Like all doctors in our society, Dr. Peters was trained in the “medical model,” which means that “the physician is responsible for making a diagnosis and finding the right medication to treat the disease.”
However, after three years of traditional family practice, Dr. Peters realized the limitations of this approach. For common chronic disease, such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, depression, digestive problems, fatigue and many more, the “model” did not work. The illnesses did not go away and patients were taking more and more drugs–most of which were only suppressing symptoms and not healing the disease. They returned to the clinic again and again, not feeling well and often complaining of drug side effects.
Like most doctors, his medical practice became “disease management” with short office visits and lots of prescriptions.
During this period, he listened to his patients long enough to realize that most of their medical problems were arising from what they did day to day – their lifestyle. They were eating foods rich in refined carbohydrates, sugar, trans-fats and low in fiber and minerals. Few were exercising regularly and everyone seemed to be living a high paced stressful life.
Medical research was also beginning to uncover the lifestyle and mind style connection to chronic illness. So, Dr. Peters decided to learn more and returned to UCLA, but this time to the School of Public Health. He received a post-doctoral grant from the National Cancer Institute to study the epidemiology of cancer and spent a year exploring what would become a lifelong passionate journey – understanding the causes of disease and providing patients with the tools to listen to the message of illness and make changes that lead to healing.
This 30 year journey into the science of health promotion in body and mind has taken many turns, including the following:
- Five years of emergency room practice in a major Los Angeles ER where the medical model of drugs and surgery is at its best.
- Staff physician at the Pritikin Longevity Center, which offered the first clear demonstration that healthy foods and physician supervised cardiovascular fitness training, could reverse heart disease.
- Director of Preventive Medicine for California Primary Physicians, where he developed and directed INNERHEALTH PROGRAMS – a physician supervised health promotion program of aerobic fitness, optimal nutrition and stress management. The Innerhealth Program is highly acclaimed and successful in helping people reverse common health problems such as high blood pressure, adult onset diabetes, and coronary artery disease, as well as preventing the development of such problems.
- Private practice of family and preventive medicine in Santa Monica, California, in association with an acupuncturist. His practice emphasized behavioral, nutritional and other lifestyle services and attracted a celebrity clientele, including Bob Dylan, George Harrison and Eddie Albert.
- Private practice in Ashland, Oregon, again emphasizing nutritional, behavioral and preventive medicine. He developed a health promotion seminar, called THE PHYSICIAN WITHIN, which taught people how to understand and support the enormous natural healing power of the body using nutrition, nutritional supplements and exercise. This training also introduced the governing influence of the mind on the body and covered a range of stress management techniques.
- In 2002 he became Medical Director of New Hope Medical Center, an alternative cancer treatment center in Scottsdale, Arizona. New Hope provided a range of cancer therapies and helped people to reverse the conditions that permitted the cancer to grow in the first place, an important issue for all cancer patients especially for those in remission.
- Since 2004 he has been in private practice in Scottsdale and continues to offer a variety of seminars on stress management, mindbody medicine, health promotion, including a popular course offered at Scottsdale Community College titled How to Prevent Cancer (or the Recurrence of Cancer).
Scattered throughout these years of medical practice he has researched and studied a wide range of topics in the science of health promotion, including the following:
- Nutritional biochemistry
- Insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome
- Weight management
- Intestinal yeast overgrowth, or, Candidasis
- Delayed onset food sensitivities
- Gluten intolerance and celiac disease
- Chelation therapy for heavy metal toxicity, such as lead and mercury
- Environmental medicine and chemical toxin detoxification
- Healthy digestion and common patterns of disease
- Bio-identical hormone therapy
- Immune system evaluation and enhancement
- Nutritional and behavioral management of high blood pressure and heart disease
- Alternative therapies for cancer
- Thyroid and adrenal disorders
- Biology of mood and cognition – neurotransmitter therapy for depression and anxiety
- Hypercoaguability and chronic infections
- Treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia
- Holistic management of inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis
The application of the science of health promotion provided the first step in the new “mindbody model” of health care. It allowed patients to understand and restore the wisdom of the body using proper diet and nutrient therapies, thereby providing much better clinical results. Patients were more often able to eliminate their diseases and medications and return to higher levels of health and well being. However, the understanding the full message of disease required an additional step and that was the biology of consciousness.
Therefore, his journey to find the cause of disease also lead to 18 years of study in human consciousness as it relates to the body in health and disease. In addition to postgraduate training in mindbody medicine, Dr Peters had the good fortune of working with advanced teachers of mental and spiritual health, including a two year Mastery Program, which met for two weeks out of every month. During this time of intensive training Dr. Peters learned:
- The mind and body are one, i.e. mindbody
- The nature of the conscious and unconscious mind
- The unconscious mind as the storehouse of emotional wounds from childhood
- The formative power of thought and belief, both personal and collective
- The importance of emotions and emotional expression
- The nature of stress related disease
- Tow stress can become an ally in the healing process
- The importance of creativity and passion in work and relationships
- The natural therapeutic experience, or, healing at work and in relationships
- The message and guidance offered by disease
- The essential importance of spiritual practice and self-knowledge
During these years, Dr. Peters applied these principles to himself, gradually coming to understand the wisdom of the ancient adage: “physician, heal thyself.” And now, the final piece was in place for mindbody healing – the nature of consciousness in health and disease.
Now patients could restore the imbalances in their bodies, apply proper nutrition and exercise, but also they could understand that the body is the messenger of the conflicts, sustained fears, suppressed emotional traumas, disturbed patterns of thinking, and other imbalances that lie within the conscious and unconscious mind. The mindbody model empowered them to new levels of health and well being.
Chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue, depression, and fibromyalgia and many more would often resolve and heal completely. Also patients with serious diseases like cancer, multiple sclerosis and other “incurable” diseases would often go into remission or quiescence.
After years of study and clinical application of the principles of mindbody healing, as well as listening to the rich and diverse stories of his patients, he summarized his medical experience in a book titled, Edgework, Exploring the Psychology of Disease, Beyond Diet and Fitness, which was published in 2003. Edgework reviews mindbody research, points to the power of emotions and beliefs on the body and redefines the humans stress response into an ally by marking inner boundaries for personal growth.
Healing is found naturally within the wisdom of your body and the power of your mind.