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Excerpt from "Screwed: The Path of a Healer"

Healing versus Treating

by Dr. Amnon Goldstein


Each patient carries his own doctor inside him. -Albert Schweitzer

In my forty years as a physician, and in different fields of medicine, I have treated thousands of patients. When I was a young doctor I believed that Western modern medicine could heal, cure, and help, or at least improve, the condition of most of my patients. What I knew at that time was just the tip of the iceberg. Today, after having practiced medicine and gained much experience, it has become clear to me that there is much more to the human body that we don't know than what we do know. When I say “human body,” I do not mean only the physical body, but I refer to an integration of body, mind, and soul. I refer to an entity that functions in harmony and balance as one.

One of my friends used to say that medicine is the second most accurate science in the world – the first is the Bible. Modern Western medicine does not see a person as one complete unit, but as a combination of organs and systems. One physician would treat the heart, another treats lungs, digestive system, hands, feet, and so on.

A physician who has been trained and specialized in the hands, would not treat the knees or feet, either because he does not know how to treat other parts, or because his insurance carriers won’t cover him if he treats things out of his specialty. Gone are the days of the family physician, someone who really knew the patient and his family. Today, a health physician treats mainly minor illnesses. He follows up with the patient, fills out the prescription and refers him to another specialist, when necessary. How many physicians today will have the time to sit with the patient, to take a full case history, to find out about the patient's lifestyle, his nutrition and his emotional and mental state?

Most physicians cannot do that today because they won’t be able to earn enough income, or, perhaps, they won't be able to see as many patients as expected by their employer or healthcare provider. A great teacher of mine said that 90 percent of diagnosis could be done by just talking to and examining the patient. He also said that a good physician is the one who knows when not to give treatment, but lets the body heal itself.

Today this would be an unacceptable treatment! Patients expect physicians to prescribe medication for their medical problem. As a young surgeon I was told that unless I could see it in the operating field, it does not exist. My problem was that I never saw the human soul in the operating field. I never felt the feelings, the conscious, and many other factors of my patients. But does that mean they do not exist? What I did see in the operation field was a local injury or effect due to many other causes that required further investigation and treatments.

I learned that there are other forms of medicine, like Chinese medicine, which is called alternative medicine, primitive medicine, unacceptable forms of medicine, holistic medicine, integrative medicine, natural medicine and many more. So many different names and forms of medicine indicate one thing: that we are still looking for the proper form of medicine.

What I feel is that most other forms of medicine do see the human body, mind, and soul as one unit functioning in harmony with the surrounding nature and environment. Does that make them primitive, or are we practicing an incomplete form of medicine? Why do we even have to choose between one form of medicine or another, rather then take the best from each form and combine it to form a good medicine? Don't we all like to find the best way to help the sick and the needy? As healers, that’s what we should be concerned about.

Western medicine has changed a lot in the past few years. Many things that used to be undoable have become reality. With the arrival of computers and new diagnostic methods, minimally invasive surgery and implantation of organs, the new forms of medications and treatments, the way we treat our patients has improved tremendously. We are achieving many improvements in the condition of patients resulting in better quality of life and extended lifespan. With the mapping of the genome, genetic engineering, stem cell research and many other discoveries, many new methods of treating and eliminating certain diseases have opened up for mankind. The future looks good and promising.

Many times, I asked physicians and scientists, how many diseases we can actually cure? I do not mean just a temporary symptomatic relief, but a total cure. The answer has always been the same: very few. Though it does not sound very encouraging, I don't see it as a failure of medicine but a step towards better medicine in the future.

We still know little about the human mind and its power to make us sick and to heal.

In my first year as a surgical resident, I entered a patient’s room to prepare her for vascular surgery in order to restore circulation of blood to her leg. The patient was in her forties. She was in a good health and the operation was low-risk with good chances of a speedy recovery. The patient told me that she would die during this surgery. I saw it as natural fear of surgery and the unknown, and told her that everything was going to be okay. I really believed in what I was telling her. During the operation, there were unexpected complications and the patient died on the operating table.

