Today I have another special podcast for you, and one that I am very excited to share because he’s made such a big impact in my life.
Meet the naturopath who helped me the most on my healing journey – Dr. Jason Lee. 🙂
If you’re ever wondering if eczema can be cured, today is an inspiring podcast of how my naturopath overcame extremely severe eczema and also healed from using years of steroids on his body. He has since became a naturopath and has helped thousands of people.
I remember it took me a few sessions of seeing him until one day he finally said to me (after my skin started improving) that “I can finally start to see what your normal face is starting to look like!”
That’s how bad my skin was 🙁
Thanks to him – my skin healed a lot!
He’s based in Toronto, Canada, but a lot of clients fly in from USA and Canada to see him. He’s also usually booked 6-8 months in advance – so if you’re thinking of booking a consultation with him, you may want to call ahead of time here.
Dr. Jason Lee is a Naturopathic Doctor, Certified Iridologist and Registered Holistic Allergist, who has appeared on numerous television and radio programs as an expert. Jason runs a busy practice called Innermedica and also lectures internationally to health professionals.
He is also a keynote speaker for the Functional Medicine Clinical Series and the Institute of Natural Health Technologies which educates medical doctors, naturopathic doctors, chiropractors and other health care professionals. He received a prestigious Dr. Shimon Levytam Award for his exceptional clinical and academic performance as well as the Naturopathic Honour for Student Leadership and Achievement.
Without further ado, I hope this podcast interview today will inspire you.
WATCH OR LISTEN TO THE PODCAST BELOW:
If you’d like to listen to the audio only version, click below to listen.
Scroll down to view the transcript below.
Have a podcast question that you want to submit?
Click below to record a question and you’ll have a chance for it to be featured on the podcast!
(Note: by sending a voice message, you are agreeing to allow your question to be featured on the podcast).
Thank you for listening to this podcast!
FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT
(Scroll down to read the full transcript)
Abby: Dr. Jason, I know you became a naturopath for a very special reason. And I know when I was going through my flare up you really encouraged me, because you said there was a purpose in going through all this, and we wouldn’t be where we are now if it wasn’t for what we went through. And so, I know you’ve briefly touched upon your story before, but I think a lot of viewers and readers would also like to hear more about your story, and how you got to where you are. And I think it would really encourage them as well.
Dr. Jason: Sure. I mean, my story began, like a lot of people that went to certain natural health fields, I myself suffered with a health condition. I was born in the 70’s, 1977, and at the time – I mean, my mother came here from Asia, and she didn’t fully understand the concept of breastfeeding – and in the 70’s they didn’t even think breastfeeding was that important.
It was one of those things where medically they’re like, “Why even bother breastfeed your child? Because we have formula, and formula’s far superior anyway, because it has all the nutrients formulated in it, and there’s not point in even breastfeeding.”
So my mom had difficulty breastfeeding me and I think the doctor was like, “Well, why even bother? Just take the formula.” So she did, and I broke out in eczema. But of course that wasn’t linked to the formula, from the medical standpoint. And maybe they didn’t understand the link anyway, because eczema’s a skin condition, you’re not throwing formula onto the skin, it’s going into the gut.
So my mom didn’t really know what to do, and they started me on steroid therapy right away. And back in the 70’s steroid therapy was much stronger than it is now. And they didn’t have the warning labels on it like they do now, so doctors are like, “Yeah, just put it on, and put it on forever.”
And it’s interesting because even now, if you look in the Merck Manual, or do any study of eczema from a dermatological and a medical perspective, they view eczema as a condition of unknown origin, which means it has no actual origin, they don’t know where it comes from. And no actual cure, except through steroid suppression. So their treatment still to this day, as it was back in the 70’s, is exactly the same, I was covered in steroids.
So I was on steroids heavily right from a very early age. And my eczema was horrible, it covered my face, it covered my body. I think the only part I didn’t really have it was the sole of my foot and the palm of one hand for some reason, this hand, and I don’t really know why. This hand was covered in eczema, this palm was not.
I didn’t have a lot of hair, ’cause where the eczema came up the hair fell out. I didn’t have any eyebrows either, which makes me look almost permanently surprised all the time, which is kind of interesting.
But I had that, and it was odd because I remember looking at other kids and thinking, “There’s no other kid on this planet that seems to have this condition.” And of course my mom took me to many doctors, and most doctors looked at me and they were amazed at how horrible the skin was, and they’d just prescribe different creams of different strengths.
