From: How and When to Be Your Own Doctor
_Tis a gift to be simple
Tis a gift to be free,
Tis a gift to come down
Where we ought to be.
And when we find ourselves
In a place just right,
It will be in the valley
Of love and delight._
Old Shaker Hymn
Favorite of Dr. Isabelle Moser
I was a physically tough, happy-go-lucky fellow until I reached my
late thirties. Then I began to experience more and more off days
when I did not feel quite right. I thought I possessed an iron
constitution. Although I grew a big food garden and ate mostly
"vegetablitarian" I thought I could eat anything with impunity. I
had been fond of drinking beer with my friends while nibbling on
salty snacks or heavy foods late into the night. And until my health
began to weaken I could still get up the next morning after several
homebrewed beers, feeling good, and would put in a solid day's work.
When my health began to slip I went looking for a cure. Up to that
time the only use I'd had for doctors was to fix a few traumatic
injuries. The only preventative health care I concerned myself with
was to take a multivitamin pill during those rare spells when I felt
a bit run down and to eat lots of vegetables. So I'd not learned
much about alternative health care.
Naturally, my first stop was a local general practitioner/MD. He
gave me his usual half-hour get-acquainted checkout and opined that
there almost certainly was nothing wrong with me. I suspect I had
the good fortune to encounter an honest doctor, because he also said
if it were my wish he could send me around for numerous tests but
most likely these would not reveal anything either. More than
likely, all that was wrong was that I was approaching 40; with the
onset of middle age I would naturally have more aches and pains.
'Take some aspirin and get used to it,' was his advice. 'It'll only
Not satisfied with his dismal prognosis I asked an energetic old guy
I knew named Paul, an '80-something homesteader who was renowned for
his organic garden and his good health. Paul referred me to his
doctor, Isabelle Moser, who at that time was running the Great Oaks
School of Health, a residential and out-patient spa nearby at
Dr. Moser had very different methods of analysis than the medicos,
was warmly personal and seemed very safe to talk to. She looked me
over, did some strange magical thing she called muscle testing and
concluded that I still had a very strong constitution. If I would
eliminate certain "bad" foods from my diet, eliminate some generally
healthful foods that, unfortunately, I was allergic to, if I would
reduce my alcohol intake greatly and take some food supplements,
then gradually my symptoms would abate. With the persistent
application of a little self-discipline over several months, maybe
six months, I could feel really well again almost all the time and
would probably continue that way for many years to come. This was
good news, though the need to apply personal responsibility toward
the solution of my problem seemed a little sobering.
But I could also see that Dr. Moser was obviously not telling me
something. So I gently pressed her for the rest. A little shyly,
reluctantly, as though she were used to being rebuffed for making
such suggestions, Isabelle asked me if I had ever heard of fasting?
"Yes," I said. "I had. Once when I was about twenty and staying at a
farm in Missouri, during a bad flu I actually did fast, mainly
because I was too sick to take anything but water for nearly one
"Why do you ask?" I demanded.
"If you would fast, you will start feeling really good as soon as
the fast is over." she said.
"Fast? How long?"
"Some have fasted for a month or even longer," she said. Then she
observed my crestfallen expression and added, "Even a couple of
weeks would make an enormous difference."
It just so happened that I was in between set-up stages for a new
mail-order business I was starting and right then I did have a
couple of weeks when I was virtually free of responsibility. I could
also face the idea of not eating for a couple of weeks. "Okay!" I
said somewhat impulsively. "I could fast for two weeks. If I start
right now maybe even three weeks, depending on how my schedule works
So in short order I was given several small books about fasting to
read at home and was mentally preparing myself for several weeks of
severe privation, my only sustenance to be water and herb tea
without sweetener. And then came the clinker.
"Have you ever heard of colonics?" she asked sweetly.
"Yes. Weird practice, akin to anal sex or something?"
"Not at all," she responded. "Colonics are essential during fasting
or you will have spells when you'll feel terrible. Only colonics
make water fasting comfortable and safe."
Then followed some explanation about bowel cleansing (and another
little book to take home) and soon I was agreeing to get my body
over to her place for a colonic every two or three days during the
fasting period, the first colonic scheduled for the next afternoon.
I'll spare you a detailed description of my first fast with
colonics; you'll read about others shortly. In the end I withstood
the boredom of water fasting for 17 days. During the fast I had
about 7 colonics. I ended up feeling great, much trimmer, with an
enormous rebirth of energy. And when I resumed eating it turned out
to be slightly easier to control my dietary habits and appetites.
