Last time I began telling you about my quest for an alternative to Western medicine—something that would be an adjunct to medicine, something that would allow me to really help people in advance of ever getting sick. I began my search in the Southwest of the United States and then into the jungles of Central and South America. However, the total direct effect of what I wanted to accomplish really wasn’t in those places. So, I had to keep going…
My Search Continued in Europe
I kept searching for a number of years. I decided I had to go to Europe. In each one of the major countries I visited, there was something fascinating beyond Western medicine. My discoveries interested me to consider what I could apply to our culture.
Italy’s biggest contribution, which people are finally starting to listen to, is their lifestyle. They proved that a more relaxed lifestyle allowed people to go through life with less stress and more balance. I would talk to the doctors after we worked on endoscopy and surgery and discuss, “What else is really available for people? What can we do to get people back on track or even stay on track so they don’t get off-track ever?”
In France they had aromatherapy. The doctors also said “Well, we have cheeses.” They had all different kinds of cheese that they considered medicinal. The cheeses were fantastic. However, nothing I discovered in Europe proved anything that I really wanted to find.
You might think that after years of this search I would be saying to myself, “Oh, you just had an idea but who are you to keep looking for this?”
I never had that voice. Actually, as I went along, my thoughts said, “These people are well-meaning and they’re trying. It’s just they haven’t developed what I’m looking for yet.” I always said to myself “I haven’t looked everywhere, I haven’t done everything.” I never ever lost that verve that there was still a possibility, a chance that what I was searching for existed.
I finally said, “I’m going to go to China.” This caused a little bit of kerfuffle with people in the medical community and with the people at Los Angeles Airport because I kept going back and forth to China. I wanted to see and learn about their medical system. At that time, they were just recovering from Mao Tse-Tung.
Mao really revolutionized the whole country of China. He instilled some harsh rules. One of them was that they had to get rid of certain types of books in libraries. The whole system had changed in many ways. It was very interesting to be in China studying and teaching endoscopy and Western medicine. The doctors were very grateful. The way they said “thank you” was to ask “is there anything we can do for you,” I knew from some of the books I had seen that there was “traditional” medicine and I said I wanted to know more about that.
The doctors said, “What we’ve got left is this traditional hospital that is nearby. If you want, you can go over there and see it but it’s small and not as important as the type of medical care that we’re focusing on here in the PRC (People’s Republic of China)”.
They introduced me to the other hospital and I went there on my free time. I learned all of the wonderful things that they had to offer, including acupuncture (which we weren’t practicing widely in the United States at that time), and herbology.
The Aisles of a Chinese Pharmacy
Just like in UCLA, we would walk down the aisles of the hospital seeing the patients and then we would go down to the pharmacy. However, this pharmacy was not like the UCLA Hospital pharmacy. This pharmacy looked like a scene out of a Harry Potter movie with tall chests filled with little drawers, with things inside the drawers that were not what we would say, “up to FDA standards” as far as cleanliness.
Sometimes I would look inside and there’d be moss that came from the north side of a specific mountain, or swallow’s saliva that had been scraped from the nest. They would say, “We’re going to boil this and it’s going to do this, this and this.” You can read about this now in Chinese books on herbology. Whether they had the effect you wanted or whether it was studied or not these things did have effects. Other drawers had certain kinds of insects that were ground up and boiled in the morning. They smelled terrible. That was when I realized why they had huge windows that were always open.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden What?
While I was in China, I noticed the people were very sensitive to reading my face. My Mandarin Chinese wasn’t that great at that time—we used English and translators. However, they knew, by looking at my face, that there was something more I was looking for and since they wanted to thank me for helping them, they asked me what they could do for me in return.
I said I was looking in the library and reading about these old, old, old doctors who could treat people at a distance without touching them. I really wanted to find out about those things. I got some of these ideas when I saw the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon where people were running up the side of walls, walking on the tips of bamboo trees, and flying through the air. I wondered, what’s that about? Is that real? Does that actually happen?
Anybody who’s ever done research knows the research world has very strict models and guidelines. You have to absolutely follow specific rules about making something happen a certain way and it has to be able to be proven. Then, other people in the university have to be able to prove it. Then, other universities have to be able to prove it. Then, somebody else in another part of the world has to be able to prove it. Then, finally, it will get published. That’s research and that’s how things are really well done.
When I said, “What about these guys? Has anything been researched on this, they said, “No, however, It doesn’t matter. They’re not here anymore. They’re gone since Mao changed everything.”
“Mao came and he threw them all out. They’re up in the jungles or in the high mountains and in the monasteries. You can’t see them, plus it’s a very, very strict kind of training program. It’s much worse than the training programs with which you’re familiar.”