My chosen profession in the healing arts has given me a great opportunity to facilitate the inner healer in others and as an integrative holistic physician, I can work on my own issues as well.
After graduating from SUNY Downstate Medical School in 1973 I began an OB/ GYN residency at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC) on Long Island, New York. Upon completion of my residency I was accepted to the staff of Long Island Jewish and spent many years helping to train its house staff while developing a successful OB/GYN practice.
From July, 1977 until April, 2000 I was one of three partners in that successful OB/GYN group practicing in the suburbs of New York City. It was a general OB/GYN practice, but I always did my own “holistic thing”. From the beginning I found myself open to healing practices that lay outside what I had been traditionally taught. I treated women with vitamins and natural hormones, and more importantly found that the body-mind connection was a strong modifier of healing. Meditation and visualization techniques became tools that I successfully employed to help reduce blood loss in surgery and to affect healing in other conditions. Prayer and meditation also became my own spiritual practice while preparing for each obstetrical or surgical procedure.
One of my early mentors, Dan Milman of “Peaceful Warrior” fame, taught me a technique called “listening from the heart”. This was a body-mind technique where communication is improved while “listening through” the heart chakra. The practice involves the listener connecting to his or her heart chakra while attending to the other person. Like corresponding strings on different violins, both heart chakra energies come into a synchronous harmony. It is a powerful way of creating a safe place where issues may be worked out.
During that 20 year OB/GYN practice my holistic practice brought patients to my office from all over the country. These women were looking for a holistic gynecologist well-versed in conventional gynecological medicine with expertise in holistic health care. I became involved with the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA) and was asked to join its board of directors. This allowed me to further develop my holistic approach to women’s health and to network extensively with other holistic and conventional practitioners in the area.
In 2000, while I was contemplating changing my practice to embrace an even more integrative, holistic approach, I was recruited by Beth Israel Medical Center in NYC. They were developing a new integrative center, The Continuum Center for Health and Healing, and asked me to join them as the Director of the Woman’s Program. After much consideration and with a lot of ambivalence, I decided to stop delivering babies, which I loved doing, and took the plunge. I spent the next 3 ½ years developing an integrative holistic approach towards optimal women’s health.
After fulfilling my contractual obligations, I returned to private practice with my new focus of health care, functional, integrative, holistic medicine. I have stopped performing hospital-based surgical procedures and focus instead on developing the body-mind- spiritual approach to women’s health concerns. This approach includes traditionally taught GYN plus a body-mind-spiritual focus that includes lifestyle change (diet, supplements, exercise, and stress management), botanical therapies, and natural bio identical hormone treatment, and meditation/visualizations. This integrative, holistic approach has enabled me to approach suboptimal health more completely with evaluation of the whole person, body-mind and spirit. This form of practice reduces the need for invasive surgeries and potentially dangerous medications. The utilization of this methodology has helped me to facilitate health in many who see me as a “last resort”.
Throughout all of these professional changes, I have been guided by and have put my faith in the philosophy of “holism”. Those who practice holistically believe that “Unconditional love is life’s most powerful healer”. Three other guiding principles are:
- There is a web-like connection between Body-Mind-Spirit.
- That finding the cause of the imbalance is more important than symptom suppression.
- That the goal is optimal health, not just the eradication of disease.
The application of these principles in my practice is most exemplified by the hormone balancing program described in my book Healing Fibroids, a Doctors Guide to a Natural Cure. Women have come to my office from all over the world with my book in hand looking for ways to avoid surgery for fibroids and to restore themselves to health. In most cases, they have not been disappointed.
In addition to my book on fibroid tumors, I have also written a chapter on the holistic approach to abnormal pap smears and HPV in the book Women at Risk by Gregory Henderson MD. This is published by Penguin/Avery and concerns abnormal pap smears, HPV and cervical cancer. The 2nd edition of the Textbook of Integrative Medicine edited by Dr David Rakel from the University of Wisconsin Integrative Medicine department will also contain a chapter by me on hormone imbalance and fibroid tumors of the uterus.
Two years ago I began working with men who had similar quality of life issues as the women whom I was successful in helping. This part of my practice evolved from one husband calling on me to help him the same way that I helped his wife. I have found that I can work with men on quality of life issues as I have done with women all these years. My work with men and with boys from early puberty and up has become a fast growing part of my practice.
I now serve on the board of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine (ABIHM). This is a certifying body that tests MDs and DOs in their ability to be integrative holistic practitioners. I serve as the chair of the test committee and the chair of the certification maintenance committee. The test committee has been responsible for preparing the 300 question exam that the more than 800 physicians have taken in the last 4 years. I continue to lecture and teach at the public and the professional level. I have taught at the Westchester OB/Gyn society, the Open Center in NYC, the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY, the 92nd St. Y in NYC and at Beth Israel Medical Center. I am a frequent lecturer at ACAM, AHMA and ABHM conferences.
I have found in my practice that without the application of unconditional love there can be no true healing.
The challenge to unconditionally love oneself lies not just with the patient, but also with the practitioner. In this way, the patient-practitioner relationship becomes a mutually supportive growth experience. We then all contribute to the grand work of helping to heal our planet.
Allan B. Warshowsky M.D. FACOG, ABIHM
Founding Diplomat of the American Board of Intergrative Medicine