The single, most effective preventive measure I ever took to decrease my risk of breast cancer was early in life. When I picked the skinny swimmer with the “x,y” as the one to slam into my mummy’s ovum, I came out the other end of the gender lottery as “male.” That reduced my risk of getting breast cancer to nearly nil. Of course, statistically, I have a much higher prospect of prostate cancer and a shorter life span than those who went with the “x,x” package.

I do not seek to make light of breast cancer, an epidemic disease among American women. Rather, it’s important to remember that preventing disease is natural and one way of looking at that is to see it as limiting risk. Choosing maleness as a gender is one way to limit risk. But there is more to do beyond that, especially if you picked the “x,x” side of the ledger and hit the ground as a female.

Conventional American medicine recommends smart choices in diet, activity, environment and sometimes they even recognize mental attitude. But specifics are hard to find. Explanations why those lifestyle changes affect risk are even more difficult to learn from most conventional docs, women’s clinics and healthcare systems.

Not all of the lifestyle changes Western medicine has been advocating, in the area of many diseases, are consistent. As an example, fats have been lambasted as unacceptable. Only recently are some conventional models recognizing that there are some fats that are good for us because they lower risk of disease, including breast cancer. When it comes to reasons and explanations, American medicine relies greatly on the sheaves of numbers, readouts and statistics that “prove” something. Sometimes, that’s all well and good. But haven’t you noticed how often those studies come out and then a couple weeks or years later, something else comes out to correct the first one. Western medicine is in its infancy.

Yin and Yang of it. Traditional Chinese Medicine and ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicine are the two oldest, formalized medical systems in the world. Both came out of cultures in neighboring parts of the world and in fact, trace some of their early documents to about the same time period, in the millennium preceding the current modern era. That makes much of their written records nearly 3000 years old. If you want to think about it one way, that gives both systems a three-millennium head start over modern medicine when it comes to trial-and-error. I’m not being facetious.

Those systems vary greatly in many of their approaches and have differently expressed philosophies. What’s important is that both have been around for so long that it is unwise to ignore the areas where they both can do the most good. One of those areas is in prevention. Both systems are very lifestyle-centered. And as we’ve noted, lifestyle has tremendous impact on breast cancer.

Linda Horner, M.D. When I learned Dr. Linda Horner was coming to Omaha for a special event, I took a look at her most recent book, Waking the Warrior Goddess: Harnessing the Power of Nature & Natural Medicines to Achieve Extraordinary Health. Horner is a conventionally trained American doctor. Her accolades in that field are many. But Horner goes beyond that. She is a student of the natural medicines that are described in Ayurveda. In fact, by the second chapter of her book, I was hooked. When a Western-trained doctor demonstrates such a deep understanding of the laws of Nature and is willing to step outside the comfort zone of most American docs, it’s impressive.

Dr. Horner describes in great detail the theoretical underpinnings of why we should be making lifestyle changes to prevent disease and assure health. By tying the knot to Nature, something we can all relate to, it takes the reader beyond just the idea of “because the research shows…” and “studies prove…”. Sure, numbers and analysis are great, but they should not take the place of deeper, real thinking.

Master Chen His given name is, Yun Xiang Tseng and he trained from age six on China’s sacred Wu Dang Mountain (made famous in the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). His teacher, Li Chen Yu, was an esteemed female Grand Master who lived to 130 years. Martial artist, Taoist priest, and world-renowned healer over 25 years, Chen conveys the purity and sanctity of mystical texts, oral lineages, and ancient philosophies and practices in an entertaining and accessible form. Omaha’s Four Winds Natural Health Center is sponsoring Master Chen’s visit this weekend. Chen’s program is extensive and includes a variety of aspects of the traditional Chinese healing arts. One can sign up for individual segments or take the whole weekend package.

Both these events will be held at the OM Center, Omaha’s pre-eminent venue for holistic healing events. Master Chen is this weekend and Dr. Horner will be here Thursday.

Be well.

Heartland Healing is a New Age polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. It is not an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or The Reader. Visit for past articles.

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