Way of Barefoot Doctoring

by Jim Berg   (copyright, 2005)



Introduction to the Way of Barefoot Doctoring


The Art of Barefoot Doctoring


Prehistoric Caring and the Early Evolution of Barefoot Doctoring


Further Evolution of Caring into the Age of Civilization


          The Qualitative Principles of Tradition Chinese Healing


        The Qualitative Principles of Ayurvedic Healing


        The Qualitative Principles of Faith Healing


        The Qualitative Principles of Esoteric Healing


        The Qualitative Principles of Buddhist Healing


        The Qualitative Principles of Ancient and Modern Biomedicine


Qualities of the Healthy Person


        Qualitative Aspects of Being Human


               Biophysiological Aspects of our Health


               Sociocultural and Ecological Aspects Of Health


               Psychospiritual Aspects of the Healthy Person


               Wholistic Aspects of the Healthy Person


          The Development and Characteristics of the Healthy Person


Wise Qualities of a Healer


        Diagnostic and Therapeutic Principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine


        Diagnostic and Therapeutic Principles of Ayurveda


        Diagnostic and Therapeutic Principles of Esoteric Healing


        Diagnostics and Therapeutic Principles of Modern Biomedicine


Principles of Excellent Health and Wise Healing


The Way of Freedom and Regulation of Caring


Introduction to the Way of Barefoot Doctoring

SUTRA:  Most Importantly

            The Way of Barefoot Doctoring is about the disciplines and principles of wisdom in matters of health and healing.  Humanity has long sought to achieve this wisdom, frustrated by the seemingly eternal forces of nature, society, fear and ignorance.  It takes a great deal of care—generations of effective nurturing and strengthening—to bring humanity towards a healthy way.  It takes each person a great deal of care—years of effective nurturing and strengthening—to allow the person a good life.  Barefoot doctoring is the way of caring that brings us towards the quality of life. 

            The first chapter introduces the “Art of Barefoot Doctoring”, what it is and is not. Barefoot doctoring is not a profession, degree, license or certification.   It is the urge to care itself, to help life flourish in the personal, community and planetary dimensions.  In our youth we are burdened with the inability to effectively care for ourselves.  As life matures, the discipline of caring can become more skilled and effective.   Eventually we have the ability to beyond our own skillful caring to caring for others.  We care for our friends, family, children and our community.  We move from the aspiration to care and live the good life through discipline into mastery.  The “Art of Barefoot Doctoring” explores the aspiration, discipline and mastery of caring.

            The second chapter, "Prehistoric Caring and the Early Evolution of Barefoot Doctoring", contemplates about how and why ancient healing and healthcare evolved.  Archeological evidence supports that humanoids have long cared for themselves and others.  Most animals have.  Humans moved beyond the instinct to care with reliability and skill.  They developed beliefs and techniques about how and why to care.  Like a child unable to care effectively for himself, early humans were clumsy, superstitious and often ineffective in their skill.  But humans have survived and therefore were caring enough to survive despite the destructive forces.  The “Evolution of Caring” reviews how and why our ancient ones aspired to care.

            At some point humans went beyond hit and miss, superstition and instinct.  The “Further Evolution of Caring into the Age of Civilization” ponders on the major themes in the principles and disciplines of caring.  As humanity became more skilled and insightful, caring became more complex.  As we came into knew ways of knowing, we developed more ways of caring.  People put names and words on these ways and developed schools of thought around healing.  Barefoot doctoring began to be overshadowed by these schools of thought as ego, politics and economics got more involved.  Barefoot doctoring remained alive in our mothers and fathers and elders of the community oppressed by more “modern medicine”.

            The development of the reasonable in healing also lifted healing to a new standard of integrity in ways of healing.  Now we have the opportunity to choose amongst the best of ways of healing we can envision, and define our path more clearly.  The next few chapters  offers views of the different schools of healing evolved based on prevailing worldviews.  These worldviews each seem to exploit one aspect of human beingness as the essential way of healing.  Some focused on biological and physiological aspects of health, some on emotional and mental aspects, some on sociological and ecological aspects, and some on spiritual aspects.  This chapter integrates the various definitions of health into a pragmatic wholistic way of health called wellness.  Wellness is “the dynamic state of the person, wherein there is harmonious functioning of enough aspects of that being, enabling that being to enliven the highest Quality feasibly capable.”  It is this wellness of a person, our people, and the world that the barefoot doctor seeks mastery. 

            It seems natural in the course of ones life to begin to care for others.   This aspiration to help can become blurred as our intentions get overwhelmed by propaganda, greed, and moral weakness.   The next chapter focuses on the “Wise Qualities of a Healer”, on how and why to most effectively diagnose, treat and help.   The barefoot doctor aspires and disciplines towards this wisdom.  It takes generations and lots of serious person endeavor to achieve mastery in this way of healing.             

         With the way of health now properly defined, the next chapter seeks out “Principles of Excellent Health and Wise Healing”.  If one was skilled and disciplined in matters of health and nature cooperated, what would health look like.  This chapter explores the topology of the success of manifesting quality of life.  The physical, emotion-mental, socio-ecological and spiritual terrain of health is presented as a map for a barefoot doctor to find and remain on the way of health.  The fundamental causes of disease and healthy ways are reviewed to help as signposts for those who care.

            A barefoot doctor can influence their own health and those that they touch.  If they are truly wise, this touch is like a green thumb offering the way to thrive.  As a barefoot doctor achieves mastery in this art, they care for humanity itself, offering a way for the species to enjoy a greater fulfillment.  Yet even a master barefoot doctor is restricted by law and regulation.  The highest and most sustainable way of healing utilizes integrity, not law to guide it.  “Way of Freedom and Regulation of the Healing Arts” reviews how the inalienable right to help has been threatened by political foes through regulation and legislation.   History shows that this is nothing new, but today this propaganda has such a grip on the public that they hold barefoot doctors with suspect.  Economic and political pressures keep barefoot doctoring underground.  A sustainable way of healing must include those who care with skill, respect and wisdom, not just those who went to school or have a license.  This chapter concludes the book with a vision of a sustainable way for humanity to care. 



The Art of Barefoot Doctoring

SUTRA:  Barefoot Doctors        

            Barefoot Doctoring is the grassroots approach to the healing arts that people use to help heal themselves, friends, family, and community. It is a lay or professional person’s endeavor to be responsible for their own health and those in their sphere of influence. The phrase “Barefoot Doctor” was popularized in the mid-1900’s by the People’s Republic of China, who trained lay people in the healing arts where medical care was not available.  The Chinese government supported local folk healers and customs, synthesizing it with modern scientific medical skills.  Farmers and field workers were taught effective hygienic and sanitational practices, disease prevention strategies, and the basics of medical diagnostics and therapeutics.  Exercise and nutrition were taught, as was first-aid, childbirthing, primary medical care, herbalism, and acupuncture.  Today, Barefoot Doctoring is popular in countries the world over, and refers to the concept of people helping people to heal themselves.

            Barefoot Doctoring has emerged from very ancient roots, for it has been around since the very first person attempted to help another.  Indeed, any attempt to enhance the quality of our lives is a form of Barefoot Doctoring.   No material license is needed for this, nor degree or certification; and no governmental intervention is necessary to regulate or register Barefoot Doctors, for it is a natural tendency to have compassion for those in despair, and a natural right to attempt to comfort them.  Wisdom and skill are the necessary certificates, and consent the only license needed to engage in this sacred art.   Barefoot Doctoring is a covenant between two individuals who endeavor on the path of healing,  a path guided by respect, nourished by compassion, and protected by integrity.  Most importantly, a Barefoot Doctor combines the intention of love with whatever skill and wisdom that they have.   More than a degree, profession, or license,  it is a common vow of honor in the healing arts, respecting the hopes, rights, and needs of those seeking a healing.

 SUTRA:  Healing

            Most Barefoot Doctors tend to specialize according to their own personal interests and the needs of the community.  Some become herbalists, others bodyworkers; some are midwives, others teach yoga;  some are medical doctors or nurses, others are bush doctors or shamans.  Many Barefoot Doctors take a more wholistic approach, combining many types of healing arts into their own unique blend and attempt to meet whatever needs that arise in their community.  Some practitioners do Barefoot Doctoring professionally, and others as a hobby.  Some have gone to years of schooling, some have done apprenticeships;  others are self-taught.  Some barefoot doctors are scientific, while others more intuitive; some are more conventional following protocol and modern standards of care, while others are more unconventional, doing “whatever it takes” to help another on their path.  What defines a Barefoot Doctor is the intention to use knowledge appropriately, while attempting to “upright “ the life toward a higher quality of existence. 

            In the healing arts, like the martial arts, it is sometimes necessary to use aggressive means to save ones own life or that of another.  Yet it is rare that life needs to get so violent.    Most of us live day to day in a moderately comfortable existence without immediate threats, therefore we have the luxury of pursuing the peaceful way.  Even in extreme times, negotiation is preferable over battle, and violence is a last resort.  And so likewise, most medical events, though uncomfortable and scary, can be negotiated through relatively safe and comfortable means.  Reflexively relying upon surgery or toxic substances for a cure, is like a policeman who pulls his gun on a jaywalker--quite an aggressive reaction when a kinder approach could have been pursued.  Many police officers have still to learn the more peaceful ways of handling societal problems, and thus the peaceful approach does not seem an option.  Likewise, doctors are trained in such aggressive methods that they have lost sight of safer methods.  And just like it is up to the citizens of our country to ultimately keep the peace, and to remind and discipline our children, friends and loved ones of the peaceful way, it is also up to the citizens to help us keep our health, and teach us of the healthier way.   It is these citizens who are the Barefoot Doctors.

            The allopathic medical approach is greatly appreciated by those of us whose lives  have been saved and suffering reduced.  It, too, is a most sacred art (as is that of the police and military), that has grounded healing into a scientific basis, yet there are countless examples of over-reaction and extreme measures, when a safer, more comfortable means could have been pursued.  A healer’s paranoia of the devastating force of nature to take down a life, needs to be balanced by the resolution to help as harmlessly as possible, caressing the regenerative forces of nature.  Even when a Barefoot Doctor specializes in pharmaceutical medicine or surgery,  they have a primary focus on how their techniques may balance, strengthen, and beautify the life in concern.  Reflexively asking “How can this being come into a better quality of life?”, the Barefoot Doctor’s focus is toward how they can help life prosper and flourish, saving the more aggressive and toxic methods for the most extreme conditions.    The conditions that plague humanity are the reasons why we need excellence in our diagnostic and therapeutics techniques.

            Medical research has clearly shown that most health problems are preventable and often related to how we live our lives.  Hygiene and sanitation measures, self-care and life-style adjustment, good food, exercise and attitude,  healthy habits and demeanor can increase the quality and longevity of our lives.   A Barefoot Doctor helps us to understand  how our choices relate to our health.   Like a skilled outdoorsman who uses a compass to help us find our way out of the woods, a Barefoot Doctor uses his/her wisdom to outline the healthy direction, and can map out the terrain that lies ahead depending on how we choose to travel.  And though the methods may be similar to our healers/doctors using diagnostics, therapeutics and prognostics,  the Barefoot Doctor usually only advises on a course of action, recommending a path that seems most suitable for the person.  The responsibility of the Barefoot Doctor is to let people be responsible for themselves, to let people choose their own course of action.   A Barefoot Doctor may review the options, help weigh the risks and benefits, and offer suggestions when asked for advice, but ultimately, like a good coach who stands on the sidelines and lets the players play their own game, they expect that the person must be responsible for their own path, hopefully a path conducive for healing.  The covenant is to speak truthfully and act skillfully. and to vow not to mislead, manipulate,  or hurt any person intentionally. 

Chart:   Responsibility of the Healers

            Barefoot Doctoring techniques tend to include safe, readily available, and cost-effective tactics that rely on personal responsibility, rather than dependency.  Exercise, foods and herbs, bodywork, home birth, hydro- and physical therapies, ecological harmonization, relationship enhancement and self improvement techniques are examples of direct means of healing that people can learn to utilize safely and comfortably.  It is especially precious when Barefoot Doctors are familiar with the allopathic options, so that these may be employed if the severity of conditions and the will of the person so requests.  Familiarity with the community resources, the forces of nature, and years of experience allow the Barefoot Doctor to guide the person to a more appropriate place if the need arises.  Humbleness and recognition of one's own shortcomings are of tremendous value to the Barefoot Doctor, to maintain integrity and the vow of harmlessness.

            Chinese medicine, wholistic healing, or alternative healthcare practices are different than Barefoot Doctoring,  though they may be included if so desired--as may western allopathic medicine and all its specialties.   A Barefoot Doctor need not be Chinese or alternative, but does need to love and care, for they tread their path with tender toes, careful to walk respectfully and gracefully, without stepping on the toes of another or tripping them up.  Helping people to stand on their own two feet, Barefoot Doctors give comfort, support and healing to the ailing and healthy--helping community resources to come together to help people harmonize with the supportive way of nature.

             "Aikido" is a Japanese word that means harmonizing (ai) with the upright forces (ki) of nature’s way (do).   Though originally applied to a martial art that uses loving means instead of aggression to help upright negative forces, the word "aikido" can be applied to any endeavor that helps life come to harmony.   Barefoot Doctors use aikido as the underlying strategy in relationships with others.  Their underlying intention is “How can I help this person find that groove where their life-force flows stronger and more gracefully?”, that is, “How can this person find aikido?”, not “How much money can I make from these people?”, or “What protocol should I follow so that I will not be sued?” or “How can I heal this person and thus become respected or famous?”.   Thus Barefoot Doctoring is not a particular technique or tactic (compare the Japanese word "jutsu"-technique-e.g. aikijutsu),  but a pervasive strategy--a way or ‘do’, a path of honor that prescribes the path of intention to harmonize and inspire the quality of a life towards Beauty. 

SUTRA:  Aikido

            There are aikido dojos around the world that teach about the martial implications of aikido.  A Barefoot Doctors’ Academy is the healing equivalent of an aikido dojo, i.e. a way of loving healing, that provides a clinical, academic, and diplomatic resource for a community.  The clinic might staff healers from all shades of the healing spectrum, who offer their skilled service with love and are dedicated to cooperate with other responsible healers--in their full spectrum of technical backgrounds.  Classes might be taught on any of the infinite healing and self-care techniques, with special emphasis on how to utilize these responsibly.  A Barefoot Doctors' Academy also acts a center of diplomatic activity where healers of all types openly communicate and cross-train, ending the war that has plagued our society for eons between the mechanists and the vitalists,  amongst the allopaths, chiropractors, homeopaths, and naturopaths etc.  A Barefoot Doctors' Academy calls for cooperation amongst the healers, demands that healers be humble, skilled and compassionate, and expects the people to freely participate in and choose the path of their own healing.  Though a Barefoot Doctors' Academy may not be call such, it must meet these requirements to truly be one.

            A person going through training at a Barefoot Doctors' Academy as a Barefoot Doctor, usually begins by aspiring to become a worthy healer.  This phase of idealism is marked by studying the variety of approaches to healing.  Some students lock onto a specific paradigm; others remain more wholistic, enjoying a multitude of approaches.   Some seek to understand the ultimate “cause” of events, and if it’s ‘broken’, then try to ‘fix’ it; others seek ways to help people "feel better", helping people become healthier and happier.  Most students of Barefoot Doctoring study both the art and science of healing, studying anatomy and physiology, pathology, diagnostics and therapeutics, along with counseling , nutrition,  therapeutic exercise,  constitutional healing, and spiritual endeavor. Many students appreciate the structure of formal schooling, while others may not have been in a classroom since high school.  Wisdom and skill can be gained from many endeavors, and need not rely on formal education.  And certainly, a formal education is no guarantee of wisdom and skill.  The strongest path to wisdom seems through focused discipline and hard work in matters of  importance. 

EXCERPT:  Excellent Qualities of a Medical Student According to Ayurveda

            Upon gaining confidence and the necessary theoretical background, the student usually apprentices with a more mature healer(s) whom they respect as having manifested the wisdom in the healing art they aspire toward. This phase of practical endeavor usually takes many years to gain the confidence in the clinical skills that are necessary in private practice.  Some prefer to train in universities, others seek a more private  apprenticeship.  Some stick with just one teacher, while others prefer to taste the wisdom of many.  What is important is that they do gain the necessary clinical skills, and just as important, a style of applying the knowledge and skills that is effective, kind and reasonable.

            During these years aspiring as a student and disciplining as an apprentice,  a responsible barefoot doctor in training also endeavors on a path of self-healing and community service.  A barefoot doctor should first recognize his/her own life as sacred, and seek to prove that true healing is possible in one's own being.  One's own life force is the one most immediately available, and thus the most accessible to prove one's wisdom and skill.   It is through this endeavor into self-healing that allows a radiance to occur from within the healer, a radiance of health and vitality, that immediately overflows into those seeking healing.  Failure on this path of self-care due to slothfulness, ignorance, or neglect implies a hypocrisy which obscures the integrity of a healer to those seeking assistance.   A Barefoot Doctor in training should also apply  whatever knowledge and wisdom they do have into community service. This service, done from the love in ones heart, is for free, and sincerely shows that one’s intention is good.  Those who never truly serve another are not Barefoot Doctors, but rather healing mercenaries with selfish motivation.  No matter how good their skill, a worthy healer needs love overflowing from their hands to show that they are desiring to respect and honor those who seek help.

            This initial stage of Aspiration, marked by an in depth study into the art and science of healing, the training in clinical skills, and a successful path of self-care and service, culminates when the teacher bestows their blessing onto the student who feels themselves ready to practice on their own.   This recognition may come in the form of a degree or certification, or  as a simple nod of the head and a smile.  This christening signifies the initiation as a Barefoot Doctor.  Reminiscent of a Black Belt in the martial art of aikido, this first major initiation marks the move from Aspiration to Discipleship--the blessing to now pass down one’s art of healing and take on students and clients of one's own. 

            As the barefoot doctor continues in this path of Discipleship, he/she matures into this next stage by successfully helping to heal people with her honor, skill and wisdom.   She begins to teach students about her particular art of healing and eventually takes on apprentices to train intimately.  Her self-care techniques are well established as a healthy lifestyle, and her service is shown to the community over and over.  Once her students become Barefoot Doctors themselves,  and they now begin to take on students, this marks a transition to a second initiation as a Barefoot Doctor--the equivalent of a second degree Black Belt.  

SUTRA:  Teaching

            The transition from Discipleship to Master begins at this stage.  A Master has taken his/her art to a new level- e.g. successfully started schools; developed and perfected healing techniques;  inspired and helped many people on their path of healing or as a healer.  This stage of Masterhood is the culmination of a Barefoot Doctor, proving that the fruits of her wisdom have flourished.  These stages are not necessarily ambitions or achievements, but a reflection onto the profundity of love and wisdom that a person can give in a lifetime.  They are not awards, certifications, or degrees, but a recognition of honor .

CHART:  Degrees of Honor for a Barefoot Doctor

            Thus we see that the art of barefoot doctoring can go as deep as a human is capable.  It can be the very instinctual compassionate urge to help someone in pain, or it can be the art of a  Master who has spent a lifetime helping our species to better it's quality of existence.  Barefoot doctoring can be a lay person’s hobby, or a professional’s occupation.  It can be a strategy for either a specific healing art or for the very art of healing.   By its very nature it seeks to express knowledge and skill (wisdom) with a loving intention to help others heal themselves and become educated as healers.  Barefoot Doctoring is the way of a graceful healing, the way of harmonizing with the forces of Nature---the kind, loving way of healing.

            In much the same way a person gains skill in healing, humanity, ourselves, goes through stages of discipleship as we pursue our mastery as a species.   The path of initiation into mastery as a person can be appreciated as:


Stages of Mastery into Barefoot Doctoring


Probationary Path


Minimal Interest and Skill in Personal or Group Care



Desire for Caring, Healthy Way



Desire and Skill in Caring for Self and Others



Wisdom Manifested from Skillful Care:

vital health, wise healing and teaching


Humanity also goes through these stages of initiation as a species as we as individuals learn to cooperate enough to become skillful in that cooperation.   Thus does our wisdom as a species arise.  Skillful care on a personal level lefts us out of the quagmire of our instinctual drives into a graceful way of being.  Skillful care on a collective level lifts us to unforeseen realms.

SUTRA: Skillful Method

The way of barefoot doctoring is dependent on the way of the person.   A barefoot doctor seeks to help a person come into their excellence. Therefore to achieve mastery in this endeavor, a barefoot doctor must understand the topology of the terrain of personality, the paths that a person may take in the achievement of mastery of living.  There are many pitfalls and dangers lurking on every human path, no one has it easy, like Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle, than it is for a person to get into the Kingdom of Heaven”.  The “Kingdom of Heaven” is symbolic for the most excellent experience and expression of Quality if life.  Yet each of us try to live a fulfilled, healthy life.  This is a characteristic of most mammals—to actively pursue experiences that are enjoyable.  Throughout our past, humans have sought to relieve our people’s suffering and to achieve a better life.   

We do not have skill as a child to fulfill ourselves.  We sure knew when we were discontented, by we did not have the intellectual and physical capacity yet to know and fulfill our ultimate hopes.     We each had to come into knowing, into a worldview and way to even have a chance of fulfillment.  Our personal way defines our health because it is the quality of a particular life that is fulfilled.  Our own perspective determines the qualities and values we seek to fulfill.  Quality is rooted in our consciousness’ appreciation of reality.  No consciousness—no quality.    No reality, no quality.  Quality is sparked from the subjective meeting the objective.  It is the fulfillment of experience itself. 

We each choose and condition a way that wobbles in our skill to manifest our deepest intentions.  Many aspects go into our fulfillment other than consciousness, especially the biophysiological, sociocultural and ecological aspects.   These are the primary terrains of the person and therefore health.  

SUTRA:  Quality

Just as each of us can be on this path to gaining more skill in fulfillment, humans as a species, have been developing the skills of fulfillment.  We are learning as a people to care for our people, as does each new mother and father.  Gaining skill in healing as a species had many prerequisites before skill was possible.  And as a species, we winged it as best we could.  We experimented and used whatever cognition, resources and intuition we had.  Humanity has been caught up in the very pitfalls we as humans have.  The weaknesses and ignorances of our ancestors still live amongst us and our suffering is still upon us.  Nonetheless we do not wallow in the quagmire completely.  We are gaining skill in living, thanks to our ancestors.  Their coming into understanding is reflective of our own personal understanding as we come into our personal skill in health and healing.   And just as our children are greatest teachers, our ancestors too, have much to teach us about coming into mastery. 

SUTRA:  Remember This While Wallowing in the Quagmire

As there have been many writings on the history of healing, I will not merely rewrite the already known history of the persons who make up this history.  Rather, I seek to suggest how and why healing evolved, qualitatively, as a product of the collective consciousness; in this is a reflection of the prevailing cosmologies and worldviews.  The particular personalities, no matter how grandiose they seem from a historical reference, are but a precipitation of one’s predecessors and culture.  The egos of the personalities and their biographical reference will be left to the history books, and the spirits of their ideologies will be examined for their impact, value and truth.

            Like most of history, the themes that have arrived to us have been passed down by an intellectual academia and thus represent a filtration of ideas, rather than a clear representation of the times.  And though we may discuss the writings of a particular personages like Hippocrates, Aristotle, Galen and the like, we must recognize that these great figures are but a very small, yet influential group.  Their  medicine influenced future peoples and were a precipitation of the ancients.  The medicine actually practiced by the people was far more diverse and unknowable, like most of history, but available reflected in the ways of people today.

            We can only surmise the healing ways of the ancient ones.  Written materials have tended to sway many to believe that which is written is “more true” than the unwritten.  Some of the written materials have survived until today.  But people have also survived, and we know from meeting people, that they have beliefs about their healing and that this goes way beyond the press.  People choose the types of healing that they themselves believe. Ultimately to understand the types of people’s worldviews will also lead us to the understanding of how and why healing evolved.  And as people’s worldview is swayed by the leaders of the culture, it is very worthy to study the prevailing ideologies of these great medical leaders as long as we recognize that these leaders were not how people actually cared for each other.  Barefoot doctors, those who cared, were busy on the battlefield of life, dealing with most healings by the seat of their paints with the resources and wit at hand.  No matter how great the skill, how worthy the technique, if nobody cares, then the healing is unlikely to happen.  Care is the most precious ingredient to precipitate the healing way.  Care has its seeds in our ancient ones, and evolved into us to deal with the wrath of nature and rude people.   

SUTRA:  Plea to Humanity. 


Prehistoric Caring and the Early Evolution of Barefoot Doctoring


EXCERPT:  On Ancient Medicine by Hippocrates

            It is a special challenge to study the healing of prehistoric peoples, as little remains to tell us of their minds, hearts, and souls.  But bodies, at least bones, do remain, as do modern diseases, and it is wise to examine these in light of our modern forensic understanding for evidence of disease processes.  We must bear in mind that to date little organs or flesh from bodies have survived from much earlier than 4000 BC.  Yet, as any forensic pathologist would tell you, there is a lot we can surmise from what remains we have. 

            Of the very ancients, that is, those greater than 15,000 years ago we know little about their culture; we do know that the Neanderthals did at least occasionally buried their dead and did so with some ritual or ceremony involved.  Pollen grains and jewelries have been found with the corpse.  We also know that the ancient ones must have cared, for we have found remains of  people in their elderly years (probably in their forties) that seems to have been disabled from birth.  The very fact of his survival for decades means that his people must have cared enough to protect  them, feed them, and love them. 

            We also know from fossil history that parasites and bacteria were most certainly present, but we are unsure of their virulence and pathogenicity.  Paleopathology, that is the study of disease processes as suggested from human remains, can help us to understand some things.  Bones of the ancients, like the rest of humanity, shows clear cut abnormalities in their skeleton and teeth that suggests the presence of decalcification, bony overgrowth, thickening, wasting, and degeneration.  Fossil teeth also show sign of infection through abscesses, erosion and caries.  Clearly disease processes were present and this was no Garden of Eden. 

            Mummies of early ancient Egypt and China lead us some insight into diseases of the flesh mummies have been found with evidence of parasites, pneumonia, tuberculosis, arteriosclerosis, urinary tract infections, kidney and gall stones.  Clearly disease was present and evidence leads us to believe that our modern curses have evolved directly from prehistoric times. 

            We can also look to the veterinarian arts to see that every species bears the burden of existence in their species specific kind of way.  Each species lives in a delicate balance between their genes and gene expression, the environment and their will to survive.  Nature has always and most certainly will continue to give opportunities and scourges to all its creatures.  Some creatures seem to survive more driven by their biologic urge, while others have developed the need for maternal caring.  Certainly all mammals fall in this category of needing care, and humans near the top of the list of newborns and children in need of altruism.   It seems our very organ of intelligence itself, the brain needs maturation before we are physically able to sustain ourselves as a person on this planet.  We need care to survive.  We need good care to survive well.

            Many people believe that the ancient people were physically and spiritually more healthy than moderns.  Legends of bible figures living well into their hundreds is common.  The yellow emperor, who wrote in 2600 BC: “I had heard that in ancient times people lived to be over one hundred years, and yet they remained active and not become decrepit in their activities”. 

            Unfortunately, we have little evidence that the ancients were more disease free than the moderns or that they lived longer.  For the remains that we have, ancient humans clearly died younger and many had evidence of some underlying processes of malnutrition, degeneration, infection, trauma and tumor.  Men seemed to have lived longer than women, probably because of the hazards and depletions of childbearing and also probably because they were big enough to demand to be cared for better.  Because women were smaller creatures, and it was likely that many humans were very cruel, women and children probably bore the rudeness directly through enslavement, rape, and brutalizing.

            Certainly not all humans were cruel.   Respectful women and men kept the flame of caring alive.  And those special, probably less than alpha people, learned that, to survive the harshness of the earth, cooperation fed more mouths.  The group bonding was necessary and desired by most humans.   Time again, history shows how tyrants come to power, try to squeeze the life out of people until a rebellion of freedom triumphs.  This was no doubt true in the ancient groups were the rude and the kind fought out their battles. It also happens in our families, jobs, communities, and sport teams.  So it probably happened    to our ancient families as well. 

            In the study of disease from any culture, from anytime, it is important to understand the environmental and societal pressures within which they forged their existence.  We know that the diseases of hunter-gatherer societies are different from agricultural, which is different from the urbanites.  This is quite evident from modern humanity and from strong evidence from the more recent past.  The transition of one type of society into another was never clear cut, but most certainly did occur and it occurred at different times in different parts of the world.  The transition from hunter-gatherer to agricultural seem to first happened in the Near East around 8000 to 5000 BC while Europe remained at a hunter-gatherer subsistence.   Care would have taken on different forms and different ways, but one thing remains consistent:  the intention to help life become better.

            Though the medical fate of the ancients were vast enough to cover the death of all its people’s, probably trauma was amongst the most common;  Again, our vision is limited to the examination of the bones which are most obviously show damages through trauma.  And the bones of the ancients sure have a tale to tell.  As would be expected both intention and unintentional trauma was present.  Intentional trauma as exemplified by trephination, was perhaps one of the most sophisticated ancient surgeries and was present in the Paleolithic cultures and many Neolithic as well, and it is present in some stone age cultures alive today; and most every culture today did some form of putting holes in the skull. 

Why they did that?  We’re sure there are many reasons, and we do know that many survived.  It is probable that they did it for a variety of reasons:  for chronic headaches, for seizure disorder, for traumatic epidural hematomas, for mental illness and most likely to simply let the evil spirits out.  It is unlikely that primitives knew the exact scientific indication.  But they sure had their reasons.  One does not dig a hole into another’s braincase unless one believes that it will help (or kill) them.  Since living long after the procedure was common, we can assume that whoever did this procedure must have had some considerable skill.  Ask the average modern person to perform such a feat and one will understand quickly that there must have been for surgical skill and post-operative care.  The ancients had great skill chipping of flint and bone.  This could be applied to trephination.

            Probably trephination was as common as it was because blows to the head were probably common.  We have no evidence that the ancients were morally or ethically more advanced.  The contrary is more likely.  This is supported by the evidence that shows that the most frequent fracture was a fracture of the forearm, this can occur when individuals attempt to protect their heads from a weapon and block or parry the weapon with their forearm.  This so called “parry fracture” of the forearm is extremely frequently present as examined from ancient skeletal remains.  In prehistoric Greece and Turkey the parry fracture is the most common fracture and pre-dynastic through Byzantine Nubian thirty-one percent of all fractures were the parry fracture. Skull injuries was also frequent. The fact that leg and foot trauma were relatively rare, leads us to believe that the parry fracture and head injury are probably related to evidence of a violent past.  Yet for every violent act that mortally injures another, for the person to survive, there is usually a person or people caring enough to help.  The very survival of our species is encouraging and evidence of love.  The love we are capable of today has its seeds in ancient survival tactics.

            We must use our imagination to envision how the ancient ones went about to do their healing.  We must first imagine how they knew the world, how they understood things to be.  Judging from their cranial size and involutions, of their brain impressions the skull casing, we can speculate that the basic raw neurological material was similar to ours.  Their bones and anatomical remains suggest that their body was indistinguishable from the modern period, except more robust.  We know that they seemed to have an extremely primitive technology by our present standards but technology nonetheless.  And our modern view of physiology and pathology, which has required incredible patience to evolve, must most certainly have been absent.  It has taken all these years to piece the puzzle together.  What part of the puzzle might have these ancestors known? 

            They obviously knew how to sustain themselves.  Most, if not all mammals, have a good sense of hygiene and will seek to meet the basic needs of survival and pass these skills on to the next generation.  There skills in hygiene were probably far more acute than our own.  Their knowledge of the roots and fruits and leaves and animal habits were at least survivingly strong.  And it is possible that they were far more astute than us moderns in a most fundamental sense.  Their basic ability to care for one another was also likely more profound, because it was absolutely essential for them to survive.  Cooperation, kindness and love must have existed to battle the eternal foes of selfishness, hatred, famine, natural disaster and disease.  These virtues live in much of the animal kingdom and since they evolved to be so important in us, we can assume that they were present at least in some seed if not fully actualized form in the ancients.  As mean and nasty as humans are today, selfishness and terror was likely represented in out fore parents.  These expressions of love and hate have battled eternally within our species from the most ancient of days.

SUTRA:  Cooperation

            Thus when it came to healing, we can assume that some of our ancestors cared enough about life to seek to gain wisdom at least wisdom in their own eyes as to dealing with the scourges of their humanity.  They probably got sick a lot since they were exposed so intensely to the elements.  They probably also had more hearty vehicles that adjusted to temperature and resisted disease remarkably.  They probably were both fit and strong as well as decrepit and weak and all this is but speculation but that is grounded in reason and paleologic evidence. 

            All cultures have techniques that deal with the basic causes of disease.  Though they might not know the truth about the so-called ultimate cause of disease, neither do we.  Ask the average person alive today why they got sick and one will hear some very good reasons though the reasons may neither be valid or true.  And the ancients, to be sure, had their reasons, reasons, perhaps less rational, but reasons nonetheless.  And they must have known enough reasonable things to deal with the reality of survival. 

            They had wounds, because the flesh tears and decays and gets infested.  All life with flesh must bear these facts.  Other mammals tend to the wounds of their loved ones.  And no matter how primitive the culture will help others to tend to their wounds.  

            Some creatures tend to wounds by cleansing, some by covering, some by surgery, some by compresses, some by licking.  Even children have some sense on how to tend to wounds.  The ancients had plenty of wounds and many survived, at least survived many wounds.  Given their lower level of technology, they probably tended to their wounds very directly and diligently.  That is what it takes to survive a blazing infection.

            Today even good doctors have lost the art of tending to wounds directly because of the technology developed that allows nature to have a cleaner interplay.  Doctors know that a wound kept clean is critical or else a foul, pussy condition is likely to develop.  Packing, washing, and bandaging are important to help the healing.  Today antibiotics are routinely used therapeutically as well as prophylactically.  Surgical debridement, amputation, fixations and grafts are well known and used profoundly.  As the ancients did not have this technology and many still survived; and also by studying indigenous and traditional medicine, we find out that many even primitive cultures have very wise and effective ways to deal directly with the care of wounds. 

            This is not to say all cultures of all people of all times were wise in healing.  Indeed, sadly, far from it.  Perhaps more so with the ancients, but still so common, many unwise healing techniques are used and abused.  There was likely much more superstition in the ancient days because they did not know why- they could not have known- the evidence and technology to know was just not available.  Facts remain obscured but they knew the effects.  Untended wounds get pussy and can lead to violent fevers. delirium and death.  Untended heavy bleeding can make someone feel dizzy, cold and faint and eventually come to their death.  Prolonged fevers and rigors are a sign that sickness is present and death may soon be near.  Lack of adequate food can be followed by wasting or even eventually death.  Tending to our wounds and our families’ wounds help us to feel better and live longer. 

            These things especially they must have known and undoubtedly they knew more- a lot more.  And even though they may have thought about “supernatural” causes, they also must of had profound abilities to nurse and directly care for each other. 

            Some groups with a stronger love would be bonded tighter and their ancestral knowledge would have been transmitted more fully.  It takes generations to become wise.  Human beings seem such that they prefer to seek the bond of love than to remain either isolated or in a selfish hateful group.  Love is the very force of coherency itself, the glue that bonds humans into successful groups.  Love is how we become wise.

SUTRA:  Love is the Universal Language

            There are many things that bond and separate humans well:  needs and fears, ideas and values.  These are strong forces and do not necessarily augment the passing of the sacred wisdom of the ancestors, for they tend toward isolationism and separatism even within the group itself.  Some groups were nice to each other and mean to others.  Many conceivable possibilities as to why groups remained together is likely to have occurred again and again, but of all their reasons to be bonded together, the reason of cooperation is amongst the most wise and sustainable because it lends so much beauty into our lives.   Some lineages lived on, and others died off.   Love has survived till today to deal with the destructive forces.

            Though hatred, isolationism, and separatism are common today, these are often ways of a few.  Most people prefer the path of peace and of friendship.  Hatred is usually driven by a few very powerful ones who coerce people from harvesting the fruit of their own wisdom.  Most people today and probably most ancestors of the past preferred and sought out sustained, peaceful relationships.  Abuse, though common, was not preferred but tolerated, because of the more imposing and stronger needs of bonding necessary for survival.  It is this basic spiritual instinct to cooperate to meet survival needs that led to development of the healing wisdom.  It is the desire to care that has fruited the art of medicine.  Once people care, no matter how “primitive” they are, they will seek out the ways to comfort and lend longevity.  And they will seek to pass on the best of what they know to their children and their friends. 

            As to where the healing wisdom was especially strong, was probably in areas like protection against environmental invasion; food and herb gathering; wound healing; laying on of hands; image conjuring through role playing and ceremony, hallucinogens, languaging, and therapeutic movements.  They may not have known why their techniques worked scientifically, then again even most modern healers have no clue about the ultimate effects of their medications.  They probably acquired considerable skill in the most basic and most pragmatic ways of healing.  The healing ways of the peoples today reflect their evolution. 

            We see these techniques in modern Neolithic cultures that have survived.  Unfortunately, most eventually get influenced by the “modern miracles of medicine” so that the surviving primitive cultures rapidly loose their ancient wisdom.  Most children of these cultures sought the city in search for a life of “modern convenience”.  The elders have significant trouble finding  worthy and respectful apprentices; the children do not listen to their parents. So few are seeking apprenticeship with the traditional ways, thus we are finding the extinction of the great and profound ways of direct healing that the ancients lived.  Though much has survived into “modern medicine” so much has been and is being lost, as the direct healers of medicine are becoming cast aside.  The arrogance of the youth to neglect the wisdom of the elders is sometimes how wisdom dies off or transforms.  This process started long ago as we became more “civilized”.


Further Evolution of Caring into the Age of Civilization


Barefoot doctoring can be appreciated as the disciplined effort to care.  Care seeks to improve the quality of life, to help life flourish and thrive.  It is this flourishing and thriving that we mean by health.  Every species of life seems to have its more natural way to thrive, based on its characteristics, resources and niche.  Humans have many aspects of being seeking value experience and expression.  The traditional definitions of health have tended to focus on a particular aspect of human beingness.  The broad categories of aspects of “human beingness” can be understood as biophysiological, psychospiritual, and socioecological.   A complete definition of health for humans synthesizes the diverse models because human beings are a synthesis.  By its very nature, "health" is subject to a wide range of definitions. Often it is important to offer a definition that encompasses the others, bringing them together as a thread, to make them more understandable.

CHART:  Definitions of  Health



The dynamic state of the person, wherein there is harmonious functioning of enough aspects of that being, enabling that being to enliven the highest Quality feasibly capable.       


As a force, a life is a vector with a magnitude and direction. Since we are talking about a person's life and not the mere objects of physics, it might be more appropriate to describe the vector in terms of 'how', and 'why' rather than magnitude and direction . How implies the strength of a path chosen, quantity (e.g. vitality, motivations, drives), and why implies its destination or purpose, Quality (e.g. vitality, value experience and expression, Beauty, self‑actualization). The are many forces that influence the life of a person, both internally and eternally, hence we must consider these for as with all vectors, they add up to a resultant vector. If the life of an organism were compared to a compass we could put the purpose of life, the path of most righteous evolution and manifestation (let us call this peak of Quality in life) Dharma, on the north pole, and we could put its opposite ‑‑ Chaos into the south. Somewhere in between these two poles, we could locate the particular person's state of being. If it is in the "northerly" direction then we are healthy. If it is in the "southerly" direction, then we are ill or diseased. Obviously the value of such a compass is immense.  It could aid us in reading this map of life with intelligence, and successfully enacting this knowledge with Wisdom. It is important to describe this compass in more detail as well as to describe some of the topology of life's healthy and diseased landscapes. 

SUTRA:   Karma

CHART:  Dimensions of Karma

SUTRA :  Dharma

CHART:  Dharmic Compass

            As we go into a description of the healthy terrain, it is necessary to discuss my perspective on 'perspective' before going into detail on various paradigms on health and healing. Even though I may be skeptical on the intellect's ability to idealize the Truth with out error, I am optimistic about its ability to reflect the visions of the light of Truth with a pragmatic degree of accuracy.  New paradigms are developed to explain formerly unexplainable evidence, or to tie the already existing paradigms into a more unified whole. The usual example is that of physics: Newtonian physics replaced the old Aristotelian physics. Many an engineer utilized Aristotle's model, with workable results.   Newton looked at the universe with a slightly different perspective, and developed a paradigm to explain his visions. Both paradigm's have their own logic, and are pragmatically workable work, but they are different because Aristotle and Newton had a different vision of the universe.   Newton had the evidence of the heavenly bodies to help him explain the physical world. Likewise Einstein developed a paradigm that better explained his visions of a subatomic world unavailable to Newton.  

            A question that needs to be addressed is: "Isn't one of these paradigms truer than the others because it explains more things in the universe more accurately?" In a humble tone I can only respond "Perhaps' but that would depend on how you see things".   All three paradigms can be different,  and somewhat valid and one may work in some situations and the others in different ones. A wiser approach than accepting one paradigm as 'the holy dogma’, may be to understand the virtues of all three visions and hence utilize all three paradigms as needed.  Engineers use Newtonian physics all the time because of its utility, and do not dilemma on its absolute truth.   So likewise we can synthesize a paradigm of health where mechanism and vitalism are closely tied because physics and psyche are aspects of the  person; though one may seemingly predominate the other both need to be kept in perspective. There are infinite perspectives on a single point in geometry. Is ideology so different?

SUTRA:  Perspective

At least two fundamentally distinct approaches to the art and science of health have developed: one is reductionistic, mechanistic, analytic, and linear; while the other is teleologic, vitalistic, synthetic, and circular. Both approaches have contributed much to our understanding of health and disease, and perhaps a healthy attitude would be to examine these approaches, envision their visions, and synthesize their paradigms. The modern western "allopathic" approach exemplifies the reductionistic viewpoint, while traditional "Chinese medicine" uses more of the teleologic perspective. Neither is rigidly defined within these paradigms, but let us just say that they do show strong tendencies in these directions In his excellent book The Web That Has No Weaver, Ted Kaptchuk compares the two approaches:



Chinese medicine considers important certain aspects of the human body that are not significant to Western medicine. At the same time, Western medicine observes and can describe aspects of the human body that are insignificant or not perceptible to Chinese medicine....The actual logic structure underlying the methodology, the habitual mental operations that guide the physician's clinical insight and critical judgement, differs radically in the two traditions....The two different logical structures have pointed the two medicines in different directions. Western medicine is concerned mainly with isolable disease categories or agents of disease, which it zeroes in on, isolates, and tries to change, control, or destroy. The western physician starts with a symptom, then searches for the underlying mechanism‑‑a precise cause for a specific disease. The disease may affect various parts of the body' but it is a relatively well‑defined, self‑contained phenomenon. Precise diagnosis frames an exact quantifiable description of a narrow area. The physician's logic is analytic‑‑cutting through the accumulation of bodily phenomena like a surgeon's scalpel to isolate one single entity or cause.

       The Chinese physician, in contrast directs his or her attention to the complete physiological and psychological individual. All relevant information, including the symptom as well as the patient's other general characteristics' is gathered and woven together until it forms what Chinese medicine calls a "pattern of disharmony". This pattern of disharmony describes a situation of "imbalance" in the patient's body. Oriental diagnostic technique does not turn up a specific disease entity or a precise cause! but renders an almost poetic , yet workable, description of a whole person. The question of cause and effect is always secondary to the overall pattern [like the Chinese landscape artists] the Chinese think of each person as a cosmos in miniature. Each person manifests the same patterns as does the painting or the universe... In each person , as in every Chinese] landscape, there are signs that, when balanced, define health or beauty. If the signs are out of balance, the person is ill or the landscape is ugly. So the Chinese physician loots at a patient the way a painter loots at a landscape‑‑as a particular arrangement of signs in which the essence of the whole can be seen. The body's signs' of course, are somewhat different from nature's signs‑‑including color of the face, expression of emotions, sensations of comfort or pain, quality of pulse‑‑but they express the essence of the bodily landscape. (Kaptchuk, 1983)


Much of Kaptchuk's remarks are in reference to diagnostics, rather than the pure descriptive science of health/disease. But inasmuch as the diagnostic approach reflects the vision of the physician's perspective on health/disease we can see how radically different these two medicines are. Modern western medicine has had a tendency to reduce health to quantifiable molecules "within normal limits"; the person is here more readily known by the individual parts. Traditional Chinese medicine has had the tendency to recognize the parts only in relation to the whole‑‑qualifiable themes in relation to the symphony. Both approaches seem so necessary, that one wonders how they can remain so exclusive.  In today's day and age, the so‑called "east‑west" philosophical orientation, is not necessarily bound by physical territories. Ideologies are not culturally fixed, for we seem to be moving towards a world culture, as the races and nations of the world melt together.

Many models have been developed to describe the proper field of the doctor's endeavor. Broad categorizations of the approaches are  shamanistic and naturalistic and they tend to narrow in on the biophysiological, socioecological, psychospiritual aspects of a person. They all agree that the goal of medicine is to help people become “healthy” but only a wholistic model comprehensively addresses the concept of the whole person, in its conception of health. Each model sufficiently describes its particular aspect of the person, but only the wholistic model tales into account the integration of the subsystems of the person. The person is a synthetic being, and an accurate model of the healthy person would need to include this concept in its definition. To focus in on the narrow confines of one or a few of the various subsystems of the whole being without addressing the integration of all the systems into a whole, lends to a distorted paradigm of human health.  Life flourishes on many dimensions, and so does it wither.  Each model presented represents a focused inquiry into a particular aspect of the person; their essential shortsightness is that they are too narrow to comprehensively describe the healthy person. This is due in part, to their narrow definitions of personhood.

The shamanistic and naturalististic approach evolved together with humanity as they do within each of us.  These approaches are based on the very fabric of human neurology.  Humans have two brains, a left and a right brain.  They have different natures that represent the essential duality within the healing arts.  The right brain, dominant in shamans, is qualitative, subjective, mythological and magical, full of symbol and meaning.  The left brain is more quantitative, objective, logical, scientific, full of reason and explanation.  Most humans tend to have a dominant brain and life for each of us deals with the two of each of us.

CHART:  Left Brain versus Right Brain

Early in humans intelligent era humans tended to personify the images, voices and meanings of one brain by the other.    Some people battle between the two, some take sides, some have a graceful integrity.   Whichever brain is developed and identified with, determines the particular model of health and healing that is identified with. 

EXCERPT:  Consciousness and the Voices of the Mind by Julian Jaynes

Shaman’s tend to push people to deal with their subjective nature.  They use words and images and trancelike techniques that induce right brain functioning.  They use the magic of the right brain to bring people into health.  Naturalists look to the objective to change the material of living through a particular cause and effect.  This left brain dominant style uses reason and systems to logically conclude a way towards health and out of a predicament.  Shamans tend to see the big picture and seek to help their patients gain a more wholistic perspective.  Naturalists seek to alter a causal chain of events with a specific technique or potion.

SUTRA:   Shaman's Drum

There have been many ways of explaining the world and experience throughout human existence.  The details of these ways is vast and varied, intricate and well described.  Some appeal to tradition, others to authorities, some to faith, others to deductive or inductive logic;  some appeal to experience and others to a scientific or consistent method.  Each of these ways of knowing have evolved slowly into our beliefs of today.  Some take precedent in different cultures.  Some of us appeal to a few different and even many ways of knowing.  Some hold steadfast to one primary way.  One thing seems for sure, humans need their beliefs and have at least one way of coming to know the world and make meaning from their experience.

            Many cultures rely on tradition to pass on some vision or story.  Tradition can bring the wisdom of the elders and their curses as well.  The tradition can bring us specific knowledge and ways of knowing.  This knowledge may be true or untrue, useful or superfluous.  It may be consistent or not, fantastic or plain, but it does help us to understand and impacts or views of health and disease.

            The same with knowledge based on authority, perhaps even more so.  The authority can give us a way that solves a problem, though the knowledge itself may be less than true.  The knowledge however may offer a scaffolding on which to hang our knowledge and secure at least one way of knowing.

            Belief and especially faith in a religious authority can even more confidently offer a way of knowing, lending their blessings and curses.  A “healing” may be described in a story or a commandment, in miracles or acts of  God.  People today, rely on these ways to help them in their healing.  Prayers are a major therapeutic tool relied on by most people to help them in their healing.  People are looking for miracles, waiting, and disappointed when their prayers were not answered in the ways they expected.  Most of us depend on miracles from authorities like the oncologist, the surgeon and even the dentist.  Hopefully that one acupuncture needle will take away the pain;  maybe the psychic surgeon is really removing the disease.  Getting people to believe that a healing is possible is the obligation of the healer,  as is the revealing of the knowledge of the path to get there. 

            Blind faith is possible for some, the most require some reasonableness when describing this path.  For most of us, our common sense, our intuitional sense of right and wrong, of real or illusion, of truth or falsehood,  is the only truly believable authority.  Unless it rings true to this sense, we will be suspicious of the knowledge.   This common sense is described my the Sanskrit word:  Buddhi.  Buddhi means that aspect of our mind where we sense value, meaning and truth.  That part of us which is the understander.  Our personal buddhi seems the ultimate authority on the appropriateness of a healing path, and seems a necessary ingredient of  the integrity needed for a successful healing.

SUTRA:  Buddhi

            Reason too, has much to offer, and is very convincing of it’s import.  Logic allows us to appreciate the consistency of experience, and can lead to conclusions that are believable and useful.  This rational method can lead to further insights, and can also lead us astray.  Logicians need always to remember that any argument, no mater how logical, if based on wrong premises, will lead us to a false conclusion. 

            Many rely on some system of acquiring knowledge, and most use an internally consistent way of judging the truth and utility of the knowledge.  The method may be based on an authority like the Yellow Emperor or it may be based on a “scientific method” , which now holds the throne on reasonable methods of knowing.

