Dear friends,

I moved to California in August 2010 in order to spend a few years developing and launching the Ḥakīm Wellness project. The welcome I have received here is evidence that this might be an ideal place to establish the Ḥakīm Wellness  headquarters, even though California poses some challenges. Previously, I had a clinic in Old Town, Alexandria, VA just outside of Washington DC, which I opened in 2000.

As a result of my attention to the Ḥakīm Wellness project, I am not treating patients full-time. I intend to resume intensive clinical work when the Ḥakīm Wellness center is built. However, given that service is central to my work, I do not turn anyone away who finds me and asks for help.

As a result of my current project focus, I do not have a clinical space. I am currently treating patients in my home, which is not an ideal arrangement for me or for patients, especially since the space is small. As a result, accompanied patients cannot bring more than one chaperone, and children are not permitted (unless the patient is a child). In any case, I do my best to work with the limitations at hand. I am willing to do house-calls in exceptional circumstances. However, in the event of a medical emergency, you should call 911 immediately.

Relocating to California has also posed limits on my ability to obtain a license. First, there is no credential for Traditional Islamic Healing & Medicine (TIHM) in the United States. Until now, I have practiced using a credential in Oriental Medicine, which I have studied since 1990 and practiced clinically since 1997. I have been national board certified since 2000 –a credential which is recognized by every state except California– and have held licenses in Virginia, Maryland, and New York. The narrowly defined and intentionally prohibitive licensure statutes of the acupuncture board of California disqualify me from eligibility to obtain a license. Since my time is currently best spent on the Ḥakīm Wellness project, pursuing a license in California is not a priority. Furthermore, it is quite possible that an Oriental Medical credential is entirely unnecessary given that my goal is to practice TIHM. Indeed, one of my goals is to create a credential in TIHM, insh’Allah.

On the other hand, California is also ahead of the nation when it comes to complementary medicine, allowing me to practice most of the techniques I use without a license. The California Legislature enacted California Senate Bill SB-577 that affirms the right of citizens to obtain Alternative and Complementary Health Care from practitioners other than licensed Physicians and Surgeons or other licensed health professions. The Legislature has recognized Alternative and Complementary health care and provided a framework of guidelines and notices. In Paragraph 1 of SB 577, the Legislature stated:

Based upon a comprehensive report by the National Institute of Medicine and other studies, including a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, it is evident that millions of Californians, perhaps more than five million, are presently receiving a substantial volume of health care services from complementary and alternative healthcare practitioners. Those studies further indicate that individuals utilizing complementary and alternative health care services cut across a wide variety of age, ethnic, socioeconomic, and other demographic categories.

Pursuant to this Act of the Legislature, Alternative and Complementary Health Care Practitioners must inform patients that they are not Physicians, Surgeons, or allied licensed practitioners and that for a western medical diagnosis and treatment, including, but not limited to, prescription drugs, surgery and the treatment of fractures, lacerations and abrasions, patients must see an MD, Physician, or Surgeon.

To clarify, I am not a doctor (i.e. an MD or physician of allopathic medicine), and you should not address me as such. I am a “hakīm” or practitioner of TIHM.

It is important for you to be informed of these particulars if you are interested in seeking my assistance. If you would like to proceed, you are most welcome. Please continue to the next page.


Ḥakīm Ilyās