I joined bio-hacking expert Geoffrey Woo on The HVMN Podcast to discuss how integrative medicine incorporates cutting-edge diagnostic technology with evidence-based herbal and plant remedies. Dr. Felice Gersh is an established doctor that integrates both traditional and alternative medicine to assist and heal her patients holistically. We discuss the importance of human rhythm (circadian, hormonal, etc), the research behind more alternative interventions, and how the doctor-patient relationship needs to be reworked.
Geoff: Welcome to this week’s episode of The H.V.M.N. Enhancement Podcast. This is your host Geoffrey Woo, and I’m really excited to have Doctor Felice Gersh on our program today. She has been a well-known practitioner both of OB-GYN and integrative medicine over the last 20 … 30 years now, and has delivered dozens of babies in Orange County, but has recently moved into integrative medicine and really looking at longevity and in wellness broadly.
Let’s dive into it. We had spoken a little bit previously before, but I think it would be great to talk about your background as a medical expert. How did you go from being OB-GYN and delivering babies into really scoping out and looking at human performance and longevity broadly.
Felice: Well, I’d actually always been somewhat involved in what would be called the alternative medicine world. In my practice from the very beginning I had onboard as an ancillary to my services a Chinese medicine practitioner, who did Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. I had biofeedback specialists, I had psychologists, I had nutritionists, I actually had a whole array of these alternative practitioners working with me, but I myself had no specific training except in the conventional medical world. For many, many years I delivered, like you said, thousands of babies and I did thousands of surgeries.
I was very conventional, but I knew that it wasn’t enough, but I didn’t take the deep dive until after I stopped doing obstetrics, and that was 10 years ago. Suddenly out of the blue I had a little bit more sleep, a little bit more time, and I demanded that all the pharmaceutical reps who paraded to my office on a very regular basis, to show me their studies, and to show me what made their drug actually useful. I was shocked to see what I found, and I found that they often deviated almost minisculely from the placebo effect, and sometime I wasn’t quite sure that they did. The side effect profile was horrendous and I looked at it and I said, “How could I justify giving this drug for this little bit of benefit with this array of side effects?” I felt really lost, I didn’t really want to just do end stage disease and take out disease organ.
We had this crazy protocol in obstetrics and gynecology, it was like, “You have fibroids, we’ll watch them, and then when it gets really bad we’ll cut them out, and it would be like endometriosis. Well, we don’t know what to do, so we’ll just take all your hormones away and then we’ll just things out.” It was like, “There’s got to be a better approach than this. This is not giving me joy. I don’t feel like I’m doing things that are useful.”
I went on my own personal journey and I started taking random courses with this group of practitioners that I had never heard of call Naturopathic Doctors, and I said, “Who are these people?” They have a totally different philosophy, it’s of the doctor is not the healer, the doctor is like the teacher and the guide to help people to find what they need to allow their bodies to heal themselves. This really resonated with me, it’s like, “Yes, I can’t heal people, I have to find the tools to allow them to heal themselves and I don’t have that.”
I kept going to more and more conferences and I was just randomly taking things. I was learning, but I didn’t have any structure. At one conference it was one MD in this entire room of naturopaths and myself, the other MD and I went up to her afterwards and I said, “You and I are the only MD’s and I’m so lost. I don’t know what to do to really feel good about myself as a doctor.” She said, “In two weeks we start the next class, the fellowship in integrative medicine at the University of Arizona School of Medicine.” She said, “You know you’re qualified. Just apply.” I went home. I was in Portland, Oregon, I flew home, I filled out the application and two weeks later I was in Tucson, and I started the two year fellowship and I finished it five years ago.
Since then it’s been an endless journey of additional learning. Everyone who finishes the fellowship goes in a certain direction that say, “No, that’s not the end.” Some will learn healing remedies like homeopathy or healing touch or massage or aromatherapy, and I know about those, but I didn’t do the deep dive into those. What I did was I went more in the direction of functional medicine. I really wanted to know how does the body work, because so much had changed in terms of the knowledge-based since I was in medical school. I had to learn and relearn just about everything, like how does the cell work? What is biochemistry? I just have been learning.
Listen to HVMN Podcast with Geoffrey Woo by clicking here.