Richard G. Petty, MD

Scientific American Podcasts

One of the very many useful resources on the Internet is the Scientific American website.

Attached to it is a weekly podcast that summarizes a few of the most important recent new items.

For those of us engaged in developing, evolving and refining a new model of reality that will have practical applications to health, wellness and personal evolution, it’s really important to know about the most up to date discoveries of conventional science. And how they fit in with – or challenge – our attempts to grow our field.

So many people have claimed to create new models that have collapsed at the first challenge. They usually contain the words "quantum" or "Einstein" somewhere near the beginning, or some half-remembered piece of High School or "Pop" psychology. It is usually easy to see that most have not done their homework!

We have instead been embracing new data from many sciences, from clinical experience, from intuitives and spiritual teachers and constantly testing the concepts and methods to see if they can be refined or improved. I’m pleased to report that we have been making rapid progress.

Enjoy the podcasts!

A Special Offer

Today I’m attaching a first enhanced podcast to my blog.

We’ve been experimenting for months to get the music, sound and graphics just right. I’m planning to do a great many podcasts in the months to come so that you can listen at your leisure, and I can also share some specific tips and techniques that are tricky to explain using the written word alone.

Today’s podcast is a short introduction, some advice on motivation, and an offer.

To commemorate the launch of this new project, I’m also going to extend the offer here.

The Internet is full of people telling you what they think and sometimes even what you should think and do!

That’s not my way of doing things. I am here to serve you, and telling you what to do is scarcely an act of service!

Now that you have got a flavor for my areas of expertise, I am going to ask you what you would like to hear about or learn about or maybe even be amused about!

As you will see if you look at my list of "Categories," there are a few areas in which a great many people think of me as THE expert: the Go-To Guy.

So I get a huge number of questions every day, and I think that most of them merit a detailed response.

So the offer is this: I’m going to invite you to email me a question in any of these categories. Just send me a quick note to healingmeaningpurpose[at] The shorter the better!

Naturally I cannot diagnose or treat a person online. No responsible clinician would ever do such a thing without performing a full, detailed and personal evaluation.

I’m looking for questions that will be of interest and concern to many people.

I am going to select the hundred and one questions that I can answer with something new: a new perspective, new information or new insight. Or perhaps a question that will be best answered by intuition or by an appeal to the classics or the spiritual Masters and Mistresses who have taught us over the centuries. I am then going to put these hundred and one questions and answers together into an electronic book. I can guarantee you that the book will contain an absolute treasure trove of life-changing information.

How do I know that?

Because of the quality of the questions that I’ve already received and the kindness of the responses to my answers. 

When it’s finished in late October, I’m going to offer the eBook for sale at $49.00.


Anyone who sends a question that I select and can use will receive a FREE copy of the eBook.

I’m totally serious about that, and there’s no catch: I really am going to give away almost five thousand dollar’s worth of books!

While also, I hope, offering guidance, help, support and inspiration to a great many people around the world.

Enjoy the podcast, and I look forward to hearing from you if you have a question with which you think I may be able to help!

Download podcast.August.18th.2006 1.mp3

Health Marketing at the Centers For Disease Control

I was very interested to see that The Centers For Disease Control have launched a website for the National Center for Health Marketing. I learned about it from Carol Kirshner.

This could be an important step for creating and disseminating accurate information about health, and health care options.

I just have one small worry about all this: if insightful and knowledgeable people do not become involved in providing direct input into the enterprise, it is inevitable that the main focus will be on physical interventions: diet, exercise, nutrition, workplace stress and so on. In other words, the medical model. Only because that’s the dominant way of thinking about illness and health.

But as I have been showing in these pages, there are tens of thousands of leading thinkers around the world who have long since recognized the limitations of that medical model, to say nothing of the demonstrable fact that some new Laws of Health and Healing have been emerging over the last century.

I laud this new initiative, but I’m also hoping that it will also include communication about not just the physical, but also the psychological, social, subtle and spiritual aspects of health, wellness and healing.

If these fine people would like some documented research to do so, I know that we can oblige!

Carol Reveals (Almost) All

Web mistress Carol Kirshner has revealed all. About the forthcoming Consumer Health World conference in Washington, that is. There are more details here.

The organizers have already collected a stellar group of presenters. A couple of days ago I had an excellent conversation with someone who works for a major pharmaceutical company. She is one of the people tasked with coming up with a plan for how the company should dip its collective toe into the Blogosphere. I strongly recommended the conference to her, and I think that a great many people will be coming from many healthcare industries. I’m delighted that I’m going to have the opportunity to participate, and to meet many of my regular readers and contributors in person, as well as people whose work I read assiduously.

It’s going to be running from December 11th to 13th, and if you have any interest in the way that blogs are impacting health care, this may be just the thing for you.

