Conversations About Healthy Healing:
Christine Horner, M.D.

This interview with Christine Horner, M.D., is the first of a series of interviews with medical and health professionals on healing from Lyme disease. In the early '90s Dr. Horner gained much media recognition as she led a successful national campaign to require insurance companies to pay for reconstructive surgery following mastectomy.

Waking the Warrior Goddess: Harnessing the Power of Nature & Natural Medicines to Achieve Extraordinary Health, Dr. Horner's first book, received the prestigious “Best Book of the Year” for 2005 award from the Independent Book Publishers association in the category of health, medicine and nutrition.

Dr. Horner's enthusiasm for the body's healing capabilities is contagious. She frequently refers to what she calls our internal healing intelligence. Teaching people how to stay healthy naturally, with the help of ancient traditional, research-proven techniques of Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine, is her mission.

When I first spoke with her, Dr. Horner told me in no uncertain terms that she believes “everything is curable.” Swamped under a current of alarming news about Lyme symptoms, I found her approach both comforting and affirming, and wanted to hear more about this former surgeon's work.

Although much of her work has focused on breast health, her dream, as she states on her website, “is to have this knowledge [Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine] become common knowledge, so that people can choose with greater awareness to be in harmony with their body in a natural way and the incidences of prevalent disease, like heart disease and cancer, dramatically fall. My vision is a world where everyone experiences perfect health, and lives life to its fullest potential.”

Dr. Horner spoke with me on May 14, 2006, about the Ayurvedic practice of cleansing and detoxification in order to facilitate prevention of disease as well as healing.

On a lot of levels, people who are healing from Lyme disease are looking for ways to cleanse.

Yes. Fundamentally, the concept in Ayurveda is getting rid of the impurities in the body, and at the same time, creating a tremendous amount of balance. That is something that really boosts your internal healing intelligence. What they see from people who go through the detoxification process known as “Pancha Karma (five actions)” is that their mind, body, and spirit are all interconnected, so certain chronic physical diseases, that Western medicine isn't able to treat very well, get suddenly better.

Mentally, people do very well. They're happier, more emotionally stable, depression is lifted, and there is a sense of peace and well-being. And spiritually, most people, and I include myself here, are always amazed to see what happens, the sudden clarity, where some behavior in my life became suddenly evident that I couldn't do it anymore. After Pancha Karma I would have some radical transformation in my life, and that was always a surprise.

The paradigm or concept within Ayurveda, and also it applies to traditional Chinese medicine, and other holistic or traditional systems of medicine, thinking of the body differently than the way we think of it in Western medicine. There are a couple of different concepts.

One is that there is an internal healing intelligence inside of us that is managing our trillions of cells all at one time. It's very easy to understand that because each cell acts as an independent city, almost, and they're all communicating with each other and creating perfect balance with our hormones, and all the chemistry and biochemistry of our body. When you don't have any conscious awareness of it, and even trying to fathom it gives you a headache. It's like trying to conceptualize the whole universe and the intricacies and intelligence that's within us is just absolutely extraordinary.

In Western medicine, somehow, we think we're so smart that we can kind of manipulate the human body in all these different ways, and kind of outsmart it. What the Traditional and Chinese medicine honors is that we'll never be smarter than the intelligence within us. It maintains that everything we do throughout the day, the foods we eat, the activities we engage in, even the thoughts we think, are either bringing our bodies into balance, enhancing that inner intelligence and making it able to function at its highest level, or taking us into imbalance, which strips or blocks the intelligence.

And what happens when we're blocking that intelligence in our diet and lifestyle is that we create an environment for disease.

You don't have physical changes in the body that can be measured in Western medicine until the 5th stage of disease, and that's the first stage that Western medicine can detect a problem. Before that time, you may go to your doctor and the doctor may just say, 'Oh, it's all in your head.' They can't pick up anything yet, because in their system you have to have physical, structural changes to the body to indicate disease.

So, Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine are really geared toward trying to achieve and maintain health, which is something that Western medicine knows absolutely nothing about. And particularly in Ayurveda, part of the plan for health is to do the detoxification process.

How does the Pancha Karma cleanse work?

It's kind of like going to a luxurious spa. There's a lot of massage, and generally there are two technicians working in simultaneous motions on either side of you. That causes the hemispheres of the brain to harmonize or synchronize, because normally they're not synchronized. The more unsynchronized they are, the more it indicates a state of disease or depression.

If you synchronize them, actually that's what you see when people are in a state of transcendental meditation, when they transcend into the field of silence, the field of all possibility. It's been shown to be associated with bliss and joy and lack of depression.

So, the approach is when you first go to the clinic, a physician takes your pulse and determines what your body constitution is, because we're all different. Certain things that may bring your body into balance may take another person's out of balance. It's not like a one-size-fits-all, as far as their recommendations. Then, they prescribe a variety of treatments which range from these massages with the two technicians, called “abyanga,” to doing steam treatments.

The steam treatments are very similar to spa treatments except that your head is out, since in the Ayurvedic system they don't believe in overheating the head. You sweat to detoxify heavy metals from the body, and then they give you different types of massages with different substances, again, based upon what your imbalances are. Some of the substances are for stimulation circulation, some are nourishing for the joints, and some are soothing.

And you follow a special diet. There's a whole treatment you do even before you enter into the program, called a home prep, to get the body into a state for detoxification. It involves drinking ghee at increased amounts, which creates a concentration gradient in the body so that it pulls lipid, fat-soluble toxins out of the body where the pesticides hang out.

There have been studies that prove this to be one of the most effective methods for taking the fat-soluble toxins out of the body. Just this one five-day treatment can cut the load of toxins in the body in half. If you go all the way to Pancha Karma level five a couple times a year, and follow a vegetarian diet, researchers have found that the level of pesticides and toxins in the body were so low that they weren't detectable.

People healing from Lyme disease are often taking strong antibiotics. What can people do to help their body create balance in this situation?

When people are treated for Lyme with antibiotics, they're killing off the whole intestinal flora population. If you do choose to use antibiotics you'll want to take probiotics to help re-establish the friendly bacteria. Yogurt is another way to reintroduce the intestinal flora, keep it healthy.

Lasse is a diluted form of yogurt, it's water with yogurt in it. Take water or juice, and about a half a cup of yogurt and stir it together. According to Ayurveda, certain body types have trouble digesting yogurt but if it's consumed in a lasse then everybody can digest it with no problem. That helps to repopulate the colon a little bit, and then there's also probiotics, which are highly recommended, and a special Indian dish called Kitcheree, which is made of rice, lentils and digestive spices.

There are so many simple things you can to bring the body back into balance.

If people change to a vegetarian diet, will that make a difference in their ability to heal more efficiently? What if you switch to a vegetarian diet but don't go through the detoxification process?

Changing to an organic vegetarian diet is a huge step. We live in a polluted environment, lots of toxins in our food, water and air. But even 5,000 years ago Pancha Karma was important just from the results of daily living, emotions, and so forth. Certain mushrooms have toxins in them, and other natural foods that ancient people were exposed to. Some amount of imbalances and toxins occur even from the healthiest lifestyle.

A couple of times a year, the Pancha Karma is recommended for optimum health. I've done it about a dozen times now. The first time, about 48 hours into it, I looked in the mirror and was amazed. I looked 10 years younger. It was literally like seeing this beautiful goddess emerge from deep inside.

Thank you, Dr. Horner. And congratulations on winning the book award!

For details about Dr. Christine Horner's Best Book of the Year Award from the association of Independent Book Publishers ( the IPPY award), please go to:

For more information about Dr. Horner, her healing products and her book, please visit her website:

by Suzanne Arthur © 2006 - 2015