Best of the Best! CCHM Faculty Feature: Kanan Patel, HOM, PhD, MSc, BSc
Energy in all its forms creates our world, influences our interactions and informs our experiences. One of the greatest gifts Kanan has received has been to explore the above statement from many varied perspectives, utilize the learnings and sharing the insights gained with others. Her rigorous training in physics and mathematics (BSc Physics, University of Windsor, 1985; MSc Astrophysics, Queens University, 1987; PhD Astronomy and Astrophysics, McMaster University, 1995) allowed her an understanding of energy as a physical phenomenon expressed in the language of mathematics. Later shifting focus and scale going from the galactic and super massive to the smallest and subtlest she had the privilege of studying energy as medicine thanks to her comprehensive education in classical homeopathy at the Canadian College of Homeopathic Medicine (DCHM, 2012). This combined with her connection to traditional medicines, Eastern philosophy and healing arts has built a solid foundation from which to explore and experience the role of energy in being, health and healing. “I could not have planned this if I had tried” is how she feels about this journey. Kanan has been a clinical supervisor for students at CCHM since 2015 and is very happy to join the esteemed faculty this year. She has been practicing classical Homeopathy privately since 2012 (Vital Life Homeopathy) and since 2015, working in a dynamic health care clinic, Kingsway Chiropractic in Toronto. To learn more about Kanan and her practice, please visit VitalLifeHomeopathy.com
What brought you to the study and practice of homeopathy?
In a nut shell – probably the first dose of the first remedy I took! I was in a desperate state – I had been ill for many years and nothing was helping me and I finally gave in to a friend’s insistence that I see a homeopath. There was nothing else left for me to try. I knew nothing about this medicine and was surprised that after a few hours of being with the homeopath, I was given some small pellets to take. I am generally an open minded and optimistic person but the pellets were so small and few and I was so unwell -- I did not think they could help and almost threw them out! A few days later, I looked at them and thought the homeopath had spent so much time with me, what did I have to lose and so I took the first dose. It changed my life. I had a very strong physical reaction to the remedy – in th best possible way! The dose was incredibly powerful and acted profoundly on my being. I understood nothing of how this could be but felt everything. Being a very curious person and a former scientist, I was hooked. What was this medicine? How was it helping me when nothing else had? In a very short period of time, I realized I had to follow this through and began to look for a school where I could learn. It is still remarkable to me how quick and easy that decision was – especially in light of the fact that at that point in my life, I was happy to be in the “real world” after having spent more than half my life in school. Initially my plan was to just learn about homeopathy but in time, I realized I wanted to share this incredible medicine with others
Where did you study homeopathy? Did you complete graduate studies in other areas as well?
I studied homeopathy at CCHM. For such a big decision it was the easiest one I made. I felt incredibly lucky to live in a city that had a school where I could learn homeopathy – and in a classroom setting too! After talking to Joyce the first time, my decision was made – I had found the perfect place for me to be.
Prior to homeopathy, I had studied physics and maths, two subjects that had been my passion since I was about 12 years old. My undergrad was in physics, my Masters degree in astrophysics and PhD in astrophysics and astronomy.
There are moments when I wish I would have found homeopathy sooner –say in my 20s. I could have done so much more for myself and my family, let alone patients. But I realize, I would not be the person, let alone the homeopath I am without my life in science. The years I spent in university refined my understanding and approach to our natural world and phenomenon, to problem seeing and solving. I have had the deep privilege to observe and understand nature and energy in a wildly comprehensive and completely enthralling way: from the beauty of mathematics, to the mystery of quantum mechanics, whether it was through the use of cutting edge technology like the worlds largest land based telescopes or simple pencil and paper, it has been a glorious journey and I would not change any of it.
How many years have you been practising, and can you estimate how many years your longest-standing patient has been a patient?
I have been practicing since 2012 – 7 incredible years! My longest standing patients have been with me right from the beginning – so ~7 years.
Are there any of the old master homeopaths with whom you really resonate? Can you tell us why?
I love so many of them – Margaret Tyler as well as Constantine Hering two that come to mind.
What made you want to get into teaching?
In my experience, there is no better way to learn something then to teach it! I realized this during my years in grad school where I had a variety of teaching duties. You have to really understand, be comfortable with the information and knowledge before you can share it. Teaching also allows you gain a wider perspective on the subject matter as different people learn in different ways.
Teaching homeopathy is particularly special for me I have seen that there is a strong fear/bias/false perception that it is not ‘scientific’ and by extension, that it is not effective. As a former scientist, I could not disagree with this perception more. Good science is about being open to the unknown, being unbiased and looking at the phenomenon and the data even when it is difficult to fit into the current world view (see Copernicus, Newton, Einstein, and many more). It is a personal goal, but if I can help students understand this for themselves, then they can make informed choices in their learning, thinking, communications and practices.
What would you say is different about CCHM from other schools?
I have heard this before and cannot agree with it more so here it is – CCHM is a school with heart. That is what I felt when during my first call with Joyce when I was looking for a school to attend, that is what I felt when I was a student and what I have experienced as an alumni and faculty member.
What do you find most rewarding about the teaching experience?
Interacting with the students, learning from them and helping them gain confidence and knowledge are hugely rewarding aspects of teaching. Challenging myself to make the material interesting, engaging and memorable is rewarding for me personally. There are always more concise, effective and appropriate ways to communicate. Endeavouring to do this is the promise I make to myself and my students.
What has surprised you most in your practice?
How much I have changed as a result of it. In the beginning it was more about what I could do for my patients. My focus was mainly outwards. In time, I saw the transformation in myself due to the privilege of being with people and their struggles. It is humbling.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
There are so many aspects of my work that I love but one of my favourite and one that gives me goosebumps every time (still!) is when someone feels better after treatment and I remind then they made it happen - their healing intelligence brought them back into balance. They are the architects of their own healing. Absolute joy!
What is it about Homeopathy that has kept you “hooked” for so many years?
It never gets boring! Ever case is a new mystery – a new “who dun it”. Patients rarely if ever present as materia medica write ups of remedies. There is always listening, distillation, analysis, posology and more to work out for each patient. It is always challenging and always interesting because everyone is different.
How does the practice of Homeopathy enrich your life?
Homeopathy and I think most of life requires you to be present, open and flexible. As my dear and wise teacher from CCHM, Joan Weir said, how you do anything is how you do everything. Practicing homeopathy allows me to walk my path. What a privilege!
What might you tell prospective patients considering seeking Homeopathic help?
For those seeking treatment for chronic ailments, I tell them this is active and interactive medicine that requires their partnership and participation. I remind them that the investment they make in their health by taking responsibility is powerful beyond measure and not just in their physical health. I remind them of how powerful and intelligent their body is – something many have forgotten over time.