Thank you for visiting our website to learn about me and All Worlds Health and Pediatrics. The practice represents so much of what I am all about, what I have learned, and how I believe patients should be treated – as partners worth listening to and working with to bring out their healthiest selves. To help you understand how we’re unique, I would like to share my story of how I got into integrative medicine.
I grew up in a family of conventional physicians who saw medicine as a noble calling. Going further back, my ancestors were both healers and farmers. From an early age, I was deeply interested in health, nature, and the connection between the two.
During my undergraduate days at Harvard and medical school studies at Emory, I was schooled in the rigors of science. In many studies, some subjects would receive an active drug or therapy while others would get a “placebo,” an inert pill or other sham treatment. The two sets of subjects wouldn’t know the difference. Frequently, much to the surprise (and dismay) of researchers, the placebo had a positive effect. When it did – when, in too many cases, an inactive pill made people better just like an active medicine did – the researchers would be back to square one.
I thought the placebo effect was wonderful! How was it that a person’s health could improve seemingly all on its own? Could we harness this power to help people get better all by themselves? It was hard, if not impossible, to get good answers to these questions. Still, the placebo results made me believe, more than ever, that we could do so much more. I wanted not just to harness not just the placebo effect, but to learn more about how health works and how it can work better.
I continued my training with a pediatric residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. It was another excellent institution, a place with plenty of lessons and great people. Still, something was missing. I yearned to learn more about things that I thought should essentials to healthy living – like nutrition and stress management – that hadn’t really come up at Harvard, Emory, or Albert Einstein. With the arduous hours and roller coaster of emotions you ride in an inner-city hospital, part of this quest was personal. To address my own stress, I gave yoga a try. Yoga reminded me how to breathe … easy, deep breaths that cleared the mind and connected me. During this time, I also came upon the writings of Dr. Andrew Weil – the Harvard-trained physician, author, and healthcare pioneer widely viewed as the father of integrative medicine. Aha! He was one of the first I came across who thought about the placebo effect the same way I did, believing in the vast potential of the human body, mind and spirit to help itself heal. While this perspective isn’t always common in mainstream medicine, it’s as old as medicine itself. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates said, “The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.”
While in New York, I explored the integrative medicine programs at Columbia University and New York University. After finishing my residency, I began a two-year integrative medicine fellowship based in Tucson, Arizona, that Dr. Weil founded and still helps run. Here, I found myself surrounded by open, like-minded physicians and integrative practitioners whose combined knowledge was like no other. Conventional medicine was invaluable, I knew. But so were the myriad ways that have been used for centuries, by people from all different cultures, to help people get and stay healthy. I learned so many new things, such as that omega-3’s can help reduce inflammation; access to nature can improve behavior; and healing touch can balance your energy. When I finished my fellowship, my therapeutic tool box had expanded exponentially. I’d been exposed to, and in many cases had hands-on practice in, different perspectives, techniques, and remedies that went well beyond surgery or a pharmaceutical drug. My desire to learn had grown significantly, too.
I was particularly intrigued with cranial osteopathy, discovering how a gentle treatment could do everything from straighten one’s smile to clear up ear infections to treat seizures. I began attending conferences run by The Osteopathic Cranial Academy and became friends with leaders in the field, eventually shadowing one particularly talented and well-schooled cranial osteopath. It helped, too, that this healing tool came naturally to me: My musical background and natural intuition were useful for the fine, perceptive skills needed to feel subtle rhythms that are fundamental to cranial osteopathy.
All these things I’ve learned, and put to practice every day, are in addition to a solid foundation in conventional medicine. I worked at a medical clinic for military families in northern Virginia and at a pediatric practice and hospital emergency room in Massachusetts before coming down to my home state of Georgia. Here, I’m excited to devote my energies to a practice that combines the best of all that I’ve learned – hence the name, All Worlds Health and Pediatrics.
I am honored and excited to offer you all that I have learned. My goal is to help your family feel healthier, happier, and more complete. While I cannot predict what will happen, as each person, each issue, and each treatment is unique, I can promise that I’ll bring an open heart and open mind to everything I do.
Wishing you the very best,
Arlene Dijamco, MD, FAAP