Cathleen talks to Nancy Lonsdorf who received her M.D. from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1983 and performed her residency training in psychiatry at Stanford University. Dr. Lonsdorf has also studied with Ayurvedic physicians in India, Europe and the U.S.
In this interview Dr. Lonsdorf explains and tells about:
- What brought her into a more Holistic approach and Ayurveda
- The Ayurvedic Dosha’s and how Ayurveda looks at the human body
- How sometimes easy adjustments according to the Ayurvedic body type can have significant health benefits.
- How Ayurveda is based on bio-individuality
- How she came to write several amazing books on women’s health and “ageless” aging
- How she came to write her book Mind-Brain Reboot about transformation of past experiences
Health and Wellness are more than a destination. They are a process and a journey of personal choice. Come, hear from people in the field doing the work, bringing health and Wellness to many.
Welcome, everyone. I have such a wonderful person to introduce you to that I’ve known for many years who is really one of my idols actually. She does the work and has guided me in my life. She’s an integrative doctor, actually a medical doctor, who went into integrated medicine, and she helped to bring to, let’s say, the medical establishment ideas of integrative concepts so that it wasn’t just Western Medicine the way we had thought about it but bringing in holistic, and I hate to use the word alternative. I never do. But I love the word integrative because it’s how it should be. It should be both that we bring both Eastern and Western concepts of Wellness together to create real holistic health.
Dr. Lonsdorf is not only a medical doctor. But she’s also a well-known author of five amazing books which we’re going to talk about today. She is particularly well known in her work on women’s health and has guided many to understand, as we age, how we can age in a kind of more ageless way, I guess I could say, right, Dr. Lonsdorf?
Welcome. I just like to start out by asking you a little bit about your background and your history, and how you got to be who you are today.
I’m just really happy to be here and to have the opportunity to speak with you who also I’m always inspired by what you’re doing for bringing natural medicine and just good health to so many people through everything you’ve been doing. And Cathleen and I go back probably at least 30 years when she was trying to have her second baby, and she had had a really tough time with the first one and was really concerned that she would never have more children. And we worked together and using all the Ayurvedic wisdom and everything that we could draw on that we were able to celebrate two more children.
And so, that was just so fulfilling. And every year, I get a Christmas card with them growing up, and I’d say you asked me before. You were asking, “What’s the most amazing experience as a doctor that I’ve had?” It’s just seeing success, seeing people achieve what they want with their health or with their life.
That is so true. When you were in medical, you first were at John Hopkins and Stanford, right? You first became a doctor there. That was very Western just like I was at Georgetown. So, I totally understand your background. And then over time, what brought you into this more Ayurvedic kind of holistic looking at the body more holistic approach, let’s say?
I really went to medical school with the idea that I would integrate mind-body. I would do something with mind-body medicine because I was very fascinated with the mind, and I also had an appreciation for nutrition, and I’d had the idea, “Oh, yeah, nutrients are really important.” But I wanted to do mind-body benefits. So, I went into psychiatry, and then I trained at Stanford, and I was doing my residency.
And to tell you the truth, I was just pretty disappointed because instead of the idea of enhancing mental and physical health through our understanding of the mind and body, it was pretty much just diagnose a condition from a book, and then give them a drug, and then manage the side effects, and help them manage their life with the condition and with the side effects of the medication. And at that time, for sure, I think therapy was not so effective. They did not even have codified cognitive therapy which has been shown to be pretty effective in certain conditions.
So, I was very disappointed. And then, Ayurveda came along. I just had friends and relatives who said, “Oh, this is really interesting.” And I looked at it, and I thought, “What, Indian Medicine?”. But then I was kind of forced because somebody very close to me at the time got into it, and they started reading this book, and they said, “Oh, this sounds like you, Nancy.” And then, I thought, “What? That doesn’t sound totally absolutely perfectly like complimentary. I better find out about this so I can fight back.”
I was kind of kidding. But I was like, “Well, wait a second.” Somebody close to me who is also trained in medicine is finding this fascinating, and they’re gaining some power from it, and I thought, “I better learn about it at least.” And as I got into it, I found it was powerful. It really helped me understand my patients and myself and people around me so much more deeply and gave me practical tools and tips to manage certain patterns that might be there for different people, and I thought, “Wow. This is really useful,” and it doesn’t create side effects. I don’t like giving people.
Yeah. Exactly. Now, it’s great how you said that. As you were speaking about it, I was remembering the first moment I met you, and you felt my pulse. And I remember thinking to myself because I had no experience in any integrative medicine at all, I was so Western. And I thought, “What is she feeling? What is she learning about me through my pulse,?” And that was so interesting.
And from just taking my pulse, you got so much information about how out of balance I was. And that’s amazing to me till this day because it started my kind of thirst to understand more. It’s a little thing. But for me, it was a big thing, and I remember you saying, “Don’t you worry.” This is what you said to me at the time, “Don’t you worry because there’s simpler solutions than you think.” And I was thinking to myself, “What is she talking about?”