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Blogging and the Tipping Point

The blogging phenomenon is well under five years old, though many of us were communicating online long before that. The question for many of us has been whether blogging is just going to remain a kind of online graffiti or political sounding board which will eventually go the way of the dodo, or whether it has now reached a level of maturity where it will be an important social, business and educational phenomenon?

Have we reached the Tipping Point? This forty-year-old term refers to a dramatic moment in time and space when something unique becomes common. The term was popularized and applied to daily life by Malcolm Gladwell in his book of the same name.

You will remember the impact of bloggers during the last Presidential election campaign, but some skeptics thought that was just a flash in the pan.

Several recent items have convinced me that blogs are indeed beginning to have a significant impact:
1.    A white paper published by Market Sentinel, Onalytica and Immediate Future in December 2005 discussed the impact of bloggers on corporate reputation, after one individual named Jeff Jarvis had a significant negative impact on Dell Computers after relating his bad customer experience.
2.    In April 2006, Custom Communications organized an event – I thin the first of its kind – on Blogging4Business. The aim was to discuss how blogs could potentially damage a brand.
3.    In May of this year, traditional news producers, aggregators and distributors gathered at the We Media Global Forum to discuss the future of news in the light of the growth of blogging and what is becoming known as citizen journalism.
4.    The Internet is moving rapidly from being a read-only or buy-only medium to an organic, participatory, interconnected and collaborative network. Just look at the burgeoning popularity not just of blogs, but also of sites like and the energy and eagerness that is creating Wikipedia.
5.    The Internet is rapidly becoming a web of producers who are customizing their interaction, rather than passive consumers.

The BBC ran a nice discussion on some of the dynamics of what is now occurring.

How do you see all this developing?

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Why Blog?

Just before I entered a Web-free zone, I was looking at Susan Polgar’s chess blog, where she had written a set of answers as to why she should spend so much time and effort on writing blogs. Susan is a legendary chess payer: the first woman to become a men’s International Chess Grandmaster, and a member of an extraordinarily gifted family. I have written about them before.

I was not surprised to see that Susan’s motivations for doing this in the chess world were very similar to mine in the areas of health, wellness and human performance. In the last couple of weeks, I must have been asked twenty times: “Why do you bother to spend so much time on an activity that is extremely time consuming, and for which you get no obvious return?”

1. I have been concerned that even the best journalists do not have access to some of the great research work that is going on right now, and which can have an immediate effect on the lives of millions of people.

2. Some of these new observations, research and treatment options languish in hidden corners, because they may not fit the prevailing medical model. The medical and scientific worlds are full of tales of first-rate research that got shelved because others could not immediately see its importance. There is a wonderful story of the way in which the German-born British scientist Hans Krebs was basically told, “Thanks, but no thanks,” when, in 1937, he submitted a short paper about his now famous cycle. Fourteen years later he won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Albert Einstein once made an important statement:
“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” Another version of the same sentiment, that is a bit closer to what he said in German is: “Great spirits have always found violent oppression from mediocrities.”

3. It is no secret that medical publishing and the award of prizes are tightly controlled by a small group of individuals. And it is right that extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence. But when we have that evidence, it is only right and proper that you should have access to information that may help you. This blog is designed to be both a filter and a lens.

4. There is no longer any doubt that the laws of health and healing are changing. I doubt that you have heard that elsewhere, andyet the implications for your health and wellness are stunning.

5. Blogging is a medium through which non-professionals can contribute to discussions. I have already learned things from the experiences of people who have had to struggle with diagnoses and labels that hampered, instead of helped them.

6. I have had a great many discussions with fellow physicians and scientists about communicating science and medicine to the public. My own view is that the public is paying for our research and anything that we can do to empower people is all to the good. Yet many colleagues feel that any attempt to explain science in an accessible way somehow cheapens it. I think that they are dead wrong. I was already in medical school when Jacob Bronowski presented the Ascent of Man on television. Marvelous stuff that changed and energized my approach to medicine. If we do not explain the potential benefits of what we are doing to the public, then why should they, the government or pharmaceutical companies fund us?

7. Susan Polgar has reservations about the way in which chess is being taught, and I am concerned about the way in which medicine and science are being taught, particularly in the United States. Not that it’s bad or wrong, but just that it could be better and more patient-oriented.

“Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first it is ridiculed, in the second it is opposed, in the third it is regarded as self evident.”
— Arthur Schopenhauer (German Philosopher, 1788-1860)

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Carol Kirshner, web mistress extraordinaire, has just alerted me to a great resource for anyone looking for information on health, wellness and healing, called

Carol’s review is excellent, and now that I’ve tried out the website, I really do share her enthusiasm.

