Integrating Medicine and Ideas

By Dr. Kelly Otani

I would like to introduce our Lotus Guide community to Dr. Otani, whom I met while being interviewed in the documentary A Wave of Compassion, which was about alternative ways to deal with addiction. When I met Dr. Otani, he was working for Enloe Hospital helping patients who had tried everything, so Dr. Otani was their last hope in a lot of situations. He now works at Feather River Hospital in the role of an integrative physician bridging East and West and taking medicine to new levels of understanding. I did an interview with Dr. Otani, which you can watch at Rahasya Poe, Lotus Guide


I am a Western-trained physician specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation. I treat patients who have suffered life-changing diseases and injuries that led to major disabilities. I work with the patients to try to help them adapt to their conditions, increase function, and improve their independence. I also treat chronic pain and commonly receive referrals from other medical specialists after the patient fails to improve with all other forms of conventional treatment. I became frustrated that with all my medical training, I was not having more of an impact on my patients’ healing. Albert Einstein said that when you reach a conflict with a certain level of thinking, you can’t find solutions from the same level of thinking that created the problem. You have to evolve your thinking to gain a different perspective to find the solution.

            Western medicine works well on the physical aspect of healing—repairing damaged blood vessels or bones, removing tumors or masses, or replacing molecules that are deficient in the body. However, we are mind, body, and spirit, not just physical beings. The mind is more powerful than the body, as shown by countless research studies involving the placebo effect, and the spirit is more powerful than the mind and represents higher consciousness or awareness that allows for changes of beliefs and behaviors.

            My medical training did not include study of mind and spirit. In studying the mind, I studied the works of some of the world’s greatest psychologists and psychiatrists. I wondered how avatars such as Jesus and Buddha were able to heal without surgeries or medications. I grew up Christian but I began studying Buddhism and Taoism. I studied with Native American healers. I did all this research to find different ways to help individuals to heal, but in the end, it ended up changing me and I could no longer practice medicine the same way I had been for many years. I left my medical practice and my previous life to further my studies and compile the knowledge in my book Paradox of Conscious Healing.

            Our health is affected by three factors, which are genetics, environment (the food we eat, the water we drink, the people we associate with), and behavior. We have control of two of the three factors. Our attitudes and beliefs play a large role in our health. A person with a positive attitude and a spiritual practice has twice the positive outcome and survival rate from cardiac surgery or cancer than those who don’t. Attributes such as forgiveness, gratitude, personal responsibility, and higher purpose provide the necessary tools that promote greater health. Certain diseases lie in the energetic fields of specific emotions that encompass the body, such as guilt, anger, or fear. Each emotional field has its own limited perception of truth and reality. The emotional fields affect the body’s physiology in an unhealthy way. By transcending these negative emotions to reach a higher truth, we also transcend unwanted conditions and diseases.

            The Dalai Lama said that what people seek in life is happiness. Happiness comes from four things: good health, wealth, worldly satisfaction (relationships with one’s partner, family, community, and the world), and enlightenment (one’s spiritual practice). The truth is that all these aspirations are achievable by raising one’s level of consciousness, and then happiness, personal wealth, and love also become more achievable.

            The human body is like a community of cells that work together for a higher purpose, your authentic self. Some cells are like policemen (immune cells) that protect the body from harm, some are like sanitation workers (kidney and bowel) that remove toxins, and some are like construction workers (bone cells) that provide structure and mobility.

            Autoimmune disease occurs when the cells of the body are attacking other cells, which leads to illness and early death. Today this is also reflected in our outer world with the increasing divisiveness and conflict that has a collective negative effect on our nation and also globally.

            Major challenges are confronting humanity in today’s world, such as energy consumption, environment, and the economy, all of which can have a devastating impact on humanity. The Native Americans have known this for decades and termed this the great shift. We all will be affected and it is up to each of us to make a difference out of compassion for ourselves and others and to do what we can within our circle of influence.

            Paradox of Conscious Healing was written to unify Eastern and Western spiritual practices, psychology, and science to maximize healing and enhancing life for an individual, but these can also heal a community and the rest of the world. Whether one is a Democrat or Republican, a Christian or Buddhist, rich or poor, putting aside differences and working together for a greater, common good can make miracles happen. Instead of emphasizing “being right,” emphasize “doing the right thing.” By healing yourself, you heal your relationships, your community, and the world.


Dr. Otani works at Feather River Hospital in Paradise, CA