According to Hale and other iridologists, the iris is a map of the body, and each of its sections corresponds to a body part or an organ. (CNJ illustration: Sharna Johnson)
By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer
Her home, even from the outside, bears signs of her faith: A stone statue of the Virgin Mary on the porch, a copy of the Ten Commandments in the yard. The theme continues inside. And also with her words.
“The human body is a miracle. … God, as the Bible says, provided the fruit for our food and the leaves for our medicine,” said Kathy Hale.
Intertwined are her faith and her field of science. From her Portales home, Hale practices iridology — the study of the colored part of the eye. She refers to it as her ministry.
According to Hale and other iridologists, the iris is a map of the body, and each of its sections corresponds to a body part or an organ. Hale combines iris examinations with kinesiology, or the study of muscular movement, to pinpoint health problems. She then recommends a natural remedy, often a simple dose of apple juice or vinegar a day, or a dietary supplement, to her patients.
“It’s simple stuff. Artemisia naturally fights parasites, cranberry and buchu bacteria. There are herbs for heart problems, herbs for liver problems. I could just go on and on,” Hale said, her own eyes an even root beer brown.
Using a magnifying glass and a flashlight, Hale has examined hundreds of irises. A healthy iris is “uniform in color, texture and shape,” she said. Dark lesions are often signs of serious health conditions; circular rings a sign of anxiety, she said.
Her methods have cured hundreds of patients with hundreds of ailments, she said, ranging from gall bladder stones to lupus to asthma.
Since Hale began her practice eight years ago, it has grown tremendously, mostly through word of mouth, she said. Two thick binders on her desk bulge with clientele names and information. The majority of her patients are from outside Portales, many from Colorado and Oklahoma, she said. She charges a modest examination fee of $40 and sells hard-to-find supplements from her home.
Shortly after Danette Duran, who lives north of Albuquerque, gave birth, a vein in her neck hemorrhaged. It left the left side of her body paralyzed. She met Hale, then a student, in 2001. Hale’s mentor, Oklahoma iridologist Gary Shirey, put Duran on an herbal supplement regimen.
The new mother soon regained movement in her left side.
“I was seeking a major healing, and between God and the herbs, I got it,” said Duran, who still visits Hale regularly.
California based iridologist Brian Self said incredible stories like Duran’s are not uncommon. He said he used natural substances to clear up his own nagging skin problems and a hernia.
According Self, natural healing alternatives are growing in popularity. But the medical world and the world of alternative healing are sometimes pitted against one another, although the rift is closing, he said.
“It is disappointing that sometimes it becomes a war of natural healing versus the medical healing,” Self said.
Iridologists are working to refine their science, Self said, in hopes it will become an accredited field. Until then, they will rely on their own records of success, he said.
“Almost 100 percent of the time, I find I am right on. If I see markings for the pancreas, and I ask (my patients) if they have sweet cravings, they say yes, or they say there is a history of diabetes in their family. It really goes back to family history. The iris is like a genetic marker or blueprint to a person’s history and family history,” Self said.
Hale, like Self, would rather comment on what iridologists are doing right, than what the medical field might be doing wrong.
“The medical world gives you three choices — get cut, burned, or poisoned. Those aren’t the best choices,” Hale said.
“My grandmother, she knows all about the healing power of spearmint or alfalfa. … There is a man who is about 100 years old who lives in Cuba. You can show him a supplement in a bottle, and he can tell you what it looks like in the wild.”
“Back then, people used the things God provided for healing,” Hale said, her iris charts, her reference books and her clientele binders laid across her desk; the walls of her office adorned with Catholic icons.