Dr. Richard Olree of Hillman is one of those rare doctors who still makes old-fashioned house calls. The catch is, the patients he visits are strictly among the local Amish communities.
"I do house calls for two different Amish communities one in Ossineke and one in Mio," Olree said. "As an 'Englishman' I probably have been in more Amish homes than anyone else in Michigan."
His experiences with the Amish have led Olree to write a 938-page reference book geared specifically to what he calls the fastest growing religion in the United States. The book, "Amishman's Handy Guide to Minerals, Vitamins and Food Supplements," took him six years to complete.
While he has found that the Amish prefer alternative healing methods first before resorting to mainstream medicine, Olree said he also discovered a lack of knowledge among the population on various substances they were ingesting.
"There was a lack of education as to the type of vitamins they were taking and why they were taking them," Olree said. "There was a disconnect as to the educational component."
His book also was born out of his 30-plus years of experience as a doctor of chiropractic medicine and his keen interest in the relationship of vitamins and minerals to the human body.
"The main things I see in my practice are pinched nerves and out of balance nervous systems," Olree said.
"The next is a lack of water and all sorts health issues that result from that."
One chapter in his book is devoted entirely to water and another to the immune system. Many chapters cover a variety of vitamins, minerals and amino acids available on the market today. Also contained in the book, which came out six weeks ago, are his writings on 131 herbs of the Bible.
While Olree's book was written with the Amish in mind, he said it is of benefit to anyone interested in the topics.
"Really, I wrote it for anyone interested in gaining an understanding of nutrients and vitamins," he said.
Olree will be at Olivet Book and Gift in downtown Alpena on Wednesday from 4-6 p.m. to sign copies of his book. He also has planned a trip to Shipshewana, Ind., a heavy Amish and Mennonite community, where he expects to do several book signings.
Olree has advertised "Amishman's Handy Guide to Minerals, Vitamins and Food Supplements" in two Amish newspapers distributed worldwide. In the first six weeks, he has sold 290 books. His book can be found locally at Hillman Health Foods, a health food store he established in 2001 so that he could offer his patients quality nutritional supplements.
Olree has a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology and a Doctor of Chiropractic. Since 1981, his family-based practice has been located in Hillman. He travels the country teaching about the benefits of understanding, obtaining and eating organic food.
"Amishman's Handy Guide to Minerals, Vitamins and Food Supplements" is one of four books Olree has written. It is his second to be published, with a third, "Minerals for Acupuncture Meridians," currently in the editing process. His first published book is titled "Minerals for the Genetic Code."