Transformational Medicine and
Flower Essence Therapy

A Radio Interview with Dr. Rudolph Ballentine


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.

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 and directs the Center for Holistic Medicine in New York City.

Drawing 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.

DR. BALLENTINE
Thank you.

LINDA WOODS
What do you mean by "transformational medicine? "

DR. BALLENTINE
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.

LINDA WOODS
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?

DR. BALLENTINE
Well, many of those things contribute, but they're all related. If I say that diet causes a particular disorder, the question 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 is also a reflection of what's going on with us mentally, emotionally, psychologically, even spiritually. It is being expressed through our eating habits, and 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.

LINDA WOODS
I read in your materials that you finished your residency training at Charity Hospital in New Orleans and you worked with flower children in the French Quarter and that experience taught you a lot about holistic medicine. What did you learn from them?

DR. BALLENTINE
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.

LINDA WOODS
I read also that you learned about yoga. Has that been one of the major influences in your life?

DR. BALLENTINE
Absolutely. I studied in India and I've studied here. I was President of the Healing Institute, which is a yoga institute.

LINDA WOODS
You recommend using plants or nature's medicinals, rather than drugs. You said when you were a kid you used to commune with the trees and frogs in the rural South. Why do you have such an interest and belief in plants as a healing agent?

DR. BALLENTINE
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.

LINDA WOODS
I wanted to talk to you about something that's very intriguing to me, and that's flower essences and homeopathy. They're both based on the principle of vibrational medicine, and in your book you say they convey complex informational patterns directly from nature that can be used by the human system to reprogram the body and the mind. That is fascinating.

DR. BALLENTINE
We can't really ignore the fact that living matter is filled with information. It's an incredible storage medium for information. In fact, I'm told that researchers in the area of computers, the forward-looking people in Silicon Valley, are really looking toward abandoning silicon as a storage medium for computer microprocessors, and are thinking of moving toward living protoplasm - bacterial cultures and so forth, because 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.

LINDA WOODS
I am so impressed with your book, Radical Healing. It has almost everything in it you ever wanted to know about healing. And 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 had regarding 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.

DR. BALLENTINE
Yes, it was interesting because it shows there are things going on that we really don't include in our normal sense of reality. 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 son often 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.

In 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 attention.

LINDA WOODS
How did your son know?

DR. BALLENTINE
Yes, isn't that amazing? From some intuitive level he knew Goldenrod was what he needed. When we are asked, aside from research evidence, why we believe natural remedies work, there are all these threads of evidence. We have an intuitive, inherent, natural resonance to the things we need. So Galen went out and he found Goldenrod, and he knew intuitively this was something important. Kids can't articulate it. But they have that sense.

LINDA WOODS
Did it help him?

DR. BALLENTINE
It made a huge difference. He began to take this flower essence (four times a day), and I watched the whole dynamic between the 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 can be. Now I use them a lot.

LINDA WOODS
I take Walnut right now for a life transition. This morning I opened your book and did one of those things where I just let it fall open to wherever it was supposed to fall open, and I read the section where you talked about developing your inner muscular structure 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 so true 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 use? If you have a particular problem there are so many to choose from.

DR. BALLENTINE
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.

LINDA WOODS
Do you also find that you get this guidance through your meditation? You said yoga is sort of a preparation for meditation.

DR. BALLENTINE
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 do.

LINDA WOODS
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 one who's communicating with trees.

DR. BALLENTINE
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.

LINDA WOODS
I'm very intrigued by your book, Dr. Ballentine. What do you recommend for people for empowerment? Reading your book, of course, but what else?

DR. BALLENTINE
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 to chart 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 awareness 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/.

 

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