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Healing Places
Biological Medicine

Turning thirteen frequently involves life changes for young people. But for Nathaniel Baldwin, of Marion, MA, his rite of passage deeply altered both him and his family. Two weeks before that pivotal birthday, Nathaniel was diagnosed with leukemia. He was immediately treated with heavy doses of chemotherapy, and underwent a bone marrow transplant. Although his battle with cancer resulted in full remission, he emerged from the treatment debilitated and with only 50% of his lung capacity.

His doctors told him the damage to his lungs might not be reversible. But he and his parents chose to continue the quest for total health by turning to alternative therapies. Three years later, Nathaniel arrived at the Paracelsus Clinic in Lustmühle, Switzerland.

The Paracelsus Clinic was founded in 1958 as a center for health and well-being, based on the principles of natural healing. The center follows a philosophy known as biological medicine, which incorporates alternative practices designed to balance and restore our own healing mechanisms. Or as Dr. Rau, who treated Nathaniel puts it, "We place great emphasis on understanding the body's own 'bio-logic.' Biological medicine treats individuals, not diseases."

Nathaniel's therapies combined Chinese medicine with a western approach. Because the body is seen as a working whole rather than a combination of parts, Dr. Rau focused not simply on Nathaniel's diminished lung capacity, but also on how the lungs are closely allied with other major organs -- what affects one, affects all. A change of diet, vitamin supplements, removal of an impacted wisdom tooth, and other alternative practices all helped Nathaniel to begin recovering his strength. Most important, according to Dr. Rau, was offering hope. "Hope is very important in biological medicine, for everyone… Becoming and staying well requires a commitment to change, not only in one's lifestyle -- what one eats, drinks and does for exercise -- but also in one's mental attitude."

Nathaniel has made yearly trips back to the Paracelsus Clinic for follow-up care, and Body & Soul accompanied him on his most recent visit there. His family has also embraced biological medicine, and his parents have created the Marion Foundation, dedicated to educating Americans and American health care practitioners about biological medicine. Margie Baldwin, Nathaniel's mother adds, "We've been putting on these seminars for different practitioners to come and learn about biological medicine. We just finished a series of four, and had over 85 practitioners."

Since beginning his work with Dr. Rau, Nathaniel has started college, where he plays on the squash team. His lung capacity continues to improve, and is now over 75%. Margie comments, "I think what biological medicine teaches, is how to create new habits, everyday habits, but also habits within ourselves about taking charge of our own mind, body and spirit. Being much more in tune with our bodies… Making more intentional choices for ourselves in our everyday lives."

Program Description
Biological Medicine
Thomas Rau, MD
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Body & Soul is currently airing Monday-Friday at 7:00pm and 8:30pm on PBS YOU.

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