "If man makes it, don't eat it." I also very much like his other quote: "I can't die; it's bad for my image."
Visit Andrews extensive website for information about orthomolecular medicine and nutritional approaches to dozens of diseases at http://www.doctoryourself.com and learn more about his new book, DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works, at http://www.doctoryourself.com/saulbooks.html
Also, you can sign up for his free, non-commercial, no-advertising, monthly email Doctor Yourself Newsletter at http://www.doctoryourself.com/subscribe.html