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Letters to the editor.

Prediabetes Reversal

After reading the excellent April 2014 Townsend Letter on diabetes, I had to write in about a commercial truck driver whom I treated. This man's wife called me to see if I could help him to keep his job, as his recent blood sugar test was high and his employer gave him 30 days to reduce his blood sugar levels. He didn't believe in taking food supplements, but his wife takes food supplements, so he took these seven supplements every clay. With this driver, I had the unusual request to make sure that the blends recommended did not make him urinate or have bowel movements more often, since stopping for a rest break while driving decreased the amount of money he collected. He was and is still overweight. He did not come in to my office, so I recommended this program over the telephone.

I put him on Systemic Formulas Ps and P pancreatic formulas along with the VISTA 1 & 2, which supports all aspects of cell membrane integrity, and Enzee, a potent enzymatic formula to improve the body's internal bioterrain and helping to neutralize toxins. I also put him on Premier Research Lab's liver formula called HepatoVen and cinnamon from the Monastery of Herbs for helping the body respond to insulin, and it also contains powerful antioxidants with no fillers or harmful excipients added.

He took the seven supplements for 20 days before he had another surprise blood test. I had given him a 30-day program and his body responded quite well with the remedies and he was able to maintain his driving license. Using herbals proves that if you catch a major health problem early, you can reverse it and restore your health. I would have liked to have gone deeper in his healing, but he had a goal and he reached it with his treatment.

Jon Buratti, ND

Burbank, California


Intelligent Medicine Held the Answer

It has long been the view of this author that good medicine utilizes natural and allopathic approaches as needed for the good of the patient. Thus, we need not view natural and allopathic medicine as opponents, but rather as two aspects of a single whole. The concept of yin and yang, passed on to us by ancient Asian sages, comes to mind here. Yin and yang are really one entity--positive and negative expressions of the overarching concept of Dao, the source or the path. The healthy tension between yin and yang expresses itself in creativity and is manifested in all of creation. Perhaps this can serve as a model for the utilization or practice of all expressions of medicine.

Prolific author, long-standing radio host, and conventional physician Ronald Hoffman, MD, is also expertly trained in complementary and alternative practices. He considers intelligent medicine in much the same fashion as detailed herein and even named one of his very popular books Intelligent Medicine. (1)

Practicing intelligent medicine, or utilizing it as a patient, can be a source of great healing and can also help curb unnecessary laboratory testing and expensive procedures. My integrative behavioral medicine practice draws me to the ancient practices of Chinese medicine as much as to cutting-edge laboratory testing, i.e., neurotransmitters and hormones.

A recent health challenge of my own may be worth sharing, since it exemplifies, to my mind, the clinical and personal application of intelligent medicine.

Charting the Course

Week 1: Large red circular rash (4 inches in diameter) on right posterior calf, with a similar rash on right thigh (as if I had trapped an insect between my leg while kneeling). Blistering and itching as well. Several days after the rash was discovered, I realized that there was a tiny tick in the center of that red disk and I removed it. Headache above and below right eye (eyelid was slightly swollen) which lasted about one month, and joint pain in right hand for about two days. Visited a DO who was doing cross-coverage for my DO who was out of town and was diagnosed with sinus headache and given Keflex.

Week 2: After a few days, my right eye was practically closed (ptosis) and I was seeing double. My eyeball was looking down and to the right--"down and out" as those who work the field sometimes say. Saw my primary-care DO, who ordered an MRI and referred me to a neurologist and an ophthalmologist. Blood tests were negative for Lyme disease and diabetes.

The ophthalmologist examined me and asked me to return in 2 weeks. The neurologist asked about pain in my neck and I stated that I had none. He palpated my neck and said that he wanted to give me an [MG, ordered an MRA, and then prescribed Gabapentin. The EMG revealed a pinched nerve and the neurologist asked me about the pain in my neck and I repeated that I had none. He later told me that the MRA revealed a cerebral aneurysm. I asked about the size and location and he told me both and ordered a CT-A. I found my own neurosurgeon and took the three scans to him, expecting to schedule neurosurgery. The neurosurgeon found no aneurysm on the scans, stating that he believed I had a sinus infection.

