Dr. Tudor Marinescu was born in Transylvania, in Romania. He graduated in the top 10 percent of his class at the J.W. Goethe University School of Medicine in Frankfurt earning an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Medicine from the H. Heine University, located in Germany as well. He completed post-doctoral internships in surgery at UCLA, and a three-year family medicine residency at USC. He chose to focus his practice on holistic healing, specializing in family medicine with extensive credentials in cranial and biodynamic osteopathy, functional medicine, prolotherapy, herbal cures and vibration/sound healing. He studied and trained with traditional indigenous healers from North America, South America, and Africa. Dr Tudor and his wife Oshun, a spiritual healer, own two private practices, one in Santa Monica, and another one in Ojai, California, where they have created the Temenos Center for Wholeness.
1. The thought and logic behind immigration to a new country and the idea of starting over are very complex issues to be considered by someone, who already was in the process of receiving a medical degree in his native country and was doing well financially and professionally. Dr. Tudor, can you walk us through the reasoning behind the leaving of your native land, Transylvania, Romania?
I never had the thought of leaving my home country until a few months after the Romanian Revolution of 1989, when I realized with the new generation, that the fundamental change we wanted to bring was not desired by the majority of the population. We protested against the new regime in the Main Square in Bucharest for the implementation of Proclamation of Timisoara in which we asked for total transparency from the newly elected regime. We expressed liberal democratic goals calling for all former Romanian Communist party members, first tier echelon, to be banned from holding public office for a period of 10 years or three consecutive legislatures.
At the same time, the medical school’s curriculum had been watered down, loosing the high standards I was so used to and proud of. Every day I went to school thinking that I was loosing a part of who I was in the process of learning to become an MD. As one of the top seven students in my class, I was given the opportunity to complete my education with one of the most prestigious Universities in Germany, J.W. Goethe in Frankfurt/Main, so I left Romania to study abroad.
The transition was not an easy journey, but I quickly adapted and learned the ropes of the new system I was becoming part of. My medical interests were broadening. By now my attention was focusing on all the resources that the western medical world was employing to treat the separation from the divine blueprint, which is called dis-ease. I continued to volunteer in the operating room with one of the finest vascular surgeons in town, I also volunteered as a 2nd physician on Ambulances and I entered a PhD program, looking at the best therapies for primary brain tumors.
Because my immigration status in Germany would not allow me to continue my post-grad training, I started looking for other options, including South Africa or UK, counties that were accepting foreign doctors.
My cousin, who had immigrated to the US and granted political asylum, told me about the Diversity Visa (DV1) or the so-called Green card Lottery as a way to legally enter to New World. Even if the changes of winning were slim, for there were eight million applicants from all over the world competing for the 55.000 available spots, I was among the lucky ones who was granted permission to come to the States. Because my MD license and degree were not recognized, it was suggested to join the Armed Forces to have a better chance of being accepted into an orthopedic residency program. I joined the Army Reserve and started studying for the USMLE Test. After passing it, I started volunteering for a whole year for the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at UCLA while working nights and weekends to support myself financially.
2. With experience in 3 medical systems (Romania, Germany and the U.S.) placing you at the forefront of Integrative and Preventive Medicine and making you a pioneer in the medicine of future, you have come a long way considering that you were born in Communist Romania. Tell me a little bit about the hardest moment you had to overcome during this journey and how did you manage to conquer it?
One of the hardest moments or challenging moments in my life was related to my physical and mental exhaustion working nights and weekends as an Eye and Tissue Bank Technician, harvesting tissues from the cadavers for the purpose of transplants, while trying to deal with the low moral of my colleagues, all foreign doctors who passed the same exam I did, the USMLE, but lost any hope to be accepted in a residence program because of the fierce competition. Despite the odds, I continued to believe in myself, work for free 45 hours per week, commuting 80 miles per day only to come home and drive 60 miles to the opposite direction to the job that paid my bills. After one year, I was accepted into the surgical residency at UCLA. I was a nobody until I became part of the medical system; the journey was achieved with hard work and determination.
3. Dr. Tudor, you challenged yourself not once but twice from moving from Transylvania, Romania to Germany and then, later on, to the US. Are you happy with the final destination?
I am truly happy with the final destination because the US not only gave me the opportunity to pursue my dreams about creating a holistic medical practice but also provided me with the opportunity to learn about the natural, indigenous ways of healing, an approach embraced by the open-minded society here in the US.
4. Dr. Tudor, after all the years you have spent in the traditional western medicine, what made you switch to holistic medicine? What was the turning point?
It is not a switch really. I just realized the limitations of allopathic medicine and started looking for answers to my questions in the truly traditional medicines such as Chinese, ayurvedic, indigenous, manual medicine etc. , systems that had passed the “test of time” as they successfully served their peoples for thousands of years. For example as I found out that gallbladder stones could be easily eliminated by a properly guided bowel and liver cleanse, I could not justify a surgical intervention unless obviously there was a life threatening condition whereby the appropriate surgery would save a life. I realized that our allopathic system is geared more towards interventions whereas holistic medicine is about the journey, analyzing your life in all its intricate aspects and consisting in replacing non-supportive patterns with Health promoting ones and realignment with the laws of nature. So truly the future of medicine depends on the successful marriage of both systems where what works best in the interest of the patients will prevail.
5. By looking at the western medicine or its healthcare, can you mention some of its faults?
The quality of allopathic medicine taught and practiced in the U.S. is undoubtedly the best in the world. However, the health of our citizens is ranked #38 in the world by World Health Organization criteria. The healthiest country is Japan, with countries like Costa Rica, Canada, and Chile ahead of us. We are at the bottom of all so-called First World countries. However, we lead the First World in terms of infant mortality, maternal mortality, deaths from child abuse, deaths from childhood injuries, homicides, teenage births, healthcare expense, etc. In terms of quality of life and happiness we rank at the bottom of all rich countries.
