Healing pioneer Dr. Norm Shealy, who entered medical school at age 19, developed cutting-edge research to control pain, founded the American Holistic Medical Association and remains committed to natural health care decades later. He will be the keynote speaker at the debut Iowa Holistic Expo on March 15-16 at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown.
Shealy will join four other highly acclaimed intuitives – Kathryn Harwig, Echo Bodine, Lynn Young and Sunny Dawn Johnston – as speakers at the expo, which will feature nearly 70 holistic exhibitors and intuitive readers, and dozens of free workshops daily. Also at the expo, Shealy’s new book, Pony Wisdom for the Soul, will be available, and his new film promoting complementary and alternative health care, Medical Renaissance: The Secret Code, will be given a preview screening.
"The Secret Code for Bliss," the keynote address Shealy will give, will focus on the array of unhealthy habits that, if changed, can contribute greatly to long-lasting personal wellness.
Dr. Shealy, who lives in southern Missouri with his wife of 40 years, Mary-Charlotte, spoke with Edge Life about his upcoming appearance at Iowa Holistic Expo, and he revealed in passing that his latest research may prove to be one of the most incredible contributions to the field of medicine.
For those who have not followed your career, how would you describe your contributions to medicine?
Norm Shealy: I think number one is, of course, my introduction at a national level of the whole concept of holistic medicine. Although drugs and surgery are useful in acute situations, the vast majority of problems that people have are the result of a very unhealthy lifestyle, failure to pay good attention to their body, their nutrition, their exercise, and their habits. That’s certainly at the top of the list.
Secondly, I would say my introduction of electromedicine, the use of transcutaneous nerve stimulation or TENS for control of pain. Even though I don’t do it, I think even today dorsal column stimulation, another technique that I introduced, certainly has benefit for some people.
But, perhaps my single-most important work, which isn’t well known yet, is our most recent discovery that we can actually, with electrotherapy, cause the telomeres, the tail of the DNA, to regenerate itself. Telomeres ordinarily shrink by 1 percent each year. Our technique suggests that we can actually have them grow 4 percent a year.
So, the shrinkage of these contribute to our aging process?
NS: Aging and illness. And, theoretically, if we can continue this, and we will, our plan now is to go a minimum of five years showing that depending upon what age at which people start, within 5 to 12 years the telomeres, if they continue at the rate they’re growing, will equal those of a 25 year old. So I think that’s going to be my biggest discovery.
How is the DNA stimulated within an individual.
NS: The whole body is put into an electromagnetic field that is 2 feet above and 2 feet on either side and all around the body, and this field is feeding the body human DNA frequency, which is absorbed through the skin at 50 to 75 decibels of energy at 54 to 78 billion cycles per second.
Can that be felt through our awareness?
NS: Only six people out of 200,000 can actually feel it. Interestingly, whether or not it’s because I’ve worked so much with electrical current all my life, I do feel it. I’m one of those who is sensitive.
Is this a process that, if it proves to be very successful, would be very expensive for the average person?
NS: It will be far less expensive than any drug I know.
So, you’re pretty excited about this, I imagine.
NS: I have trouble restraining myself. I’ve been playing with this, moving towards this, now for ten years.
At what state would you say the research is on this project?
NS: Well, I will know unequivocally within six months, and it’s already at what one would call a promising stage.
You opened your first pain management clinic in LaCrosse, Wisc., in 1971. How has medicine responded to chronic pain care since then?
NS: It’s interesting. For about 25 years medicine was going the right way. In almost every state in the union, there was a marked decrease in the use of narcotics. Now, in the last seven or eight years, because the pharmica-mafia has been pushing OxyContin and all those kinds of junk drugs, it’s gone the other way again. They’re now using drugs for things that should never ever be treated with narcotics.
Compare and contrast, if you will, the medical climate in America from the time you founded the American Holistic Medical Association until now.
NS: Worse, in a word. There are three things that have really essentially murdered so-called health care, which is really disease care. Number one was Medicare. The reason that it has damaged health care is that prior to 1965, medical costs in this country were 4.5 percent of gross national product. All hospitals were administered by physicians or nurses. Immediately after Medicare, the MBAs came in and took over – and within five years medical expenses were up to 12 percent, with no improvement in health.
Now we’re pushing 17 percent, and the United States is ranked 44th in the world in health care. We’ve gotten much worse. Part of the reason was that the hospitals became greedy and physicians became greedy. But the biggest change of all was the pharmica-mafia, which now owns American medicine. It’s part of the oil petroleum industry and the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about. It’s all part of a remarkable global moral depravity, insanity. You may quote me: moral depravity, insanity and greed are now on the verge of ruining everything in this country, and especially medical care.
I was going to ask for your response to the powerful pharmaceutical industry in this country?
NS: I think I’d be very kind to say that it sucks. I think it is the most dangerous thing in relation to your health that we know. We know – it has been admitted and published – that a minimum of 200,000 people every year are killed by prescription drugs. Now, you and I know that if they are admitting 200,000, it’s probably double that, but people are signed out as dying of the disease instead of dying as a result of the drug.
Not only that, they’re poisoning everybody in sight with their statin drugs, which are among the most dangerous. The top-selling drugs are the statins. You couldn’t pay me a billion dollars to take one.
They are the cholesterol-lowering drugs?
NS: Yes. Number two are antidepressants, which at best are 42 percent effective with a 25 percent complication rate, and they’re being widely used in children to turn them into zombies. It’s a horrible situation. The third category is the little purple pill and all of its clones, the third greatest selling class of drugs in the world.
I don’t call them the pharmica-mafia for nothing. They truly are worse than the crime mafia.
What is your brief review of Michael Moore’s film Sicko?
NS: I think it’s his best film by far. I was not a great fan of Michael Moore until I saw Sicko. He is telling the truth. The American medical system sucks today, and the reason it does is government intervention and pharmica-mafia control. I tell you, I was both shaking with anger and in tears in that movie, because it is so pathetic and so true. And you know the pharmica-mafia prevented it from getting into the regular theaters.
Why does America, which prides itself on being like the ruler of the free world, fail to deliver the best health care to its people?
NS: Well, there are three reasons. Number one, it is the personal responsibility of people to take care of themselves. Less than 3 percent of Americans have all four most critical habits to good health: no smoking (28 percent of people smoke); a body mass index of 19 to 24 (two-thirds of people do not have that, because they’re fat); eating a minimum of five servings a day of fruits or vegetables (the average American eats 3.4; and exercise a minimum of 30 minutes, five days a week (less than 10 percent of Americans do that).
There’s no way that medicine can replace common sense and health habits. We have abandoned common sense and responsibility for our own health. Now, at the foothill of that particular problem, I believe, is McDonald’s and its clones. They began to ruin American nutrition, but they were not that far ahead of the entire food industry. A minimum of 60 percent of the foods sold in grocery stores is pure junk. So if you take the average, that 40 percent or more of all meals are consumed at fast-food junk places, and that 60 percent of food in stores is junk, that means that 80 percent of the food eaten in this country is junk. That’s not the government’s responsibility. That’s the individual’s responsibility, and no amount of medicine can replace that.
Our eating habits are a very ingrained habit. Isn’t it hard for people to change those?
NS: They changed 40 years ago. I went to McDonald’s in 1962. I took one bite. I spit in into my napkin and threw it all away and I’ve never been back, and I will never go back to it or any of its clones. They’re all horrible. I mean, it’s so easy to eat right for breakfast today.
This morning, my breakfast was yellow grits with eggs beaten into it and cheese, and an equivalent of two servings of fruit. For lunch, I had a fruit slush made with pineapples, bananas and yogurt, and a huge helping of the best peanut butter in the country – and I have no financial interest in it, Smuckers. There is three more servings of fruits and vegetables, so I’ve had my five servings even before dinner. At dinner tonight, I’ll have another one or two servings of vegetables and a small bit of some kind of protein material.
That’s good nutrition. I get up between 5:00 and 5:30 every morning. I exercise for two hours, because I like it, and it keeps me healthy. At 75 years of age, I am healthier than most 25 year olds. So, that’s my responsibility. It’s not the physicians’ and it’s not the government’s.
Now, second only to the food industry is television, which is responsible for people becoming couch potatoes. I argue that if you’re going to watch television, you should be either standing or at least walking, if not jogging, on a mini-trampoline – or sitting on an exercise ball. You shouldn’t be sitting on a couch. I probably don’t watch television 50 hours a year, and then it’s only a really educational program.
So, is it the responsibility of the medical community to help change some of these personal choices that are unhealthy?
NS: Oh, yes. Back in the 1970s when Joseph Califano, Jr. was Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, he was responsible for publishing a wonderful two-volume set, Health in the United States. He said, "Make no mistake. A consensus of experts throughout the world said the only improvement in health will come from prevention of disease through education." And here we are, more than 30 years later, and health is worse because we have not educated people adequately.
It’s difficult. Remember that smoking as an illness was not really recognized until about 1950. Within 57 years and pretty good educational attempts, we’ve decreased average smoking from 48 percent to 28 percent – roughly, a 40 percent decrease after 57 years of good education. So, it’s going to take a powerful education push to get people to accept responsibility.
As I see it, the only thing that will really work is that people should pay for their bad habits. I think we should have a use expense, if you will, of $5 per pack of cigarettes; a use expense of a minimum of $1 on every item sold at a fast food restaurant. The only thing that changes people is finances. They don’t seem to get interested in the fact that smoking kills you and makes you ill for years before you die, that being fat kills you and makes you ill for years before you die. Being fat is not the responsibility of physicians or the government. It’s the responsibility of the individual. We have abdicated personal responsibility for the temple in which we live.
What are the most hopeful signs you see in American medicine, if any?
NS: Well, I think we see increasing conferences and movies and books on the subject, and our documentary movie, hopefully, is going to help that educational process. Basically, 85 percent of the illnesses that exist today could be prevented if people had healthy habits. Even more importantly, other than acute illness in the chronic illnesses, 85 percent of them could be managed better, safer and more effectively without drugs or surgery. That’s the message we must get across.
