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Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”
Issue #100 Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”

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Portrait of centenarian Dr Gladys, for the 100th issue of Service95

Dr Gladys, 103: “The Greatest Tool In Medicine Is Love”

To celebrate Service95’s 100th issue, we interviewed a group of very special people – all over 100 years old – inviting them to share their wisdom. Here, 103-year-old Dr Gladys shares her story…

Dr Gladys, 103, is known as the ‘mother of holistic medicine’. She spent her early life in India, the daughter of two missionary osteopathic doctors. In 1946, she trained at the only medical school for women in the US – the Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia – and co-founded the American Holistic Medicine Association in 1978. She has spearheaded acupuncture, and when she was in her mid-eighties travelled to Afghanistan to teach rural women safer birthing techniques. She chats to me over Zoom from her home in Arizona; sunlight streaming through her window, her white hair wound in its signature braid. She is warm, thoughtful and incredibly insightful. 

What has been the happiest moment of your life so far?  

I can’t put a finger on that because each one is significant. Words cannot really express the things that we live through. Take love: people have painted it, sung about it, but there aren’t the words that bring up that same feeling you’re trying to express.  

What brings you joy on a daily basis?  

I get up and I realise that I’m alive and that makes me smile.  

Have you had a lifelong hobby?  

I’ve knitted since I was seven years old. I’ve knitted sweaters and skirts for my kids and my grandkids. Now I knit washcloths that I give to people because they’re small and soft. I need to keep my fingers busy all the time, and knitting does that for me.  

How would you describe yourself in three words?  

A ‘woman’, with a ‘mission’, and still ‘alive’! 

Why do you think you are enjoying such a long life?  

Because I’ve got work to do. To me, the world is like a huge jigsaw puzzle and each of us is a piece within that jigsaw puzzle, and nobody else can fit in that space. When we get our work done, it’s done, but until then each piece is important.  

More From Service95

What is the most surprising thing you have done?  

In the late 1960s, my husband Bill wrote a healthcare newsletter that went out to doctors around the world. One day we got a letter from a mailman in Maine. He said, ‘I can’t walk because I’ve injured my ankle and no doctor knows how to fix it. I read your newsletter, about putting a castor oil pack on your neck if you have a sore throat. I [did that] and my ankle cleared up. If you can tell me why, I’d be very happy.’ Bill and I didn’t have a clue, so in the next newsletter Bill wrote the story, and a doctor in Italy wrote and said, ‘the acupuncture meridian starts along the side of the nose, goes all down the neck, down to the ankle, to the toe. Once the block in that meridian was removed, it was removed all the way down.’ We began studying it, and we were able to create the first acupuncture symposium in the United States at Stamford University in 1973.  

Portrait of centenarian Dr Gladys, for the 100th issue of Service95

How have things changed for women in your lifetime? 

My mother got her osteopathic degree in 1912, but when my parents went to India, my mother, who had had the same training as my dad, went out on his passport, like baggage. When I graduated in 1946, women still had to struggle.  

What’s your life philosophy? 

I’ve come up with the Five Ls. The first two are ‘life’ and ‘love’, and one can’t exist without the other. The third is laughter. Laughter without love is cold and cruel. Laughter with love is joy and happiness. The fourth is Labour – labour without love is drudgery. Labour with love is bliss – it’s why painters paint, why singers sing. The fifth ‘L’ is Listening. Listening without love is empty sound. With love, it’s understanding.  

A Few Of My Favourite Things… 

  1. Favourite Place Where I am right now. Every moment feels precious: every breath that I’ve been able to take and the things I’ve been able to do are precious. One isn’t more glorious than another.  
  1. Favourite Book The one I just wrote! The Well-Lived Life: A 102-Year-Old Doctor’s Six Secrets To Health And Happiness At Every Age.  
  1. Favourite Music There are hymns that run like a tape through my mind. It depends what’s going on in my life, but the right hymn will come up. 
  1. Favourite Film I watched Little Women when it first came out in India, and that was like ‘whoa’, but I have no favourite. 
  1. Favourite Drink I drink coffee, water and cocoa. 

Laura Potter is a freelance editor, writer and interviewer whose work has appeared in The Observer Magazine, The Guardian’s Saturday magazine, The Times Magazine, Women’s Health and Men’s Health 

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