            In the field of medicine, humans have sought to understand the “causes” of health and disease.  Causation like all fields of knowledge, has been manifested by these common ways of knowing.  An “authority” like Aristotle related four distinct types of causes:  the material, formal, efficient and final causes.  The material cause of a bowl is the clay; while the form and shape of the bowl is the formal cause;  the effort of the potter is the efficient cause;  the potter’s intention is the final cause.  All things, claims Aristotle, comes into existence for a purpose (telos).  Especially humans have a final good.  After tireless logical sequences Aristotle concludes that the final good of humans is to be happy, defined as activity of the soul according to virtue, and if there is more than one virtue, then the best and most complete of them.   The highest of all virtues is contemplative wisdom, and the pondering on the ultimate and final causes of reality.  Disease, for Aristotle, is a deviation from our final good, which disrupts the other more formal, efficient and material causes of disease.  Aristotle’s fundamental explanation of causality swayed many future generations of healers.  

            The concept of  “telos” set the basis of many vitalist’s explanation of health and disease.   Many healers recognize a final cause of disease and count on the person’s psyche to seek a healthier state.  The body, itself, even has a wisdom, that seeks not only homeostasis, but even a fulfillment of a physiological state of perfection.  The final cause suggest a value seekingness to matter itself, as if it sought to have life, and for this life to be successful.

            This concept of causality has  been challenged, by a more mechanistic model, one that recognizes only efficient, material, and formal causes in health and illness.    All humans, think the natural philosophers, obey the same laws of physics as the earth and matter upon which we stand and are made.  Even our own physiology are molecules interacting, obeying nature’s way describable in mathematical models, repeatable in experiment.  

            Every explanation is judged by our common sense as to its truth and value.  Common sensical explanations may ultimately be less than true, but they hold an extremely strong import, for any explanation is held with suspicion unless it makes sense.  Belief based explanations ultimately make the most sense, beliefs that explain who, how and why, as well as the cause and effect.   And even though our own logic may be less than valid, and our premises less that true, we are most likely to act on those things that make the most sense to us.   And often it seems, and people certainly believe, that disease has a meaning and purpose, and that if we understand that purpose, this will aid in the healing.  Science, it seems, is excellent at describing the cause and effects, but leaves us feeling less than fully fulfilled unless we understand how and why something like disease occurs.

            Belief-based explanations carry the weight of commitment to an idea, and is very valuable to those who adhere to it.  The scientific method is an accurate way of discerning truth from lies and delusions.  Science’s systematic practice of critical inquiry embellishes our path with reliable, valid knowledge.  The “truths” of science are far reaching, tested by skeptical minds, “proven” in the laboratories, based on “theories” that have stood the test of time.  These theories are conceptual framework that expalin facts, and predict new ones, generating by pondering and testing hypotheses—a tentative explanation for a causal link awaiting confirmation.  These hypotheses are tested through a series of controlled experiments, designed to test the hypothesis under the rigors of seriously controlled events.

            The scientific method involves 1) the observation of phenomena; 2) hypotheses as to the causal links describing the fundamental properties of the phenomena; 3)  The formation of theories as general statements that rigorously explains the phenomena;  4)  the development of laws that provide an accurate description of the phenomena and has withstood the rigors of the scientific method.  Technology relies on these hypotheses, theories and especially laws to predict nature’s way, and harness this reliability into utility. 

Technique, in general, is the utility of science, applying the scientific principles into a creation. The wise application of technique is the job of the artists and craftsman.   The hypotheses, theories, and laws need not be true, but accurate enough to allow the technique to manifest.  Sometimes the artist has to jimmy the matter, to get it to cooperate in ways it is suppose to.   In our daily life, few people, including doctors, understand the truth of reality, but are able to rely on certain principles to fulfill their technique.  This is especially true in childhood, when few of us have a true and accurate understanding of reality, but are able to learn to walk, ride a bike, paint a picture, mold clay, etc.  Even the most brilliant of scientists admit their partial scientific grasp of the ways of nature, and utilize less than scientific methods when doing the everyday activities.  Indeed, they use their common sense, nourished by their scientific method, enhanced by the eons of human knowledge to that point, mixed in with habits, hopes and frustrations. 

Most artists are in both their technique and in their ways of explaining things,  much of which is based on less than reliable ways of believing.  A musician may not understand the physics of his instrument, but understands enough about it’s properties to generate a sound that can be utilized for music.  This is especially true in the healing arts.  Many, if not most healers use less than critical methods of understanding like tradition, authority, dogma, emotional, hopeful, or just because—ie, no reason at all.   “Truth” has many methods other than the scientific, and it’s the application of knowledge does not always need confirmation beyond our peers, a scripture, and especially our own sense or right.  Some methods rely more on personal experience, some on others, some on hearsay, some on “fact”.   Some rely on a rational method, some on emotion or faith.  Most of have our reasons, as accurate or fallible as they are, that sets the basis of the techniques in our life.  This is especially the case in the healing arts.

Some healers rely as much as possible on a “scientific method” to describe, predict, and control the actions of nature.  Medical doctors especially like to base their diagnoses, prognoses, and therapeutics on reasonable explanations that are reliable, valid and accountable.  These explanations often represent the common effort of humanity, mixed in with common sense.  Any thing else, might be less than reasonable, and many doctors remain skeptical of the less than scientific approaches.  These healers may only apply a technique only is there is “evidence” behind them,  protecting their decisions, for themselves, their clients amongst their peers, and even in the courts.  Yet even the most scientifically rigorous of doctors can be biases or flawed in their endeavor.    A diagnosis, no matter how “accurate”, may be meaningless unless it is believed by the patient and it’s warning taken heed.  The prognosis may be based on some statistical norm, but may not take into account the uniqueness of the person at hand; A therapy may be toxic though the medicine may be efficacious.   Our common sense is skeptical of even the Kings of Knowledge, Science, and it’s ability to solely and ultimately discern the appropriateness of a clinical endeavor.  It’s force may weigh heavy in a clinical decision, but it is certainly not the reason why most of us pursue our own path of healing.

There are many ways other than the scientific that are very reasonable.  Many healers through out human history new not of the scientific method.  In the history of the development of the healing arts, we see the full spectrum of “methods of understanding”.  Though somewhat arbitrary, this spectrum can be witnessed in the dichotomy of the “mythos” and “logos”.  Mythos is the romantic notions of less than critical thought that guides artists in their endeavor.  It’s explanatory powers soothes the soul, and guide us down paths of healing by methods less the reasonable by scientific standards.  Its fantastic ways uses the magical and synchronistic connections between nature and ourselves.  Many shamans, priests and priestesses, have harnessed and utilized the magical powers of the Mythos.

Belief in spirits, curses, demons, gods, superstition and hearsay, has guided humanity for most of our lives.  Healers from every culture, and part of every healer is open to the miracles of mythos, but relies on the efficacy of Logos.  Both offer hope, the greatest ingredient of healing remedies.  We can relate to the Mythos of the ancients, as we all were children, and believed in mythos as truth.  Our parents explained the truth to us and we believed them, at least for a while, until our common sense matured enough to produce skepticism on their omniscience.  Thus arises Logos.

Logos has demanded us to be more logical and reasonable, and tends to scoff at others as quacks and charlatans.  Today, the Logos has been refined into a very sophisticated technique with rules of logic.  We can see this in the rules of protocol in the double blind studies, in the HMO’s, in the insurance companies, medical schools,  and courts.  Rules which weigh heavy in deciding the reasonableness of a healing endeavor.  Money is won and squandered, lives saved and lost, people fined, penalized, imprisoned, in the name of Logos which demands a high standard.   We owe much to Logos as the guardian of truth, and much to Mythos as the keeper of possibility. 

EXCERPT:  Definition of Logos

The path of  Logos has not been clearly defined in history, just as it was not so straight forward in our own development.  Many “reasonable” beliefs have led us astray, and the history of healing is lined with these.  The ancients held many reasonable notions about “physis” the healing forces of nature.  Many reasonable notions were not necessarily true, but still could build bridges,  fling projectiles, and guide a healing.  The great Logician, Aristotle, was one of the early ideologists to recognize that the phenomena of nature can be attributed to natural causes.  Yet even this master’s notion of cause itself, is flawed in the eyes of the modern logician, who would call his “final Cause”—“telos”—purpose—out of science.  

Yet Aristotle’s notion of the purposefulness of nature makes sense, and has utility that can be relied upon in our thoughts and prayers.    Even if not completely true, it has value to believe in the telos and purposefulness of nature.  Aristotle’s notions however, have guided humanity to further pay attention to nature, and to discover that natural process follow natural laws.  And that these laws can be discovered and described with the most accurate of languages, Math.  We all have an Aristotle in us—old beliefs that made perfect sense, that have been revived by our Newton and Einstein into our present day Logos.  Aristotle. and thinkers like him, paved the way of the reasonable.  And like Aristotle who misguided science for many centuries, we need to recognize that even the reasonable is not necessarily true, no matter what our teachers tell us.  

EXCERPT:  Aristotle on  the Laws of Nature

Many a healer has believed in a “archeus”—vital force--Chi—an active, directing intelligence that maintains and repairs our organism.  From Hippocrates and Galen to Paracelsus and Chinese Medicine, many healers depend on the vital force to teleologically coordinates our molecules into a coherent bodily symphony.  Hippocrates, himself, relied on what he called “physis”—the healing power of nature, and took pains to describe ways to entice nature to cooperate with our personal agenda.  He used the tools of nature like herbs and foods, baths and exercise to effect a healing.   A “Physician” is one who assisted the natural forces, not the supernatural.  Today’s Physicians may not believe in an archeus, but still honor the Hippocratic notion of  the Logos of Nature.

Most cultures develop some belief in nature’s way.   As we take an overview of cultural and personal belief  of nature’s mechanisms of interconnectedness, we see some consistent doctrines of “Physis”.   The Doctrine of Signatures, for example, tells us that the appearance or property of a plant or medicinal agent will display signs that dictate its utility.  Red plants build the blood;  a root that is shaped like a penis increases virility;  a nut shaped like the brain helps intelligence.  The Doctrine of Correspondence states that all outward manifestations of the macrocosm corresponds to an archetypal aspect, quality or form of our microcosm.  A plant or season may correspond to a similar aspects of ourselves, like the heat of summer, a hot tasting plant and the heat of a fever or the metabolism.  By studying the systems of nature, we can further understand our own physiological systems.   And by recognizing that water subdues fire in the world, then perhaps if one feeds the water aspects of a person then we can lower a fever.   The Doctrine of Opposites states that one should treat conditions with medicines that  possess opposite qualities.   The Doctrine of Homeopathy claims that very small amounts of a substance that in larger amounts will cause a symptom complex, can be used to heal a disease process that has the same symptom complex.   Toxic doses of Belladonna may cause delirium, dryness, nausea, racing or the heart and mania.  Homeopathic doses may relieve a sickness with the same symptoms……… The Doctrine of Contact Magic explains that a previous contact of a person with an object, results in being able to use the object for the purposes of healing (or injury).  A prayer ceremony may be more powerful when incanted around a hat of the ill person. 

So many rules and laws, theories and speculations as to how nature can be manipulated to hasten a cure.  These doctrines may not be true, but they sure were and are being used by people for healing.  They may seem ridiculous by scientific standards, but they often do effect a healing.  Unexplainable, unreasonable, superstitious, but still believed and makes a certain amount of sense.  We all know these doctrines again from our childhood.  A doll that looks likes superman is holds the power.  Cayenne pepper is fire;  Magic potions and spells do heal.  And we would not want our enemies to have our fingernail clippings, just in case.   These doctrines are believed by many and can be harnessed to help a healing along.

Today we have stricter laws governing healing---laws of physiology that we rely on for a medicine or surgery to work.  Most of these principles can be reduced to mathematical relationships describing changing form, place and direction.  Given the accurateness of our measurements, we can predict certain physiological consequences that can be used to direct nature’s way.  But, nature has a way to act at random, or to do the unpredictable.  And there are so many variables in the equation, that it is always hard to sort out and weigh the evidence to give a verdict on which way to guide a healing.  Numbers can tell us a lot, and statistics can show us the most likely way, but they are not the way.   Even today, with the rigors of science, Lao Tzu’s words ring true.  The model is not the thing.  A concept is not truth, only, at best, an accurate reflection there of.    Our knowledge is not he known.  Our conceived logic is not the logic of nature.

EXCERPT:  Lao Tzu:  Chapter one

SUTRA:  Speculating About Truth

            Though physiological properties can be described and related accurately, we are still far from knowing the ultimate causes of reality, and therefore our healing must rely somewhat on faith, even if this faith is in the scientific.  The gold standards of modern medicine fail us all the time, so we must have back-ups and other opportunities to move us forward.   Fortunately for healing, like most arts, knowing the ultimate cause of an illness, is not a prerequisite for healing to occur. A flutist can play her flute without knowing quantum mechanics;  a painter need not know the chemistry of her paints;  a gardener does not need to know botany to have a green thumb.  In all these arts, knowing the science is helpful but not necessary.  A healer may have mastered the art of nourishing people back to health, or strengthening them into fitness;  These arts require a different sense than the scientific.   The way of nurturing and strengthening are practical skills. 

            It’s a good thing too that we don’t need to know the truth, because we really know so little.  Ask a doctor how their medicines work and they can often do a fine job of rattling off some pharmacology, but even a little closer inspection will reveal a very limited understanding of how the medicine actually does work. 

            Shaman’s are particularly useful at mastering the less than scientific methods.  They have learned how to direct consciousness and physiology through the use of story, ritual, ceremony, incantation or song.  They use their rapport and power to magically transform their patients.  Healings are triggered by shamanistic techniques and though they may not work well with double blind random studies, for those who belief, they can transform the flesh and spirit. 

            We have witnessed the empirical data suggesting the healing power of prayer and laughter, of belief, the will, and hope.  Like rhetoric for the politician, the shaman can transmute the vision of their patient to see the path of healing.  A good parent knows how to lead the mind of their child away from the boo-boo in their life.  How much more can a master healer who knows the ways of the shaman lead the downward focused eyes of the soul away from despair.  A priest’s forgiveness, and a doctor’s optimism can make or break a healing.

            Does this mean that a medical doctor should incorporate voodoo into his practice?  A wise doctor would certainly be open to using the principles of voodoo, at least, if he truly believed it could effect a cure.  The techniques of shamanism are technically difficult to master and one needs a knack for such things.  However, the particular principles can be applied to modern practice without all the feathers, drums and chanting.  By understanding the beliefs of our clients, we can paint a picture of what their healing would look like, use encouraging words that leads consciousness into transformation.  Science is best at biochemical transmutation;  shamanism lends vision to the confused.  A wise healer does what she is best at, when needed for the person who wants it.  Every healer has a style and worldview.  The ingredients of  a good healing blends the cooperation of the patient and healer with nature.  A pill can’t change the momentum of a person’s life as much as insight into a healthier way.  The vision of this healthier way, lends direction to the discipline necessary to change karma.  The karma may be patterns of thoughts and feelings, exposures, or less than adequate self care habits.  Insights into healthier choices, habits and situations can induce a healing, as can vision of it’s opposite.  

            Pills, like shamanism,  can change karma too.  Nitroglycerin at the right time and place can truly transform the future course of a person's life.  A placebo carries a certain reliable healing power, that must be accounted in all rigorous studies.  The way the pill is taken, what  the person believes about the pill, the perceived consequences of not taking the pill all play an important role in healing.  Doctors could benefit from mastering the technique of inducing placebo, rather than being embarrassed about it’s existence, and deny it’s utility.   The wise healer relies on kind techniques that will work.   Our integrity must guide us accordingly.

            Logos and mythos are thus both the tools of the healer, for they are the terrain of their patients.  Reason and belief , science and faith, truth and magic, are necessary tools of the healer that can increase the quality of our patient’s lives.  Fraud, lying, stealing, schistering, neglect, abuse and quackery, etc are different than mythos and need not be confused.   Techniques of mythos can be done with honor and skill, and in the hands of a true master, is as effective as any approaches to healing.  Many have misused science and those that follow the logos are not necessarily masters in their art.  A master healer following mythos based techniques is almost always preferable to a novice doctor even with good logic.   Mythos techniques require practical skills that are evidence of their wisdom.  Integrity keeps mythos and logos in line with quality. 

Magic, belief, and consciousness training can be used by those who know their power as potently as any so-called scientific technique, but must be done honorably.  The mythos is easily abused, and the temptation to  lead people for selfish intent, is especially strong.  Purposely using invalid, fake and disrespectful techniques are not the way of the barefoot doctor, and undermines our species effort to heal our people successfully.  The shaman, the doctor, the voodooist, and acupuncturist must believe their art to have validity and utility, and they need to have the skill to prove it.  Ultimately it is our own conscience, and that of our communities, that determines the validity of our healing acts.  It is this integrity that the wise barefoot doctor embraces.

            Hippocrates’ knowledge did not come solely from his own enlightenment, nor was it by merely by chance or accident.  It came from witnessing the ways of the healers of the day and choosing amongst the best and most complete of those ways.  It followed eons of development to get to that point.  The same with modern medicine, no one person, no one idea, no one time was responsible for this wisdom.  It was and is a collective effort that demands cooperation and care.  It was humanity's collective integrity that has produced the art and science of healing. 

            Even today, we must care enough to continue to learn about direct, pragmatic healing, i.e. how to use our hands and hearts and minds to help those in our sphere of influence.  People of modern culture have tended to neglect the ways of the elders because their elders relied on doctors and technologies to do their healing, leaving our people, and healers, weakened and unwise in matters of health.  Inasmuch as we take direct responsibility for our own healing- and can succeed and use our other resources in case of severity, then we have wisdom.  This is a sustainable way for our species-technology is not always available and can never be.  Walk far on the earth and one can see this.  In our homes, or in the mountains and jungles and desert, anywhere unavailable to doctors and hospitals, we remain very vulnerable to the severity of nature.  Keeping the ancestral knowledge alive and new and improved, so long as it utilizes our healing powers directly this ensures our survival.   This empowers our species.  Leaving healing in the hands of the professionals atrophies the species’ healing talents.

            This is not to say that the only means to our survival is through direct medicine. Our biological urge to survive is powerful as are our instincts and intentions.  Trial and error co-existed with skill, spontaneous healing, and what we now call superstition.  Superstition can lead us down some successful roads.  It is not the superstition that was needed to propagate, but the pragmatic utility of the healing way.  The particular reason or myth is not necessarily appropriate across cultures.  But the principal, for example of leading mind and body to cooperate through story or song, is quite useful.  Believing that the reason that this red root healed the “blood disease” is because it is red “-is not as valuable to us today as the fact that this does lead to a “healing”.  Now we can seek out why with our modern reason and technology.

            Today we often choose to believe that science and doctors have all the answers.  In ancient days, it was the shaman or medicine man or midwife or witch doctor.  Their techniques and superstitions are lacking so called “modern science”, though they were techniques of healing that often did work.  Our survival in spite of the species’ hatred, is proof of some their medicine and wisdom.

            It is likely that amongst certain groups, healing was the most sacred of arts.  Hunting and gathering and eventually planting were no doubt also quite sacred and passed on traditionally.  Childbirthing and rearing were also amongst the most sacred.  Statues of pregnant female, picture scratchings in a rock and folklore point towards the preciousness of our fertility and tending to our seed.  Life itself is amongst the most precious, and most humans, like most mammals, seek to allow life to flourish.

            This tradition of attempting to pass down our wisdom of caring for ourselves and others is riddled with speculation and reasons as to how and why we should care. Primitive, that is, Paleolithic or Neolithic peoples, children and mentally retarded have often been ascribed supernatural powers as the spirits, gods, ghosts, goblins, demons to the cause of things.  Magic, tradition, and hearsay are three common reasons why some primitive peoples believe the way they do.  Their argument is valid as to their own reasoning and they often believe it to their death.  The belief no matter how unbelievable to us is certainly believable to them.  We can identify with our fore parents because we were children once and believed in magic and superstition.  What child didn’t in the back of their mind be careful not to step on the crack or chose every once in a while to sleep with the lights on and repeat songs or prayers to ward off the demons in dark places and our dreams.   Our childhood magical thoughts seem to be a remnant of our ancestors.

            Even as adults every one of us is bathed in superstition and magical beliefs no matter how scientific we are.  Science, itself, has become a religion complete with its magic and higher powers and approximations of the truth.  As moderns this often torments us into neurosis and even psychosis as we polarize it, negate it, exploit it, or avoid it, but each of us need to reckon with the superstitious, magical, and impossible.  Which one of us is not neurotic and riddled with superstitions.  Even the most scientific person still has some very unreasonable ways and beliefs that infiltrate their life.  Certainly the common person even more so bares the remnants of superstition.  This seemingly unreasonable way is so intimate to us that most people would not even recognize them as superstitions.  The market is full of products that promise the magic bullet.  Very few of us know how or why, but place faith in the one’s who know.  So did the ancient ones put faith in their shamans, healers and elders. 

            As the FDA is quick to remind us, a medicine relying only on superstition can become ineffective or even dangerous.  But using someone’s belief to show them where their path of healing lies, this is reasonable.  Shamans, witch doctors, priests, fortunetellers, psychics, etc. are often excellent in leading their client’s mind to relieve suffering.  And the leading of the mind is incredibly important in healing.  Healing is possible without believing the remedy, but it is much more likely with conviction.  Leading people to believe the value of their life, the meaning of their existence and dreams, and the possibility of their healing and fulfillment is the essence of an excellent healer.  And many shamans and witch doctors are often these excellent healers.  Early superstitious shamanism was probably the seeds of this excellence.  An excellent healer uses languaging and imagery to create vision of the path of healing.  This vision is the direction of the healing efforts.  One good vision is more valuable than a thousand techniques aimed inappropriately.  Applied techniques that lead to a cure appreciate a vision  of the way.

            Techniques that effect a cure usually go beyond superstition.  It moves towards fine-tuning from the verification of experience. Indeed, this empirical experience of cause and effect is convincing.  This is woven into the worldview of the healer as they mature and trial again and again like all good doctors do.  Most techniques for the unskilled is a form of magic. 

            Today we rely much on hearsay albeit the hearsay of reputable journals and studies and experimentations, but hearsay nonetheless.  The best of doctors have acquired a strong experiential background in medicine and seek to confirm it through their own experiments, trials and studies.  Most doctors of today practice the medicine based on protocol; and even if this protocol is excellent, good and possibly true, it has still weakened the healer through habitual use.  Like a person’s muscles which atrophies when pushing a button to have a machine lift the weight, most modern doctors’ skills have atrophied in direct diagnoses and therapeutics.

            Doctors are left weakened by technology that allows an MRI or CAT Scan to diagnosing place of a physical exam.  Their therapeutic skills are stifled when they allow a pill or injection or surgery to do the healing.  Healing can be so much deeper than this.  It was likely that the ancestors had wisdom in this area of experiential and direct healing. 

            Once one experiences the pain relieving touch of another through massage, manipulation, or energy it is convincing enough to admit that healing touch is possible and likely.  A culture that relies on its hands like the ancient crafts people did, it is likely that they had learned how to comfort and heal through touch.  This is prevalent amongst all cultures and peoples though often considered taboo by skeptics.  If ones hands are immediately available for healing, we end up learning how to use our hands encouragingly.  Massage, for example, is an ancient use of hands and it, no doubt, has been taken to a high degree in the past same as bone manipulation as bonesetters are present in many modern primitive societies.

            Superstition is also a technique that some people use to control or exploit one another.  And thus despite experience, the power of superstition and its beliefs can also lead people away from the freedom of their healing.  And no doubt many a medicine man or shaman manipulated belief to fit their own egos need for power and exploitation.  As each superstition has at least a grain of truth eventually we learn to weed out the B.S. and begin to see the glimmerings of truth.  In some cultures, psychotic behavior or epilepsy meet the criterion for a shaman.  A sign of a person who would have vision.  We see today that most psychotic behavior is based in unwanted delusional thoughts of invading spirits and ideas into consciousness and most of these “delusions” are uncomfortable and dissociated and detract from “meaning” in our society.  In days past however psychotics were feared because they saw things that no one else saw.  The wind was the spirit moving.  The thunder messages from the gods.  The moment a crow sounds or the way the sticks fall all have meaning if one can only see it.  Divination, tossing of stones and sticks, reading the pebbles from the creek-bed, etc. were ways of predicting the prognosis.  Nature, herself, foretold the future and it was the humans who could read the magic were often the healers. 

CHART:  Four types of Divination by Julian Jaynes

            Thus did healing and politics first get intertwined.  Some healers more interested in prestige and power relied on superstition to control the minds of those fallible.  Other healers relied more in the experience of what worked and searched and practiced and helped with whatever they could.  Their invocation was to lead a person to their freedom to a place where healing was possible.  Plants, touch, feeding, tending, hygiene, and encouraging were the basics of the empirical healer.  Then as today both types of healing, empirical and magical, often existed side by side within the culture and even within the same person.

INSERT:  Vedic Hymn to all magic and medicinal plants

            Today, doctors rely on the “magic” of medicine.  They dress in certain costumes and have ceremony.  Indeed modern medicine is full of ways that add clout to the magic.  Many doctors still believe in healing as “God’s will” and will not violate ”His rules”  and is do no abortion or commit euthanasia.  Our rituals often have a reason, antiseptics for example, but they often end up doing the exact opposite of its intention.  Hospitals are often dangerous place because of their infectious states.  They feed people three meals a day often of completely fake and unhealthy foods.  Healers often do things to people because of the law, religion or science that are unethical, painful, downright unwise, toxic and dangerous.  Yet even in our society people still live on despite our craziness.  Attesting to the amazingly strong force of life that humans have showing a certain amount of wisdom, a wisdom seeded from the ancient ones.  A wisdom based on common sense, and succeeded by care.  The politics of priestly superstition is abused by many of our doctors today, and this lends evidence that our history includes the abusive personal trips of the shamans.   Especially the ancient ones probably abused this priestly power. 

            The question on whether the superstition is or was good or bad remains in its fruits.  Did the technique help the healing, hurt the healing or was it indifferent?  Some superstition can do either depending on those receiving or applying the healing.  Using the supernatural can be helpful as it is a tool to help people and this is culturally dependent as well as individually dictated.  Ironically, using the natural and reasonable has the ability to do so beyond culture and belief yet sometimes the unreasonable prevails.

            As we move from the prehistoric and primitive to more modern cultures, we see that as people “know more” they profess to want techniques that are more “reasonable”.  Ideally we want to know how and why things work and to be able to predict with as much accuracy that they will do it again with or without god’s blessing.

            Shamans often use drums, fancy hats, multiple ornaments, fetishes, sticks, and chants.  Some primitive cultures evoke the cooperation of the past ancestors, others of living spirits or gods that rule the earth.  Some witch doctors are specialists for particular types of illnesses and others are generalists and can influence not only the sickness but also the weather, the harvest, the flocks or any natural events.  Sucking tubes, stones, feathers, crystals and any item that had the power to allow the transgression to pass.

            Sometimes they all had to abide by the spirits wishes and the patient had to do a penance of some form reminisces of the Hail Mary’s of today.  Mystical signs and charms, chants, dances, rituals, and elaborate ceremonies so many ways to communicate and appease the gods so that their magic would prevail. 

            The basic theory was that either illness is caused by possession of an evil spirit or that one has transgressed some spirit and this is one’s punishment for their transgression.  To the ancient Shang culture (~1800 BC) bones and tortoise shells were used for oracular purposes.  To the Shang people the world was made of the living and the dead but the dead relied on the living for provision.  The living had an obligation to please the ancestors for the ancestors held the power.  To communicate with the ancestors a diviner would drill holes into some bone or shell and heat it over a shell until they cracked.  The diviner would then read the cracks which provided the answers to particular questions.

             Disease was most often the curse of an ancestor.  Though it may take many expressions health is accomplished by pleasing the spirits sometimes demons possessed a person and may need to be exorcised or driven out.  The dead were often buried with great gifts and regular offerings helped to secure their favor.  It seems that the Shang believed in natural forces like the wind, cold, etc. being able to influence health but these, they supposed, were influenced by the spirits. The evil wind as a spirit could apparently act on its own accord or as a result of the other more powerful spirits.  This medicine was especially important for the king who was the leader of the people.  He as noble class, had special favors with the spirits and were allowed to consult the oracles.  The elders in the community were another link between the living and the dead and they are responsible for transmitting the moral norms to the younger generation. 

            As the Shang moved into the Chou Dynasty (~1100 BC) divination and oracle consultation still remained as it does today.  The Chou also had the “Wu” shamans who possessed magical powers and were responsible for maintaining harmonious relations between the living, dead, and supernatural.  Many myths existed about demons influencing man in harmful ways.  The Wu practitioner placated the kind deity to restrain the demons and minor spirits.  Thus the Wu performed ceremony to call upon these deities to exorcise the evil demons.  Keep in mind that these demons and deities influenced all of human existence not just health and disease.  They influence the weather and the harvest, their friends and foes, the wealth and success and failures and defeats. 

            In the Chou Dynasty, the Shou believed in particular ancestors influencing humanity and broadened it to include all sorts of evil spirits.  Disease was not just caused by transgression against a specific dead being but by being assaulted and possessed by demonic spirits.   Demons came about by the watering of the ethereal souls of creatures, asleep, unconscious, or dead, looking for a body to dwell in. 

            In the Shou Dynasty, moral piety could protect humans from ancestral influence.  The Chou believed that demons were influenced more by power than morality.  If one could influence a higher ranked deity through a variety of means, then the lesser-ranked demon would be coerced to partake in a healing or a curse.  Healers were then called to influence guardian spirits protecting the individual.  Acting with virtue to influence the ancestor was replaced by a sort of political persuasion to influence the protectors of the healthy way.  Future fortune or myth fortune is influenced much like our modern political machines work.  Through favors, paying off and promises to uphold the philosophy professed by the leaders.  Establishment of allies amongst the more higher-powered deities was the health insurance of the Chou Dynasty. 

            Therapeutics in the Chou Dynasty were incantation and spells invoking the spiritual allies needed to exorcise the invading demon.  Spitting, sucking and burning of matter, prayers, and waving of talismans were accompanied by beating the patients with magical weapons like hemp cloth, pestles, hammers and the like. 

            Herbs were used, the more foul the better, to make the possession all the more unattractive.  Talismans were common as they possessed the power of warding off evil influence like an armband signifying political allegiance.  Inscriptions within the talisman contains summons of influential deities needed to protect the patient.

            These practices still continue today and far beyond China.  Jews carrying their Mezuzah with prayers for protection and allegiance.  For Christians wearing icons of their favorite saints.  Even beyond religion, the concept of demonic and spirit possession is almost universal in every culture.  It represents people's hopes that Nature --the known and unknown-- will cooperate.

            Healing was involved with ceremony, rubbing of dung, ingestion of strong poisons, inhaling of foul vapors, fasting, purging, dancing, flailing, and piercing the flesh with lances to penetrate the demon heart to expel the unwanted spirit.  Over time, certain therapeutic measures became preferred; this was the new beginning of empirical, pragmatic medicine as people had the opportunity to apply a treatment and observe the results.  Observation, riddled with superstition and fears, but observation nonetheless.

            As the Chou Dynasty moved into the Han, China had become more organized with far reaching beliefs on how and why to conduct oneself in society and by obeying certain natural principles, natural consequences would follow.  Water obeyed certain principles as did fire, metal, wood and earth.  One could harness these elements and produce waterways, furnaces, iron, tables, or crops.  The entire world thought the ancestors of the Han, stands in mutual relationship to one another.  Humans, as part of nature, take part in this correspondence using the natural elements systematically by reinforcing or reducing its influence one could lead oneself and other society at large towards health and happiness.

             During the Han Dynasty, people began to rely on this principle of systemic correspondence to understand the cause and effects of nature.  One could witness flooding in both rivers and edema; one could see the ravages of fires ablaze in both the world or in the body as a fever.  Cooling the fever, like quenching a fire seems to bring about a cure.

            Each element relates to one another in a specific way that augments or detracts depending on its relation.  Water quenches fire yet nourishes plants.  Wood feeds the fire, and fire feeds the earth, while melts the metal.  Metal cuts wood and earth brings forth metal.  Metals produce steam while the earth can hold the water.  This system of correspondence is as integral to the elements of the body as it was to the world at large.

            SUTRA:  Five Elements

            By following the way “Tao” of nature people could restore their health, prevent evil influences and live long and prosperous.  This systemic correspondence is different than the magical correspondence of the Shang and Chou Dynasty.  Expression of belief in the magical included contact magic or homeopathic magic one could take a piece of hair or clothing, a fingernail clipping or a placenta and influence the destiny of one whom had contact.  Homeopathic magicians believed that a similarity in an object could influence that which it resembled.  A picture or doll of certain likeness could influence the resemblance.  A hairy herb might help the hair.  A walnut is good for the brain.  A prolific seed might be good for fertility.  These magical beliefs were common amongst the laypersons in the academic or present just as they are today.      But as the paradigm of systemic correspondence developed these magical beliefs are subdued and the supernatural becomes less believable.  Understanding nature is the most reliable diagnostic prerequisite for re-establishing order. 

CHART:  Confucius’ Doctrine of the Mean

            Confucianism developed these systems of elemental correspondence.  But the body, with its fundamental substances and internal organs is subject to  to yin and yang and displayed through the five phases or elements.  No longer was some spirit or evil demon or ancestor or God the sole cause of an illness but an imbalance of yin and yang in violation of the Tao.  Virtue “Te” is the main way to write the cause of the disease.  The Tao for the Confucianists is proper behavior acting with virtue that leads to the harmony of society.  For the Taoists, the Tao is the very way of nature itself.   For the Confucian, the Tao is the way of the excellent man.  The Taoists preferred to study nature and to see how man could harmonize more with nature.  The Confucianists tended to become more academic, concerned with the intellectual manipulation of the systematic paradigm that they developed.  The Taoists were more pragmatic.  Benevolence and righteousness were codified in Confucian society complete with laws, regulation and moral codes.  The Taoists tended to be skeptical of intellectual systems, rules and laws as they are too rigid for the ever-changing flow of natural events.  Morality is decided in the moment of choice witnessing the right way and following it.  The Taoists rejected the codified systems of healing and sought to return to a more “primitive” or natural form of coexistence with nature.  Plants became their friends and teachers as did the rocks and animals.  Nature has so much to teach and her lessons to be understood directly.

EXCERPTConfucius on Higher Education

            Thus, the Taoists further developed a more empirical method.  They would turn to the divine elixirs of nature to alchemically enrich the essence of a person.  These drugs did not require a moral code or faith or allegiance to a god or a spirit simply to be ingested and this led to the empirical pharmaceutics based on trial and error experience and logic.  Certain substances could affect an illness by their very nature by some quality inherent in it.  So, the materia matica  began to be developed.  The Shen-Nung Pen-Ts’ao Ching (approx. 1st Century AD) has no reference to the systemic correspondence and survived for hundreds of years without it.   

CHART: Categories of Disease in the Wu shi Er Bing Fang

            It was a description of the properties of herbs and symptom complexes that they treat.  The merger of Confucianism with this advance to ethical laws as described by the Yellow Emperor and Taoism with the manipulation of nature took place many centuries later in approximately the 13th to 15th Century AD although many a person reckoned with both.

            The Yellow Emperor had put forth a notion of systemic correspondence between yin and yang, the seasons, their five elements and their physiological interaction with the internal organs and fundamental substances.  The Confucians codified this and other texts with descriptions of acupuncture points.  Strict adherence to these principals led to health violation to disease.  The Taoists sought to participate with nature herself and developed a Chi Gung that vitalized the vital internal elixirs foods that built the blood and chi, meditation that calmed and clarified the mind.  Taoist trusted experience, Confucianists the wisdom of the ancient ones.  This dichotomy is so old. 

INSERT : The Mastery of Medicine by the Yellow Emperor




The Qualitative Principles of Tradition Chinese Healing

   For the Traditional Chinese healer, the five fundamental elements are born out of yin and yang, which find their unity in the Tao the essential Quality of all that is.    Tao is the Chinese word for Logos.  


            Yin and yang represent all that is dual in the universe, yin represents the negative, dart, female (absolutely no offense intended coldness, passive, etc.; while yang represents the positive, light, male, warmth, active, etc. The five elements born from yin and yang are fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. Each element finds expression in the person, sometimes one dominating the others. giving the person a particular temperament and topology of his bodily landscape. Yin and yang find expression through various bodily organs~ which contribute to the particulars of the person's topology. These organs do not necessarily have a specific bodily location as they do in western medicine; rather they are always discussed in terms of their functions and their relationships with the fundamental substances: Qi, Blood, Bodily Fluids, Spirit, Essence.

            SUTRA: Fundamental Substances

CHART:  Fundamental Substances in a Modern Light

The Traditional Chinese healer's job is to roe‑establish the elements within the person to be in harmony with the Tao (Nature's Way). He learns to diagnose the imbalances by reading the landscape of the person through the patient's temperament, character, and physical disposition. He learns which organs are congested or over-stimulated through an empirical and aesthetic appreciation of the person. This sets the basis for treatment which involves manipulating the elements by focusing the yin or yang via different techniques as herbology, focused heat (moxibustion, acupuncture, diet, massage, climate or dwelling changes, or lifestyle changes, etc. This system of thought takes years to master and is well respected throughout much of the world as a legitimate healing art.  There are many, however, who are unwilling to concede to the legitimacy of such healing systems. They claim that it does not lend itself to the scientific rigor necessary to be established as a true science of healing. Ted Kaptchuk responds to this catholic religion, of scientism.


Chinese medicine is a coherent system of thought that does not require validation by the West as an, intellectual construct. Intellectually, the way to approach Chinese concepts is to see whether they are internally logical and consistent, not to dismiss them because they do not conform to western notions. And the system IS internally consistent‑‑it is an organization of all the observable manifestations of the body into an integrated set of functions and relationships. Understanding of these functions and relationships enables the practitioner to identify and treat a disharmony in them. (Kaptchuk 1983)


Kaptchuk's remarks are well taken, for traditional Chinese doctors and comparable naturalistic systems, have been and continue to heal their patients. Admittedly, these systems are prone to quackery, for many of them do not need a license to practice their art. This should not, however, hinder our respect for the magnificent art that the expert's practice. It should only demand that a movement for legitimacy be made to weed out the ill‑trained and a check made on their effectiveness.

                        In the past few decades, there has been a resurfacing of similar naturalistic systems in the west. Naturopathy, homeopathy, herbology, Bach flower remedies, macrobiotics, manipulative and massage therapies' to name but a few, have caught the attention and devotion of many. Rather than ignore these 'alternative' healing systems as 'unscientific' the doctor has the duty to explore the legitimacy of these systems and if deemed worthy, to incorporate these into his practice. Not only might they increase his skill and capability to help his patients become healthier and more comfortable? their understanding will aide the patient who himself believes in these alternative systems. Many patients do not like to, and some refuse to, put unnatural substances into their body. This is their prerogative' and the doctor has no right to demand that they do differently. He should however, advise them of their options. The more the physician is aware of the options, the more he/she can help his patient. Many doctors throw their hands up in the air saying "I'm sorry, there is nothing that I car, do for you". to the naturalistically inclined patient, when in fact he is showing his ignorance and fact of true healing intentions. A truly dedicated healer uses whatever resources he/she can to help his patient become healthy. If he is not trained to do so, then he should take the responsibility to refer the patient to a healer who is. Rather then give up and blow‑off the patient to fend for himself, he should be aware of the alternative healers in the community who are legitimately trained to handle such a patient and oversee this treatment as he would any other referral.

    The qualities of the differentiation of the vital energy is very real for the Chinese doctor as he looks to his patients.  'Qi', `heat',  'blood',  'excess', 'vital essence' etc., are descriptive terms that reflect real phenomena that the physician may examine, diagnose, prognosticate, and treat. To believe that they are not real is like not believing in the aurora borealis--northern lights-- when your friend describes his experience on his recent expedition to Alaska. The Chinese doctor sees the movements and stagnations of these vital energies, and though he may not not their fullest significance or cause, he knows they exist as much as he knows any other sensed phenomena.  And just as primitives who might not know the 'hydro-physics` of water, but can still build a damn an irrigation  system to feed water for their crops, a Chinese doctor who may not know the electro-physiology of these energies, may still describe their dynamics and qualities enough to be pragmatic. 

            Some researchers have investigated the phenomenon on Qi and the meridians.  They believe that if it can be sensed, it must exist, and the physics and physiology should be able to be objectively verified.   For practical purposes today, we can define Qi as the force or energy that causes  movement.  It travels through our bodies as bioelectrochemical pathways on which our consciousness rides.  Meridians are the major highways of these pathways of energy. Nerve conduction measurements, electromyolograms, EKG, EEG, all measure Qi.  The main difference between the scientific definition of energy and the Chinese “Qi” is that Qi includes a vitalistic sense of awareness and control.  Qi includes the metaphysic part of energy.  A Chinese physician would assess his patient’s overall sense of qi and the qi of his integral and external organs.   This diagnostic approach is based primarily on assessing the signs and symptoms of the patient, and special techniques like observation of the vitality, color, appearance, the sense organs, the tongue, listening and smelling, inquiring about the condition, and palpation of different areas, organs, meridian points, and pulses.    The  Chinese doctor, then, structures the interview and the exam of his patient in order to gather information as to the characteristics of the disease process, and the qualities of the energetics of the patient as he understands them.  He weaves the data into a diagnostic pattern reflecting the condition of his patient. An Oriental Doctor might appreciate the qualities of the pulse or tongue, abdomen, particular acupuncture points or pathways, poop, pee and eyes.   Using the eight principles of yin and yang, hot or cold, excess or deficiency, exterior or interior, the doctor evaluate the fundamental substances as they manifest through the internal organs.    The natural interaction of the five elements earth, metal, water, wood and fire manifested in this process determine the balance of health and disease in the body.

CHART: TCM Functions of the Yin Internal Organs

CHART: TCM Functions of the Yang Internal Organs

            The Naturalist gets to understand the great cosmic and planetary forces, but may get caught in a epistemological projection of his paradigm onto events and not see the truth of reality beyond the paradigm. This approach is really the forerunner of modern medicine. The ancient Greeks practiced systematic naturalistic medicine as did the ancient Chinese and ancient Asian Indians. The fundamental notion is that health and disease is based on the balance of natural elements that make up all man and nature. In health, there is a cooperative and harmonious relationship between the elements of the macrocosm and the elements within the microcosm of man. Disease is the disequilibrium of this harmony. The duty of the physician is to help the patient reestablish his harmony with the cosmos. This is done by strengthening the weakened elements that form the topology of a person's temperament.

Yin and yang represent all that is dual in the universe, yin represents the negative, dart, female (absolutely no offense intended coldness, passive, etc.; while yang represents the positive, light, male, warmth, active, etc. The five elements born from yin and yang are fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. Each element finds expression in the person, sometimes one dominating the others. giving the person a particular temperament and topology of his bodily landscape. Yin and yang find expression through various bodily organs which contribute to the particulars of the per son's topology. These organs do not necessarily have a specific bodily location as they do in western medicine; rather they are always discussed in terms of their functions and their relationship with the fundamental substances.



CHART Disruption of Yang

CHART Disruption of Yin

The Chinese doctor's job is to re‑establish the elements within the person to be in harmony with the Tao (Nature's Way). He learns to diagnose the imbalances by reading the landscape of the person through the patient's temperament, character, and physical disposition. He learns which organs are congested or overstimulated through an empirical and aesthetic appreciation of the person. This sets the basis for treatment which involves manipulating the elements by focusing the yin or yang via different techniques as herbology, focused heat (moxibustion, acupuncture, diet, massage, climate or dwelling changes, or lifestyle changes, etc. This system of thought takes  years to master and is well respected throughout much of the world as a legitimate healing art.



The universe, as science understands it, is a huge interplay of matter with energy.  Energy takes on many manifestations in our bodies including electricity and magnetism, chemistry,  heat, gravity, mechanics, light, hydraulics, life and consciousness. A word for these manifestations of energy is "Qi" (also spelled Chi, Ki).   In  Sanskrit, the word for energy as it relates to our vital processes is prana.   We can examine the our overall energy or the qi a particular organ system like our heart qi or lung qi effects our sense of wellbeing.   Qi can be weak and deficient (e.g. heart failure) or it can strong and in excess (e.g. hypertension). Qi can be stagnant and congested, or it can hyperactive and inflammatory.   Qi may perform the proper functioning of it may be rebellious.   We have a multitudes of biological, physiological, and psychological functions and thus can appreciate, for example, the defensive qi, nutritive qi, ancestral qi, movement qi, thought qi, and libidinal qi.    All these, and many other qualities of our energies can be appreciated in our person and sculptured towards a vital and beautiful expression in our life. Our wellness depends on it.

We have learned much about qi in recent years through the help of modern science.  The many generations of ancients, forefathers, and parents who experiment with the energies of life, help so much also.   The combination of these two -modern science and ancient wisdom - bring us to a modern understanding of  qi.  We witness  how an electric eel can generate 100s of volts and send it through the water; how certain types of insects, like the firefly, can change internal chemicals into light.  We have learned a  lot about biodynamics and biokinesiology and muscular  energies as they combine with skeletal strengths.  We have learned a lot about hemodynamics and the force of the fluids as it pumps through our bodies.,  as well as nerves and bioelectricity. And with these understandings, we have learned to appreciate what a person experiences and how they  hope to manifest their energies Qualitatively. 

            There are certain  natural laws  that chi seems to follow.  Certain principles about the flow of electrons; certain principles about biomechanical forces; certain principles about hemodynamics that seem to follow regular patterns.  We know that blood pressure is a function of the stroke volume and the heart rate.  Increase the heart rate, increase the stroke volume, then we increase the blood pressure.  The heart rate is a function of the autonomic nerves that feed, which is influenced by so many factors. The understanding of these hemodynamics also take experience in our expression of the Quality of our life.  Increase the blood pressure, and experience tells us we may get headaches, develop visual disturbance, get ringing in the ears,  or we get overly red in the face, or more irritable or more on edge.  Our pressure is high - our yang is strong.  Versus those with low blood pressure, who tend to be more fatigued, more towards the depressive side, more pale and cold--signs of Yang weakness.  They may have more trouble with lethargy and fainting, trouble focusing, perhaps even palpitations.  Now we understand a lot more about hemodynamics and the flow of blood through our being and the chi force that is responsible for that is a function of the heart and circulatory chi, , and the ability to take that vital substance of chi through our system and nourish our tissues.  Now, in these modern times, it is easy to take for granted the miracle that life is with the blood flows and the oxygenation of tissues.  We take it for granted  because the knowledge is so readily available.

            It is miraculous to think that Energy is transformed according to natural law and principles from the air we breath and foods we eat to perform the functions necessary for us to produce our bodily functions and even lend light to the Spirit. We can absorb oxygen from the air we breath, ventilated it through the lung system, perfuse it on through to the capillaries into the blood, join it onto hemoglobin in the Red Blood Cells, transported it through the the arterial system that goes out into the tissues after passing through capillaries.  Here, hemoglobin releases oxygen, which diffuses into the tissues, into the cells where the electrons are transported down to combust glucose and other fuels eaten from the earth; passing down electrons along the electron transport chain to the great electron acceptor, oxygen, causing a proton gradient to be formed in the mitochondrion to help ADP to form ATP; Thus,   the mitochondrion, the powerhouses of the cells, yields the energy, the chi,  necessary for the work to be done at a cellular level.

CHART:  Modern Aspects of Energy

CHART:  Modern Production of Qi (Kreb Cycle and Mitochondria)

            We now understand that this charged particle, ATP, derived from the combustion of foods with the air,  is the universal cellular currency of energy and is ultimately responsible for the Qualities and types of Energy that the ancient chinese appreciated.  This appreciation unknowingly, tied ATP with many of the functions and deeds of qi in the Person.

            Some of these qualities can be measured since they have a certain quantity, certain force or amplitude, and some of these qualities need to be experienced, resonated with, so to speak, with consciousness,  in order to be appreciated for what is happening.   So when we look at a human being, we can use scientific, justifiable measurements of certain functioning systems to be sure the systems are functioning properly.  We can, for example measure the electrical properties of the heart with an EKG, or nerves as they feed to the muscles with an EMG, or even the strength of the lungs to ventilate and perfuse the vtal chi we now call oxygen by pulmonary function testing and ventilation/perfusion scanning. 

            We can also, like the ancients, use our awareness  and our appreciation to look, see, taste, feel and smell to intuit and resonate with this person to see if there is dysfunction or disharmony of our energies on any biophysical, psychological, sociological , or spiritual aspects.

            Over the generations, the ancients sought to understand how all quality  can be appreciated in its dual essence.  All quality has relativity involved.  Relativity is the fundamental way of interpreting the experience involved with the energies of life and living.  Some things have excess; some things have deficiency; those are strong, those are weak, those which are filled and those which are emptied.  All things have heat and warmth, all things have coolness.  All things relate in temperature from hot to cold.  Some things are inside; some things are outside; some things are passing through to the inner; some things are passing through to the outer.  The ancient Chinese thus derived the eight principles as a tool to help us appreciate the Qualities of the fundamental substances.

            SUTRA: Eight Principles

            All things participate in the duality of quality and in its relative nature as we go through experience and interpret it with our ego nature.    For the ego to understand it, it is often necessary to divide quality into its dual nature.   When the intuitive soul essence is appreciating quality, then the Tao or fundamental unifying nature of that aspect  can be appreciated in full and in its oneness. 

            These very fundamental duel aspects of quality---yin and yang, interior and exterior, cold and hot, deficiency and excess---can be utilized to help us appreciate the qualities of a person’s life.  So we apply these eight principles to look at aspects of the personality nature---mind-body and spirit.  The ego energies, for example, can tend to be introverted or extroverted, go outward or inward,  be strong, or even in excess or weak and.  Does this person tend to run hot and irritable or tend to run cold and withdrawn.  Is  the person sluggish to move the emotions or are these emotions labile and fly into being. Is this a deep or a superficial personality trait that  has developed recently to deal with a recent crisis or situation that has just developed.  Or is this a deep personality trait that is so fundamental and stubborn into that soul that it draws all sorts of sticky karma to it. 

            So we can also apply these eight principles to the fundamental substance and look at a being in terms of their chi or their jing or their blood, their bodily fluids, their flesh, their marrow, and especially the internal organs, to understand if these things are harmony (participating with Quality); if these things are strong or weak, hot or cold; if these things move internally or move externally; if they are yin or yang. 

