Personal Health Challenges

During my 60+ years on this Planet, I have had numerous personal health challenges. I have also offered my insights to many thousands of people facing their own issues. My own problems usually involve "excess heat." I run fevers and suffer acutely when exposed to psychological and pathogenic toxins. For me, detoxification has become a process of purification that involves physical as well as spiritual measures, and successful detoxification always results in enhanced clarity. Because of my personal experiences, I feel I am an expert on "fire."

I have never seen illness as an enemy. I believe illness is a warning that life is out of balance. It is therefore my sacred duty to restore balance, and it is a point of honor that I do not persist further in any direction if doing so would aggravate the symptoms of imbalance. I therefore respond to illness "obediently" and somewhat passively: I wait to be shown what is amiss so that I can correct the problems. In certain ways, this is the opposite of what we have been taught about acute conditions: normally, they require immediate responses because they seem to be so threatening. I have perhaps merely learned to live with fever and come to respect and appreciate its purificatory action.


Throughout my life, I have had health crises. The first that I remember resulted from a smallpox vaccine. I was dragged kicking and screaming to a fire station where morbid material was scratched into me. I felt hugely violated, enraged that I did not have a choice about what was forced on me. I was very sick after this. Scarlet fever caused permanent damage to the optic nerve of one eye. This experience is my first conscious memory of modern medicine. On that "red day" when my first apprehensions revolving around conventional medicine were triggered, I was three years old.

At that age, I did not understand how serums were made or I would have been even further outraged. I now realize that there are those who do see disease as the enemy, people who wage war on germs and justify whatever measures they employ in this war. As such I recognize the fundamental difference between "medicine" and "healing." In medicine, disease is to be conquered or destroyed, whereas in healing, the patient is to be made well. Ironically, these two theories do not necessarily result in the same measures nor outcomes.

If the disease is regarded as dangerous, harm to the pathogens as well as patient are, as in war, acceptable risk factors, collateral damage, if you will. However, if the body and the patient whose body is ill are to be healed, there has to be some sort of implicit faith in the recuperative power of the body and regenerative nature of the remedies.

For the most part, modern medicine does not recognize a healing force within the body. Perhaps the latest investigations of psychoneuroimmunology are the closest we have to identifying an inherent healing mechanism that can be prompted to act in more effective ways to reduce the risk to the patient.

In any event, this is all academic and theoretical. I'm a philosopher, not a doctor, and I am deeply offended by the notion that health can arise from morbid substances, even more sickened by the idea that human health depends on the sacrifices and suffering of innocent animals. Therefore, as a matter of personal choice, I opt for a gentler approach to my own health challenges.

Medical Gymnastics

Soon after arriving in Vietnam (1966-68), I went into a coma. Doctors from many different countries argued for months about my "diagnosis." The Government wrote S.O.D. on the forms: "strange Oriental disease." A doctor from the World Health Organization insisted that the correct diagnosis was F.U.O.: "fever of unknown origin." I could not believe that educated people could argue about such nonsense. I think I was in deep shock over what I had seen in my first days in Vietnam, and I needed to spend some time out of consciousness to rebuild my determination to stick out my assignment with the Department of State.

I had more fevers in India (1968-70), nineteen months of fevers. According to one physician, I was given enough antibiotics to "kill a herd of elephants." The vaccines had been ineffective for the type of typhoid I had, and the antibiotics were disabling. Once an almost fanatic tennis player, I was fragile for ten years following my work for the Government.

Little by little, I broke with my upbringing. I became a vegetarian as a matter of conscience, not as a health choice—though I now believe it is a healthy choice as well as one that supports my inner truth. I have not used any allopathic medicines nor had a medical exam since leaving the State Department in 1970. I do not think I threw the baby out with the bath water. I simply came face-to-face with the limitations of modern medicine and began seeking answers from Nature instead of industry. I wanted to be in harmony, and knew that I had to live with reverence for the Natural World.

Discovery of Alternative Medicine and Gifted Healers

After leaving the State Department, I traveled for a while before returning to my home on the Big Island of Hawaii where my mother had just recovered from a life threatening illness. She had been skillfully attended by a chiropractor with extensive skills. I collaborated with Dr. Nathalie D. Tucker for the next seven plus years. She exposed me to a world that was new to me and hugely exciting. I had recurrent back trouble in those days. In 1969, I had sustained an injury following an incorrectly administered injection of antibiotics mixed with anesthesia. X-rays showed a hole through a vertebra but there never was an explanation for how this could have occurred since I had fallen backwards against a concrete step. The radiologist thought I had been shot in the back and couldn't remember the incident. Nathalie provided much short-term relief, but it was Dr. Shrikrishna Kashyap, a yogi-Ayurvedic doctor who "filled the hole" using his knowledge of the nadi, subtle currents in the etheric body (aura)—and, knock on wood, I have never had another problem with my back. Shyam (as we affectionately call him) used only his hands, no medicines, just magic. I learned that deep healing can be absolutely painless and remarkably simple. I concluded that if those who wish to relieve suffering would devote the same time to meditation and spiritual study as they do to the curriculum in medical schools that patients would find themselves with meaningful choices and wise health care providers. Fortunately, every day, I meet more and more impeccably trained doctors who are serious about their spiritual lives and service.

Discovering Limitations

In 1995, I was bitten 12-14 times by a black widow spider. I was in excruciating pain and though not literally paralyzed, I couldn't move because the pain annihilated the will to make the effort required to move. Every healer I knew tried to help me; but in the end, it was a combination of herbs and very private shamanic insights that brought about my recovery. For me, life is about finding one's way. For some the journey is longer than others. Each step of the way, there are new insights to harvest. I offer the fruits of my path as my service; but it needs to be understood that my way is not the way of science, but the way of the soul. The pearls of my path, my wisdom and experience, are mine and may not have the same value for another.

Every path is different, but each person does have a need for alignment with his or her soul. It is up to each person to assess the merits of advice, information, guidance, and recommendations for himself or herself and then to act in accordance with the truth as it appears at the time. My "information" is offered "for what it is worth" and because it represents a relationship to the healing process that may be congenial to someone else. When the resonance is not found, I urge people to continue searching for what does appeal, because healing should promote integration, not fragmentation. No one should have to go through contortions to relate to what I write. If my truth does not feel like your truth, I urge you to keep searching until you find your own truth.

As a personal matter, I believe that all diseases are curable. This is a belief. It is not what we tend to see around us. The "real" world suggests that diseases can be very dangerous and life-threatening. I happen not to believe this. I believe that the soul creates life and the soul takes it away . . . As such, I do not actually know if anything a doctor or even a gifted healer does actually extends life. I am sure that every experience influences the quality of life, and I suspect that the body will tend to stay alive so long as the soul can express itself through the body.

This said, I am the first to admit that there are many who do not resonate with this idea. This is why it is so important to find your own truth and also why we need to adapt the approach to healing to our own truth and not the dictates of someone else.

I would be remiss if I did not quote one of my spiritual teachers, Nechung Rinpoche: "The road to enlightenment is the most difficult path, learn to do the simple things well first."

Many blessings,




My Work

Biography of Ingrid Naiman My Introduction to Eastern Medicine
My Personal Health Challenges My Work My Services Seminars
Perspectives My Beliefs Sacred Medicine Sanctuary Sacred Service Trust


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