Naturopath Jonn Matsen's Eating Alive program looks to create natural health

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      Within the next 100 years, Vancouver will have its own naturopathic hospital. That’s according to Jonn Matsen, the founder of the Northshore Naturopathic Clinic and author of the Eating Alive book series. But even though more people on the West Coast embrace so-called alternative medicine than in other parts of the country, practitioners like him still face skepticism and opposition.

      “Hospitals today kill hundreds of thousands of people every year—”˜Oops! Wrong drug!’—but nobody harasses them. Can you imagine if we did that? If we killed one person, we’d be executed,” Matsen says in an interview at his bustling Lower Lonsdale clinic.

      Matsen—who says he’s treated almost 50,000 patients since he opened his clinic in 1983—was introduced to natural healing methods when he was in his early 20s and met Norma Meyers, a Mohawk medicine woman. She invited him to Alert Bay, and he ended up staying for a month. (At the time, the then–self-described ski bum was planning on becoming a journalist, and she seemed like a colourful character to write an article about.) Although he had his doubts about the healing power of herbs, he says he witnessed her curing people whom doctors had said were incurable.

      “She really was pulling people out of the grave,” Matsen says. “It made me realize that there were a lot of people that doctors didn’t understand.”

      Meyers made such an impression on him that he went on to become a certified herbalist. From there, he studied naturopathic medicine at Seattle’s Bastyr University.

      Eventually, he met his mentor, the late Harold Dick. The Spokane-based naturopathic pioneer taught Matsen the principles upon which he bases his practice today: address people’s diet, digestion, and liver, and everything else will resolve.

      “We see dramatic results almost right away,” Matsen claims. “By treating people’s digestive system and getting the toxins out of their blood, the body can heal itself.”

      A prime source of those toxins, according to Matsen, is mercury. He doesn’t buy mainstream medicine’s view that mercury fillings are safe. Conversely, he says that about 50 percent of the amalgam in dental fillings is made up the metal, which leaks into the body and gradually accumulates in the kidneys, liver, and brain.

      Mercury, he contends, can react with stomach acid and ultimately contribute to yeast overgrowth, digestive problems, and neurological and immunological disorders.

      Matsen will be giving a talk called “Digestion, Mercury, and Your Health” on October 20 at a fundraiser for the Health Action Network Society. (It takes place at the Firefighters’ Club banquet and conference centre [6515 Bonsor Avenue] in Burnaby. For more details, see his Web site.)

      Another way mercury ends up in people’s blood is through vaccines, some of which contain mercury in the form of thimerosal, a preservative. Matsen rejects prevailing medical opinion that vaccines with thimerosal are safe.

      “In spite of billions of dollars of profit for the pharmaceutical companies that make the vaccines, no studies have been done on long-term side effects,” Matsen writes in Eating Alive II: Curing the “Incurable” (Goodwin, 2004).

      Mercury is not the only harmful substance in vaccines, Matsen says. Aluminum hydroxide, in lab tests using mice, has been linked to neurological symptoms similar to those seen in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

      Besides mercury and aluminum hydroxide, people today are exposed to more metals and chemicals than ever before, Matsen says, from pesticides and herbicides to automobile exhaust and preservatives. But people’s organs simply aren’t able to handle such a toxic onslaught. Add in prescription medications, antibiotics, tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, food additives, radiation from X-rays, and industrial pollutants, among other substances, and it’s no wonder that chronic disease plagues North Americans.

      “A lot of times, doctors just prescribe different drugs that may or may not work,” Matsen says. “They might forget to take a drug away and then there are interactions, and drugs have side effects. People taking six, eight, 10 medications are impeding their ability to heal. That’s why we see lupus, IBS [irritable bowel syndrome], rheumatoid arthritis, reflux, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, Crohn’s, colitis”¦”

      To get people better, Matsen designed what he calls the Eating Alive program. Besides providing nutritional guidelines to help people find the right balance between eating poorly and eating “too well”, it focuses on improving intestinal flora and liver function—as he puts it, “getting yeast out of your gut and metals out of your liver and other organs”. Healthy lifestyle choices, like getting regular exercise and fresh air, are also vital to well-being.

      The validity of naturopathic doctors as primary-care providers got a boost in B.C. in April 2009, when they were granted the right to prescribe certain medications as well as high-dose vitamins, amino acids, hormones, botanicals, supplements, and herbs. Naturopaths in Ontario acquired similar prescribing rights late last year.

      Visits to a naturopathic doctor aren’t covered by the B.C. Medical Services Plan.

      When—not if—the day comes that B.C. opens a naturopathic hospital, Matsen envisions a place where naturopathic doctors have referral rights to specialists and access to diagnostic imaging.

      “And there will be real food,” he says. “It will be a place where real healing can take place.”

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      Skeptical, me?

      Sep 21, 2010 at 6:36pm

      This is the treatment "Dr." Matsen hypes. Who could be skeptical?

      At the Clinic we use the shoulder muscle. Each substance that is being tested has its own energy which can flow through the container in which it is stored. If a substance is in harmony with your energy system (that is, if it does not disrupt or weaken your energy), the muscle will remain strong or “locked.” If the substance is not in harmony, your muscle will feel weak. Dr. Matsen and his assistants are trained to detect even slight fluctuations in the strength of your muscle.

      average rape ape

      Sep 21, 2010 at 10:13pm

      within the next hundred years we will be living on mars, what a demeaner


      Sep 22, 2010 at 2:42pm

      “Hospitals today kill hundreds of thousands of people every year—”˜Oops! Wrong drug!’—but nobody harasses them. Can you imagine if we did that? If we killed one person, we’d be executed,” Matsen says in an interview at his bustling Lower Lonsdale clinic.