            Thus by  appreciating the strength and vigor of a  person's chi, we can  understand their particular chi as  fullness and strength.  Are their energies idling too high, or are things going too slow and stagnant.  A wise healer examines the person to appreciate these fundamental Qualities of the fundamental substances as they relate to the person as a whole, or in its particular manifestation as processed by the internal organs.  So much of disease and illness is caused by excess or deficiency of a fundamental substance. 

CHART:  Signs and symptoms of deficient Qi

CHART:  Qi Deficiencies of the Internal Organs

            The word Japanese word aikido, means the way of harmonizing energy,  and signifies the endeavor to blend a particular form of nature with a particular life force, to be in synch with the upright forces of nature.  We can use aikido when expressing our life form so that we might help harmonize our life through our energies.  We can use aikido to turn conflict  into harmony and pathogenesis into health.  So through the force of our intentions, we help to transform one aspect of the Quality of nature into another; into harmonious balance in between deficiency and excess, or hot and cold, so that there is just the proper balance.  Where health is involved,  with help from the fundamental substances, find the Tao--the proper balance between the yin and the yang on the cutting edge of existence. 

            A barefoot  doctor then is an aikidoist who is seeking to harmonize the dualities of the qualities of life into its balanced unified whole.  Decongesting the congestion, unstagnating the stagnation and quieting down the irritabilities and excesses that occur in life to find that place where that life is in synch with  the way of aiki.   Many cultures study the way of aiki.  The Chinese use the word "tai chi" the supreme ultimate way of the Tao.  The Hindus and Buddhists use the word "dharma" to describe the right way.  Western cultures religions use the word "grace"  to describe this harmony of the energies.

            Much of healing has to do with the proper diagnosing and harmonizing of our vital energies.   The energies are manipulatable through foods, herbs and medicines, breathing and movement,  lifestyle changes, proper cognition and emotion,  bodywork, acupuncture, and environment exposure.   A wise healer learns to master these methods to entice the energies to become more graceful,  fulfilled in Dharma, one with the Tao, in harmony with Nature’s Way.  More on this later;  Let us now continue with the appreciation of the Fundamental Substances.



Every cell in our body must have access to the vital chi of the universe we call oxygenation. This sophisticated process of "passing electrons" to the cells depends on the blood to carry it there. We now know that the blood does many vital processes such as relaying chemical messengers, carrying the defensive forces into action, transporting the building blocks, eliminating cellular waste, maintaining a water pressure and many, many other things. The wellness of our skin, hair, bones and organs, our mind, feelings and Spirit all depend on our blood for sustenance.

CHART:  Healthy Qualities of the Blood

CHART:  Signs and Symptoms of Blood Imbalances

The ancients did not have the knowledge of the components of blood like we do today.  They liked it to the sap that nourish our limbs and innards.  They knew that the blood could be rich and well nourished, or it can be weak and deficient. The quality of the blood may be weak or strong, stuck or overflowing, heated, cold, rich or poor, toxic or clean. We can appreciate these functions and qualities of the blood in our person, and can learn to build and move the blood so as to add to the Quality of our life.  Thus, like qi, blood can be related to the internal organs and understood by the eight principles.

CHART:  Signs of Blood Deficiency

            Modern medicine is very useful in the understanding of blood in its upright and diseased manifestations.   Any component of the blood, for example,  can be in excess or deficiency and this can drastically change the quality of our life.  These components can be measured and balanced through the the same treatment modalities outlines for chi.

                        For most modern doctors, balancing the blood is a matter of manipulating the chemicals and components that go into and out of it.   Complex methods have been devised to change the quality of the blood.  Indeed, even drastic measures like iv transfusion, bleeding, and marrow transplants have been used to cure the blood.  Yet the ancient arts of enriching the blood and harmonizing it’s movement are still very valuable and are worthy of the wise doctor’s attention.  Nourishment and tonification of the blood are preferable to the more drastic replacement or chemotherapeutic methods depending on the swiftness and depth of the disturbance.   These arts are often ignored in modern medicine that relies on the more heroic (and often reliable) methods. 

                        For Chinese Medical doctor, the blood is like the sap that nourishes the whole body.  Stagnation of blood, or cold, heat or over-exuberance can lead to disease and wellness requires respect the quality of our “sap” to make sure that it brings turgor and richness to our body.  Our qi, bodily fluids, essence and spirit require the coolness and enriching  aspects or our blood.         



The Spirit is that aspect of our being that has the sense of awareness, being, and fulfillment. It is who we fundamentally can recognize as ourselves‑‑the witness that perceives the perceptions, senses the sensations, watches the screen of consciousness, and sets into motion the great vehicle of our body. The quality of our Spirit can be clear or confused, depressed or elated, disturbed or peaceful, brilliant or dull, truthful or delusory, strong or cowardice, graceful or stuck, supportive of life or treacherous. Wellness depends on the cooperation of the Spirit with the body and the weaving of the healthy spiritual qualities into the fabric of our existence.  

            The Spirit as it manifests through our body as the soul, intuition, cognition, emotions, and will.   For the Chinese Doctor, the spirit is that which animates us.  It shows up as brightness of the eyes, skin, tongue and all of our body.  When in balance, our spirit settles into its richness, peace, insight and fulfillment.  When disturbed, the spirit can be depressed or angered, or manic, or anxious, or obsessed and so many of the myriads of neurosis and psychosis that our species has experienced.  We will much further discuss psychological aspects of health.  All healers know the importance of balancing the spirit.

CHART:  Healthy Qualities of the Spirit

CHART:  Signs and Symptoms of Spirit Imbalance



This fabric of our existence is bathed in fluid. This fluid is to our cells what the ocean is to the fishes and creatures of the sea. Our bodily fluids can be murky or clear, thick or thin, dry or flooded, hot or cold, sluggish or overly exuberant, nurturing or toxic. If our fluids go out of wac, then we do not do so well. Like the other fundamental substances, we can gain wisdom and skill in the mastery of envitalizing our bodily fluids.

CHART:  Healthy Qualities of the Bodily Fluids

Examples of the bodily fluids are sweat, saliva and digestive secretions, sperm and semen, vaginal and anal secretions, sebum, phlegm and mucous, interstitial and edema, intracellular fluids, urine, ascites, cerebral spinal fluid,  lachrymal secretions, cerumen, and lymph.   Each of these fluids have qualities.  The fluid can be too viscous or too fluid, it can be rich or depleted;  It can flow smoothly, or with obstruction, stagnation or expulsion.  The fluid can be fresh or foul, healing or disruptive.  Bodily fluids are intimately related to many factors.  Too much heat or wind can be drying.  Cold can be stagnating.  Stagnation often lead to more foul and dysfunctional fluids. 

The healing requires bodily fluids to come into balance.  Controlling and manipulating these fluids requires generations of wisdom and understanding.  Environmental conditions, diet, exposure, inherited tendencies, developed challenges all influence our bodily fluids.  A wise healer recognizes the need to have resources and strategies to deal with helping the bodily fluids be healthy.   This may be through diet, environmental adjustment, movement, and lifestyle changes.   Reliable success in balancing these fluids require wisdom.

CHART:  Signs and Symptoms of Bodily Fluid Imbalances


JING---VITAL ESSENCE                                                                                                                                      

    The very biological integrity of our vitality is our “essence" or jing as the Chinese call it, which can be thought of as our ancestral urge to keep alive our genes. It is the essential aspects of the origin, growth,  development and maturity of our being,  Jing or vital essence is the urge for our cells to reproduce and repair themselves, for a seed to sprout and take grip in the soil and to reach for the heavens, soon to blossom, bear fruit, and eventually return to the soil; Jing is the biological urge for a person to maintain and beautify their own existence and to carry on their essence into future generations. The quality of this urge to blossom and maintain a vital existence can be weak or strong, clear or confused,  frustrated or blessed. We can appreciate the vital essence by looking at how well we are put together and how we tend to ourselves; how strong our drive is to attract and be attracted to others in hope of the fulfillment of a urge; and how easy or difficult it is to manifest wellness and vitality.

CHART:  Healthy Qualities of Jing

CHART:  Signs and Symptoms of Jing Imbalance

            The ancients recognized four types of Jing---Inherited, Acquired, Reproductive, and Essential.    Jing has much to do with the integrity of our DNA and genes, as they set a primary impetus for our person to take form, develop, mature, reproduce and eventually decay.   It is the coherency factor that leads to all the physiology to be programmed and manifest appropriately.  It lends the urge to the organs and other substances to develop, manifest and repair appropriately.  Weak jing can lead to malformations,   retardations, degeneration and aging.  Modern molecular biology has given us more details on the processes and patterns of Jing, yet the fundamental way of Jing as the life force still remain a mystery.

            And so too, we can seek to understand the qualities of the fundamental forces of nature and the ability to regenerate or degenerate; their ability to thrive or to fail.  Their ability to harmonize and synchronize or their ability to discombobulate and fall apart.  These fundamental aspects of the forces of  nature - the ability to  regenerate itself and to harmonize, are important qualities in the fundamental forces of nature and the failing of these into degeneration and failure and discombobulation tell the healer a lot about how that particular  force of nature manifest into the life, into our friends or mothers or brothers, into our dog or cat; into that plant or any particular life or biological form.  And so it is the way of the barefoot doctor  and healer to harmonize with the forces of nature and get them to  flow into regeneration or degeneration process, based on the intent of the soul who drives the vehicle.  

            The path of wellness can be lined with distractions, weakness, and ignorance. It can also be mastered. This mastery requires training in the wise principles and strong discipline in those aspects of our life that support the vital qualities of the fundamental substances as they integrate with our being.  This integration begins in the internal organs.

            So we can learn to appreciate the individual in these terms and look at the body and look at a real physical sense of wellness and appreciate their pulse and the texture of their skin and their hair and the luster of their eyes and the strength of their flesh, their lips, and their tongues.  Look at the being and try to underhand what particular qualities that are going on, do they seem in harmony or failing ,degenerating, or causing dysfunction in some way.  Do they show  signs of dysfunction,  or very subtle underrunning or overrunning of the system.  Look at the hands and feet.  Do they seem warm?  Do they have warmth  and blood flow; good capillary refill into the fingertips, nice warm palm.  Or does the person complain and do you see coldness into the fingertips and hands.  Feel the pulse.  Is it weak and interior or strong and excessive?  Look for the qualities we can appreciate in their eyes and hands.  We can appreciate the nervous system tone.  Do they seem jittery or weak and lethargic?    Do they seem to be hyper functioning or hypo functioning?    Do they tend to be thin and active or overweight and lethargic.  Do deep tendon reflexes and see if there is weak or strong tone in the reflexes themselves.   And do a strong stimulation and see how reactive this system is to that stimulation.  We can also appreciate the overall hormonal appearance of a person.  How the flesh has come into being based on the fundamental balance of the thyroid Hormone, the adrenal corticoid, the adrenal medulla hormones , aldosterone, testosterone, estrogen, any other type steroid hormones that help to shape our appearance. 

            Each of these hormones condition our cellular milieu in which we live.  This conditioning of our hormones to come into balance requires wisdom and lots of it.  There are many factors that influence our jing.  Maintaining, supporting and altering this milieu will continue to be a challenge for humanity.  The ancient ones pointed us in the right direction.  Now we bring their qualitative appreciation of jing and jing enhancement into the modern way of understanding biophysiology and endocrinology. 

We can also appreciate the basic body type and the constitution like the mesomorph, endomorph, ectomorph features and the basic genetic inheritance this person has had that go into the bone, muscular  and organ structures.  We can gain an appreciation of the metabolism itself and whether it is working too high or too low, out of synch and whether the whole being has hotness or coldness.  We can look to the toxicity and cleanliness and the sense of nourishment within the person; the sense of spirit brightness; the effort the person has and the very quality of that effort to live; a sense of grace versus clumsiness; how much they struggle and are frustrated down their path.  how much they flow so completely and so cleanly, yielding to the necessary forces of nature in overcoming those obstacles that need to be overcome.   These are the holistic appreciations of the manifestations of jing that a Chinese doctor would use to understand the art of living and to help his loved ones and those within the sphere of his influence to greater harmonize with the powerful yet so beautiful forces of nature.

 EXCERPT:  Yellow Emperor , Growth and Decline of Energy


The Qualitative Principles of Ayurvedic Healing

             The naturalistic approach of Ayurvedic healing exemplifies the blending of the pragmatic with the systematic.   The paradigm that we have come to understand today, remained far less complete as humanity struggled against the scourges of  illness and suffering.   In the trenches of the local villages, barefoot doctors took care of their own with whatever wit and wisdom they could construe.  The presiding worldviews and resources and hand, molded the skill of the local healers.   Todays “Ayurveda”, like “Traditional Chinese medicine” has been influenced by many, many healers. They are titles of a convenient fiction, that represents vastly varied philosophies and approaches.   Let us seek to understand the primary wisdom of this approach as a fundamental paradigm to qualitative healing.

            Ayurveda, especially as precipitated by the great teachers Charaka and Vagbhata, espoused that all creatures participate with nature and have an inherent natural way.  These natural influences mingle with our will and exposure to lead us towards or away from our state of balance.  The Sanskrit word “Prakriti” describes our balance healthy natural way, our fundamental constitution.  Health, claims Charaka, occurs when our fundamental qualities are in balance with our fundamental nature.

            The prevailing Asian Indian worldview calls the fundamental qualities the Gunas.  The Gunas, like light, disperse into three primary qualities:  Sattwa-harmonizing, Rajas-motivating, Tamas-inertia.

SUTRA:  Gunas

All of nature, according to Ayurveda tradition, participates with these fundamental qualities.  Sattwic activities, nourishment, and beliefs tend to lead to a more harmonious lifestyle and way.  One’s own personal karma is the biggest influence on the gunas.  Our choices and previous choices add momentum to the concordance or discordance.  Rajas add the strength to the endeavor.  This power can be disrupted and disturbed by tamasic influences, or they can be harnessed into the light of sattwa.   Health occurs when the prakriti is steadily conditioned by sattwa, allowing the prakriti, fundamental nature, to thrive.  

As the gunas influence our prakriti, the fundamental nature gets conditioned by the fundamental qualities.  These qualitative conditionings of the prakriti are manifest as the tridosha:  Vata, Pitta, Kapha.   The tri-gunas are the metaphysical qualitative motivators of the tridosha.  The prakriti of each dosha gets conditioned as the gunas karmically manifest through the five elements into our tridosha.   Vata, wind manifesting through form, determines our sensitivities, communications, regulation and adjustment of our being.  Pitta, as fire, is our metabolic processes of breaking down, fueling, and building up of our being.  Kapha is that which is built, transported, and recycled in our being.

CHART: Qualities of the Doshas

CHART: Qualities that Harmonize the Doshas


The Charaka Samhita says that health occurs when:

The tri-dosha sattwically influence the prakriti

The seven tissues (Dhatus) are have integrity and strength

            ·  Rasa: essential fluid-plasma

·  Rakta: blood

·  Mamsa: muscle

·  Meda: adipose tissue or fat

·  Asthi: bone

·  Majja: bone marrow and nervous system

·  Shukra: reproductive tissue

The digestive fire-agni-allows for the proper absorption, assimilation of materials

The waste materials-malas- are detoxified and eliminated properly

The sense organs remain sharp

The mind remains undisturbed

The Consciouness experiences contentment, joy,  insight and fulfillment


CHART:  Manifestation of Vata

CHART:  Manifestation of Pitta

CHART:  Manifestation of Kapha


Disease primarily occurs with from a disharmonization of ones’ tridosha.  Each dosha can be in excess or deficient, or in some way aggravated that can disturb its influence on bodily functions.  The internal and external organs, all tissue, the agni, the malas, the mind and soul all are prone to the sattwic, rajasic and tamasic influences.  The healers job is to help each person make choices in their life that balance their particular way.   Therapeutics often involve cleansing (reducing),  balancing, revitalizing.

CHART:   Deficiency, Excess and Aggravation of the Doshas.

EXCERPT: Ayurvedic Principle of Treatment by Charaka

            Clearly, Ayurvedic healers have developed a systematic way of appreciating the qualities of their patients.  It is precisely this qualitative appreciation of the aspects of our being that lends us Ayurveda’s wisdom.  Those interested in a patient’s quality of life, then has considered them Ayurvedically, in a sense, for Ayurveda pioneered the idea that health involves balancing the qualitative aspects of our being.  Many techniques are used in the precarious balancing act, and these techniques were based on the resources at hand.  Those devoted to reliable and skillful techniques of reconditioning our doshas have gained some mastery in the art of nourishing, strengthening and harmonizing our being.  This system becomes deep and wise as we explore the details of ayurvedic diagnostics, therapeutics, and prevention.  For now, let us appreciate the principles of way of Ayurveda as it relates to barefoot doctoring. 

            Any system devoted to reliable methods of enhancing the quality of life is a method of barefoot doctoring, especially if the principles are pursued with integrity, skill and concern.  All healers, regardless of their label or technique for that matter, are barefoot doctors if they are proceeding with skillful care.  And the ayurvedic healers have had many, many examples of this.  Pledging allegiance to ayurveda does not make one a barefoot doctor.   Barefoot doctors pledge alliance to the way of healing itself.  Ayurveda is a conceptualized structure to help us manifest our hopes for healing.  Let us not confuse a way of believing, like Ayurvedic ideology or any ideology, and the life and practice of devoted skillful loving care, a way of being.



The Qualitative Principles of Faith Healing

    At some point in the development of civilization, symbolized by Abraham in the Bible, humans began to believe in an all-pervading great Spirit, the called “God”.  People, no doubt, still believed in ghost, and spirits, and angels and the power of the ancestors;  People’s faith in the unknown turned to “God” as the creator and director of the universe.  God became the ultimate cause.  As civilization further developed,  certain traditions and ways of understanding began to predominate.   Those ways became confused with laws, dogmas and expectations.  Oral traditions were kept to the word and eventually written.   

Health comes, according to the faith healer, through the faith in the power and goodness of “God”.   Disease comes through sin—the transgression against the given word of God.  The healer is merely an instrument of the divine will, so that God, the “Heavenly Father”, can focus His loving energy onto his sick child. Some faith healers believe that all of God's creation is perfect despite people's illusion to believe that disease exists.

Others believe that although God's creation is perfect, the sick person has mistakenly willed to separate himself from that perfection. Prayer redirects the will, and releases this blockade from inhibiting God's healing energy. A spiritual healer may direct the prayer to "exorcise" the fact of faith, releasing the demons of disbelief, or the person himself' may directly attune himself with the Divine Love. Whatever the method, the faith healer recognizes that "God's will be done", we only need the true faith to understand this.  God’s grace is the only true healer, and healing is possible by appealing to the mercy of God.

The faith healer can help join our beings with the oneness of the universe, yet can also be caught in the illusion of dogma. Health comes, according to the faith healer, through the faith in the power and goodness of God. The healer is merely an instrument of the divine will, so that God, the Heavenly Father, can focus his loving energy onto his sick child. Some faith healers believe that all of God's creation is perfect despite people's illusion to believe that disease exists.. Others believe that although God's creation is perfect, the sick person has mistakenly willed to separate himself from that perfection. Prayer redirects the will, and releases this blockade from inhibiting God's healing energy. A spiritual healer may direct the prayer to "exorcise" the fact of faith, releasing the demons of disbelief, or the person himself' may directly attune himself with the Divine Love. Whatever the method, the faith healer recognizes that "God's will be done", we only need the true faith to understand this.  The way of faith is described by the prophets.

SUTRA:  The Prophets

Whether one accepts this belief wholeheartedly, there are a few important considerations derived from such a model. First there does seem to be an order in the universe that is directed toward the creation, nurturance, sustenance and decay of life. The body and mind do have a teleological pull towards this order. Secondly all but the most starch materialist, recognize the importance of faith in the natural healing capabilities of the person. Many studies have shown that those with strong faith do better than those with out. Thirdly, those who have no faith in the ultimate value of Life, do much to retard the healing process. Fourthly, since no person is omniscient and his knowing capabilities are limited, even the must scientific truths require some leap of faith somewhere along the line. And although some healers refuse to accept the validity of faith healers’ models, many patients do. And again, the barefoot doctor's duty is to the health of the patient, and as such , ought to help heal the patient within the patient's personal worldview, and not try to project and impress his own value system onto the patient. This last point holds true for all of the healing models.

            The bible related three fundamental types of illnesses. 

                    1) A sin or moral transgression by the individual or ancestors violating the laws of God. 

                    2) Particular expression of God or revealing his omnipotence. 

                    3) Possession by a demon or evil spirit. 

            The process of healing requires making amends through faithful obedience to the laws of God as revealed through his displays and providence.  This faith provides the medicine to exorcise the demon and can gain redemption, or forgiveness from a sin.

EXCERPT:  Disease in the Old Testament

EXCERPT:  Disease in the New Testament

EXCERPT:  Parable of the Sower

EXCERPT:  Sickness, Psalm 41 

EXCERPT:  The Ten Commandments

EXCERPT:  Variations on the Golden Rule

There are many appeals to God for healing in the bible.  Today, faith healing still happens all over the world in many, many, many expressions.  Each of us have our own way to reckon with the unknown, each of us our superstitions and worldviews.  Faith occurs when a patient takes their radiation and chemotherapy, not having a clue what really is happening, but relying on the faith in “science” or their oncologist.  Each of us often grow more faithful, the more pressing our mortality and the greater our fear.   Faith is part of every culture because it is part of every person.  Without faith we would never take off on an airplane.  We trust the mechanics, the pilots, the material, but the weather, the neglect, the decay….  We rely on faith at every moment.  Some faith is more magical, some more reasonable, but faith none the less. 

SUTRA:  The Mysteries of Life

             We must completely appreciate the caring and ethical aspects of the faithful way of healing.  The ten commandments, the words of the prophets advising us to care.  These ideas were intended to improve on the quality of human existence.   Even the most profound ideas can be abused.  By appreciated the wisest ideas and techniques, we can assimilate these into our wisdom.  It is good to care for others.  Faith based people looked for paradigms to prove that it is good to care for others.    We do not need prophets to tell us that caring is good.  We don't need laws and rules and religious edicts to tell us that it is good to care for others.  We simply need our deepest intention to be honest about living, to know that caring is preferable to not caring.  The more skilled in our care the better.    Because most people do not understand the ultimate truth of reality, then faith will be an avenue for healing.    Faith can be abused by the leaders of the faith; and it can be the gateway to freedom from so much suffering. 

SUTRA:  If I were the Devil

SUTRA:  My Ten Commandments

CHART:  My Recommendations for Techniques for Righting a Wrong

            Ceremony, ritual and prayer are techniques of the faithful.  They "prove" their faith and call forth the healing energies to cooperate.  Faith is common today even amongst our biomedical doctors, but it often remains in a paradoxical place untouched often in their healing.  Modern medical doctors rely on the faith of natural science and their peers' empirical research.  Relying solely on faith is considered malpractice.   Amazing thing is that many of these doctors go to church or temple and pray for forgiveness.  It is very possible that ceremony and faith can lead people's mind and body to be cooperative in healing.  So much we don't know and don't have control of. 

SUTRA:  Word of God

SUTRA:  Dogma

SUTRA:  My Church


The Qualitative Principles of Esoteric Healing

Balancing faith is willful skill.  Life and living can be greatly enhanced if our will is cooperative and takes the courage to succeed.  Faith is necessary, but limited without cooperative effort.  The esoteric healer seeks to apply skill to the spiritual life, including a skillful faith.  The path of wellness of a esoteric healer requires many levels of attunement and adjustment.   The esotericist takes the spiritual life out of the realm of pure faith and claims that a person evolves as a being, through his will. Where the mystic reaches his ultimate state of well‑being of communion to God through faith, the occultist or Yogi reaches Divine Union through will‑power and self‑purification.  This will may be applied skillfully based on the fundamental characteristics of the personality involved.  Krishna, in the Bhagavad-Gita, explains the different paths of Yoga. 

CHART:  Paths of Yoga According to the Bhagavad-Gita

            Whereas the faithful practice Bhakti-yoga, Esoteric healing is based on the ancient science of Raja Yoga. Deep in introspective meditation, yogis have noticed that the human being consists of different dimensions of energy, that consolidates into various sheaths or‑ bodies of our being. The grossest form is the physical body, which has had a great deal of elucidation by modern science. It is the body that we can discern by the senses. yogis learn to purify this  vehicle, like all of their bodies, so that they may perceive more clearly, their other more subtle bodies.

CHART:  The Constitution of Humans

EXCEPRT:  Our Esoteric Anatomy, from the Katha Upanishad

            Closely aligned with the physical body is the etheric or pranic vehicle, that allows the flow of the subtle life force to flow. Prana or chi, is the subtle and vital life energy, makes its way through the etheric body which is closely tied with the physical body through the endocrine glands, which are tied with the more subtle vehicles at seven points of consolidation called the chakras. This energy is focused along the spine. Each body, from the grossest to the subtlest, consolidate at each chakra, but the grossest tend to manifest most powerfully at the lower chakras, while the more subtle, more spiritual tend to consolidate at the upper chakras. The lower‑, more physical chakras, motivate such energy as the reproductive urge, aggression, while the higher chakras are responsible for the motivating energies of love, intuition, wisdom and enlightenment.

            As each point is a focal point of consciousness, the soul, the yogi learns to bring this energy upwards. As a person evolves' his consciousness is moved from the lower chakras, to the higher. When the soul fixates at a chakra, without the intent of moving upwards, that chakra may be over‑ or under‑stimulated. Since these are tied closely to the endocrine glands, such stimulation is usually manifested as a disease in the physical body, or as some type of disturbance in the more subtle bodies as the emotional, etheric, lower mental, higher mental, intuitive, and spiritual vehicles. The Yogi learns to move this soul energy upwards via different techniques based on his personal nature; The art of the healer is "to lift the downward focused eyes" of the "thwarted soul", so that the person might realize his "Divine possibilities".  This is called building the bridge between lower and higher conscious, called the Antahkarana.    The upward focusing of the eyes of the soul is called the path of initiation.

EXCERPT:  Patanjali’s Definition of Yoga

EXCERPT:  Six Stages of Building the Antahkarana

EXCERPT:  Alice Bailey, on the Major Initiations


                        An area of subtle energetics well known to many infields of esoteric healing and yoga is the chakras, and the relationship to health and well-being.   The quality of manifestation of these energy centers may be examined by the healer and manipulated in such a way to allow a more natural flow of energy in the body.  Thus they are of great importance in the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of disease.  Note in these excerpts from Alice Bailey's book on ESOTERIC HEALING, how these chakras or energy centers are very real for her, and the basis for investigation:     


The etheric body is composed entirely of lines of force and of points where these lines of force cross each other and thus form (in crossing) centres of energy.  Where many such lines of force cross each other, you have a larger centre of energy, and where great streams of energy meet and cross, as they do in the head and up the spine, you have seven major centres.  (p72)


....The etheric body reacts normally, and by design, to all the conditions found in the subtler vehicles.  It is essentially a transmitter and not an originator and it is only the limitations of the observer, which lead him to ascribe the causes of the bodily ills to the etheric body. It is a clearinghouse for all the forces reaching the physical body, providing the point in evolution has brought the various force centres to a condition wherein they are receptive to any particular type of force.  Esoterically speaking, the centres can be in one of five conditions or states of being.  These can be described in the following terms:           

1.  Closed, still and shut, and yet with signs of life, silent and full of deep inertia.        

2.  Opening, unsealed, and faintly tinged with colour; the life pulsates.    

3.  Quickened, alive, alert in two directions; the two small doors are open wide.        

4.  Radiant and reaching forth with vibrant note to all related centres.    

5.  Blended they are and each with each works rhythmically.  The vital force flows from all the planes. The world stands open wide.   (p81)    


These centres, which constitute the quality aspects and the consciousness aspects, and whose function it is to colour the appearance or outer expression of man and use it as a response apparatus, are (during the evolutionary process)subject to three types of unfoldment.    

     a.  That unfoldment which takes place as a physicalplane child grows from an infant to a man.  By the time he is twenty-one, the centres should normally have reached the same quality of expression as they had attained when he passed out of life in a previous incarnation.  The man then takes uplife where he had previously left it off.    

     b.  The awakening of the centres through life experience.  Occasionally only one center may be dealt with in any one life; sometimes several are brought into greater functioning consciousness.    

     c.  There is, finally, the awakening of these centres through the process of initiation.  This of course onlyhappens when the man is consciously on the Path.  (p37)    


The problem of the right relation of a particular centre to its related gland, permitting the free play of the force pouring through the centre to the allied glandular correspondence, thus conditioning its particular hormone and eventually conditioning the blood stream.  If you grasp this sequence of contact, you will understand more clearly the occult significance of the words in the Old Testament that "the blood is the life".  It is the vitality coming from the etheric body which works through into the blood stream, via the centre which is responsive to one of the seven peculiar types of force....(p85)     


In ESOTERIC HEALING. Alice Bailey lists some basic Laws of Healing. She goes into great detail on each of the laws and to give a cursory introduction to this 'science' and 'art' is as much an injustice as it would be to do the same for medicine. Nevertheless, I will attempt to outline these esoteric laws as an introduction to a field of study that lays hidden from the mass of humanity, in hope that the reader will tat e it upon him/herself to follow‑up. Esoteric healing is based on the ancient science of Yoga. Deep in introspective meditation' yogis have noticed that the human being consists of different dimensions of energy, that consolidates into various sheaths or‑ bodies of our being. The grossest form is the physical body, which has had a great deal of elucidation by modern science. It is the body that we can discern by the senses. Yogis learn to purify this vehicle, like all of their bodies, so that they may perceive more clearly, their other more subtle bodies.

CHART:  Alice Bailey’s Laws and Rules of Healing

EXCERPT:  Basic Causes of Disease according to the Tibetan

EXCERPT:   The Causes of Disease According to the Tibetan Summarized

            CHART:  Definition of Words used by Alice Bailey and the Tibetan

Closely aligned with the physical body, the etheric or pranic vehicle allows the flow of the subtle life force to flow. Prana, the subtle and vital life energy, makes its way through the etheric body which is closely tied with the physical body through the endocrine glands, which are tied with the more subtle vehicles at seven points of consolidation called the chakra. This energy is focused along the spine. Each body, from the grossest to the subtlest, consolidate at each chakra, but the grossest tend to manifest most powerfully at the lower chakra, while the more subtle, more spiritual tend to consolidate at the upper chakra. The lower, more physical chakra, motivate such energy as the reproductive urge, aggression, while the higher chakra are responsible for the motivating energies of love, intuition, wisdom and enlightenment.

EXCERPT:  Definition of Prana according to Ramacharaka

            Prana, called chi in Chinese and ki in Japanese is the conscious aspect of our body.  As awareness tends to travel along nerves, so does prana.  The etheric body is the electrochemical-conscious interface that we perceive when we focus our awareness inward.  The nadis are the channels that our consciousness travels on.  Chakras are focal points in the body where consciousness has a particular quality and is brighter (so to speak).  It is not surprising that each chakra has its holographic scaffolding in the nerve plexi.   The plexi are the transformers of the pranic energy, allotting voltage to the internal organs and especially the endocrine glands. 

CHART:  Relationship Between the Chakras and Glands

CHART:  Chakra Chart by Alice Bailey and the Tibetan

SUTRA:  Nectar of Life

            As each chakra is a focal point of consciousness, the soul, the yogi learns to bring this energy upwards. As a person evolves his consciousness is moved from the lower chakra, to the higher. When the soul fixates at a chakra, without the intent of moving upwards, that chakra may be over‑ or under‑stimulated. Since these are tied closely to the endocrine glands, such stimulation is usually manifested as a disease in the physical body, or as some type of disturbance in the more subtle bodies as the emotional, etheric, lower mental, higher mental, intuitive, and spiritual vehicles. The Yogi learns to move this soul energy upwards via different techniques based on his personal nature; The art of the healer is "to lift the downward focused eyes" of the "thwarted soul", so that the person might realize his "Divine possibilities".

This “uplifting of the soul” really means that as we mature into wisdom, we come to spend more attention to the deeper, more spiritual aspects of life.  In infancy, awareness is spent paying attention to lower center phenomena like eating and peeing and pooping.  These, along with general movement and sensing, are the very first things that we come to discipline in any way. In youth, we must tame our aggressive urges.  As we become more evolved as an adolescent, we must deal with our libido and those sexual urges.  Later as a young adult we learn to think and care and aspire.  How we come control these functions condition the glandular activity and internal organs.   It is this conditioning of the consciousness through the chakra that determine for a large part, the quality of the functioning of the glands and internal organs. 

            A chakra can be more open or closed, more or less developed, over- or under-stimulated, or poorly integrated with the other chakra.  In other words, a person may spend a lot or a little time in these bodily focal points.  Spending a lot of time, does not mean that the time is spent masterfully.  One thing is for sure, if we do not master the basic (lower) urges, it is hard to become secure in the higher.  It is hard to be spiritual unless we know where we are going to poop and pee; and if our sex drive is overflowing;  Or if we are hungry or angry, or sad or oppressed or ignorant.  Opening a chakra prematurely often leaves the person making less than responsible choices with these energies.  Choices that breed sticky karma.  Disciplining these awarenesses in harmonious ways condition the chakra to condition the body in healthy ways. 

Yoga is the art of harmoniously disciplining the prana to help the consciousness become most fully aware of the higher centers.   When all the centers are functioning according to their fundamental nature, then the thought waves of the mind can be disciplined, so the soul can reside in its fundamental nature.  Many styles and techniques have developed to help the soul to become aware of itself.  Youth is spent on the soul becoming aware of the body and feelings and mind.  Yogic mastery is the control of the fluctuations of the awareness, so that they can be detached from matter to allow the appreciation of the meta-physical. 

SUTRA:  Eight Limbs of Yoga

EXCERPT:  The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

EXCERPT:  Patanjali on Samadhi

In her book A TREATISE ON WHITE MAGIC, Alice Bailey describes the etheric body: 


The great symbol of the soul in man is his vital or etheric body and for the following reasons:


1. It is the physical correspondence to the inner light body we call the soul body, the spiritual body.  It is called the "golden bowl" in the bible and is distinguished by:

            a. Its light quality.

            b. Its rate of vibration, which synchronizes always with the development of the soul.

            c. Its coherent force, linking and connecting every part of the body structure.

2. It is the microscopic "web of life" for it underlies every part of the physical structure and has three purposes:

            a. To carry throughout the body the life principle, the energy which produces activity.  This it does through the medium of the blood, and the focal point for this distribution is the heart.  It is the conveyor of physical vitality.

            b.  To enable the soul, or human yet spiritual man to be in rapport with his environment.  This is carried forward through the medium of the entire nervous system and focal point of that activity is the brain.  This is the seat of conscious receptivity.

            c.  To produce eventually, through life and consciousness, a radiant activity or manifestation of glory which will make of each human being a center of activity for the distribution of light and attractive energy to others in the kingdom, to the subhuman kingdoms.  This is a part of the plan of the planetary Logos for vitalizing and renewing of the vibration of those forms which we designate subhuman.

3. This microcosmic symbol of the soul not only underlies the entire physical structure and thus is a symbol of the anima mundi, or the world soul, but is indivisible, coherent and a unified entity, thereby symbolizing the unity and homogeneity of God.  There are no separated organisms in it, but it is simply a body of freely flowing force, that force being blend or unification of two types of energy in various quantities, dynamic energy, and attractive or magnetic energy.  These two types characterize the universal soul likewise--the force of will, and of love, or of atma and buddhi, and it is the play of these two forces on matter that attracts to the etheric body of all forms the needed physical atoms and that--having so attracted them--by the will force drives them into certain activities.

4.  This coherent unified body of light and energy is the symbol of the soul in that it has within it seven focal points, wherein the condensation, if it must be so called, of the two blended energies is intensified...

5.   The symbolism is also carried forward when one remembers that the etheric body links the purely physical, or dense body with the purely subtle, the astral or emotional body. In this is seen the reflection of the soul in man which links the three worlds (corresponding to the solid, liquid and gaseous aspects of the strictly physical body of man) to the higher planes in the solar system, linking thus the mental to the buddhic and the mind to the intuitive states of consciousness.     


            Looking to the etheric nature of his patient, the healer sorts through the myriads and miasmas of the subtle energies, by inspecting the etheric body.  For centuries acupuncturists and yogis have been learning about the clinical diagnostic of the etheric body.  Yogis, through the opening and development of the chakras,  bring their conscious face to face with these energies.   Doctors of oriental medicine are use to examining the meridians and reflections of the internal organs, and treating the etheric energies through massage, needles, heat, herbs, foods, needles and lifestyle changes. The etheric energies are real for these people, but alien to most medical doctors like light is to a blind man or sound to the deaf. The etheric body is the interface of many qualitatively different types of subtle energies of different frequencies and overtones.  These energies may be congested, overstimulated, or poorly integrated with the other aspects of our being.  They have pathways through which they flow, with tributaries and sources.  The esoteric doctors learn the topological tendencies of these subtle energies. and how they may be balanced, soothed or opened.

Most western doctors remain very skeptical when hearing about the transformations of the vital energies in the human body.   Before they are willing to consider the etheric nature of man they feel obligated to wait until studies have 'proven' its existence.   The anecdotal evidence provided by thousands is not enough clout to turn their eyes in this direction.   This prejudice in science is an ancient one, reflected in the vitalism vs. mechanism debate.   Scientists are very skeptical of anything that seems magical, even if it works.  They like to dissect things and get down to the smallest common denominator of causation before they will consider its utility.   

            But, they forget that many aspects of science started as a magical event, until its nature was further discerned.  Ben Franklin knew very little about the characteristics of electricity, yet harnessed its power.   The founders of x-rays knew very little of its power, yet found its utility rather quickly.  The methodology of science is invaluable and has allowed technology to flourish in a safer, more conscious light.  Likewise, doctors need to examine the etheric aspects of man, learn its characteristics and utility, and help to provide a safer, more conscious approach to healing this aspect of man.  This is certainly already being done all over the world, but the majority of doctors, like most scientists end to ridicule what they don't understand, until the majority of their colleagues have acknowledged its nature. The very thought of a Magnetic Resonance Imager (MRI) that reads the proton structure of the body and translates this into the wonderful pictures of the body in full three dimensions, inside and out, would have been ridiculed even just thirty years ago.     



            This approach of esoteric healing is based on a fundamental law of healing:    


Diseases are an effect of the basic centralisations of a man's life energy.  From the plane whereon those energies are focused, proceed those determining conditions which produce ill health, and which, therefore, work out as disease or as freedom from disease.  The healer, using various techniques, learns to appreciate the dynamics and conditions of the chakras and the energy flow in the body, to see where there may a diseased manifestation into the more physical form. 


            As stated above the healer thus learns the point of spiritual evolution that his patient has attained, and thus is likely to manifest difficulties.  Also by knowing the nature of the physical diseases manifesting, one can get an insight into the condition of the chakras and the spiritual evolution of the person, and thus the esoteric meta-physical (karmic) implications of the disease manifestation.  Shifting the energetic scaffolding can change the physical terrain.  Calming down overstimulation, enticing understimulation, and harmonizing chaotic stimulation can all have profound effects downstream in the flesh.  The most profound is to help the consciousness come to “better way” so to speak, of conditioning their physical, emotional/astral, etheric, mental or spiritual qualities. 

         Much power lies dormant in the soul, if unleased before its time by an irresponsible motive, overstimulation of the chakras is bound to occur leading to a variety of dangerous conditions) similar to a quack, practicing medicine by prescribing drugs and performing surgery even though he has no qualified training.

It should be noted, that even Alice Bailey critiques her own model of health and disease by making it clear that it is often necessary for doctors to prescribe drugs and perform surgery on people if that is called for. Even if the disease is a result if inhibited soul life,it does often manifest itself in the physical body as a weakness so that an infectious disease may set in, for example, or as an overstimulation so that a myocardial infarction or a cancer may occur. Once the effect has 'taken form', it is time for biomedicine to show its talents.

                        Also, Mrs. Bailey makes it clear that a person not only functions within a social milieu, but is obligated to serve humanity as mankind attempts to lift its downward focused eyes. Through a person may need to spend some of his time introspecting and aligning his/her own soul, there is a collective consciousness that also needs alignment. Without such attunement, diseases of humanity are bound to occur in such forms as poverty, war, and injustice. As the true yogi realizes that his soul is the same essence as all souls, he learns to love his brother as himself and helps his brothers evolve as necessary to help humanity, and all life, evolve.

SUTRA:  The Yogi

            In their writings on esoteric psychology Alice Bailey and the Tibetan proposed that the light of consciousness goes through the prism of the person and produces a unique spectrum corresponding to a ray pattern.  The quality of each ray is unique, and there are seven fundamental ray qualities, three of which are primary.   Each of our aspects (according to the Tibetan) our soul, body, etheric, astral, mental, intuitive and personality have a predominate ray quality that conditions the form in characteristic ways. 

EXCERPT:  Ten Basic Propositions of Esoteric Psychology

CHART:  Ray Qualities of Personality

CHART:  Virtues of the Seven Rays

SUTRA:  Seven Rays

By familiarizing oneself with these ray qualities, one would understand the predispositions of a person.   They are the qualitative terrain that living manifests from.  Bailey and the Tibetan make the analogy of the Rays of Light of Consciousness with Rays of Light.   Our unique spectrum of ray manifestation conditions much of the quality of our lives.   Since consciousness has the quality of light, it would follow that the light of our consciousness could be disperse like the spectrum.   Different ray characteristics would effect the etheric body most directly, and as the “eyes of the soul” become focused on a chakra, the chakra could become conditioned by the ray qualities.  These influences can be harmonizing or nor.  The gland corresponding to the chakra may then be effected by the ray influence.  Endocrinological disease may then develop.    By reconditioning the influences of the ray characteristics, it is possible to influence the glandular activity of a person. 

CHART:  Chakras, Rays and Disease

EXCERPT:  The Twenty-one Minor Chakras

            A person can learn to use this ray system quite effectively to influence health.   Those seeking to improve the quality of life can use these qualitative systems of understanding to help them improve their mastery of living.   There are many ways of understanding humans, many systems that help effect some harmonization.  Physical qualities can be measured.  The more esoteric qualities are appreciated.   Esoteric healing is the way of using the subtle metaphysical aspects to influence our health.    This requires the development of  magnetic purity and intuition.  Magnetic purity means that one recognizes and has harmonized ones own ray influences, to be able to appreciate the influences of another’s ray qualities.


             A powerful force recognized by only a few healers, but crucial to this process, a priori its start, is the power of the healer's magnetism.  Before he can sit interview with the patient, the healer must put out energy attracting patients to him. Advertising and marketing techniques can greatly augment or hinder this magnetic force, as can gossip and hearsay, reputation, and the subtle telepathic kind of vibration that all deep healers exude by their inherent magnetism. Alice Bailey describes how the healers achieve this more profound, spiritual type of magnetism in the second rule for a healer, in her book  ESOTERIC HEALING:


                The healer must achieve magnetic purity through purity of life.  He must attain that dispelling radiance which shows itself in every man when he has linked the centers in the head.  When this magnetic field is established, the radiance goes forth.     


            This rule sounds either absurd or very esoteric to most, and is not even vaguely understood, let alone enlivened, by the majority of healers around today.  Hypocrisy is the mainstay of healers today as they often recommend to their patients an attempt a purer of life, that they themselves are quite far from.    Admittedly, a lung specialist, who smokes, can recommend, quite easily to his patients to quite smoking;  a psychiatrist who is depressed can prescribe anti- depressants for his patients; and a family therapist, whose family life is in turmoil, can help a couple work out their differences.  But in each of these cases, like most sown from hypocrisy, the healer's potency is diminished tremendously. The cleaner a healer's life, the clearer his vision, and in a more honorable light his suggestions are received.   One can see how this power of magnetism is established long before the patient walks in the room with the healer, and is a preferred prerequisite for a healing, a priori the encounter.     

 SUTRA:  Pour into Me

            Magnetism is also a prerequisite to hold the patient in the healer's sphere of influence until the healing has occur. Like two magnets that empower the other, the magnetism of the healer, can secure the alliance, adding confidence and faith to the healing process.  Many healers exude this magnetism without recognizing it as a fundamental tool of healing.  The deeper healers clearly recognize it as perhaps the most fundamental power available to humans to augment the healing endeavor.  Like all powers, it can be abused, especially in a healing situation when a person is so vulnerable.  Abuse of this power is a profound dishonor, but in our world of chaos and confusion, dishonor blends in with the other glamours and illusions enchanting our patients.


     Other a priori aspects to the diagnostic process, is the training, talents, and skills, knowledge, and wisdom of the healer that he brings into the healing encounter. Certification, licensure, and degree do not prove these credentials, though they attempt to guarantee a certain degree of standard, not necessarily, of quality.  Each healer becomes so, based on a vision of themselves as a healer, as well as a vision of serving the community.  Each have talents and hopes that help them bare the sacrifice it takes to become a worthy healer, knowledgeable and wise.  And each become humbled before the power of nature to prey storm on human flesh and mind, and those masters of healing who pioneered their vision before them.      Whatever the particular art the healer excels at, he excels because he had a vision and disciplined himself to learn the technique needed to accomplish the vision.  Many hours are spent reading the science, attending lectures and workshops, and apprenticing in clinic .    And hopefully many hours are spent developing the intuitive faculty and the aesthetic sense to be able to appreciate the qualities of living. 

Alice Bailey has described this intuitive faculty:      


Intuition, therefore brings with its appearance three qualities: Illumination...Understanding...Love...These three words sum up the three qualities or aspects of the intuition, and can be covered by the word, universality, or the sense of universal Oneness.  (Glamour, 2-5)      The intuition is in reality only the appreciation by the mind of some factor in creation, some law of manifestation and some aspect of truth, known by the soul, emanating fromthe world of ideas, and being of the nature of those energies which produce all that is known and seen.  These truths are always present, and these laws are ever active, but only asthe mind is trained and developed, focussed, and open-minded can they be recognized, later understood, and finally adjusted to the needs and demands of the cycle and time.(Magic, p15)


The intuition is a function of the mind also and, when rightly used, it enables man to grasp reality with clarity, and to see that reality free from the glamours and illusions of the three worlds.  When the intuition functions in any human being, he is able to take direct action, for he is in touch with the Plan, with pure and unadulterated fact and undistorted ideas--free from illusion and coming direct from the divine or universal Mind.  The unfoldment of this faculty will bring about a world recognition of the Plan, and this is the greatest achievement of the intuition in this present world cycle.  When that Plan is sensed, there comes the realization of the unity of all beings, of the synthesis of world evolution and the unity of the divine objective. All life and all forms are seen in their true perspective; aright sense of values and of time then eventuates.(Discipleship, vol. 1, p25)     


EXCERPT:   Alice Bailey on Developing the Intuition

Most doctors when they read these words make comments to the extent:  "This is a bunch of meta-physical mumbo-jumbo. What a good doctor needs is a good knowledge base, a strong and keen intellect to gain and interpret the facts, and the skill necessary to apply the most appropriate and respected therapy, based on these facts---not some mystical perception, or 'recognition of the Plan'. "   Indeed, the stronger the deductive and inductive logic of the doctor, the more 'medicine' he has learned and applied, and the more familiar he is with the 'state of the art',  the more skilled he will be in making an accurate diagnosis.      But these skills deal most with the facts of a person and are empirically based.  To more fully appreciate the values of his patient, where his patient is going in life, and how he got there, intuition is necessary, for it is the faculty of value appreciation itself-- unfortunately usually cluttered by the ambitions and projections of the healer.  But the Tibetan and Ms. Bailey  do help us to get the big, metaphysical picture, by helping us to recognize and discipline ourselves according to the wise Plan.

EXCERPT:  The Disciple, described by Alice Bailey and the Tibetan

SUTRA:  Pilgrims of the Soul


The Qualitative Principles of Buddhist Healing


CHART:  Buddha's Three Fundamental Qualities of Existence

            Buddhism has offered humanity a tremendous insight into the nature of suffering and freedom from suffering.  The craving and desire for the sensual pleasures of life  according to Buddhists is the fundamental cause of our suffering.  Suffering can be remedied by  understanding the cause of suffering and remedying the cause.   The remedy is signposted  by the eight-fold way: right views, right intentions, right speech, right behavior, right living, right attitude, and right concentration.  The Buddha’s discipline reflects the urge to purify one’s actions and intentions by thus living a morally clean life, free of killing, abuse, lies, and evil deeds. 

            According to Buddhists, the Buddha was the wisest of physicians, with direct insight of the way to gain release from suffering.  Disease is a result of bad karma: the cause and effect of one’s choice to pursue that which binds or releases us.  Choosing to live the “right” view by following the eight-fold way leads to the great detachment, nirvana transcendence from the cause of suffering the awakened mind perceives the ultimate truth of reality.  Reality, for Buddha is a bunch of aggregate, empty of our preconconceived projections on it.  The ultimate truth of reality is beyond our conception, but our own mind is not.  Relief from suffering comes by the direct insight into the nature of our consciousness and detaching from its potent imagery of "reality"

SUTRA:  Empty Vessel

            Buddha understood that the root of suffering can be understood by the four noble truths:

EXCERPT: On the Cessation of Suffering

SUTRA:  Four Noble Truths

            Buddhism had taken on many flavors of expression as interpretation of words no matter who’s words even the clear ones of Buddha are subject to the changing mind of cultures to follow.  Ego, according to the Buddhists, is the false identification of consciousness with a person rather than ultimate reality.  Ego is a bunch of thoughts joined in such a way that seems real and identifiable.  Egos must often give permission to dictate the will of the person.  Ego holding the rein of our being is the source of suffering according to Buddhists.

SUTRA:  Thus Arises

            As a bunch of thoughts, Ego can be likened to the reflection through a computer monitor as series of words, sounds, and pictures with the added sensation of feeling.  Yet as we know that computers are much more than the monitor, our screen as consciousness is but a muddled reflection and it is not consciousness itself.  This false identification of the soul with the ego leads to a momentum of karma that wheels forth the burden of existence. 

