Our 40th Anniversary Year!
Michael B. Schachter, M.D.
Looks Back on the Center's 40 Year History -- 1974 to 2014
Originally published in the November 2014
issue of Inner Realm
Magazine -- http://www.InnerRealmMagazine.com
is hard to believe that our Center has been around for 40 years. My late
partner, David Sheinkin, M.D. and I started the practice as Mountainview Medical
Associates in Nyack, N.Y. in 1974.
Prior to this move, both of us had worked as psychiatrists at the Rockland
Community Mental Health Center in Pomona, N.Y. Both of us had developed some
unusual interests for psychiatrists. Dave was fascinated by energy phenomena as
exhibited by Kirlian photography and the role that psychospiritual factors
played in mental health. I had become interested in the role of nutrition and
nutritional supplements in helping to heal patients with psychiatric complaints.
Originally, our focus was on psychatric patients using nutrition and
supplements. We quickly learned that what we were doing had a name --
orthomolecular psychiatry -- a term coined by the late two-time Nobel Prize
winner, Linus Pauling PhD. The term "ortho" means right. It involves
creating an optimal molecular environment for the brain, using natural
substances (vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids and herbs) in
order to promote healing and repair. We also developed an interest in
environmental medicine, which investigates a person's individual reactions to
specific foods and chemicals. This interest led to Dave and I coauthoring a book
in 1979 entitled The Food Connection. The paperback edition was
published as Food, Mind and Mood.
Two years later in 1982, Dave
was tragically killed in a private plane crash, a tremendous shock to me and a
terrible loss to all who knew him. Mountainview Medical Associates continued on
in two locations in Nyack under my sole direction, though several other
physicians were employed by the practice over the years.
In 1991, we left Nyack and moved into a modern office building on Executive
Boulevard in Suffern, N.Y., where we remain to this day. I changed the name
to the Schachter Center for Complementary Medicine. We continued the policy
of Mountainview Medical Associates to evaluate and treat all kinds of
patients, as we found that our approach applied to all patients, not
only to psychiatric ones. My thinking had been influenced by serious health
problems in my own family, including my daughter who had cerebral palsy, my
mother who had brain cancer and my father who had circulation problems.
These problems had not been helped by conventional methods.
Approach to Cancer Patients
In 1974, I was impressed by the book and film, World Without Cancer, which
recommended a nutritional approach to cancer that featured the natural substance
amygdalin, Laetrile or vitamin B17. I began to think about cancer in a different
way. Conventional cancer specialists ignored the extensive medical evidence that
lifestyle and nutrition could play a role in preventing and treating cancer.
Cancer patients looking for a different approach contacted our office. Our
approach to managing cancer patients has evolved and changed over the years.
Several of my articles are
available on this website. Also available from our office are DVDs of several of
my lectures on a variety of cancer topics.
Our treatment strategies support
the patient's own defenses against cancer. We look to improve the patient's
innate cellular immunity by supplying optimal amounts of nutrients. We also
treat many patients with high dose intravenous vitamin C on a regular basis.
the past two years, we have been recommending salvestrols, a natural supplement
that consists of extracts from organic fruits. These salvestrols interact with
the CYP1B1 enzyme which is present in cancer cells, but absent in normal cells.
There is considerable evidence that non-toxic salvestrols react with the CYP1B1
enzyme to produce metabolites that induce cell death in cancer cells.
cancer patients at all stages of the disease. Some of our patients reject
certain conventional cancer recommendations. One good example is a breast cancer
patient who has had a lumpectomy, but doesn't want radiation therapy. For years,
we have followed many of these patients who have done well after choosing this
We help patients make decisions about conventional treatment options
based on the best available science and try to empower the patient to make each
decision, rather than just accept the standard protocol as a given. An excellent
book which helps to empower the cancer patient is Radical Remission
by Kelly Turner, PhD. She has studied in depth cancer patients who have
recovered when they were expected not to do so. I believe anyone with cancer
should read this book for inspiration and to help develop a plan to successfully
manage his/her cancer.
Over-Medicated Patients with Anxiety and Depression
When we opened the practice in 1974, we were not fully aware of how damaging
psychotropic medications could be. Over the years it has become clear that
patients with any anxiety and/or depression symptoms are immediately given
anti-anxiety and/or anti-depressant medications. Sometimes they seem to help
somewhat, but frequently they do not, but patients continue to take them anyway.
The result is that they now have another problem, which is the damage caused by
long-term use of these drugs and the difficulty getting off them because of
Psychiatrists and family physicians alike are reluctant
to stop any psychotropic medication or, if they do, they immediately replace it
with another one. Patients are not given the opportunity to see how they feel
and/or function without medication at all. When patients attempt to stop
medication on their own, they almost alway suffer from severe withdrawal
effects. Physicians generally interpret this to mean that the underlying
disorder is coming out, rather than withdrawal symptoms are occurring.
information about the long-term adverse effects of benzodiazepines (Xanax,
Klonopin, Valium and others), see the excellent monograph by Dr. Heather Ashton,
which can be accessed here at http://www.benzo.org.uk/manual/
major way that we deal with helping patients get off psychotropic medications is
to support the patient nutritionally with diet and supplements, and then slowly
taper the medications. Patients, when off the medication, often say that they
forgot how well they could feel when off medication.
EDTA Chelation Therapy
for Cardiovascular Disease
EDTA Chelation Therapy for cardiovascular disease has been an extremely
controversial treatment since the 1950's. Nevertheless, a significant minority
of alternative health practitioners who have considerable experience with this
treatment regard it as extremely valuable.
After a congressional hearing about
the use of EDTA Chelation Therapy for cardiovascular disease in 1999, the
National Institute of Health agreed to fund a $30 million dollar, double-blind,
placebo-controlled trial to see if this therapy was beneficial. Our Center
participated in this Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT). The study began
in 2002 and was completed in 10 years. To the astonishment of the conventional
medical world, the trial showed benefit for patients with heart disease,
especially a subgroup that was diabetic. A second trial is being planned and our
Center will again participate.
Staff and Atmosphere at the Schachter Center
Over the years, the staff of the Schachter Center has been extremely stable
and a number of staff members have been with us for more than 30 years. The
atmosphere of our practice is upbeat. Frequently, I hear unsolicited comments
from patients about how they like to come to our office and enjoy the friendly
nature of our staff.
We hope to continue in this same vein for many years to
come! Contact our Center at 845-368-4700.