My life nearly ended before it had gotten very far. At the age of three, while playing in our garden, I was bitten by a poisonous snake and it nearly killed me. One of my earliest memories involves being laid out in a cold hospital bed, surrounded by my frantic mother and the medical doctors who eventually saved my life. This strange surreal experience sparked a fascination in me to understand how the body worked and how to regain one’s health. In my early teens, while most of my friends in Oslo were preoccupied by the usual distractions, I started to look into herbal medicine and the ancient Chinese practice of chi gong.
In 2000 I started my medical studies at Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. The rigorous curriculum and renowned faculty, as well as my own international community of friends, who shared various techniques from their own traditions, provided me with a superior education. I flourished as a person, finding my own voice and forging an early vision for a new form of medicine that would combine Western and Eastern practices. While some of my classmates took on summer coursework or more traditional hospital jobs, I spent months in the jungles in Sri Lanka studying acupuncture with Anton Jayasuriya, to visiting Kenya and analyzing different food groups that local tribes employed for their survival.
Upon my graduation in ’06, I did my internships in the northern part of Norway, first in Tromso, and then Kautokeino, the latter place being known for reindeer herding, and also a prime spot for viewing the Northern Lights. Since I had never been that far north before, it was all a new experience for me. In Lapland, the sun doesn’t set for half the summer and then for half the winter, when the sun doesn’t rise, one becomes more acquainted with the dark. During my year in the region, I found myself going beyond the typical responsibilities of a doctor, and ended up handling various civic and societal matters and community negotiations, since the closest administration and police offices were two hours away. I would often find myself to be the person in authority, and had to make all the decisions. I think this made me into a better leader.
Back in Oslo, I came across the path of functional medicine, where the primary focus is to look for the root causes of disease and ailments, by analyzing the areas related to mental and psychological factors, diet, stress and sleep, natural functions, to socioeconomic factors, lifestyle and much more. I then started to working at Balderklinikken, the largest clinic specializing in this field, while doing courses at Institute for Functional Medicine in the US. I soon had the opportunity help start another functional medicine clinic, which enabled me to apply my developing business and leadership acumen – from setting up the clinical practice to organizing its administrative and economic systems. During this time, I also completed coursework in communicology (equivalent to NLP). Once the clinic was up and running, I focused on seeing patients, and writing education-focused articles about holistic healthcare for the company’s digital arm. After three years, I wanted to reconnect with a larger base of doctors and specialists to learn from, and so I decided to come back to Balderklinikken, where I have now been working for the last few years.
At the current stage, I feel a great sense of urgency at this stage of my career, to accelerate this information sharing to the public and to encourage people to engage in healthier choices early on. This will hopefully lead to an even greater understanding of how to promote behavior that will have a positive impact on one’s health – from diet and exercise, to finding a work-life balance, and so on.
With the infiltration of new technologies, we will soon be able to regain more control over how our body works. According to general lifestyle alterations, I believe these digital strides will make a huge impact in both personal health and decrease the socioeconomic burden of devastating diseases.