And then, of course, meditation was one of them. And, wow, how powerful was that. So, that changed my life. So, I think I meditated now already 30 years. But I think what an amazing experience, Nancy, to have met you at that moment. And you had your journey, and I really appreciate your journey.
I wondered a little bit too more about when you were feeling my pulse. I know we teach about in the course. So, I know a lot about now Ayurvedic doshas. But for those that don’t understand Ayurvedic medicine or have never heard about Ayurvedic doshas. Maybe, you explain a little bit about that.
Yeah. This is a concept that gives us a lot of ability to help people in ways that Western Medicine even kind of what’s called functional medicine sometimes misses because it’s another dimension of understanding a person in their body and how it’s working, and what needs to be tweaked in their diet or lifestyle to bring them to balance.
And so, the Doshas, basically, I will start by just saying on our Western model of the body, we have atoms which make up our molecules, which make up our DNA and then our cells. And then, we have tissues, and then we have organs. And then, we have organ systems. And then, we have a specialist for every organ system. We’ve got a cardiologist here and the GI doctor here, neurologist here, and they’re all taking care of a different system.
Well, what Ayurveda looks at is what is common to all the systems. So, in fact, everything all the way down to the DNA, and it says that what’s common to them all, and sometimes, I play a little kind of a guessing game about this, then, I ask, “What are the three things that the body needs in order to be alive? What are the three big functions or super functions?” And sometimes, people say, “Well, we need to eat.” And then, I say, “Yeah. And what does that do?” Well, it feeds metabolism, right?
So, metabolism is the transformation process and gives us energy. So, we need energy production, and that’s one of the Doshas has to do with energy production is called pitta, P-I-T-T-A, Pitta but a short I and two Ts. And the other thing we need is, “Hey.” People say, “Well, we’ve got our hearts got to beat.” And I say, “Yeah.” Well, yeah. We need movement, constant movement.
There has to be constant circulation through the whole body all the way down to every cell and into the cell and into the nucleus. And everything’s got to be flowing nutrients out, and all the wastes have to go back out of the whole body. That’s pretty amazing task. So, Ayurveda says that is ruled by or that whole function of movement circulation is governed by what they call the Dosha Vata, V-A-T-A, Vata.
So, we have Vata movement and flow, and we have Pitta, the metabolism. And then, the other thing is really obvious. Well, what else do you need to be a body and a human and an organism? Well, you need a body. You need physical structure, right? You need something to hold the whole thing together. So, that’s the Kapha, the integrity of all the material the body which also we take in food both to transform it to energy and also to replace parts. We got to have the calcium coming in and going into the bones because there’s a constant flux of building up bone and breaking down bone and remaking it, and the same with our muscles and just all the structures, our skin, everything.
So, that’s called the Kapha. But at a deeper level, all three of those have different balance, and everyone has all three obviously. But some people are kind of we stay dominated by one more than others. Some people are kind of more moving and vivacious and active. And maybe, they’re very creative. But maybe focus isn’t their main thing, and that’s a Vata-dominated person, the movement dominated person. They love to be active.
And then, you have the Kapha person who is, we say, their body type is dominated by Kapha. They’re kind of heavier set. They got more structure. They got those big bones and big muscles. And they’re sturdy, and they’re stable, and they tend to be especially women the kind that you go to when you have a problem because you know that nothing fazes them. They’re very nurturing, and they’re very steady in times of stress.
And as guys, they’re kind of the teddy bear. They’re the person who’s always there. They may not be so exciting. But they’re really stable, and they’re a good hug. And then, we got the middle one who is the pitta is energetic. They’re the CEOs, and they’re the people who drive the world forward, the Elon Musks and likes. They can’t stop just moving forward. They just got endless energy and drive and initiative, and that’s because they are dominated by that metabolism, and they tend to have strong appetite, and things like that.
So, that’s we call the body type understanding. And different foods are right for different people. And so, even within a particular ethnic group or race, there are people of all dominates of all Doshas. But some cultures like you have the Eskimos because they were so in one environment for so long, and they’re adapted. They will get diabetes in a second if you start feeding them lots of grains. But they need a lot of the fat, healthy fat, and protein. And then, they can be overweight, and they have very little heart disease.
So, it’s like you’ve got a match to your type, and that’s something that Ayurveda helps with. And I’ll just say one little vignette. Now, we can talk about balance and imbalance. People tend to go out of bounds in the different Doshas. I’ll just tell one story. I had a patient who was the Vata type, the kind of moving type, and she was a radio show host because she liked to talk, and she was very energetic.
Anyway, she came to the clinic where I was working, and she said, “Well, I have this irritable bowel. And after lunch, I get all this gas bloating. I just have to run to the bathroom, and my stomach. And it’s been going on for years, and I try to eat really healthy because I have a show on good health, and I eat all vegetables and all this stuff.” So, we went into detail. And with Ayurveda, you might ask questions that nobody else would ask like, “Okay. What do you eat each day, and how is it prepared?”
