In the mid 70’s I lived at the Himalayan Institute ashram outside of Chicago for five years. We had both an outpatient medical clinic and an inpatient healing center where we would house and treat patients for two week periods. During their stay with us at the Himalayan Institute, we would offer evening classes in breathing, cooking, nutrition, meditation and chanting.
I really enjoyed the opportunity to working with people with ongoing and chronic illnesses as well as with people who wanted to immerse themselves in holistic and spiritual activities. It made a lot of sense and I saw great transformation when people had both time and guidance to help integrate life changes and be able to incorporate these new discoveries into every day life, on their own. We also offered guidance on an ongoing outpatient basis after people would leave the in house program.
Established by Swami Rama of the Himalayas, this "Combined Therapy" was a holistic program integrating Eastern natural therapies with conventional medicine, focused on enhancing an individual's ability to control his own health. The program was especially beneficial to those with chronic disorders or who are recovering from acute illness, high blood pressure, depression, fatigue and other emotional disorders, or an inability to relax and enjoy life.
Combined Therapy was structured in a 14-day residential format and included daily health assessments, holistic medical counseling, biofeedback, homeopathic clinics, relaxation training, diet assessment and counseling, and other therapies, along with training in skills that promote self-healing and help to maintain health. One of the unique features of the program was its spiritual content in the form of methodical practices of self-observation, silence, solitude and guidance in meditation.
Over the years, I sometimes yearned for the opportunity to again have the luxury of spending longer periods of time with patients/clients. Everyday regular medical practice always gives me great satisfaction, but sometimes it doesn’t afford me the opportunity to really help people change bad habits and incorporate new lifestyle activities. So from this desire came the idea of spending longer periods of time with individuals, treating and teaching people about life from the many dimensions that characterize this amazing life journey..
Out of this desire came the idea of Five Dimensional Healing. Borrowed from yogic model of koshas, which describes how the individual lives on many dimensions simultaneously, came the overall structure of the program. Genomic and biomolecular discoveries have added a great deal to our understanding how physiology affects psychology, how mind, emotions and the energy of metabolism and breathing affect and interplay with the brain and autonomic nervous system activity and how all this affects immunity and inflammation.
Our group that initiated this program include myself, James Around-Thomas, Maria Sylvester, and Cinda Hocking. Below is some information on all of us.
I practice classical homeopathy in Ann Arbor, Mi and I’ve taught yogic meditation and breathing techniques for 30 years. My teachers were trained in the Himalayan Mountains of India, Nepal, and Tibet. I received both my MD and MPH from the University of Michigan and I’m board certified in preventive medicine. My latest publications include the book and CDs How to Meditate Using Chakras, Mantras, and Breath and a book and CD ROM called The Complete Homeopathic Resource for Common Illnesses.
My close friend and colleague, James A. Arond-Thomas, MD, MSc received his M.D. and a Masters of Science degree in Autonomic Psycho-Pharmacology from Ohio State University. He completed an internship in Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychiatry at Bellevue Hospital and the New York University Medical Center and a medical residency at Harper Hospital. James served as a Research Associate at the National Institutes of Mental Health and taught autonomic-pharmacology at Wayne State University School of Medicine. He founded the Center for Contemporary Medicine in Ann Arbor, an integrative and complementary, behavioral oncology practice, which focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer, especially breast cancer.
My other good friends and co-workers working on 5DH with me are Maria Sylvester, MSW, CPC and Cinda Hocking, LMSW.
Maria is a Life & Wellness Coach here in Ann Arbor, MI. She sees adolescents, adults and couples in her practice and is a member of the International Coach Federation. Maria received her BA and MSW from the University of Michigan. Prior to developing her Life Coaching practice, she worked as a social worker on the Child and Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatric Unit at the University of Michigan Hospital and as a private practice therapist for 23 years. Maria is also a long term practitioner of yoga and meditation.
Cinda has a Master’s Degree in Social Work ( and has been a medical social worker for over 17 years. She is a black belt instructor in Kang Nei Chin Kung Fu, in both the martial and health (Qi Gong) applications. Her practice experience is in helping clients through wellness challenges and psychological barriers that interfere with their ability to create, choose, maintain and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.