The woman’s voice on the other end of the call is warm, engaging, gently authoritative, and full of passion. You know you’re listening to an unusual physician when she shares that she has been practicing Transcendental Meditation for 10 years.
Dr. Mimi Guarneri, founder and president of The Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine (AIHM), began her career as an interventional cardiologist but now sees her role as a physician much more broadly. Western medicine has an important role, she says, but treatment needs to be comprehensive so that it addresses the many aspects of patients’ problems. She practices with a deep respect for the patient as a whole person, and collaborates with a team of other healing professionals, including practitioners of Healing Touch, Chinese Medicine and mind-body therapies. She has come a long way from being that Dr. Guarneri who did 700 cardiac stent procedures a year.
Dr. Guarneri is on a journey that has led her to find a number of bridges to healing that she did not learn about in medical school. Her journey included the good fortune (alas, there are no accidents!) of becoming the principal investigator researching Dr. Dean Ornish’s revolutionary program for reversing heart disease.
As she continues to tell her story, you recognize that Dr. Guarneri is a visionary and a leader, exploring frontiers of health and wellness.
She said that in her life when the universe provides an opening, she knows to take the opportunity. That was true many years ago when she was suffering with a frozen shoulder. She happened to be in NYC and a friend recommended she see a Chinese acupuncturist. Though she had never experienced acupuncture, Dr. Guarneri agreed to see this doctor. She had a remarkable, near-instantaneous healing, though first she experienced what she learned was a healing crisis—sudden, intense, make-you-cry pain—and then a complete healing. From this she learned that Chinese Medicine was legitimate.
Another time she was suffering and was treated by her friend and colleague who is a Healing Touch practitioner. Once again, her condition resolved. She was so impressed that she decided to study Healing Touch and became an instructor. By then she was convinced that energy was an important component of healing.
Having the courage to walk through that opening, Dr. Guarneri began to see her patients differently. She understood that there was a close relationship between the patients’ emotional, psychological and spiritual challenges and their physical problems. The focus of treatment had to become broader, more inclusive.
This awareness led Dr. Guarneri to embrace integrative medicine where energy therapies and other so-called alternative therapies would be offered alongside allopathic medicine. She says that there is “room at the table” for all these approaches.
Dr. Guarneri has seen her vision become a reality at the Scripps Hospital Integrative Medical Clinic and in her current practice, Guarneri Integrative Health at Pacific Pearl La Jolla. Still dedicated to research, Dr. Guarneri’s next vision is to open a lab to study the physiological effects of Qi.
Listen to Dr. Guarneri in her own words talk about CHI—The Consciousness and Health Initiative.
The Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation is pleased to join Dr. Guarneri on this journey to build a bridge to discover our remarkable healing abilities.
Click here to learn more and register for our Building Bridges conference, coming this October.