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Seven Herbalists Speak

  Elisa Adams

  Diane Brigida

  Bill Fage

  Gene Fitzpatrick

  Cheryl Kelly

  Jeanne Polcari

  Joan Reardon


  Muscle Testing



Finding What You Need to Heal: Gene Fitzpatrick

What would it take to turn a quality-control manager who believed firmly in conventional medicine into a holistic healthcare practitioner who uses herbs, muscle testing, and iridology to help clients get well? 

In Gene Fitzpatrick’s case, it took his wife’s illness. Fitzpatrick, who is in his forties, with the build of an athletic coach and a lean face with a cropped mustache, is no stranger to the medical field. His father invented the heart-lung machine, his uncle was chief surgeon at Yale New Haven hospital for many years, and he himself used to design and build medical instruments for a living. His last job was quality-control manager for a company that produces equipment to remove brain tumors.

The owner of the company had had a serious health problem and had died. When Fitzpatrick’s wife came down with the same problem, she began using herbs. Because of Fitzpatrick’s involvement in the medical world, he thought it was “crazy, but if it made her feel better, fine.” It made her feel so much better, in fact, that she recovered. “So, with a manufacturing and engineering background, I had to set out to prove the herbal approach wrong,” Fitzpatrick says. “I took every class on herbs that was available, and I found out what was wrong.” He pauses. “Me.”

After learning about herbs, Fitzpatrick learned a technique called Touch for Health, which uses muscle testing to evaluate the body’s imbalances and assess its needs. “It was the darndest thing I ever saw, Fitzpatrick says of Touch for Health. “It actually works, it’s non-invasionary, simple, and the worst thing that happens is nothing happens. I said, ‘My goodness, I’ve got to get into this a little more.’ So I started using it.” This was in 1992, and five years later, he became certified by the International Kinesiology College to teach it.

Fitzpatrick also learned iridology, a technique of evaluating the condition of the internal organs by examining the irises of the eyes, based on the concept that each part of the iris corresponds to a particular organ or system. With iridology, Fitzpatrick says, “you have the ability to identify problems before they manifest themselves into an issue.” Iridology has progressed to the point where the iris can be photographed by a video camera and displayed on a computer screen.

Fitzpatrick uses these evaluation tools in his practice to find what the body needs to restore its internal balance, which allows it to heal. “Unfortunately, our foods are nutritionally very empty,” Fitzpatrick points out. “What I’m finding to be a common cause of sickness these days is lack of enzymes in foods — irradiating the fruits, vegetables, and meats to kill all the enzymes. If there are no enzymes in foods, you don’t break the foods down. If you don’t break them down, they’re not available to the body. I’m finding that three-year-olds need enzymes. There’s something wrong with that picture.

“It’s no longer true that you can say to somebody, ‘Eat this way and you’ll be fine.’ I believe you’ve got to go one step further. I believe you’ve got to find out what the body needs nutritionally to heal. There are very few sources of good-quality foods anymore, and good-quality herbs happen to be one of those few sources.”

Fitzpatrick emphasizes the importance of quality in herbs. To illustrate this, he tells the story of a client who came in with thousand-milligram capsules of vitamin C. Muscle testing indicated that the client needed ten capsules a day. Fitzpatrick then muscle-tested with vitamin C from a brand he stocks, and the client tested “for two instead of ten. They both weigh a thousand milligrams. Now you tell me which is the higher quality. The client said, ‘Yeah, but the C from Brand X is three dollars less a bottle.’ I said, ‘Right! But you’ve got to take five times as many!’”

In addition to nutritional deficiencies, another common cause of sickness is toxic overload. “If you can’t properly dispose of your waste, it’s pointless to build,” Fitzpatrick says. He gives leukemia as an example. “Leukemia, by definition, is too many white blood cells. If you look at it from a logical standpoint, the white blood cells are trying to gobble up garbage. So my approach has been, ‘Why are you full of garbage?’ Not ‘Why there are too many white blood cells?’ If there are too many white blood cells, your body is doing its job. What’s wrong is what’s causing the need to have too many white blood cells.