And so, it turned out she was having a salad for lunch every day, a very big salad of lots of raw crunchy vegetables. And from Ayurvedic wisdom, we know that lots of crunchy raw stuff, lots of fiber and cold, that can cause what we call Vata disturbance. It can cause too much motion and disturbance in the gut, and that’s exactly what was happening.
So, I said, “Well, I would like you to have a warm cooked meal for lunch and use these spices, that kind of fennel and cumin. They calm the system and help you digest. And drink a little warm water, hot water, instead of your cold water with your meal.” And she said, within a week, everything was gone. And I followed up with her the next year she came back, and she said, “I haven’t had any symptoms. It was just my diet didn’t agree with me. I didn’t have IBS, or what was IBS syndrome.” So, anyway, that’s kind of an example of how Ayurveda works.
Well, it’s so beautiful, that story you just told. That is so many people’s story. I’m not going to lie to you. There are a lot of Vata-disturbed people right now, and they’re eating foods, they’re just not serving them. And many doctors, unfortunately, they don’t have the time to deal with this and to deal with the diet. They weren’t trained. My son just went through medical school. And then, we got two weeks of nutrition. That’s not enough to understand it.
So, there’s a lot. And yet, this whole idea of bio-individual. When you felt my pulse, you were looking at me as an individual. You weren’t just saying every person gets this diet. We’re in this season. And I was so struck with that, Nancy. So, I think looking back at that, that’s also very important, the bio-individuality. Can you tell me a little bit about how you use? How Ayurvedic has changed, I guess, your medical practice because you still are a doctor, and you still treat patients the same way you did. But you might have been influenced now by this new way of caring.
Yes. I mean my whole practice now is characterized by that word integrative. To truly do integrative, you don’t have time… I don’t try to manage major medical problems with the drugs and everything. I let their specialists do that. But what I do is take the person and work with them and say “Well, what can we find that’s out of balance from Ayurvedic point of view?” That’s the first thing. And, oftentimes, that’s enough to get rid of a lot of symptoms and make them feel much better.
And now, today, I think in the last 20 years, our environment is getting more polluted, and our food has gotten more distorted in many ways. And there are a lot more kind of complicated things. And maybe, it’s just that my patients instead of being 35, or 65, or 75., so, their body often needs more. So, then, I may do a panel and look at what bacteria balance they have in their gut, look at the microbiome.
So, I complement the Western… or the Ayurveda with the Western, and the Western with Ayurveda to try to get as much information about that person, and then target things. Instead of just saying to everyone, “Oh take probiotics. You got a gut problem. Take probiotics.” No, we look, and we see do you need them, and which ones or do we need to do something about yeast or we’ll see it if it’s overgrown in the gut, instead of just saying everybody has a yeast problem if they have gas or whatever has been done in the past, that like you’re referring to, even in holistic medicine, there can be a lot of chronic categorization. And different doctors get their reputation because of the yeast doctor, and they help a lot of people, but not necessarily because they have yeast or not, but because they create healthier diet.
But Ayurveda really try… I try to drill down really what’s going on with this person and their body and how can we reverse the things in their daily diet and lifestyle that might be contributing how can we add maybe some herbs and some natural things that will help restore it to balance and maybe help the detox or just everything on a one-on-one absolutely individualized definitely.
And that’s where actually integrative medicine’s going. So, you’re really at the forefront. And I’m curious, Dr. Lonsdorf, the two first books that you wrote, A Woman’s Best Medicine, which was written in 1993, and I met you not that long after that. And I remember I loved it as a bible almost. I thought I learned so much from it.
But with the wisdom that was in A Woman’s Best Medicine is really still very applicable today. And then, you wrote A Woman’s Best Medicine for menopause which I find also remarkable, 2002. Tell me a little bit about your motivation for putting those books out because I think that they’re wonderful.
Well, thank you. I think at that time in the late ’80s and just right around 1990 or so, there was just beginning like a sprouting of awareness about women having been pretty much largely left out of research, and that women were getting procedures in excess such as hysterectomies. It’s like a third to half of women by age 50 were having hysterectomies, and a lot of things that were kind of raising alarms for women as they came into more positions of power and NIH and looking at things. So, they established the office of women’s health around that time at NIH in the US.
I don’t know. I just was doing my Ayurveda, and I had patients and friends. I was at a conference. They just came up to me and say, “Write a book on women’s health for us, would you? Would you, please, write a book? So, share what you know.” That also brought out more knowledge because once you start researching and drawing upon my Ayurvedic physician mentors from India and gaining their wisdom. And also, one of them in particular had shared with me that in India before he came to the US, he said, “I was just shocked to see so many women’s health problems like reproductive tract problems, and menstrual, and endometriosis, and fertility issues and so many things.”
And he said, “We didn’t see any of that in our villages back in India.” But he said he had twin sisters and one of them stayed in the village, and one of them went to the city. And in the city, she got kind of a more stressful lifestyle and the diet wasn’t so traditional and home-cooked and all those good things. And the one who was in the village was fine with her reproductive whole women’s health thing.
