From the Author
From the time I was a medical student, it has always been my passion to try to help as many of my patients as possible. I was never satisfied with sending patients home with the cliché: of "Sorry, we just don't have any answers for you." For me, and for my patients, conventional medicine had lots of answers, but sometimes they just weren't enough.
Starting my 38-year medical career as a family physician, I delivered babies, did some minor surgery and worked in the emergency room, providing the most comprehensive care that I could. Over time, it seemed to me that other disciplines, some of which were a part of medicine and part of which were tangential, held the promise of useful answers for those patients who did not receive adequate benefit from conventional medicine.
So I threw myself into studying as many of them as I could uncover. I spent hours learning osteopathic manipulation, acupuncture, homeopathy, prolotherapy, Reichian therapy, therapeutic touch, herbal supplementation and chelation. Each new field clearly added another dimension to improving my practice of medicine. As we learned more and more about the biochemical underpinnings of chronic illness, (a field often referred to as functional medicine) I was able to understand and provide better medical care.
Slowly, my practice evolved into something new, that didn't really have a name, and I called it Complex Medical Problem Solving. Over time, I found that I was working mostly with those unfortunate patients who had not received a diagnosis from conventional medicine, and were suffering with persistent and debilitating illnesses. These included fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic Lyme disease and its co-infections, autism, and all varieties of chronic pain, amongst others.
Several years ago I began to teach my colleagues what I had learned about working with chronically ill patients, and I called this course: "What Every Physician Should Know About Working with Complex Medical Illness." My patients asked me to provide this same information in a simplified but understandable form, and that is how this book evolved.
My text is derived from the distillation of countless patient visits. When I found a patient's eyes glazing over as I began to explain some aspect of chemistry.....I took note. When they sat up, alertly, and asked cogent questions....I also took note.
Despite my many years of clinical practice, I am still optimistic that I can help every single person who comes through my door. The truth is that I haven't been able to do that, but the truth is also that I have helped the vast majority of them to improve or heal. It is that experience that motivated me to write On Hope and Healing. There are millions of suffering individuals who have not been able to be diagnosed or helped by conventional medicine, and who are not aware that help is indeed possible. This book was intended to be a starting point for their journey into health, and it is my hope that it will reach as many patients as possible.
From the Back Cover
What prominent physicians have said about Dr. Nathan and his book:
"With unusual clarity and first-rate science, Dr. Neil Nathan encourages us to shift
our thinking to a more holistic, multifactorial, and positive approach to chronic and
recurrent illness. On Hope and Healing eloquently transports health and medicine
into the 21st century. It is, I believe, by far the best book, the most
comprehensive book, and the clearest book ever written about integrative holistic
---Bill Manahan, M.D., Past President, American Holistic
Medical Association, author of Eat for Health
"Dr. Neil Nathan's On Hope and Healing makes an essential contribution to the
millions whose medical care has suffered under the limited vision of our
conventional medical system. Professionals and consumers alike will find
innovative approaches that combine cutting-edge healing options with practical
medical care choices. "
---Robert Anderson, M.D
., Founding President, American
Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine, author of Clinician's Guide to Holistic Medicine and Wellness Medicine