Dr. Terry Grossman's story
Integrative Medicine - Physician and author
My medical career began 32 years ago in the mountains west of Denver, Colorado where I worked as a young version of an old-fashioned general practitioner. I delivered babies at the local hospital. I was the doctor for the local jail and gave the talk about the “birds and the bees” to all the fifth grade boys.
Doctor as patient
After a major knee injury suffered on a ski slope, I found myself in the role of patient for the first time and sought conventional medical care for my injury. I went to the best orthopedic surgeon I knew. After several types of standard treatments left me with constant residual knee pain, I did what many of my patients did. I explored alternatives. I consulted a patient advocate of alternative medicine. Through his persistence I learned that vitamins and herbs could be used to treat diseases. To treat my knee he used an herbal concoction derived from the inner bark of a certain type of pine tree that grew only in the south of France.
After three months the knee pain that I'd been experiencing for a year and a half was gone. Being a scientist, I performed an experiment to see if my improvement was the result of the herbal concoction, a placebo effect, or simply a coincidence. I quit taking it. My knee pain returned with a vengeance. I restarted the pine bark extract and, within a few weeks, the pain went away again. I repeated the sequence again with the same results. As a physician, I am aware of placebo effects, but these generally go away after a limited period of time. I continued taking the extract, and after a few years I noticed that the pain was gone whether I took it or not. My interest in alternative medicine was piqued.
I found myself drawn toward integrative medicine, a more individualized and personalized type of health care focusing on biochemical individuality, metabolic balance, ecological context, genetic predisposition, and lifestyle patterns. As I studied health from an integrative perspective, I was fascinated with the prospects for correcting imbalances in human physiology on a more individualized level. In 1994, I realized there were alternative avenues available for me to help patients.
Studying integrative medicine with particular emphasis on nutrition, I learned how to treat diseases with vitamins and other nutrients rather than, or in addition to, prescription drugs. I attended numerous complementary medicine conferences and read everything I could find about nutritional medicine. I began to offer my patients the option of continuing with conventional treatments they'd been receiving—in most cases, prescription drugs—or the opportunity to try treatments involving changes in diet or nutritional supplement therapies, either in place of, or in addition to, the conventional care I had been providing. I was surprised to find that the majority of patients opted for the nutritional route.
My patients did far better on combined care than they had done on prescription medications alone. Over the past 20 years I have used nutritional protocols to treat thousands of patients who had serious chronic illnesses. I derive particular satisfaction from successfully treating patients with diseases for which conventional medical practice has little to offer. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in older individuals in this country, yet presently there are no prescription drugs or surgical procedures that can help the vast majority of these patients avoid an inexorable decline toward blindness. To their credit, conventional ophthalmologists often recommend multivitamin and mineral supplementation for their AMD patients based on the AREDS (Age-Related Eye Disease Study) sponsored by the National Institute of Health. Yet this is not enough, and we offer far more nutritional and complementary options to help these patients.
There is a list of ailments for which conventional medicine alone provides limited benefit: chronic degenerative neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis; digestive disturbances including irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and Crohn's disease; and multi-system diseases such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. For these, I have found that an integrated approach, using complementary therapies, can be of considerable benefit.
Physician and author
In 2000 I completed The Baby Boomers' Guide to Living Forever to share what I had learned. While researching the topic of nanotechnology for this book, I met an inventor named Ray Kurzweil at a conference. He was there as one of the nation's foremost futurists. Overhearing Ray discuss his interest in nutritional supplementation and other life extension therapies, I struck up a conversation. I asked him if he would review the manuscript of my book and write a blurb, which he agreed to do. A few months later, he flew from his home in Boston to my clinic in Denver to become a patient.
We began exchanging email messages and later we organized them as the basis for a book. Between 2002 and 2004, we wrote Fantastic Voyage together, a book in which we made the point that radical increases in human life span may be only a few decades away. We shared with our readers the types of lifestyle choices they could make today to increase the chances that they might live long enough to take advantage of the medical and technological breakthroughs coming in the years ahead. Our book became a bestseller.
Five years later, Ray and I wrote a second book together, Transcend, in which we expanded our ideas and presented practical guidelines including the specific testing people should obtain, menu selections, supplement recommendations, stress management techniques and an exercise program.
At The Grossman Wellness Center, I help patients obtain the testing needed to refine and optimize their personal health programs. Patients have come to visit our clinic from every corner of the U.S. and every continent. In addition to the programs we offer for people who come to Denver, we have also developed our Personalized Optimal Wellness™ (POW). POW provides many of the same benefits as our in-house programs, but doesn't require you to travel to Denver and is offered at a fraction of the cost. Many patients start with POW and then decide to add other hormone-based programs such as BAM (Best Aging Male) and WAP (Women Aging Perfectly). POW, BAM and WAP – they sound like something reminiscent of a superhero – and indeed these programs will readily empower you to become a superhero in your own life and take total control of your health and how well you age.