Following a chance meeting with the famous naturopath Alfred Vogel in 1960, Jan de Vries became fascinated by plant medicine and went to work with Alfred in his clinic in Teufen, Switzerland. There he learnt the differences between allopathic and phytotherapeutic medicine and the benefits of treating the body as a whole rather than just the symptom of the illness. He later went on to Germany to study osteopathy and also travelled to China to learn about acupuncture.
Jan de Vries set up the first naturopathic clinic in Holland together with Alfred Vogel. With others, they also set up the company Biohorma, importing A.Vogel herbal and homoeopathic medicines to Holland from Bioforce in Switzerland. Biohorma expanded rapidly and is now one of the biggest suppliers of herbal remedies in Holland.
Although Jan loves to promote living more naturally to people, he has put a great deal of work into several projects which have brought alternative medicine and orthodox medicine together. Jan believes that a combination of these two differing methods of medicine, resulting in 'complementary' medicine, will be of tremendous benefit for many suffering from ill health.
In 1960, Jan de Vries married a Scottish girl with whom he had four daughters. In 1971, he set up a residential clinic, Mokoia, in the small seaside town of Troon on the west coast of Scotland. The clinic flourished and after finding it necessary to move to larger premises, he set up the non-residential clinic ‘Auchenkyle’. Recently this clinic was re-located to the nearby town of Ayr.
In spite of his very busy clinic Jan de Vries is also the author of a number of natural health books. His 'By Appointment Only' series covers a wide range of health issues and the remedies, diets and lifestyle advices he feels have benefited his patients most. The late Alfred Vogel said:
‘I am convinced that his books will show many sufferers the right way to recover in plain and simple language. Jan de Vries has acquired and developed a vast knowledge in these areas and with perseverance he has built up an overall picture of total health not forgetting the physical and mental condition of the patient’.
Jan’s complete life story is recounted in his autobiography ‘A Life in Healing’.
One of Jan de Vries’ strengths as a complementary practitioner is his ability to make an emotional connection with his patients. In this, he also recognised that many of his patients could not be helped with ‘physical medicines’ alone, and realised that many of his patients had emotional issues which sometimes prevented them from getting better.
Being familiar with the work of Dr Bach, Jan de Vries recognised that flower remedies could be very helpful for his patients. However, many of the modern day stresses are quite different to those identified by Bach and so, together with modern day flower essence experts he developed a new range of flower essence blends, based on the Bach Flower Remedies. These have proven to be helpful to many.