Friday, May 18, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dr. Bastyr

One hundred years ago, John Bartholomew Bastyr was born (May 16, 1912) at home in New Prague, Minnesota. All this year, we are honoring the legacy of this humble man who changed the face of modern naturopathic medicine.

Portrait of Dr. John Bastyr
Dr. John Bastyr as a seasoned practitioner.
Courtesy of Mark Frey

How well do you know our University’s namesake?

Here's a video about Dr. Bastyr:

And 10 facts you may not have known 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