Evarts Loomis (1910 – 2003) was a pioneering physician. Last year I had the good fortune to read the unpublished manuscript about his practice of holistic medicine.
He preferred to be called Evarts rather than Dr. Loomis, and here are a few excerpts from his writing that let us know something about him.
“I have had the privilege of pioneering and practicing – for a period of over 50 years – what is now referred to as alternative or complimentary medicine. A holistic practice goes beyond the boundaries of physical and mental factors. It considers illness to be a condition involving the person as a whole: body, mind, and spirit.
“Let me warn you that if you wish to be an officer in your local medical association, don’t adopt the holistic paradigm as you probably won’t be elected. I know and can speak from experience, as my road was a lonely path as far as association with other doctors on our hospital staff was concerned; but the rewards from my patients were great – and this made it all worthwhile.
“In my day, it was customary for each budding physician to receive, upon graduation from medical school, a copy of THE PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF MEDICINE by Sir William Osler, the English-Canadian professor at the then newly created Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Hospital. Osler taught internal medicine and was noted for his method of teaching medical students at the bedside, and correlating scientific studies with clinical observations.”
Rebecca Beard was a physician who worked with Evarts, and she was also a medium – someone who can communicate with souls in another dimension. He told this story about a message from Osler that he received through Dr. Beard:
“In 1956, when I was attempting to find the means to open the medical retreat that eventually became Meadowlark, it was very consoling for me to receive the following message:
“This is Rebecca to say that an entity (William Osler) is eager to converse with Evarts concerning the wisdom to combine medicine and spiritual therapy attests to the fact that a great gap lies between the two branches of therapy and that he realizes not only that the path Evarts has chosen is a torturous one but also that he will be criticized by the great majority of his colleagues and that before the sanatorium is accomplished he is to become the best diagnostician in the community.”
Rebecca then quoted Osler himself:
“It is better to be known for having attempted to influence people than to rest on laurels gained through practicing as the predecessors have taught us. I attest that I felt the strain of being only a duplicate of the one I admired the most and theconviction that the spiritual nature of healing is superior to the scientific led me to declare this to some of my colleagues causing me to be ridiculed as a fanatic who did not believe that the art of medicine for which I was educated was of importance – that I had become unbalanced on the subject of religion. I became so discouraged over the prospect of complete failure in both the spiritual and the medical field that I felt it wise to retract my statements concerning the superiority of the spiritual method, and I became a very mediocre physician with only my dream of what I had desired to fulfill.”
Here, briefly, are some of Evarts’ thoughts about holistic medicine:
“The word HEALTH, coming from the Anglo-Saxon hal, which is also the root of whole and holy, is seen as a state of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being; and even more than that, it embodies a cosmic sense, a feeling of oneness with all life forms much as is practiced by native American medicine people. In a holistic sense, the role of therapist, be he physician, nurse, psychologist, body worker or whatever, is to provide leadership for those seeking higher levels of wellness, and a state of receptivity to the flow of life giving energies.
“At this critical point in history, with its entry into the twenty-first century, allopathic medicine as practiced in days past is no longer satisfying the inner needs of a vast number of individuals who are seeking something more than a mop-up of a few symptoms. These individuals are searching for a path of healing that will not only cure their illnesses but also reveal to them changes in lifestyle that will promote a higher level of wellness.
“In order for the physician to be prepared to provide a medicine for the whole person, he himself must already be on this path and following it in his own life so that by his very presence he may motivate his patients to follow what he may prescribe. He must have an ability to listen to what his patients have to say, to hear more than what is audible to the human ear and to see more than that which is apparent to the human eye. He must see things in context rather than as a scattered group of symptoms and signs.”
A series of experiences led Evarts to his holistic approach. He learned many lessons from his mother, Amy, who was a deeply spiritual woman and also from his father who had a Near Death Experience (NDE). While he was a student at Haverford College he learned of the inspiring work of physician Albert Schweitzer and later, during his medical training, he was troubled by the emphasis on effects rather than the causes of illness. He had grown to believe that true healing had to address the wider causes of illness, not just the physical symptoms. Believing that the whole person had to be cared for by dealing with the mind and the spirit as well as the body, Evarts searched throughout his life for what would help him to help the people who consulted him.
* * * * *
In 1983 Norm Shealy, M.D., founding president of the American Holistic Medical Association, said that Meadowlark had served as a role model for most of the people in the holistic movement.
Along with J. Sig Paulson, Evarts wrote HEALING FOR EVERYONE: Medicine of the Whole Person, first published in 1979 by Devorss & Co.