And the one who moved to the city got all sorts of menstrual problems and issues. And he said, “This is only a case of one. You can’t build a scientific proof on it.” But to him, it said, “I think that what I’m seeing in the west is the effects of stress and kind of over-extended lifestyle and not a good diet.” And a lot of what we would say in Ayurveda, “Vata aggravation”, meaning the nervous system is put under too much pressure. And there’s not enough downtime.
People accept you and the people you’re teaching, they learn to create a healthy lifestyle and to integrate meditation and adequate sleep, and I think if there’s any gift of this pandemic, it will be whatever we make of it, that’s positive for our lives. And if we have to stay in, maybe people are traveling around the world less. They have an opportunity to go to bed earlier and get more sleep and better quality and exercise more and have home-cooked food from real vegetables from the grocery store instead of whatever they’re getting on a plane.
I mean there really is an opportunity to slow down and take some of that time that maybe we’re stealing. I’m sorry, mothers with children at home who are homeschooling, and you’re trying to do your job on a computer.
I don’t think it’s easier for you in any way. But people who are kind of beyond the raising kids at home thing, they do have a little more opportunity. Even I have a friend who says, “Oh, yeah I do a longer meditation every morning because I don’t have to commute a half hour to work.” So, he said, ,”I’m really enjoying that.”
Yeah. Isn’t that interesting? I think we could both agree that the world will never be the same. I mean this has been a revolutionary experience for most people even realizing that they can work from home. Now, obviously not all people. But for sure, a lot of people.
Yes, and that bosses and companies can realize that their people can still get the job done even though they’re at home and under a lot of circumstances that are not ideal for a home office with the kids or whatever.
But I’m really grateful for that. I’ve thought for a long time that this whole commuting thing is such a waste. My perception was there was a lack of trust of employers to let their employees be not under surveillance at every minute, and there’s still a lot of people who work in companies tell me they miss the ability to stand up, walk over to somebody, and just talk it up, chat up about this issue or that thing. And they miss some of that. But on the other hand, I think, like you said, hopefully, we’ll never go back to everybody has to commute five days a week polluting the air both ways, stressing themselves out, killing people running into each other inadvertently if it happens, and just do a lot more from home and have a better lifestyle.
We need it. We can’t afford to spiral out of control with our health care costs. I mean in the US, it’s the worst. We have some of the worst health in the world, and we spend the most on healthcare because, as a nation, we haven’t made health a priority. We just made medical care a priority once people are sick, and that’s so [inaudible 00:24:24].
I knew. I know this sounds crazy. But my daughter worked for a big bank, and then she said just thinking about what she had to wear and get dressed, and then… Yeah, exactly. And then she said, “Mom, I can do so much work during that hour and a half. I don’t have to do my hair, and I don’t have to look perfect.” And so, anyway, there is a lot that we’ve learned, for sure. She’s 25.
She was in New York which is like LA, very appearance sensitive. Yeah.
Yeah, and stressful. The stress level is so high. But I think as we learn like in the books, you discuss a lot of the modern themes that we are challenged with, not only the weight issue that has become… The food is altered, and the food and the stress, the combination, and sleep. Sleep, stress, and food have really influenced much more than we think our weight and our happiness and our health.
Say that again, Cathleen. Would you just say that again? I think that is so simple but so profound. Sleep, stress, and food has influenced us. Our weight won’t even know.
Yeah. It has. It’s influenced us so tremendously that I think literally when I arrived in Disney World two years ago, and I saw the obesity firsthand and how it… I mean, believe me, we have obesity also in the Netherlands. But the level in Disney World because I couldn’t get my father a chair. He’s 80 something, and his knee was injured, and we couldn’t get one. At first, I’d wait a long time because of the obesity because people are so obese they can’t walk those distances, and I was really taken because I live in Europe. But still I will tell you that we also have the issue in Europe. But I think America has just so much stress. The level is just so high with what we expect each person to do every day.
And that’s the difference between Europe and America. There is a difference. It’s sort of like America, you literally live to work. And here, you work to live. And there is a difference, and it is, yeah, you see it in the people’s health. That’s for sure. I’m not saying Europe has everything down right because they don’t. They also have a lot of work to do. But for sure, when you talk about America, my heart, I feel really that’s where most of my life I’ve lived, and I’ve worked. So, I understand.
But what I was going to ask you is in this book, then, you write the books about the Ageless Woman, and you talk about agelessness. And you talk about rejuvenation really in those books. And in order to live, let’s say, a life that is really a healthy and fulfilling, I mean we don’t want to end up in a nursing home without our brain or with our body deteriorated. And it just doesn’t have to be like that. So, I would love you to address that book because I think that’s an amazing book. You wrote The Ageless Woman in 2004. Can you talk about that?
Yeah. And then, the Healthy Brain Solution for Women Over Forty which I wrote a couple of years ago which is just specifically on the brain, but the whole body will benefit by whatever you do from that book because the brain and the body are, really, they’re all one system.