And of course we’d try those creams, and sometimes it would get better, a lot of the time not. Growing up was challenging that way, because I couldn’t engage with my friends, the few friends I did have, because most people were scared of me, they thought I had some contagious disease.
I guess when you’re young, I mean eczema is basically the manifestation of a condition that many children can diagnose, that’s called “cooties”. So I had cooties, of course, the worst kind of cooties.
So it was frustrating for me. I spent a lot of time hanging out alone, because I couldn’t play sports; I couldn’t sweat, because sweating made me itchy. I couldn’t swim ’cause swimming made me itchy. I couldn’t go in the sun, ’cause that made me itchy.
And it was really frustrating for me. I mean, I’ve gone to so many doctors and had so many creams, and I think by the time I was about seven or eight I remember actually, I asked one of the doctors I was with, I said, “Why do I have eczema? Where does it come from? I need to know.”
And the doctor, I think he was trying his absolute best to help me, I really do believe that, and he sat down in front of me – he could tell I was very upset – and he said, “You know Jason, we don’t really know where it comes from. Sometimes it’s just bad luck.”
And I don’t think he meant that in a bad way. He truly believed that there’s no real understanding of it, and it really was bad luck. Which of course infuriated me, I was more mad at everything. I was mad at God, I was mad at everything, I was like, “Why did you do this to me? No other kid seems to have it, why me? Did I do something wrong?”
Bad luck, I couldn’t understand that. And then I got kind of angry. I spent, I would say, a large part of my childhood relatively pissed off. I was mad because I couldn’t do a lot of thing that other kids could do. And that lasted for a while.
I would wait for my friends to come home from school and then I’d go over and play with them, but if they wanted to go out and play sports I had to go home, because I just couldn’t play with them. Or if there were in the pool, I’d just sit by the side of the pool and watch them.
It was really tough. So as I got a bit older I decided, “You know what? I’m going to have to figure this out myself.” So I was begging my mom for, you know, there must be someone that can help me, some doctor.
And my mom was searching frantically as well, she was searching, and searching, and searching, looking for people, taking me to many kinds of doctors and specialists. And one day I think my mom just broke down and lost it at work, and I think her boss came across my mom, and asked my mom what was wrong. My mom was like, “Oh, my son has this condition, no one can figure it out.”
And I think my mom felt tremendous guilt for me having it, I don’t think she understood why and I think that she felt badly for it. I mean, I was covered in blood every day. I slept in plastic sheets because I couldn’t really sleep in regular sheets, because of course they get dirty. Plastic’s a lot easier to clean. And I was itchy at night, and I just kept my mom up. I was up, I was unhappy, my mom was unhappy.
And I think my mom’s boss said, “You know what? I have a contact in the States, a great doctor that can help. He’s the best dermatologist,” and whatever. And my mom was so excited. So they call, and they got an appointment with the doctor but it was in like a year. So I’m circling on the calendar saying, “This is the day you’re gonna get healed, we’re gonna go see this doctor, he’s gonna help you out.” And I was all excited, I mean literally counted down the days until we went to see this doctor.
So we went down to the States. It was a big deal for my parents to leave Canada, ’cause I think once they arrived they never wanted to leave. So we went down to the States, and we were supposed to spend some time touring around after.
But we went to see the doctor, we went in, the doctor came into the office and he said, “Let me see your skin.” I took off my sweatshirt and was covered in skin lesions. And he looked at my skin, he said, “You have a really bad case of eczema.” I was like, “Yes, this is really bad, can you help?” He said, “Yes, we have a cream that can help with that.” And he wrote this prescription for this cream, and gave it to my mom and said, “You can fill it in this pharmacy downstairs, and call it a day.”
And that was basically it, the visit I think lasted no more than ten minutes. And we waited in the waiting room for about 30 minutes. My mom got this prescription like it was the holy grail, basically. We went down and bought this cream, I think at the time it was a couple hundred dollars, it was very expensive, but my mom was desperate, so she paid for it. This was back in the 80’s.
And we went back to the hotel, and my mom started to put the cream on, she’s like, “Put this cream on, it’s going to fix your skin, and everything’s going to be better.” I thought, “This is fantastic, I’ve waited my whole life for this.”
So they put the cream on, and it started to tingle a little bit. And I’m like, “It’s tingling,” and my mom’s like, “It must be working!” And the tingling became more and more intense, and eventually became burning. And then the burning became more and more intense as well. The cream actually was a steroid, but it had some sort of uric acid in it, for some reason they put that in there.
