The Journey with Illness: The Healers Café with Dr. Manon and John C. Coleman
In this episode of The Healers Café, Dr. Manon chats with John C. Coleman
Highlights from today’s episode include:
John C. Coleman (28:30):
So what we did was with all my patients over a two year period, the diet, the food, the meditation, the dancing, singing, laughing, etc etc they are the aquas and then they chose a bodywork and some did massage, reflexology, Feldenkrais, acupuncture, etc some did Bowen And because at the time I was seeing all my patients pretty regularly rather than having them spread around the world I was able to keep notes of their progress and I found that the end of two years the people using Bowen were making better progress. So that, that was number one
John C. Coleman (34:55):
It just healed it !fixed the physical distortion, whatever it was. And yeah, look, nothing better than being out in the garden doing paving or whatever. See your Bowen therapist, have a treatment, all the body celebrates.
John C. Coleman (35:15):
It’s a journey. They’re chronic for a reason. Nothing’s going to be fast. We need to learn. There’s a fusion. I was given many, many years ago. I was in a meditation, social, spiritual development circle. I had a lot of messages come to me and I was shown a vision of a very narrow footbridge across a Canyon, something like the grand Canyon. Huge. And I was told I had to go from this side to that side. You know, it’s a long way and I’m unwell. I’m on a ride, a bike or drive a car or flying and said, no, you walk. Because every point on that bridge shows you America, the view is fantastic. And every stepping shoe in your view and your vision, you need to walk that bridge. And that, that’s a journey with, with illness, whatever it is, you know, we need to walk.
About Dr. Manon Bolliger, ND:
Dr. Manon is a Naturopathic Doctor, the Founder of Bowen College, an International Speaker with an upcoming TEDx talk in May 2020, and the author of the Amazon best-selling book “What Patient’s Don’t Say if Doctors Don’t Ask.” Watch for her next book, due out in 2020.
About The Healers Café:
Dr. Manon’s show is the #1 show for medical practitioners and holistic healers to have heart to heart conversations about their day to day lives.
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About John C. Coleman
John Coleman is a Naturopath and Bowen Therapist, having studied naturopathy at the Southern School of Natural Therapies, and the Australian College of Natural Medicine (Camberwell). His Bowen studies include basic training with Rick Loader, Neurostructural Integration Technique with Libby Dartez (Gordon), plus additional studies with the International School of Bowen Therapy and Smart Bowen. He has been a speaker at five national Bowen Therapy conferences.
By August 1995, John had lost his power of speech and was wondering how he could go on living. Suffering symptoms of stage IV Parkinson’s disease and early stage Multi-system Atrophy, diagnosed by five medical and complementary practitioners, he was unable to walk more than 5 metres without assistance, and took up to an hour and a half to dress himself. Severely dissatisfied with the treatment and prognosis he received from western medical practitioners, John decided to pursue other pathways to health. With the aid of Homeopathy, Aqua Hydration Formulas, Bowen Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy, Flower Essences, Counselling, Meditation and Spiritual Development, John was completely symptom-free by April 1998.
John was co-founder of Very Special Kids in 1984 (following the death of his older son, Damian, in 1983), and founded the neuro recovery foundation in 2002. This organization was established to support those challenged with neurodegenerative or autoimmune disorders who sought to help themselves by exploring all options for treatment and better health.
John conducted fourteen Neuro Recovery Pathways programs at Petrea King’s Quest For Life Centre in NSW over a four-year period, plus two of these programs in Melbourne. Neuro Recovery Pathways programs provide participants with information and encouragement to reverse their degenerative disorder and resume joyful good health. He has also conducted practitioner training and public lectures on recovery from challenging disorders in many states of Australia, USA, Germany, Austria and UK.
John now conducts Naturopathic Clinics in Melbourne and Lancefield while continuing to lecture to health practitioners and members of the public about recovery from degenerative disorders. His book, “Stop Parkin’ and Start Livin’ – Reversing The Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease”, was published by Michelle Anderson in 2005 and has since been read in many countries.