Well, the Ageless Woman is really to help women understand from an Ayurvedic point of view, their transition from being reproductive to being in menopause. And that’s always some significant transition for women when their body goes through that. And some women, it’s like maybe 1/10 to a quarter don’t have any symptoms. Their periods just either trail off or stop, and they don’t have hot flashes or sleep or sleep problems, night sweats, depression, mood swings. They don’t have any of that.
And then, about a quarter of the women have really strong symptoms like that. And then, the rest of everybody’s in the middle of the bell-shaped curve, kind of like medium symptoms, more or less. And a period lasts a few years. But the book was actually written not just to help women transition that, but also to stay healthy after menopause.
And I talk about the body types. But I also talk about balance and imbalance according to the three Doshas and how going through menopause tends to aggravate the Vata, the nervous system, and motion, and circulation Dosha. And that’s why things are fluctuating. Things can fluctuate a lot. Temperature, the whole neural hormonal system, it was in a certain balance. And all of a sudden, it’s going to be like this for a couple of years. And then, it kind of finds its new.. It’s a biological system. It’s going from one phase, a very regular rhythm. It’s got to find a new rhythm. So, it’s kind of understanding how to ease that and what kind of things you can do which we say in Ayurveda calm the Vata or help to create smoothness and settledness in the midst of change.
And a lot of also Ayurveda describes that women will have worse symptoms sort of like in COVID, if a person has a lot of disturbance in their metabolism and inflammation and all that, they can tend to have a more severe case. The same with menopause. According to Ayurveda, if the body’s kind of clogged with a lot of toxins or it’s built up certain impurities or it’s got certain imbalances that have been building and maybe they’ll come out when the hormones shift, like maybe somebody’s been drinking too much and maybe they’ve been eating badly or they’ve been not sleeping enough, and they got away with it, well, when the body has an extra demand of all of a sudden the hormones are off, it’s like you can’t get away with it anymore.
You have to start having a good routine. You’ve got to create order in your daily routine, and that helps to create order in the hormones and settle them down and help them go through that transition without so much disturbance. So, anyway, my favorite part of the book is one of the chapters is a quiz where women can take a quiz. And based on their symptoms, it says, “Well, you have accumulated impurities or your impurities.” Ayurveda, is sometimes, impurities build up or waste or toxins in certain tissues. And depending on where that what’s called “Ama”, A-M-A, Ama goes, then it creates certain types of symptoms. So, you can determine that.
And then, you make a customized homemade we call it a tea. It’s hot water with spices in it, different spices and different herbs for different symptoms and things. And you drink that for a couple months. And I have many women who write back and have told me how that really, really helped them to get through their transition, and they like to keep drinking it because it makes them feel good, and-
Well, that’s awesome. Wow. I’m going to have to read that part.
It’s a way to customize it even though it’s a general book.
Yeah. But that’s wonderful. Well, I think it’s so important. And also for men, I mean, you wrote this for women. But men who are listening to this also have to realize that also their choices in their life really affect how they will age. I mean there’s a lot that can be done. There’s a lot even for the brain, right, Nancy? For even the men that are listening.
Yeah. Absolutely. Socrates said, “Know thyself.” And then, Ayurveda’s like, “Know thyself.” You become aware of the traits you have and what that means. If you’re more this way or that way, and what it means in terms of your diet, and what you need to keep from ending up building up a pattern that drills a rut in your physiology that pops out later as a disease. It’s not like diseases come from nowhere. They’ve been building little by little over the decades often.
So, that’s what we try to aim even with the pulse evaluation at early detection. Earlier then, it would show up on a blood test or a mammogram or something. But saying, “Hey, you’re getting out of balance,” like you described when we first met, these are the directions of the imbalance. But the earlier you catch it, the simpler the solution. And you were like 30 something, and it was very early to understand those imbalances, and you made corrections, and you got back in balance.
Yeah. Very fast actually when I look back. And it’s funny because one of the stories I have here now is going through menopause. .And the Dutch, they don’t put fluoride in their water. They put it in your mouth, and it goes like every time you go to the dentist. They put this whole fluoride in, and I didn’t realize that fluoride was seeping into these tissues, and it was affecting my thyroid.
So, I now understand a lot more that fluoride at that level affected me anyway. It might not affected the next person. But it affected my thyroid. So, we have a lot of lessons that we all learn. But I learned that lesson, and I could clean the fluoride from the cells, and that’s the new time coming that there’s all these wonderful technologies with artificial intelligence that are going to just tell us what is happening versus a doctor, yeah, you have the pulse which is faster than a blood test. By the future, we’ll have much more information quicker really as these new technologies for medicine are coming which I think are going to be revolutionary.
I also know. I really am curious because one of the things I do is I teach the importance of our thoughts and how our thoughts influence our emotional state. So, if we have a thought or a belief system that’s very powerful, and that makes us so unique, and that is connected to an experience. This is very interesting because our kinesiologist told me the story recently. Let’s say, they were eating an apple. And at the same time, they had an accident. And then, the body doesn’t like apples after that. That’s funny, isn’t it?
