Andrew Lange N.D. is a Naturopathic Physician licensed in the State of California. He served as Chair of the Department of Homeopathic Medicine and Supervising Clinical Physician at Bastyr University in Seattle. He has taught internationally and is currently the director of the Lange Research Group and in private practice in Mill Valley, California. He specializes in the treatment of psychological, cognitive and developmental disorders.
Dr. Lange is the author of Getting to the Root: Treating the Deepest Source of Disease. He is a contributing author to A Textbook of Natural Medicine by Pizzorno and Murray and Panic: Origins, Insight and Treatment by Schmidt and Warner.
“Andrew Lange is a true physician and healer in the traditional sense.
When he speaks of getting at the root, he means the true core of disease
where the most serious and intractable maladies hold their deepest grip.”
Richard Grossinger, author of Planet Medicine and Embryogenesis
The Art of Cure: Regenerating our Bodies and Minds
I always felt that understanding how the mind and brain functioned was central to
our well being. And as we face increasing degenerative illnesses, with higher
rates of dementia and mental illness we have to stop and ask why? Why
suddenly do so many people have brain and cognitive function problems? Why
are children increasingly dependent on psychiatric medications without any
consideration of resolving underlying problems? Why is depression and anxiety
so common? That has been my focus for many years.
However in understanding the influence of systemic influences on mental function I
had to address the chronic diseases of our times. Why are there so many
autoimmune diseases and environmental sensitivities than there were 50 years
ago? Why are there so many hormonal problems that undermine our health? And
why are we told there are no answers?
Alternatives to Psychiatric Drugs
The mind is central to all of health; it is the catalyst for every function. If our mind
has no direction, the body is lost as well. Utilizing nutrition, medicines from nature, and advances in how our brain functions, my practice
demonstrates specific ways to enhance memory and attention and how we can
change our lives to improve our functioning. The goal is to show how to maintain
emotional stability and concentration, which can be applied in every area of life.
Through an active participation in how our brain functions, we can also
prevent the degeneration of aging. There is no known limit to the mind. If
we were simply a mechanical system that can be manipulated by some wizard
behind the curtain there would be no questions to ask. That is not the case. Yet
medicine still seeks most of its answers by maintaining treatments narrow
enough to fit statistics. It defines human disease by its limitations. But we are not
a statistic; we do not have to fit into a percentage to find answers. We are more
than the sum of our parts, or the genes of our parents, we are inexplicably
The Intelligence of the Body
I see the action of medicines in treating illness as being a function of feedback
mechanisms. Just like a thermostat tells us when things are out of balance and
takes action to regulate the temperature, medicines can be used to inform the
mind when it is out of balance and work by restoring a state of equilibrium and
equanimity. Medicines and psychological intervention work best, in my
experience, when they mirror the processes prevailing and trigger a reaction from
the body which corrects the imbalance. It is a situation where we have been
stuck in a certain state, often for years, and feel there is no capacity for change.
Yet our bodies do have mechanisms for responding and changing most illnesses.
It’s just that sometimes they require a specific intervention.
Understanding how our bodies function to regenerate is key to addressing
cognitive and mental functioning throughout life. Some of the most intractable
sources of chronic mental health issues are sourced in emotional traumas, the
sense of isolation and the inability to find meaningful communication and
connection in our relationships.
Through my clinical work I introduce tools and medicines which can contribute to
establishing optimum mental functioning and stability of mind. It is important first
to clarify the distinctions of interactions between psychological processes and
physical disorders. Often psychological stability and function is undermined by
physical diseases and metabolic disorders which can be addressed.
By grounding our experiences in the healthy functioning of our bodies we can
begin to address our psychological experiences in a way that is not abstracted
from our human organism and genetic history. We do this by first removing what
may be obstacles to cure. Through common medical tests the parameters of
underlying disorders can be discovered and addressed. Proper diagnosis is key
to understanding not only the symptoms of disease but also its pathogenesis,
that is its development and stages of expression. Understanding the family
history and genetic contributions to our health and disease are crucial.
