About Vitali Health

Q&A time with Dr Jon Morley, who with his wife, Esmé, set up Vitali Health Centre in Wilderness, South Africa.

We asked him if he always knew he wanted to be a doctor, and he said whilst the medical industry was an option he considered, his decision was fast tracked by looming involuntary military conscription. “I knew I wanted to be in the service industry and was considering becoming a vet, following in my father’s footsteps, or a Paediatrician. My decision was pretty much made up for me when I heard that joining medical school was the only legitimate alternative to conscription, so the decision was made.”
He is a fully licensed medical doctor in the modern tradition, MBChB (translated as a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery), acquired at Stellenbosch University in 1994. After graduating he worked as a locum in the UK and in Australia. “I saw a pattern of potentially toxic medication being ‘balanced’ by further toxic medication, and it seemed largely symptom based. Even in medical school I was reluctant to believe that was I was told was the full story. I had already been engaging in “alternative health” studies, and I felt I wanted to discover more, beyond the scope of teachings of medical school.”
Life took a slight turn in a different direction, and this lead to an “Eureka” moment. “My wife and I studied Permaculture. I decided to change career to follow our dream of self-sustainability and organic food growing. It was during this period that I realised that most of our health problems as humans may arise from our disconnection to nature, its natural cycles and natural methods of balance, from the soil up and the air down. If I could get an organic garden going in a desolate, rocky, littered farmyard, would it not be possible to support the same health recovery in humans, by using systems thinking rather than symptom or disease focus? This prompted me to return to medicine, with a new view and method.”
At the time this view was quite different to the traditional medical methods used, but Dr Morley said its changing. “When I was part of the foundation group that started SASIM (South African Society of Integrative Medicine), approximately 17-18 years ago, there were about 15 of us. Now the SASIM group has around 150 doctors, as well as a growing group of dieticians and medical specialists.”
He said the medical industry is changing. “There are constant new developments in the field of healthcare, of course the most well known in more recent years, is the emergence of cannabinoid medicines into the public arena. I think one of the most helpful developments in the last several years is the emerging Nutrigenomic field. Understanding a person’s genes relative to nutrition, hormones, sports and injury and most recently, pharmacotherapy (knowing what prescription medicines are safe and tolerated by an individual’s genetic make-up). This growing field of health care allows a more individualised, personalised approach to health recovery or better still, to wellness maintenance. Around this is an emerging new field in health care - Personalised Lifestyle Medicine (PMT) founded by Dr Jeffrey Bland.
Vitali offers a spectrum of IV treatments and we asked Dr Morley what makes this a preferred treatment. “IV treatments deliver 100% of content into the veins. When we swallow medicines or nutritional therapies, e.g. vitamins or amino acids, a lot is lost to various processes within the gut and liver, more so if a person has chronic illness and the digestive process, including liver metabolism, are compromised - be this by disease or by chronic medication. With IV treatments we can deliver much higher levels of various nutrients directly into the vein. An example is Vitamin C. Taken by mouth we can’t achieve close to ideal levels to have an impact on some persistent viral infections or to help with cancer, by using the IV route, we can easily achieve therapeutic levels in a very short time, as little as 30minutes.”
Inadvertently he works terminally ill patients on a daily basis, and we asked him how he stays positive. “By keeping my focus on each person’s innate healing ability. Working with positive changes and seeing recovery as a possibility for everyone reduces the “negative” emotional impact that one could feel if only the disease was the centre of attention. Any chronic health challenge can be emotionally draining and calls for a lot of strength to self-reflect, maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep hope alive.”
Dr Morley has a high success rate with patients that were given no hope of recovery by other healthcare practitioners and we asked what his secret to success is. “Most medical doctors focus on all things medical, and don’t take enough time to explore the bigger picture. A typical medical consultation may be 8-15 minutes, which isn’t enough time to listen effectively and be willing to look beyond the narrow field of reductionistic medical rationale. People thrive on being heard, in the full sense of that word, and once a person is fully heard, without judgement, and met where they are at, there is greater energy to heal. My biggest motivation is seeing people achieve higher levels of well-being than they thought was possible. ”
Well deserved off time is spent mostly outdoors. “I love mountain biking and camping. Being surrounded by nature with the sound of all She has to offer. My ideal holiday is exploring far flung wildernesses within our beautiful country, in a tent, on foot or on a bicycle - with my family.
His own wellbeing is also valued. “I try to eat right (with some indulgences every now and then) and get enough exercise. I also go to bed early and rise early to do stretching and meditation. I love spending time with my family and enjoy a family dinner and good wine - one of those indulgences I mentioned earlier

Vitali Health Centre offers holistic, multi-disciplinary treatments that are individualised for specific patients, but we asked him if there was one thing that we could do to improve our health, what that would be. “Make easy, small, positive changes to lifestyle. Observe natural law - eat clean, live clean within your home, hydrate well, as far as possible avoid engaging in man-made chemicals (in your diet, your drinks, your home and body care products) and move as much as possible….sitting appears to be worse for your health than smoking!”