After my initial medical training in my native South Africa, I spent 18 months working at clinics in the bush. There I became familiar with the local traditional healers, called sangomas, which kindled my interest in non-Western healing modalities.
In 1984, I immigrated to the United States, and became the chief medical resident at Lincoln Hospital in Bronx, NY. While there, I became fascinated by the hospital’s addiction clinic, which used acupuncture and Chinese medicine to treat people suffering from heroin and crack addiction. Seeing the way these patients responded so positively to acupuncture made me even more aware of the potential of implementing non- Western medicine to promote holistic wellbeing. As a medical student, I was taught to focus on the disease rather than the patient, and as a doctor I found myself treating symptoms rather than the root causes of illness. Frustrated by the constraints of my training, and the limitations in helping patients regain true health, I began a journey of discovery to search for the path to meaningful long-term health and wellness.
I began studying nutrition, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, functional medicine, biofeedback, meditation, and yoga.
In 1992, I founded the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in the heart of downtown Manhattan – one of the first-of-its- kind clinics to integrate these varied modalities. As one of my patients, the chef Seamus Mullen told The New York Times, “If antibiotics are right, he’ll try it. If it’s an anti-inflammatory diet, he’ll do that. He’s looking at the body as a system rather than looking at isolated things.”