Vitalistic Medicine — the Cure is Within

Sunset over the RiverBy Connie Hernandez, ND

In the mid-1970s, after earning a Masters of Public Health, I received full funding to attend the University of Hawaii School of Medicine.

Standing at the portals of medical school and visualizing my future, I realized that if I walked in, I would exit four years later programmed to practice conventional medicine.

Dr. Connie Hernandez, ND
Dr. Connie Hernandez, ND

I had no very strong foundation in medicine, but I didn’t believe that pharmaceutical management of diagnosable diseases equates to health care, in the deepest possible meaning of “health.”

From about ten years until the mid-1980s, Dr. Marcel and I traveled extensively in Asia, visiting psychic and spiritual healers, herbalists, yoga and breath therapists, and acupuncturists.

It was while we were living in Japan for seven years that we learned of the existence of naturopathic medicine. We decided to hire a naturopathic doctor for our practice, and because none were to be found, Marcel and I applied to naturopathic medical school.

From the start, we were in awe of naturopathy’s vitalistic foundation, and the naturopathic practice principles.

Naturopathy is based on an understanding that a vital intelligent healing force exists in the human body, and that our role as doctors is to facilitate the natural flow of that vital force.

We were taught to identify and treat the deep, underlying, true causes of disease, and not merely to palliate symptoms. Above all, we were taught to do no harm – in summary, to practice preventive medicine, to treat the whole person, and to educate our patients about their own self-care.

sun-worshipperOur training paid tribute to the pioneers of vitalistic naturopathy – we studied traditional naturopathic healing arts, including homeopathy, hydrotherapy, botanical medicine, dietary modification, and much more.

We learned how naturopaths had always struggled to be recognized as practitioners of scientific medicine, which would make them eligible for insurance reimbursement and worthy of the respect given to conventional doctors.

I sensed that, in the same way that many osteopaths had become indistinguishable from conventional physicians, the same might eventually be possible for naturopathic doctors.

Dr. Marcel and I eventually moved to Brattleboro, Vermont where we dreamed of establishing a scientifically based, enlightened nature cure center along the lines of the water cure centers of the late-19th and early 20th centuries (e.g., John Harvey Kellogg’s heavily satirized Battle Creek Sanitarium.)

We quickly learned how difficult the project would be, given the strict 21st-century building and special-use codes. Our subsequent experiences in California and Hawaii only confirmed the omnipresence of these obstacles.

Nevertheless, the longer we practiced, the more we found the tenets of vitalistic medicine to be profoundly effective in healing:


Surrounding us, and flowing through us, is an unlimited supply of pure energy. It is creative and intelligent. It is the source of our being, and the source of our healing. All of the scientifically validated therapies that mankind has devised are adjunctive to the freeing of the flow of this energy, and not the other way around. If the vital force is unable to flow, no pill or potion, however thoroughly tested and proven effective in double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, will be able to effect a permanent healing.

Read more about the medical services Dr. Connie offers here: