Dr. Rudolph Ballentine was interviewed
for Windows to Wellness, a radio show about complimentary healing
techniques for the
body and mind. Windows To Wellness is hosted by Linda Woods.
Many of us, when we are faced with an emotional
or physical crisis, don't really know where to turn. We need guidance
or a map to
lead us in the right direction. Our guest today is Dr. Rudolf
Ballentine, a medical doctor who trained at Duke University, and who created
the Center for Holistic Medicine in New York City.
on 30 years of medical study and practice, Dr. Ballentine has written
a book called Radical Healing which integrates the wisdom of the great
traditional healing systems such as Auryveda, homeopathy, traditional
Chinese medicine, European and Native American herbology, nutrition, psychotherapy
and bodywork. His book has been heralded as a masterpiece which helps
us understand and appreciate the power of the classic healing tradition.
In this book he discusses transformational medicine, a system which encourages
us to approach a health crisis with curiosity instead of fear, and with
optimism instead of disappointment.
Sickness and health become a major way that we learn
from life. From this point of view illness is viewed as an opportunity
for growth and transformation, while recovery is only a return to an obsolete
status quo. A physician, psychiatrist, herbalist, auryvedic practitioner,
homeopath and teacher, Dr. Ballentine provides a model for the health
care practitioner of the future. And his book helps us understand which
route to take when faced with a healing crisis. Dr. Rudolf Ballentine,
welcome to our program today.
What do you mean by "transformational
It's medicine used as support
and encouragement so that the patient is able to go through
their own personal process of transformation.
In other words, this is based on the understanding that illness
is like a block along the road. It's not something that comes
out of the blue
for no reason. It's not like, "Oh, I was so unlucky to be exposed
to a microbe and therefore I came down with this illness which is an interference
with my life and has no relevance to my life." In fact, when we get
sick, it is relevant to our life. If this is what's going on
in your life right now, then this is really the doorway to taking
the next step into
your future, and opening up all the potential that it holds for
you. Illness is not something to be skirted or suppressed or
avoided or somehow negated.
It's rather something to be embraced and dealt with because it
takes us where we really are longing to go.
What do you think is the main cause of illness,
Dr. Ballentine? Is it our diet, our thoughts, our emotions, not doing
what you're meant to do
with your life? I read so much about illness and all these different
things that might cause it. What do you think is the main cause?
Well, many of those things contribute,
but they're all related. If I say that diet causes a particular disorder,
that has to be asked is why did the person choose to eat these
things? We have options as far as how we eat. So what we choose to eat
a reflection of what's going on with us mentally, emotionally,
psychologically, even spiritually. It is being expressed through our eating
therefore when we say eating habits or dietary pattern leads
to an illness - it's a little indirect. Underneath there is always something
to do with
the soul's journey.
I read in your materials that you finished
your residency training at Charity Hospital in New Orleans and you worked
children in the French Quarter and that experience taught you
a lot about holistic medicine. What did you learn from them?
First of all I learned about vegetarian
diets, which were not considered viable in those days. When
I was living in New Orleans,
one of my good friends was a graduate student in nutrition and
he said, "Look
if you persist in this thing of not eating meat, you're going to die." And
I thought, "Whoa, this is serious. I feel better when I don't eat
meat, but I don't want to kill myself." We started doing some research
and finally looked into the subject in more depth.
One of the many discoveries I've made is what people
assume to be true is often not true at all. Sometimes it's quite the opposite.
We're saddled with these belief systems, many of which are quite irrational,
and they certainly contribute to the epidemic diseases that we have. Because
everyone is holding on to those beliefs, everyone gets sick and then it's
an epidemic. We like to attribute this to microbes, viruses or bacteria
or something, because then we have something we can chase and kill and
think that we've made ourselves safe. In fact there are things inside
of us we need to come to grips with, reorganize, and move through, in
order to help ourselves.
I read also that you learned about yoga. Has
that been one of the major influences in your life?
Absolutely. I studied in India and I've
studied here. I was President of the Healing Institute, which is a yoga
You recommend using plants or nature's medicinals,
rather than drugs. You said when you were a kid you used to commune with
trees and frogs in the rural South. Why do you have such an interest
and belief in plants as a healing agent?
I think I had some kind of natural resonance
with nature. It makes sense that nature has some integrity and what we
need is found
there. I think how I really became convinced was through using
these healing tools in my practice and through studying the literature.
There is a tremendous
amount of research that validates the use of natural medicinals.
A tremendous amount of research.
I had a student call me today
from one of my kid's classes in high school. He wanted to interview
me. He said the teacher wanted
to know if there was research to back up the use of natural medicinals.
And I thought, what do people think? Do they think doctors like
me are completely berserk? That we're all doing something for
which there is
no evidence at all? The truth is there is more evidence for many
of the "alternative" approaches
than there is for the things that are being customarily done
in hospitals. A lot of what regular medicine is doing has no
research to back it up
at all. A huge amount of it.
One of my roommates from medical school, along with
one of the most respected teachers at Duke Medical School, wanted to do
a project to investigate all of the many, many customary procedures and
approaches and therapies used in conventional medicine that have never
been researched, to see if they really work. Everyone agrees that this
is something that needs to be done. But no one wanted to fund this project.
He couldn't raise money for it and he finally had to give up on the project.
So the very amusing and ironic
thing is that a lot of what's going on in hospitals and in
conventional medicine is totally unproven,
whereas the "alternative practitioners" have had to get on the
ball and prove what they're doing. The truth is not at all what
the widely held perception is. In fact, holistic medicine is
on a pretty firm basis
now and getting much more solid all the time, whereas conventional
medicine is on some pretty thin ice in a lot of places.
