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Sitting on a Bench Between My Two Grandsons

Dr. Alex Rafi receiving his PhD in Anaheim, CA on Sunday June 21, 2009 (click on photo to enlarge)Dr. Alex Rafi receiving his PhD in Anaheim, CA on Sunday June 21, 2009 (click on photo to enlarge)Dr. Alex Rafi is an unusual 74 year old Persian man who was born and raised in Iran. He believes that anything is possible.  In 1982, he left his beloved country ruled by Mullahs and moved to Pakistan where he lived for eight months before moving to France (Lyon) to run a grocery store. Searching for a better life, he found his way to California in August of 1985 where he operated an Italian restaurant in Anaheim for the next seventeen years.

This last Sunday, June 21, 2009, Dr. Alex Rafi received his PhD and his entire family came to celebrate his dream come true including his son, Daryosh from Iran and his daughter, Mahin from Lyon, France. “I have five children and eleven grandchildren. I am still married to the same wonderful woman, and the mother of my children. When I first arrived in the United States of America in 1985, I did not know how to speak English but I studied and learned because I wanted to.”

When asked what inspired him to return to school. He said “my love for studies and research.”   In 2003, at the age of 68 Dr. Rafi decided to go for his Bachelors degree.  “It took me six years of school to receive my PhD in Oriental Medicine and I feel very proud of myself because my greatest desire is to serve people and help them feel better. I grew up in Iran and did just one year of high school. I wasn’t able to complete my education there but today, I have achieved my dream, because I wanted to do it.”

Dr. Rafi’s journey to fulfill his dream has taken many turns, and might have discouraged the average man, but to the great surprise of his teachers, in 2003 Dr. Rafi was sitting in college classes between two of his grandchildren. How often do you see this?  

“I would like to encourage all the people to listen to their heart and follow their dreams to do well because if they are serious, they can do it. You have to want it – you have to make things happen and this can be done at any time of your life.  It is never too late and you are never too old to try.”

Before returning to school, Dr. Rafi not only operated a restaurant, he also published three newspapers in the States, and produced a talk show for the Iranian people.  And throughout he has remained steadfast and held on to his dream to become better educated.

Oriental medicine treats human while Western treats diseases (Chinese proverb)Oriental medicine treats human while Western treats diseases (Chinese proverb)“I was always very much interested in Chinese Medicine with an ultimate desire to open my own acupuncture clinic and one day I hope to return to Iran and help the people of the town where I was born. I grew up in Bahman which was a small village near Abadeh in Fars state. Of course today my village has become a small city.  I would like very much to return and help them all.

During my school years, I did my internship in a clinic, where we were required to work on 300 patients but I managed to see over 1500 and received three awards in 2008. After I obtained my Bachelors degree, I registered for a Masters degree in 2005 and then I registered for my PhD and I finished the 200 units required for my Masters.

Chinese philosophy recognizes five distinct elements of cyclical change water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. These five elements can be related to our four seasons (with a fifth late summer season)Chinese philosophy recognizes five distinct elements of cyclical change water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. These five elements can be related to our four seasons (with a fifth late summer season)It took me a year to decide on what to study for my thesis. As I always loved Chinese Medicine and Persian Herbs I finally chose PERSIAN HERBS.  Did you know there are many different Persian Herbs?  The list was not complete so through my research I added Property (to explain taste and how the temperatures are) and Chanel (which explains the organs that Herbs affect). I also submitted three new hypotheses about the cause of hiccups, the five elements; the acupuncture points and the needle effect.  You may find more details in my new book on Persian Herbs “Persian Herbs and Extracts in Natural Medicine.”

AcupunctureAcupuncture“Today, I graduate from the  American Liberty University which is an institution committed to providing high quality graduate programs in Oriental Medicine. Its mission is to expand professional, clinical and scientific knowledge among students, faculty, staff, and the general public through effective teaching, scholarly activity and quality patient care and research.” – I received my Master’s from South Baylo University (SBU).  This is truly a big day for my family and me.”

When asked how he felt about the latest news coming from Iran,  Dr. Rafi  replied “I cannot sleep and wake up in the middle of every night so worried for the people of Iran and my hope is that the Iranians will not back off because of fear. The good thing is that not only the young people are in the streets protesting, but ALL Iranians.” 

Dr. Rafi is hoping to return to Iran just like other Iranians who have fled Iran since the Revolution of 1979.

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