SUTRA:  'Tis All But Illusion

SUTRA:  I am not I

SUTRA:  That is Quite Presumptuous of Me

Wisdom, Morality and Meditation are the three fundamental ways of healing the ultimate cause of suffering.   


 Buddha’s Eightfold Path and the Three Precepts

1. Right View


2. Right Intention

3. Right Speech


4. Right Action

5. Right Livelihood

6. Right Effort


7. Right Mindfulness

8. Right Concentration

      EXCERPT:  Factorial Analysis of the Noble Eightfold Path

         One must first know, understand and believe the cause of suffering as mistakenly believing the impermanent to be permanent.  We are a bunch of aggregate, five heaps of  body, sensation, conception, will and consciousness.   The ego is the identification of a self that is permanent beyond these aggregates.    Believing our ego to be real and have value is the source of our suffering.    All life is precious and goes beyond our own sense of self.  Our aggregates are interdependent on many other aggregates.    Right intention means intending to care for life and help all life flourish.    A person's words and choices reflects their morality.   Words that are kind and inspiring and actions that care are signs of a responsible intention.  Indeed, a persons who skillfully cares manifests a livelihood that is caring and congruent with their primary intent.

SUTRA: Cultivating Grace

    Meditation is sustained concentration.  Buddhist meditations falls into two fundamental types:  analytic and calm abiding.  Analytical meditation is designed to help the cognitive functions understand the cause and relief of suffering.  Thoughts easy trick us to believe they are real and have meaning.  This attachment of meaning and import onto a thought is part of human nature.  And it can lead to the many neurosis and diseases that thoughts can have.    Thoughts that impulsively have lust and greed, ill will, laziness, restlessness, and worry/doubt breed thoughts of similar conditioned nature.  This conditioning is propagated by thoughts that breed from previously experienced thoughts or experiences.  This is called attachment, and is the very source of our suffering.    Meditation helps us to witness directly our mental patterns and attachments, and to move towards direct insight and peace.   Meditation techniques help us us to calm the body, calm the mind so that the fundamental nature is not confused with the drama on the screen of consciousness.    "Nirvana" is freedom from the attachment to our personal drama.    This requires the continual re-focusing.  The mind is easily distracted and drawn into drama.  This is why it takes generations to fulfill.

SUTRA:  Concentration

SUTRA:  Meditation

SUTRA:  Peace

SUTRA:  To Be Awake

EXCERPT:  The Five Mindfulness Training by Hanh

EXCERPT:  Tibetan Meditation Instructions by the Dalai Lama

             Monks dedicated to detachment pursued withdrawal from the world and more directly pursued the reckoning of the ego’s demise.  Other Buddhists believed that remaining in the world is necessary to help all sentient beings toward nirvana.  The Bodhisattva is one who foregoes the ultimate detachment to bear compassion for those other confused souls seeking release from suffering.   The Boddhisattva, for some Buddhists, is the ultimate healer.  The bodhisattva embodies the Buddhist path of discipleship towards the freedom from suffering and the mastery of enlightenment.  Buddha describes in detail the kinds of disciples and the stages of Bodhisattvahood.  Let this be a clear and worthy reflection of the stages of discipleship for the relief of sufferings for a barefoot doctor as well, for a true barefoot doctor is a bodhisattva, devoted to skillful care in healing the wows of humanity.

EXCERPT:  Kinds of Disciples

EXCERPT:  Stages of Bodhisattvahood

SUTRA:  My Bodhisattva Vows

The development of the bodhisattva ideal reflects the stage of human spiritual development where caring itself becomes the focal point of every value, the reason for living, the way   of being.    Whereas before, caring was done more out of the necessity to survive.  After Buddha, caring became recognized as the very center point of all morality and ethic, the main harmonizer of the dissonant ways.  Caring is the way of the disciple, that which they become skillful in, that which they seek wisdom.   Every worthy endeavor requires skillful care.  The way of being itself requires skillful care.  The more careful we are, the more likely we are to succeed. 

            Barefoot doctoring requires this type of care.  Healing done neglecting respect, integrity and skill is not barefoot doctoring.  Like the bodhisattva, the barefoot doctor uses care carefully, skillfully.  What at first starts as a glimmer of an aspiration, eventual is wielded into a mighty discipline.  The discipline of care especially requires the utmost respect, integrity and skill.   

EXCERPT:  The Wise from the Dhammapada

EXCERPT:  Happiness from the Dhammapada

EXCERPT:  The Enlightened One from the Dhammapada

Barefoot doctoring is this discipline of care; Buddha’s insights into the very nature of existence, suffering and freedom from suffering changed barefoot doctoring on this planet.  Humanity itself collectively could now move from the early undisciplined paths caring enough to survive and gain comfort together.   Through meditation, morality and wisdom people have hope to be relieved of suffering and gain peace and freedom.   

There had been many excellent insights of humanity before Buddha.   But Buddhism was a way for fellow pilgrims devoted to care to recognize each other, to map the path, join hands and hearts in the endeavor, and especially to foster the wisdom.    Compassion is one of the main tools to foster wisdom, known well to all Barefoot doctors, Buddhists and all those disciples on the path. 

SUTRA:  Compassion

            Compassion drives us to learn the herbs, and foods and medicines that reliably relieve ailments.  Compassion drives us to learn more skill in bodywork or any healing profession. One can be driven to a healing profession for other motivations as well.  Those driven primarily by compassion are the barefoot doctors.  The Buddhist drive to gain skill and wisdom in compassion more healing forward because it moved caring forward.  This influenced the medicine of India, Tibet, and eventually the rest of Asia and the world.   Buddhism spread over the continents, its techniques and resources spread as well, bringing new medicines and healing techniques to new lands.      

            The Buddhist influence on medicine in China was enormous especially on the Taoists.  An Indian Buddhist Yogi named Bodhidharma came to China and influence the Shaolin Lineage.  Shaolin were already influenced heavily by the Tao, and Bodhidharma initiated the merging of Buddhist Yoga with Taoism and began a system that would move the medicine accordingly.  The pragmatic experiential pursuit of the way of the Taoists complimented the insight and discipline of the Buddhists.  Qigong and Kung Fu developed from this blended system of participating with nature to strengthen the mind and body, and to also remain detached from the worldly existence.  Pragmatic herbalism and nutrition were complimented with qigong and meditation; These techniques were essential to become healthy and to remain harmonized with the Tao.  Confucian style systemic correspondence was just an example of a series of thoughts joined in such a way that seemed coherent.  The systems of thought are useful as a tool for logic but dogmatically still a product of the lower mind.  The deepest healing requires a solution to our existential despair.  Herbs, bodywork, Qigong, systemic correspondence, mind logic and focused meditation can be used to vitalize the body and mind to bear witness to the unchanging eternal oneness of existence that is free from suffering.   These techniques are helpful for a more secure survival.  But techniques do not guarantee grace, wisdom, enlightenment, or relief from our personal torment.   The spread of Buddhism reflects the urge for humanity to gain disciplined in the mastery in those techniques of healing on a physical and spiritual level.    It is one thing to gain skill, but mastery…. that takes many generations.  At least humanity, at last had this aspiration.

    SUTRA:  Warriors of the Light     

        Buddha stressed over and over again about the importance of relying on causal relationship and the sweat of our discipline to relief the cause of our suffering.  He commented in many places on the need to directly answer to the cause of our personal despair.  Too many people relied on ceremony and magic and prayer and their ascetic superstitions.     Wisdom for Buddha is the insight into the cause of suffering and the disciplined effort to remedy the cause.  Ancestors, spirit and ritual cannot relieve our karmic plot.     This reliance on cause and effect, and personal effort and intention has helped humanity to sharpen its focus on valid, reliable and kind healing techniques.  Barefoot doctors appreciate this. 

EXCERPT:  Buddha on Avoiding Ritual and Ceremony for the Relief of Suffering

The Qualitative Principles of Ancient and Modern Biomedicine

Harmonizing our way with our fundamental nature, based on the way of Nature is the forerunner of modern medicine. The ancient Greek s practiced this as did the ancient Chinese and ancient Asian Indians. The fundamental notion is that health and disease is based on the balance of natural elements that make up all humans and nature. In health, there is a cooperative and harmonious relationship between the elements of the macrocosm and the elements within the microcosm of man. Disease is the disequilibrium of this harmony. The duty of the naturalistic physician is to help the patient reestablish his harmony with the cosmos. This is done by strengthening the weakened elements that form the topology of a person's temperament.

CHART:  Greek Humors and Temperaments

        Hippocrates refered to "physis" as "that which heals".  Physis refers to the natural tendency for our body to find equilibrium.  The body wants to heal and moves towards healing.  All healers rely on this natural force.  A "physician" is one who helps unhinder the physis of his patient.    Hippocrates represents the legendary attempt of humanity to discover the reasonable ways of nature.   Nature has a preference to balance.  A physician can discover the fundamental pattern of imbalance and treat with the reciprocal therapy.   Humans can reason to discern the nature of the imbalance and then can therapeutically lend balance.

    So many in history have developed systems that tried to model nature.  And by logic of the model, attempted to cure the disease.  Galen, Unani Tibb and countless others redesigned the elemental system to fit their understanding.  As humanity's understandings deepened, the models and systems adapted.  We need to look behind the school and doctrine, to the practical wisdom of these schools as they dealt with the scourges of humanity.  Nature and the nature of humans did not change, but the model we described them with did.  But clearly, Hippocrates was probably far more capable than most modern people to deal naturally and directly with disease.   Strip the modern physician of their x-rays and labs, and pharmaceuticals, and then we can bear witness to the direct healing skills.  Hippocrates and many unknown healers had exceptional skill in helping, even though their reasons might seem different than our modern ones.

EXCERPT:  Hippocrates, On the Nature of Man

               As humanity matured, people began to develop our more modern scientific ways of understanding.   It took many ions to overcome the dogmas and fears and to muster up the raw intelligence to not be fooled by less than accurate ways of believing.  We have all been through this as we matured as a person.  As a child, we just didn’t know many of the things we learned later.  We had to put faith in our parents and teachers and friends.  But often their authority falters by our very insights.  We often have come to a place where we no longer accept something as “true” just because someone said so.  We develop our own personal criteria for truth.  We develop our own theories of reality and project these into our understandings.   Just as it has taken eons of experience to get us to our present level of understanding, it has taken humanity a similar process of development. 

SUTRA: How could they have known.

            People of the past did know of galaxies, cells, mitochondria, etc.  It takes eons to become more clear on what nature is.  The natural way is very complex, it turns out.   Simply systems of understanding this complexity are limited.  The universe is incredible vast and minute.  Ideas about it’s ultimate characteristics are required also to become more complex.  The average person today knows very little about quantum physics.  Even our top scientists, Newton, Einstein, Hawking, still were just children in the vastness of understanding of the ultimate nature of reality.   Yet, we are where we are at, each of us interpreting reality as we see it. 

            And the average person certainly does not really have much insight into science and the technical details on the workings of biomedicine and science.  It would be fair to say, that many of the ancients had a great talent in describing nature's way, one in the modern light.  The written works of Dioscorides the Greek is a profound example of the ancient Greek way of pragmatic science and medicine.  For many, Dioscorides was the father of modern botany and pharmaceutical medicine. Even a quick glimpse at his writings, one will see the incredible skill this human had to describe not just the plant, but a detailed description of each part of the plant and its practical utility.  Particular disease classes are described, as well as detailed botanical description. 



    Obviously, Dioscorides did not understand the chemistry and pharmacology of plants.  But he did clearly understand, far greater than 99% of humanity even in today's terms, how to use which part of what plant for which condition.   The detailed descriptions also set the standard textbook that has help many varied cultures way beyond the ancient Greeks.  Dioscorides empirical abilities stood the test of practical time and filled the knowledge for many of our foreparents.   His writings were not the truth and had many less than true descriptions and details, but nonetheless, it still had enough knowledge to save lives and provide better care.  Wisdom is the mix of the theoretical with the pragmatic, and often we must wing it on the knowledge and way we have available.  Dioscorides writings is a great reminder of the clear and practical insights of our predecessors.   Dioscorides' writings represent symbolically humankind's transition into empirical science, with reliable descriptions of nature, and matching that with a reliable description of a diagnosis.  Many barefoot doctors did the same behind the scenes, lost to the history of the unwritten or destroyed text. 

                     “Modern science” represents a (everchanging) consensus amongst humans as to what is the most reliable and reproducible way of understanding.   Science is not just the knowledge revealed, but the way of coming to that knowledge.   Science is the most rigorously tested ways of correlating our ideas about reality with reality. Biomedicine has tended to focus on understanding the properties of the physical aspects of a person.  Most biomedical doctors today diagnose and treat physical ailments.  Even most psychiatrists treat mental illness as a biochemical disorder.  Physical manipulation can alter people’s experience.  The techniques of biomedicine can very powerfully alter the body’s way.     

            Biomedicine is based fundamentally on the worldview of scientific materialism which believes that all reality is explainable in terms of the cause and effect of objects in time and space. Human beings as specialized organizations of matter are healthy and unhealthy based on somatic parameters. It is the standard dogma of the 'typical' medical doctor and the professed methodology of orthodox medical educators. The complex phenomena of the person, believe the orthodox biomedicalist, is ultimately reducible to molecules interacting. Empirical observation coupled with the scientific method, will eventually lead to the discovery of the ultimate causes of disease, for biochemistry and physiology is all that is necessary to explain biological phenomena in all aspects of human existence. Some even go so far as to say that all that cannot be explained in terms of reductionistic physiochemical principles must be excluded from the concept of disease.

For most advocates of the biomedical way, health is the absence of disease; and disease is considered deviation from the specie's typical biological design. This perspective is typified by Boorse, who defines health and disease in relation to reference class, i.e. "a natural class of organisms of uniform functional design, specifically, an age group of a species." And "A normal function of a part or process within members of the reference class is a statistically typical contribution by it to their individual survival and reproduction". Health, then, is "normal functional ability: the readiness of each internal part to perform all its functions on typical occasions with at least typical efficacy", and disease is "a type of internal state which impairs health, i.e., it reduces one or more functional abilities below typical efficiency."  Health and disease can be fully explained in a value‑free way, by empirically studying the normal functioning of a member in a reference class, which is ''the performance by each internal part of all its statistically typical functions with at least statistically typical efficiency, i.e., efficiency levels within or above some chosen central region of their population distribution".

            Much of modern medicine works on these principles. The health of the patient is often reduced to "within normal limits" of reproducible empirical biophysiological and histological data. This data is compared to 'normal' laboratory values, or normal, tissue, and a diagnosis of health or disease is rendered based on this data. Other aspects of the person are important only insomuch as they contribute to somatic change. Even though this is the 'holy dogma' of the medical academia, very few doctors practice this pure biomedicine. Many doctors may like to thins' of themselves as applied scientists, who utilize the scientific method to diagnose their patient's condition, but very few, if any, actually restrict themselves from the 'art' of medicine. Even for the biomedical 'scientists' Quality of life is more than biological functioning 'within normal limits'; it includes various value experiences and expressions, hence requires some form of value judgment. The doctor, at least intuitively' knows that the Quality of his patient's life has been hindered, and part of his job is to use his aesthetic sense to diagnose the patient's value deficiency and to prognose the patient's potential Quality. The true art of the healer is to aide the patient's life back to his/her fuller experience and expression of value.

            Engelhardt has done much writing trying to show the value‑ladenness of biomedicine. He, unlike Boorse, claims that disease is not an entity, with specific substances with discrete and unique causes;; this is an ontological error. for diseases are entities only as a "creature of thought"‑‑a theoretical model showing certain recognizable regularities in nature. He writes:


Disease...refers to a relation between all these things‑‑the signs and symptoms, the causal factors, the disease entity‑‑but the disease itself is not any one of these things. Disease is a structure inferred in order to apprehend coherently a particular state of the organism...It is, as well a basis for the prediction of the sequence of pathological phenomena: the appearance of further signs and symptoms and the resolution of the illness. Disease is, I will argue, basically a relational concept. The "disease itself", the laws of pathology, is an inferred relational substructure that congeals a number of observable factors‑‑a conceptual pattern read into the appearances to allow certain things to be recognized' understood, and predicted. (Engelhardt, 1974)


            Disease, then, and perhaps health as the absence of disease, is more of an epistemological entity‑‑a creature of thought, a linguistic formulation an inferred conceptualization, and as such can perform other functions than ontological entities do. Disease can now take on more of a pragmatic character based on its need. As a process of explanation for the evolutionary biologists, says Engelhardt, disease is the reduction of the inclusive fitness of an individual. As a process intervention for the physician' disease warrants for particular kinds of treatment or for a prognosis given to patients: "Diseases are strategies to be employed in solving problems in clinical‑decision making...in order to make more cost‑effective decisions with respect to the consideration of morbidity, financial issues and mortality risks, so as to achieve various goals of physiological and psychological well‑being."  Judgments of disease and health thus presuppose a judgment as to natural teleology, i.e. the proper goals or ends of man in nature, a notion of what man ought to be, and what constitutes well‑being, hence the value‑ladenness of medicine. The doctor's duty is to utilize his conceptual notions of health and disease to help the patient towards his and society's standard of health. (Engelhardt, 1974)

            Both the art and science of health have been maturing over ions of generations.  These often combined approaches to health have developed: Science offers its empirical, reductionistic, mechanistic, analytic' and linear methods; while art brings the aesthetic, teleologic, vitalistic, synthetic, and circular wisdom into practice.   Both approaches have contributed much to our understanding of health and disease, and perhaps a healthy attitude would be to examine these approaches, envision their visions, and synthesize their paradigms.  The honorable synthesis of the art and science of healing is called barefoot doctoring. Let us for now focus on the paradigms of healing that have developed over the ages so that we might synthesize them into this wholistic paradigm of barefoot doctoring.

            The modern western "allopathic" approach exemplifies the biomedical reductionistic viewpoint, while traditional "Chinese medicine" and Ayurvedic medicine use more of the wholistic, teleological perspective. Neither is rigidly defined within these paradigms, but let us just say that they do show strong tendencies in these directions.

            The biomedicine of the allopath is based fundamentally on the worldview of scientific materialism, which believes that all reality is explainable in terms of the mechanical cause and effect of objects in time and space.   Human beings as specialized organizations of matter, are healthy and unhealthy based on somatic parameters. It is the standard dogma of the 'typical' orthodox: medical doctor' and the professed methodology of the medical educators. The complex phenomena of the person are ultimately reducible to molecules interacting. Empirical observation coupled with the scientific method, will eventually lead to the discovery of the ultimate causes of disease, for biochemistry and physiology is all that is necessary to explain biological phenomena in all aspects of human existence.  Manipulation of the dysfunctional molecules may “fix” the broken mechanism, allowing the person to become “normal”.

             For most advocates of the biomedical model, health is the absence of disease; and disease is considered deviation from the specie's typical biological design. This perspective is typified by allopaths, who defines health and disease in relation to reference class, i.e. "a natural class of organisms of uniform functional design, specifically, an age group of a sex of a species." And "A normal function of a part or process within members of the reference class is a statistically typical contribution by it to their individual survival and reproduction". Health then, is "normal functional ability:: the readiness of each internal part to perform all its functions on typical occasions with at least typical efficacy", and disease is "a type of internal state which impairs health, i.e., it reduces one or more functional abilities below typical efficiency.   Biomedicalists often try to makes it very clear that this approach to health and disease can be fully explained in a value‑free way, by empirically studying the normal functioning of a member in relation to a statistically explainable event.

            Much of modern medicine works on these principles. The health of the patient is often reduced to "within normal limits" of reproducible empirical biophysiological and histological data. This data is compared to 'normal' laboratory values, or normal, tissue, and a diagnosis of health or disease is rendered based on this data. Other aspects of the person are important only insomuch as they contribute to somatic change.  Even though this is the 'holy dogma' of the medical academia, very few doctors practice this pure biomedicine. Many doctors may like to thins' of themselves as applied scientists, who utilize the scientific method to diagnose their patient's condition, but very few, if any, actually restrict themselves from the 'art' of medicine and the Quality of a patient’s life. Even for the biomedical scientists, Quality of life is more than biological functioning 'within normal limits'; it includes various value experiences and expressions, hence requires some form of value judgment. The doctor at least intuitively knows that the Quality of his patient's life has been hindered, and part of his job is to use his aesthetic sense to diagnose the patient's value deficiency and to prognose the patient's potential Quality. A deep art of the healer is to aid the patient's life back to his/her fuller experience and expression of value.  Though fixing the bodily mechanisms may take priority, it needs the perspective of vitalism to take proper aim.

The scientist sees molecules interact normally or abnormally.  The artist sees an instrument longing to sing its heart's desire.  Health to the scientist is an absence of disease;  to an  artist, health is vibrancy, productivity,  elation.   The scientist's art is a technical perfection of fixing dysfunction; the artist's science is vitality.  The body is made up of organs which is made up of tissues which is made up of cells which is made up of molecules.  These substances can work together and prosper or they can lose their integrity and disintegrate.  Vitality is the energetics of the harmonious integration of the parts with the whole.  In a plant, vitality is reflected as strength and turgor the proper greenness, the ability to flower and fruit, and to ward off pathogenic influences.  In humans, vitality shows up in many ways: sense of strength and energy, luster of the eyes, skin, nails and hair, enthusiasm of the voice, flexibility of the spine and joints, good digestion, strong libido,  settleness and brightness of the spirit,  a sense of worth, sharpness of the intellect and fancy, and a reasonable ability to ward off invasion. 

            When people get sick, their vitality declines.    When people's vitality declines, they get sick.  To know how sickness affects the harmony of the whole is important just as how the harmony of the whole affects illness.   Anyone with serious kidney or liver disease knows intimately how it affects their whole being.  Those with depression or chronic fatigue know that every organ in the body is at risk for dysfunction.    A healer can approach a person in terms of their molecules and tissues, or in terms of their energies.   The wisest approach often includes both.   This is exactly what a barefoot doctor does.

            Many are skeptical that vitality "really" exists unless they can measure it somehow.  Appreciating a person's vitality is much like appreciating a landscape painting.  One must have an eye for the aesthetics for the appreciation of beauty.   One cannot measure the beauty of Michelangelo's sculpture or Mozart’s symphonies,  but the beauty is there and is appreciable.  We can appreciate the lifelikeness of the sculpture, the sense of realness, the sense of tragedy or despair, its joyousness or elation, its perspective and inspiration, its meaning and purpose.  And as we can gain  an eye or a skill for the experience and expression of aesthetics,  we can also with vitality.

            A doctor or healer may have a good theoretical base and technical skill, but, if they have no eye for vitality, their healing skills will remain, at best, mediocre.  A gardener or landscape architect is much different from a botanist.  A botanist does not necessarily aspire to have a green thumb and their abilities to have pleasing or fruitful vegetation is not necessarily their hope.   The botanist may be of tremendous help to the gardener, especially with understanding inherent or acquired characteristics and dysfunction, but it is the gardener who enlivens the beauty, quality and value inherent in the form.  Healing requires teaching people how to tend to their shoulder injury, lower their blood pressure, quit abusive habits, strengthen their lung energy as well as administering treatments to help to re balance and comfort the particular disturbance. 

            In each person, as in Chinese landscape, there are signs that, when balanced, define health or beauty. If the signs are out of balance, the person is ill or the landscape is ugly. So the Barefoot doctor looks at a patient the way a painter envisions at a landscape ‑‑ as a particular arrangement of signs in which the essence of the whole can be seen. The body's signs of course, are somewhat similar to nature's signs and include the aesthetic appreciations of  color of the face, expression of emotions, sensations of comfort or pain, quality of pulse‑‑but they express the essence of the bodily landscape.

            Modern western medicine has had a tendency to reduce health to quantifiable molecules "within normal limits"; the person is here more readily known by the individual parts. Traditional Chinese medicine has had the tendency to recognize the parts only in relation to the whole‑‑qualifiable themes in relation to the symphony. Both approaches seem so necessary, that one wonders how they can remain so exclusive.  In today's day and age' the so‑called "east‑west" philosophical orientation, is not necessarily bound by physical territories. Ideologies are not culturally fixed, for we seem to be moving towards a world culture, as the races and nations of the world melt together.

            Ask  your average doctor to relieve your aching back,  and they will usually recommend pills, a work-up and possible surgery.  The more urgently you ask for relief, the more they will spend, the more likely the surgery and the more potent the pill.  Relieving back pain is a technical skill, truly an art, that has evolved for thousands of years.  The skills involved are related to the relaxing of the muscles, the realigning of the vertebrae, and decompressing of the nerves, and reconditioning techniques involving movement and exercise therapy.   Many, many different techniques may be used, but the successful ones seem to be require both the skill application of a particular technique,  (for example, body work) as well as inspiring the client to take responsibility for themselves and learn how to recondition their problem most effectively.  A wholistic doctor would also recognize the effect of the dysfunction on a person’s job and home life, personal spirit and overall vitality.  Medical doctors are usually not trained in these particular healing arts in their medical training, and thus their opportunity to use the value system to inspire healing remains deficient.

This tendency to narrow the whole person into just a body leaves the patient feeling used and unempowered.  Reflecting this neglect of value leads to the major reasons that people do not appreciate the modern American medical system: 


Reason to Less than Appreciate Modern Biomedicine

1)    The financial burden of healthcare and greed of its providers

2)    The impersonality and rudeness of the doctors and hospitals and their subtle abuses

3)    The toxicity and aggressiveness of the healing avenues

4)    The sense of helplessness and unempowerment  inherent in the systems

5)    The band aid approach to healing and avoidance of deeper healing

6)    The shotgun approach of testing everything just in case

7)   The red tape and bureaucratic nightmare of insurance and its systems

8)      The inaccessibility of the facilities and doctors

9)      Doesn’t necessarily consider the quality of life and living. 

10)   Doesn’t consider the impact on the environment and sustenance  of the world

11)   Doesn’t skillfully encourage self-sufficiency and self-healing


            It is these very reasons that inspires the wholistic barefoot doctor to practice the art of medicine the way that we do.  The art may be primarily based on scientific principles, but it is more primarily based on reliable techniques.  In addition to the traditional medical skills,  natural non-toxic alternatives, there are more philosophically methods practiced that appeal to people.  The wholistic barefoot doctor will spend more time with the patient than most people will spend with a mechanical doctor, because it takes more time to evaluate the person in addition to the body.    He will try to make each of his patients feel comfortable and relaxed as he and the client try to get to an understanding of what is going on.    He may do a detailed history and exam as part of the meaning and prognosis of the problem, recommending   therapeutic and diagnostic options primarily based on personal efforts and choices.  Usually, self-empowering techniques are promoted to strengthen degenerative or malfunctioning conditions through either private consultations or through classes.  Most importantly, ways of reconditioning one’s overall constitution and vitality are offered as well as relieving particular symptoms. 

            An excellent barefoot doctor would train people about the principles of good health and healthy living as well as use hands on treatments designed to realign the body systems.  And with his/her green thumb, the barefoot doctor would help people strengthen their hearts, lungs, kidneys, livers and help them to strengthen their digestion and elimination and to calm their spirits, empower their will, to relieve their pain and to help people pursue their dreams.  A barefoot doctor is thoroughly dedicated to developing healing institutions and healers that place honor before greed, harmless, inexpensive healing options before aggressive bankrupting ones and self empowerment and personal responsibility before protocols and fears of litigation.  A wise healer feels an obligation to our species to explore the art and science of healing, using the best that humankind has to offer from the east and west, the past and the present, both traditional and alternative, mechanistic or vital.  This is the way that a barefoot doctor practices the art of healing.

            Because being human is so multifaceted and varied, many paradigms have been developed to describe the proper field of the doctor's endeavor.  Broad categorizations of the approaches in addition to the biomedical are the socio‑cultural, psychological, spiritual,  shamanistic, naturalistic, faith and wholistic models. They all agree that the goal of medicine is to help people become healthy, but only the wholistic model comprehensively addresses the concept of the 'person’, in its conception of health. Each model sufficiently describes its particular aspect of the person, but only the wholistic model tales into account the harmonizing attempt of integrating the subsystems of the person. The person is a synthetic being with purpose, value, vitality and meaning, and an accurate model of the healthy person would need to include these Qualities in its definition. To focus in on the narrow confines of one or a few of the various subsystems of the whole being without addressing the integration of all the systems into a whole, lends to a distorted paradigm of human health.  Yet each is worthy of study to lend us their perspective of the person that lends to healing.

            The biomedicalist can gain glimpse into the true causes of events of the body. He shows honor by reliability, validity, reproducibility, and scientific understanding of the causes of disease.   He has data to back up his beliefs and can use his diagnostic, therapeutic, and prognostic tools “reasonably”.   Science confirms the possibility of truth, and reckons with possibilities to help us in our choices of healing.   And as such the focus of this truth is the body and the physics of the mind.

            Biomedical research has done a magnificent job empirically defining the aspects of the body. Since it is, by definition, the grossest and most physical aspect of the person, it lends itself more completely to empirical science. It's form can be perceived by the senses, or inferred by the many methods of scientific examination and experimentation. The health or unhealth of  the body is usually determined by the degree of disruption of the "normal", or failure to actualize the potential, physical structure or function. This disease can be detected by using empiricism to note the disruption or structure or function, for example: biochemical lab test, cell, tissue or organ examination, physiological parameters; and an appropriate history and physical.   Observation, gathering of evidence, hypotheses as to cause, confirmation on further testing, treat based on confirmation with most reliable and reasonable treatment. 

CHART:  The Scientific Method



Qualities of the Healthy Person

SUTRA:  Surfing the Tide of Life

            Healing, like gardening, is an art as well as a science.   In gardening, it is helpful to be wise in matters like the properties inherent in the seed, the proper tending to the seedling, with nourishment, sun, weeding, trimming, and protecting; enticing the elegance of its succulence with just the right amount of this or that.  Sometimes in times of pestilence, extreme climatic conditions,  or manhandling, more aggressive methods are needed to preserve the life so dearly sought.   In healing, understanding the inherent constitution as it interacts with personal, social, and planetary influences is crucial.   Proper nourishment along with physical, psychological, social and ecological conditions can help life flourish.  In times of illness, even drastic measures may be necessary to save a life, but the healer and the gardener need to learn the wisdom necessary to entice the life force to take a stronger grip, as well as the technical skills necessary to allow Nature to have cleaner interplay.   The science of healing tends to focus on the forces at play in the body and of the psyche, and how they interact normally or perversely and how they grow and decay.  Empirical methods are used to learn about these forces, data is collected, tests taken, and hypotheses generated as to their cause and effect.  The patient is the test subject, and the doctor the gatherer of the  evidence and re negotiator of the dysfunctional forces.  Find out what went wrong and fix it.

The art of healing is to do this in a way that is harmonious with the hopes and  wishes of the one being healed.  It requires insight into their character and intentions,  and realigning them towards a healthier way.  The  technical skill and the art focuses on helping the person mold their flesh and psyche towards an aesthetic  vision of health.  The goal of the artist is to help  that life move toward a greater experience  and expression of Quality of Life.

            Axiology--the study of Quality-- is an important field of study for the doctor to determine the healthy and unhealthy value judgements, choices, and expressions of our patients.  For this, he may need to master not only the empirical judgment, but now the [1]aesthetic judgement--concerned with his patient's fulfillment [1]of quality in life, called by some Beauty.  

            Morality is the person's discipline adhered to in attempt to experience and express value in his life. Morality is subject to the doctor's scrutiny in the diagnostic, prognostic, and treatment process, much like cardiology or neurology would be.      Morality as so defined is thus primarily a subjective phenomenon, in that it describes the intrapsychic processes that a person uses and experiences in the pursuit of Quality in his/her life.  It has an objective component in terms of its effect--effect to produce behavior that furthers effect [1]society and the world at large.   The effects of morality area very important consideration in the responsibility and accountability for behavior, and especially in the consideration of risks factors for disease, choice of therapeutics and issues of compliance.  

            SUTRA:  Morality

            Though some doctors would insist on focusing on only these objectifiable data as the only reliable data for the doctor, one can also consider the structures/schemas, development, and maturity of the intrapsychic processes that occur as a person pursues the experience and expression of values.   Many choose more behavioralistic and positivistic attitudes on the intrapsychic processes involved in morality,  yet these intrapsychic processes as phenomenon worthy of scientific scrutiny, and values systems as a biological phenomena.  

            Examination of a person’s Morality ---the way one chooses to pursue their fulfillment---shows the healer how and why the person drives their vehicle on this rugged terrain of existence and sets the springboard to design a wise course of action.  Healing done without the perspective of a person’s morality leaves the Quality of a patient’s life at risk.  Morality has long been considered outside the terrain of the doctor, for it deals with values and not facts.  If medicine is solely a science, think many biomedicalists, empiricism is the methodology of choice for the doctor.  Most physicians feel it is not the doctor's duty to tell people how they should live their life, or why, but leave this to the person, his/her family, and the religious or secular entities so empowered.  A more profound healer needs to understand the morality of his patient's and his/her own morality, to help lead the body, needs, hopes, resources and aspirations of his patients to support a path of healing .    The doctor may learn to become familiar with value systems for diagnostic, treatment, and prognostic reasons, without paternally dictating the right and wrong way for his patients to live. but by offering strategies and techniques that empowers the patient to pursue their own vision of wellness.

                 Most will agree that the doctor's purpose is to help his patient's become healthier.  But as to the meaning of health, we find a great deal of disagreement.  Those with the strictest of mechanistic points of view might define health in relation to "normality", or the species typical biological design.  Health, then, might be defined as normal functional ability: the readiness to perform all of its functions on typical occasions with at least typical efficiency .   We use this definition of health when we tell our patients that they are healthy when the physical exam, labs, and other studies are "normal".  The healer using this definition relies on objective data, and the objective verification of the patient's complaints with this data. He then proceeds to verify his hypothesis of causation, to focus a treatment plan that remedies the specific cause of malfunctioning.    

            Even conservative medical doctors and most patients find this definition of health restricting, because it places the hopes of the person second to the objective. Most doctors admit to trying to help increase their patients’ Quality of life, yet claim that this should be done by manipulating the physical part of the person, not the subjective.   Most great mechanics realize that the driver has a much to do with the condition.   How a vehicle is maintained and driven, along with the constitution and exposures determine much about the vehicle’s vitality.       

            A worthy definition of health would thus need to synthesize both the objective and subjective, i.e., the quantitative and the qualitative.  It should to recognize the well working of all these aspects of the person in the context of the person fulfilling their needs and values.   Such is the case with the following wholistic definition of health called wellness is:     


Wellness:  the dynamic condition of a person, wherein there is harmonious functioning of enough aspects of that being,  enabling that being to enliven the highest Quality of life feasibly capable.


My purpose is to introduce this definition of health as a premise for the doctor's need to learn about Moral System---ie the person’s style of fulfilling (or not fulfilling)  his/her life,   much as he would the cardiac or pulmonary systems.  And indeed, he should learn to diagnose, treat, and prognosticate the moral system of his patient much the same. A wise healer considers the subjective aspects of our being, including values, and the pursuit of value experience and expression--morality, and even spiritual issues, as part of human biology, worthy of scientific study and investigation.   


There are many, however, who are unwilling to concede to the legitimacy of such healing systems. They claim that it does not lend itself to the scientific rigor necessary to be established as a true science of healing.  We can see how all these approaches have value and utility, each has their demon.  Since all reflect part of our human experience, each needs to be honored in a healing paradigm that wholistically embraces the art and science of healing the whole person. 

EXCERPT:  Alice Bailey on the study of the soul     


Qualitative Aspects of Being Human


Biophysiological Aspects of our Health

            Much can be said about the physical body, as incredible joint effort world over has gone onto making sure that most medical doctors are very well‑trained in the causation of body's disease states. It is important to mention, though, that the body does have a natural teleology to work as whole, and to use its parts in relation to the whole. Each system is a component of another system, intimately integrated; reducibly separate, yet unifiable into a coordinated whole. Disease may be in any of the integrated parts or in the integration process itself. This is manifested in the embryo as a malformation, and in older years as various acute and chronic conditions, especially neurological, endocrinological and immunological disorders.

CHART:  Functions of the Internal Organs

         We now have opportunity for a scientific appreciation of the human body.  We have fundamental elements, that make up molecules, that make up cells, that make up tissues, that make up organs, that make up organ systems.   It is all so incredible complex and interdependent.  Modern medical doctors and other professional healers are often trained in biochemistry, biophysiology, anatomy, and patholology.  Understanding the mechanics of our bodies has been helpful to solve many human challenges.  Causality is a very powerful weapon and helps guide us in practical utility.   The biomedical, empirical is a valuable system of understanding. 

             CHART:   Elemental Constituents of Human Bodies

CHART:  Fundamental Causes of Disease from a Modern Perspective

            Over the past hundred years, medicine has gone through a major evolution in practically every way.   Forevermore all healing paths will be judged against the biomedical model, because it has insisted on the integrity of  proof.  The more we know and understand about our physical reality, the wiser we can be in guiding it towards a healthier way.  As we take this biomedical knowledge into our healing techniques, the art of healing takes over to improve the quality of our lives.  The blessings and fruits of the biomedical model are unfolding in seemingly miraculous cures, in the study of lifestyle habits of vast populations, in providing care for the masses of people.  The scapel, like the sword, benefit most when considering the quality of the life effected.  

            It is important that the physical body have the proper structure and perform its appropriate functions, so that the other aspects of the person may manifest themselves in the world. Lack of this manifestation may be caused by the body's disease or may be an effect of the other aspects. Hence we get the various somato‑psycho‑socio‑spiritual diseases, whose final, or first manifestation is often in the physical form. The doctor needs to be familiar not only with the structure function, integration and natural teleology of the body, but also the pathways of communication a priori and a posterior) the other aspects of the being. Neglecting this, leaves the doctor prone to shortsightedness in his diagnosis of the cause of the disorder, and therefore also in his prognosis and treatment for the patient.   There is a lot of wisdom in understanding our biomedical risk factors for tragedy, and our blessing of a physiologically harmonious way.

The way of barefoot doctoring appreciates the best of biomedicine and applies the techniques with loving care.   It took humanity eons to recognize that we are made of cells.  It will be eons until we understand how our body really does it.    Biomedicine represents a commitment to the scientific integrity that requires the effort of humanity to solve.   Biomedical aspects of health are not simple problems, solved in simple ways.  A responsible modern healer has some obligation to causality, reliability, validity, and efficaciousness.  Some types of healers more than others.  Medical doctors tend to especially be committed to biophysiological techniques and their integrity is founded on it.  But dedication to science is not what makes a barefoot doctor.  A barefoot doctor is devoted to caring.  A mother does not need to know the mechanics of epithelial cell migration to wash her child’s wound and bandage it.   Her love child healed even if it means finding a good doctor.   The doctor is usually a tool used on the healing path—a tool is not the path, but love is.   Hopefully the tool has a caring heart.   Science is a way that leads to knowledge and technique. Barefoot doctoring is a way that leads to wisdom and care.  

            SUTRA:  To Be Called Doctor



Sociocultural and Ecological Aspects Of Health


EXCERPT:  On Airs, Waters, and Places by Hippocrates


Living in a cold, damp cellar conditions one differently than living in a hot, dry attic. 

Living in the tundra Artic is different than the lush coasts of Hawaii

Living amongst Orthodox Jews in Israel is different than the Pigmies of the Congo.

Living with strict parents is different than lenient parents.

Living in the summer is different than the winter.

Living in the stagnant swamps are differ than the windy, dry mountains.


People develop with many influences from the environment.   Quality of life means living in an environment, therefore it would make sense that the qualities of the environment would influence our quality.   The name for the art that harmonizes the influences of the qualities of the environment with the qualities of people  is “feng shui”.  The ancient Chinese developed feng shui as a way to help people flourish in their environment.  Over the eras, many schools of thought developed codifying feng shui into a systematic qualitative approach.  The superstition and dogma of these schools are eventually being filtered for their wiser ways.  A master in feng shui would know how to choose an appropriate homesite and orientation, and design and decorate living (or workspaces ) so as to maximize the health influences on the person.   They would recognize the fundamental characteristics of the person and promote an environment that is most thriving for that constitution.   

CHART:  Six External Causes of Disease

Each of our particular natures prefers certain types of environments.   Very few people seem to live in an extremely flourishing environment.    Most people live within certain standards of hygiene and design preferences.    They seem to do so however more out of necessity, than skill.  Very few people today have mastered the art of feng shui, harmonizing with the environment.   Most people live in loud, overpopulated, polluted, bright, artificial, foul smelling, busy, irritable, self-centered places that do not promote caring.    How we choose to place ourselves and be with the earth influences our well-being.

CHART:  Environmental Preferences

Now, more than ever, we need to tune into ways to harmonize with the environment.  Toxicity and disturbance is everywhere.  Few places are left to plant ourselves with hopes of  ultimate support.   Banks and industry own most of the land, people caught up in the rat race.  The care we give to the earth is reflective of our spiritual insight.  The care the earth gives to us should be obvious, but is remodeled into a marketable item.   Humans have been influencing the environment since way back when, but the environment as now gotten to be fundamentally altered.  Climatic changes and natural disasters will continue to influence humanity;  as will overpopulation, greed and expansion will influence the earth.    We must first become committed to protecting the earth and developing more sustainable ways of harmonizing with the environment.   To do this we must understand the aspects of the environment that humans need to thrive.

In a practical way, we can understand the direct influence of the environment by studying the influences of wind, heat, cold, dampness, and dryness.  The macro- and microenvironments we participate with influence us directly in these qualitative ways.  Our personal environment, our body, is also describable by these qualities.  Our internal warmth is influence by the hot or cold of the environment.  Warmth is generated by our metabolism (Internal fire), but the physical properties of radiation, convection  and conduction also influences our heat, as does use, injury,  inflammation, outside temperature, humidity, wind, and exposure.    

EXCERPT:  The Four Primary Intemperaments by Unani Tibb

We live in a space suit, with more organisms living on and in us, than we have cells of our own body.  Our space suit is miraculously flexible and tolerant of environmental conditions.  But this space suit clearly has its environmental limits.   Either acutely or chronic, either  by accident of full willed, toxic or harsh environmental exposure is capable of causing much suffering and illness.  

A barefoot doctor seeks to help all become wiser in these matters.  Our quality of live is co-dependant on our environment;  it’s part of the contract of living.   How we live and prepare for our children to live is critical to our well being.  It is much easier to become healthy in a beautiful, safe, sweet, environment, amongst supporting and concerned people with abundant resources.   Every community should be a healing environment.  By stewarding the earth back into healing ways, and mastering environmental measures to become flourishing, we have the chance for our culture to thrive.    It’s a delicate balance to survive in the world.  To do so effectively we need the cooperation of our culture.  It is precisely this, cooperation, that is the cure for our sociological woes.    This is were the wise insights of the socio-culturalists are useful.

            This One traditional socioculturalist model defines health and illness with reference to the individual’s participation in the social system. Talcott Parsons, a premier socio‑culturalist, defines the person, in this context, is "that part of the concrete living individual which is attributable to the experience of socialization and through the process of social interaction". The person is compared to the organism which is "that part of the concrete living individual which is attributable to hereditary constitution and the conditioning process of the physical environment....that aspect of the mechanism controlling behavior which is not attributable to the experience of socialization and through processes of social interaction‑" "Health", continues Parsons, is "the state of optimum capacity of an individual for the effective performance of the roles and tasks for which he/she has been socialized." And illness is "some imputed generalized disturbance of the capacity of the individual for normally expected task or role‑performance." Thus Parsons makes it clear that the health or illness of a person is relative to his "status' in society. The healers duty, according to the socio‑culturalist is to aide the patient carry out his specific roles and tasks he has been socialized for. (Parson)


Fabrega adds:

The idea of disease as "illness" may be used to signify purely behavioral changes. In a general anthropological sense, it is a set of behaviors, judged as undesirable and unwanted in a culture, which is considered as having medical relevance. It is changes in, the behavioral sphere in the form of symptoms which initially concern members of a social group and lead them to see' help. Relief from these unwanted behaviors is very often the end point of treatment. Disease as illness then, may serve as a suitable idea for explaining certain changes which are of significance to human groups. (Fabrega, 1979)


            It is the extremely narrow view of the person that leads the pure socio‑culturalist to have a narrow view of health in health and disease. As will be discussed in much further detail and is intuitively obvious, the person is more than a just a socialized being, he/she has an intrapsychic and spiritual life as well. The socio‑culturalist perspective is well taken within the larger context of the person, however, as each physician does indeed have a duty to help the person fulfill his expected roles. Too often this is lost by the doctors, who are fixated on the biological or psychiatric malfunction, to the neglect of the domestic and cultural milieu.

            Society's callings might overshadow the sociologist to ignore physical and mental influences on health, yet also allow him to see the role of culture and ecology on health. This approach defines health and illness with reference to the individual in participation with the social system. One  premier socio‑culturalist defines the person, in this context, as "the state of optimum capacity of an individual for the effective performance of the roles and tasks for which he/she has been socialized." And illness is "some imputed generalized disturbance of the capacity of the individual for normally expected task or role‑performance." The healers duty, according to the socio‑culturalist, is to aide the patient carry out his specific roles and tasks he has been socialized for.

            It is intuitively obvious, the person is more than a just a socialized being, he/she has an intrapsychic, physical and spiritual life as well. The socio‑culturalist perspective is well taken within the larger context of the person, however, as each physician does indeed have a duty to help the person fulfill his expected roles. Too often this is lost by the doctors, who are fixated on the biological or psychiatric malfunction, to the neglect of the domestic and cultural milieu.

            Each person is part of a sociological and ecological milieu. From early in his/her life, the person is expected to perform certain tasks and roles, and is conditioned to the conformings of society. Much of a person's behavior is determined by the gratification he gets via rewards. The parents are often the first reinforcers and shapers of their children; the environmental and ecological milieu is another shaper of experience and behavior. Parents who are developmental psychologists are different than parents who are mentally retarded. The Amazon jungle is a different ecology than the city streets. The intimate others, the conditioners, the emotional, intellectual, and physical climate and environment have so much to do with the context of personal development.

            As the person matures, he is more capable of becoming more an active rather than passive participant in the societal milieu. He takes on tasks that conform to his  roles that he has chosen for himself. His conscience grows from the 'must' demands of the child, to the 'ought' obligations of an adult. The person's evolution starts to depend on the fulfilling of the responsibilities he has chosen.  His duty to himself, takes shape in his obligations to the world. If he neglects his roles, he neglects a big part of himself.

            The Asian Indians have a name for the pathway of a person's most righteous evolution, called 'dharma'.   Dharma is the path where a person thrives most gracefully, the direction of Quality.  Each person has a unique nature, as he/she seeks to express Quality in his life. Partly conditioned by the environment, and partly chosen as by the individual, each person strives to enliven his duty' by fulfilling his dharma.  Dharma need not be considered a predestined role to be assumed by the person as he matures because it suits his nature; rather it is a predisposition to certain likes and not likes, inclinations towards growth that the intuition nods the right way. Dharma is our personal nature's expression supported by our choice and destiny. Guided by the light of the intuition to clarify our path towards the experience and expression of our values our dharma is our natural inclination towards self‑actualization with respect to both ourself and to the world.  Being on the path means being in the world in our most graceful way.

                                A wise healer pays attention to the sociocultural context of the patient.    Their family, nationality, race, ideology, religion or any cultural identity is the context in which a person’s quality of life seeks to thrive.    The health of these sociological aspects deeply influence a person’s well-being.  Especially and uniquely important is the discipline styles of the person’s parents.  This style can influence a pattern of  self-promoting or self-defeating behavior.  This can set the stage for future patterns.

CHART:  Ranges of Parental Discipline Styles

            Later, our temperamental and reactive style gets co-conditioned by our other elders, siblings, teachers, and peers.    If the parents are skilled (and patient) enough to help their temperamental children learn healthy relationship patterns,  a pattern of sociocultural harmony is propagated into the generations.  It takes many generations of skilled, secure, parenting to stabilize harmonious patterns.  Very few of us have had this honor of being bred for getting along with others.  Usually families fight amongst themselves and are the true battlefields of our deepest wars.  The warring must stop at home.  Humans need security at home as a prerequisite for health.   If the nest is threatened, no body is happy.

SUTRA:  The Happy Home

SUTRA:  Of All the Arts


Psychospiritual Aspects of the Health

            The mind and soul are important terrains which to master on the path to excellent health.  Neglect of these realms for the physical or environmental conditionings, neglects our very humanness.  Quality resides in the mind and soul of the person.  The physical may support its expression, but the value of life, for humans, is in living with a healthy mind and soul.    In order for healers to help people, they often need to help harmonize the psychospiritual aspects of the personality.  Wheareas biomedicine appreciates the importance of mechanical repair  of the body for quality of life to occur and seek excellence in this mechanical repair, a psychospiritual healer seeks to understand how changing consciousness can effect a cure, or prevent a tragedy.  Our psychospiritual natures have grown quite complex, with many aspects that need to shine with quality.   Life, for many, is about experiencing and expressing these qualities through the prism of our minds. 

            One psychological position, promoted by Porn, claims that health occurs when, a person's repertoire‑‑ie his collection of intrapersonal resources, which is a feature of his choice apparatus and inquiry system‑‑is in harmony with his profile of goals, projects, and aspirations.   If a person chooses goals that are clearly beyond his capability and are unrealistically pursued, this would be considered unhealthy. If health is to be maintained, the goal profile may need to be modified so as to approach equilibrium with the person's repertoire. Illness is the "mismatch between repertoire and goal profile...Disease, impairments, and injury are states, changes and processes, respectively of an anatomical, physiological or psychological kind which are evaluated as abnormal (poor, weak, etc.) because of their causal tendency to restrict repertoires and therefore compromise health”. (Porn, If‑784)

Nordenfelt objects to this by arguing that health does not require a complete harmony between ability and goal, but rather requires that the person be willing to act in such a way supportive of the fulfillment of his/her higher priorities. It is this willingness to support the growth of his being towards his more ultimate concerns that determine a person s health. (Nordenfelt, 1984)

Both Porn's and Nordenfelt's points are well taken The healer indeed has an obligation to try to understand his patient's worldview, values and more ultimate concerns if he/she is to help the patient appropriately. Too often the doctor tries to impress his own values onto the patient. to the neglect of the patient's intrapersonal needs. Though the patient comes to the healer to help him get better, 'betterness' can only be defined by and for the patient, who is the master, along with fate, of his own destiny. It is his choice alone that can guide him towards or away from his ultimate values in life. The doctor may give his advice as to how and why the patient may learn to choose more appropriately and to be more willing to readjust his goals as needed, but it is only advice. If the person chooses not to exercise, to eat fatty foods and to smoke cigarettes, this is his prerogative. The doctor's expertise should come in knowing the potential risks and benefits of the choice and to advise the patient accordingly. The healer has no right, indeed no other human being does' to tell the patient what is right and wrong for him. But he does have the right, and the duty, to help his patient plant the most fertile soil for the growth of his own highest values, and to help him realize these within the patient's unique worldview.

            SUTRA:  The Archer’s Passion

            Unfortunately the doctor is rarely trained in value clarification and expediation,. Many medical educators feel that values have no place in science. Their prejudice leaves the healerto unsystematically deal with the Quality of their patient s life, often leading to the projection of their own value system. Other educators feel that this 'art of medicine' can only be learned after years of clinical practice and cannot be taught to doctors, let alone their patients. Axiology‑‑the study of the nature of values and value judgments‑‑not only can be taught, but needs to be taught, if doctors are going to be effective healers for their patients.

The limitation of an orthodox intrapsychic model, once again is in its narrowness. It forms the foundation of the healing art, but if taken in its pure for‑m, is prone to the neglect of the biological, social (and spiritual) aspects of health and illness. A wise barefoot doctor is often seeks training in at least all aspects of healing‑‑ the psychological, the biological and the social aspects of the person.

            The psychologist may claim that health occurs when, a person's repertoire-- his collection of intrapsychic resources, which are a feature of his choice apparatus and inquiry system‑‑is in harmony with his profile of goals, projects, and aspirations.  If a person chooses goals that are clearly beyond his capability and are unrealistically pursued, this would be considered unhealthy.  If health is to be maintained, the goal profile may need to be modified so as to approach equilibrium with the person's repertoire. Illness is the mismatch between aspirations and goals.   Disease, malfunctions, and injury are of an anatomical, physiological or psychological kind which are evaluated as abnormal because of their causal tendency to restrict  a person’s hopes and therefore compromise health.  

SUTRA:  To Be Remembered

            Health to a psychologist may also be a subjective state were a person feels well.  Health, then, would be a state of consciousness that is fulfilled.  True health to this type of psychologist, would not just a fleeting momentary feeling, but a strong tendency to allow the experience and expression of our values. 

One does not require a complete harmony between ability and goal , but rather requires that the person be willing to act in such a way supportive of the fulfillment of his/her higher priorities. It is this willingness and success in supporting the growth of his being towards his more ultimate concerns that determine a person’s health. The doctor indeed has an obligation to try to understand his patient's worldview, values and more ultimate concerns if he/she is to help the patient appropriately. Too often the doctor tries to impress his own values onto the patient. to the neglect of the patient's intrapersonal needs. Though the patient comes to the healer to help him get better, 'betterness' can only be defined by and for the patient, who is the master, along with fate, of his own destiny. It is his choice alone that can guide him towards or away from his ultimate values in life. The healer may give his advice as to how and why the patient may learn to choose more appropriately and to be more willing to readjust his goals as needed, but it is only advice. If the person chooses not to exercise, to eat fatty foods and to smoke cigarettes, this is his prerogative. The healer’s expertise should come in knowing the potential risks and benefits of the choice and to advise the patient accordingly. The healer has no right, indeed no other human being does' to tell the patient what is right and wrong for him. But he does have the right, and the duty, to help his patient plant the most fertile soil for the growth of his own highest values, and to help him realize these within the patient's unique worldview.

The psyche has many forces that determine its many aspects. Unlike the physical body, however, which is easily accessible to empiricism, the mind is more metaphysical, and is available via either more directly through introspection, or more indirectly through its various effects.   Motivating forces, like all forces, may be conceived as a vector, i.e. a directional magnitude' which is the resultant vector often, of many other forces. When manifest in activity on the physical plane in coordination with the body, as behavior, the directional activity of the mind may be inferred, by observing the trend of the activity. By this, and by self‑observation, we can discover the intentions, aims and goals of the minds expression.

            The mind has two main purposes, value experience and virtuous expression. Awareness is the fundamental unit of experience. It may be conceived as a metaphysical vector, in that it has a certain quantity and Quality. With time the awareness forms experiences and complexes; these vectorially summate to determine the basic tendencies of personality, which are manifested as habits, attitudes, traits and style.

Yoga psychology calls these basic tendencies 'samskaras', and their summation 'karma' The samskaras are the topological ruts that form in the mind as per‑venality develops. Each rut has a kind of psychic-gravitational advantage over non‑rutted areas. Consciousness tends to move where it is most familiar. Eventually the ruts or grooves in consciousness consolidate to determine the basic karmic trends, dispositions style and theme of the person.

CHART:  Dimensions of Karma

There are many aspects to the mind, each of which has a distinct Quality to justify its being named. Most are determined by the a priori faculties inherent in the genetic and archetypical make‑up of the per‑son; they do, however need developed to reach their fullest expression The following is an incomplete listing of the various aspects of the the psychological aspects of humans:


the soul, the self, the ego, the intellect (cognition, reason and conation), the will (agency and power), the affects, the intuition (and the moral and ethical sense), the imagination, dreaming, the "screen" (perception apparatus) of consciousness, the memory, the instincts (impulses,drives, etc.), attention, association, discrimination, feelings, memory  etc., etc., etc.




Wholistic Aspects of the Healthy Person

                        As an extension of the systems theory, and a synthesis of ALL the ways aforementioned, the wholism defines health as the actualized Quality of life achieved in a person through the harmonious integration of the various aspects of his being. Each person ought to be understood as a unique multi‑dimensional being whose existence permeates many levels of consciousness acting and reacting within a social and ecological milieu. Minds, body and spirit are the fundamental components of the whole personality maintained in progressive harmony by the wholistic unity of the person. The inner creative, recreative and transformative activity of the person occurs intra‑personally and inter‑personally. If the doctor fails to recognize and consider the integration of personality. as well as each of its integral components, his ability to help the patient to health (as defined above) will be limited. This limitation may be appropriate for certain surgeons and subspecialists, but it needs to be understood as irresponsibly inappropriate for the more generalized and wholistic practitioner. Let us examine more closely, the specific duties of the wholistic practitioner.

 CHART:  Integrating Aspects of the Person

                        The wholistic approach is a synthesis of all the previous previous ways, because it appreciates the synthetic characteristics of the person. As will be discussed in great detail later, the person is not dissociated being enjoying only the laws of entropy, rather, he is constantly striving for the coordination of his being to create more ultimate Quality in life. There is a purposefulness in people, and this teleology is toward value experience and expression. Deliman describes this creative freedom and control:


More holistic control in the Personality means greater strength of mind and character; better coordination of all impulses and tendencies) less internal friction and wear and tear in the soul; more peace of mind; and finally that spiritual purity, integrity, and wholeness which is the ideal of Personality...The essence of Personality is creative freedom in the respect of its own condition of experience and development; as an initiator, metabolizer and assimilator it has practical self‑determination. As a selector and coordinator of the elements in the situations that confront it, it also has a practical freedom...Freedom means holistic self‑determination, and as such it becomes one of the great ideals of Personality, whose self‑realization is dependent on its inner holistic freedom. (Deliman, 1982)


                        Part of the control of this creative freedom is conscious, much of it is subconscious, and perhaps most of it is superconscious, but the fact remains that this wholistic control exists,, and it is the doctor's duty to appreciate it as the context of diagnosis, prognosis, and especially, treatment. Moral discipline is an essential part in the culture of personality, for the person does have at least some conscious choice as to how and why he ought to live his/her life. If the doctor chooses to ignore the mor‑al context of his patient, he is abusing his right as a healer who is suppose to try to increase the Quality of the patient's life, and at least to do no harm to the patient. Hence, the need for medical academia to educate its physicians (at least its more general practitioners) in personality and moral theory is clear. Before going into more detail on personality and moral theory, let US continue to discuss the holistic paradigm.

Recognizing the role of moral disciple on health, the wholistic practitioner understands healing essentially as a self‑responsibility of the patient, and more‑over tends to utilize therapeutic approaches that mobilize the patient's inherent capacities for self‑healing. Paternalism is an overriding theme in medicine these days, and indeed, the doctor is all to often placed in a paternalistic role. This role can be very useful in the healing process, but like with all wise fathers, there comes a time when he must release the child to assume responsibility for his own care. And as the father duly recognizes that the child's life as a child per se, is a stepping stone toward the evolution of a mature adult, so too should the doctor recognize the need for patient to become and stay healthy autonomously from the doctor as much as possible.

                        Each individual, as he/she matures into adulthood, is the sole governor of his being. Self‑responsibility is the sine qua non of adulthood. Nobody can impeach this responsibility, except perhaps Nature herself. The physician's duty is to help the person accept and fulfill this responsibility, and to aide his working with the healing forces of Nature, to experience and express the highest Quality of life he is capable. As James Gordon wrote, "Though none would deny the occasional necessity for swift and authoritative medical or surgical intervention, the emphasis in holistic medicine is on helping people to understand and help themselves on education and self‑care rather than treatment and dependence.'' (Gordon, 1981)

                        How far our medical system has come from this! The patient is almost always treated as a completely passive recipient of treatment, for the "doctor knows best", what the patient needs and does not need to make him well. The patient is usually pressured into conforming to the treatment regime via paternalistic ultimatums. When the patient doesn't comply, he is scolded, told not to do it again, and left feeling like a child who did a no‑no. These physicians have neglected both to respect the rights of the patient to make his/her own choice as to how and why to live his life, but also the responsibility to help the patient understand via education , the importance of self‑care and autonomy.

                        Part of healing is an educational experience and, like all good learning processes, ought to be done within the context of the patient's worldview, needs, style, wants' drives, hopes and aspirations, duties, and social and ecological milieu. Every disease. indeed, every symptoms, carries with it a symbolic meaning unique to the individual as it thwarts his way to health. The symbolism may develop a priori or a posterior) the development of the disease or  symptoms (i.e. as cause or effect) but nevertheless the symptoms or disease always carries with them a meaning. This meaning is intricately involved with the patient's more general motivations and intentions, aims, purpose and especially style. The physician has a duty to understand these aspects of the person whom he seeks to help, if he is to adequately diagnose the condition, formulate a prognosis, and design a treatment plan suited to the needs of the patients. If he neglects to do so he is prone to mate many errors in his medical practice to the detriment of his patients and society. Hence, he ought to be trained, as far as possible, to understand the various 'types' of motivations, purposes and styles that people develop that determine the symbolic dimensions of their illness and health. In this respect, the medical academia, has drastically failed.

                        Because the physician seeks to help the person who has a unique worldview, motivational pattern, and style. he ought to adopt and integrate those medical models most suited for the patient' if the doctor‑ is trained in them and morally agreeable to them. Wholistic medicine may be said to be the synthesis of all the medical models inasmuch as the models reflect aspects of human nature, since it seers to tailor fit health care to each and every patient uniquely. One patient may be very role oriented, and may seek a healthy lifestyle consistent with the socio‑cultural model, and may also need a biomedical intervention to help him realize his particular roles and tasks within his social milieu. Another may need psychotherapy to aid her in establishing more realistic intrapersonal goals, and at the same time, some herbal remedy tie, help her with her anxiety, staying in dine with her naturalistic beliefs. The physician may choose to treat the patient himself with the psychotherapy, but since he is untrained in herbology, may choose to refer her to a well respected naturopathic doctor, and oversee her care in coordination with him. Moreover, if the wholistic practitioner feels morally against the desired treatment plan of the patient, he may offer his alternative plans to the patient or he may relinquish care of that patient to a healer better suited for the patient. Hence we see how a wholistic practitioner may use and consult for a variety of diagnostic, prognostic, and treatment modalities for he/she realizes that the patient has a right to seek and procure the type of health care that they feel is the most appropriate for themselves.

                        One aspect of wholistic medicine, emphasized but not unique to it, is the promotion of well‑being and the prevention of disease. Health is clearly more than the absence of disease, it implies the realization of the potential Quality of a person's life, as well as the prevention of various illnesses. As a personality evolves through the stages of life, potentialized value experiences and expressions develop and seek fulfillment, partly dependent on the general biopsychosocial stage of human evolution, and partly on the particular biopsychosocial issues of personal evolution. The development of the person s Quality of life depends a lot on the choices he makes in response to, and alliance with the genetic, archetypical, and ethnological givers. Each stage of development brings with it new issues' that forms the foundation and context in which the person choices to seek (or avoid as the neurotic might do) value experience and expressions. As every choice brings with it risks, the person seeks to fulfill the utmost realization of his potential Quality with the least amount of future despair. It is this willingness and capability to support and nurture this growth towards the highest Quality of life possible that truly defines the health of the person.

                        Thus we can see why the wholistic practitioner would need to be familiar with the generalized patterns of human personality and moral development. Though each person has a unique personal and moral style as he/she seeks to actualize his potential values and avoid unnecessary risks, he passes through universal biopsychosocial and spiritual stages that sets the backdrop for the scene in the drama of life. The physician, if he poses himself as an expert in the development of health and the prevention of disease, would need to be familiar with specific issues involve in personal choices (eg. cigarette smoking) as well as the general issues involved in the a priori developmental patterns inherent in life s stages.

The wholistic doctor is in a unique position, because every patient that he helps heals he heals himself: each vision of his patient's growth, brings with it the further evolution of his own growth' each aide into the creation of the Beauty of his patient's life, is in itself, a valuable experience; each insight into the health of a patient, is in itself, a healing process. As the healer helps transforms his patients, he transforms himself. And the converse is also true: the more insight and actualization the healer has into his own health and well‑being, the more he can transform his patients. Hence the healer's obligation to be as healthy as possible. Healing is always a two way street, for though one :is the transmitter and the usher the receiver, the healing energy vibrates both the transformed and the transformer; and as we all share in the human condition the reflection of our brothers, the health and illness of one member of the Family is part and parcel in all the members of the Family. It is here the wholistic doctor's responsibility lies beyond his role as a doctor with a certificate of degrees, and remains in his duty as Brother and Sister, Mother and Father, Friend' Lover and Wise companion to all people who seek to share with him the human condition.

                        Much criticism has been arrowed at wholistic medicine by the more traditional and orthodox: healers. And rightly so. Many so‑called practitioners have disguised their quackery behind the wholistic¢ facade, when in reality they are even narrower in their practice of healing than the rigid biomedical doctors, yet lack the quality control inbred in biomedicine. But the art of+ wholistic medicine per se should not be neglected because of the irresponsibility of some of its practitioners. Are all physicists and the science of physics at fault for the development of atomic and nuclear weapons and their illegitimate use? Is biology and all biologists responsible for biologic warfare? Indeed' it is these very people who must temper their colleagues and insist that they employ their art and science towards righteous ends. The true question is how far can wholistic medicine take us as a healing art. Does it allow humanity to realize higher realms of Quality, than the more traditional approaches?

                        Some may argue, medicine is an applied science, and as such deals with only value‑free empirical data, a doctor has no obligation to civic or moral virtue other than as a good person and upstanding citizen. To this I must reply, Quality in value experience and expression is as much a part of a person s biological make‑up as is his heart, his brain and his instincts. For a doctor to neglect the Duality of a person's life lends to a lopsided science and especially, art, of medicine. Admitting the biological aspects of the 'farther reaches of human nature', allows the doctor to utilize his aesthetic sense of judgment as well as his empirical sense in the appreciation of his patient's condition. He may then utilize his creative stills as well as his technical skills in the art and applied science of medicine. Now we can see the physician's obligation to civic and moral virtue. Virtue, the artful expression of Quality, is both the means and the end of the healer's art. If the physician is without virtue and does not seek: to create virtue, then the entire field of medicine is worthless' that is has no worth, and can offer nothing worthy.

            This does not, however, give the physician the right to impress his/her specific values and morals upon his patient. The only value he may impress is the willingness to support the growth of his patient's life toward health and away from illness' and to offer his professional and personal advice as to how this might be achieved. He may only offer and not demand, for he cannot control the will of any being but his own, and perhaps his children and the incoherent. Even then, only temporarily. Others worry that many patients are not interested in the responsibility for their own health, and that giving them this responsibility may cause an unnecessary guilt laid upon the patient. Most disease, they feel, is the result of a biophysiological disorder., not a result of moral failure. These concerns are quite justified but what about those who are interested in this responsibility.   Should they be neglected? Also, the medical system is set‑up today so as to breed such irresponsibility. Patients go along with the system, though very few of them are happy with it. Most see their doctors as rather cold and uncaring, always in a rush to see the next patient because of their demanding schedule. Medical academia trains doctors by overworking them, making them stay Up every second , third, or fourth night. The hours are long and the day overbooked. There is no time to consider psychosocial or spiritual issues) plus, there is a tremendous peer pressure to follow the traditional, impersonal biomedical dogma and an ignorance of other paradigms, especially in the large university settings. Hence, the young medical doctors grow to be old medical doctors passing on the prejudices of the system, neglecting more effective approaches that are more considerate of the patient, and that breed more self‑responsibility. Teaching self‑responsibility takes time and empathy; something doctors seem to loose as they enter the medical society.

                        Every doctor realizes how important compliance is in treatment regimes. A medicine or therapy can be effective only if the patient will follow the directions. Many doctors have spent long, hard hours trying to get their patients to heal themselves, often to no avail. Exercise programs, diet programs, cigarette cessation programs, etc., are the most difficult types of treatment because of noncompliance. Perhaps most of these fail because of the doctor's lack of insight, due to his lack of training into the motivational patterns and personality and moral styles of their patients. Each patient chooses to do things for reasons, and no matter how irrational they seem to the outside observer, they are usually not just purely impulsive' though they may be highly neurotic. The more insight the doctor has into the patient's personal and moral motivations and style, the more he can help the patient gain more control so as to bring about better health. But this requires that he understand clearly, how and why people do what they do. This means the doctor needs to be trained in personality theory, which deals with motivational patterns and styles of the person; as well as moral theory, which deals with the choices people make as they pursue value experience and expression. Neurotic people make neurotic choices, which puts them at risk for biopsychosociospiritual illness. Without this training, the doctor is left to wait until he has accumulated years of clinical acumen to gain this knowledge and then only nonsystematically. With training, the doctor can learn to systematically evaluate his patient, as a person, and design a treatment most well suited to his unique style.

Certain aspects of the medical society can function fairly well within the realms of scientism. The surgical and medical specialties and subspecialties may not need to take a wholistic approach to the person if the patient is under the care of a referring wholistic physician. The wholistic healer is in a position to coordinate the care of the patient, for he knows what the patient needs, as well as what the medical society can offer. If the allopathic medical society is unable to help the patient' then the wholistic healer should be familiar with the other healing professions and consult one of these healers.

Professional healing today is lacking a well trained integrator of care for the patient. The patient is left to conform to the prejudices of their healer, or to fend for themselves in a world of potential quackery. Much of the public is discontented with the biomedical doctor's tendency towards fact of empathy and the personal consideration necessary in the healing process. Medicine today is unhealthy' for it remains unintegrated and value‑free. Medical academia needs to train physicians in the wholistic art and science for reasons that are clear; until then doctors must wait for to accumulate years of clinical experience and use their untrained intuition to achieve the necessary Wisdom to sufficiently bring his patients to health until then medicine will remain unhealthy. Let the doctors heal themselves, so that they may share their Wisdom to enliven the Beauty of life in themselves and their patients.

EXCERPT:  Gibran on Beauty

SUTRA:  The Beauty of Life


The Development and Characteristics of the Healthy Person


SUTRA:  Basic Goodness

    Erik Erikson points out that the most fundamental prerequisite for mental vitality on the road to identity is the sense of basic trust‑‑‑trustfulness in the world and trustworthiness of oneself. The infant begins his life with almost total passivity and dependence of the sustenance of his being. His temperament and his expression of bodily comfort and discomfort, are his first expressive tendencies. His dominant sensory input is the oral area, and he can intimately feel the GI tract. It is the usually the mother who almost immediately forms the social bonds with the infant, and it is in this relationship that the infant learns about external physical reality orientation. Success in this stage lends to a basic faith in existence, and confidence in the nurturing aspects of the universe. These are so essential to the eventual development of the sense of integrity discussed earlier. Without this basic sense of trust, there is a tendency towards insecurity and even withdraw from reality orientation. (Erikson, 1950)

Buhler argues that from a very young age, the infant is not only a passive recipient of experience. Indeed, intention toward a goal is one of the most important achievements of early development. As early as five days, research shows, the infant makes active movements, matched with a selective perception to begin to eliminate movements that hinder feeding' and soon after, may even make movements to recapture the nipple. Buhler claims that though goal‑directed movement may not be symbolically intended F nevertheless it does have some intent, spontaneous as it seems, which may "describe the constancy, rhythmicity, and automaticity of the brain's activity ‑‑ for the brain itself is an active, orienting, and directing organ, made up of components which themselves are active, orienting and directive". Thus it is that the infant's temperament, primordial intentions and spontaneous activities, together with the attention from the caretaker's nurturance that help determine the general activity and passivity of the baby, which may very well predisposes the infant to two fundamentally opposed human relationships‑‑the acceptance of dependency and the struggle for independence. (Buhler, 1968)

In this primary stage, perhaps more than any other, the basic love and care of the patents is crucially important. The infant soon struggle to correlate his experiences, and to identify external non‑self reality. It is these initial caretakers that help the process of adjustment; it is their responsibility also to share with the child the possibility of intention. Indeed, attitudes for intention, and goal‑setting do not wait for the birth of the child. They predate the birth in the parent's own development , intention and goals. Some parents want the children to grow up independent; others, more dependent. Some parents show very little interests in their child's goal setting; others too much interest. These parietal predispositions are extremely important. for as Meyer writes:

"In a large measure, it is to retain the love of the parents and to alloy the anxiety of infancy and childhood that the child wishes to incorporate goal patterns set by the parents...If the parents use the child's anxiety to coerce him to conform to their own wishes regardless of his readiness, [this] can have severe psychological dangers...There is also a danger, if the child's achievements, interests and their gratification are too devoted to win love and recognition from it objects' i.e. its object‑relations are the pre‑eminent means of mastering anxiety...There is much less danger if anxiety mastering and guilt are done for their own sake and afford it interest and pleasure in themselves...The basic factor in the consideration of the healthy versus unhealthy goal development is the compatibility of the goals set for the child in terms of natural endowment and developmental stage...Thus where the parents have an understanding of the child and cognition of the specific assets and liabilities, the child has an environment favorable for the development of goals based on his own characteristics and thus compatible to his own personality..." (Meyer,1968)

Thus part of the wise healer’s responsibility in the prenatal care of the child is to assess to intentions, goals and demands of the parents. His job is to help the parents understand that the child needs to be nurtured and cared for with just the right amount of love. He should educate them ,if they are agreeable and interested, in the healthy developmental characteristics of the infant, and young child, so that they may be attuned to the "specific assets and liabilities" of the child and how to take advantage of the child's particular developmental stage. The parents need to learn to find the consistent harmony between their own goal setting for the child and the child s stage of development, endowment and interests.

For example, the infant will, at one point  learn to reach out and attempt to hold his own bottle. Some parents who believe in rushing development may try to force this process and actually scold the child for his lack of ability; other parents do not know the importance of watching for the necessary developmental signs and encouraging the promotion of the child's natural tendencies. The physician, would need to take into consideration the cultural expectations of the parents. The same type of parent education is important at each stage of development; if the healer is trained in the aspects of development, he is more capable of handling potential problems, as well as encouraging a healthy developmental process.

As the infant matures into a child, this compatibility of the child's indigenous qualities and the psychological and cultural characteristics of the parents becomes even more apparent. A child, with relatively low intellectual endowment, with parents who have high expectations for him, may lead the child to be fearful of setting goals for himself, even if these goals may be realistic for him. Likewise, the parents with relatively low intellectual endowment, with a very bright child, may call the child 'smart-alleky', leading the child to set goals much lower than he is realistically capable.  Each parent must serve the temperament and learning style of their children if they are to be most successful in raising healy children.

EXCERPT:  Inhibited versus Uninhibited Children

EXCERPT:  Learning Styles

EXCERPT:  Learning Style Assessment

Siblings have a major impact on goal development. An older child, for reasons of his own, for example, may constantly try to exert a sense of superiority via excessive or unfair competition, and put down the younger child and deride him. The older sibling, on the other hand, may grow from the experiences of needing to care for his younger siblings, and gain a real sense of responsibility. The variations on the particular dynamics of the family situation are practically infinite. The wise healer's duty is to understand the particular family dynamics, and helps see to it that that each child (and the parents) is getting the necessary support for a healthy development of goal setting and intentionality' as well as physical, social and other psychological prerequisites for leading a mature, and healthy life. (Meyer,1968)

Each child needs to learn eventually, the inner goal of self‑growth and a strong sense of how and why to try to create a feasible lifestyle that supports the experience and expression of Quality. Buhler thinks that the major vectoral tendency towards destructiveness and constructiveness begins to consolidate around the age of five.   If the doctor can help in any way, prophylactically or therapeutically, to help children gain a constructive orientation to life, then he can save the person and many others this person contacts, much suffering, and illness. This orientation much be nurtured tenderly, groomed and cared for. (Buhler, 1968)

                  This responsibility does not lie solely with the healer. For and foremost, of course' it is the primary caretaker's responsibility and their close friends and relatives. Since school is one of the first major checkpoints for the evaluation of a person s value potential, it is the educators responsibility to judge the Quality‑oriented development. But since the healer is placed in a checkpoint role where he can adequately judge the development of a child longitudinally through his life' it is his responsibility also to try to educate both the child and the parent in the particular major issues of each stage of development and to try to help the parents and the child grow in a healthy fashion. If the doctor is not trained in the psychotherapeutic measures necessary to help steer the child appropriately, then he should focus this child to one specialized in such problems. At the very ]east, however, he should be trained in recognizing unhealthy goal and value development F and consider this a tremendous threat to the health of his patient. Neglect of this responsibility by the healer, leaves relatively few reliable checkpoints available.

Through each developmental era, the child learns the ability to express his self more fully. Where in the first part of his life the child's constructivity or destructivity is dependent on the social and cultural milieu, with maturity the child begins to gain mastery and control over his own life autonomously of that milieu. Even for the healthiest of people this striving for autonomy, is a struggle. It is in adolescence that the child first considers seriously, to try to will his life in a particular direction. This consideration may at first be stemmed from the fantasies and identities of a child, but the adolescent starts to take much more seriously the importance of taking a direction in life. For direction to be actualized' the adolescent realizes that he must learn to integrate his personality's various aspects and coordinate these aspects with his hopes. The person begins his wholistic vision.

    The ages 15-25 or so mark the ages of consolidation. Life's first major choices must be made and acted on as the child matures into adulthood. The constructivesness or destructiveness of the child, begins to take themes weaving the fabric of personality towards Quality's expression in the person's style of life and character. The success of a healthy development gives a person who makes healthy choices and if fate has been kind, a healthy non‑neurotic person fit to handle the responsibilities of adulthood ages 25-65, with a sound self‑identity, intimate and loving relationships, and the start of a commitment to improve life conditions for future generation, i.e. generavity. If fate is not so kind, as it usually seems to be, the healthy person revises his life choices, goals, and style to adjust to the conditions.

SUTRA:  Navigating to Bliss

Somewhere around the age of 65 marks the proof of ego‑ and self‑integrity. If the person has suitably fulfill the propriate strivings planned in his youth and attempted to fulfill in middle age, then the person gains a sense of wholeness, completeness, a sense of successfully realizing his ultimate concerns and intentions. Lack of this self‑actualization, leads' as we can so clearly see in our elderly' an overwhelming sense of despair.  Erikson says this about integrity and despair:

Integrity is the ability to face the facts of ones life and to face death without neurotic fears. It results from the ability to introspect about the gradual evolution of life events...[With despair] fate is not accepted as the frame of life' death not as a finite boundary. Despair expresses the feeling that the time is too short for the attempt to start another life and to try out alternative roads to integrity. Such a despair is often hidden behind a show of disgust' a misanthropy, or a chronic contemptuous displeasure which, were not allied with the visions of a superior life. (Erikson F 1959)

SUTRA: Integrity

Abraham Maslow has written much on the self‑actualizing person‑‑one who has enlivened his fullest capacities as a person. He makes it clear that he believes that the process of personal and spiritual growth is a part of human biology and hence fitting subject for the sciences:


The value‑life (spiritual , religious, philosophical, axiological, etc.) , is an aspect of human biology and is on the same continuum with the "lower" animal life (rather than being in separated, dichotomized, or mutually exclusive realms). It is probably therefore species‑wide, supracultural, even though it must be actualized by culture in order to exist...The spiritual life may be the highest part of the biological life, but it is still part of it' for it is a defining‑characteristic of human nature, without which human nature is not full human nature. It is part of the Real Self, of ones identity, of ones inner core, of ones speciehood, of humanness. (Maslow, 1971)


CHART:  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Thus Maslow set out to find the farther reaches of human nature, by studying the traits, tendencies, values, goals, and styles of the healthiest people he could find ,including those long dead , but historically significant. He found that these people were motivated, not only by the same basic, survival needs, but also were 'meta‑motivated', by 'meta‑needs' and growth values. The self‑actualizers, set a solid basis for the fulfillment of basic needs' but transcend their lower nature' to enjoy and express the intrinsic "experiential richness, inbreed in the very breath of existence, for along with existence comes Being‑values (B‑values) that enables one to spontaneously approach peak experiences and higher forms of Ouality in their life. Continued lack of the proper willingness to growth, and hence frustrations of the B‑values and metamotivations, leads to meta‑pathology, which is so extremely common in, the people of today.

    CHART:  Maslow's Attributes of the Self-Actualized Person

Maslow makes a distinction between two types of self‑actualizer: transcenders and non‑transcenders. Transcedence has been talked' about for thousands of years. but has been neglected as an legitimate study object of human nature. Because this concept is so crucial, and neglected, I have chosen to include Maslow's own description of a well‑functioning and healthy person, who is able to experience and express Quality so beautifully, through these peat and transcendental experiences. Again the description is outlined and loosely quoted. (Maslow, 1962, 1971)

These transcenders, firm in their self‑identity, shine the clear light of the soul. Historically many schools developed trying to help the person transcend the aspects of the world that inhibit the soul's clear expression and more full awareness, lending to neurotic expression, and illness. The Buddha devised the Four Noble Truths to describe the cause of a non‑transcendental consciousness, and the Eightfold Path to describe the Way towards transcendence. Yoga also developed to help develop more systematically the intuition, the faculty of the transcendental consciousness. The very word Yoga means "union", joining and harmonizing of the self with the soul. So many others' from Plato and Pythagoras, to Jesus and Gandhi, have preached the extreme importance of developing and supporting the growth of the experience and expression of the Quality of life, the soul. Transcendence, it should be noted, does not mean the turning inwards of consciousness in appreciation of the light of the soul in neglect of personal responsibilities. Quite on the contrary; Transcendence enables one to fulfill ones responsibilities more fully, with a greater perspective of the particular duty's wherefore and whence. It gives inspiration to aide humanity to growth as a species towards its higher, more fulfilling aspects.

With this brief introduction to the general notion of the healthy person, the doctor may begin to make a wholistic examination of the particular person to see if their life is tending in the direction of general healthiness or illness. He can do this by evaluating the values of the person, his/her goals, intentions, creative expressions, love, integrity, courage and style of life. Wholistically understanding these natural teleological aspects of the person allows insight into the context  of the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of the patient. Before this perspective can be complete, however, the doctor needs to understand the various points of tangent that humans tend to make inhibiting the growth process, and particular neuroses, and neurotic styles that develop has a result.

Karen Horney has written much on the development of the neurotic personality. In her introduction to her insightful boot, Neurosis and Human Growth, she writes the following:


The neurotic process is a special form of human development, and because of the waste of constructive energies which it involves‑‑is a particularly unfortunate one. It is not only different in quality from healthy human growth, to a greater extent than we realized, antithetical to it in many ways. Under favorable conditions man's energies are put to the realization of his own potentialities. Such a development is far from uniform. according to his particular temperament, faculties, propensities, and the conditions of his earlier and later life, he may become softer or harder, more cautious or more trusting' more or less self‑‑reliant, more contemplative or more outgoing; and he may develop his special gifts. But wherever his course takes him, it will be 'his'' given potentialities which he develops. Under inner stress, however, a person may become alienated from his real self. He will then shift a major part of his energies to the task of molding himself by a rigid system of inner dictates, into a being of absolute perfection. For nothing short of godlike perfection can fulfill his idealized image of himself and satisfy his pride in the exalted attributes which (so he feels) he has, could have, or should have.

This trend in neurotic development...engages our attention over and beyond the clinical or theoretical interest in pathological phenomena. For it involves the fundamental problem of morality‑‑that of man's desire, drive, or religious obligation to attain perfection. No serious student concerned with man's development will doubt the undesirability of pride or arrogance, or that drive for perfection when pride is the motivating force....

We thus arrive at a 'morality of evolution', in which the criterion for what we cultivate or reject in ourselves lies in the question: is a particular attitude or drive inductive or obstructive to my human growth? (Horney, 1950)



SUTRA:  The Cocoon

Elsewhere, Horney's conception of the irrational neurotic strategies which the anxious  insecure child develops! to cope with his feelings of isolation and helplessness, are summarized in the ten neurotic needs:

CHART:  Neurotic Needs and their Appropriate Expression


These ten needs are the sources from which inner conflicts develop, and can be classified under three headings:

1. moving toward people (e.g., the need for love)

2. moving away from people (e.g. the need for independence)

3. moving against people (e.g. the need for power)


CHART:  Universal Human Needs

Modern psychiatry has done an excellent job describing, operationally, the disturbed neurotic styles in the DSM‑III classification of personality disorders. This classification system defines personality disorders as "traits [that] are inflexible and maladaptive and cause either significant impairment in social or occupation functioning or subjective distress". Personality traits are "enduring patterns of perceiving? relating to, and thinking about the environment and oneself....exhibited in a wide range of important social and personal contexts. The evidence is clear that people with personality disorders are at substantially higher risk for other psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety disorders, somatization, substance abuse' hypochodriasis,  psychosis, suicide, and recurrent self destructive behaviors. Thus we can see the extreme importance of not only the wholistic physician, but also surgeons and medical specialists to be educated in and familiar with these maladaptive patterns and how that might relate to their medical practice.  For this reason, I have included, as a brief introduction to the subject, the DSM‑III criterion for the personality disorders, and a description of these styles with a brief comment on how these persons might be dealt with in a medical practice by especially understanding successful personality styles as well.  These help us to understand the fundamental characteristic and qualities of the personality style.

CHART:  Personality Disorders and Successes

Each healing model brings with it a unique approach to healing based on its conception of the person. The wholistic way, as a synthesis of all the healing ways, envisions the whole person, in all his/her aspects, and breath of being. The wholistic healer is not content with his patient s health unless he sees that the patient is somewhat successful at his attempt to enliven as much Quality as he is feasibly capable. This means that the patient harmoniously nurture and integrate the various aspects of his being so that each aspect sings its virtue in concordance with the overall symphony of values.

Wisdom is the capability to bring life to its fullest expression of Quality. It deals with the realization of the vision of the potential purpose (proprium, dharma, meaning) of the person's life, and the willingness knowledge and power to actualize this vision. The doctor makes two fundamental types of clinical judgments in regard to his patients: an empirical judgment, that assesses reductively the condition of the parts, and synthetically the condition of the whole, and an aesthetic judgment that appreciates the Quality of the patient's life. The science of medicine deals with the empirical and aesthetic knowledge gained retrospectively via the diagnostic process and prospectively via the prognostic and treatment process. The medical art deals with the willingness and power (still, talent) to appreciate and create a higher Quality of life. The patient, as a person, is a multi‑dimensional being; his life is expressed through the integiation of many forms, structures, functions, and meanings. The doctor makes his judgment and action on these.


The wise healer has the willingness, knowledge and power to aid his patient increase the Quality of his/her form, structure, function and meaning as he uses the medical science and art through the diagnostic, prognostic and treatment processes. The Beauty of life is the name of the fulfillment of the potential Quality of life. Wisdom is the successful experiencing and expression of the Beauty of life. The wise person, perhaps with the aide of the wise doctor, becomes healthy by enlivening the Beauty of life.

SUTRA: Wisdom

The wise barefoot doctor is compliable to the needs and values of the patient. understanding the body, habits' traits, attitudes' themes' worldview, roles, dharma' goals' hopes, aspirations, character, styles, and topology etc., of his patient,  he chooses the most appropriate course of action that is attuned to the aspects and context of the person with whom he is treating. The compliability of the healer allows the patient to be more comfortable in his own compliance with the healing process and hopefully successful in the process of becoming healthier. Thus the wholistic healer should be well trained in personality and moral development, so that he may more effectively practice his wholistic art and science. Unfortunately this is being relatively ignored in medical training programs because of the overwhelming dogma of scientism.

            Morality and our choice mean a lot in matters of health, and so do our emotions.  How we feel plays a huge role in our choices, health and happiness.  There are many types of emotions some of which are stronger and more predominant.  Each of us are conditioned by our previous emotional states and as we develop, we learn to somehow steer our emotions.  We have some control of emotions, some of us more than others, yet our feelings exist in each of us as a karmic reminder of our past.  Emotions are biophysiological attachments that impinge on the present moments experience.  They can be triggered by many internal and external sources, and are expressed uniquely.  Let’s appreciate briefly, the terrain of the affect.

CHART:  The emotions

SUTRA:  Anger's Bilious Nature

Modern Psychiatry tends to break up the disorders of affect into depression, mania, bipolar, and anxiety.    The anxiety disorders are phobias, panic, generalized and obsessive-compulsive.   Psychiatrists have had the opportunity to witness how human emotions tend to cause disease and take away from our quality of life.   Much, much pain and suffering comes as a result of our emotions.  But what would life be like without them—like Mr. Spock on Star Trek;  Vulcan perhaps, but not human.

Every emotion can be harmonizing or disharmonizing depending on its potency and karmic repercussion.  Every emotional experience we have tends to dig that karmic groove that breads familiarity.  Humans develop their emotional nature for many diverse reasons and this conditioning effects their momentary experience.  Those who tend to worry, tend to have more to worry about.   How we feel is not random, especially as an adult.    Fear and guilt cause so much dysfunction, as does shame, lust, anger, pride, pity, envy, jealousy.  Hope, atonement, self-esteem, respect, love, modesty, compassion, generosity, faithfulness can harmonize the dysfunction.  But this requires a recultivation of the emotional nature.  This means learning to make healthier choices and having healthier attitudes.  This means some level of emotional repentance, and the self-effort to gain skill in feeling better. 

This skill usually requires taming some drives.   Many times in spite of our higher values, we are driven in more self-defeating ways.   At certain times in life and in certain people, the drives can be especially strong and go beyond a reasonable control.  Drives are our physiological attempt to meet our needs.  Emotions are most often a result of physiological and psychological conditioning.   Many people remain victims to their emotions, and many learn to propagate healthy and good emotions.    Our nervous system and brain chemistry, our hormones, and our mind all play an important  role in this conditioning process.  A healthy person, without knowing the biophysiological details, learns many functional skills in harvesting their emotions effectively.  Lesser emotionally healhty people have a tendency for one or more emotional

SUTRA:  Climatic Conditions

           The healer may choose to specifically examine the cognitive aspects of the person to diagnose various cognitive problems.   The cognitive aspects include the intellectual operations.  We will further discuss the development of cognition in the section on prognosis; for now let us focus on the qualities of the cognitive faculties.  It seems that one main purpose of cognition is to aquire, process, retrieve and "do" knowledge.   Piaget, of course, has done much to help us to understand the roles of cognitive processes.  For Piaget, according to Thomas: 

knowledge is a process of acting--physically and/or mentally --on objects, images, and symbols that the     child's perceptual lens has cast into patterns that are somewhat familiar to her or him.  The objects are found    in the world of direct  experience, while the images and  symbols can be derived not only from the "real world"   but from memory as well.  (Thomas, p263)     


        In  his own book called STRUCTURALISM, Piaget defines some of the basic structures and functions of the cognitive processes:      


Now all such behavior that has innate roots but becomes differentiated through functioning contains, we find the    same functional factors and structural elements.  The functional factors are assimilation, the process whereby an action is actively reproduced and comes to   incorporate new objects into itself (for example,   thumb sucking as a case of sucking), and accommodation,      the process whereby the schemes of assimilation    themselves become modified in being applied to a  diversity of objects.  The structural elements are,   essentially, certain 'order' relations (the order of  movements in a reflex act, in a habitual act, in the suiting of means to end), 'subordination schemes' (the   subordination of a relatively more simple schema like   grasping to a relatively more complex one like pulling)  and 'correspondences' (such as are involved in what we have elsewhere called "recognition assimilation")...    


CHART:  Four Stages of Cognitive Development of Piaget

           Thus we can look to the cognitive aspects of our patient's being and examine these structures and functions, how the were assimilated and accommodated in our being, adding character to the great momentum of our life.   The quality of these structures and functions shine through as the various neurotic and enlightened styles.  Familiarity with the patient's accurate and distorted cognitive styles of thinking and coping, for example, helps the healer set the springboard  for the approach to take with the diagnostics and therapy.   Some patients blame themselves for the illness, some blame fate; others do whatever is necessary to overcome a barriers in their path, while others shy away from challenge or risk; Some people are dependent, others self-sufficient, some stoic, others hypochondriacal;  some people are hedonistic, while others spiritual, idealistic, or apathetic.  Each patient becomes a myriad of unique combinations of style that rings a tune similar to  a melody, or reflects a color produced from varied tones or shades.    And like the artwork created from this myriad, these qualities require an aesthetic type of judgment to see and understand their import.     

         The following chart gives examples of various cognitive distortions that tends to guide our behavior neurotically:     

        CHART:  Cognitive Distortions and their Clarities

        SUTRA:  Reflections on the the Projections onto the Reflections from the Projections

            Now let us consider the appreciation of some more enlightened modes and expressions of cognition.  First, a healthy cognitive function is the mental operations that go into the process of thinking.  Thoughts are able to be linked in a universally valid way, logically related, and drawn upon at will when the situation calls for it.  This process relies on cognitive structures that are coordinated in a reasonable manner. Another important cognitive process is the ability to call on past experience, and the experiences of others, and relate the past experience with the present.   This relies on worthy recognition skills, memory, association faculties, and the creative imagination.     

            The healthiest of cognitions would be able to think quickly, profoundly, and creatively on a subject presented to him from within or without his being, and come to conclusions that are morally acceptable and ethically sound.  This requires not only agility and strength of thought, but also dedication to principles of righteousness deemed worthy by that consciousness.  The highest of these principles would probable ring true for other such thinkers as they would be universalizable beyond specific situations, specific egos; yet they would seem tailor made for that specific consciousness, and a worthy director of his experience.

            Rather than being plagued by distortion, this type of cognition is blessed with a clear insight and a style that is true to heart.   Glamour, illusion, delusion remain free from this cognition, allowing for accurate interpretation and application of thoughtforms.   Integrated with the other aspects of the person,  cognitive values like Truth, Beauty, Wholeness, Justice, Meaningfulness, Wisdom, guide the person to a more fearless, more profound and responsible cognitive life, with karmic repercussions that allow for a more free-flowing, and self-determined life.

     Tied in with cognition is volition, the will agency and will-power aspects of our being.   This is the energetic link of cognition to our creative expression and behavior.  Often plagued with insecurities and a basic mistrust in ones own decision making abilities, the volitive faculties bring our cognitions into the world.   The clearer the content and righteousness of thoughts that guide behavior, and the stronger the will, the more likely that this intention will be manifest in the world.   Morality is the art and science of intention, and can be defined as the discipline adhered to within a person that guides his experience and expression towards increasing quality of life.  The diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic process is most powerful when it, in addition to its empirical methodologies that collects facts about the patient, also focuses on the values of the patient, how they were developed and willfullingly reinforced into the moral fiber of the patient.    The patient's morality manifests in his unique pattern of priorities, his goals, willed style of behavior.     

            Neglect of the values and intentions of the patient is common in modern western medicine, which tends toward generic, assembly-line type of medicine.  All to often the trends toward constructiveness, achievement motivation, beliefs, hopes, and aspirations, and the comprehensive intentionality towards a greater life of beauty--are all neglected as a healer focuses on the particular physical manifestation of the pathophysiology.  This approach neglects the potential causal relationship between will and compulsion to the disease processes.   It also undermines, as we will later discuss, an appropriate tailor made treatment course that guarantees compliance, and prognostication that includes that particular person and his life course, rather than a living statistic.     

            Let us now focus how the healer may choose to focus the diagnostic processes on his patient's morality.   First, it is important that the healer understand the general life-stage that the person is going through, with  the cognitive and ego developmental issues common for that stage.  A two year old will have much different issues than a fifty year old man.  The moral process is intimately tied in with the life stage and the particular issues facing that person, his ability to cognitively assimilate and accommodate these issues, and to egoically manifest a response or expression to the world.   Below is included a few charts that review the life stages,  cognitive development, ego development, and moral development.   Familiarity with these stages allows that clinician to speak the same language as the patient, know his "types" of choices and issues, and may include an examination of his patient to more fully appreciate where his patient is coming from and going to.              

CHART:  Developmental Milestones             

CHART:  Cognitive Development             

CHART:  Ego Development             

CHART:  Moral Development

CHART:  Stages of Psychosocial Development

            Not all behavior is willed, and even that behavior which his willed is often distorted by Fate's hands.  Compulsion remains a foe to well-meaning morality, as it forces its way into our thoughts as obsessions, and into the world as un-intentional, overwhelming behavior.   Though compulsions are often spontaneous, brewed up from less conscious sources, not all spontaneity is compulsive.   Some spontaneity is a highly sophisticated, pre-blessed behavior, and though not immediately preceded by cognition, cognition  has at one time or another given its ok to such  expression, but has chosen to remain in a quiet transcendence.          

            Awareness of the particular compulsions of the person is helpful for a healer to beware, as these are the counter forces of consciousness, brewed up from the depths.  Thus a healer may examine the person's conscious grip on his being and diagnose those compulsive factors that loosen this grip, or strangle with it.   These eventually manifest as the various anxiety disorders and phobias,  and as confusion, and a sense of lack of control or over control on the patient's being.   Awareness of such factors as control, how and why the patient chooses the way he does or doesn't, and the existential givens in the person's life, are all important diagnostic considerations.   These determine the risks that a person takes in life, and as we are all to well aware, these risks are imbedded in the disease process.

         A healer can also choose to focus on how the person deals with the existential givens of his being, and beingness in general.  There are certain aspects of beingness, being human, being this particular person in this particular world, avoidance of which tends the being toward alienation, recognition of which, tends the being towards authenticity.  We must breath, feed, drink, take shelter.   We are embodied physically, and must live in the physical world with its laws of gravity, and thermodynamics, etc.  We must deal with time, and the change of the universe, and the change of our being.  Coming to know part of the universe or ourselves means recognizing the finite, ever changing characteristics of beingness and the threat of non-being.     

SUTRA:  Fear

SUTRA:  Death

            Each of us must deal with the isolation of ourselves in embodied form, and though the 'essence' of our soul my be a spiritual unity, the 'substance' of our being takes form isolating us from the rest of the universe.   And in our finitude, we are forced to deal with the suffering that comes with being alive, and the constant existential anxiety around our eventual fate of death.   We can meet these issues authentically, face to face, realizing that they are the rules of the game and thus try to 'play' the best we can, or we can alienate ourselves from these givens, and neurotically avoid the facts of life. The healer may choose to try to understand his patient's existential authenticity and alienation, how he chooses to face fate, how he deals with the ultimate loneliness of his isolated, finite being, and the emptiness and meaninglessness that accompanies this world of burden and suffering.    

SUTRA:  With Myself to Bare

SUTRA:  On the Productivity of Being

            The struggle to find meaning in life is an aspect of being human to be dealt with, just as finding water or shelter is.  The attempt at meaning is tied into the very web of consciousness itself, as it embraces the world.  Descartes used the phrase "I think, therefore, I am", reflecting his attempt to correlate consciousness with beingness.  Perhaps more accurate would be "There is awareness, therefore existence", reflecting the very self-evidence of being through consciousness.   As a consciousness matures in his interaction with the world,  the person will attempt to find his place in the universe, his worth and extension. Forfeiting this search alienates the person from integrating his subjective world with the objective, condemning the person to a sense of meaningless. This leaves either the objects of the world without cathexis, or the subject of his being empty and depressed.  Recognition of the meaningfulness and meaninglessness of his patient, allows the healer to diagnose the existential 'dis-eases' of being.

SUTRA:  In the Relief of Boredom

EXCERPT:  Chang-tzu on Virtue

            All too often neglected by the medical doctors is the diagnostics of that coherency aspect of our being that holds us in a unifying form by it's principled energetics called by many our etherical or vital body.   Descriptive terms like "vibration" or "harmony" of an energy system turn some doctors' stomachs, yet to musicians these are areas of primary focus.  Likewise some healers prefer to get attuned to the qualities of the vibrational energetics of the body.  These healers learn to hear, so to speak, whether or not a person and his various aspects, is singing his songs of  life on key or off.   The etheric body is a reflection of the brilliancy of the timbre, is its sung sweetly like a Strativarius, or rusty and sour?   Are the strings too tight, too old, is the neck warped or the wood dampened?  Many human ailments are seeded from the etheric vehicle,  manifesting behaviorally as tiredness, apathy or depression,  anxiety, mania, or hyperactivity.   And just as a physicist might study harmonics or vibrational frequencies, the healer may learn to appreciate the etheric energies and how the act and react in his patient's being.      Science is making insights in the empirical understanding on the harmonic frequencies.  The electromagnetic resonance of molecules, cells, tissues and organs can measured and influenced.  Seizure disorder and migraine headaches are already approved treatment techniques that use magnetic induction of brain activity.  Other magnetic induction techniques have led to improved memory and cognitive functioning.  Meditation, qigong, yoga, tai chi, story, acupuncture, and laying on of hands may, more practically induce a situation that induces a resonant change in brain functioning.   Ultimately, it is the person’s skill in inducing brain and organ function that will determine much about that person’s tune. 