I wanted to talk to you about something that's
very intriguing to me, and that's flower essences and homeopathy. They're
based on the principle of vibrational medicine, and in your book
you say they convey complex informational patterns directly from nature
be used by the human system to reprogram the body and the mind.
That is fascinating.
We can't really ignore the fact that living
matter is filled with information. It's an incredible storage medium for
In fact, I'm told that researchers in the area of computers,
the forward-looking people in Silicon Valley, are really looking toward
as a storage medium for computer microprocessors, and are thinking
of moving toward living protoplasm - bacterial cultures and so forth,
they can hold such an incredibly larger amount of information.
You see, all living matter is an infinite library of
information about life and how to live on this planet. And we've barely
entertained the possibility of how to harness this information. Natural
medicinals have been doing it for a long time but it wasn't referred to
in these terms. Now we're beginning to realize how sophisticated these
ancient techniques are. They're not just superstition. They're really
quite elegant and quite advanced.
I am so impressed with your book, Radical
Healing. It has almost everything in it you ever wanted to know about
not only that, but how to integrate it into your life. We were
talking before about flower essences and one of the wake up calls you
your son - can you talk about that? I want to hear about your
son and his experience with Goldenrod I thought that was very interesting.
Yes, it was interesting because it shows
there are things going on that we really don't include in our normal sense
I have three sons, and this was my middle son. The older son
is kind of the crown prince and the youngest is the baby, and the middle
gets ignored - which was true of Galen.
He responded to this by being
one of these people who "played
the fool." Galen did things resulting in his brothers and sister
calling him an idiot or a dolt - leave me alone and that sort
of thing. That way he got some attention. It was horrifying,
because I really didn't
like this dynamic. I thought it was destructive to him, and the
kids were embarrassed when they did it. But this dynamic just
seemed to continue.
the middle of my struggle with this situation, Galen came up
to me one day with a sprig of Goldenrod and he said, "Can we make a remedy
from this?" I said, "Well, yes, it's solidago and in homeopathy
it's used for urinary problems." He didn't seem very interested after
my explanation and he went away.
A few days later he came back
again and asked me the same thing, "Can you make a remedy from this?" I said "We
already talked about that." But he just didn't hear me. So I was
flipping through the Flower Essence Repertory, which was new
to me because I had used the English flower essences but I hadn't
yet used the California
flower essences. When I was looking through it I ran into Goldenrod.
I read Goldenrod addresses those who create barriers to social
contacts through repulsive behavior. Those who have a need for negative
How did your son know?
Yes, isn't that amazing? From some intuitive
level he knew Goldenrod was what he needed. When we are asked, aside from
evidence, why we believe natural remedies work, there are all
these threads of evidence. We have an intuitive, inherent, natural resonance
things we need. So Galen went out and he found Goldenrod, and
he knew intuitively this was something important. Kids can't articulate
they have that sense.
Did it help him?
It made a huge difference. He began to
take this flower essence (four times a day), and I watched the whole dynamic
kids slowly fade. Galen hasn't taken Goldenrod in quite some
time and every now and then the kids will get back into that dynamic.
But the intensity
of it just melted away and it was very gratifying. I was so amazed,
and it confirmed my growing sense of how valuable the flower essences
be. Now I use them a lot.
I take Walnut right now for a life transition.
This morning I opened your book and did one of those things where I just
it fall open to wherever it was supposed to fall open, and I
read the section where you talked about developing your inner muscular
and yoga and how the way you exercise and the way you move your
body is a reflection on the way you live your life. I thought this is
for me. Certain parts of me are so constricted and certain exercises
I choose, parts of me remain immobile. Your book is filled with tips like
that. My biggest question is how you decide what therapies to
you have a particular problem there are so many to choose from.
Right. It's sort of like Galen
finding the Goldenrod. You will intuitively gravitate toward
the thing you need. That's why I
wrote the book, so that people could read and get a sense, an
overview, of all these different tools available. As you read
and form this mental
image of the things available, you will feel yourself gravitating
toward one or another. It will resonate to you. Like you did
- the book falls
open and you say "yes." Then you work with that therapy for
awhile and then another will emerge for you. There are all these
wonderful tools to choose from and every one can provide you
this experience of
discovery and excitement. It makes life very alive.
Do you also find that you get this guidance
through your meditation? You said yoga is sort of a preparation for meditation.
Yes. And the more you learn to
move your attention inside, the sharper becomes your sense
of intuitive guidance. The more you develop
that inner awareness, the more you feel like, "Yes this feels right
to me." The signals come from inside, and you have to learn to be
aware of what's going on inside which yoga can really help you
What about getting out into nature? Does that
help you get more in tune with where you need to go? You're not the only
communicating with trees.
No, but we all would if we gave ourselves
a chance, because Nature is the ultimate library. It's where you go to
get in touch
with all the information that can really shape you. But you have
to develop an inner awareness to be able to open yourself to it.
I'm very intrigued by your book, Dr. Ballentine.
What do you recommend for people for empowerment? Reading your book, of
but what else?
I think yoga is an excellent foundation.
This book is written particularly for people who are on the yogic path,
who are really
trying to develop self awareness and find their own way. I think
there are times when you can use practitioners - physicians or acupuncturist
or chiropractor or whoever. But you're really the one who has
your course and you have to be the one to ask for help when you
need it. Then you can move to the next step. So developing that inner
and then educating yourself by reading things like Radical Healing
can put you on a path that will totally change your life.
For information on the new edition of Dr. Ballentine's book, including a video of Dr. Ballentine, see http://shop.himalayaninstitute.org/products/radical-healing-second-edition.
For information on Linda Woods and her program Windows
to Wellsness, please visit http://www.windowstowellness.com/.