Speaker 1 (00:01):
So welcome to the Healers Cafe. And today I have John Coleman and he is a naturopath and a Bowen therapist and he was trained at the Southern school of natural therapies in Australia and the Australian college of natural medicine. And we’re actually having a conversation from Australia here. So you’ve had quite an interesting life you’ve been also a speaker at national Bowen therapy conferences and you really discovered through your own experience how to, to deal with Parkinson’s. So I’m really thrilled that you’re here and I’m willing to share your experience and, and more about you. So welcome.
John Coleman (01:03):
Thank you. It’s wonderful to be here. My journey into self healing and non medical therapies goes back nearly 60 years. I discovered, actually it went back further, but the funny thing is I didn’t discover that until I was much older. But about 60 years ago I was introduced to a naturopath in Melbourne because I had acne for over 10 years. And the doctor said, you’ll grow out of it, but by the time I got to be 20, I was thinking I was a bit old to be having rampant acne. And…….was the naturopaths name. A Wonderful gentlemen who changed what I ate, gave me some supplements and my acne…which turned out to be a staphylococcus infection was healed in six months. And that intrigued me. So I sort of wafted in an out of Western medicine, complimentary medicine for some years as I went into my career in the music industry and then got married and had children.
John Coleman (02:29):
And i referred my parents to Haynesworth and became very interested, but did little about it until when my children were three and four years old. I realized that in my career I didn’t see my kids. And so I wanted to change this,, I discussed this and said, well, we’ll buy a business close to home so that I can see my children more often. And what I wanted was a hardware store, because I love tools, but I couldn’t afford a hardware store. You know, they were selling for enormous amounts of money. What I could afford was a rundown health food store. So that’s what i bought And I saw people transforming their lives. I watched them coming in and saying, Oh, someone’s told me to eat this or to take that or to stop eating this and i saw people changing….and i thought That’s what happened to me all those years ago, 10 or 12 years ago. And so I started attending Southern school of natural therapies. And that only lasted a few months because my son was in diagnosed with leukemia and this was another learning experience because legally he had to be involved with Western medicine. We had no choice. But we combined that with food choices, supplements, some intravenous vitamin c etc. And while he died four years later he lived most of the time in a much better way, energy. He didn’t have infections that similar children had, etc. And, and I learnt a lot. And during that time I spoke to people like Dr Fred Klenner, who is one of the pioneers in vitamin C therapy. Dr Harold Manor in Chicago, again using combination of Western medicine and complimentary medicine for treating cancer and a number of Australian researchers.
John Coleman (04:56):
And that was a profound experience for me. I went back to college while Damien was still in remission and then there was a hiatus after he died and we started a charity and all this sort of stuff. Ended up getting divorced and lost my job and went back into study to try and get my life on track. So it wasn’t until 1995 that I collapsed at work and I had to decide what I was going to do about it. I was diagnosed with stage four Parkinson’s and early stage multi-system atrophy. And I had the choice of Western medicine or doing something for myself. So that was the beginning of the journey in really going deep inside, figuring out what I had done to myself, what had been done to me, what I had allowed in that had caused my body to rebel.
Dr Manon (06:13):
I did not expect that whole history of, my goodness, you,ve gone through a lot. Goodness. Wow. So, well, why don’t you continue then? What, what did you, well first what, what did you discover when you…decided That’s quite a decision and I think you speak to what people go through, you know, sometimes with a child or with themselves and sometimes with both, but it’s like how do you choose, how is it, how can it work in a potentially complimentary way? But how did what did you decide with that knowledge?
John Coleman (06:54):
Well, I’ve said it a lot. You know, my Journey was trial and error, mostly error and, and I think it’s true. We learn a lot more from our mistakes than we do from our successes. Where, my son was concerned and I refer back to that experience a lot. One of the things that told me I was doing something right was the vehement opposition from conservative medical sources who accused me of being a child abuser. I was publicly accused of killing my child with vitamin C. And when there was such vehement opposition, there’s gotta be some kernel of truth in what I was doing. So the other lucky thing, and it didn’t feel lucky at the time, but I was treated very badly by my neurologists when I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, so there was a sense of disinterest. Here was the diagnosis, take some drugs, stop worrying type attitude.
