KEYVAN GOLESTANEH RADIATES AN AURA OF CALM AND WELL-BEING. NO SIGN OF STRESS OR TENSION. IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE THAT HE IS ONE OF THE LEADERS IN A REVOLUTION… A QUIET REVOLUTION
Natural and Chinese medical practitioner, herbalist, bodyworker, psychotherapist, yogi and writer with 30 years’ experience in Yoga, meditation and Qi Gong, Keyvan has spent most of his life studying and integrating different methods, medicines and disciplines that contribute to understanding and living a happy, healthy life.
What initially sparked your interest in a holistic approach to health and well-being?
It started when, as a teenager, forty-five years ago, I wanted to solve my own health problems. I saw that physicians had no real solutions for many conditions and could at best only manage some. I wanted to understand what life was about, why people suffered. At that time, the concept of “holistic” didn’t really exist, and there was little public information about natural medicine.
The natural and holistic approach became real to me as two tracks of my life came together: the practical know-how of solving problems, and what I learned about life and its meaning. What I learned was greatly informed by my experience of other cultures, philosophies, and spiritual traditions. I also studied anthropology and how people heal and practiced medicine around the world. Over the years, I have studied many different modalities and disciplines and integrated them into how I work. To really understand health and healing, you need to understand what life is and how it works, not just biology and chemistry.
Of the different approaches you practice which surprised you the most in terms of the results?
They all have their place and successes but three approaches stand out: what I call the awareness- cognitive approach, a form of psycho-physical healing; my ability to use my hands as a form of manual medicine (“bodywork”); and the power of the right diet and Classical Chinese herbal medicine. Each has resulted in some powerful outcomes. I am finding that ancient healing practices and medicine are compatible with science and science is gradually verifying their results. I have seen people successfully treat the five most common diseases in Western countries using a natural approach, without pharmaceutical drugs. Diseases or conditions like asthma, heart disease, psoriasis, and chronic fatigue can be successfully treated using a natural and traditional medicine.
My mother was born in Paris and half my family is French, so I’ve had a connection to Paris since my childhood. Natural and holistic medicine is not as popular in France as in other places, so I like to promote that here. It’s part of what I call “The Quiet Revolution.”
What is the most common complaint you hear from patients?
It’s hard to pick a number one. Pain-related conditions are near the top of the list. Then there are all sorts of chronic autoimmune conditions, like skin problems, digestive issues, high blood pressure, fatigue, diabetes, and allergies. The good news is that if someone is willing to work at it, these conditions can be treated successfully naturally. The fastest-growing conditions are type 2 diabetes and autoimmune diseases, which I see more and more of.
Do you see more men or women as patients?
I would say that I see more women. I think it’s because they are more concerned about their health and more open to sharing.
Do you also work with children?
I do, but much less than adults. They do tend to heal faster. It’s also easier to teach healthy habits when people are young.
How do traditional biomedical doctors and psychiatrists react to your approach?
Territorial politics and economic issues always affect what people do, even professionals, but biomedical doctors are slowly opening up to traditional and natural medicine. Mainstream medicine is forced to pay attention because the public is using it more and getting better, safer results. It’s called “CAM” or “Complementary Alternative Medicine” these days. (It’s not really alternative; for many in the world, it’s primary!) There is more cooperation happening between the two very different approaches. I think that as long as there is qualified professional training and certification, the CAM will grow and gain more credibility with the public and scientific community.
If you could change just one thing to improve people’s overall well-being today what would it be?
Paying attention to your lifestyle and educating yourself about diet are clearly the top priorities. Part of lifestyle medicine is learning to manage stress and keeping active. I’d like people to know that they don’t have to live with some of the health conditions they have. The body is more plastic than we believe! I also see the importance of personal and transcendent meaning in people’s lives. Some call this a way to mental and spiritual health or happiness. Treating the root causes and preventive medicine are key.
Which countries have the best attitude to health?
It depends on how we define health. Health is not only the absence of disease, which is a common conception promoted by the medical establishment and popular media. it is also about our capacity for happiness and wellness. The meaning people find or create in their lives is part of the key to living a happy, healthy life—being motivated in a life-positive way. Some cultures like Denmark, Crete and Japan, have healthier lifestyles, better diets, and consequently higher longevity.Groups with healthier diets and less stressful lives tend to have healthier, happier populations. It’s not just about access to good health care, or what I call “sick-care”, you have to look at the quality of life and how happy a population is. France has a good health care system with universal access but has among the highest percentage of the population taking medications like anti-depressants. The United States has less access and more expensive health care, but you find more and more people engaging in healthier lifestyles and not using the health care system. Japan, where they eat a healthier diet and have less heart disease, has a more stressful lifestyle and one of the highest rates of suicide.
Do you think there is a real argument for “mind over matter” when it comes to our health?
Yes, very much so. Empirical evidence is gradually building up. I’ve seen many cases of “mind” and “awareness” (consciousness) transforming symptoms and the body. I work with a lot of my clients long-distance and use a somatic-based “awareness-mind” approach, through which people have experienced relief of many symptoms, including pain in the body. The use of awareness practices is often overlooked and under utilized.
Keyvan Golestaneh, M.A.,L.Ac., conducts workshops internationally and offers consultations and individual guidance both in person and long-distance by appointment. For more information about Keyvan and his work visit www.NewWorldMedicine.net or www.ConsciousHealthInstitute.org