So it became very, very inflamed, and it got to the point where I was really scraping at my skin, and I told my mom, I said, “We have to get this cream off!” And my dad’s like, “You’re not getting that cream off, we paid $200 for that cream, it’s not coming off, you’re gonna keep it on until you’re healed!” And I just started crying.
My mom was upset, my dad got so frustrated I remember he grabbed me, and put me in the shower, and just turned the water on. And he came outside and got all upset at my mom about wasting his time, and this and that, and then he left to go for a walk because he had to blow off some steam.
And I remember sitting there in the shower, I could see in the mirror, and I could see my mom sitting on the bed in the hotel room, and she just sat on the bed and started crying. And I felt so bad. I was so upset by that, I’m like, “Nobody can help. There’s nobody out there that can actually help this skin issue.”
My dad eventually came back and he’s like, “You know what? We’re leaving.” And we left. And the whole way home my mom was just crying in the car, and I just sat in the backseat thinking, “You know, I’m probably the worst kid on the planet, because I’ve ruined my mom’s life, I ruined my life, and no one can fix this horrible condition that apparently I got because of bad luck.”
So that’s how I made the decision, I gotta figure this thing out myself. I gotta figure it out. So I did what every kid does. You know, where is all the knowledge in this world? It’s in the public library.
So I rode my bike to the Oakville Public Library, and I went in, and I just started looking through the card catalog – this was back in the day of the card catalog – looking for any book on health I could find. And there was some books on bones, and the skeleton, and the heart, and a couple books on health. But there’s not a lot of health and wellness books back in the 80’s, the had very few.
But there was a section that had some stuff on anatomy and health, so I thought I’d go check that out. So I walk through that area, and there was a book that was coming out a little bit, the spine was coming out. And I looked at it, and one the side of the book it said, You Can Master Disease, by Dr. Bernard Jensen.
And I thought, “You can master disease? That’s a really interesting topic, because I have a disease.” So I pulled the book out, and it’s from the 1940’s or 1950’s, I think. And I open the book up, and it was called You Can Master Disease.
And there’s a picture of Dr. Bernard Jensen, who’s a chiropractor with a practice in the States back in the day, and there’s a picture of him standing next to a man covered in skin lesions, and then another picture, on the other side of the page, of him standing next to the same man, and that man was apparently cured of his skin issues. And I was like, “This is crazy! This guy has what I have, and it’s gone.”
So I read the book. And the book talked about a lot of things. It talked about nutrition, it talked about colonics, like colon cleansing, which I thought was very odd, being a kid reading like, “Well that’s very strange.”
He talked about sauna therapies, and different kinds of natural … I’d never seen anything like this before. He talked about how eating has an effect on your diet, and how it affects your skin, and how it affects your body and why we need to … he even talked about yoga in there. I didn’t know what yoga was, I was like, “What is yoga?” I read about that, it was very peculiar.
And I took the book and I showed my mom, I said, “Mom, I need to see a doctor like Dr. Jensen. I need to see Dr. Jensen,” I said, “I need to see this man, I don’t know where he is but I need to see him.” And my mom was like, “You know, we don’t know where this person is, we can’t go to the States anymore, we’re out of options, we have nowhere to go.” So I have that in the back of my mind, I really, I need to see someone like him. I had no way of doing anymore research, but I just thought he had the cure, somehow.
As I got older I started volunteering at a … I wanted to go into healthcare, for whatever reason. I was still covered in eczema, but I thought I wanted to help people. So I went to work with a chiropractor actually, one of my next door neighbors said, “You should go see my chiropractor, he’s a good man and I think he could give you some good advice.” So I went to see him, and asked if he needed someone to help him on a volunteer basis, so I did, I volunteered with him for about a good year.
And one day he came to me and said, “You know, I think there’s somebody that can help you. She’s a naturopath.” And I’m like, “Naturopath? What is that?” And he says, “Well, she does stuff with diet, and stuff with eating, and things like that.” And I thought, is she like Dr. Jensen? ” ‘Cause Dr. Jensen was a chiropractor, so I thought chiropractors did that. He said, “Well, I’m not too sure, but I know she’s in Oakville, you should go see her.”
So for my birthday I asked my mom, I said, “I would like to see this person, this naturopath.” And my mom said, “Are you sure? We’ve been to so many people.” I think my mom had given up at this point in time. And I said, “I really want to see this person, I think she can help.” So my mom said, “Okay.”
So we went to see her, and I remember I walked into her office, and I walked in covered in my hoodie like I normally did, and I was covered in skin lesions. And I sat down, and she looked at me, and she said something that I’ll never forget. She told me to take off my hoodie, and I did, and she looked at my skin and she said, “Yeah, this is very, very bad.” I said, “I know, can you help me?”