John Coleman (08:19):
And there was some minimal testing but not a lot of understanding. And I was first prescribed an antidepressant and yet I was working at a hospital in those days, you know, I, I was very busy operating room technician. I’m in charge of other technicians access to the library and the hospital gave me to the drug guides etc… I looked up this antidepressant and the common adverse effects were the symptoms I was experiencing. And that didn’t make sense to me……..So that made me look somewhere else. But I was also lucky in that I worked with some very wonderful doctors in the hospital, fabulous surgeons. And one of them a neurosurgeon spent a lot of time with me exploring my history, et cetera. And he said, look, yes, you definitely have Parkinson’s and blah, blah and said, but try not to take the medication because it doesn’t do much good.
John Coleman (09:43):
And, and this had a real impact on me because I thought, well, he’s a prominent, very well known neurosurgeon who obviously deals with many people with neurological disorders telling me that the drugs won’t help me very much. So I started looking and look this…..this knowledge has grown over the last 20 odd years. So some of what I’m saying wasn’t an early discovery. It was what I’ve discovered over those years. But we know that the neurodegeneration begins with stress or trauma over a fairly long term or six weeks or more with toxins in the environment and in many people with infections. And for me, I related back to my life. I spent four weeks at home and I could hardly walk or take care of myself. Looking back on my life and I saw definitely abuse, stress, trauma in my life, starting pre birth preconception really. so there were those influences and there were physical, emotional, sexual abuse in those early years of my life. So that obviously had some influence. And then I looked at what that had created in my life in my response to those early years was to eat badly used stimulants like coffee, sugar to smoke very heavily. I started smoking at nine years old. I’m an addict and to being in contact with a number of other toxins in the environment so that obviously my body was burdened and that was damaging my nervous system. So what I had to do was number one, make up my mind that I could do something about it. Number two, I had to change. And the thing I had to change first was my head. I had to make up my mind that I was in charge. And so I largely, ignored the naysayers, the people who said, well, you have an incurable disease.
John Coleman (12:23):
You can’t do anything about it. Why don’t you join an association and look they will Teach you all about drugs and you can donate money for research, for already rich people to research trivia, to find a cure that will never be found. And so I chose to step out on my own and I was opposed vehemently, often by people close to me. And I divorced my family for two years because I realized they were some of the toxic influences in my life. That was my biological family. I saw my son occasionally, my surviving son who was Dean in his late teens, early twenties. And I worked my way through it and with many changes to the way I ate and re supplements. In 1996, I discovered Bowen therapy. I read an article by Julian Baker in a complementary medicine magazine and something resonated and i said, you need to explore this.
John Coleman (13:45):
And so I actually did training even on a secretly trained with Rick loader in Bowtech. And It took me quite a long time. I saw the power in helping other people, but it took me a while to realize it was going to help me. And Rick started treating me in 1997 I discovered aqua hydration formulas during a lecture with a endocrinologist …….who was one of the developers and these helped. So by 1997, I was making progress and I was seeing that there was a pattern and then I’d be covered. I was symptom free about three and half years after my diagnosis. And I also finished my studies, my diploma and naturopathy at the end of the day. Now that did take me 19 years to do it! a Four year diploma. But Hey, you know, I, I learned more out of college than in college I think. And so I thought that I would set myself up, you know, as a general practitioner, naturopath and deal with colicky babies and maybe some acne and, and you know, Tired mums and the first patient who walked into my clinic had Parkinson’s disease and I thought this is overwhelming, but we explored options and he started and couple of weeks later, my second patient came and he had Parkinson’s disease.
John Coleman (15:46):
And so this is getting a bit tiresome. And over the next few months, I saw the majority of people who came to me had Parkinson’s and they had , heard my story one way or another. You know, I’d been interviewed, they’ve been tiny articles in newspapers, et cetera, about what I was trying to do. And people came to me because they were desperate to take control, not because they wanted a cure. And I’ve always made it clear there is no cure for Parkinson’s or any other disease, but because they wanted to take back control and those who persisted started to get well. So that’s the beginning.