The neurosurgeon ordered an angiogram because that is the policy but did not think it would reveal additional information. (This study was later cancelled with the advice of my primary DO, who questioned the ability of this test to give us further information since I had already had three scans.)

Week 3: I asked myself what I would do if I had a patient come to me under these conditions. Ethically I would ask him or her to continue seeing conventional doctors and follow their orders. Here is what I might also do and did for myself: Bone Marrow cleansing gigong (for psychospi ritual detox), alpha-lipoic acid (for nerve health), extra vitamin C (to boost immunity), L-carnitine (for brain health), magnesium (for muscle health), glutathione (for detox), and nasal sinus irrigation. (2)

Week 4: A colleague of mine who is a chiropractor and trained in massage therapy visits with me every week or two. We exchange wellness treatments, Chinese and Western. I asked him to do some lymphatic drainage on my head and neck. My clinical judgment (intuition) was telling me that I was full of toxins.

About 6 hours after his treatment, my double vision cleared and my right eye returned to front and center. (Double vision would return for several seconds when I would go out into the sunlight or if there was a lot of activity around me but that completely cleared in another 2 weeks.) My ptosis had been resolving and completely resolved over the course of the 4 weeks since it first began.

My Response

Over the 30-plus years of my clinical pastoral practice, I have seen scores of people with an equivocal diagnosis of Lyme disease. Many have neurological or musculoskeletal symptoms, but their blood work is negative or inconsistent. They are often seeing me for the psychological aspects of their condition or pain management. There are many tick-borne illnesses and a variety of lab tests for Lyme. I never ruled out a tick-borne infection, although the physicians who helped me didn't seem to place much emphasis on the possibility that this was the etiology of my symptoms. I think that it was.

My research has since led me to a natural medication called teasel root, Dipsacus, or Xu Duan in Chinese. (3)

Available in liquid or granule delivery systems, this I began to take daily since it is used to remove the spirochetes from tick-borne illnesses. Interestingly, it is also used for fibromyalgia.


None of us knows the future, but I do know that I sit here symptom free and more compassionate and more aware of people dealing with illnesses difficult to diagnose. I am very grateful for the Western brain scans and lab tests, but also for the natural and Chinese healing arts. In recent months I have been able to help four people who have had similar symptoms, either by way of referral, psychotherapy, or natural/Chinese medicine. Learning from my illness as a means of helping others was my prayer, and prayer is yet another aspect of intelligent medicine, at least as I see things.

Brother Bernard Seif, SMC, EdD, DNM


(1.) Hoffman RL. Intelligent Medicine: A Guide to Optimizing Health and Preventing Illness for the Baby-Boomer Generation. New York: Touchstone; 1997.

(2.) Zuyin L. Scientific Qigong Exploration: The Wonders and Mysteries of Qi. Malvern, PA: Amber Leaf Press; 1997.

(3.) Storl WD. Healing Lyme Disease Naturally: History, Analysis, and Treatment. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books; 2010.

Brother/Doctor Bernard Seif, SMC, EdD, DNM, is a Christian monk in the Roman Catholic and Salesian traditions and a clinical psychologist, board certified in behavioral medicine. He is also a doctor of natural medicine specializing in Chinese medicine with subspecialties in medical qigong and Chinese medicinal herbs. Brother Bernard is certified as an advanced clinical therapist and a qigong teacher by the National Qigong Association and is a lifetime professional member of that organization and past ethics chair, has served on the NQA board of directors, and is a member of the World Academic Society of Medical Qigong. The author belongs to the Pastoral Medical Association and enjoys writing monastic mystery books. Brother Bernard has studied in both the US and Asia and gives workshops and retreats here and abroad.
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Publication:Townsend Letter
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jul 1, 2014
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