The U.S. spends half of all money spent globally on healthcare, even though we represent only five percent of the world’s population. That equals $1.94 trillion, or 15.6 percent of our GNP, or $7,000 per person per year.
Despite all that money, healthcare as we practice it today is not buying us health. We are not preventing disease properly, nor do we encourage sufficiently health promoting habits. As allopathic doctors we do not receive any training in health care, but rather in disease care and disease management.
The main modalities employed in western medicine today are all associated with a certain degree of harm, which goes against the Hippocratic Oath, which states “First, do no harm.” Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, a leading researcher at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, published in the Boston Review in 2005 the results of her research pertaining to the main causes of death in the U.S. By conservative estimates, medicine is the third leading cause of death, responsible for 275,000 deaths/year, following cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
For-profit transnational drug corporations are controlling and dictating medical education, research and practice. Similarly, medical practice—i.e., diagnostic investigations and therapeutic approaches—is controlled and dictated by for-profit insurance companies. The sole responsibility of these corporations is towards their shareholders who have only one expectation: increase the value of their shares. It’s not about service to the sick anymore.
Socialized medicine on the other hand does not mean socialism, but rather represents a sign of civilization. A socialized medical model implies a non-profit medical system where the only goal is serving the population. Health is our birthright and should not be considered a privilege for only the financial upper class.
In the opinion of the specialists in public health, Japan ranks #1 in the world as far as the health of their people because of 3 main reasons; demilitarization, decentralizing of power and free healthcare and education. These are not the result of a communist regime but rather were implemented since the end of World War 2 when U.S. General Douglas MacArthur was entrusted the rebuilding of Japan. He rewrote the constitution of Japan based on our Constitution as well as the second bill of rights as proposed by FDR, which unfortunately never materialized on the home soil.
6. How would you define the word “healing” related to your new medical approach?
Healing is about love. Life is about love. Evolution is about love. Spiritual healing is as important as physical, mental and emotional healing. Plato believed that “…the biggest mistake in Hellas (Greece) today is that we have doctors for the body and doctors for the mind, although the two cannot be separated…” That was in 400 BC and it’s still true today. Indigenous traditions and recent western spiritual teachers hold the common belief that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. We are Souls incarnated in three-dimensional physical bodies. The Soul is the Source, it is the Cause, therefore that is where we need to pose the Why questions. Here we find the answers to who we are, what we are, how and why we express ourselves the way we do, as well as the relationships, conditions, circumstances and situations we attract in our lives. Life starts here at the Soul, imbalances start here, and therefore healing must start here.
7. What kind of a role do indigenous healers play in your life?
Sickness in the indigenous world is looked upon as a manifestation of health. Furthermore, there is no such thing as exclusively physical disease. The imbalances originate in the invisible realm, at the soul level. If not properly addressed there, the imbalance becomes louder and expresses itself in the realm of the mind and emotions. Again if not mended here, the imbalances become even louder and start manifesting themselves in the physical realm as symptoms and signs of “dis-ease.” Disease is therefore looked upon as the language of the soul becoming louder and louder in its journey to seek healing.
Also, there is no such thing as segmented or isolated disease in the body. The body is whole from the very beginning of its development and its well-being depends on the balance between the microcosm (its internal environment) and the macrocosm (its external environment). A community is as healthy as the health of its individuals. That’s why in Africa they say that your healing is my healing. And my healing is your healing. Healing is a communal event.
8. In order to live up to the meaning of the famous Latin quote by the Roman poet Juvenal, “Mens sana in corpore sano,” - A healthy mind in a healthy body, what should people do?
We need to return to obeying the natural laws of living. This wisdom is thousands of years old and perhaps best expressed by Leonardo Da Vinci: “Vitality and beauty are gifts of nature for those who live according to its laws.” Paracelsus, the father of Pharmacology, put it this way, “The physician is only the servant of nature, not her master. Therefore, it behooves medicine to follow the will of nature.”
The true causes of disease (dis-ease) in our culture are primarily social and economic; we need to direct our interventions at the latter two because of their impact on our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual states. Economic stress, toxic environments, polluted air and water, unhealthy food production resulting in the twin ironies of widespread dietary deficiencies along with obesity—these are all health factors with social and economic roots.
The way to change the system is to stop feeding it by reducing our dependency on non-sustainable means. That calls for each one of us to assume responsibility for our own life and health and replace non-supportive habits with health-promoting ones. This is not “my” approach to medicine; it’s just how life works.
9. What kind of a work relationship do you have with Oshun, your wife? How is her work complementing yours?
I strive to embody the physician-priest archetype, thereby including the spiritual aspect of healing. As patients become familiar with our philosophy and practice, they are encouraged to explore the true causes of dis-ease that are found at the soul level. That’s when they seek Oshun’s work, whose expertise is in the more subtle energetic bodies. In our work together we address the denser/visible energies represented by the physical body as well as the lighter/invisible energies represented by the mind and soul.
10. Give our readers a description of the Temenos Center for Wholeness?
Temenos is a Greek word meaning “sacred space.” The Temenos Center for Wholeness refers to our property in Ojai, California, where Oshun and I see clients for physical and spiritual healing and where we hold retreats and workshops, like the one earlier this year with West African Shaman Malidoma Somé on Grief and Loss. We also perform ceremonies, such as Oshun’s full moon ceremony for women, sweat lodges and elemental rituals. As we become more acquainted with the needs of our community, we will tailor our offerings to those needs.