So, the mind and the brain and the programs are so powerful, and that is your last book. So, I’m curious if you want to share about that because I think the information that you have written, and you wrote that recently in 2019, is all really relevant for this incredible moment that we’re in right now. It’s really important.
Well, thank you. Yes. Your Mind-Brain Reboot, I wrote that because I’ve been working with a master coach who’s also a PhD in computer science. He’s a very kind of insightful and also analytical at the same time and a long-time meditator. So, we’ve been working together for about 11 years. In my practice, for those people that I began to become aware of the people who don’t get better, often, there’s some pattern that’s holding them in that imbalance.
And I started to feel in the pulse especially that there was something we call “Sādhaka Pitta”. Pitta is metabolism as you might remember. There’s a metabolism of emotion and experience that’s seated in the heart and the brain. And Ayurveda says that. Can you believe that? I mean now we know there are 10,000 or 100,000 some neurons that connect these two that have to do with information that can be emotional. Isn’t that interesting?
So, still, Ayurveda knew that 5000 years ago, it was anyways called Sādhaka Pitta which means unfulfilled desire or some even clarity of intellect. So, if it’s out of balance, it can mean some illusion or some kind of stress that has not been resolved. And I started to just ask people first. I just say, “Well, did you have anything happen to you that was very stressful earlier in your life might impact you?”
And often they would say, “Well, yeah.” And they would relate a divorce. They relate a difficult childhood or something. I didn’t really know what to do with it except say, “Well, take this herb first, Sādhaka Pitta.” My experience was it didn’t really get rid of it. It kind of calmed it. But it didn’t clean it out.
And then, I met this coach. And I found that his passion was really transforming that perception or that memory as is perceived by that person as the meaning that we give it basically. We give these things meaning. We interpret things, and we give them meaning. That thing happened to me. We don’t know even unless we start inquiring into it and having somebody else help you inquire into it is usually better because it’s hard for us to see ourselves objectively because we’re stuck in here, and it’s hard to look back.
So, anyway, I started introducing him to these patients in a coaching in-depth coaching, in-depth coaching, with the purpose of basically cleaning that stress or resolving. We call it resolving, resolving that past experience which is really not a past experience. It’s a memory that we hold today that’s been modified over the years, and that we give meaning to constantly or it wouldn’t still be there.
So, it’s really looking at that, and we found we had a great success in being able to help people make that transition and transformation whereas most other techniques or I had never seen any other technique that worked as well. But it’s a 24-hour process over several days. But it’s not like you go into a coaching for once a week for six months or a year. [crosstalk 00:39:10] It’s more intensive to just drill down and reassess, and it gets dissolved in the process.
And people come out, and they just, “How do you feel about that now?” Oh, it’s kind of like it happened to someone else. So, that’s the goal, and I’m sure we work with that every day in our practical lives for ourselves, and those around us and our patients. And if something’s really stuck, then we do this process. And it’s very effective.
And so, I wrote the book to kind of give people an idea what that is, that process. And they can they can go through it to some degree. People are telling me they’re getting 50 to 70% resolution of their issue if they really do. There’s a workbook online once you get the book. I think it’s called yourmindbrainreboot.com, and you can get the workbook. And then, you do read the chapter and do the exercises on the workbook.
It’s amazing. We work with our coaches to teach them and train them in EFT. And we already see miracles just with that. I mean it’s-
The energy is shifting so fast right now. But I always tell the coaches because we are not therapists. So, sometimes, when people really have a trauma, they need something more. And this sounds like it addresses something in a more safe place. You really have to feel safe, and that’s-
Yeah. Yeah. I have to feel safe. But for our coaching, people have to be just kind of like that thing. It’s not like it’s ruling them. I mean if people are really in it, they need the therapist if they’re really emotionally stressed by it. But if it’s something in the background that maybe is kind of contributing to their stuckness, maybe they’re not writing that book or they’re not starting that new business or whatever it is because they don’t feel maybe that there’s something that’s inhibiting them, this is the kind of thing when they’re really ready to just kind of look at it more objectively. Yeah.
Nice. That’s so wonderful. I love that. I wonder if you were to describe your life mission in like just a couple of sentences, what would you say?
I was thinking about that, and I was thinking when I started out in life, I mean a lot of younger people like, “What’s my purpose in life? What’s my mission?” It was just following my heart or my gut or something. I knew I wanted to be of help to people, and I liked science. And then, it was like being a doctor, wow, I could have real effectiveness to help people. So, that’s kind of what started the journey. And then, I mean I met somebody when I was in college who said she was going to go to naturopathic school. I said, “What’s naturopathic,” because I was going to go to medical school.
She said, “Oh, you learn about herbs and natural ways to help people.” I looked at her. I said, “Why would you want to do that? Don’t you want to be a real doctor?” And seriously, that’s what I felt. So, it’s been a journey. I can’t say I started at 20, and I said, “I want to do natural medicine and heal people without side effects.”