And she said something that I’ll never forget, she said, “You know you don’t have a skin condition, right?” And I looked at her like this woman was crazy, I’m like, “I can’t believe … I don’t have a skin condition?” She said, “Yes, you don’t have a skin condition, it has nothing not do with your skin. It’s in here,” and she pointed to my belly button.
And I’m like, “My skin problem is inside my belly button?” And she’s like, “No, it’s not in your belly button, it’s in your gut, it’s in your digestion.” And I said, “But I go to the bathroom every day, I’m fine, I don’t have a problem.” And she said, “You do, and it comes out through your skin.”
And I thought, “This is the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.” I had been to a hundred doctors, not one doctor ever mentioned that. And I thought about it and I said to her, I said, “You know, I will drink pee and eat sawdust if that’s gonna make this skin problem go away.” I was that desperate. I would’ve eaten dirt if she asked me to eat dirt. And she said, “Well you don’t have to do that, but I’m gonna get you some things to do, and I want you to try it out for me.”
And I did. I took some of the supplements she gave, and I followed her diet, which I didn’t particularly like, but I didn’t care, it was better than eating dirt. So I did that, and my skin actually got worse. It got worse.
And she told me it was gonna get worse, ’cause I was going off my steroid cream. And it got worse, and worse, and worse, and got more itchy, and my dad was like, “We have to stop this! This is not working, this is making it worse.” But the doctor said it would get worse, she said it probably would get worse, but just try it out for me. And I was like, “You know what? I have no other options. This woman is the only option I have, so we’re gonna do it.”
And I pulled through, and after about a month and a half it stopped itching as bad, and it started to get a little bit better. And it got better, and every day it got a little bit better. And I remember one time I went to take a shower – and normally after a shower I had to come out, and pat dry, and put cream on immediately, like if I didn’t put cream on immediately, it would just dry out and everything would go crazy with the itching – and I got out of the shower, and I dried myself off, and I didn’t have to put on cream right away.
I just put on cream in a few areas, and that was it. And I thought, “This is amazing.” I woke up in the morning, and there was no blood on the sheets, ’cause I didn’t itch that night. And I thought, “This is crazy.”
And after about six months I would say I was probably about 50% better. After about a year I was 80% better. I just had a bit on my hands, and a bit on my neck, and a couple small pieces. But I didn’t care, I was, as far as I was concerned I was healed. And then that last little 20% took about another six months or so to heal.
And that was a powerful lesson to me, realizing that the skin issue actually had nothing to do with the skin at all. ‘Cause she never gave me a cream. That’s the thing, she never gave me a cream. I had boxes of steroid creams, I had shoe boxes of steroid creams. I could have a steroid library, a museum of steroid creams. This woman did not give me a single cream, it was all through internal working. And that’s when I made the decision that I would do naturopathic medicine.
So I heard about the school, and I knew. I knew that’s what I wanted to do, there was no question. ‘Cause it was naturopathic medicine or bust, there was nothing else. There’s no other option. So I went through university, I went to McMaster University, and applied to the Naturopathic College, and got in, and the rest is history.
So, I mean, you asked the question in the beginning, everything happens for a reason. I truly believe that having eczema, or getting eczema, was actually the best possible thing that could’ve ever happened to me.
I look back at my life and I do not regret getting it one bit, because it has allowed me to get an in depth understanding of the condition in a way that no one really can unless you have it. I have a lot of colleagues that are naturopaths that have their own health journeys, and they’ve become specialists in their field because of their issues that they’ve had, and they don’t regret their issues either.
And I truly believe that everything happens to us for our maximum benefit. And I truly believe that eczema happens to people, not to ruin their life or cause them pain or suffering – cause it does, initially – but it does teach people how to live better, how to do the right things, and how to learn and be more compassionate maybe to other people as well.
So I don’t regret getting eczema, and I don’t regret becoming a naturopathic doctor, that’s been fantastic as well. So, hope that answers your question, in the longest way possible.
Thank you for listening to the podcast! Did his talk inspire you today?
Abby is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who helps clients achieve optimal health. She is passionate about seeing people use health and nutrition to transform lives. She hopes that her experiences and knowledge can help educate others on natural remedies that will help eczema. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or YouTube for more updates!
Disclaimer: All the information found on this website should be used for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace proper medical advice. Always consult a qualified health care provider before embarking on a health or supplement plan.