The natural route

The real-life drama of Dr. Amit Hanin, naturopath and chairman of the Israel Naturopath Association, has led her to pave the way to a holistic way of life whereby she helps herself and her clients to accept, listen and give.

Dr. Amit Hanin (photo credit: DORON SHAHAM)
Dr. Amit Hanin
(photo credit: DORON SHAHAM)
‘In my doctoral thesis, I claim that men and women have changed due to civilization,” says Dr. Amit Hanin, naturopath, Chinese medical practitioner, herbalist and chairman of the Israel Naturopath Association.
“In this era, women have to work and be more ‘manly,’ causing something of the animal within us to be extinguished. There isn’t enough expression of who we really are. Men live in fear of having to provide everything, but they also have to be understanding, share in the housework, do the cleaning shopping, which affects their manliness. The way relationships are expressed is damaged, as well as sexual attraction and the desire to be together. My work has entailed research of a specific natural substance. I examined what happens when a couple in a committed relationship takes the substance for an extended period of time. The results were amazing,” she says.
We will hear about the specific results in the near future when her thesis is published.
Hanin is a temperamental woman, beautiful and full of drama. From the moment she sits down with me at a café, she begins to recount her fascinating life story.
She was born in Shikun Dan in Tel Aviv, is the mother of two teenage daughters and lives in Kiryat Ono. She teaches naturopathy and has a private clinic in Kiryat Ono.
Why did you choose the field of naturopathy?
As a child, I always wanted to be a doctor. I actually started studying medicine at UCLA; but after three semesters I returned to Israel, and my mother suggested that I study complementary medicine. After four years, I completed my degree and began teaching. During my studies I was exposed to homeopathic medicine and Chinese medicine.
What do you concentrate on while working? I listen to the client. I get to know him/her as if we were both one entity. I have that ability. When the client is in front of me, everything opens up. The process actually begins on the phone when we schedule the appointment. I know exactly what suits every client. I teach him/her, and that’s the amazing thing.
I believe that the guru method is passé. People want to be independent and to heal themselves.
I try to mentor my students to teach their clients and to show them the way to heal themselves.
I see the client as an entire world, and I don’t take them for granted. I enjoy being with each one of them. In the end, they all do what I tell them because I perceive them in a holistic way.
What is holism?
In my eyes, holism is sitting with a person who receives a range of things that he/ she needs. I see in front of me a person who has gone to all the hospital department heads, and everyone knows what to give him/her. Holism means creating a state of wholeness, what is right for the individual client. Every person has different issues.
For example, four women with vaginal infections will have totally different reasons for it. I don’t have drawers full of standard treatment protocols; I match the right treatment to the individual. I don’t believe there is one way of treating. Everyone is different. That is the essence of treatment. I start with every client from the beginning, I accept and I listen. If you’re critical, you can’t listen. I believe that things happen the way they’re supposed to.
Giving what is needed
In 2003 Hanin’s mother, Sarah Ben-Adiri, was killed. She was an innocent bystander who walked into an elevator in a building on Yitzhak Sade St., and an explosive device meant for a criminal exploded at the wrong time.
“My mother was everything to me, and I didn’t believe this could happen,” says Hanin. “She was a smart and beautiful woman. She instilled in me a lot of what I am today. My father and mother were like a hand and a glove. At the moment that the bomb exploded, my father screamed. He felt that something had happened to her. I feel that in the explosion, parts of her were transferred to us. I sense that she gave a part of herself to each of us. I grew up in a house where relationships were good, and our parents raised us with an open heart.”
Five years later, in 2008, a tumor was found in Hanin’s brain.
“I went to the best surgeon in the world, Dr. Zvika Ram, for emergency surgery. It was a difficult and complicated procedure. I was in intensive care for two and a half weeks.
Since then, my hearing and sight have decreased. I went through another operation, and I suffered terrible pains. I tried to think of a solution to the problem. I worked with mushrooms and acupuncture and succeeded in relieving the pain by creating endorphins in my body. I recovered. And since then, my visits to the doctor are few. I understood that if I brought the tumor upon myself, I could also get rid of it,” she says.
What do you like to do most?
I can’t stop learning. I received two offers for postdocs in cancer, and I’m considering whether it’s the right thing to do because it means I won’t have time to practice. My two daughters are my main hobby. We enjoy dancing together.
We turned a whole floor upstairs into a dance studio. If I have time, I go to their dance studio and just enjoy watching them.
What do you want to do in the future?
I want to open a chain of medical centers that aims to provide people with everything they need in complementary medicine with a complete Western understanding. The center will employ practitioners that will meet the needs of many people: children, women, adults, terminally ill patients, families of the sick, children who don’t eat and children with ADD.
I believe in togetherness, in something that is integrative.
I believe in a person’s power and in the need to channel that power together in order to find the right nutrition and treatments. I think that when I had surgery to have the tumor removed, they took out the tumor, as well as my ego.
• Not everything that is considered healthy is healthy, and vice versa.
• Drink water in sips and not at once, so that the body can retain it better.
• Cut vegetables as little as possible to preserve their vitamins.
• Life is fast, so adapt recommendations to life and not the opposite.
• Even lazy people can cook in five minutes.
Five-Minute Recipe: Tuna Mousse
This dish is rich in protein and, together with vegetables, makes a complete meal.
• 2 cans of tuna in olive oil
• ½ squeezed lemon
• ½ purple onion (optional)
Preparation: Blend all ingredients in a bowl with a hand blender.
The lemon-olive oil combination creates a mayonnaise texture, while the blender whips it into a mousse.