The Self may be considered the reflection of the soul back onto itself as it attempts to manifest in the world.   It represents the archetype of unity, and the integrator of the unconscious, subconscious, conscious and supra‑conscious dimensions. Its main force is that of growth towards completion' gestalt‑hood.  Erik Erikson, who spent so much of his life exploring the origin, growth, development,  and maturity of selfhood, remarked that identity is a true form of art. Stressing man's orientation towards growth and fulfillment, rather than merely attempting to overcome some state of arousal or deprivation, Erikson pointed out that the self " marked by self‑awareness, by an understanding of the roots of his existence in the past personal, social and cultural world, and by the possession of a schema for the projection of his fate into his own personal future...worries and reworks the raw materials of existence to produce that coherent organization of meaning and self knowledge which gives life as it is being lived a sense of purpose and direction."   Man is a teleological creature' and as such is endowed with certain potentials, which he strives to actualize.

Gordon Allport used the word proprium to describe the "acquired inner unity of preferred skills, motives' and values", which serve "to form, organized, stabilize' and direct further strivings of the individual." Furthermore" it is this proprium, which is the root of consistency that marks attitudes, intentions and evaluations, that "distinguishes the human being from the animal, the adult from the child, and in many cases, the healthy personality from the sick:." How crucial it is for the doctor to seek to understand the self of his patient, and his propriate strivings as the context for diagnoses, prognoses and treatment!

While the self represents the overall direction of man's strivings' it is the ego that gets him there. The ego is the conscious identity of the person as he deals with physical reality. It maintains the synthesis, integrity, and future‑oriented strivings in both an interpersonal and cultural milieu, and is involved in reality testing, interpretation of perceptions, adaptive behavior and self‑preservation' rational action, values‑‑morality and ethics, by using the other faculties of the person.

The ego develops as soon as the child begins to interact with the outer reality. This occurs with the earliest sensations and perceptions. Later, as the child gains some control, ego attempts to translate the inner urges into outer realization. Curiosity, attempts at control and mastery and defenses develop as the child gains more experience. Curiosity and exploratory behavior lead to the raw data necessary for the ego to correlate experiences' making it possible for the other cognitive processes to mature. The musculature is the vehicle for the final translation inner urges into action into the world as the ego makes attempts at control' mastery and the initial stages of intention. The ego' as director of the world‑oriented will, makes its first attempt at goal oriented behavior. The ego adds coherence to perceptions, apptitudes, intelligence, memory, learning comprehension, thinking, concept formation, verbal fluency, planning and anticipation as the cognitive processes develop.

SUTRA:   Ego

The person needs to adapt to both the internal and external reality for the purpose of self‑preservation. In animals, instincts and innate drives are often enough to protect the organism. In man, the burden is on the ego to be the mediator between the drives and needs of the person and the demands of outer reality. Defenses develop to help in the cognitive rearrangement of perceptual events. Though they were once only thought of as the basis for mental pathology, the defenses are recognized as necessary to man, survival, and may form the basis for many non‑pathological, reality‑ and ego‑syntonic modes of adaptation, and even traits of personality. Examples of some defense mechanisms are:

CHART:  Defense Mechanisms and their Healthy Expressions

SUTRA:  Denial

The ego participates in the direction of action, by utilizing three of its major functions: Anticipation, internalization and objectification. Anxiety is an important signal of potential reality demands. The ego learns to anticipate anxiety and to deal with this anticipation. The manner which ego does this determines much about the future tendencies of the person. The ego is also an active seeker of experiences in a positive directive, selective anticipation of the world. Through internalization, the ego learns to rework the data gained from experience' lending to an infinite variation in response potential. Insight into reality develops as the internal registering, assimilating, reworking, understanding, and prospecting functions develop, setting the foundation for intentional action. Crucial to this shift from the practically purely reflexive action to intention' is objectification' the differentiation of self from external reality. The ego uses feedback from its reality testing and attempts at intention, to develop mature' rational action, where behavior is directed according to means, ends and consequences of these means and ends. This sets the framework for the development of morality and ethics. (Kovacs, 1968) But before these can mature, an important aspect of the person needs to develop that gains insight into Quality‑‑the intuition.

Where the ego functions to correlate the self to external and internal sensible physical reality, the intuition functions to correlate the self to the soul, the internal and external envisionable metaphysical reality‑‑the seat of Quality. If we have no awareness, no consciousness' then we have no Quality in our life. Essential to the experience, appreciation, and creation of value is the soul. Substantial to its realization is the intuition.

Where the ego functions to use the will to lead to an intended action, the intuition functions to use the will to lead to an intended illumination. The light of the soul, gives vision to the intuiting self to perceive Quality. Thus giving the potential to Quality s expression in value experience, appreciation, and creation.

SUTRA:  Covet

Thus it is clear, that the intuition is an important tool in the development and maintenance of health in a person. Both the patient and the doctor need to use their intuition to guide the sick person back to health. Intuition is the chief coordinator for the faculties of the aesthetic sense, just as the ego is the coordinator for the faculties of the empirical sense.   The ego weighs data, thinks and drives the person according ;  the intuition appreciates ,envisions the right way, and leads the person. 

            It should be appreciated that intuition does not mean the non‑logically linked associations that the mind can make. Though it may be argued that the intuition may not work according to rules of formal logic, it does tend to work function in a coherent and coordinated logic unto itself. The intuition is the gauge that the person uses to weigh right from wrong, good from bad, one value from another. As their intuition matures, people tend to develop coherent and correlated morals attitudes, value preferences and beliefs. It is these patterns in collusion with ego’s tendencies that the wholistic doctor needs to identify to help gauge the sick person back to health. He may use either the extrospective techniques of the ego's empiricism or the introspective technique of intuition's appreciation to sense out the Truth and Quality of his patient's health, and the same faculties in perspective to devise a treatment strategy. Empiricism without intuition, lends to cold, miscontexted treatment intuition without empiricism lends to blind, fanatical treatment. Integrated and synthesized, the wholistic healer trains himself in both methods to comprehend more fully, the whole person.

CHART: Personality Inventory Based on Jung

The biomedicine doctor relies more heavily on his ego's empirical sense to discern the mechanical physical problems of the patient. Psychological healing relies more heavily on the intuition's aesthetic sense to discern the qualitative meta‑physical problems of the patient. The wholistic healer synthesis and integrates these two integrating functions to heal the patient with respect to his/her soul through the intuition and to his body, mind, and society and ecology, through the ego. To do this he must be familiar with the patterns, styles, tendencies and forces that lends character to the particular topology of the person.

            Value experience is had, only if the opportunity is attended to by the self. As perceiver of inner and outer sensations, and the initiator of action, the self gives its ok for the other aspects of the person to carry out the experience and intended creation of action. The ego may coordinate, correlation and test this process with worldly reality' as does the intuition with spiritual reality, but it is the self that is the prime mover and will agency of Quality. The self is often reflected in the person's character. The dispositions, habits, associations, identifications and traits that tend to develop are formed vita two major forces: the impressions from physical reality (bodily, social and ecologically), and from the spiritual will, which aides in the experience and creation of Quality. The study into the personal characteristics of each of these consistent predisposition's gives insight reductively when judged as to their individual and resultant vectoral magnitude and direction, and synthetically, when fudged in integration with the self, and its field of impact to discover the personality style, major themes anti characteristic symphony.

            The wholistic healer looks reductively at the various aspects of the persons to judge the patient's potentiality by examining his drives, needs, predispositions, tendencies, and synthetically envisions this information to judge the overall Qualitative appreciation of the patient's ability to experience and express value. The hindered value experience and expression may caused by an acute problem, e.g. delirium caused by toxic chemical ingestion that leads to inability to attend to the value; or especially a chronic problem like cynicism, where the person persistently neglects to ponder on the hopeful, more optimistic potential for experience and expression of value, thus hindering the expression of healthier traits that enhance the realization of the soul's higher Quality, as the self seeks actualization.


            The major predispositional forces of personality are traits. Traits are tendencies towards expressing behavioral patterns. They are not specific responses to environmental demands like habits which tie a person's actions to definite stimuli; rather, they are generalized and often willed means of expression. Each trait seeks to express some qualitative ideal, whether valuable or not. If that trait is chosen to express a valuable ideal, then it is called a virtue; if the trait hinders the expression of value then it is a vice. Virtues and vices differ from other behavioral expressions because they are chosen and willed, and as such tend to reflect the self's proprium. Thus by examining the specific traits developed in a person, the doctor is able to gain insight into his patient's specific values and value hindrances.


CHART:  Vices

            In his classic treatise on ethics, Aristotle set out to define the final good of man‑‑happiness. He concluded that happiness is "activity of the soul according to virtue, and if there is more than one virtue, the best and most complete of them over a lifetime". Thus he set out to find to best and most complete of the virtues.


            Each virtue seeks to express some value. Put the value expression is truly virtuous only if it acts in concert and support of the other values. Indeed, the mature person learns how to harmonize his/her values together in a symphony of value expression. The symphony of values may tend towards a theme and define the person's (hoped) style of life, but the pattern of values is concerted and webbed, not linear. Bertocci writes: "The life will be most successful in value realization in which the particular symphony of values is supported by habits, attitudes--and especially virtue traits--consonant with those values". Though a person may have some dominant traits, no trait may stand alone, for there are many types of values that a person "ought" to develop' if he is going to live the best life possible. If only the doctor could develop his ear for his patient's symphonic expression.

SUTRA:  Possibilities of Creation

The “Principle of Most Inclusive Harmony in Value Experience” suggests that the life best to live at any stage in a person's' life‑‑‑the Good life‑‑the happy life is a life that "keeps a creative and mutually sustaining balance between the largest range of values open to him." There are at least ten fundamental types of universal values that are basic to the Good life:

CHART:  Values Essential to Happiness

EXCERPT:  Global Value Survey

The wholistic symphony may be reduced to these values, but just as no note sings a harmony when sung alone, each of these values must be put in the context of the others, for the self chooses synthetically and acts integratively giving value realization its systemic, inclusive dynamic coherence. As this value realization becomes 'part' of the person, it becomes his/her character ‑‑ the Quality of personality. Bertocci points out that virtues are personal qualities of preferred experience, and the work of the self as he approves and reaffirms this disposition that leads to value experience and expression in choice situations. Each virtue is an attempt at excellence, for development to optimum capacity in a given opportunity. Without these traits, the person is more likely to be 'characterized' by his environmental stressors, acting mostly through habits, attitudes and sentiments which have their trigger by some specific stimuli and is directed towards a specific object.

The wholistic healer would need to be familiar therefore, not only with the environmental stressors that evoked personal responses, but the generalized patterns of expression that are the deliberate effort of the person as he seeks to realize Quality in his/her life. What, then, are the cardinal virtue traits ‑‑ ie. those traits that need to be developed by the person if he is to be successful at value actualization, neglect of which allows the growth of vices, bad habits and poor attitudes. These would give the wholistic healer a compass to gauge the character ‑‑‑ Quality ‑‑ of his patient, so necessary for the diagnoses of the healthy and unhealthy person.

CHART:  Virtue Traits

Many traits have been pondered by the great moral and ethical theorists to be cardinal virtue traits. Plato called them: justice! wisdom! courage and temperance; Aristotle: courage, temperance, liberality, magnanimity, pride, sincerity, distributive justice, corrective justice, equity! and the highest and most complete of the virtues ‑‑ wisdom. Jesus advised, in support of Moses' suggestions, that loving the sanctity of Life's intrinsic Quality with all one's heart, soul and might, is most important. He also describes this pathway to such 'blessedness' in the Beatitudes. Paul summarized the 'Christian' virtues as love, faith, hope' and charity. There are so many others, who described the cardinal virtue traits. A study in these are important for the wholistic physician, but the particular set of cardinal virtues will ultimately depend on which schema he/she is most comfortable with.

CHART:  Ben Franklin’s Thirteen Virtues

CHART:  Seven Great Virtues of Boy Scouting

CHART:  Sivananda’s Essential Virtues

Perhaps the most fundamental cardinal virtue traits is integrity: the willingness to be consistent and coherent in the choices ones makes in the attempt to coordinate the highest Quality of the symphony of values. It comes out in one's morality as purity, honesty and sincerity, and in one's ethics as trustworthiness, justice and even benevolence. Morality can be defined as the disciplined adhered to in an individual that attempts to respect and support the sanctity of the Beauty of life in relation to oneself. Ethics, likewise, can be defined as the principles adhered in the individual as he attempts to respect and support the sanctity of the Beauty of life of others. Much pathologic and neurotic experience and sociopathic and neurotic behavior can be linked to a disturbance in the expression of this cardinal virtue of integrity.

SUTRA:  Integrity

Another very crucial cardinal virtue trait is courage: the willingness to do what is necessary to handle the insecurities that arise in pursuit of ca gocal deemed worthy, but fear‑provoking. How many people have such high hopes, ideals and aspirations but due to their lack of courage, fail to realize them" The healthy person uses this trait to gain strength to face the dangers and fears that lay on their path towards self‑actualization. It is clear that where integrity helps the person in the direction of his vision of expressing Quality, courage gives him the strength to fulfill it in the creation of Beauty.

Integrity and courage can "holistically be considered together , as  the willingness to build into one's own being and others, the orientation to the growth of experience and expression of the highest Quality of life and living realistically capable. Bertocci defines love as "the total orientation of a person's thinking, feeling, and willing insofar as his controlling commitment is the ideal growth of personality in himself and in all other persons." Love is the motivating force and generalized willingness in a person to render unto the beloved, whether it be himself or another, all that would help make the beloved, Beauty. As such , love is not a specific trait, but a fundamental orientation to the world and the qualitative direction of the healthy style of life. Love is the fertile soil that allows the virtues to grow unhindered to seek their fullest actualization.

SUTRA:  Motivation

Erikson once wrote of the virtues: "I...speak of Hope, Will, Purpose' and competence as the rudiments of virtue development in childhood; of Fidelity as the adolescent virtue; and of Love, Care, and Wisdom as the central virtues of adulthood." Erikson, 1964)

CHART:  Development of Virtues       

The wise healer is now in a position to use his empirical and aesthetic senses. When evaluating his patients "holistically, we can see how important it is to examine the patients capability to love. Specifically how does the patient support the sanctity of the Beauty of life in him/herself and others? Are their tendencies fertile to the experience and expression of Quality's higher values? How effective is the patient's integrity and courage to support the growth of the symphony of values? And most importantly, are there ways to re‑direct the misguided styles of life, and can one aid, prophylactically, the development of a healthy  loving lifestyle and a beautiful life? 





The Wise Qualities of a Healer


            How and why is it that we call a person wise and what is the nature of wisdom?  Let us begin by looking at the common notions of the wise person and see if we can move towards a definition of wisdom.  A wise person certainly knows him/herself.  He/she has learned from past experience what is of most importance in life and has effectively disciplined himself accordingly to the most fundamental principles.  In addition to this, a wise person goes beyond himself to help others by applying these principles and is successful at it too.  Hence, he is respected by his sphere of influence as an authority on important matters in life and living and is often gone to for advice.  When his advice is successful in achieving the fundamental principles, we then call the person wise. 

            The most precious aspect of living is life itself.  At first our life struggles to survive; with the help of our family and community, we meet our survival needs and begin our pursuit of the good life.  As we mature  and more fully accept our karma as our own, our drives often push us to share our good life.  We often begin to commit to further responsibilities to provide and protect the good life for ourselves, friends, family that we created, and community.  A wise person would be exceptionally skilled in the art of caring for his/her own life, and those in his sphere of influence.

            We say that a wise man knows him/herself, for he must know where his wants end and others begin.  He is less likely to act out of compulsion and other neuroses because he has a strong will to discipline himself to those principles that are of utmost importance.  He has successfully mastered the problem of surviving in the world and has learned to effectively and ethically meet his needs necessary to live a convenient life.  Through knowing and achieving this, he can thus transcend himself by acting for others, rather than selfishly, for he needs or wants especially to live for others.  The more he does this, the wiser we say he is, that is, his effect in the world is in accordance to the most precious principles.  We say that a wise man has learned from past experience the priorities in life and living.  And what is that good toward which all arts and all inquiries, all actions and all pursuits aim?  Aristotle has shown in his Ethics and most would agree that this first and final good is the happiness of all.  The happiness involved here is not of the romantic type, but of a certain type of harmony in and between the life of individuals.  The happiness meant here can more appropriately be called the Beauty of Life—the ultimate achievement, fulfillment of Quality of life for humanity.  But we must also say that in addition to knowing this ideal, the wise man is dedicated to spreading Beauty throughout his sphere of influence; and not only that he is dedicated, but that he is successful at it, so his effects reap Beauty.  A man whose ideals and actions (principles and discipline) bring destruction or any other evil cannot be said to be wise.  A wise man is wise only when the people he effects move more effectively towards a thriving life.  This is why the wise man is gone to for advice.  The proof of his authority can be seen in his sphere of influence.  The tool he uses is reason or objectivity thinking about ideas.  Reason is not for oneself, but for others.  Reason can thus be defined as the motivating force in a being which renders unto the many in its sphere of influence all that makes them Beauty.  It is loving for the plurality of Beauty.  This all falls under the subject of philosophy which is the ultimate endeavor in the plurality of Beauty.  The Philosopher (lover of wisdom) is the who, Reason the how and wisdom the why.  When used correctly, as they must be by definition, the result is the well-being of all in the sphere of influence.

            And so the wise person is one who renders himself to the plurality of Beauty and is successful in his sphere of influence.  Would we not say that a wise man is successful at wisdom, much the same as a nice person is successful at niceness?  So wisdom must therefore be the ultimate skillful achievement in the plurality of Beauty.  Let this then be the definition.  Wisdom is not just knowledge of the  higher principles, but it is the fruit of these principles rightly applied.  We call a father wise only after looking at the Beauty of his family, that is, of his wisdom.  His wisdom is not some knowledge in his head, but a harmonious effect in the world around him .   It is why he lives, it is the purpose of his life achieved through reason.  We now see more clearly why a man whose actions bring about destruction cannot be called wise.  In fact a wise person is one who successfully propagates the Beauty of life.  And the more people he effects in this most excellent way, the wiser he is, that is, the more wisdom he has.   Wisdom is the skilled manifestations of the experience and expression of what is important (the most worthy principles).

            A wise healer, then, is one who has achieved excellent skill in the ways of healing that lead to a quality life, that is, health.  A wise healer would need to be intimately familiar with both the ways of health and the ways of healing.  Navigation requires both a destination and the skill and fortitude to get there.   Each healer develops a “health” compass that he/she uses to understand the direction of navigation.   When we look at a plant, we see immediately that it thrives or not.  When we see any creature, we can see whether they flourish or wither.  When we are familiar with the terrain of health and disease, we understand more clearly the capability of a person to tread the path of cure. 

            The wise healer has an especially acute eye in such matters.   He/she would also understand the healthy way.  Each of us are somewhat self-promoting, and somewhat self-defeating.  Every person lives the style of their personality and their personal characteristics define a unique definition of health.  Each of us have a characteristic way of becoming healthier and flourishing.  A wise healer would encompass skill of moving their patient into healthier ways.  Diagnostics leads us into understanding the direction of navigation.  Therapeutics leads us to towards the way of health.   Prognostics is the vision of the path, and probable outcomes of intervention.  The wise healer is skilled in prognostics, diagnostics and therapeutics. 

EXCERPT:  Hippocrates on Prognostics

EXCERPT:  Hippocrates on Prognosis, Chapters 2 and 3

            A wise barefoot doctor is a wise healer who is committed to a loving way.   One might ponder that a wise healer would naturally be committed to a loving way.  Some healers are primarily technique oriented and use skillful techniques in diagnostics, therapeutics, and prognostics.  This says nothing about their character and personal integrity, and primary motivations with patients.  The truly wise healer would be devoted to the way of healing through out his/her whole character.  A wise healer would live the way of health, for he/she would have mastered the path of discipline in accord with the highest principles.   His personal life should be a reflection of his wisdom.   A barefoot doctor is one who is committed to this path of mastery.    In barefoot doctoring, character development is important, as well as the techniques.

            As long as writing has been available, and no doubt long before that, humans recognized the importance of healers to have integrity with the ways of health.  It would be good to reread the ancient words of our ancestors to understand the values that wise healers characterize.  The way of barefoot doctoring honors the qualitative analysis and hopes of our foreparents as they  put into writing their vision of the qualities of a wise healer.  

EXCERPT:  “The Five Failings of a Physician”,  from the Yellow Emperor’s Classic

EXCERPT:  "The Four Lapses of Physicians”, from the Yellow Emperor’s Classic

EXCERPT:  Sun Ssu-miao, from “A Thousand Golden Remedies”

EXCERPT:  Chang-Lu, “Ten Commandments for Physicians”

EXCERPT:  “Attributes of a Good Physician” according to Ayurveda

EXCERPT:  Ethical Standards for the Ayurvedic Physician

EXCERPT:  “The Law”, by Hippocrates

EXCERPT:  “Daily Prayer of a Physician”, by Maimonides

EXCERPT:  The Oath of Asaph and Yohanan

EXCERPT:  “Oath of a Muslim Physician”

EXCERPT:  Character of the Islamic Physician



            Every modern school of healing has its own code of ethics.   Ethics is way we treat other people on the pursuit towards fulfillment.  We will further understand modern schools of healing’s ethical values in the chapter on “Freedom and Regulation in the Healing Arts”.    Morality is about the way we discipline ourselves.    Very few modern schools have codes of morality.  Today, the personal moral systems of modern students is not a critical factor in choosing a student.  The moral character, however, is the differentiating point of a barefoot doctor from other healers.  Many healers have excellent techniques that they use for profit, prestige, and other primary motivations.  A barefoot doctor is primarily motivated out of compassion, i.e. the urge to care, and seeks to beautify life.  A healer may seek to fix a body; a wise healer seeks to help a person become healthier.  A wise barefoot doctor seeks to become healthier, to help others become healthier, and to help all life have a better life. 


EXCERPT  American Medical Association, Principles of Medical Ethics

EXCERPT:  Osteopathic Code of Ethics

EXCERPT:  The International Council of Nurses, Code of Ethics

EXCERPT:  Naturopathic Code of Ethics

EXCERPT:  Acupuncture Code of Ethics

EXCERPT:  International Code of Ethics for Midwives

EXCERPT:  Japanese Chiropractic Association Code of Ethics

EXCERPT:  Assembly of First Nation Chiefs Committee Code of Health Research, Code of Ethics

EXCERPT:  Aboriginal Healthcare Worker, Code of Ethics

EXCERPT:  National Association of Social Workers, Code of Ethics

EXCERPT:  The Declaration of Geneva by the World Medical Association

EXCERPT:  Declaration of Alma-Ata

            Before we further understand the specific principles and techniques of diagnostics and therapeutics of a wise healer, let us further ponder on the specific qualities of a wise and caring healer.  They would have the knowledge of the terrain, that is, understand the science of health and disease.   No one might know the Truth, but each of us have a working knowledge that allows us to be somewhat successful in the world.  A wise healer would have a clear enough understanding to allow an accurate direction to be taken.  Given that all humans have limited vision and skill, even the wisest amongst us need also to be resourceful and clever in the healing process, and willing to be open-minded to the possibilities of unexpected impedance and ways of healing.    He also must be available and generous, never seeking to extract more than given.  He must have the magnetism to attract those in need to him/her and the radiance to give vision of the healing way.  A wise healer therefore has the qualities of:

·         Compassionate and Caring

·         Knowledgeable

·         Skilled, powerful

·         Resourceful, clever

·         Open-minded

·         Integrity, generous

·         Magnetic, radiant

·         Open-minded and willing

Here are some further ponderances on the qualities of a wise healer:

EXCERPT:  Qualities of a Wise Healer


Diagnostic and Therapeutic Principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine

            Our modern approach to diagnostics and therapeutics obviously did not just appeared de novo.  Humans as a species needed to develop neurocognively and ideologically to skillfully pursue these endeavors.  As humans matured collectively, our more modern approach to diagnostics and therapeutics developed.   The specific knowledge of the mechanics of health and healing was just not available in the past.  But mechanics is not the only insight necessary.  Insight into the quality of life and the characteristics of how the natural qualities flow and fluctuate is also critically important.  Whereas our knowledge of mechanics today is historically outstanding, our knowledge of natural qualities and their fluctuations has atrophied.  Let’s ponder on the principles of the more qualitative approaches to diagnostics and therapeutics before embarking on our more modern approaches so that we can further appreciate the context of healing. 

EXCERPT:  “The Mastery of Medicine”, from the Yellow Emperor’s Classic

To review, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses the application of the eight  principles as applied to the fundamental substances.   The fundamental substances, qi, blood, bodily fluids, spirit, vital essence, are influence by the elements through the internal organs.  The healer would seek to understand the specific qualities of these influences and balance them accordingly.    Quality is often most appreciable when polarized.  The eight principles gives us the filter to polarize various aspects of our being.  The practitioners may first begin diagnostics holistically, by evaluating the person for patterns of general eight principle balances or imbalances.

EXCERPT:  The Key to Diagnosis (from Yellow Emperor’s Classic)

CHART:   Signs and Symptoms of Excess Patterns

CHART:   Signs and Symptoms of Deficient Imbalances

CHART:   Signs and Symptoms of Yin Imbalances

CHART:   Signs and Symptoms of Yang Imbalances

CHART:   Signs and Symptoms of Exterior Syndromes

CHART:   Signs and Symptoms of Interior Syndromes

            CHART:  Signs and Symptoms of  Heat Imbalances

            CHART:  Common Signs and Symptoms of Cold Imbalances

The practitioner may then apply the eight principles to the patient’s fundamental Substances:

            CHART:  Signs and Symptoms of Qi Imbalances

            CHART:  Signs and Symptoms of Blood Imbalances

            CHART:  Signs and Symptoms of Bodily Fluid Imbalances

            CHART:  Signs and Symptoms of Spirit Imbalances

            CHART:  Signs and Symptoms of Vital Essence (Jing) Imbalances

The practitioner may then look more generally for Internal organ Imbalances.

            CHART:  Disruption of the Internal Organs According to TCM

            CHART:  Qi deficiencies and the Internal Organs

         The Practitioner may then look, listen, smell, feel and even taste various aspects of the person to get diagnostic clues as to where a person is at, and where they are going.  First and foremost, is the general strong and conditioned emotional tendencies of the person.     Worry, grief, anger, fear, and sadness all have physiological consequences that condition us profoundly.   A practitioner would sense the persons emotional nature, primary and secondary emotional conditionings.   The hormonal, nervous, immune, digestive, cardiac, urinary, liver, lung, musculoskeletal, etc systems can cause and be disrupted by severe emotional swings.   When most people go out of whack, the emotions are clear signs of the personal weather conditions. 

            CHART:  Internal Organs and Emotional Imbalances according to TCM

            CHART:  Signs and Symptoms of Wind Invasion

             CHART:  Signs and Symptoms of External Wind  Invasion

            CHART:  Signs and Symptoms of Wind Cold Invasion

             CHART:  Signs and Symptoms of Wind Dampness Invasion

            CHART:  Signs and Symptoms of Wind Heat Invasion

            On the exterior of the body there are areas that more clearly reflect the internal condition of the person.  These major gateways are the face, eyes, ears, skin, hair and nails, the voice, the pulse, tongue, and abdomen, urine, phlegm, menstruation, genitalia.  Here are some examples of how some practitioners would approach some of these diagnostics opportunities.

            CHART:   Tongue Diagnosis, Eight Principle Differentiation (Maccocia)

            CHART:   Tongue Diagnosis and the Eight Principles

            CHART:   Aspects of Tongue Diagnosis

CHART:   Pulse and the Eight Principles

CHART:   Quality of the Pulse  (TCM Words used to describe the pulse)

EXCERPT:  “The Normal Pulse”, from the Yellow Emperor’s Classic

CHART:   Quality of the Abdomen in TCM

The general body size, shape and appearance is also clues to the fundamental constitution of the person.  Is the person vital and strong, robust?  Are they over-exuberant?  Some TCM practitioners are particularly interested in how the fundamental elemental qualities of the person influence the present condition.   The diseased expression of the qualities of the five elements can be appreciated by correlating a person’s complaints with typical elemental syndromes.

            The qualitative analysis done till now will help the TCM practitioner evaluate the level and stage of disease invasion in both acute and chronic conditions.  

            CHART:  Four Levels of Disease Invasion

            CHART:  Six Stages of Disease Invasion.

            The diagnostic procedure thus far has stage sets the stage for the therapeutic prescription.   Notice that it has required the qualitative diagnostic skills of the practitioner.  The aesthetic sense is necessary to appreciate the imbalance manifesting into the pattern disturbance.  A healer would need to know the way of the harmonious pattern and the qualities of the disturbance.  Laboratories and x-rays are not needed in this approach that relies more on our direct experience of the person before us.  Our consciousness and perceptual tools are the diagnostic equipment.  A fundamentally intuitive technique is helpful as we inductively resonate with the patient.   Our feelings and cognitions and perceptions triggered can be diagnostic clues to the karmic patterns of the patient.  We must be aware enough of our own karma to know that the emotion triggered is our own stuff and not weighted per se.   The particular way a person “makes” us feel may be from our feelings projected outward reflected back.  This area of intuitive analysis is tricky, but all the more for us to gain skill and wisdom in.  A lot of terrains are treacherous, but still worth traveling.  Certainly an opportunity as valuable as this is worth the discipline.

            A skilled practitioner can tell fairly immediately the general state of affairs, much like most people could describe the weather outside.  We are familiar with weather patterns and have developed languaging to describe the conditions and forecast.  “It’s hot and muggy outside, overcast and calm”.  TCM practitioners appreciate people much the same way.  “The patient has a excess damp, heat pattern with congealing phlegm in the lungs, exacerbated by excess greasy foods, spleen qi defiency and liver heat.”  

CHART:  Menstruation as an applied to the Fundamental substances through the Eight Principles

            The diagnostic patterns uncovered are linked with resources and ways available that could transform the imbalance into uprightness.   The diagnostics pattern are reciprocal of the therapy.   Hot patterns are matched with cold therapies.  Excess patterns need therapies that are reducing.  The categories of Chinese herbal therapeutics are revealing strategic clues to the qualitative categories of diagnostic patterns that a practitioner typically uses. 

            EXCERPT:  “Essentials of Disease and Therapy”, from Yellow Emperor’s Classic

            EXCERPT:  Principles of Herbal Therapy by the Yellow Emperor

            CHART:  Guidelines for Selecting an Herb

            EXCERPT:  Taste and the Qualities of Herbs

            CHART:  Medicinal Herbal Classifications

            CHART:  Categories and actions of Chinese herbs

            CHART:  Therapeutic Activities of Herbs

            Realize that these charts reflect therapeutic opportunities that go beyond treatment with herbs.  Other modalities also share similar properties and can be used to therapeutically harmonize the imbalance.  A practitioner might use acupuncture, qigong (qi enhancement techniques), foods, meditations, massage, and counseling to redirect the fundamental substances as expressed through the internal organs and rest of the person. 

            CHART:  Rudiments of Acupuncture:  Levels of Disease Invasion,(From YEC)

            CHART:  Supplementation and Drainage Techniques

            CHART:  Overview of Needling Techniques

            CHART:  Overview of Massage Techniques in TCM

            CHART:  Yin Massage Techniques in TCM

            CHART:  Yang Massage Techniques in TCM

            Different schools of TCM have different systems to process treatment regimes for a diagnostic pattern uncovered.    Eight principle schools tend to use eight principle therapeutics, like qi deficiency supplification, blood stagnation decongealment, or excess fire rising cooled and rooted.  Five element practitioners focus on elemental rebalancing and have sophisticated compasses that generate therapeutic options.  Each element is nourished or disciplined by particular elements and the natural tendency of each element needs to be restore.  Here are some typical five element charts that can be used to understand the natural way of the elemental qualities.   They are complex and require a specific knowledge of how to use them.  The details of this system will not be expounded on here, but they do so effectively reflect the relationships of the qualities of the therapeutic patterns correlating with a person’s anatomy and way. 

            CHART:  Five Elements and Acupuncture Point Selection

            CHART:  Five Element Treatment

            CHART:  Acupuncture Point Qualities

            CHART:  Treatment Plan in Acupuncture

            As usual the Yellow Emperor so clearly summarizes the diagnostic and therapeutic process in TCM, by reviewing the :

            EXCERPT:  “The Five failings of a Physician” from the Yellow Emperor’s Classic

            The TCM oriented healer may directly appreciate the workings of the person’s meridians as the qi courses through the body.  The meridians are like roadways of current that activates our body.  Much modern study has gone into acupoints and the meridians, but the qualitative appreciation of the meridians will remain the main diagnostic way.  The meridians as pathways of qi, carry both our electrical current and our consciousness.  Qi can be stuck, backed up and congested, stagnant, weak, too strong as it flows through the meridians. 

Take a rotator cuff injury of the shoulder.  The injury will tear the tendon and bleed into the joint space.  The person will then not move their arm for days, mostly because of the pain, but also in hopes that the tendon would repair.  The blood congeals into the joint with the other inflammatory wastes.  The shoulder, says the acupuncturist, has stuck qi and blood.  The tight, spastic muscles in the patient’s neck are from excess qi from using these muscles to move the arm.  The muscles below the injury become weak and withered.  This atrophy is from deficient qi, block by the stuck qi.  A meridian based acupuncturist or bodyworker would immediately qualitatively appreciate the excess, deficiency and stuckness of the meridians and seek to drain the excess, heal the tendon, disperse stuck blood and qi and strengthen the  deficiency.  This is a direct experience of the quality of the tissue, the feel, and integrity.  And a very valuable one at that.

CHART:  Causes of Pain in Traditional Chinese Healing

CHART:  Example of TCM Diagnostic and Therapeutic approach to Headaches



Diagnostic and Therapeutic Principles of Ayurveda

            Ayurveda also offers a valuable perspective for qualitative diagnostics.  To review, the ayurvedic doctor seeks the balance of the gunas as they manifest through the elements.  Humans, as part of nature, are diagnosable in terms of their fundamental gunic characteristics.  The personality as a whole, the body and mind, any aspect of our nature can be appreciated by their sattwic, rajasic and tamasic qualities.  Basically, is the aspect harmonizing, activating or diminishing for the person.   This helps us to understand the characteristics and tendencies of the person.

CHART:  Attributes of the Body Types 

CHART:   Vata Personality and the Gunas

CHART:   Pitta Personality and the Gunas

CHART:   Kapha Personality and the Gunas

CHART:  Body Types and the Doshas

CHART:  The Human Constitution

            As the elements ebb and flow in our personality, we take on further characteristics.  This elemental expression into our nature is called the Tridosha, Vata, Pitta, Kapha.  These tridosha influence our character.  We all have all the elements, it’s just that we share in their dominance and weakness uniquely.   We have an inherited balance of doshas that is conditioned by our will and the environment.  Disease can occur because our constitutional balance tips, our because of doshic influences from the climate, living and work place, foods, movement, emotions etc.  A  skilled ayurvedic practitioner looks for signs and symptoms of doshic disturbance.

CHART:   Manifestation of Vata

CHART:   Manifestation of Pitta

CHART:   Manifestation of Kapha

CHART:   Dosha Defiency, Excess and Aggravation

            Ayurvedic doctors then might turn to evaluating the tissues.  For each tissue, they would seek to understand if it seems superior, medium or inferior quality.   The practitioner looks for the proper integrity and strength of the muscles, fat, bones, nervous system, reproductive system, blood, plasma.  Each area requires an eye, like the gardner for the plant.  Any aspect of our tissues, any organ can be appreciated by the green thumb.  Signs and symptoms of tissue weakness, or potential weakness require an astute eye to recognize disease.  How willing is the tissue to heal and repair?  Is it prone to festering?  Does it function properly?  Does the tissue cause discomfort?  Feel normal?  Is the tissue aging fast of slow?    Does it obey the natural rhythms?   This area is not unlike modern, western medicine’s approach to the physical exam, but in the ayurvedic qualitative context.  For example, pulse is taken and described in terms of its vata, pitta, kapha, tridoshic characteristics.  

CHART:  Ayurvedic Pulse Reading

            A major focus of much of Ayurvedic diagnostics has to do with understanding how each of us digest, assimilate and eliminate food.  The strength and capacity of the digestive fire, agni, would be evaluated, and the amount of digestive accumulant called “ama” is appreciated in the phlegm, urine, stool, secretions and way of the person.    The body is built on food.  Food needs to be properly digested to make us.  Our agni, fundamental metabolic fire, is critical to our well being.  Much goes into understanding agni, and there are many Ayurvedic therapies that balance the doshas through balancing the agni. 

            Traditionally, the doctor would check the complexion, eyes, speech and voice, tongue, skin, stool, urine and pulses.  The doctor might check also the adaptability of the person, and the emotional overtones.   If the doctor is yogically oriented, as is common, then the doctor may more esoterically analyze the karmic disruptions that keep a person from their dharma.  Looking at the emotional balance and cognitive characteristics of the person, the doctor might recognize a negative karmic pattern.    The sharpness of the intellect, clarity of the intuition can be appreciated, as can the sharpness of our eyes and ears.  Ayurvedic doctors need to be especially qualitatively skilled in diagnostics, as it is especially easy to therapeutically imbalance a patient with the inappropriate Ayurvedic treatment.  Treatment is based on reciprocally balancing the diagnosed imbalance.

            EXCERPT:  Ayurvedic Principles of Treatment from the Charaka Samhita

            EXCERPT:  In Praise of Herbs from the Rg Veda

            Dietary adjustments, herbal and gem therapies, yoga exercises, lifestyle changes, and panchakarma are  applied to help solve the challenge.  Stronger medicine is used for stronger diseases and sometimes even surgery is needed.   Panchakarma are techniques of purification that rids the body of toxic materials that injure our body.  They include cathartics, purgatives, enemas and laxatives, oils rubs and massage, steams, washes and hydrotherapies. 

EXCERPT: Charaka Samhita on the Development of Toxic State (Ama)

CHART:  The Gunas and Food Qualities

    These therapies are tailor-fitted to the constitution and needs of the person.  Therapies are not just for healing disease but for promoting longevity.  The therapeutic approach to preserving youthfulnes and vigor is called rasayana.  Ayurvedic healers have many ways of preserving the vitality.   Humanity has much to appreciate from these endeavors.

EXCERPT:  Charaka Samhita on the Importance of Rasayana




Diagnostic and Therapeutic Principles of Esoteric Healing

Dis‑order and dysfunction may occur in our more esoteric aspects, which is manifested eventually in thwarted value experience and expression. The doctor therefore, needs to be familiar with these esoteric aspects, to accurately diagnose, prognose and treat the person's illness. They are intrinsically part of the person qua well‑functioning human being. Dis‑order or dysfunction in these aspects, given their pervasiveness, can cause serious illness.

            The mind, like the other systems of the person, is well integrated to work as a whole. The essence of this integration is the soul this is reflected in the person as the self, and consciously as the ego. By being aware of the Quality of each of these major integrating aspects of the person, the doctor has the first hint into the needs, values, themes, and style of a person s life. Realizing these wholistic psychological factors, allows the context for the doctor, so that the etiology of the dis‑order may be focused on, and a prognoses.‑‑`and treatment plan, designed to suit that person.

The soul can be defined as the essence of consciousness, and as the witness to all perception, the soul the experiencer of Quality.   The soul is the very seat of awareness. Awareness was meta‑physically defined above as the fundamental unit of experience, vectorally describable as a quantity and a Quality (how and why). The soul is that which gives characteristic to the life force as it finds expression in the various aspects of the person.   Character may even be said to be a reflection of the intentions of the soul as it attempts to karmically move towards fulfillment.

SUTRA:  The Soul

EXCERPT:  Various Quotes On the Soul

EXCERPT: Patanjali on the Soul’s Liberation

EXCERPT:  Krshna on the Soul I 

EXCERPT;  Krshna on the Soul II

EXCERPT:  Aristotle on the Soul

EXCERPT:  On the Soul, Quotes from a variety of Sources

EXCERPT:  Dictionary Definition of the Soul


How does one "measure" vitality, and judge quality, value and beauty, or integrity, meaning and purpose,  or peace of heart and mind.  Often we don't directly measure quality, per se, but appreciate it, vibrate with, or contemplate it.  The amount of quality is important to estimate , reflected in the strength of the character. Psychologists have ways of testing for trends of personality traits, stress, depression, dissociation, anxiety. Appreciation of these aspects of personhood, allows the healer to respect the scaffolding that sustains a disease process. Let us become more familiar with the aesthetic process of appreciating the qualities and styles of a persons mind-body-spirit as they attempt to experience and express Quality.

SUTRA:  Quality

EXCERPT:  Aristotle on Qualitia

EXCERPT:  The Tibetan on Quality

            Facts can be known, isolated and measured;  quality is much more subtle and requires more than just sensory awareness to be appreciated.   Values, though just as real as facts, rely on an a priori projection of worth, experience and reinforcement of experience.  Facts lie reflected onto our consciousness from an outside source, while value requires our consciousness to enliven it, give it appreciation and worth.   Quality is the substance of our consciousness itself, and though values may be seeded from objects in the material world, they remain sewn to the core of our conscious faculties, acting like a magnet or complex, that attracts other experiences of value and appreciation.

            Thus does quality find center in the seat of the soul, the essential aspect of our being that allows conscious awareness, without which would be no value.  This is where healing becomes a spiritual endeavor, signifying a person's pursuit of a life of quality, or as a resolve to despair or confusion.   Often where the eyes of the soul are focused issues an attraction or repulsion of disease processes.  When the soul focuses through the blurry eyes of distorted cognition or emotion,  the person remains frustrated from the path of grace that could be his, if his path could be seen in a clearer light.  Like the sun that gives light for our eyes to behold the objects of our world, the Spirit gives light for the soul to envision the field of awareness.  Intrinsic to experience of spiritual perception is a sense of quality; when the eyes of the soul are focused away from this light, behavior is barred from the graceful way, tripping down a misguided path.     

            Every patient and every person achieves a certain degree of grace--of personal and spiritual evolution. Choices in life seem infinite, as do our paths that we may follow.  Decisions are made that do change our experience and fate,  yet fate often limits us to our given range of choices.   Spiritual healing helps the conscious life within a body,  karmically tied to his situation, undue his weighted soul from the bonds of attachments and fears of insecurity. Spiritual healing is the art and science of enhancing life's purpose as the soul evolves in it's embodied form.  As the Spirit of Life flows through the soul into form, a coherency and integration develops with in the particular life that lends experience the potential for quality.  The health of organism depends on the strength of the Spirit's grip on the bodily forms.  As life leaves the forms it enlivens, this grip is loosened until finally the body is dis-integrated to the point we call death.  This process may be acute or chronic, intermittent or steady, but it happens to all living beings.  Spiritual healing seeks to strengthen the soul's tenacity onto it's body, as it aspires to life, and to aide in the soul's dismissal of form, as it seeks restitution.   A healing may occur catalyzed externally or from within, but the endpoint is the convincing of the soul to stay within the form  or to  withdrawal its coherency depending on whether the purpose of the soul's incarnation is complete.

            There are many reasons why the soul must leave the body regardless of whether the purpose is fully actualized: accident, overwhelming infection, inherited or developed physical, social, planetary and karmic deficiencies or over stimulations, and worn down or broken body parts, etc. The healer seeks to  help the soul understand the condition of its forms, and the meaning of this condition as it relates to the particular life's evolution. The spiritual healer learns to focus the consciousness of the one who needs healed, for often it is the fixation of consciousness on a particular aspect of the embodied form that leads to a disease state.  

            Much of what we call disease is the result of the inhibition of the soul life as it seeks expression through its embodied forms, and is an effect of where a person centralizes his life energy.  This may take form has an overstimulation, an understimulation, or a lack of integration among the various bodily centers, leading to a particular disease process or to a generalized devitalized condition as a precondition to further disease.     

            This aesthetic art of the spiritual healer, thus, often involves the "lifting of the downward focused eyes" of the thwarted soul which seeks to express its divine (most excellent and graceful) characteristics.  The healer then needs to ascertain where the "eyes" are characteristically focused, and redirecting this vision so as to be less of a hindrance to soul expression as the person strives for the Beauty of Life.  This may not effect of the disease process as it has taken form in the body, as this may have become autonomous of the original cause leading to a biochemical or histological pathology, but it may effect the cause of the disease preventing any further damage.  The spiritual healer may not deal with the physical manifestations of disease, but  may leaves this to the medical specialists; he deals with the fundamental causes of disease a priori its manifestation, and the condition of consciousness that is responsible for the manifesting in harmony of the form.  

            The art and science of spiritual healing has its basis in  experience, for the soul is the seat of experience itself. In as much as the soul is universal to all conscious (and perhaps unconscious) life, spiritual healing must have its basis in our experience.  And we must look to our experience for confirmation of the facts.  This science, like no other, has all the evidence at hand, for it is the awareness of our 'self', itself, that will confirm the self-evidence of spiritual healing.  But this self-awareness need be seen clearly, free from the distractions of physical, social, and personal bias.

                        The soul is that aspect of our being that enlivens Awareness, Quality, and Truth.   It is the sine qua non of experience, happiness, and realization.  Essential to consciousness, the soul is the conscious aspect of experience.  Essential to appreciation, the soul appreciates the value of experience.  Essential  to  understanding, the soul understands the truth of our experience.  It is expressed through many forms, purposely, or indirectly, manifesting as our physical, vital, emotional, mental, intuitive or conscious dimensions.

      The spiritual healer may thus choose to examine these aspects of a person, how they are integrated and weaved into the whole that is that person.   Yogi's use the word Satchidananda to describe the primary threefold characteristics of the soul.  "Sat" means Truth, Reality, the Pure and takes expression as the person's attempt in life to be honest and sincere, an attempt at understanding the more profound meaning/s of life.    "Chid"  means consciousness, awareness,  'that` by which we know, and is expressed in personality as the our perceptions of our being and the world, its clarity, intensity of color, texture, and tone. "Ananda" means bliss, happiness, en-joy-ment of the life incarnation, and is the person's ability to drink of the intrinsic nectar that may come with being alive.     

SUTRA:  Satchidananda

            Healers can look at their patients in these aspects to appreciate the soul's grip on the vital, physical, emotional, mental, and intuitive forms.  Understanding that a human being is on the path of evolution allowing the soul's grip on the forms, starting with the more gross material forms through the more subtle, intuitive forms, the healer to the satchidananda expressed through the person--the wholistic unity of the forms. The diagnostic exam may look at the effects of soul contact (self-actualization) expressed in the person's life.   In the emotional and cognitive aspects of personality, the healer  may look to discover how much enthusiasm that a person has about life and living. 

            How does the person seek enjoyment, and attempt to fulfill desire, ambition, hopes and dreams? 

            How deeply can this person appreciate and creatively express his vision of Beauty? 

            What is his general level of contentment and style of self-descipline? 

            How strongly does the person believe in his ideals, and how does he impress his opinions and feelings on others? 

            How honest is the person with himself and others? 

            How tuned in with his feelings and thoughts is he? 

            How balanced are his thoughts feelings with the other aspects of his being? 

            How well can he control his drives and emotions, yet still set free the spontaneity that comes with free flowing emotions?    

            Where are the eyes of the soul focused?  

            What are the needs and values of the person?   

            How does the person’s mental nature condition his/her body.

            How is the person’s mental condition conditioned by the body or environment?

            What self-defeating styles does the person have?


            Alice Bailey and the Tibetan offer a systematic approach to esoteric healing, based on the esoteric psychology described earlier.    As the light of the spirit is dispersed through the prism of our body, emotions, thoughts, intuition, and soul, we distort the brilliance of that light.  This distortion is overtoned by the fundamental ray characteristic of the aspect of the being.  Disruption occurs like light waves in or out of phase.  On the Emotional (Astral) level, this distortion is called Glamour;  On the mental level, it is called illusion; on the etheric level it is called Maya.  On the Intuitive Buddhic level, it is call “Dweller on the Threshold”. 

            CHART:  Ray Aspects Worthy of Consideration

EXCERPT:   “The Nature of Glamour”, By Alice Bailey and the Tibetan

CHART:  The Seven Rays and their Glamours

SUTRA:  Glamour

SUTRA:  Maya

            So we can diagnose people esoterically by understanding the quality of the ray characteristics of the person.   This often gives us the context for how a person believes, acts and behaves.    For example, if a person has a primary ray 1 of Power in ones personality, with a ray 1, Power in one soul, distorted by the glamour of selfish personal ambition  that would lead to an entirely different context than a person with a Ray 1 Power personality, with a Ray 2, Love Soul with a glamour of personal wisdom.  In the first case, call him Adolf, would tend to be very strong, stubborn and selfish in his decisions.  Let’s take the second person, Jesse, he would tend to be kinder, flexible and less selfish in his decisions.  These qualitative appreciations are incredibly valuable diagnostics tools.

CHART:  Illness and Wellness, Glamours and their Solutions


Diagnostics and Therapeutic Principles of Modern Biomedicine

            Healing, like many practical endeavors, is both an art and science.  Some practitioners like to think of themselves as primarily applied scientists; while others see themselves as artists, guided by the principles of science, but not limited by them.  Most healers, especially doctors, recognize their role as a healer as both a scientist and artist, but they are hard pressed to clearly delineate when they use which role. Science deals with understanding the causative relation of phenomena.   Its method is primarily empirical, using the hypothetical-deductive method, to relate facts to objectively verifiable data, and abstracts principles of causation from this relationship to apply to other similar data.    Art, on the other hand, deals with the expression of a perception of quality.  Its method is primarily intuitive, using learned skills to express subjectively appreciated ideals, in attempt to create an expression of Beauty.     

