Father of Wellness Passes the Torch
by Sheila Julson
Dr. Ted Edwards has never been satisfied with the status quo. His quest for a better way led him to implement natural and preventive methods as early as the 1970s, at a time when many doctors were starting to rely on pharmaceuticals or surgery to alleviate disease. As founder of The Hills Medical Group, he treated thousands of patients through complementary, conventional and holistic care. Edwards also authored two books, Power Aging and Weight Loss to Super Wellness, appeared on numerous radio programs, did myriad talks and lectures, and served as Chief of Staff at Holy Cross Hospital and Chairman of the Texas Governor’s Commission on Physical Fitness under governor Bill Clements.
Edwards retired this past June at age 84 and passed the torch of wellness on to associate Dr. Harry Moore, who now operates the clinic as Austin Complete Health.
Edwards, known as the “Father of Wellness in Texas,” spent most of his childhood in Austin, although his family traveled while his father served as a civil engineer in the U.S. Army during World War II. “While there were no doctors in my family, from childhood on, I knew I wanted to be a doctor and help people,” says Edwards, who graduated from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and did an internship at Hartford Hospital, in Connecticut, followed by a residency and fellowship in gastroenterology—a new specialty at that time—at Tufts-New England Medical Center, in Boston.
“I returned to Austin in 1964, and I was the first gastroenterologist in town,” says Edwards. “There were only 600 of us in the United States when I went into the field.” However, after more than a decade practicing conventional medicine, he noticed patients were returning with the same ailments. “I thought, ‘If I’m so smart, why are they still sick?’”
Edwards saw better patient outcomes when he began recommending a high fiber diet, and in 1982 he wrote Weight Loss to Super Wellness, which focused on high fiber diets, exercise, flexibility and stress management. He included those measures in The Hills Fitness Center, his practice where he paired lifestyle wellness training along with exercise.
Edwards went on to lead the Texas Governor’s Commission on Physical Fitness, and his work on the committee furthered his curiosity for natural remedies. Shortly after, he not only worked with the U.S. Olympic Cycling Team as they trained at The Hills Fitness Center, he became their team physician. Edwards also worked with winter athletes at their training center in Lake Placid, New York.
In 1997, Edwards sold The Hills Fitness Center and kept his medical practice as The Hills Medical Group. Although he used nontoxic and naturally derived therapies as much as possible, he didn’t think in terms of “holistic” or “alternative” until he got a clear idea of what a patient truly needed.
“I did very thorough histories and complete physical exams on every patient, and that’s where I often came up with answers that had been missed,” he says. “I went back to the basics of good medical practice, and then I looked at everything else. I felt I had a better treatment plan because I use holistic and alternative therapies in addition to conventional treatment, whereas other doctors just had conventional options on their bag.”
Edwards used nontoxic modalities like essential oils, chiropractic methods and intravenous (IV) vitamin C therapy, which is high in antioxidants and helps the body produce collagen. “I’ve seen a great deal of success using IV vitamin C therapy to help cancer patients,” he affirms.
After a half-century in practice, Edwards sold The Hills Medical Group to Moore. Although he no longer sees patients, he will continue spreading the word about alternative medicine and the power of prayer in healing through a new blog and more lectures. “I’ll miss the contact with patients and watching people get healthy, but I still receive compliments from patients I saw years ago that are still well,” he concludes.
Moore looks forward to continuing Edwards’ vision of integrative medicine as Austin Complete Health. He specializes in Lyme disease, natural hormone balancing, sleep disorders, and gastrointestinal issues. Moore is certified in functional medicine, board certified family medicine and has a special interest and training in Lyme disease, Alzheimer’s and complementary supportive cancer treatment.
Austin Complete Health Associate Terri M. Beim is a naturopathic and holistic healthcare practitioner who focuses on whole person health and restoring the body’s natural balance to help patients achieve wellness.
Austin Complete Health is located at 4201 Bee Cave Rd., B112, in West Lake Hills. For more information, call 512-327-4886 or visit DrHarryMoore.com.
Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and contributor to Natural Awakenings magazines throughout the country.