Dr Manon (16:36):
There are no coincidences. Clearly there’s a path that you need to learn. My goodness gracious, it’s really Testament to, I think that the first point is, is to look at things and trust when you’re getting kind of resistance or strange messaging or, or you know, or whatever might be happening, but to, to look at them and go, well, there must be something else. There must be something more, you know? And then life just does seem to work for us. You know, it brings, I mean there’s losses, it’s hard. And you know, the discovery of all the things and all the people that you’ve helped, you know, is, is tremendous. And the hope as well that, that so many people I know when I was diagnosed with ms you know, it’s like, well, you know, go join a group and it’s like a group that’s going to go sit in wheelchairs and that’s their end result. And it’s like, no, no, I knew that that wasn’t going to be the case. And I was already a naturopath, but I hadn’t figured out why my life was bringing me there, And I hadn’t taken full responsibility of why my life was leading me there. Right. And I’m not saying we, you every disease that we manifest is our fault. But the point is we participate in it and therefore we can participate out of it, you know, and change things completely. So anyway, it’s quite moving to hear your story.
John Coleman (18:17):
So it’s what happens to us has a profound effect, but the most profound effect is what we do with what happens to us. And we always have choices. we can choose to say, well, all this is terrible. This has happened to me so and so has done this to me. Or, you know, life has done this to me. Or we can say, well, here’s where I am today. What do I do now to get where I want to be? And sometimes that takes a long time. Yeah. And sometimes it’s really hard work, but we always have a choice. You know, I have a patient who is 50 female. Now her background is a violently abusive childhood sort of stuff. You don’t read the newspapers because it’s too violent. But worked through that became an athlete, had a number of injuries as an athlete, including a number of concussions.
John Coleman (19:44):
In her teenage years was bitten by a couple of ticks and developed Lyme disease and Bartonella, but was misdiagnosed and mistreated as most people are. In later years when she had a group diagnosis really got stuck into working. So meditating very careful food choices. Exercise, worked through a whole lot of damaging background with the number of therapists around her own power And so really doing very, very well. And then for reasons yet to be determined, developed dysautonomia had two falls with head impact and has developed really bad symptoms again. Now the temptation is to say, find me a wheelchair. You know, I’ll go into care, blah, blah, blah. But no, she said, what the hell do I have to learn from this? What can I do to change the outcome? So this is, you know, it’s a tough journey. It’s a really tough journey, but she’s learning a lot and there’s an enormous strength there from an adverse event. So we always have that choice.
Dr Manon (21:35):
Oh, it’s a journey, if we can honour the fact……. Both the practitioner can honour it, but that also the client or the patient honours that, this whole ridiculous notion of the quick fix the magic pill that, you know, the, Oh well let’s just put a big bandaid on here. This will go away. Or it’s incurable, which is the other big band, you know, the journey of healing is unbelievably satisfying as well. If you engage it because you learn things that you would, you would never have come across, so then you transform as a person. You can never be the same.
John Coleman (22:28):
No, no. And would we want to, when we understand who we were, and not that we were bad or wrong, but do we want to be the same? Of course we don’t because that old person was a person that became ill.
Dr Manon (22:44):
Correct. Or participated in that piece,I do get people saying, I’m very…. I’m the crazy optimist, you know one because I just, I think I was born that way, but you know, when I had MS and then I developed stage four cancer 10 years later, right. And it’s like, goodness gracious, you could say, well, what is the universe doing to me? How is this happening? And it’s like, okay, wait a minute here. You haven’t done all your work. I could blame a million things if I was that type of person. But it’s like I took that on and you know, and I healed all naturally both of them completely naturally. So I do think that I just, I want people to really hear, and I think your story really demonstrates that, is that there is hope and the journey itself. It’s full of hope.