            Thus at least one difference between art and science is that art starts with subjective experience and seeks the expression of quality; science starts with objective facts and seeks to solve problems, by understanding their causes. Thus, when a healer is searching for clues to discover the cause of a problem, and seeks to alleviate the cause and there upon 'fix the mechanism', he is acting as a scientist; when a healer tries to increase the quality of a person's life, to help his patient live, experience, and express a better life, he is acting as an artist.  Often there is overlap and practitioners act as both an artist and scientist. Obviously, a person with a fixed body, can lead a better life; and perhaps not so obviously, but probably as true, a person who leads a "good" life, might be more likely to have a well working body. 

Many medical doctors leave how and why a person pursues the good life to their patients.  Their job is to understand the disease of the body, i.e. biophysiology ;  If the disease can be limited to a primary cause, then to influence that cause pharmacologically or surgically.   This is a deep and noble style worthy of respect.    As humanity gets more skilled in biomedicine, we will develop cures for many diseases and learn how to prevent even more.    Practiced in its most excellent way, medicine will help humanity survive the scourges and parasites effecting our bodies.

SUTRA:  Medicine


Diagnostically, biomedicine has continued a long and import lineage of closely observing the body to discover clues as to physical abnormality.   The most important contribution of biomedicine has been its insistence on scientific integrity.   If you say a person has cancer, a doctor would want to be reasonable sure that is true.   The integrity of a healer who makes biomedical diagnoses,  insists on accurately correlating our beliefs with observable objective reality.   A “psychic healer” may claim over the telephone that their client has uterine cancer;  that claim may or may not correlate with a reasonable degree of truth.   The only evidence behind that claim is the subjective opinion of the psychic.   Many healers avoid biomedical diagnoses, and stick to qualitative appreciations.  Saying it is warm and muggy outside, is different than claiming it is 90*F and 90% humidity.  For many healers, it is not necessary in their art to be so objectively precise, as much as subjectively precise.  Quality is a subjective appraisal.  Much like the romantic and classical schism in painting.

CHART:  Signs and Symptoms of Healthy Internal Organs

For a biomedical doctor to diagnose uterine cancer, endometrial biopsy is necessary to microscopically examine the uterine tissue for evidence of cancerous qualities.   The subjective aspect of biomedicine is deciding that the signs and symptoms of the patient warrant a biopsy, and in the interpretation and implications of the objective data.   Even biomedicine relies on subjective appreciation of qualities.   Humanity is designing criteria for evaluating the data.  We must appreciate the level of integrity that biomedicine has  insisted on, for it has helped humanity see things more clearly.  How do we know what we perceive in our histories and physicals and labs and tests is accurate?  How do we accurately interpret the data and find meaning in it?  The science of medicine helps us to interpret data, the art of medicine helps us to use it or not.

            With this in mind, let us now seek to understand in more detail the art and science of a biomedical healer's diagnostic methods.  Three fundamental concepts that both the scientist and artist must keep in mind when considering his/her clinical course of action are validity, reliability, and Life-promotability (harmlessness). Reliability of a test allows us to get the same results over and over again given the same testing situation.   It means nothing if the results of the test have no bases in reality. Validity assures that the techniques used are grounded in a reasonable degree of truth.  The validity of a measure means that this particular measure corresponds to real, and verifiable phenomena.   The technique is based on reasonable premises, and these premises relate in a logical way to lead one to a conclusion that the technique does what it was intended to do.   Most healers have a threshold for how valid their diagnostic, therapeutic, or prognostic measures must be.  Clinical action is rarely decided with 100% certainty, and is usually decided upon by considering the amount of certainty for causation in relation to the consequences for alternative courses of action.    So much of what even the most rigorous of medical scientists do is housed in uncertainty.     

CHART:  Common Conditions that threaten the Quality of Life

            To aid in interpreting diagnostic tests, for example, clinicians might seek to understand the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of the test to help them be more certain:



sensitivity:  proportion of patients with the target disorder who have a positive test result (the true positive rate) 


specificity:  proportion of  patients without the target disorder who have a negative test result  (the true negative rate)   


positive predictive value:  proportion of patients with positive test results who have the target disorder.    


negative predictive value:  proportion of patients with negative test results who do not have the target disorder.


      Knowing these statistics about a diagnostic technique helps the clinician decide how much s/he can trust a test to detect the presence particular pathological condition. These concepts, quite well known by medical doctors, are very useful to know when deciding on a diagnostic strategy. First, however, the doctor must suspect that a  pathological condition exists in his patient--how he raises his/her suspicion we will discuss later.  But once he is suspicious, the healer often feels an obligation to choose the test which is most likely to clinch the diagnosis; the one that is the most sensitive and specific, i.e. one that will be positive if the condition exists, and will not be positive if it does not exists.   Often the more sensitive a test is, the less specific it is, and the more specific a test is, the less sensitive it is.   The clinician must decide what he is using the test for, how much weight he will give a positive or negative test result in light of the other data, and if there is a 'better' test to use that is considered the gold standard.    

            Biomedical clinicians are obligated to the most sensitive and specific of tests (diagnostic procedures) called the “gold standard”, one that is most likely to be accurate when it says it is, one that is specific for one particular disease process, one that most likely predicts  that the test means the person has the disease.  A 100% sensitive test, 100%specific with 100% predictability is the clinician’s and researcher’s goal.    A clinician would love to say with 100% certainty that the diagnostic test means that the patient has (or doesn’t) have the disease (at a particular stage).  Unfortunately, once one gets below 100% on these, a degree of interpretation and faith comes in.  And since many diagnostic procedures are well 100% predictive, sensitive and specific, medicine will remain somewhat subjective.  There are many other issues in diagnostics other that its predictive value, things the cost and danger of the test, the proximity and availability of the test, and especially whether the patient wants the test.   These issues will insure that medicine will remain an art, as well as a science.  

            There is much more to consider when trying decide upon the clinical usefulness of a diagnostic test.    As a prototypical scientist, Sacket  described eight guides for deciding the clinical empirical usefulness of a diagnostic test:


1.    Has there been an independent, "blind" comparison with a "gold standard" of diagnosis?


2.   Has the diagnostic test been evaluated in a patientsample that included an appropriate spectrum of mild  and severe, treated and untreated disease, plus individuals with different but commonly confused disorders?


3.        Was the setting for this evaluation, as well as the filter through which study patients passed, adequately passed?


4.        Have the reproducibility of the test result (precision) and its interpretation (observer variation) been determined?


5.        Has the normal been defined sensibly as it applies to this test?


6.        If the test is advocated as a part of a cluster or sequence of tests, has its individual contribution to the overall validity of the cluster or sequence been determined?    


7.        Have the tactics for carrying out the test been described in sufficient detail to permit their exact replication?


8.  Has the utility of the test been determined?  (Sackett et al, pg49)     


            The aspect of diagnostics that seems so often neglected in medicine these days is the , safety and harmlessness of  the diagnostic strategy for the patient.   The clinician ought to consider the harm that s/he may cause his patients by the procedure and compare it to the danger of not doing the test. This is called the risk/benefit ratio.   Too many times patients are asked to go through very uncomfortable testing situations, without full knowledge of the risk of potential morbidity or mortality.  [[eg. cardiac catheterization]] Doctors often skew these dangers by emphasizing the importance of knowing the result.  Many doctors do this because they recognize an inappropriate amount of unrealistic fear that their patients have.    Some do it because they fear the medico-legal ramifications of not doing it.  A few do it because there is not the time in the day to explain to all the patients all the potential risks that they face.    Each of these reasons have some validity to them, but do not negate the doctor's obligation to choose the most reliable and valid test, with the least amount of risk to the patient.  As not doing the test may also be a risk to the patient,  the art of diagnosis remains in balancing all these factors, weighing the potential effect on the quality of the patient's life, and helping the patient come to the decision that is most appropriate for him/her.   In the final analysis, no statistic, no objectively verifiable data can fully define a course of diagnostic action without the aesthetic decision of effect on the quality of the patient's life.     

            Another reality that has recently become a primary consideration in diagnostic strategies, is the personal and societal costs of the test.   Expense is a relative term but when third party payers are footing the bill, one must be able to clearly delineate the necessity to do the test, and why not use an almost as effective, less expensive test. Doctors especially, must be prepared to defend their utilization of the resources, and why an appropriate, less expensive exam wouldn't do. The healer's obligation is also to justify to his patient,  the need for a diagnostic or treatment protocol, and to understand the repercussions of this expenditure in the life of the patient.   These repercussions must be weighed against the medical urgency, and a worthy compromise may be reached directing the course of action.   Too often a physician orders a battery of tests without even discussing them with the patient, let alone,  asking their permission. Ideally,  the healer should not only educate his patients about his advisable course, but should inspire his patients to take the responsibility themselves to weigh the cost/benefits of tests, hospitalization, emergency care, office visits, procedures, and medications.    The healer should also make sure the patient is using their services, and their consultants most cost-efficiently. Before the healer may wisely advise his patient's on his recommended course of diagnostic strategy, he should be relatively expert in the need for, utilization of, and interpretation of diagnostic data.

            Modern medicine has done an excellent job of developing diagnostic tools to differentiate the normal from the abnormal.   Thus, this discussion will not focus on these empirical methods of diagnostics.  These methods will be found in any traditional textbook on the physical exam and diagnostics.   The method is essentially to look at the human body and dissect it to the anatomical, histological, biochemical, or physiological level and to discern if this "specimen" is 'normal' or not.  David Sackett says this well:


 ...the act of clinical diagnosis is classification for a purpose:  an effort to recognize the class or group which a patient's illness belongs so that, based on our prior experience with that class, the subsequent clinical acts we can afford to carry out, and the patient is willing to follow, will maximize the patient's health.  (Clin Epi, p4)    


 Later, he goes on to give us this wonderful chart of definitions of normal:


 CHART:    six definitions of normal


             This traditional empirical method compares the findings of our patients to a reference class.  To many, greater than or less than two standard deviations from the mean is considered 'abnormal'.   This often leads to confusion, however, because not all of these types of 'abnormalities' are representative of a disease.  In addition, there is no law in the universe stating that 95% of people are free of disease, and the other 2.5% high and 2.5% low are cursed with the disease.      A more useful empirical definition of normal uses a range of results and compares these to a reference class with the disease whose probability is known.   This is called, as alluded to earlier, the positive predictive value of a diagnostic measure.  By knowing this, along with the proportion of patients with the disease who have a positive test result (sensitivity) and the proportion of patients without the disease who have a negative result, one will have a better grasp of the utility of a diagnostic measure to detect an 'abnormality'.     

            This reference to a 'gold standard' or reference class is helps doctors to decide whether or not to choose a particular diagnostic measure for a particular suspicion of disease, but does not prove or disprove the existence of that disease in that particular person.  All it does is give weight to their belief, often enough weight to pursue or not pursue the diagnosis, gain a grip on the most likely prognosis, and plan the potential subsequent therapies.  The benefits of this approach is seen daily in medicine when clinicians uncover a disease process and effectively treat the patient, or at least suggest to them what they might be in for, compared to others with a similar ailment.

            But there is a great danger in this approach, and both doctors and patients are often acutely aware of this: no person is merely a statistic, and not all human beings proceed along a path of disease or wellness as predicted. To label a person as being 'normal' or 'abnormal' is destined to eventually fail and perhaps hinder the healing process. For a doctor to say "You have this disease, which behaves like such, and is treated like such..." is to impersonalize the disease away from the person--and this is impossible, for it is this person, with this process going on, not a disease with a person.    

            Thus it is necessary to formulate the diagnosis with the patient at the center, and avoid putting the disease at the center of the patient.  There is a very crucial difference here, that is all to often neglected in medicine.  Doctors get so use to looking for the disease, that they neglect the person.  Too many times I've heard doctors say:  "I had a busy day today:  three strep throats, two otitis medias, an acute abdomen, and a nut who complains of everything."  I believe this attitude, whether the cause be time pressures, money, intolerance, or prejudice, to be a great hindrance in the diagnostic, prognostic, and especially, as we shall see, the therapeutic process.      Each human being is absolutely, unequivocally unique. Though we may all share similar features and characteristics, they are our own features that may be similar to someone else, but are in no way identical---even I argue, in identical twins!   Each human being should be appreciated as if they where as important to us as our own loved ones.  It is with these eyes that a wise clinician approach his patients, to see clearly the extent and degree of pathology as it is manifest in his patient.      By placing the disease in context with the patient’s world, a wise healer will tailor fit a diagnostic approach to the needs, hopes and aspirations of his patient. 

            The assembly-line approach of many doctors reflects their intentions.  Most doctors tend to consider enlightenment unnecessary to their endeavor.  A biomedical doctor today is encouraged to be a objective clinician, and a skilled technician.  For many doctors, healing is not a way of life, but a technical skill that earns a good living.  But without the mindfulness, centeredness, and integrity that goes along with ever increasing consciousness, call that enlightenment, samadhi, satori, grace, or initiation, healing is limited to fixing parts.   Enlightenment, for most humans, is a slowly developed and earned endeavor, rather than a flash of mystical experience.  It comes with the awakening of the intuitive faculties that brings us closer to the insight of Truth and the appreciation of its value. 

SUTRA:  Myth of Enlightenment

A wise barefoot doctor, appreciates the insights and value of modern medical diagnostics because its empirical accuracy is a form of enlightenment.  The scientific integrity medicine is insists on,  is a type of mindfulness that can always be useful in healing.   It is especially useful if the doctor cares.  Once a person cares, then their skills are tools to help the person have a better life.    The history and physical exam is usually the milieu to gain diagnostic insight and to show the caring process.   

            An initial step in this diagnostic process usually is eliciting the sense of discomfort that a patient relates in the initial interview. This is called by many, the "chief complaint".    Most patient's give only a vague clue as to the problem, like "my back aches", or "I get headaches".  Many people hold a 'hidden agenda', when they come to a healer, using the chief complaint as an excuse to take audience with the healer. Some patients, though very few, don't know why they have come to a healer, just that things aren't right, or they feel out of balance.    Nevertheless, the initial step that a healer often makes in the collection of data, occurs most often at the interview by eliciting what the patient feels the problem is.      Sometimes this complaint is focused, and the patient only wants the problem taken care of.   "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", they believe, not recognizing that a distressing symptom is often just a surface phenomenon of vast systems of processes and implications.   

            Thus it is important for the healer to elicit the patient's agenda, hidden or obvious, to help guide the diagnostic strategy. Though the diagnostic strategy may seem entirely empiric, steps like this is certainly not. For now the healer, like all exceptional scientists, must gain a vision of his pursuit.  He needs to decide, relatively early on, where to guide his energies, hopefully based on the complaints and implications of these symptoms on the patient's life.   Without this aesthetic judgement, the healer remains a mechanic without a direction, tinkering with the most obvious loose bolts, neglecting the primary forces which drew the patient to him in the first place.   Even if the patient does know exactly why he has come, or the extent of the problem, the healer can use his own past experience with the particular unique case in front of him, to help guide the diagnostic strategy.   Both this storehouse of experience, and the recognition of the absolute uniqueness of the case are crucial to this process.    

            Diagnostics requires training the mind in certain lines of reasoning skills, problem solving methods, aesthetics and sensitivities of the heart. Information is gathered as clues are included, while others are excluded.   All the while the healer gets the feel of his patient, his tone and timbre, his values and beliefs, his habits and traits.   The illness presents itself in the life systems of his patient,  how it first presented, and its ramifications over time.   The healer maps this course by taking a interview for history, and by examination.      Clues often take form as a sign or symptom.   A symptom is the patient's report of his subjective experience:   "My head hurts",  "my back aches",   "I'm depressed".    A sign is an objectively verifiable manifestation that is perceivable by our senses or extensions thereof.    These signs and symptoms are grouped and compared,  and given a weight of belief to a leading hypothesis of causation.

            Causes are very important to the empiricist, for it is the eradication of the cause is how an empirical healer might begin the therapeutic process.   The aesthetic healer learns to appreciate the patterns and directions of his patients; how the patient chooses to live and interact with his environmental conditions—his personal morality and path.  Some patients are self-defeating and insecure, others are paranoid and project their fears;   some patients perseverate over decisions obsessively, others are free spirited.   Patterns of constructiveness or destructiveness, extroversion, introversion, rational, emotional, pragmatic, idealistic, make themselves known as the healer appreciates the characteristic of his patients.   It is the aesthetic judgment that helps the healer discern the "chief complaint" from his patient, their primary need for his services, and the  primary direction of his empirical efforts.    

             The healer thus can go forth in an intelligent manner, eliciting information from his patient in a rational order, processing, evaluating, and clustering clues in light of their significance and relatedness.  Quite early on hypothesis are generated and tested by seeking for pertinent positive clues and negatives, looking for that decisive clue that is pathonemonic of a recognized syndrome or diagnosis.     

            Familiarity with the incidence and prevalence of  diagnosis is helpful to know to suggest the likelihood of the presence of a problem.  The prevalence is the prior probability of a disorder in a given population of people--he existing number of cases at a particular time; incidences the number of new cases of disease at a given moment in time.   Cutler suggests three maxims to remember when considering probabilities:


1.  Common diseases occur commonly     

2.  Uncommon manifestations of common diseases are more common than common manifestations of uncommon diseases.      

3.  No disease is rare to the patient who has it.      (Cutler, pg51-52).


            These maxims are good reminders that a healer should be familiar with presentations of common ailments, but to recognize that each person is unique, and disease manifests uniquely in each person.   Each clue may be highly specific or sensitive for an ailment that has a high incidence and prevalence, but still may not prove the occurrence of a particular disease in a particular person.  In the end, proof of a diagnosis remains a judgment based on the weight of the evidence.   This judgment is part of the comprehensive diagnostic formulation a clinician makes, and is often based on factors  not as clear cut as the facts of the case--like hunches and intuitions.  Diagnostic certainty is rare in medicine, and most jumps into therapeutic action require a leap of faith, that accompanies a "sense" of rightness of the decision.     

            A significant obstacle for barefoot doctors diagnostically, is the strict laws and regulations governing the use of most scientific diagnostic testing procedures.  This right is often limited to licensed medical doctors and osteopaths.  Theoretically, the medical doctor is duly trained in the risk/benefits of testing, and is most capable of utilizing the tests most wisely.   This elitist role keeps the people from learning how and why to use tests, even if they are personally willing to accept the risks or cost.   Certainly a worthy argument could be made to restrict dangerous testing techniques, but many tests are safe and could benefit society if they were acceptable if they did not need to go through a medical gate keeper all the time.   The medical boards should deregulate many safe tests that could be utilized by the people if they so choose to accept the risk and costs.  The people need to be educated and given the responsibility of their own healing;  This should be the job of medical doctors, and certainly is the job of the Barefoot Doctor.


            Histories may be taken in a rigid or flexible format. Data collection might start with a pre made form, designed to elicit retrospective information that the patient is willing to share.    The healer may use this form as a point of launching into the oral history.    The oral history may be highly structured, designed to direct the patient to relate his complaints, story and condition to the healer.  Or it maybe open ended, giving the patient freedom to guide the interview.   Before long the healer can use the already evident pieces of information, to strengthen a leading hypothesis and rule out others.    

INSERT:  Wholistic History Form


            An aesthetic healer also uses the interview to collect information, but also as a means to understand the patient, express his compassion to his patient,  establish a rapport a trust of  confidence, an ok for open communication.    He might seek information of the patients priorities in life, who he considers important, how he expresses his beliefs, and why the patient seeks help.  This qualitative data provides the background--the gestalt-- for the facts to hang on and blossom.  His family, hobbies, sport and occupation tie the scenario together with the facts, weaving a picture of health or distress.  The past medical history might be reviewed, as might a family history revealing the inherited tendencies.   Review of the organ, family, and belief systems may give further light on the situation.    Questions are asked, answers given,  focusing on key points, providing the symptoms, the perspective of the person's life and needs.     

            It is after the initial interview that a healer begins the physical exam.   When problem-solving, the healer may choose to focus his exam in attempt to support or undermine his leading hypothesis of disease causation; he may do a general, nonspecific exam, in attempt to allow non-biased clues come to surface; and/or he may include various screening maneuvers in attempt to uncover an illness early in its phase of development.   Certain fundamental questions must be answered before the exam begins, namely:     


            How will this exam meet the needs of the patient?    

            What is the risk of doing vs not doing the maneuver?    

            How much weight will this maneuver add to uncovering a disease state?    

            How willing is the patient and healer to do this maneuver ?     


            If the healer is not implicitly aware of these questions, his exam is prone to be unfocused, often unnecessary, and potentially risky.   Walter Spitzer et al ,in their famous and most useful studies with the Canadian Task Force has presented "criteria for assessing potentially preventable conditions and for classifying recommendations for the inclusion or exclusion" of maneuvers in a health exam, thereupon standardizing a "method of evaluating and weighing scientific evidence on the effectiveness of preventive interventions".  With these criteria, they specifically examined various disease conditions, and evaluated whether specific maneuvers would be effective in their detection.  Based on these evaluations, they made recommendations on whether to include these maneuvers on a "periodic health exam".   Keep in mind that these recommendations are not for a healer specifically trying to problem solve on a specific condition, but for whether they should be included on a specific "class" of person with no symptoms.    This study is an excellent example of the empirical method being used to support primarily aesthetic considerations.   Here are their words on the acceptance orrejection of criterion for inclusion of a maneuver in a periodic health exam: 


Current Burden of suffering:

1.   the impact of a particular condition on the individual, as assessed from years of life lost, the amount of disability, the pain and discomfort, the cost of the treatment and the effect on the individual's family;

2. the impact on society, as assessed from the mortality, the morbidity and the cost of the treatment. 

Maneuver:      The detection (or preventive) maneuver was evaluated by considering three sets of criteria:  the risks and benefits; the sensitivity, specificity and predictive value; and the safety, simplicity, cost and acceptability to the patient. 

The effectiveness of intervention was graded according to the quality of the evidence obtained, as follows:    

           I:  Evidence obtained from at least one properly randomized controlled trial.    

           II-1:  Evidence obtained from well designed cohort or case-control analytic studies, preferably from more than one centre or group of research group.    

           II-2:  Evidence obtained from comparisons between times and places with or without the intervention.  Dramatic results in uncontrolled experiments (such as the results of the introduction of penicillin in the 1940's) could be regarded as this type of evidence.    

           III:  Opinions of respected authorities, based on clinical experience, descriptive     studies or reports of expert committees.

Classifications of the recommendations: On the basis of these considerations the task force made a clear recommendation for each condition as to whether it should be specifically considered in a periodic health exam. Recommendations were classified as followed:    

           A: There is good evidence to support the recommendation that the condition be     specifically considered in a periodic health exam.    

           B: There is fair evidence to support the recommendation that the condition be specifically considered in a periodic health examination.   

           C: There is poor evidence regarding the inclusion of the condition in a periodic health examination, and recommendations may be made on other grounds.   

           D: There is fair evidence to support the recommendation that the condition be excluded from consideration in a periodic health examination.     

           E: There is good evidence to support the recommendation that the condition be     excluded from consideration in a periodic health examination.   (Spitzer, 1984)     


            The Canadian Task Force then proceeded to review many different disease conditions, and recommended whether the evidence is strong enough to include various maneuvers to screen for a particular problem, justifiable according to therefore mentioned criteria.   Again, these recommendations are for screening maneuvers used in the physical exam to discover the likelihood of a disease .  


            Likewise, Frame and Carlson have developed a set of criteria necessary to include a health conditions and its available detection maneuvers in a health maintenance protocol:     

         1.  The condition must have a significant effect on the quality or quantity of life.     

2.  Acceptable methods of treatment must be available.

3.  The condition must have an asymptomatic period during which detection and      treatment significantly reduce morbidity or mortality.    

4.  Treatment in the asymptomatic phase must yield a therapeutic result superior to that obtained by delayed treatment until symptoms appear.    

5.  Tests that are accessible to patients must be available at reasonable cost to detect he condition in the asymptomatic period.     

         6.  The incidence of the condition must be sufficient to justify the cost of screening.   


It is necessary for a disease to meet all six criteria before inclusion in the health maintenance plan.  Failing a single criterion is adequate reason for exclusion. The literature was searched for each condition with particular reference to:


(1) the incidence and prevalence of the disease,

(2) progression of the disease both with and without treatment including the length of any asymptomatic period,

(3) risk factors associated with the development of the disease, and

(4) the availability, effectiveness, and cost of screening tests or preventive measures.      (Frame, 1986)     


             In the end, each healer must choose their own set of criteria, develop their own protocol, and screen for the problems they consider worthwhile in their particular patient at a particular time.  One would seem a wiser healer, who was familar with the major causes of and risks for suffering, how and when and if these could be screened for and potentially prevented, and had an organized system and rationale for pursuing these potential problems.

INSERT:  Screening Protocols

           The empirical methodology of the physical exam is well known to all medical doctors.   This is unfortunately an area of neglect for many "alternative healers".  Too many times I've seen situations where a patient will present to a healer with a complaint. The healer will then prescribe a therapy based on this complaint.   A patient presents with a complaint of an earache, for example, to an herbalist.  The herbalist pulls out a mullein and garlic oil solution, and tells the patient that this will eradicate the earache.  The healer did not even examine the ear to try to uncover the cause of the pain.   Obviously, this is not meant to be a generalization to all herbalists, or alternative healers, many of whom are quite good at the diagnostic exam.   But unfortunately , I have personally been responsible for many  whopping suppurative otitis media infections that resulted from a delay in diagnosis, due to premature and inappropriate therapeutics.     

            Causality is a very deep subject, ultimately, I believe, beyond the grasp of the human intellect to truly comprehend and understand.   We can, however, gain insight into the primary chain of events that led to the presently existing condition.   A scientist is often excited enough to uncover these facts, and finds enough utility in them to help him decide on a course of action.   It is helpful to know for example, that the shape, size and direction of the eustacian tube is "causally related" to a stagnation of mucousy fluid in the middle ear, that may act as a nidus for bacterial super-infection;   a viral infection in a child who has the structural prerequisites, "causes" a mucous over production, which in turn, may allow the growth of a bacteria like streptococcus.   These events in turn, lead to a condition where the patient presents with ear pain and a fever,  and an inflamed, immobile tympanic membrane. The "ultimate" cause of the infection remains unknown. Why can some people with similar structures fight of infections easier?   What causes the ear to be the way it is, and what causes bacteria to grow?  Questions like these, though we can get closer to their answers, can regress ad infinitum to the ultimate cause of the universe, and the meaning of life itself.  But, we can, in many cases, understand with relative certainty, the necessary causal association of the patient's signs and symptoms with the underlying pathophysiology, and even histopathology and biochemicopathology.  Intervention is based often on disrupting the causal chain at a point suitable for the patient and clinician.  First, the healer must be exquisitely familiar with the science underlying illnesses, and pursue via the diagnostic process whether the signs and symptoms are indeed associated with his suspicions of causation.

             The basic method of the clinician is to use his senses, or extensions thereof, to investigate his patient.   Ask, look  listen, feel, smell, taste are still the primary methods. And if the eyes aren't strong enough, microscopes and x-rays are used in attempt to uncover a suitable point of intervention.  Every clinician has a different style and method of exam.   Every exam also differs according to the needs of the patient.    Some clinicians examine their patients in a predefined order and procedure.  Others are much more haphazard, or are more focused in their pursuit of a problem. Whatever the style, the clinician must know what to inspect, how to inspect it, and how to interpret the results of the inspection.  In addition to these crucial aspects, the clinician should also know how to examine the patient most comfortably and cost/risk effectively.   This is especially  important when using the more invasive diagnostic tests. Included below is a comprehensive list of areas to exam in the general physical exam

CHART:  The Physical Exam

            The wise clinician would also be familiar with the common hindrances and errors that are often made in doing the physical exam.  The compulsive factor, for example, is both a friend and foe of the clinician.  Thoroughness, attention to detail, collecting and processing every available clue needs balanced by intuition’s forgoing the details, yet grasping the perspective of the essentials, the principles of the gestalt, and insight into the meaning and extent of the illness.    Compulsion requires time, exposure, and money for the healing alliance; Intuition is prone to be difficult to interpret, misguided by illusions of our prejudicial intellectual and investment by our more emotional preconceived notions.    Faulty technique, errors of omission, peer pressure and custom, taboo, inaccurate measures, malpractice fear, cost inhibition and many considerations beyond our detection or suspicion--all delude us, dissuade us, and hide the real and true from the maybe, should be and even probably.     

            Every organ system can be evaluated in the physical exam, and much, much useful knowledge has sprouted by examining closely the human body.  As a scientist, the examiner looks for signs of disease.  As a artist, they look for signs of health.   The physical exam is the opportunity to gain these clues.  And it is a social interaction with another person. 

            The initial history and physical is the time and place to gain insight into the person, their style and characteristics, their ways of discipline and their ways of self-deceit.   The doctor could also look more closely at moral clues, at how and why the person goes about life, about the values and needs and hopes and aspirations of the person;  as well as their fears and compulsions, pressures and strains, neglects, and self-abuses.   This diagnostic encounter is a special opportunity for the wise healer, for it allows the healer to frame the data within the context of the patient.  Disease and health have meaning for the patient.  The doctor should place any diagnosis in the context of the person, that is, if they really cared. 

        The actual way of the biomedical doctor is different than that of a pure scientist.   Many like to consider themselves applied scientists, while other doctors practice the art of medicine.  The way of modern biomedical therapeutics is based on these premises:     

  •         the way of nature is describable scientifically in terms of cause and effect

  •        disease is based on primarily biophysiological causes and their consequences

  •         cure of disease is about altering the biophysiological parameters

  •         the average patient needs to know very little about healing and their own care

  •         the less the patient has to do themselves, the better the compliance with the doctor's therapeutic regime

  •         the best therapy is paid for by insurance companies and has studies that support its efficacy. 

  •         Surgery and standardized pharmaceutical medicines are preferable to natural products and lifestyle changes

  •         doctors deserve to do financially well

  •         the doctor should not be emotionally involved with their client and should be objective

  •         the doctor's duty is to keep the body alive;  this premise presupposes, quality of life.

  •         the practice of medicine requires a license to do so

  •         mo magic is necessary  for healing;

  •         the best cures are ones that have the most scientific evidence of the cures efficacy


            The diagnostic endeavor directly correlates, for the biomedical doctor, to the direction of therapy.  The therapy should be able to alter the abnormal biophysiological and psychological parameters into "normal".  The justification of the modern medical clinician is based on the level of evidence for a particular therapy for a particular disease Evidence-based medicine is the modern paradigm of biomedicine and represents the principle that every action a doctor should take with their patient should have the most reasonable level of evidence that the therapy will work safely and effectively.    Often literature reviewing boards of experts define the standards of care that physicians can offer their patients.  These standards often set the quality standards for insurance and medicare reimbursement, FDA recommendations and approvals,  malpractice claims, and ethical review for licensure.   

EXCERPT:  Evidence-based Health Care

EXCERPT:  Levels of Evidence

EXCERPT:  Types of Studies: Strengths and Pitfalls

EXCERPT:  Specific Clinical Study Designs

EXCERPT:  Paradigm Shifting into Evidence-based Medicine

EXCERPT:  Oxford Centre for Evidence-based Medicine Levels of Evidence


        The way of therapy for the modern doctor is algorithmically set by the studies that are done.   The excellence of a modern doctor is to contentiously diagnose and treat disease according to the state of the art medical standards.    Quality standards are set for all licensed healthcare professionals, and for healthcare institutions and schools and even the regulating and accrediting institutions.  These quality standards change over time and are fluid, based on the evidence at hand, those reviewing the evidence, and especially the studies that are being done.

            To qualify for a quality standard of therapeutics in modern medicine a therapy must be back by a lot of money.   It is very expensive to perform the studies at the level required, often on the order of hundreds of millions of dollars to get a drug passed by the FDA.  Therefore the market drives the choice of therapies.  Politics and economy have become so involved in modern medicine that the evidence is skewed severely in the choices of study.  Rather than studying direct, safer,  and more natural therapies, the researchers are focused on patentable items that will lead to a profit.   This drives the evidence-based choices of the doctors and quality standards.  The pharmaceutical and surgical industries have become so influential that it is hard to distinguish between their needs to profit, and good care. 


"If all you have is a hammer, you see a lot of nails"


         If all you have is pharmaceuticals and surgery in your healing armament, you see a lot of people needing pills and surgery.  Many therapies never make it into the skills of doctors because they did have the evidence presented to them.    Many profound and important therapies remain hidden to the options and algorithms of medical doctors.  The barefoot doctor cannot always wait for the evidence of the million dollar study to come in.  There is important work to be done and people often need more than pills and surgery.  Therapy requires open-mindedness as to direction because patients often want a therapy that is not pills or surgery.    The medical subspecialties of "wholistic, integrative, complementary" medicine attempts to met these needs going beyond the standard algorithms to include reasonable alternatives.   Often these healers still apply the scientific, evidence-based approach to the alternatives as well, and treat based on the available literature. 

        The wise healer integrates the wisdom of modern medical therapies, yet broadens the scope to include reasonable alternatives beyond the literature.  This is not to say, that they should treat nonsensically or haphazardly or against the evidence at hand.  On the contrary,  they should always act in full conscience of the evidence and appreciate the effort of humanity to sort out sense from nonsense.  Yet a big part of healing are the practical skills that are for now, remains hidden from the studies.  Skills like bodywork, acupuncture, exercise therapies, herbs and foods, not to mention the more esoteric therapies still have much to be studied.  And they remain the preferred therapies of many people. 

    Also, and perhaps most importantly, the technique of therapy, no matter how efficacious, does not guarantee the integrity of the healer.  Many, many scientific theories and evidences have been exploited by less than honorable doctors.  The technique requires the essential ingredient of loving care, because this further guarantees that the healer would be acting in their patient's best interests.  They can then choose therapeutic techniques that protects and heals the patient in the way the patient prefers. 

SUTRA:  Respect

        Biomedicine has forever altered our criteria for integrity in healing.  One cannot just do or say anything and get away with it.  Healing requires a certain amount of reasonableness.    It also requires skill and care.  The techniques of biomedicine will continue to provide many safe and reasonable cures for the diseases of humanity.  The blessings of the science of medicine is based on its integrity of evidence.  The blessings of the art of medicine is based on its care.

      CHART:  Therapeutic Modalities used in Modern Biomedicine

     CHART:  Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, Categories of Drug Types

    CHART:  Types of Surgery

    CHART:  Surgery Statistics


Principles of Excellent Health and Wise Healing

EXCERPT:  “On the Importance of Prevention” in the Charaka Samhita

EXCERPT:  The Preservation of Health, by the Yellow Emperor

            A wise healer must first and foremost understand the principles of healthy living.  Here, I don’t mean, the signs and symptoms of health and disease, but the way of health.   How does one become and stay healthy?  A wise healer would not only be able to diagnose the state of health or disease, but would have insight into how a person got there, and how to optimize the situation.    In this discussion on wise therapeutics, let us contemplate first wisdom in way of health, then we will discuss wisdom in the way of healing disease.  A truly wise healer would be masterful in both preserving health, as well as fixing glitches on that path.

Wisdom can be defined in terms of principles and disciplines.  One who is wise in matters of health, not only understands the principles of manifesting excellent health, but has proven these principles by the sweat of discipline.  Wisdom is the reliably successful path forged into manifestation by forethought and skill.  Let us study the disciplines and principles of the healthy path so that we can see clearly how and why to manifest health in our selves and all we care about.  Polarity allows us to more clearly define our qualitative options, and so will the study of wellness and disease.  Some habits and ways are healthier that others, wisdom would have us ponder on the blessings and curses of these ways.  Ways of disease and despair loom about us for any who cares to see, and we can also bear witness to those with vitality, happiness, and longevity.  The following is a chart of some polarities that we will all face on our path to excellent health

CHART:  Major Factors in the Causation of Disease and Health


The sweat of discipline seems wasted, less focused towards excellent principles.  A wise healers would understand the strategies of self-defeating and self-promoting ways, as well as the essential principles of manifesting excellent health.  The following outlines these principles.  Realize that each of these principles represent entire areas of strategic focus, requiring many years, teachers, and teachings to master. 

 OUTLINE:   Principles of Manifesting Excellent Health

EXCERPT:  Universal Truth form the Yellow Emperor

These principles are based on the different aspects of being human.   The disciplines of manifesting these principles are the very acts of care.  These are the habits and traits that we develop that encourage are life to flourish.   The are the palette for the art of living.  We need to take care of our body, mind, spirit, relations, planet.  Each of these areas require disciplined skill to care masterfully.   

SUTRA:  In the Midst

Modern science classes in pathology will title us with the fundamental causes of diseases.  We would invest into our wisdom by studying and coming to understand these processes that plague our human form and condition.  By understanding nature’s way, biochemically, histologically, physiologically, mechanically, we can learn how to influence that causal chain that hinders our health.  Medicine has done so well that modern wisdom requires that we appreciate the medical cause of ill health and the reports on the risk factors of disease. 

But we of course are not just interested in the population at large and what happens to some people sometimes;  indeed we hope to come to know the terrain that we all bare as humans, how we tend to do well and flourish and how we tend to wither and die.  Let us take our green thumb and dip it ito the soil of human existence, and ponder on the healthier ways that people take, their wise principles and disciplines.

CHART:  Healing Endeavors Worthy of Mastery

The single most important aspect of the  pursuit of wellness is that the person must seek to be healthy and care for their life.  They must first gain vision on their priorities, and move towards what is most valuable.    Then one must understand the details of the internal and external influences to manifesting their goal.   These influences are the very terrain for wellness and define the specific areas of focus for developing health.

OUTLINE:  Areas of Focus for Developing Wellness

OUTLINE:  Tuning oneself Wisely

Wise ones have a strategic plan for each of these aspects of our human terrain.  Any of these systems can go haywire and kink the wellness hose.   Each of us need to continually re-evaluate and re-commit to our particular wellness strategies to make sure that the plan is working.    Here is a chart of general choices of discipline strategies people use on themselves.  We can find ourselves somewhere on here in any particular endeavor.

CHART:  Strategies for Discipline

There are many physical hindrances to health, as there are biophysiological causes to disease.  How the molecules are triggered can be very physical.   Stand in the hot sun for a few hours, or out in the snow or rain, and we will be immediately convinced.  Genes and environment are big factors in the development of health or disease.   Yet we all know that there are other more meta-physical and more esoteric causes of our well-being.  Even the best heredity and nurturing is handicapped by a self-defeating person.  It is worthy for us to ponder on these most fundamental meta-physical hindrances.

CHART:  Common self-defeating Attitudes and Behaviors and Their Solution


Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras seeks to advise us about the main obstacles on the path of yoga—which by definition means our highest goal, number one principle:


I.30.  These obstacles, distractions of the mind, are: sickness, dullness, doubt, carelessness, laziness, attachment, lack of true understanding, inattentiveness, and compulsion.


Each of these distractions should be witnessed in ourselves, because there is not a question as to if they exist within us, but how much grip do they have.  They are part of the very human fabric, just like hands and feet.  We must face these with skill and courage and forethought.  Every patient I sat with we needed to understand the roles of these hindrances in their situation.   Each of us must reckon with these because in them is found the glitches that break our momentum to deeply heal ourselves.   Solutions to Patanjali’s obstacles can be found in their opposites:


Patanjali’s Hindrances on the Path and Solutions













Lack of True Understanding

Right Insight






SUTRA:  Hindrances

            How much easier it is if the patient’s strategy of healing and longevity is dedicated to these solutions.  Otherwise we lack the cooperative forces so important in changing the momentum of life.  It is the very kernel of self-respect, this strength, which will be the single most important medicine and prevention.  It is this self-respect that reflects the soul taking grip on the body, wanting to life, to manifest.  This respect is the covenant that a soul makes with life:  life will flourish only with the blessing of the self-respecting soul.  Doubt and cynicism about living keep a life from full bloom.  The following sutras explain the esoteric aspects of this principle.


Thus we can look to the discipline style of people and appreciate how a person is self promoting and self defeating.  We can learn to diagnose how a person makes promises to themselves, manifests their goals, and attempts at fulfilling their dreams and visions.  The loss of faith in a person’s ability to trust in their ability to achieve their goals is a devastating health risk.   Health is reflected in a person’s skill in setting reasonable goals and achieving them.   The higher qualities of life require this skill.  Each of us has this reckoning and know that living well  means being careful, focused, vital, clear,  insightful, steadfast, hardworking and convicted.   Even with these skills applied to life, a person can wobble into mishap and misfortune.   Often it is the continual reconsideration and commitment, often in spite of what seems like failure, that determines the successful fate of an endeavor.   Most genius and graceful living comes by skill of self-respect;  this breeds mutual respect, cooperation, and care. 

The particular categories of disciplined care that each of us need to master to become and stay healthy are:

·         Nurturing

·         Strengthening

·         Disease prevention (Risk Reduction)

·         Cleansing and Detoxification

·         Optimizing Metabolic Functions

·         Maximize Protection Systems

·         Tuning Regulatory Systems

·         Promoting Rejuvenation

·         Living and loving in Harmony

·         Awakening and spiritual fulfillment

·         Disease Eradication

·         Healthy Birthing

·         Healthy Dying

·         Healthy Prenatal Care

    A wise healer would embrace these categories as areas worthy of  years of intense effort and commitment to master.  Luckily the human being and nature does most of the work, the healer promoting these natural functions into balance.  The wise healer would be encouraging to their patient in these encouraging ways.   The details of these ways are based on the preferences and resources and skills of those involved.  But since we are human, these ways are probably going to be about regulating the particular ways of people—how we eat, sleep, move, behave, and hang.  Thus the therapeutic arts that the healer is likely to master will involve one or many of the following:

  • Food and Nutritional Therapy

  • Bodywork and Physical Therapy

  • Exercise and Movement Therapy

  • Feng Shui and Environmental Therapy

  • Psychospiritual Therapy

  • Herbal and Pharmaceutical Therapy

  • Lifestyle and Behavioral Adjustment

  • Surgical Therapy

  • Etheric Therapy

Each of these areas of therapeutics are the tools to train ourselves and others.  These are the arts that healers use to bring about health and cure.    Many, many, many schools have developed that focus on one or more of these therapeutic options.  Each has developed techniques that can get the job done.   Each require much of a lifetime to master, for each require much skill.  The generations of our ancestors encouraged much of this skill that lives today in our basic hygienic habits and ways.   As a people we are continuing to generate much skill in these therapeutic arts.   Barefoot doctoring is about keeping these skills alive and well in humanity.  The techniques of a particular  school is not what barefoot doctoring is about.  Barefoot doctoring is not about chiropractic, acupuncture, or medicine;  it is about the way of healing, not just the style or method.   Therefore this discussion will focused primarily on the appreciation of the way these therapies enhance people’s life.  

Food therapies are a good example of the diverse techniques available to improve the quality of life.  Foods are the building blocks of our body, fuel for our metabolism, our tongues delight and source of much of our waste products.    The principles of good foods are ingestible materials that:

·         Meets our nutritional needs

·         Is Digestible

·         Taste Good

·         Is not Toxic

·         Is Balanced with our Constitution

·         Enhances our Vitality

·         Promotes our Longevity and well functioning of the body

·         Encourages a healthy weight

·         Does not cause allergic reaction

·         Is comfortable, pleasing, and settling

·         Keeps the mind clear and focused

            The particular food and the particular diet would need to always be tailor fitted to the needs, desires and abilities of the person.   We know clearly now that foods are involved in the health and disease process.  Food choices are implicated in diseases of nutritional deficiencies, digestive disturbances, cancer, allergic reactions, behavioral changes, metabolic consequences, immune challenges, organ and arterial damage.   The consequences of our food choices are vast and impending.   The wise healer learns about the influences of our foods on our quality of life. 

            In general, the healthier foods include:

·         Fresh, clean, and organic fruits and vegetables of many colors and variety

·         Whole grains, beans and legumes

·         Nuts or all kinds (Assuming no allergy)

·         Olive oil, Flax oil, hemp oil

·         Sprouted seeds

·         Fresh spices and cooking herbs

Foods to be Cautious of:

·         Dairy

·         Meats, Chicken and Fish

·         Eggs

·         Overly salted and spiced foods

·         Processed flours and sugars

·         Deep fried foods

·         Saturated fats and hydrogenated fats

·         Inorganic foods

CHART:  Gunas and Food

The real wisdom with foods, is not just knowing these principles, but also being able to afford the foods, having them convenient, and especially be willing to prepare and eat them.  Compulsion drives must of the tongues in the world, not wisdom.  And discipline around found is clearly seen.  How one chooses to nourish oneself is one of the clearest reflections of how they care for themselves.  Nourishment gets wrapped up with gratification and security.  The principles of healthy foods and eating is fairly clear;  motivating people to eat the way they need to is the real art of healing.  Indeed, motivating people in any way they need to heal is a greater remedy usually than any pill or potion. 

Food also has a history of intention behind it.  The way in which a person chooses their foods, will be reflective of the a deep and fundamental pattern.  Sattwic people tend to choose fresh foods that are grown naturally or by people with kind and protective hearts.  They avoid unhealthy foods that have been slaughtered, tortured, overly processed, drugged, colored and preserved.  Rajasic people tend to eat foods to gain energy or to adjust their appearance.  They justify the terrible treatment of animals and poisoned foods. If they are sattwically oriented, they'll choose rajasic foods that have been protected.  Tamasic people tend to eat tamasic foods, foods that are rotten, unhealthy and without for regard to its history. 

Movement is very similar to food.  We can move in ways that promote our health and in ways that detract from out health.  Usually, each of us finds a balance between our general movement habits, our movements at work, in sport and recreation, and our exercise.   Some people naturally move in a more healthy way;  Some are more lazy;  Some move more recklessly and are prone to injury from their movement;  Some are more graceful;  Some have movement mixed with their lifestyle. And some seek skill in their movement.   Athletes seeks this skill in movement to excel at their sport;  Dancers seek skill in movement to enhance their art.  Wise healers seek skill in movement to enhance the quality of their and their patient’s life.  Exercise is useful to effectively enhance many aspects of the Person.

SUTRA:  Root, Center, and Flow

CHART:  Type of exercise and the Primary System Effected

We know that exercise and lack thereof is involved in many disease.   The following is just a partial list of the :

CHART:  Health Benefits of Exercise

CHART: Benefits of Therapeutic Exercise

Many systems of healing movements have developed to address the healing needs of people.    Today, many ancient traditional health exercises have found their way into our modern houses.    Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong are common words and today we have the opportunity to share in the ancient wisdom and add our modern insights.    For a barefoot doctor,  healthy exercise is a way of life.  Every instrument needs tuning, and our bodies and minds are no different.  Movement is an effective way to enhance the quality of our lives.  It provides a service for our health we can get in no other way.  We can go through life moving haphazardly, or we can gain mastery in our movement.

SUTRA:  Tai Chi

 A healthy person, or a wise healer may never have heard or done “tai chi” or “qigong” as passed done by the oriental masters, but they by necessity learned healthy moving skills.  Tai chi and qigong are examples of the many systems that our elders came up with to insure our movement needs got met.   Movement cannot be avoid in health.  For excellent health, it must be mastered.  Qigong is the name for cultivating healthy qi, and moving that qi through our bodies in a healthy way.  Do not confuse it with a particular school or system of qigong.   Qigong can be done for the following reasons:   Health, Martial, Spiritual, Commercial.   We will focus here on the health and spiritual aspects of qigong.

SUTRA:  Qigong

In principle, qigong is the way of harmonizing our health through movement.  Qigong may be internal movements of our awareness within our body, or more external, moving our body parts.   Awareness is part of the nature of qi.  We can direct qi into a body part or take it away.  We can bring qi in and out of the body in such a way that it is harmonizing or disruptive.  Qigong is the way of skillfully harmonizing the movement needs of the body, mind, and spirit.  

Qigong may be:

·         Internal or External

·         Strengthening or Reducing

·         Hard or Soft

·         Personal or Shared

Healing Qigong movements are specialized into the aspects of the person the qigong is designed to heal.   There are qigong exercises that are especially effective for cultivating the health of:

·         The Joint, Ligaments, Muscles and Tendons

·         The Internal organs

·         The Spine

·         The Neuroendocrine System

·         The Immune System

·         The Soul

A qigong master would be familiar with the characteristics of the qigong techniques and know how to cultivate healthy qi in each of these areas.  Like with foods, a qigong master would need also to master the art of motivation to apply their art to their patients.  Many qigong techniques require the patient to move themselves in a skillful way.  This way takes time, attention, effort, refinement and lots of patience.   Part of many people’s fundamental disease is that they lack these.  The principles and techniques of healthy movement are available;  motivating people to do them effectively is the deeper art.  These are powerful systematic ways to recondition our negative patterns.  By practicing ways of grace, fluidity,  groundedness, strength, we can embody those qualities.  Systematic cultivation moves the aspirant to the disciple. Many of these systems represent many generations of fine-tuning.  Careful attention for many years, and passing it on, through generations.   Health often requires reconditioning.  No pill can do what disciplined cultivation can.


Wise Therapeutic Default


Nurturing and strengthening is preferable to pills and potions

Medicines are preferable to surgery

Surgery is preferable to death

Failing negotiation with disease should precede the heavy artillary

Caring is the most important


SUTRA:   Discipline

Cultivating healthy ways of moving require the usual ingredients of disciple and worthy principles.  One of the discipline techniques that works well is the technique of enthusiasm.   Most people discipline themselves with a variation of the guilt and deprivation technique as part of the all-or-nothing strategy.  They restrict their diet excessive to foods that they really don’t prefer.  This diet is not sustainable.  They might exercise fanatically for two months, then get a new job and exercise turns up only at the annual turkey bowl.     The greatest tool a person can have on the path of discipline is the faith that they will keep the commitments they make with themselves.  Loss of faith in oneself to accomplish something important is a great loss.  Therefore it is wiser to bit off only what one can chew.  Bring exercise and good foods in by encouraging those things that are naturally preferred.   Explore new foods and exercises and find ones that are easier to like and meet the needs.  See into the true nature of foods and see the food for exactly what it is.  Healthy foods look healthy.  Look to others who are sedentary and see exactly what it means to come to that.  Look to those who eat for taste, looks and appearance, economy and look at those who eat for health.  Witness the health of those who have mastered qigong and tai chi and yoga.   Each person has their own unique graceful way.  For successful discipline, people need learn to rebuild the faith that once one make their mind to move healthily, then the path ahead is forged.   Just make sure the way is worthy.

CHART:  Strategies of a Successful Wellness Program

Alongside excellent food and movement necessary for the manifestation of health, are healthy relationships and healthy environment.  People often find themselves in environments that are toxic, disruptive, unsettling, and draining.  Here is a partial list of aspects of our environment that are unhealthy:

CHART:  The Less than Excellent Environment

            Indeed, there are many ways that our environment can harm us.  And there is the opportunity to become particularly masterful in healthy environmental conditioning.    This wisdom is usually passed down in the general hygienic habits of people.  But today, fashion and necessity have overshadowed health in the environment.    Mastery in the way of health and healing requires the understanding of creating environments that promote well-being.  This is especially challenging given the economic restrictions on creating environments.  Not every cold, damp person can afford to move to a warmer, drier place.   But, nonetheless we must deal with our situation.  Here are some ideas on how to effectively harmonize with the environment.

CHART:  Ideas to Harmonize with the Environment

Even in the most beautiful and flourishing of environments, our life can be hell unless we have healthy relationships.   Living has become so complicated and people so fundamentally neurotic, that we remain unclear on the skill of getting along with people excellently.  I doubt too many cultures have mastered this art.  Yet, we are driven to try to get along.   We have such dreams and hopes of love, of family.  Yet the essential ingredients of healthy relationships remain blurred by our own selfishness and insecurities.   Most people would not even recognize a healthy relationship.  Most people today almost assume that all relationships have a limited times span, and that the possibility of truly loving each other is no longer even accounted for in the movies.   Our hope of fulfillment as a human requires that we move towards congruent relationships, that we seek out love and pursue friendships and social interaction.  Even if our cultures and societies are fundamentally disturbed now, this should not intimidate our pursuit of the good life.    A wise healer is well aware of the importance of relationship and help all people to get along better.  The special healing ingredient all relationship is to care.   A healer can diagnose the health of a person’s relationships by look for special signs and symptoms of caring.

CHART:  Signs and Symptoms of Healthy Relationships

Even with healthy relationship, if the body is failing, life becomes less healthy.  Sometimes food, movement, environmental adjustment is not enough to bring about health.    Biomedicine offers a tremendous arsenal of therapies to help treat disease.   And it has been helpful to epidemiologically recognize the risks and benefits of our lifestyle ways.  The integrity of accurate statistics can help us to sort through confusion and see more clearly the risks that we take in life.    Biomedicine sees to help people be aware of their risk factors for disease and to take the necessary precautions and tests. 

CHART:  Leading Selected Causes of Mortality

CHART:  Leading Causes of Dysfunction

CHART:  Biomedical Steps to Staying Well

            Biomedicine relies heavily on pharmacological therapies and surgeries to effect a cure.  In principle, the ultimate cure would be one that is:

·         Safe and comfortable, with no immediate or eventual negative effect

·         Effective specifically for the challenge

·         Cost-effective

·         Reliable

·         Available

·         Desirable and preferable

·         Convenient

Throughout history, humans have search for the magic bullet:

SUTRA:  The Magic Bullet

            In modern medicine, we have ways of judging a therapy by weighing the evidence that the therapy does what those promoting it claims it does.    The paradigm of modern therapeutic medicine is based on “evidence based medicine”.    This approach uses very strict criteria, reviewed by a peer of experts to determine the “effectiveness” of a therapy.    The FDA has its specific criteria for acceptance of an approved therapy.   Every clinician must judge for themselves whether a therapy is appropriate.  However, this should not stop a clinician from appreciating the weighing of evidence bypeer-reviewed experts.  

            EXCERPT:  Levels of evidence

            EXCERPT:  Paradigm Shifting into Evidence Based Medicine

Humanity’s effort to be scientifically clear should be much appreciated by every wise healer.   Many healers do not rely on peer-reviewed evidence;  most rely on their own conscious and evaluation of appropriateness.    But do their therapies really do what they say they do?  Any healer with integrity would want to know the answer to this question.  All healers rely on faith on their therapies at some level.     Unfortunately, very few therapies are being studied at the level they need to be studied at to be accepted as valid for economic and political reasons.  Evidence based medicine helps some healers, especially those backed by big money and those who have the bucks to prove their therapy works.   Pharmaceuticals are a huge industry with those hundreds of millions of dollars necessary to get a therapy approved by the FDA.     Healers often can not wait for the studies to be done on their therapies because they are finding that people find them helpful and want them.  Most of medicine is done this way.  Who is going to wait for a study to be done on whether kindness is a helpful in the therapeutic process before being kind?   Doctors who rely solely on evidence-based medicine will be restricting their practice to what has been studied.  If what has been studied is restricted to things that can be patented and profited from, then the clinician is restricted to using these marketable items.    Many valuable therapies exist that may never go under the evidence based scrutiny.  These can remain useful in wise caring hands of people with integrity.  A healer is obligated to the level of evidence at hand.  And sometimes that evidence is not available from rigorous studies. 

The evidence based medical approach is especially important for heavy artillery.   If a healing modality is dangerous, then it is more important to be more certain or its efficaciousness.   If the modality is healthy for the patient any way, then the risk is at a much different level.    In general, statistically, pharmaceuticals and surgery are the cause of many people’s mortality and morbidity, and these drugs need to be protected from people’s ignorance.   Many other therapies are not heavy artillery, and do not require protection.  Societies all over the world have been involved in big turf wars over the control of therapeutic techniques.    This turf war is more a sign of the greed of the people, not an effort to protect like is often claimed. 

Every therapeutic technique that is safe, should be allowed to be practiced freely by the skilled and consenting.  Those who perform risky therapies should be responsible for their actions.  Hurting another is the line that determines inappropriateness.  This is regardless of licensure, schooling or certification.   Helping should be encouraged.    The current trend of over-regulation and restriction of the healing arts has been a travesty to humanity.  Though often lined with good intentions, the current regulatory situation threatens the way of barefoot doctoring.  All humans have the right to pursue their own way of healing, and all human beings have the right to consensually treat another.    True mastery of barefoot doctoring will prosper more when effectively dealing with regulatory agencies, and yet maintaining their freedom to do their healing arts.    Barefoot doctors require wisdom, but not the blessing of the regulatory agencies.  Because they are honorable and seek harmony, they often seek to do their service within the confines of the law.   But it is their wisdom itself, that is their license

EXCERPT:  Sutras of a Wise Healer



The Way of Freedom and Regulation of Caring


SUTRA:  Tolerance

The art of barefoot doctoring requires no regulation.  A barefoot doctor does not need a license, or certification for barefoot doctoring is the inalienable right to care for another.  The only requirements for the barefoot doctor is a clear conscience on their own knowledge and skill, and the blessings of those they seek to help.  This freedom to care and the right to choose one's care however, has been legislated away from barefoot doctors and the public to the extent that they could be fined or imprisoned for such important tasks as touching another person through massage or providing a herbal tea.   Let us examine this freedom and who has forsaken it, how they did and why. 

CHART:  Manifesto of Freedom

SUTRA:   Tyranny

SUTRA:   Anarchy's Song

The main reason for regulating the healing arts is straightforward: people, as consumers, are not able to make an informed decision as to the technical skill of a healer.  This ignorance can lead to unskilled practitioners, posing as skilled, in charging money can potentially injuring the uninformed.  Thus preventing fraudulent healers from she swaying uninformed consumers is the main reason for legislation. The desire to standardize health-care according to specific quality criterion an uplifting quote profession" to higher levels of practice is another reason for regulation of the healing.  These quality standards are safeguarded as we shall see by a variety of checks and balances, but are promoted primarily by a few groups of people involved in health-care:


Healthcare providers

Healthcare educators     

Pharmaceutical companies

Healthcare service providers

Healthcare insurance providers

Lawyers, Juries and Judges

Healthcare consumers


The barefoot doctor may seek licensure, or certification or diplomas from any accredited institution, but this is not the requirement for being a barefoot doctor.  A barefoot doctor seeks to be conclusive of all healing forms and tides and believes that we all can participate in the healing.  Is not regulation or certification the barefoot doctor opposes but the exclusiveness of one group or another to be the gatekeeper and sole guardian of a particular type of healing.  Restrictive regulation that only allows a certain group of people to practice for healing art is a form of monopoly.  Regulation that allows licensure for people to have met certain quality standards is quite appropriate, and allows the consumer to choose these standards or not.  Accreditation, diplomas, certification, regulation and licensure  are one way to tell the quality of a healer but does not insure their integrity and skill.

There are many other ways as well:

·         Look into their eyes and look for signs of sincerity

·         Ask the practitioner about their training and ask them details about their strategy of healing

·         Look to the health and way of the practitioner and her family

·         Ask if the practitioner has ever been sued, arrested, or formally investigated

·         Try the healing therapy gently and cautiously

·         Ask for a commitment that the practitioner to be responsible for their actions

·         Look for signs that the practitioner really cares

·         See if the therapy and advise works


By reviewing the history of “professional” medicine in the USA as the classic prototypical example, we can see that these factions had more than the protection of the public and excellent standards of healing in mind, for they are swayed by many political and economic interests.  Greed and self/corporate interests was far more real reasons why the turf was split up between the different healing “professions”.    We should be thankful for the development of these healing professions and the standards that they have lifted humanity to, and we should also realize that they have politically and economically motivated far beyond our interests.  This is immediately apparent when we walk into most doctors’ offices, hospitals and most modern healthcare practitioners and discover that they don’t really care for you much beyond your bill being paid. 

EXCERPT:  The "Official" Definition for the Practice of Medicine

For many eons, healers were not regulated by the certification, but by their skill.  It was there actions that primarily determined or qualification, not some standards set up by regulatory our accreditation agency.  Punishment for inappropriate healing practice was usually related to the laws of the land governing hurting another person not necessarily over healing itself.  In more early times, illegitimate healing was probably dealt with much more directly. 

A healer has always been expected to be of high moral own ethical fiber.  But even those of very high character began to be punished for not being the academic, sex, class, racial standards of a  “professional” healer.  Barefoot doctors have been ostracized ever since the first aristocratic schools/universities were established.  These academic institutions were intimately involved in the first organized attempt to dictate the standards needed for person to practice healing in a certain way by certain people.  Often joining with the political forces of the day, usually of the church or state, these academic organizations primarily run by aristocratic men, began to put restriction on healers by requiring them to meet certain academic standards.  To the self-interest to the academia, with its power to insist on its own training course, has been to this day, a major driving force to keep other healers from freely practicing their art.

This is clear today in almost every major “professional” healing art.  Take massage therapy for instance.  Usually a massage school opens in the state determined to set state standards for massage.  They claim their reason is to keep the public from associating “massage therapy” from those less repeatable “massage parlors”.  The goal, they say, is to get the sleazy massage parlors out of business.  This appeals to the moral majority.  The school lobbies to the state to regulate that at all people seeking to do massage was licensed by the state after attending an accredited, state approved institution.  The school that lobbied for this obviously has the self-interest of getting students to tend to their schools which is first in line to meet the qualifications of accreditation for filling licensure requirements.  All people in that state who want to heal another through massage must now go to that school, in order to practice legally. Anyone else doing unlicensed massage is performing a criminal act.  Imagine that touching another person with their consent for the purposes of healing (or pleasure) is a crime.  But this is the state of affairs across the country.    This is further supported by peers who attend the accredited schools, get licensed and further restrict their “profession” by a variety of means. 

We can see how these academic institutions in collusion with peer organizations have great political, social and economic interests to have exclusive licensure.  This pattern outlined for massage therapists is typical for nearly all the current “professional” healing arts.  This stronghold on healing is especially true for medical doctors.  Today, as much as ever, barefoot doctoring, even with the best of intentions and skills, is pressured by these regulations and restrictions.  

In the early days of the United States, like most of the world, the majority of people were cared for by barefoot doctors.  They were not known as “barefoot doctors”, but were the mothers and fathers, herbalists, bonesetters, etc.  Most of the few “physicians” in the early colonial period came from Europe.  These doctors often trained other Americans through apprenticeship programs.  They were few and far between.  Most Americans tended to themselves and those in their sphere of influence.   There must have been enough wisdom to survive.  The Native American influence was the deepest wisdom imprint on early colonial barefoot doctoring.  They new the resources, survived these lands, and sometimes were willing to share their wisdom with the invaders.    Many new herbs and healing arts became known to the colonists.     Barefoot doctoring continued in the across the land as European influences on medicine began to invade the colonies.

In 1765, the first medical school opened called the College of Philadelphia, later to become the University of Pennsylvania.  Soon after this, universities and colleges began to proliferate more and so did the medical schools.  The “quality” of these medical schools varied as many of these were mom and pop private ventures.  Many of these were people trying to educate people about what they knew about healing.  But compared to the European model colleges, they were considered an inferior medical education.

It was those who received their education from the more expensive and exclusive European style schools who first began to organize peer groups whose intention was to upgrade the quality of both medical education and medical practice.  These groups started at the state and local level, and eventually led to the formation of the American Medical Association (AMA) in 1847.

Since its inception, the AMA had as its primary goals to reform American medical education, and to restrict the practice of medicine to those who fulfilled their educational standards.  The AMA also established vehicles for the dissemination of new medical knowledge through publishing medical journals and supporting the continuing medical education of physicians.  In 1876, the AMA formed the Association of American Medical Colleges in attempt to standardize the medical education process.  They also slowly, and systematically lobbied for the exclusive licensure of physicians who attended schools that conformed to the new standards of education.  In 1904 the AMA began its Council on Medical Education, which was designed to inspect and rank medical schools.  This focused the conspiracy to restrict medicine to licensed medical doctors through its propaganda methods of publicly exposing those educational facilities that did not adhere to their European standards. 

CHART:  Flexner’s Five Factors in the Determination of the Quality of a Medical School

            Schools were expected to upgrade their curriculum, faculty and facilities to meet AMA standards as presented through its Council on Medical Education.  Although the formal accreditation process did not begin until years later, schools that did not comply faced the possibility that their graduating students may not meet state requirements for licensure.   This threat today has stretched way beyond the mighty grip of the AMA, and is now a reality for all the healing “professions”.  The requirements for licensure insist upon graduation from an accredited institution that complies with the particular healing art’s “professional standards.  Since the cost and time required for accreditation today is enormous, only schools that can afford to comply can continue, while those that cannot afford to meet accreditation standards or to lobby for a law change, simply must close their doors.   No matter how wise, deep or compassionate the healing skill, the practitioners cannot practice legally without meeting these requirements.

Schools where not the only institutions effected.  Hospitals and insurance companies were also.  Hospitals had to meet rigorous standards, including the expectation that they would only allow AMA recognized qualified medical doctors on their staff.  Insurance companies were pressured to re-imburse only licensed medical doctors for standard of care influenced by AMA standards.  This situation has further evolved today where each particular healing art has had to fight for their piece of the turf.  Once in power they protect their turf in the same way the AMA did.  All the time using the protection of the ignorant public as a reason for restrictive licensure, these healing arts obviously were attempting to monopolize their part of the healthcare market. 

Regulations are claimed to be developed to increase the quality of health services, thereby protecting the uniformed consumer.  They are usually statutory laws that establish licensing requirements and regulatory boards to enforce the statutes.  These statutes define the scope of function of a profession and limit the performance of these functions to licensed professionals.  As the prototypical self-regulating organization, with the deepest of pockets to fund successful lobbying drives, the AMA has successfully insured that only licensed medical doctors  are able to diagnose and treat disease.  Medical doctors, now along with osteopaths, have this  exclusive “scope of practice” to perform surgery, prescribe controlled medicines, and to allocate the healing resources of a community.  Most other healing arts have been forced to define their scope of practice while not stepping onto this medical turf.  And the individual barefoot doctors of the community are downright heretic. They are prosecuted for their compassion, skill and wisdom as well as their folly. 

After Flexner published his report, the schools on a meager budget, and lenient philosophy were forced to close due to the ever decreasing enrollment.  Students were growing skeptical of investing into a school that would not allow them to practice.  Many of the schools that closed were based on apprenticeship learning systems based on empirical experience, not just academic learning.  Many precious ways of healing were closed down with the the swift pen of Mr. Flexner.  To this day, very few ”Barefoot Doctor” schools exist.  The apprenticeship system is discouraged—lost, as is the wisdom that took generations to produce.    

In the next one hundred years after Flexner, many of the techniques of barefoot doctoring where divvied up and the turf was formalized.    But the way of barefoot doctoring has not changed.  Barefoot doctors use techniques, and today, often get licensure, but they are committed to healing people, not just to a profession.  Mastery in the art of barefoot doctoring has to do with reliable skill and a deep heart.   Mastery in medicine requires meeting state requirements and being an excellent doctor.      Ulterior motives

The AMA, and most other professional healing organizations have some lofty ideals that show their integrity and hope for a worthy medical system.  Their principles of medical ethics , key objectives and strategies, core purposecore values are indeed worthy and profound.  Their manifestation into politics has resulted in the relatively exclusive ability to determine the standards of medical practice and laws of healing that denies the inalienable right of people to choose whom they hope to be healed by, and how healers choose to practice their healing art.    Exclusive restriction on a healing art, is like exclusive restriction on religion.  Indeed, in many fundamentalist countries, the religious restriction is very similar to  that today on barefoot doctoring. 

The AMA’s powerful influence on the regulatory, educational, funding, and service institutions has been practically omnipotent, and lends to a less than hopeful endeavor in the deregulation of the healing arts.   Any healing turf that had not been regulated has been taken up by the other healthcare professional organizations, which have instigated their own restrictions.  To complicate this matter, every state in the country has different regulatory procedures and statutes.  This leaves us with a regulatory environment that is a bureaucratic nightmare.  Many of the state boards are inept in this bureaucracy by either sticking to the letter of the law with no flexibility, or else gets lost in the very bureaucracy itself.  Nonetheless, the professional organizations have bought up the real estate of healing until no one can without the necessary state blessing can legally perform healing. 

These other healing professional groups, similar to the AMA, lobbied for self-regulation of their profession and were able to determine the standards of regulation in their state.  Sometimes they one this right and sometimes they lost.  Every time the battle for turf happened with a battle.  This battle has been most clearly witnessed in the field of chiropractic.   Like the osteopaths, the chiropractors were early on one of the few groups that fought for self-regulation and the right to determine their own standards, laws and enrollment.  Long ago, the AMA began a systematic and planned conspiracy to “contain and eliminate” chiropractors.  AMA documents clearly showed that they planned to keep chiropractors divided into two groups—the straight and the mixers.  They pressured hospitals to not allow staff privileges to chiropractors;  The AMA kept chiropractors from being able to tap into worker’s compensation;  They insured that chiropractic not be covered by insurance companies;  They swayed public money from going towards chiropractic education and research;  and especially, they publicly denounced chiropractors as unscientific quacks and sought to lower the image of chiropractic in the eyes of the consumer.  The AMA, through its code of ethics, insisted that medical doctors do not associate, consult or refer to chiropractors.  

This behavior was objected to by the chiropractic profession and eventually the chiropractors brought the AMA to court for anti-trust violations, conspiracy to restrain and eliminate the profession of chiropractic.    The courts found that the AMA’s boycott and restriction of chiropractic had resulted in significant restraint of trade, and required the AMA  to publish in their professional journal, JAMA, a copy of the courts injunction. Medical doctors were now allowed to associate with chiropractors. 

Chiropractic Antitrust Suit Permanent Injunction Order against AMA

Summary of injunction against AMA

            Today, the practice of chiropractic thrives as a powerful and re-imbursable profession.  Meanwhile, however, chiropractic has become a mega-power like the AMA and has fought to expand and guard their turf.  They have battled with the physical therapists, massage therapists, and even acupuncturists.  The chiropractors, themselves led a conspiracy and successfully stopped the propagation of Naprapathy, which is bonesetting art similar in scope to chiropractic.  While these mega -powers compete for the turf, the healers are manipulated into a political frenzy.   The expense to meet licensure is far more severe than the indentured servitude of colonial days.  It takes many years to pay of the debt created to become a professional.  The ones who have been really punished are the barefoot doctors who do not have the money or desire to pursue licensure.  Midwives, herbalists, bodyworkers, food counselors, bonesetters etc have been forced into licensure or else face jail time or fine.  Honor can still lie in these fields without regulation. Honor does not require a license.

            This is especially seen in the field of midwifery.  Through out history, midwives have been persecuted and even burned at the stake for practicing their art.  If one reviews the history of midwifery, we witness honorable women seeking to help comfort other women during the natural processes of birthing.   The obstetrical conspiracy is obvious and sad.  Today, a woman cannot legally choose a lay midwife to help her with her birth.  A lay midwife faces imprisonment.  Even licensed midwives are required to be medically supervised by an obstetrician.  In most parts of this country, the obstetricians refuse to accept this responsibility, leaving even the licensed midwives to practice illegally.  This is truly a conspiracy to restrain the trade of midwifery.  Midwives are the quintessential barefoot doctors, worthy of our deepest respect and gratitude.

            Even a brief glimpse into the history of midwifery will show that midwives are the quintessential barefoot doctor.  Clearly, the intention and care a society gives to the most precious of all human endeavors, childbearing, is a clear reflection of the healthcare the society is capable and willing to provide.  Midwives were certainly present in ancient days as evident in the bible and early Greek and Roman literature.  But like all barefoot doctoring arts, these arts were the arts of the people and not necessarily the academia.  And just as written history reflects the will of churches and kings and ruling powers, but neglects the history of the people, the history of midwifery and barefoot doctoring is present mostly in the wisdom and tradition of those practicing today.  As these women, like most barefoot doctors, were not academics, few written histories remain.

EXCERPT:  Forms of Care in Midwifery

            Like all barefoot doctor arts, midwifery lives as one person attempting to support another during a time of need.  Until recently, it has had little organization and most of the training was passed down by personal training.  As cultures got more complex, apprenticeships were developed to assure that the wisdom was transmitted more systematically.  Yet as these healers, like most of the humans on the planet, were usually peasant class people with little financial means, these arts were passed on with little fame or fortune, known only to those lucky enough to bear direct witness to its wisdom.

            In more primitive cultures, where there is less class differentiation, midwifery and barefoot doctoring kept the respect of society as wise elders.  But as the class distinction becomes more obvious, those in power tend to want to control healthcare and midwifery.  History shows a distinct and clear conspiracy by political and religious forces to oppress both barefoot doctoring and midwifery, martyrs of  the freedom to heal.

            In the dark ages midwives and barefoot doctors provided care for the vast majority of peoples on this planet.  The oppression that befell them is a reflection of both the sex and class struggles that pervaded society through this millennia.  And though barefoot doctoring and midwifery may have been kept alive in the witches covens of the past, these so-called “witches” were often those seeking freedom as healers/midwives, as an inalienable right, whom those in power, that is church and state, feared as instigators of civil unrest.

            The witch-hunts were calculated schemes to oppress these freedom seekers; the Church relied on pre-established doctrines that dictated how and why to live and heal.  Midwives and barefoot doctors were often free-thinkers and empiricists who used their own conscience to lend their wisdom.  Thus, these “witches” were accused of sex crimes, religious impiety, collusion with the devil, and having magical powers, and were tortured and slaughtered by the thousands.  As the political forces eventually subdued those of the church, those men in power continued to seek oppression of the barefoot doctors and midwives by requiring that these healers seek academic training and eventually licensure by the state to practice their art.

            In certain parts of Europe, midwifery was able to become respected as a necessary art and continued, although with the imposition of strict academic standards.  In America, the art of midwifery, like barefoot doctoring, was systematically oppressed by a ruling class of men who influenced the state.   The American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists was established in 1888.  The male dominated obstetricians convinced the American public that the science of childbirth was too complicated a specialty for “lay people” to continue to provide.  Women, they claimed, were not intellectually capable of utilizing the modern technology needed for childbirth.  Childbirth was compared to a disease to be treated with instruments, drugs, and surgery.  Certainly, midwives took business away from obstetricians and served women where they could not be observed clinically, and thus seemingly proved a detriment to the advancement of science.  While some American obstetricians pointed to the efficacy of midwifery in Europe and throughout history, the majority of obstetricians, like most doctors, sought to protect their economic territory by politically capturing birthing and healing as exclusively their own right and privilege. 

            In the early part of this century, foundation money began to support the idea that medical schools ought to conform to the John Hopkins’ germanic model of medical education.  The doctors’ exclusive right to practice medicine was consolidated in 1909, when upon the urging of the American Medical Association, the Carnegie Corporation sent Abraham Flexner to evaluate medical schools around the nation.  His report, published in 1909, effectively diverted financial support from the smaller medical schools that supported education of blacks, women and natural healers. In 1910, when approximately 50 percent of all births were done by midwives, new licensing laws began to be established that dictated that medicine be practiced by medical doctors trained at a certified medical institution as suggested by the Flexner Report.  Those practicing midwifery or healing without a license to practice, were persecuted as criminals.

            By 1916, the Census bureau statistics showed rising death rates amongst women and babies, clearly showing that the newly developed medical model was inferior to those that still included midwifery.  Nevertheless, despite these and many other revealing statistics, the conspiracy against midwifery and all barefoot doctoring, has continued until the present.  Barefoot Doctors and midwives were arrested, harassed and threatened into near oblivion.  A dark point for the ancient wisdom as it dwindled to a small and fearful flame. By 1953, the rate of midwifery attending births were down to only three percent.  No longer perceiving midwifery as a threat, the rate of propaganda against the ancient art slowed.  American women now relied on medical doctors to treat their childbirth as if it were a pathological, not natural,  process.  

            Women’s loss of faith in the birthing/healing as a natural process was accompanied with the loss of the ancient wisdom that has been handed down since time immemorial.  Midwives stopped training midwives, as the art dwindled to a point probably unknown since the earliest history of humanity.  Yet, like a light so eternally shining, midwifery, as a barefoot doctoring art, kept the wisdom alive. 

            Modern obstetrics exemplifies the blessings and curses of modern medicine.  It helps saves lives, and prevents unwanted pregnancy;  It is a lucrative profession and is guardian of the “standard of care”.  Obstetrics can also be extremely uncomfortable, expensive and invasive.  Obstetrics, like most of medicine, seeks to apply techniques, rather than respect the inherent healing and birthing capacity of human beings.  The excellent in the profession seek to educate their clients on healthier ways.  The less than excellent doctors, demand that patients comply with the protocol, appearing rude, indignant, and self-righteous.  Midwifery, like barefoot doctoring, has evolved to demand that respect accompany the skill.  As it came into the modern era, midwives now seek the freedom to practice their art.  The pursuit of this freedom has exemplified the barefoot doctors attempt to tie freedom with responsibility and skill with respect. 

            In the 1960’s and 70’s, a movement to reform childbirth emerged in the form of small gatherings and study groups.  Women began to demand the right to be allowed to care for themselves in the way that they preferred.  Women rallied and demanded the right to care for themselves and returned to having homebirths.

            By this time, most of the births were done within the hospital.  In some places, C-sections were greater than 50%.  Forceps, episiotomy, and induction of labor were the standards of care, misleading most of the population still to believe that the hospital was the responsible place to have a birth.  But, through the faith that birth is a natural process requiring intervention only occasionally, midwives sought to bring the birth back into the comfort of the home.

            New laws were passed, allowing women to have their births at home as long as it was with a “qualified midwife”.  Today the credentials of a “midwife” vary state-to-state but usually means one of the four types of midwives.  1) lay midwife 2) direct-entry midwife 3) certified professional midwife 4) certified nurse-midwife.  From a legalistic standpoint, a qualified midwife today refers to one who meets the requirements for licensure, and this can include any of the types of midwives except a true “lay midwife”.  The details of a qualified midwife varies amongst states.  From a Barefoot Doctors’ point of view, a qualified midwife is one who has honor and skill in helping women give birth.  Most states don’t recognized these qualification without a more formal education and licensure procedure.

A so-called “lay midwife” has usually apprenticed with an experienced midwife and focuses on homebirth.  They  also may have learned their art by direct observation and experience, from their friends, family, neighbors, traditions, faith and divine inspiration.  They are called “lay midwives” by those who consider them to have little or no academic or formal training.  By definition, they are not licensed midwives and usually practice illegally. Examples include granny midwives, church midwives, traditional birth attendants, “parteras” who serve Latino women in the American Southwest, and the many nameless ones who informally help others have safe out of hospital births.  

A “direct-entry midwife” provides care to women during the prenatal, birthing, and postpartum periods.  She may receive academic training from a midwifery school and has done a apprenticeship for appropriate clinical training.  In Europe, the term “direct-entry midwife” refers to those who attended a midwifery school that was not a nursing school.  In the USA, the term tends to refer to those who used multiple routes of entry to gain the core competencies needed to become a responsible midwife, without necessarily becoming a nurse first.  Many states have licensure or at least some form of certification for direct-entry midwives.  The bulk of their practice is homebirths.  Today, in the USA, less than .5% of all births are homebirths, and most of these are helped by direct-entry midwives.  

            A certified nurse-midwife (CNM) is a Registered Nurse that has furthered her studies to get a degree in midwifery.  To practice as a CNM, a nurse must attend an accredited nurse-midwifery education program, pass a national certification exam and meet the requirements of either the American College of Nurse-Midwives or American College of Nurse-Midwives Certification Council.  Because physician backup is required, the nurse-midwife usually works in the hospital, in an obstetrician’s office, or in a birthing clinic.  About 96% of  CNM attended births are in a hospital, 3% in a free standing birthing center, and only 1% are done at home.  Since the CNM is closely allied with the rigorous academic standards of the medical establishment, they are the midwives with the most power and numbers, and thus often are the ones who get hospital privileges, physician referral’s, and their services covered by third party payers. 

            A certified professional midwife (CPM) can be either a nurse midwife, or a direct entry midwife, who has received certification by NARM (North American Registry of Midwives).  Multiple routes of entry are encouraged, and after documenting proof of training and experience, the CPM can pass extensive tests and practical exams to allow them to be licensed if their state recognizes these standards.  The CPM credentialing validates multiple routes of entry into midwifery, respecting apprenticeship, schooling, preceptorship, hospital training and self-study as appropriate.  They urge a “competency based education” (CBE) where practical skills can be demonstrated as proof of completion of “core competencies”.  The certification process requires that there be clear documentation of practical experience as outlined in a “practical skills checklist”.

EXCERPT:  MANA's Core Competencies

            Most states strictly forbid lay midwifery to be practiced.   Some form of licensure is usually required.  A person may not professionally help another person with their birth unless blessed by the state licensing board.  Recognizing that total freedom of delivery is as impractical as total freedom of healing, compromise had to come by convincing lawmakers to allow for qualified midwives that meet a standard of excellence as defined by each particular state.  Most states these days required some college level course material like biology, anatomy and physiology, nutrition, and psychology, as well as a certified midwifery course and a certain minimum number of attended births, and the passing of a written exam.  A similar process has happened to many and most of the other barefoot doctoring arts like massage, naturopathy, nutrition, acupuncture and physical therapy.  All these need to meet state requirements, if they are allowed to practice at all.  This is greatly impinged on our personal right to practice our healing as we see fit; but it is a working compromise to the overwhelming oppression of the total conspiracy to forbid all except doctors to practice healing.

EXCERPT:  Safety of Homebirths with Midwives

            Most of the other healing arts have given in and followed the tyrannical path of medicine requiring formal academic schooling, hospital based training and homage to the doctor as boss in the field of medicine.  But direct-entry midwifery, as it is now evolving, is seeking a different compromise.

            Midwives have always understood the value of gathering together to keep their sacred knowledge protected.  In the United States, this group was consolidated into MANA (Midwifery Alliance of North America).  Leaders and wise elders of midwifery met and churned out of their hearts, a set of core competencies that further define excellence in quality childbirthing.  MANA welcomes diversity, yet believes that midwives can honor multiple routes of training as proof of ones fundamental mastery of the core competencies.  This allows one who is choosing a midwife and homebirthing to know that a group of wise elders think that this person has learned what they need to learn to be helpful and responsible at births as a midwife.

EXCERPT:  MANA Statement of Value and Ethics

            Most midwives believe that certification as verification of completion of core competency (currently now defined by MANA) and NARM skills is enough for a midwife to responsibly practice her art.  Unfortunately, a lot more is involved than that.  Giving in to a variety of political pressures, states have put restrictions on midwives that vary tremendously.  The arbitrariness of the licensure laws lead us to conclude that the government is confused as to the standards of midwifery, and thus more prone to the more conservative political pressures of the established medical community.  Midwives have to comply with a state to state standard, and sometimes no standards at all.  All the states can show us their wisdom by adopting a core competency practical skills checklist as demonstrated by NARM’s certification process of certified professional midwives.  As this has not happened yet, most midwives continue to practice either illegally or by finally buckling down and meeting the licensure requirements of each state in which they practice.  This proves to be expensive and often too academic to be practical.  MEAC (Midwifery Education Accreditation Council) was started in 1991 to provide educational standards and to evaluate programs doing midwifery education.  They accredited schools that comply with its standards as defined by MANA and NARM.  Those who graduate from MEAC accredited schools are eligible to qualify for the NARM exam leading to certification as a CPM (certified professional midwife).  MEAC also respects multiple levels of entries into midwifery which include apprenticeship, at-a-distance learning, certification programs, degree programs, programs within institutions, and private institutions.

            Like all certification processes these days, the expense and hassle of the paperwork keeps many individuals from fulfilling their dreams, and keeps many an institution from being created to help people learn how to birth responsibly.   MANA, MEAC, and NARM are the fruits of some of humanity’s deepest midwives.  A lot of deep thought goes into development of educational standards, accreditation procedures and agencies.  Yet even this does not allow each individual the right to practice her art without bureaucratic and financial nightmare of having to meet standards, even reasonable standards, as dictated by the states.  The honor of helping with births ultimately has to remain with each individual who has to answer to their own inner voice of wisdom.

            Defining the honor of midwifery is thus challenging as it has no true standard, but the inner voice of righteousness that says, “Yes, this is right”.  When it comes to the qualifications of becoming a worthy midwife, there are certain evolutionary steps that excellent midwives take proving their success in their art as well as their skill and wisdom.  They usually start as a shimmer of a vision into the profundity of the art.  One day she thinks, “I will be a midwife”.  For years, even decades sometimes, this may remain only a vision.  But as a person matures and applies herself, she begins to study aspects of midwifery of interest to her. 

            Some choose to study formally at an institution or school.  Some seek out midwives and help out around births first just as a witness, then as an attendant, next as an assistant and soon or later if the bonds are good the student becomes an apprentice.  The goal of this student phase is to consolidate the knowledge neccesary to understand the natural processes of pregnancy and delivery.  MANA has a set of core competencies in the area of antepartum, intrapartum and postpartum and neonatal and well woman care.  The student’s job is to begin the acquisition of the knowledge base needed to successfully apply the skills to the midwifery. 

            Many students go to school, some do home study, some take workshops, some do on the job training.  The most important thing is that the acquisition of the knowledge occurs, and that the student becomes enthusiastic to apply this knowledge.

            The discipline of acquiring the skills of midwifery, marks the beginning of the apprenticeship phase.  Some people apprentice with only one teacher, others seek the skill by apprenticeship with many.  Some do more formal apprenticeships in hospitals or at birthing clinics.  Some attend homebirths.  The goal of their apprenticeship phase is the acquisition of wisdom that is the ability to skillfully apply the knowledge of midwifery into practice.  MANA has a list of core competency skills and NARM has developed a practical  skills checklist.  MEAC requires that all people graduating from a MEAC accredited school have acquired the skills within the MANA core competencies to become a CPM, and one must prove these skills through the practical skills checklist.  

            Finishing even an accredited school does not guarantee the wisdom necessarily to effectively handle a complex midwifery practice.  Certainly passing required state licensure even less.  Honor dictates that the apprentice obtain the blessing of their teachers as well as the internal conviction that they are capable.  This is much more important of a need for qualification, but is much harder to qualify for licensure.  Different cultures and different traditions can dictate a different set of core competencies, but all cultures and traditions hope that apprentices be worthy in the eyes of their teachers and that they exude a sense of self-conviction.

Our society, lost in bureaucracy, has lost sight of the need to require honor as part of the core competency.  If one takes the course, gets adequate grades, attends a certain number of births, they are eligible for licensure.  They can be poor decision makers, sneaky, overconfident, but this does not play into the equation.  These moral and ethical standards are not explicitly tested for by the state or accrediting agencies.  The best of all worlds produce a smart student and a skilled apprentice who develops into a midwife with wisdom and integrity.  Lack of any of these ingredients is a compromise to all involved in a birthing process.

EXCERPT:  Barefoot Doctors’ Academy’s “The Honor of Midwifery

            History has proven over and over, that honor does not dictate the right to practice a healing art, for this is influenced by so many factors;  but honor does help us to gain vision of where the practice of the art should be.  This vision has kept both healing and midwifery with the hope of freedom and responsibility in the delivery of quality care.  The success of this care is proven in the statistics.   The statistics clearly show that low risk home births attended by licensed direct entry midwives have equivalent neonatal mortality statistics and Apgar scores, less C-sections, and significantly less low birth weight births.  Yet, even licensed midwives are biased against, by not receiving hospital and managed care privileges, equivalent (if any) Medicaid and third party re-imbursement, and are denied the right to participate in the healthcare system as equal and independent practitioners of their art.  The Pew Health Professions Commission and the University of California San Francisco Center for Health Professions Taskforce on Midwifery has reviewed the current state of the art of midwifery, and made some bold statements concerning the future of midwifery.  This 1999 Taskforce report entitled, Charting a Course for the 21st Century: The Future of Midwifery, is as significant a document for midwifery as the Flexner Report was eighty years its prior.  The difference is that the Flexner Report hindered the growth of midwifery; and the Taskforce’s report will lead midwifery into a new age of opportunities.  Though these recommendations do not cover all the responsible and honorable midwives practicing today, it does give hope to those who have taken the effort to become licensed and “qualified”.   It encourages the US healthcare system to embrace midwifery by recommending that midwives be recognized as independent practitioners with the rights and responsibilities which all independent professionals share, and that the laws, rules and regulations regarding midwives reflects this non-discriminatory policy.  

It is the finding and vision of the Taskforce that the midwifery model of care is an essential element of comprehensive health care for women and their families that should be embraced by, and incorporated into, the health care system and made available to all women.


To fully realize this vision, a number of actions need to be taken. The Taskforce offers fourteen recommendations for educators, policy makers and professionals to consider. The Taskforce on Midwifery proposes these recommendations in the spirit of improving health care and hopes that the report will benefit women and their families through increased access to midwives and the midwifery model of care. The report should serve to inform managed care organizations, health care professionals and others who employ, collaborate with, and reimburse midwives about the midwifery model of care and its benefits. In addition, the authors hope to inform the profession of midwifery about the opportunities and challenges it faces in today’s health care delivery environment.

(Taken from:  Joint Report of the Pew Health Professions Commissions and the USCF Center for the Health Professions, Charting a Course for the 21st Century:  The Future of Midwifery, 1999.)



CHART:   Pew Recommendations for the Future of Midwifery

            Until our society recognizes the right of individuals to practice and seek help in the barefoot doctoring arts, and until the practitioners have proven their honor and skill beyond doubt and recourse,  the government has the obligation to regulate the healing arts to protect its citizens from neglect, fraud, abuse and lack of skill.  Task forces like this PEW Commission, and wise elder peer groups like MANA, NARM, and MEAC, serve to balance the tendency towards over-regulation by offering guidelines for training and practice, that are fair, deep, safe, and accessible.  These organizations are shining examples to all the healing arts on the possibility of cooperative endeavor.  The individual practitioner’s own honor and conscience, tempered by these societal forces are the hope that humanity will move towards more fulfilling healing and birthing experiences.  The balance between freedom and regulation will go on, of this there is little doubt;  Perhaps now, after eons of control issues, they can endeavor on a path of cooperation that further aids qualified practitioners to serve in the most qualified of ways.   This is how the art of Barefoot Doctoring is evolving through midwifery.

SUTRA:  Thank you to the Midwives

            All the modern healing professionals are required to attend an accredited institution in order to be qualified for licensure.  Accreditation is potentially an excellent process to manifest a particular set of quality standards.  Accreditation is usually a non-govenmental self-regulatory way that professional groups determine the standards of education and care.  The accrediting bodies are made of peers who have designed the criteria for accreditation.  These peers, are no doubt, puppets of the healing professional organizations.  This accreditation process usually involves three major very expensive activities;

  1. Self-study by the faculty, administration and staff using the accrediting  agencies set of quality standards. 

  2. A team of peers selected by the accrediting agency that performs a site visit to determine whether or not the institution meets the criteria.

  3. The accrediting body’s board then reviews the evidence and recommendations and makes a decision as to whether the institution meets the standards required for accreditation.


If accreditation is denied, the institution will end up failing.  Accreditation allows the students to be eligible for federal loans and funds as determined by the department of Education (DOE).  The DOE reviews the qualifications of the accrediting agencies, and determines their right to be accrediting bodies.  If the DOE approved accrediting body approves an institution’s accreditation, then the students are eligible for financial aid, and are eligible for licensure once they graduate and pass a board test.  Thus the accrediting process is used as a tool by the professional organization to corner their share of the market. 

EXCERPT:  What is Accreditation

EXCERPT:  Role of the Department of Education in Accreditation

EXCERPT:  Facts on the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations

Both regulation and accreditation are now a reality in modern healing practices.  This is big, big business.  Billions of dollars are spent abiding to the rules and standards.  Ultimately it is the healers and their patients who pay for this.   Many talented healers, however, simply just want to heal, and do not want to go hundreds of thousands into debt, or be forced to abide by some standard or regulation.   Many barefoot doctors want to set their own honorable standards of education and care, and hope to pass on this wisdom through apprenticeship.  It is these healers who bear the tyranny of those in power.        EXCERPT:  Recommendations of the Special Committee on Health Care Fraud

EXCERPT:  PEW Commission's Recomendations for the Future of Healthcare Professions

Accreditation can be a very powerful way of helping us to define standards of quality in education for healthcare practitioners.  Exclusive licensure restriction, based on accreditation is the problem.  The accreditation process can be as strict as the peer group decides, but let them set the standard for their group and their students.  Governmental restrictive requirement to attend the accredited schools in ordered to heal or else face prison does not protect the public, but endangers it.  It is dangerous to not be allowed to choose your way of healing legally.  And it leads to the huge, impersonal, non-caring mess of a medical system that we have now.    Accreditation with nonrestrictive licensure could lead to the best of both worlds.  

CHART:  Major Strengths and Weakness of  Specialized Accreditation in Health Professions

CHART:  Seventeen Core Competencies of Accreditation Standards

            Much of the public prefers to rely on the government to recognize qualified healers.  Those in power paternalistically use this preference to justify their desire to regulate the professions.   Let those citizens who prefer licensure and regulation seek out those licensed professionals.  And let those who want to take the responsibility of healing upon themselves, let them do so.  The government can thus put their stamp of approval on those that meet the necessary qualifications.  The regulating bodies can set standards for those public consumers who want this reassurance.  But to insist on exclusive licensure laws that restrict the trade is a violation of a person’s right to self-determination.  A person should be allowed to choose who they want to help them heal.  If they trust the healer and give their consent, then so be it.  If the healer hurts or injures a patient in the process, then they should be held liable for this injury.  Fraud, neglect, and abuse are never good, whether by a licensed or unlicensed practitioner. 

CHART:  Virtues and Vices of Healthcare Practitioners

CHART:  Definitions of Inappropriate Healers

            Many are concerned that the public will be injured by allowing the freedom of the healing arts to flourish.  But how many have died in the hands of physicians.  Our hospitals are dangerous, where heavy handed healers can impose their way onto an unsuspecting public.   It is exclusivity that ultimately injures the passing on of the healing wisdom because of its tendency to deceive, greed, abuse and negate.  Midwifery, again, is a perfect example.  Statistics clearly show the safety in doing homebirths with a midwife, as opposed to birthing in hospitals.  Much of the birthing wisdom of our ancestors has been lost because of the abuse towards midwives.  It will take many generations to regain that lost wisdom. 

            Barefoot doctoring is a right, not a privilege.  It may be a privilege to call oneself a medical doctor, a surgeon, or a chiropractor etc., but it is a right to be able to practice healing and to care for those in need.  We have an inalienable right to self-determination.  Exclusive licensure and prosecuting those that practice without a license -- without fraud, neglect or abuse--is a symptom of a society that is overly protective.  We can also see evidence of this in our society in the government’s drug policies, building codes and  business laws.  Barefoot doctors are not criminals, but honorable people trying to help honorable people in an honorable way.  If it does not have honor, then it is not barefoot doctoring.    Every parent comes to the reckoning that their grown child is able to choose their own path.  The honor of a parent is to allow their children to grow up and choose their own ethics. The ethics of a barefoot doctor is based on this honor.

Chart:  Ethics of a Barefoot Doctor

SUTRA:  Judge Ye Not

            Mastery in healing requires many generations to fulfill.   First we require our ancestors who sustained until now.  Their wisdom in hygiene and care, their insights that led to insights eventually led to better care.    Our ancestors’ aspirations into deeper ways of health and healing are the foundation of much of our discipline.  Our aspirations will perhaps be the discipline of our children.    The compassion of our ancestors, our compassion for those people to come, our relationships,  guide the way of barefoot doctoring survives. 

SUTRA:  We are All Related

            And especially, mastery in barefoot doctoring requires a disciplined effort to study, understand and gain practical skill in the art of caring for themselves and others.  The level of mastery is related to their skill in technique, but also their skillful intention.  The mastery of techniques of successful hygiene, healthy living, and healing require years of aspiration and discipline.  This wisdom goes beyond techniques, schools, and systems of healing.  Schools come and go;  Systems of healing take precedent, then fall back.  Techniques themselves can be quite dangerous in greeding, inscrupulous doctors.  The highest levels of care  is about the mastery of the principle itself, so that at any moment, the healer is available to share the wisdom.   Healthy people, communities, and planet requires this wisdom.  Techniques may be used for ulterior motives, but wisdom's motives are clear:  the qualitative thriving of life.   Healers who aspire to master this wisdom are barefoot doctors. 

SUTRA:  Service

            The mastery of any art eventually leads to the skillful expression of techniques in accordance wit the most essential and fundament Principles.  This is masterfully explained by Chozan Shissai in the Tengu-geijutsu-ron (The Mountain Demon Discourse).   Substitute "barefoot doctoring" for "swordsmanship", and appreciate Chozan Shissai's summary of the way of mastery.



               The Principle is without form.   Its function derives from the instrument.  Without the instrument the Principle is unrecognizable.  The awesome revelation of the great source appears in the interchange of yin and yang, and the Divine Principle of the human spirit distinguishes itself in its perception of the Four Fundamental Virtues (Care, Integrity, Proper Morality, Wisdom).  Although swordsmanship is directed towards victory and defeat (battle), when one attains its essence, one recognizes that this essence is the marvelous simplicity of the spirit in self-revelation. 

  The novice, of course, is hardly able to penetrate these realms overnight.  Thus, the instructions of the ancients followed the natural development of form, and so they mastered the technique of lunging and piercing, of attack and parry.  They improved the harmony between bone and muscle, practiced hand and foot work.  They mastered the art of handling the sword and became prepared to meet the demands of every situation.  If a person has not fully mastered the technique, though his spirit may be strong, he will fail to fulfill its function.  Technique is practiced by means of qi.  The qi is that which defines the form by means of the spirit.  One must therefore keep the qi lively and uninhibited, strong and balanced.                     

By comprehending the Principle inherent in the technique, one conforms to the nature of the instrument.  From mastery of technique follow the harmony and balance of the qi, the technique’ inherent Principle reveals itself of its own accord.  And when it is understood in one’s spirit and no longer generates doubts, then technique and Principle converge, the qi is concentrated, the spirit calmed, and reactions follow unhampered.  This has been the correct method of practicing an art from the oldest times.  Thus, in an art it is a matter of practical training.  If the technique has not been mastered, the the qi will not be harmonious and balanced, the appropriate form will not ensue, spirit and form become two separate entities, and therefore, one will not attain the graceful Way.

                   Adapted from The Way of the Sword, by Reinhard Kammer, “The Tengu-geijutsu-ron of Chozan Shiisai “ (1728)


            The pharmaceutical companies don’t guide barefoot doctoring, nor the schools, nor the state.  How we treat our children guides barefoot doctoring.  Mastering in barefoot doctoring is like the healthy parents who see their children grow up healthy and have children who are healthy.   Mastery is successfully transmitting the most precious of gifts to future generations.  What is more precious then quality of life?   The wisdom on how to care and propagate the quality of life.  This is the field of mastery for the barefoot doctor.  The master cares for future generations, provides for them by spending her life healing, and training, and training others, and encouraging integrity and skill.  The wise barefoot doctor has trained people to care well. 

            A wandering person plucks an apple from a tree and eats it; she becomes nourished for a moment, then grows hungry.   She takes the apple seed, germinates it and plants the sprout.  She tends to the sprout, and grows an apple tree.  Eventually she has many trees, a whole orchard of apples which she shares with her family.  In her enthusiasm she shares the seeds with many others, and the seeds spread all over the world;  many people are nourished by the apple.   In much the same way the master barefoot doctor has been successful in her own health,   the health of her family, and propagated her wise ways to the world.    

SUTRA:  Mastery

Long after prozac is gone;  long after the AMA;  long after most of our current diagnostic and therapeutic techniques of “modern medicine” is gone, barefoot doctoring will survive because in order for our species to survive, we must care.  We can care clumsily and haphazardly; we can aspire to care better;  we can learn to care better;  we can learn to care well; we can care well;    we can teach people to care well;  We can encourage people to care for others well.   We can skillfully train people in the most profound way of caring.    This is the way of the master of the way of barefoot doctoring, successful in sharing their wisdom of a sustainable medicine.  All techniques are good if used wisely.   The science and art of healing will continue to mature in details we cannot foresee,  and we can trust that the way of caring with integrity, wisdom and skill will also mature.   Barefoot doctoring is the paradigm of a sustainable medicine.

SUTRA:  Ode to a Sustainable Medicine

SUTRA:  be free