“Following Hippocrates, we need to find out why you’re so toxic, and we need to get those toxins out of the body as quickly as possible, in a way that’s not stressing your body. What that means is different for different people.”

Herbs can help to both supply needed nutrients and facilitate discharge of wastes. Although the number of practitioners who use muscle testing along with herbs is growing, Fitzpatrick says that “to find somebody to pull the whole thing together is difficult. You may have to see two people [a kinesiologist and an herbalist] to put the whole thing together, but at least you’ll have a solution. I’ve seen people get over naturally treated, medically tracked things you wouldn’t believe — two cases of cystic fibrosis, liver cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, fourth-degree melanoma.”

Despite his migration from the medical world to holistic health care, Fitzpatrick believes that both have their place — although, he says, “I’d like to change the terminology that people use from ‘alternative’ to ‘natural,’ because ‘alternative’ implies you’ve tried everything else first. I don’t believe in the use of that word. I think ‘natural health care’ is what we should change our terminology to.” As to when we should use one versus the other, Fitzpatrick tells of the response he got when he asked a friend of his, a nurse, this question.

“She said, ‘It’s easy for me to tell you when you should go chemical and when you should go natural. When it’s obvious to a four-year-old that you have a problem, you go to the doctor. Otherwise, don’t.’

“I said, ‘Coming from a nurse, that sounds rather facetious.’

“She said, 'It isn’t really, when you think about it. Consider this: if you break a leg, if you’ve got a knife sticking in you, if you have a heart attack, you pass out, you get hit by a truck, any of these crises, it’s obvious to a four-year-old that you’ve got a problem. It’s crisis medicine, and crisis medicine is designed to deal with crises. But if you’re walking around apparently well to a four-year-old, you probably have a metabolic imbalance, and a metabolic imbalance is best treated, as Andrew Weil says, with metabolic approaches — best treated naturally.' Makes perfect sense.

“I believe a healthcare practitioner, regardless of modality, has one job — to stop people from coming, because they’re better. I’ve come to believe that anything that happens to the body naturally can be healed naturally,” Fitzpatrick says, quoting Andrew Weil. “I don’t argue with the designer. I don’t replace body functions. I enhance your ability to heal by supplying you what you need to accomplish that.”

Fitzpatrick finds that fewer and fewer doctors are shunning natural health care. “What I’m hearing is that two things are happening. The doctors with the huge egos are taking offense at their clients getting better. But those who are sincerely interested in people’s health, and I believe that’s the vast majority of them, may not necessarily want to understand why or how it works but have an interest in seeing that it does work.” If a physician is hostile, Fitzpatrick says, “that’s great — because the doctor is saying, ‘I’m not willing to allow you to heal.’ So you go find a doctor who will.

“And then the argument is, ‘Well, my HMO points me to this particular doctor.’ I say to folks, ‘Look, you’re paying the bill, not the doctor. It’s up to you to make the decision, not a secretary at the end of a phone at the insurance company.’

“Up until recently, there was a lot of fear in admitting you actually got well without drugs. It wasn’t until the last several years that you could walk in to a doctor and admit you were taking a vitamin or an herb without the doctor chastising you.

“People are still afraid to be open with their doctors. I tell them, ‘Look, be open with them, because if you’re taking a prescription and not filling it and getting well, the doctor’s putting in the record that he recommended the prescription and you’re getting well, therefore this drug helped you. The doctor is basing his decisions for other patients on false information, and you’re actually hurting somebody. Be honest with them.’

“Unfortunately, the doctors have this peer-pressure thing they have to deal with too. I think honestly that that’s not coming from the doctors so much as the insurance companies and the lawyers.

“If a doctor looks at it with open eyes, he’ll see that what’s happening is that the American public is beginning to recognize, through education, when it’s appropriate to go chemical and when it’s appropriate to go natural. There are times when you use both. And what I perceive happening is that we’re going to come out of this whole thing with a health community in which practitioners of the Western approach have the attitude, ‘We’re going to deal with crises, we’re going to save people’s lives, we’re going to deal with all these obvious-to-a- four-year-old issues.’"

Gene Fitzpatrick

Balanced Health

9 Simon Street

Nashua, NH 03060