Dr. Aarti surprised me with her book on Homeopathy and it led me to writing a review as an ode to the medicine that had made me a healthy person from my childhood. She readily agreed for an interview and was candid and funny in her responses.
Here are excerpts!
1. Tell me more about you
I was born in Tulare, California, spent a small part of my childhood in Johannesburg, South Africa, and then ended up in Canton, Ohio for my schooling. As a kid who spent time in environments that were 180 degrees from each other, I spent a lot of time observing people! I was always intrigued by the unique traits that made individuals different from one another and that made up their “quirks.” I would say this is the primary force that drew me to the field of medicine. I even wondered at times where I got my own habits…I still do, actually. I attended college at Boston University (an awesome place to people watch) and majored in French and Biology on the pre-medical track. After much internal debate, I decided to apply for naturopathic medical school rather than pursuing a conventional medical degree. I now practice naturopathic medicine and homeopathy in San Francisco, California with specialties in chronic conditions, fatigue, women’s health, hormone balancing, stress relief, and dermatology. My hobbies include drawing, writing, making websites, biking, dance, and playing the piano.
2. What drew you to homeopathy
During my 4-year training at Bastyr University, I was most attracted to my homeopathy courses. I felt like I’d finally found a healing art that discussed in-depth what makes medicine tick: People! Homeopathy unabashedly talks about how it’s not the specific symptom that stands out in primary importance in health care. It’s the whole person, including his or her personality, past health history, totality of symptoms, physical health, mental-emotional health, and what I enjoy the most—quirks. While seeing patients for homeopathy visits, I felt like I could really grasp the “big picture” of each patient’s health profile. The big picture is what my natural health practice is all about now, even during times I don’t include homeopathy as part of the treatment. I’m grateful to homeopathy for bringing that perspective to my doctoring style.
3. Did you think you would author a book some day
I never imagined I would author a book some day! The way “Picture It: Homeopathy” came about was almost random. I was sitting there
on a break during one of my homeopathy clinical rotations….my fourth and last year of grad school. Up to then, I had been taking notes for many medical school courses including Anatomy, Biochemistry, and Pathology. I did this job for work-study, and students got to download the notes and use them during each semester. My style of notes-taking is pretty unique. From the time I started school as a kid, I’ve always been prone to doodling, so I eventually started incorporating these doodles and drawings into my class notes. I’m a pretty visual learner, so it helped me learn better and I continued this habit throughout college and grad school. So… during my homeopathy rotation, I started drawing out each homeopathic remedy and personality using cartoons. I had always wanted to see homeopathy in action on paper, because many of the traditional texts involved tons of small writing that made my eyes tired! I showed the drawings to some classmates who suggested I compile them into a book, so that’s what I did. I kept drawing and writing about common homeopathic remedies until the book was complete.
4. Tell me about your “study” days (those days when you were a medical student)
Those days were challenging and they presented a big journey of finding myself as a young adult and as a health professional. Grad school is obviously academically strenuous, but I found it to be socially strenuous as well. There can be a lot of competition and strict ideas on the “right way” to do it. I agree it’s important to learn the correct procedures and framework for each individual health profession. I don’t, however, believe that there is strictly a right or wrong way to work with patients or to be a healer. All of this is so hard to see during 4 years of grad school amid tests, homework, lectures, and so on. After I graduated and started practicing independently four years ago, I’ve entered my own personal schooling on what natural medicine is about.
5. A penny for your thoughts on health
I believe health is unique to each individual. You can’t compare one person to the next in terms of his or her symptoms or overall health. I also believe there are many important underlying connections in health that can’t be measured with labs, imaging, or blood pressure cuffs. Chronic health symptoms are best seen in context with a person’s full symptom picture, their physical health, mental-emotional health, lifestyle habits and preferences, and personal health goals. Each person has his or her own strengths and weaknesses in health, and it’s important to strike balance where possible. In practice, I also see many connections of inner health to outer health. When people feel good, they look good and vice versa. To strip these factors out of the health care equation can be a disservice to patients in both the conventional and alternative health spheres. For just another penny, I’ll say that health should not be ruled by fear. Health takes courage in the face of diverse life challenges that can present for many people. The journey of health can also be a great learning experience for each individual, and even be fun at times. My view of medicine is not black and white, it’s many shades of color in between.
