My name is Chris Kresser, and I’m a licensed acupuncturist and the author of The Healthy Skeptic. I’ve been interested in health and wellness since I was a kid. My high school basketball coach had our whole team on a special diet, and while most of my teammates couldn’t stand it, I actually loved the way I felt when I ate healthy food.
I did my undergraduate work at UC Berkeley. There I was introduced to Eastern spirituality and a wide range of health modalities and practices, from nutrition to meditation to tai qi to kundalini yoga to massage.
In my early 20s I set out to see the world. A few months into that trip, while traveling in Indonesia, I contracted a mysterious tropical illness. I recovered relatively quickly from the acute phase, but as I continued to travel it became painfully clear that the illness had morphed into a chronic condition.
I returned to the U.S. to seek medical care. In the next few years I saw more than twenty doctors around the world and spent thousands of dollars in an effort to diagnose and treat my condition. No one could figure out why I felt the way I did or what to do about it.
It became increasingly clear over time that if anyone was going to figure it out, it would have to be me. After all, nobody was even half as motivated as I was to find the answer! So I educated myself thoroughly about any health condition that resembled my own, and I learned to gather and analyze medical research so I could stay abreast of the latest developments.
In doing this research I discovered that many of the ideas and beliefs we hold about health in this society are myths. I began to see that even the most prestigious medical journals have become nothing more than sales brochures for the pharmaceutical industry. I saw massive conflicts of interest between drug companies, doctors and researchers everywhere I looked. I learned that errors in medical care are the third leading cause of death in this country each year.
I decided to do something about it. I considered medical school, with the intention of helping to reform the industry from the inside out. But while allopathic medicine excels at emergency and trauma care, it isn’t very good at fostering health. (In fact the subject of health rarely comes up at all in conventional medical textbooks, which are entirely focused on disease.)
I chose instead to study Chinese medicine, which has been successfully used for over 2,000 years to promote health and longevity in addition to treating disease. Whereas Western medicine uses powerful chemicals or invasive surgery to achieve its goals, acupuncture works by stimulating the body’s highly sophisticated self-healing mechanisms. This made so much more sense to me – especially as I learned more about the dangers of pharmaceutical drugs and the impact of medical errors.
I have complemented my study of acupuncture and herbs with a thorough education in functional medicine. Functional medicine is a personalized approach to health care that recognizes the biological uniqueness of each patient. In contrast to conventional care, which is almost entirely focused on suppressing symptoms, functional medicine eliminates symptoms by addressing the underlying cause of a problem. It is an evidence-based field of health care that views the body as an interconnected whole, and recognizes the importance of these connections in health and disease. In functional medicine, the patient is empowered, educated and encouraged to play an active role in the healing process.
I graduated from the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College in Berkeley in April 2010. I passed the California Acupuncture Licensing Exam in August of 2010, and I have a private practice in Berkeley, CA. I also consult with patients nationally and internationally.
I launched The Healthy Skeptic in 2008 to help others see through the common myths and misdirections peddled by the media and medical establishment. It is my sincere hope that the information on this blog will lead to greater health and well-being for you and those you love.