In an essay collection that’s part memoir, part homeopathy textbook, a doctor embraces the ideals of patient-centered treatment and attacks hallmarks of traditional medicine, including vaccination.
As a medical student in the 1960s, Moskowitz never intended to pursue holistic medicine—at the time, few American doctors had even heard the term—but he quickly grew disenchanted with the approaches he encountered in the established medical community. Doctors, he felt, tended to see their patients as manifestations of disease rather than as people. They treated illness as an invader to be beaten into submission, not as a natural part of life. He happened upon homeopathy partly by accident, when a patient asked him to help her give birth at home. Away from the sterile, highly regulated hospital environment, he was able to let the patient be her own guide, and he assisted her only minimally. The appeal of this approach led him to embrace homeopathy and its mission to promote self-healing. The collection’s first essay offers an illuminating look at what drew him to this approach, but later essays appear to be meant for a more specialized audience. Some first appeared in homeopathy journals and require more than a layman’s familiarity with the field; others list recommended remedies for common disorders affecting pregnant women and infants, which may not interest some readers. Repetition plagues the later chapters, with many essays addressing the same themes, sometimes verbatim. The overall tone may be off-putting to readers who don’t share the author’s disdain for traditional medicine, which Moskowitz accuses of being “driven mainly to achieve effective control and dominion over every identifiable aspect of the life process,” calling its proponents “smug” and “self-righteous.” His invective against vaccination, in particular, which he blames for the proliferation of chronic ailments from ear infections to epilepsy to autism, will likely challenge the views of average consumers of Western medicine.
An eye-opening but heavy-handed look at the medical profession from a doctor who turned his back on its standard practices.