John Coleman (23:46):
I don’t want to be seen to be someone who has issues with Western medicine because our journeys are a bit similar…….. In 2015 I was diagnosed with stage three cancer. Oh my goodness. So that was another time of reflection saying, well, what haven’t I finished? And looking back, I can see reasons that I developed bowel cancer. Number one, my toxic lifestyle early on going back further, my parents toxic life style and my grandparents toxic lifestyle, that’s for sure. But my toxic lifestyle as I said, only half jokingly, I was a pain in the ass to people for so many years. It ended up biting me there But yeah, I had something to learn. Now I chose a combined approach. There was a massive tumour in my bowl that really needed to be removed and I was very lucky in finding a very humane, open-minded surgeon who was prepared to let me have a lot of say what was going on. And I still have contact with him once a year. I had a founder oncologist who pretty much said, well, you do whatever you like and I’ll tell you if, if it’s working a not. And so these were really good doctors who supported me and surgery certainly was great. And then I’ve used the combined foods…..supplements, meditation, dancing, singing. So it was part of the journey. Absolutely. I had something else to learn.
Dr Manon (25:59):
And I think that’s the key. It’s not anti this or anti that. It’s having the sense that you’re controlling in the sense of your journey, that you’re participating in it, that you’re being heard and then you can, you can actually make choices, you know, I think, and then the choice might be, in your situation. That made perfect sense. And I’ve seen that absolutely. With my patients. You know, where it’s the right thing to do. Absolutely. So it’s not, it’s not I completely agree with you on that level. So I want you to …..if you don’t mind, like explore a little bit with your healing and Bowen. Can you explain why, and I know you also shared with me your protocol as well. But explain to me what your understanding of, how did Bowen therapy help in this, in your recovery with Parkinson’s?
John Coleman (27:11):
I think we’re still discovering the mechanism of action to some degree. We know some of it. I intuitively felt that it was helping me , I knew that it reduced my pain and increased my mobility. Particularly I had a frozen right shoulder and my right hip was very painful. So that certainly helped there. So intuitively I knew that when I started treating people with Parkinson’s, I didn’t have a clear understanding of the protocol. You know, they were my lab rats. But I, I was pretty certain that they all needed to change their food intake, that they all needed to meditate because it was good evidence for meditation that they needed to have exercise. So, and, and there was also, again, some reasonable evidence that the Aqua hydration formulas were working on the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal axis. And so assisting with dopamine production and distribution.
John Coleman (28:30):
So what we did was with all my patients over a two year period, the diet, the food, the meditation, the dancing, singing, laughing, etc etc they are the aquas and then they chose a bodywork and some did massage, reflexology, Feldenkrais, acupuncture, etc some did Bowen And because at the time I was seeing all my patients pretty regularly rather than having them spread around the world I was able to keep notes of their progress and I found that the end of two years the people using Bowen were making better progress. So that, that was number one. And then I saw Russell Sturgis, his work and then Ellen Oyston’s worked on facia and realized that part of the action of Bowen is actually causing isotrope in the fascias. So we were getting fluids through the fascia that was enabling fascia to do its work as an immune organ, as a circulation organ, a mobility organ to support posture, to hydrate the brain, right.
John Coleman (29:52):
And to transport neurotransmitters and help detox. So that was certainly part of it. Now, I suspect there are deeper effects there are emotional changes and there are hormonal changes. If we do Bowen well we can see changes in our patients. I don’t think as yet we fully understand the mechanisms of that but the effect we definitely do. And I continue to see beneficial effects when people take control of their health and I do all the practical things, right? The stuff they can do. So food, fluid intake, exercise, meditation, laughter, self-love, et cetera. And the Bowen facilitates that. It’s part of the supportive network . And the other thing I find, which is really important and I’ve seen positive and negative, the therapist is an important instrument in that journey. And if a Bowen therapist says, and I’ve had this experience says, well, you know, I’m going to treat you the way I know you should be treated and if you’re not fixed in three treatments then it’s not working,then they are not an instrument for healing, but if the Bowen therapist on the other hand is one of those people who relates to their patient and allows some discourse, allows the patient to release the emotions as well as the physical beingand is persistent on a long term journey with them. And we’ve found, you know treatment every couple of weeks over two, three, four years. Then we see a wonderful partnership assisting in the healing. And sometimes it’s part of the therapist healing as well.
