Happy Birthday, Dr. Bastyr

The namesake of my University would have been 100 years old today, and I think this would have made him proud:

I first saw this video on May 5, 2012 in Washington, DC at the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians annual DCFLI. It was truly inspiring to every individual in the room. Thank you Senator Harkin for your support!

On my shuttle ride home from D.C., I met a woman who was actually a patient of Dr. Bastyr’s. A patient! How lucky was I to ask her questions about what it was like to be cared for by a man who changed my future. The thing she most fondly recalled “he loved to catch babies.” She spoke about his “love for everyone” and how cared for his wife and was never the same after she passed. She spoke about Dr. Bastyr as the man he truly was, not the legend I know him as. I feel so lucky to have had the chance to meet this woman. She reminded me that being the namesake of a University was not the biggest accomplishment of Dr. Bastyr’s life, it was in fact the impact he left behind on generations upon generations of families in the Seattle area.

A few facts about Dr. Bastyr:

  • His mother was a gardener and herbalist, and his father was a pharmacist
  • He built his own house in Kent, even felling some of the trees on the property himself
  • He and his wife maintained a four-acre farm with a garden, orchard, goats, ducks, geese, cats, dogs and bees
  • He played the fiddle and loved to sing
  • He delivered babies underwater and encouraged mothers to breastfeed at a time when mainstream society frowned upon it
  • He once said that if he could choose only one therapy, it would be his hands
  • He stated that if he hadn’t become a doctor, he would have gone to seminary at St. Edward’s
  • He had a tremendous memory, reciting passages from books and recalling patients’ names, addresses and treatments years later
  • At times, his private practice was so busy he wouldn’t go home to sleep; He’d stand in a corner of his office and doze upright in between appointments and calls to births
  • He cared for patients day and night, regardless of their ability to pay

-adapted from Bastyr University.


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