My Search for Eastern Medicine

by Christopher Trahan, O.M.D., L.A.c.

My search for Eastern medicine led me to Sri Lanka. I’d gone to California in 1980 to study homeopathy, and seized the opportunity to do clinical acupuncture training in Sri Lanka for six months, followed by travel in India and Nepal. The beautiful island of Sri Lanka, named Serendib by Marco Polo, became the first culmination of a series of auspicious events and teachers. I befriended a unique mix of Hindus and Buddhists and partook of their spiritual traditions. I met a Gandhi-like Ayurvedic doctor who often welcomed me into his home and took me to elaborate temple rites. He was known for his discovery in ancient palm-frond texts of an herbal treatment for cholera that saved the lives of thousands during an epidemic in the 1940s, when pharmaceutical drugs had failed.

My year-long journey was devoted to meeting healers and I spent sometime with Ayurvedic doctors in India and Nepal and Tibetan doctors in Dharamsala. I suffered through dysentery and was treated successfully with herbs and homeopathy. I treated locals and fellow travelers with acupuncture.

On returning to the US, I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I immersed myself further in natural healing. I studied herbal medicine with a Chinese doctor for five years, and in 1987 I traveled to his home in Chengdu in Sichuan province to study at one of the four original teaching hospitals of traditional Chinese medicine. There I completed my doctorate of Oriental medicine, the pinnacle of my years of training. I also traveled to Tibet, where the Buddhists again shaped my sensibilities with their earthy spirituality.

In 1989, I made my exodus from New Mexico after eight years; it was time to reenter mainstream America. I headed for Colorado and landed in Manhattan. It was a mighty leap, but intuition and adventure held sway; I steadied myself with the words of a wise man: “It’s easy to be a holy man on top of a mountain.”

In 1991, I resumed my study of homeopathy and now integrate it with herbal medicine, acupuncture and bodywork. In my practice, These therapies have taken me across many terrains: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. I find it challenging and inspiring to work with a versatility that enables me to traverse fields ranging from physical medicine to internal medicine and psychology. I strive to be both artisan and alchemist, guided by these profound healing systems.