      We would be shocked Dr. Matsen, but no more so than if you successfully cured one person.


      Sep 22, 2010 at 8:21pm

      I have been going to the Boucher Naturopathic school in New West this year for various treatments this year and I am doing much better with less pain. Don't knock it til YOU have tried it! Also, Naturopaths spend way more time getting to know you and your sympton than a regular G.P. and their treatments are atleast benign! Cannot say the same about pharmaceutical drugs.

      Loretta R

      Sep 24, 2010 at 1:49am

      We urgently need REAL food in all long-term care facilities too. When you visit family and friends trapped in one, be sure to bring FRESH fruit and veggies with you.

      Most people survive on their own reserves during a short stay in hospitals, eating fake chemical food substitutes as meals. Long term and your screwed! Right now frozen product is shipped from Ontario to BC and placed next to limp white head lettuce. Nonfat chocolate pudding is a mix that tastes like those gross bitter chemicals in bakers-whip. The meal plan is a 1 month rotation, with the same overcooked root vegetable 5 days out of 7. Fish is paper-thin and too dried out to swallow. No lemon for flavoring even. Most is wasted as it's inedible. But hey, someone's making a profit from this system. Patients and residents would be better off with a fresh avocado, or bowl of fresh berries.

      To cut down on staffing costs, nurses/doctors are being encouraged to medicate. It's totally pathetic when the whole country's run by big business.

      We should start a contest for winning 60 day (minimum) special diet/recipe plans, that involve local fresh and seasonal foods. That's the kind of food talent and championship I'd like to see on TV! How about some big sponsors chipping in with prizes and publicity for this food plan. Heck, the menu could be a regular in the paper, and TV, with daily instructions for everyone to have a chance at participating in. I bet some really practical chefs and nutritionists already have a plan like this to cut down on food costs.


      Sep 30, 2010 at 8:35pm

      Dr. Matsen diagnosed my son with a lactose allergy - his body turned lactose into high energy sugar. The school had wanted me to put my son in ritalin and labeled him as hyperactive. The dairy also triggered my son's asthma. He was a different kid after changing his diet. I was also food tested. I had terrible stomach pains my whole life and the regular doctors said 'there was nothing wrong.' My parents thought it was in my head. The 'attacks' were very painful. With changing my diet and cutting back on coffee, alcohol and sugar and some supplements to jumpstart my digestive system, I have not had a bad attack in 20+ years. I believe 100% in naturopathic medicine and have sent friends and family to Dr. Matsen with great results. If you have any ongoing medial problems, you should try it!


      Oct 1, 2010 at 6:01am

      I have been on Dr. Matsen's program for the past 5 months and I feel the best I have in about 10 years. I have suffered from symptoms of Hypoglycemia since an early teenager (migraines, moodiness, irrational emotions, tremors, anxiety, and many more) and besides the tremors, which are slowly subsiding, all of my symptoms are gone and I feel better than ever. I reccomended Dr. Matsen to my neighbour who has suffered from digestive problems and something like IBS for 15 years or so. I tell you no lie, after the first week on the Eating Alive program, certain problems that had plagued her daily throughout the last 15 years, were no more. The program works and I am enjoying continually improving health with no need for prescription pills and continual visits to the doctor, so to the skeptics from the previous comments I suggest you actually do more research into a practice before you make a judgement. And the device used to test for food sensitivites is of the same technology as a lie-detector test, which is well accepted in mainstream society. Not only do the folks at Northshore Naturopathic help you get well, they also educate you on how to take control of your own health. Every time I have visited a GP throughout my life I have come away from them with nothing being done for me, and with the feeling that I wasn't actually being heard. When I came out of Dr. Matsens office for the first time I felt empowered and had an understanding of why I was experiencing the symptoms that were plaguing me.

      Glenys Jones

      Oct 2, 2010 at 12:30am

      I wish i lived in Vancouver and i would definitely visit Dr Masten. My sister and I both followed his programme from his first Book and we both felt the best we have felt in many many years. I've adoped some bad habits lately and it shows, proof positive the principles he uses in his book does work
      Glenys melbourne australia

      Marilyn Jones

      Nov 2, 2010 at 9:20pm

      Yay....that's my sis' comment above. We both get Dr Matsen's newsletter, hence me reading this article, and I believe 100% in his system of food combining, it has worked for me and I'm sure if I hadn't applied the principles from his book I'd be very ill now. I bought one his earlier books about 7 or 8 years ago . . . (it is called "Mysterious Causes & Cures of Illness"), the title fascinated me and it fell at my feet in a second hand book shop ...I value it above all my other books. I followed the program from his book and the result was nothing short of amazing. I don't believe in fad diets so never fell for them but this was different, sort of scientific and if you stick to the principles it doesn't let you down. I can't thank Dr Matsen enough and I've never even met him ! Thank you Dr Matsen


      Nov 2, 2010 at 9:29pm

      Dr. Matsen was the only one that diagnose my problem, after I was sent to specialist, I got out of the doctor specialist feeling misunderstood, she didn't have a clue what she was doing. I wish I can remember her name so you don't waste your time. Dr. Matsen fianlly diagnose me, with Candidiasis, what an easy diagnose, the"real doctors" don't have a clue!