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Meet Brandon Horn of Lotus Center for Integrative Medicine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brandon Horn.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Brandon. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My professional career actually began as an attorney specializing in tax law. I was working for one of the big (at the time 6) accounting firms. While I enjoyed the intellectual challenges of being a tax attorney, I, unfortunately, developed some strange neurological symptoms after traveling internationally. Though I saw some of the best doctors in the country, none of them could help. At the time I was studying Tai Chi with an older generation Chinese man who, after seeing my condition deteriorate told me to go try acupuncture.

I tried and it didn’t help so he took it upon himself to check my pulses (a method of diagnosis in Chinese medicine) and based on his assessment of my condition and apparently my date of birth, he told me that I needed to study Chinese medicine on the West Coast and become a doctor. He also predicted that while studying I would meet a woman who would successfully treat my condition. Two years into my studies his prediction came true. When I graduated I began a practice with the woman who would eventually become my wife.

Through a series of events, my wife and I were asked by a team of reproductive medicine doctors to help them research the effects of acupuncture on women’s health. At that time I was also awarded a full scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. The reproductive studies my wife and I were involved in showing that acupuncture resulted in significant improvements in fertility and when the results of the studies came in we were inundated with fertility patients. At the same time, we began to see many cases that physicians said had no chance conceiving on their own.

After intense research, we developed ways of approaching these patients and ended up helping many of them get pregnant. As we became well known in the treatment of women with poor ovarian quality, we were invited to lecture in many venues around the world. During this time we traveled a lot and it was getting more difficult even for our regular patients to see us, so we started giving them exercises to do at home that were targeted toward their particular fertility problems. This strategy worked very well and we eventually compiled the exercises and made them public as a DVD called “Restoring Fertility: yoga for optimal fertility”.

Many people got pregnant after using those sets and we got hundreds of letters and reviews about them. UCLA medical school was given my name by one of the professors there and I was invited to speak. The presentation went well and I was invited to be a part of their faculty and teach a year-long course, which I did for many years. At around the same time, my wife who also was interested in fetal medicine and pediatrics had treated some difficult pediatric cases sent to her by physicians at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

The results were so good that the physicians asked her if she would help them start an acupuncture program there.

Eventually, my wife and I had kids and we wanted to be present for them, so we rearranged our lives accordingly. I took over her pediatric work at CHLA and cut out all travel and lecturing so I could focus on our patients. It’s now been 9 years since our daughter was born and we’re both in clinical practice and really enjoying working with our patients. We were honored to be asked recently to contribute the reproductive medicine chapter for a textbook published by one of the top medical publishers to be used in training the next generation of doctors in functional medicine.

While I’m focused on my patients and home life now, I still take the occasional speaking engagement so long as it’s a place my whole family wants to go … it’s a write-off and I guess the tax attorney never completely left.

Has it been a smooth road?
It definitely has not been a smooth road. This is actually the third iteration of our business as we had to break up the business two other times due to various differences that developed in goals and focus. For example, one of our partners wanted to do community acupuncture, which is a low cost/high volume way of practicing. It’s good for people with less financial resources and our partner, who is also a monk, wanted to serve a wider community.

For my wife and I, it wasn’t a good fit because our practice requires more time and care so we went our separate ways. Fortunately, our business partners have always been good friends of ours and we all value friendship more than business, so we are all still very close to this day with everyone we’ve been in business with.

Over the last 20 years we’ve had a variety of other challenges as well, but we are now a part of this place that is helping so many people and that despite the fact that we’ve grown to 7 practitioners, we’re still a close group and we all support each other, so we feel very fortunate in that respect.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Lotus Center for Integrative Medicine story. Tell us more about the business.
When it comes down to it, our company specializes in problem-solving. We treat a lot of complex health conditions but our training and research allow us to approach conditions from a very different perspective. The result is that we’ve been able to help reverse many diseases that are not typically considered reversible by conventional medicine.

For example, we’ve seen many cases of infertility where doctors told someone categorically that they would not be able to have kids with their own eggs; yet we were able to help them have kids with their own eggs. Many other chronic degenerative diseases can also be reversed such as arthritis, migraines, digestive disorders and so forth if you know how to identify and eliminate the primary causative factors, and that’s really our forte.

In the international arena, we’re particularly known for women’s health and infertility. However, we have 7 practitioners specializing in a variety of conditions. As a practice then we have both general practitioners and specialists in Pain and Arthritic conditions (such as osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and migraines), autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and MS), Gastrointestinal diseases (such as GERD, IBS and IBD), and cancer support. Where someone has conditions that span more than one specialist we all work together and round on patients. It’s an amazing collaborative practice.

Where do you see your industry going over the next 5-10 years?  Any big shifts, changes, trends, etc?
Many medical schools and hospitals have added acupuncture programs. Because it is so effective and relatively inexpensive (compared to surgery and/or a lifetime of expensive medications), I see huge growth potential.

Acupuncture, for example, was shown in a clinical trial to provide superior pain relief to opioids in the emergency department so there’s huge potential to help reduce dependency on pain medication. I actually remember a patient who was obese and crippled due to a bad case of plantar fasciitis (pain at the bottom of the feet). Because of it, he couldn’t exercise or do many of the things he enjoyed for the past 30 years.

I treated him and his pain instantly disappeared and he didn’t believe it, then he started crying. I thought they were tears of joy, but he was incredibly angry. He had this condition for 30 years and was addicted to pain medication and he couldn’t do many of the things he enjoyed because of a condition that could have been treated in less than 5 minutes. He was crying saying none of his doctors ever told him about acupuncture.

Of course, acupuncture isn’t a panacea and doesn’t cure everything, but there are many many cases where people have conditions that are considered incurable by conventional medicine that are treatable by acupuncture. By the same token, there are things that acupuncture cannot treat that conventional medicine can cure and it’s because of this that acupuncture is likely to become integrated into mainstream medicine within the next 5-10 years.

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