Thus began my practice of an annual health-building water fast. Once
a year, at whatever season it seemed propitious, I'd set aside a
couple of weeks to heal my body. While fasting I'd slowly drive
myself over to Great Oaks School for colonics every other day. By
the end of my third annual fast in 1981, Isabelle and I had become
great friends. About this same time Isabelle's relationship with her
first husband, Douglas Moser, had disintegrated. Some months later,
Isabelle and I became partners. And then we married.
My regular fasts continued through 1984, by which time I had
recovered my fundamental organic vigor and had retrained my dietary
habits. About 1983 Isabelle and I also began using Life Extension
megavitamins as a therapy against the aging process. Feeling so much
better I began to find the incredibly boring weeks of prophylactic
fasting too difficult to motivate myself to do, and I stopped. Since
that time I fast only when acutely ill. Generally less than one week
on water handles any non-optimum health condition I've had since
'84. I am only 54 years old as I write these words, so I hope it
will be many, many years before I find myself in the position where
I have to fast for an extended period to deal with a serious or
I am a kind of person the Spanish call _autodidactico,_ meaning that
I prefer to teach myself. I had already learned the fine art of
self-employment and general small-business practice that way, as
well as radio and electronic theory, typography and graphic design,
the garden seed business, horticulture, and agronomy. When Isabelle
moved in with me she also brought most of Great Oak's extensive
library, including very hard to obtain copies of the works of the
early hygienic doctors. Naturally I studied her books intensely.
Isabelle also brought her medical practice into our house. At first
it was only a few loyal local clients who continued to consult with
her on an out-patient basis, but after a few years, the demands for
residential care from people who were seriously and sometimes
life-threateningly sick grew irresistibly, and I found myself
sharing our family house with a parade of really sick people. True,
I was not their doctor, but because her residential clients became
temporary parts of our family, I helped support and encourage our
residents through their fasting process. I'm a natural teacher (and
how-to-do-it writer), so I found myself explaining many aspects of
hygienic medicine to Isabelle's clients, while having a first-hand
opportunity to observe for myself the healing process at work. Thus
it was that I became the doctor's assistant and came to practice
second-hand hygienic medicine.
In 1994, when Isabelle had reached the age of 54, she began to think
about passing on her life's accumulation of healing wisdom by
writing a book. She had no experience at writing for the popular
market, her only major writing being a Ph.D. dissertation. I on the
other hand had published seven books about vegetable gardening. And
I grasped the essentials of her wisdom as well as any
non-practitioner could. So we took a summer off and rented a house
in rural Costa Rica, where I helped Isabelle put down her thoughts
on a cheap word-processing typewriter. When we returned to the
States, I fired-up my "big-mac" and composed this manuscript into a
rough book format that was given to some of her clients to get what
is trendily called these days, "feedback."
But before we could completely finish her book, Isabelle became
dangerously ill and after a long, painful struggle with abdominal
cancer, she died. After I resurfaced from the worst of my grief and
loss, I decided to finish her book. Fortunately, the manuscript
needed little more than polishing. I am telling the reader these
things because many ghost-written books end up having little direct
connection with the originator of the thoughts. Not so in this case.
And unlike many ghost writers, I had a long and loving
apprenticeship with the author. At every step of our colaboration on
this book I have made every effort to communicate Isabelle's
viewpoints in the way she would speak, not my own. Dr. Isabelle
Moser was for many years my dearest friend. I have worked on this
book to help her pass her understanding on.
Many people consider death to be a complete invalidation of a
healing arts practitioner. I don't. Coping with her own dicey health
had been a major motivator for Isabelle's interest in healing
others. She will tell you more about it in the chapters to come.
Isabelle had been fending off cancer since its first blow up when
she was 26 years old. I view that 30 plus years of defeating Death
as a great success rather than consider her ultimate defeat as a
Isabelle Moser was born in 1940 and died in 1996. I think the
greatest accomplishment of her 56 years was to meld virtually all
available knowledge about health and healing into a workable and
most importantly, a simple model that allowed her to have amazing
success. Her "system" is simple enough that even a generally
well-educated non-medico like me can grasp it. And use it without
consulting a doctor every time a symptom appears.
Finally, I should mention that over the years since this book was
written I have discovered contains some significant errors of
anatomical or psysiological detail. Most of these happened because
the book was written "off the top of Isabelle's head," without any
reference materials at hand, not even an anatomy text. I have not
fixed these goofs as I am not even qualified to find them all. Thus,
when the reader reads such as 'the pancreas secreates enzymes into
the stomach,' (actually and correctly, the duodenum) I hope they
will understand and not invalidate the entire book.
Next: How I Became a Hygienist