One of the reasons for creating my own blog is that the internet is full of medical misinformation. I have just been writing an article that I am going to post tomorrow. My initial reactions to some of the statements that I found on line would not have been fit for you gentle reader. Suffice to say that there were comments on some websites that betrayed a complete ignorance about the workings of the human body and recommendations that can best be described as bovine excreta. seems to be very different. I have been putting it through its paces, and I’ve so far not found a single problem or contentious area, despite throwing a lot of unusually tough questions at it. I fully anticipate that it’s going to become one of my major research tools, and for matters pertaining to health, it seems to be better than any other search engine that I’ve found.

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Optimism and Hope

I get a great many news feeds from all over the world so that I can keep track of stories on health and human performance that may be of interest to you. But I also maintain a major interest in current affairs. We have all seen the worrying reports coming out of Afghanistan, Iraq and now Iran.

So it was with great pleasure to see a delightful blog created by a female teenage entrepreneur in Teheran.

I have many reasons for being very optimistic about the future, though we are clearly going to face a lot of bumps in the road because of the rapid environmental changes and developments in consciousness, cognition and morality, and therefore of society. I also accept the evidence that we are going to have to accept some very major changes in how we run ourselves and the planet, and that those changes are going to become necessary within the next 5-8 years.

So why am I so optimistic? In part because I have been a student of the Ageless Wisdom since my teens, and the precise pattern of world changes was predicted centuries ago, though there have been a few tweaks in the predictions along the way. But the main reason for the optimism is regular folk like the author of the blog. I have traveled a lot more than most people, and I know something with great certainty. Our leaders may sometimes lead us in unfortunate directions, but most people, whether living in the United States, Outer Mongolia, Iran or anywhere else, just want to get on with life: to find their purpose and meaning; to have a healthy and successful personal, family and business life, however they may define success; to deepen their spirituality and leave an enduring legacy. People like the young author of this blog should give everyone enormous hope for the future.

“When I look at the world I’m pessimistic, but when I look at people I am optimistic.”
–Carl Rogers (American Psychologist and the Principle Creator of Client-Centered Therapy, 1902-1987)

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Turning One Hundred

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” –Chief Seattle (Native American Leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish Tribes who became a Roman Catholic and Cooperated in Creating Peaceful Relations with European Settlers, c. 1786-1866)

I know that the Chief was not talking about the Internet or the Blogosphere, but his comments could easily be applied to both.

I was astonished when Carol Kirshner, my web mistress (I’m STILL not sure if that’s politically correct term for her!?) told me that this was going to be my one hundredth post. I hadn’t realized that I was that garrulous, or that there was so much need for a balanced presentation of some of the issues that we’ve been discussing.

So I thought that it would be a good moment to look at blogs and their potential impact on our lives. In some ways they have recapitulated the early days of the Internet. Many blogs have been little more than graffiti, but with the passage of time, I think that we are seeing a rapid maturation of the Blogosphere.

If you have not yet read the book Naked Conversations, I think that it’s a must-read. There’s also an extremely interesting discussion about the ideas raised in the book here.

I’ve been particularly impressed with the way in which many individuals are using blogging to rapidly spread useful information. There are thousands of examples, but here’s one that I particularly like.  And the recent attempts to explore blogging for medical purposes.

One of the fascinating things to someone who’s taught neurology for years, is the way in which links are developing in almost exactly the same way as occurs in the developing brain, and the same principles apply in the Blogosphere, and in the brain of mature individuals as they learn new information. As such, it tends to be an organic self- correcting system. When information is published that is wrong it us usually corrected very rapidly.

Because I am an integrated physician committed to empowering people to help themselves, I see blogs as one of the quickest and most efficient ways of achieving that aim. Using blogs has enabled me to disseminate interpretations of new insights and information. I think it is this: it is the interpretation that is crucial. Anyone can do a quick online search for information about an illness, a new health plan, or techniques for personal development. The trouble is that not many people have ever been taught how to interpret medical and scientific information: it is a skill that take s abit of time to learn.

My eclectic medical interests are well known, so I get a great many items in the mail that promise extraordinary benefits from eating this or doing that. There will often be some reference to a research paper. Yet when you check the reference, it often says something completely different! Let me give you an example of something that I cited in Healing, Meaning and Purpose.

“The precise amounts of a supplement are important, as is the combination. I want to give you an example of this. I have recently seen supplements being sold that claim to improve sexual performance. Some contain the amino acid L-arginine. That’s fine; L-arginine is a precursor for the vasodilator nitric oxide, which is involved in the mechanics of sexual arousal. There is just one problem. For L- arginine to work, you need to take about 9,000 milligrams. Most of the supplements give you only 200-500 milligrams. I have also seen supplements that contain mutually antagonistic vitamins, and others that are missing key components, for instance calcium supplements that do not contain magnesium.”

It seems to me that blogs, if they are done well, are an ideal medium for the rapid dissemination of interpreted information, correcting errors and helping people make rational decisions.

“Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one where they sprung up.” –Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (American Physician, Writer, Poet and Speaker, 1809-1894)

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