But I came to learn that. As I said, I was disappointed with psychiatry. I think really my goal is to help to contribute in whatever way I can to help the most people possible improve their health and be happier and get what they want out of their life. I think that was what I even when I went to medical school, that was my goal, to help other people get what they want out of life which I think is pretty much the same for everyone. We want to be happy. We want to feel fulfilled and purposeful, and that we have a place, and that we’re contributing.
That is so beautiful, and I think of when you’re thinking of it because my way of describing it would have been a person who really is committed in service to humanity to help the human race really evolve because I think you have helped so many bring these ideas like I introduced you at the beginning of the Eastern and the Western putting them together which I always knew is the best because we cannot say Western medicine has no goodness at all because that’s not true. And to put them together, instead of one or the other, is the beauty. And you have been instrumental.
And now, you can see that more and more people are looking and have learned from you, and people like you, to bring this now on the planet. I think it’s beautiful. I wonder if you look back because you’ve had so many years, if you want to share one story that just comes to mind as a doctor, that just really was something that hit you.
I think the only thing that comes to mind really is just kind of what keeps me going is especially seeing people come back and maybe I thought that they had a condition that was going to take quite a lot of work for quite a while. And they come back after a month or two, and it’s like, “Oh, that’s gone.” The most amazing experience is just how the body heals, and when we give it the right conditions, it gets better. And we give it the right food or we get a better sleep. We give it transcendental meditation which gives this very deep state of mind body rest is so deeply rejuvenating. It brings all the systems into alignment.
There’re some herbs in Ayurveda that also promote that kind of wholeness. So, I just think it’s the healing power of the body that’s the most amazing thing, and I love to have that experience that like I just think of one lady was going through really severe menopause, and she’d been to all the doctors. She tried hormones. They didn’t work for her. It didn’t take her hot flashes away, and I didn’t even get to see her. She wasn’t able to travel here. We did it over the phone before there was even video.
And she was a school teacher. She’d come over to school. She’d lie on the couch. She was exhausted. She’d sleep until dinner. And then, she’d go back to sleep, and she was just having hot flashes. She was depressed. She was on three medications her doctors had put her on because of all her symptoms. So, anyway, I thought she was going to be a really kind of a tough case probably six months anyway if she just followed everything perfectly, and I gave her the best herbal program that I could, the most powerful but gentle. And I gave her the diet, and I told her to drink hot water to cleanse her channels and open the system because what the diagnosis was Ayurvedically was hormones didn’t work because their body was so clogged with bad diet and bad everything that the hormones couldn’t even reach the tissues or interact properly because everything was gunked up. I mean that’s a scientific term “gunked up”.
That’s a very good way of explaining it.
But I think people sometimes feel that. They just feel, “Oh, god. I feel sluggish and toxic and tired and yuck.” And then, we had an appointment about two months later over the phone, and I was kind of, I can’t say I was dreading it, but I was kind of building myself up, “Okay. This is going to take a while. I’m going to have to encourage her we’re on the path. I know she’ll get better or she just sticks with it.”
So, I got on the phone with her and said, “How is it going?” Oh, I’m just so much better. I don’t sleep on the couch after school, and I’m off two of the three medicines, and I just feel so much better. And I was going, “Wow, that’s pretty amazing.” And I’m sure you’ve had that experience too with just it’s so beautiful to see that the body wants to be healthy.
I mean our world wants to be healthy. Our planet wants to be healthy I can’t but think. But I look out. I see this we got this frigid three weeks of below zero weather in Iowa and all the snow, and I was thinking today. I was thinking, “Maybe, it’s mother nature’s way of killing off some lime bugs or ticks or something. I don’t know.” But maybe somehow creating balance, and we can only hope that this all is part of a plan of great mother nature to bring balance and healthier state to the planet which is suffering.
And basically, the experts tell us we’re on a kind of a death spiral if we don’t turn things around. So, this is certainly a way to give a big wake-up call to about six or eight billion people, however many there are now. It’s huge. And like you say, show that we can do things differently. Oh, my gosh, I can get out of that rut. And life can be much different, and I’m hoping that our values in the US start shifting more to what you have and people value more their health, and their lifestyle, and their family life, and that things begin to be more and more balanced, healthy, and happy.
We’ve been discussing integrative medicine and western medicine. Do you see in your experience that we do see some changes? But how do you feel is how are they integrating there in the United States?
Well, I’m kind of out in my own private practice. So, I have somewhat of a limited experience with that. But I look at the local academic university here in Iowa. And I would say they have one doctor who is their integrative doctor, and she’s booked two to three months in advance because anybody in the state who wants somebody in that system has to go through her.
And the rest of it is pretty much the same old, same old. But I think, in general, doctors, there’s a growing body of doctors training in integrative medicine or functional medicine or taking fellowships and transforming their independent practices. And then, there are some big medical centers like, say, Harvard, and they have a big integrative center, and they’re doing initiatives with coaching as well in health coaching. And I think it’s growing. But it’s kind of in the American way. It’s driven by the market. It’s all about money here. That’s what people tell me. I grew up here. So, I don’t see it. I’m starting to see it. But it’s driven. It’s consumer driven. And people are wanting it more and more. And so, it’s starting to come in as mostly a separate department not like the doctors who you’re going to go see are going to give you an herb in addition to your inflammatory drug.
