Santa Monica chiropractor, homeopath and entrepreneur Stuart H. Garber on what really ails you

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Long before TV’s “The Doctors” and “The Dr. Oz Show” put holistic medicine in the national spotlight, Stuart H. Garber was putting it into practice for his patients — since 1981, in fact.

Both a chiropractor and a homeopath, Garber continues to see patients at his Santa Monica office while also running Dr. Garber’s Natural Solutions, a popular line of holistic biotherapy remedies sold online and in 59 Whole Foods Market locations.

As a teenager growing up in New York, he was equally transfixed by Prevention and Mad magazines and had an after-school job at a health food store.

In 1997 Garber became the first person in the United States to receive a Ph.D. in homeopathy.

Married to photographer and mixed-media artist Helen K. Garber for 35 years, he is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.

— Kathy Leonardo

How did you become involved with holistic medicine?

In my chiropractic work I had a specialty of working with the skull, a practice known as craniopathy. I was doing a lot of lecturing about it around the world to mostly mixed professional groups. Many of the attendees were homeopaths and I developed a strong connection to them, which got me spending more time working with remedies.

How do chiropractic and homeopathic treatments work together?

Chiropractors are and have always been on the forefront of natural health care. My practice has been from the start more of a general holistic medicine practice, although in the early days it placed more of an emphasis on physical medicine. Now it emphasizes homeopathic medicine but includes anything and everything in my armamentarium that I can draw from to help my patients.

One of the basics of homeopathic treatment is the removal of obstacles to cure — eliminating things that will limit the homeopathic remedy from being as effective as possible. This can be nutritional deficiencies, emotional and psychological stress, environmental challenges, and of course, structural imbalances.

Why do you think most people are still inclined to favor pharmaceutical treatments?

In a word: indoctrination. We’re a TV culture, and you can’t watch TV for more than a few minutes without being bombarded with commercials about health issues and how this drug or that will make you feel like you’re walking on sunshine. This is also because people want instant gratification, in this case symptom relief. Never mind that masking the symptom is not the same as eliminating the underlying problem. Most people just want to feel better and don’t want to take responsibility to make lifestyle changes that will do that.

In what areas of medicine do you think homeopathy has gained the most ground?

It’s more in terms of paradigm shift. Homeopathy treats the individual person and not the diagnosis. Ten patients can come in to my office with the same medical diagnosis, yet each one would get a different remedy and different overall treatment plan.

Do you think the pharmaceutical companies are threatened by homeopathy?

I don’t believe they are threatened, per se, but they’re keeping a watchful eye. Big Pharma is hundreds of billions of dollars annually. All of alternative medicine is hundreds of millions, and homeopathy is only a small piece of that pie. But they will quash or try to take over anything that looks like it will cut into their profits.

How has homeopathy changed over the years?

It hasn’t changed much. … What I have seen, as interest in homeopathy has grown, is an exponential growth in the often vehement anti-homeopathic rhetoric. Perhaps it’s not that it has grown so much, it’s just in your face more because of the Internet and social media.

What’s the most common complaint you hear from patients?

My practice runs the gamut from allergies to skin problems, depression, infertility, GI problems and cancer. If I had to pick one thing that is underlying most of these, it’s stress.

What’s the best thing a person can do to have a healthier, less stressful life?

Seriously, my No.1 piece of advice to achieve this is to not watch the news on television before going to bed.

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