I am sure that similar things have happened to many other surgeons as well.

Today, about forty years later, I still remember that case very clearly. Since then, whenever it was possible, I did not operate on patients who believed that he or she would die during the operation unless they changed their thinking and started believing that they would survive the surgery. This can be done with help from us, the physicians. We have to get to the stage where we treat a patient as a person and stop giving just symptomatic treatment. We should be healing, and not just treating symptoms.

I have been asked many times, “What is good treatment?” I believe that good treatment is treatment that helps the patient get better. It can be medical or spiritual help, such as praying, or anything else that offers help and hope. This help can be given by anyone: a physician, a friend, a rabbi or a priest, a child, or anybody else, as long as it improves the condition. Not every physician is a healer and not every healer is a physician.

One of the greatest teachers that humanity has ever known was Jesus Christ. Though I was born Jewish, and did not know much about the New Testament, I was well aware of the story of a lady lying sick on the floor believing that if she would touch Jesus she would be healed. When she touched Jesus and was healed, Jesus’ followers saw it as a miracle, but Jesus told them that her belief had healed her, not him.

The main power to heal is the patient’s will, the belief and readiness to be healed. We, the healers, can assist and advise, but every healing is self-healing. We are all energy, and so is the entire universe. We have to find a way to restore the uninterrupted flow of energy in our body, and by doing so we will heal.

For many years we have heard more and more about anti-aging medicine. New clinics have been opening all over, and many products are sold as anti-aging for billions of dollars. To my “screwed” mind, I see this term as very deceptive. Aging is a natural, normal part of life. The only way to avoid getting old is to die young. Everyone who is born will grow old and eventually die. We all would like to get old in dignity and health. We’d like to eliminate degenerative diseases, hormonal imbalance, aesthetic appearance, and other negative symptoms that have become part of aging. But we cannot stop the aging process, just like we cannot stop time.

Dr. Amnon is a physician who has over 40 years of experience in conventional, western medicine. holistic and eastern medicine. He has worked as a healer across continents and has witnessed the harshest of both environmental and human conditions. From war time in Israel to apartheid and the new liberated South Africa .From Trauma and Vascular surgery to hypnosis, evolution of HIV to cancer research and treatments to spiritualism, holistic medicine and the power of the mind. His belief that the path of a patient’s wellness involves a well defined integration of conventional and alternative medicines has always guided him. He feels that it is not enough to treat a patient for reduction of the symptoms of his illness, but it is essential to eliminate the core issues that have caused those symptoms. It is equally necessary to create a lifestyle that by its nature promotes and maintains wellness.

He currently works at places varying from Israel, Johannesburg in South Africa to the USA. A self-confessed travel junky, he has travelled to different parts of the world both for learning, teaching as well as for the sheer joy of travelling. His life stands as an example for many people who are in a struggle against diseases and suffering. His life as a symbol has touched the lives of many. As a healer, a friend, a guide and as a parent, he has changed the lives of many.

“SCREWED: THE PATH OF A HEALER” is his first book though he confesses that this is just a beginning for the writer in him. He has also written numerous articles on integrated medicine, healing and his interviews have also been featured in many prominent magazines and news papers of South Africa and Israel.

Simply put, “SCREWED: THE PATH OF A HEALER” is an Autobiography of a physician, but it is anything but just a biography. This book is the life of an extraordinary person. Every word that you read and every line that passes by your eyes are real cherished moments of a person’s life. These are the memories that have made him laugh and cry. This book is a story of the strength of human spirit which has been involved in struggles ranging from physical sickness to vices of human nature. This book shall lead you on a journey from the neighborhoods of Israel to the cities of United States of America. You shall witness a life extraordinary and yet so simple that it can be followed by anyone who wishes to be of service of mankind.


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