What will filmgoers experience when they see Medical Renaissance?
NS: They’ll see three new patients who’ve failed everything conventional medicine has to offer, and four or five former patients, one of them going back as long as 11 years ago, who have succeeded in overcoming depression, back pain and migraine with complementary, alternative, holistic approaches. I’ve seen the movie twice – of course, I was there when it was filmed – and it’s powerful. I’m in tears several times, because it’s so strong when you see what’s happening to these patients. It’s better than Sicko, because it’s all positive.
Are you encouraged by the public’s growing acceptance and openness to complementary and alternative healing?
NS: I think that is really the good news. More than 50 percent of people now use something outside conventional medicine. Actually, what’s most fascinating of all is that 48 percent of physicians do, but only 16 percent of physicians refer patients for them. To me, that’s a hypocritical approach, but, hey, halitosis is better than no breath at all. We’re moving more people to recognize that drugs and surgery are rarely the answer.
What are several daily practices we can do as individuals to provide the greatest benefit for our health?
NS: Number one is to avoid junk food. Number two is to do a minimum, in my opinion, of an hour a day of some kind of exercise. Number three is to practice some form of deep relaxation and mental rejuvenation. If we only paid attention to that. If only we taught this in schools. That’s really where it should start, in kindergarten.
Aside from the film you have a new book coming out. What can you tell us about that?
NS: Ah, yes, Pony Wisdom for the Soul. I think I should start by saying that I knew the people who put out A Course in Miracles back in the 1970s, so I’ve been acquainted with that for 30 years. A couple of years ago, Gary Renard’s book, The Disappearance of the Universe, came out. Well, about five years ago I met a remarkable woman, truly one of the most unique human beings that I have met, who had the same, exact philosophy. I’ve spent these years corresponding with her by phone and e-mail. I’ve only met her in person once. And her philosophy is so remarkable that I wanted to write it up, only she didn’t want me to.
Finally two years ago I said, "Suppose that we wrote a book with all the profits going to your favorite charity (a wonderful organization called Personal Ponies, which provides small Welch ponies to children with needs.)"
And she said, "You can. You’ve got me."
To preserve her anonymity, because she’s very shy, I wrote the book as an allegory of a 13-year-old girl who asks questions that are answered by her teacher, the pony. In writing the book, I asked the questions and this remarkable woman answered the questions. We turned it into an adult allegory, and the philosophy is basically the same as in A Course in Miracles, that all of what we think is reality is really just an illusion or dream, and there’s only one thing you need to do, and that is to forgive everything that happens and be loving.
It’s only 80 pages, whereas A Course in Miracles is 1,100, and Gary’s book is 400, so I think it’s something people will enjoy. It will stimulate them to think about the fact that you can’t afford the luxury of being angry, guilty, upset and depressed, because you just have to keep repeating the dream otherwise.
This woman you worked with on this book, where did she develop this philosophy?
NS: Well, she actually had a physical materialization of Jeshua, and for 38 years he kept coming back and giving her this philosophy. Quite striking.
Yes, A Course of Miracles is said to be the words of Jesus as well.
NS: That’s right.
So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it would be the same message.
NS: No. What I’ve tried to do is make it simple. You know, keep it simple, stupid. Only I think it’s: keep it simple smart.
The late Joseph Campbell encouraged us to follow our bliss.
NS: Oh, absolutely. You know you can’t be blissful unless you give up your anger, guilt, anxiety and depression.
You’re going to be speaking on the secret code for bliss at the Iowa Holistic Expo. Are you going to be including some of the philosophy from your book in this talk?
NS: Oh, sure. I can’t avoid it to some extent. The main thought will be to hopefully motivate and educate people to take responsibility and to enjoy being healthy.
What has medicine taught you about healing the soul?
NS: Healing the soul, of course, is about getting in touch with your own self, the real you, and recognizing that you are a physical temple in which your soul is having an experience. The idea is to treat your body as if it’s the holy temple. It also means, and this is the essence of the movie, that every thought is a prayer – not some thoughts, EVERY thought. You can’t afford to be negative all day. You must develop a positive attitude.
Every time you have a negative thought, it has negative physical, chemical and electrical consequences. We’re like a neon sign. It is lighted up brightly when we have positive thoughts and it sort of stutters and comes on and off when we have negative thoughts.
Are you overall an optimist about the future?
NS: Oh, sure. You know, we go through cycles. I don’t know if you are aware of a wonderful book called The Fourth Turning. It’s a remarkable study of the history of human behavior and the cycles of humanity going back hundreds of years. Well, we’re probably on the verge of what they called The Awakening. I think sometime within the next five years we will see the pendulum swing to one of the most positive renewals in history.
For more information on Iowa Holistic Expo, go to Iowa.Edgelife.net or call 763.433.9291. For more information on Dr. Norm Shealy, visit www.NormShealy.com.