6. Any message for people looking to self publish?
Sure! I’d say let it be fun, especially if it’s your first book. Don’t think of it as something that has to be perfect. Rather, write and organize your book in a way that’s meaningful for you. If you like it, it’ll have a higher chance of naturally reaching others. For my book, I made sure the content was coherent and tight before I went searching for self publishing avenues. I also asked the publisher tons of questions, so don’t be shy to ask for help where it’s needed. Then, have fun promoting your book! My biggest overall message about self publishing is write, write, write. The rest will follow naturally. If you are en route to self-publishing and have any questions for me, feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com
7. What sort of books do you read?
I love gritty crime mysteries, where the main characters are shown with all their strengths, flaws, and of course quirks. Mystery novels are great because the writing style can be so simple and yet say so much. I also love the honest way with which they paint social and political dynamics. A recent favorite is “King Con” by Stephen J. Cannell. I also like reading occasional sci-fi books, as well as books on natural health, traveling, and art once in a while. I enjoy honest and insightful books full of life, and with powerful meaning. Some of my favorites books include “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay, “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls, Stephen King books, and “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand.
8. Your posts are liberating and expanding. Have you thought of being a Life Change Coach or a Motivational Speaker?
Thank you! 🙂 Right now, I do health consulting in my practice which involves a bit of life coaching. But I haven’t thought about being a Life Change Coach or Motivational Speaker before. I’m totally open to doing something along those lines if the opportunity presents. I definitely like talking. People who know me well will freely tell you that I talk a lot—I mean a lot! 🙂 I do enjoy focusing my thoughts to provide insight that can be motivational or inspirational to both myself and others. Words can be very powerful, and very healing.
9. What was the most rewarding experience after being published?
I loved seeing the book sell! I thought, wow, people are learning about homeopathic remedies using the summaries and cartoons that I created during my last year of grad school. Maybe the learning style will benefit students of homeopathy, maybe the pages will serve as a fun personality guide to some, and maybe this will be a first introduction to homeopathy for others. I enjoyed picturing how readers would use the book. My second most rewarding experience was starting up the associated health/homeopathy blog atwww.pictureithomeopathy.com
. That blog has been my first foray into regular writing. Previously, I had started one mystery novel (currently half done) and completed one science fiction short story. But with this blog, I was writing every week and regularly thinking up and jotting down new ideas. I update the “Picture It: Homeopathy” blog every Sunday, so anyone out there who is interested in some new reading material about health—please check it out!
10. Tell us a little about your book
“Picture It: Homeopathy” is a book that describes 32 common homeopathic remedies and their personalities. The book uses quirky and humorous cartoons along with straight-forward and concise summaries to illustrate each remedy’s physical, mental-emotional, general, and clinical traits. There is a notes section for readers who want to jot down observations about their own health or for students who want to take notes during class. “Picture It: Homeopathy” provides a fun way to learn about homeopathy, remedies, and health! For example, you can think about your friends, family members, coworkers, and favorite movie or book characters and try and figure out which homeopathic remedy and personality state best matches them. The book celebrates quirks and individual uniqueness, both in homeopathy and in life in general.
11. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I’ve thought about this question before and my answer keeps changing because there are still so many places I want to travel to. Currently, I’d love to spend time in India because I’ve never been! Australia is also intriguing to me. I’d enjoy trying out different places 🙂
12. 4 Things you always wanted to do
1) Run my own integrative health clinic. 2) Write and publish a mystery novel and a natural health book. 3) Invent my own Indian-based dance style and make videos/classes for it. 4) Write and perform an original song.
Dr. Aarti has a fabulous website and she writes very well!! I highly recommend a dekko!!
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