“In homeopathy, the personality of the individual determines their prescription,.. because Homeopathy understands that every person is different.“
I think some people might be surprised that you began your medical career with more conventional medicine.
Yes. In the beginning, I was a nurse.
I like that your grandma was one of the first to plant a seed for you very early on in terms of natural medicine.
Yes. She used to take me with her when she would pick plants and berries in the forest. She was around me until I was 16 or 17 years old. So it was a fair amount of time that I spent with her. (For more details about this story, please visit Dina’s Homeopathic)
And you had other people along the way who opened your eyes up to homeopathy?
Yes. It wasn’t just my grandmother’s influence that made me make my change from conventional medicine to homeopathy.
I finished nursing school, and then I went to the military for two years. The doctor who I worked with there was Russian Japanese. That was a third generation of people who used to practise acupuncture.
For the first time in my life, I saw someone using acupuncture. This man was a doctor in a hospital, but almost every day, I saw him treating different guys in the military using acupuncture. He practised acupuncture as he felt he needed.
What was your reaction to it?
For me, it was a shock. In the beginning, I thought he was hypnotizing people and that’s why they thought they were feeling better. Because there’s no way, with the nursing training that I had, from what I had been taught in school, that I would believe that the energy involved in acupuncture could exist. There was never any proof that it could even be real.
So what made you change your thinking?
My thinking didn’t change right away. But day by day, behind this doctor’s back, I interviewed the patients he worked on, and I asked them, “When you get the treatment, are you really feeling better, or do you just think you feel better?
Speaking to them, and being with this doctor for two years, assisting him, I was around his way of thinking all the time. It was almost like he was already ‘infecting my brain’ (smiles) with this other way of healing: healing through acupuncture points which I had never heard of before, but which seemed to be working.
So I started to believe that it was all true. And I asked him if I could get a little more introduction to what he does and how it all works. He said, “Oh finally. I was waiting for you to ask me this for six months.” (laughs) So I think he knew that I was interviewing people and was sceptical at first, but that I was curious and would eventually want to learn.
Oh, wow! So he already knew you would come around to his way of thinking.
Yes, and he was right, because finally, I did become a believer. Two years of being around him so much, he had a big influence on me through that time.
That, on top of what I learned about herbs from my grandma, turned things around for me. That’s why, when I finished the military, I decided to go from being a nurse to becoming a medical doctor.
I think it is great that you have a background in both conventional and natural medicine. How did the official change to natural medicine actually happen?
Even when I became a conventional medical doctor, I already knew that I was interested in natural medicine.
This partly came from the herbal approach that was left with me from my childhood. Because anytime I used to get sick, I used to get herbs for healing from my grandma. And the other part was the big change around my belief in energies. Energies of plants, energies of acupuncture needles, energy of meridians- I learned that they are all very much the same concept.
So when I was finishing medical school, I had two desires- to do cardiology, or to do natural medicine. Natural medicine DID win (smiles).
Amazing! That just gave me goosebumps. (smiles)
You mentioned in your bio that sometimes, as a conventional doctor, you had patients that still experienced problems even after treatments or after taking medication that ‘should have helped’ them. And that’s what made you see that something more was needed. Could you give some examples of this?
As a conventional doctor, you have many patients that come in. But you only have a few minutes with them. You ask them what’s going on. One might have high blood pressure for example. You check his blood pressure. Yes. His blood pressure is high.
So then you need to check his kidney. We check the kidney. Kidney is normal. Congratulations. But the blood pressure is still high. Okay. So you give him a prescription for medication to keep his blood pressure under control.
But then he comes in with high cholesterol. So we recommend that he changes his diet. But sometimes, that does not help. We recommend doing more exercise. Sometimes, that does not help. So we give him medicine to control his cholesterol. And he has to take this for the rest of his life.
And taking those medications every day could lead to side effects where the patient now has to take other medications. And that creates a vicious circle. Basically, you don’t really solve the core of the problem.
The core of the problem?
Yes, as a conventional doctor, you don’t have time to ask the patients who they are and what caused the high blood pressure in the first place. Maybe the patient has a broken heart, maybe his wife left him. Maybe he had a car accident a few years ago. Maybe soon after that, he started to have high blood pressure as part of his psychological trauma and he was just never well since then.
Of course, we can again offer a person some antidepressants. But antidepressants don’t take your trauma away. They just cover your symptoms. In some cases, people get over it. But then they might also get over it without drugs. Maybe instead, they use meditation or specific exercises to help them to restore the energy from the trauma that is the underlying cause of all of the stress, which is resulting in the high blood pressure. Many people still have those emotional scars for the rest of their lives. So covering that up with other drugs doesn’t help the core problem or true healing to take place.
Can you explain why this is harmful? Because I imagine that it might feel ‘easier’ or quicker to take the drugs rather than have to go into the core of the problem.
It’s harmful because if life brings them similar experiences again and again, or experiences that trigger the past traumas, those scars get aggravated and can bring on much more serious medical conditions later on. Not dealing with the core problem in the situation above, for example, could bring on weakness of kidneys for instance.
It’s not about refusing medications all together. I have a background in both conventional and natural medicine. And they both have their place. It is not about trying to get people to turn entirely away from conventional medicine. But it’s about trying to lessen the gap between conventional medicine and alternative medicine. It’s about finding the right balance- being aware of which situations call for one or the other.
I love how you encourage this balance, this awareness. How does the approach of Chinese Medicine fit into this?
Chinese medicine believes FEAR would affect the kidneys, ANGER would affect the liver, OVERTHINKING would affect your pancreas. And the Chinese have been practising this for a couple of thousands of years already. Because of that approach, it helps us to understand that maybe it’s not enough to prescribe medication for depression. Maybe you have to give something to patients or find a different approach which we did not have the option for as conventional medical nurses or doctors.
The best we can do with conventional medicine is to send patients to a psychiatrist or prescribe some mild antidepressants for depression or trauma. And eventually, when the person starts to get functional, take them off of the drugs and that’s it.
But when you move towards treatment through acupuncture, homeopathy, or herbology, it opens up totally different perspectives for you. You get introduced to herbs which people used to use from the 18th century for broken hearts, for example.
Herbs for a broken heart. That sounds fascinating. So treatments from a homeopathy point of view would really involve taking a look at each person’s experiences?
Yes. In homeopathy and Chinese Medicine, the belief is that organs could be affected by suppressed emotions. So the treatment of high blood pressure, for example, from that perspective, will be totally different than in conventional medicine.
With conventional medical training, we learn in university to prescribe the same blood pressure medication for everyone, unless someone has side effects to it. But then you would just change the prescription to another group of drugs.
With that approach, the personality of each person would not change your prescription. Where in homeopathy, only the personality of the person MAKES your prescription. So you don’t treat the DISEASE. You treat that particular personality of a person who HAS this disease.
That is beautifully put. It just makes so much more sense to me than treating everyone like a statistic.
Yes. And if five people with different personalities would have high blood pressure, each of them would be given a different approach for that same condition. Because homeopathy understands that every person is different.
What are some of these differences that are often dismissed in conventional medicine?
They are differences in personalities and sensitivities to life events. Some personalities are introverts, and keep all their grief inside. They never show it to anybody, and never share those thoughts with anyone. Other people are very talkative and tell all their neighbors and friends, everyday again and again, all the same stories of everything that they are going through. Those people can’t hold anything inside. They have to let it out. Some people remember anger forever. While with other people, the construction of their personality allows them to easily forgive, and so they can let go of things easier. Others cannot let go of anything.
I know for myself, I need to talk things out. But then I think of other people in my family or circle of friends who wouldn’t feel comfortable with that. I like this idea that each person’s way of dealing with issues is respected and taken into account.
Yes. Because it depends who you are. And homeopathy and Chinese medicine understands this. People have different personalities and come from different situations in life. This approach gives you a greater perspective, so you become like a criminologist who tries to investigate each individual person – including whatever happened in their life, not just now but also in their past. And you go step by step, learning and investigating. And eventually, people start to open up and tell you things. Then you can suddenly start to see the whole picture and treat the person from that perspective.
How does this approach change the way you would treat someone and help them heal?
It can change everything. Because then, most likely, the person in my previous example with a broken heart or trauma doesn’t even need to treat the high blood pressure. Maybe instead, they work on looking at the trauma which happened to them ten years ago, the trauma that they didn’t even realize has never been forgotten.
And you start to work through that rather than giving them medication for high blood pressure. And suddenly, you bring that all up. This might be hard because the person could feel like it all just happened yesterday. But they are getting it out and working through that. And soon after that, they start to feel better about their physical illness, because it was related to the underlying trauma which they needed to work through, not just the high blood pressure. The high blood pressure was just a result of not addressing the original problem.
To find out more about Doctor Vladimir Shmitsman and his clinic, or to make an appointment, please visit Dina’s Homeopathic.