Underlying unresolved infections, both viral and bacterial, in our personal
histories can lead to chronic illness if left untreated. By understanding the
ecosystem of the body we can significantly alter fundamental contributors to
Holistic approaches to medicine contributes to find many of these unanswered
questions. However if it is practiced, as it commonly is, it tries to do everything
that is good for you with out finding what is specifically right for you. This is what
we used to call “cookbook medicine,” where a disease is followed in the textbooks
and popular articles with a large list of treatments which may be beneficial.
Beneficial, but not curative, until one sees the accumulation of supplements filling
entire shelves of patients trying to find answers. Extreme diets and the overuse
of supplements have never been my approach. The error of functional
approaches to health care is that it throws wide nets trying to catch the diagnosis
with general errors in metabolic function which may not be central to the
presenting problem. By providing solutions which may in the long term be
beneficial generally but not change the equation of health and disease.
Common orthodox medicine, or what I call regular medicine, tries to find
medications which fit the largest reproducible effects on the most people with the
least undesirable repercussions. A benefit versus risk approach which often
ignores vital interactions that occur in the complex systems of our bodies. The
goal of treatment often becomes the management of disease. Contributors to
disease as simple as nutrition and as significant as mercury toxicity, for
example, are misunderstood and underdiagnosed. Clinical studies on nonpharmaceutical
treatments are ignored.
Both of these approaches can be effective in the treatment of disease. Both have
made contributions in health care. But neither is without error or we would all be
well. My rule of thumb is whether an approach increases or diminishes the
patient’s capacity for freedom. Freedom to live their lives without the restrictions
of either the disease or its treatment. Freedom to feel flexible in their responses
to the challenges of the life.
A specific approach to treatment must apply methods which are individualized
and act as catalysts to engage the body’s own inherent self regulating
homeostatic mechanisms. It is the same thinking when we use a lever to move a
heavy object rather than trying to push it. We are engaging the intelligence of the
system. This approach is catalytic, that is it creates exponentially greater change
with the least effort. It enhances the capacity for energy and reorganization. This
is where medicine came from and where it is going. In early medicine, they used
systems of understanding health that were based on observable symptoms and
relationships of function, without knowing the specific physiology of the body or
the causes of disease. Those observations still contribute to our understanding of
physical examination and diagnosis.
Recent contributions to science will alter our entire understanding of medicine.
The tracking of the genome will lead to our ability to diagnose disease more
accurately and potentially years before it manifests, leading to preventive
approaches tailored to the individual. Our discoveries in the interrelationship of
our immune function, from the input of intestinal bacteria, cellular functions and
mental attitude has changed our early concepts of lock and key mechanical
understanding of the immune system to an orchestra of communications that
maintain its stability and function.
This is where we are going, offering solutions tailored to the individual, with more
accurate and simple approaches. Rather than controlling disease from the
outside with medications that address disease as a singular mechanism we will
utilize its own system, its own intelligence to support a solution.
A whole systems approach it is not one sided. Each field of science can
contribute. Medical science cannot respond effectively without understanding the
dynamic qualities of each unique system and its interactions with its cultural
environment. Psychology cannot operate without recognition of the basic
properties necessary for the stable function of the body. Without the basic
nutrients and oxygen necessary for mental functions we are a car out of gas.
From the molecular level to the expression of our mind, the body must live in
exact proportions. Narrow ranges of minerals, gases and fluids must be
maintained at all times to assure our survival. The chance of our existence itself
is a refined miracle of order. Cells cooperate with each other. They communicate
as if they had a life of their own. Minute drops of hormones immediately cast forth
the range of emotions. A narrow frequency that forms the island of
consciousness and our sense of self rises above the vast sea of instincts. The
body is a receiver and an amplifier. It is capable of learning new information at
every moment and remembering what it has learned. The body, and each cell,
develops behavioral responses in reaction to its environment. We are the vehicle
for chemical reactions and electromagnetic fields that are driven by tremendous
stores of energy inside.