By the way, I have to tell you when I was in China, I got heat stroke, and I went to the hospital. That was an experience, let me you. Everybody’s in one room getting treated at the hospital there in China, and I they all had different colors of medicines going in their arms. They were all herbs, and it was, yeah, green and… Oh you wouldn’t believe it. And so, I was just-
IVs. IV herbs.
Yeah, different colors. And it was insane. It was like I’m in another world. I really felt like I was in another world. But I got better. But it was just such an experience. But I just wanted to share with that with you. But I also am curious like besides managing stress because you’ve talked a lot about stress-related issues, do you deal with people with the big problems? We know the biggest killers in on earth besides COVID which we know is really heavy right now, but the biggest are cancer and heart disease.
Right. I have patients with those conditions. Let’s start with heart disease. I have a lot of patients that have been meditating for their whole life with Transcendental Meditation (TM) which is shown to be very effective at helping to keep blood pressure down and inflammation down and all that.
So, I don’t see a lot of heart disease, believe it or not, even though a lot of my patients now are in their late 60s and early 70s. There’s some blood pressure definitely and mostly in the people who have a strong family history. But if they’ve been practicing the TM twice a day, and they’re eating a healthy diet and getting some exercise, they’re usually doing pretty well. They’re not having the heart attacks much. It’s much lower rate.
So, I see the prevention which is wonderful to see, we don’t have to all get so many heart attacks and clogged up arteries. So, that’s one thing. But I do work with people. A number of my patients, they have high coronary calcium scores or they have high cholesterol. They want to do prevention or they have arrhythmias or things like that or somebody has had a stent, and they just want to do prevention. So, we tweak their lifestyle or they come in, and they didn’t know anything about meditation or Ayurveda for their whole life. And now, they want to get started with it.
So, we just look at kind of the same thing. With the blood, we look at the fasting insulin to see if there’s insulin resistance hiding in the background. That’s not manifested yet as diabetes and how do we correct that, and we look at inflammation in the blood and how we correct that mostly through diet. So, we can work with all of that.
Now, the cancer is another whole situation. I really, really, really wish I could tell you we can succeed and just getting rid of cancer with Ayurveda. But I can’t say that. I did ask one of the leading Ayurvedic physicians that some years ago in India. He was ahead of the All India Ayurveda Congress, and he said there were certain cancers especially blood cancers and lymph cancers that they have like platinum. Now, we use the cis platinum for ovarian cancer and some other conditions.
So, they had those metal things, and they were using them in Ayurveda. And so, he said those are pretty successful, solid tumors not so successful. And so, what my experience is this is really where you got to integrate. You really have to do all the tests, stay on top of it, the objective data. And most people will need to do some surgery or they’ll need to do some maybe chemo or radiation. But when we supplement with Ayurveda, they can have minimal side effects, and also for even from radiation, we can mitigate the negative effects of that very, very largely.
And then, recovering energy and kind of detoxing afterwards and just restoring vitality and helping them get back to their best self after that’s all over. Yeah. We can do that really effectively. And to tell you the truth, I also often refer certain patients to a very trusted clinic. I know not in the US, across the border. It sounds a little flaky Mexico. But there’s some very good MDs there that I’ve met, and I know what they do, and they use nutrition and IVs of certain nutrients and things.
And, really, that’s where I’ve seen the most powerful interaction to shrink tumors before they’re removed then surgically. And I’ve seen it over and over again that the body can get rid of a lot of cancer with that kind of intensive IV support. But it has to be done intelligently. And you can’t just say, “Well, I’m just going to do that.” Unfortunately, most people just say, “I’m just going to do that.” And then, they kind of ignore the Western or they don’t really do what they need to do if they have to do some Western. They don’t do well. Maybe, they’re not here now.
As one of my patients, ovarian cancer survivors patients, told me, she’s very involved in helping shepherd patients through cancer treatment with Ayurveda and this other treatment. And she says, “You’ve got to stay on top of it. Yeah. You’ve got to be really proactive, and you’ve got to be aware, and you’ve got to do what you need to do.” But you can have a lot of support, and it can be a lot easier than it could be otherwise.
Well, thank you. I really appreciate that because I think that’s where we’re going to, the integrative approach. And I love how you said there that you helped the people recover from chemo because that is also very heavy. So, the body needs to recover from that process. It’s not like you just do all of that and there’s no consequence. So, yeah. Thank you. I appreciate that.
Yeah. Thank you.
Well, thank you so much, Dr. Lonsdorf, for this interview, and I’m so grateful. And I think the people that are watching will be grateful to hear and maybe read hopefully some of your books because they’re amazing. Thank you so much.
Oh, thank you for having me, and keep up your good work.