Dr Manon (32:26):
Very interesting. Well we have so much in common. It’s so,interesting. when I learned Bowen therapy, it was at the time, much more mechanical, it was seen as a mechanical thing, I was thrown into, when I started my practice, I was seeing people who had been traumatized and not just physical trauma, but mental, emotional trauma as well. And it forced me to, and I have this tool, of course, I had naturopathy and homeopathy, but they were sent to me for physical therapy. And somehow I felt like there’s, there’s, there’s more to why this is working. So I that became my absolute passion and and really trying to……..there are gaps. There’s things, I don’t understand why, but one thing, I do feel that with the fascia, we have cellular memory and memories that we’ve, we’re maybe not even aware of that have surfaced. And so unlike, you know, some other physical pain might be fixed in, three, five treatments. If we’re dealing with something like this, there’s a lot more, there’s a lot more to it. And, the long term care, you know, makes, makes a lot of sense in the sense that it’s a relationship of healing, you know. So anyway, fascinating.
John Coleman (34:06):
And I do agree. And I should have mentioned this, that for physical injury, Bowen can be magic very quickly. And…….. I remember the day i walked into a sandwich shop. And the person who I knew quite well behind the counter said, I’m sorry, I can’t help you at the moment. I’ll get so and so to do it because I’ve hurt my elbow and i said, what’s wrong? ……………Oh, I don’t know just pulled it. I was gardening, whatever,………… and you know, being a loud mouth I just said, well, give me your arm. And I did the Bowen shoulder and arm movements across the counter …..and she said,…… okay, here’s your sandwich. Now.!!!!!!!
John Coleman (34:55):
It just healed it !fixed the physical distortion, whatever it was. And yeah, look, nothing better than being out in the garden doing paving or whatever. See your Bowen therapist, have a treatment, all the body celebrates. But for Parkinson’s MAs, MSI P is P for chronic disorders. It’s a journey. They’re chronic for a reason. Nothing’s going to be fast. We need to learn. There’s a fusion. I was given many, many years ago. I was in a meditation, social, spiritual development circle. I had a lot of messages come to me and I was shown a vision of a very narrow footbridge across a Canyon, something like the grand Canyon. Huge. And I was told I had to go from this side to that side. You know, it’s a long way and I’m unwell. I’m on a ride, a bike or drive a car or flying and said, no, you walk. Because every point on that bridge shows you America, the view is fantastic. And every stepping shoe in your view and your vision, you need to walk that bridge. And that, that’s a journey with, with illness, whatever it is, you know, we need to walk.
John Coleman (36:39):
There’s no fast way across the bridge.
Dr Manon (36:47):
This has been so inspiring. I’m so glad to be able to share this. You know, with people who need to have hope, but who also need to understand that there’s so many. Like I say, many different strokes for different folks, but this is a stroke that many people don’t know about . So I really wanted to talk you know, about Bowen therapy because even though it’s not fully understood… I mean, I started my practice 30 years ago. Facia wasn’t really a thing. Right. You know, it was like bubble wrap that we take out, you know, or, or like packing, you know, in surgeries. They would just take it out, and without understanding how significant it is. So anyway, it’s such a pleasure talking with you. So any last anything you want to leave with cannot do a little bit of advertising. Absolutely. And so we’re going to put all your links underneath that as well.
John Coleman (37:54):
My new book, rethinking Parkinson’s disease, which explores everything we’ve talked about and more, all the known causes of neurodegeneration and strategies to turn those causes around will be released around August this year. So there’s links on my, on my website, et cetera. I’m very excited about it because it’s the culmination of 20 odd years of research and experience. And is it complete? No, because we are still learning, but to me it’s a very exciting achievement to get this document finished and in the hands of the publishers. And I’m hopeful it will help many people. Other than that, I’m always happy to chat to people and I love keeping in touch with you. I keep an eye on what you’re doing and what’s going on and it’s lovely to see your face again.
Dr Manon Well, thank you for being a guest here and I will do everything I can to get your book out as well. Thank you.