You are diagnosed with a chronic condition that promises a lifetime of pharmaceuticals and a list of side effects that mimic a life sentence. A friend tells you about a naturopath she has been seeing with amazing results. You decide to try it but are apprehensive. What if your doctor does not support your decision? Before you can approach him or her about natural remedies with confidence, you must understand the concerns.
Your Doctor’s Point of View
Medical doctors are educated with science. They diagnose based on facts and solid evidence through testing. Some endured poor experiences with patients trying alternative therapies. Here are some of the concerns your doctor may have.
Herbs are powerful medicine and many can interact with current medications with negative effects. Since your doctor writes your prescriptions, he or she is also responsible for any interactions you may experience. If you do not disclose all alternative remedies you are taking or intend to take, you risk impeding your diagnosis and treatment.
Physicians are not always educated about alternative treatments. It is best to find one who is open to integrated medicine—a compatible combination of allopathic and naturopathic medicine. If your doctor is closed to this idea, consider finding a new physician who will work with you and not against you.
Another misconception medical doctors seem to adopt is that naturopathic doctors are not educated. Contrary to their belief, naturopathic physicians require more education than traditional medical doctors to become licensed practitioners. Not only do naturopaths need all the education traditional medical doctors require, they also need years of study to learn about nutrition, herbs, and holistic approaches to healing—something medical doctors are not required to learn. In truth, naturopaths receive more education than most medical doctors.
Your Naturopath’s POV
Many naturopaths have had poor experiences with doubtful medical doctors who try to discredit the natural medical field. The numerous side effects of prescribed medication are enough to dissolve a naturopath’s belief in traditional medicine altogether. They want to get their patients off pharmaceutical meds as soon as possible.
It is important to disclose all medications you are taking to your naturopath. This will help them determine your best path to restored health. His or her job is to wean you off pharmaceuticals as your health is restored.
Your Natural Confusion
Now you employ two types of doctors trying to convince you that their way of healing is the best way, leaving you with utter confusion. Who is right? Which path is best for you?
You don’t want to tell your medical doctor about any natural treatment you want to try because he or she intimidates or threatens you.
You don’t want to talk to your naturopath because he or she is convinced your doctor’s recommendation may kill you.
You have options.
Bringing it All Together
Relax, there is hope. The division between traditional and alternative healing is slowly dissolving. The trick is to find two doctors who respect one another’s work. Ask them if they practice integrative medicine.
Next, do your homework. You have choices and it is best to approach them with knowledge rather than hearsay. We should be able to trust our physicians and rely on their vast experience and knowledge, but truth be told, they are still human and prone to biased decisions. You must take responsibility for your health because no one knows your body better than you.
Approach your medical doctor with concrete proof. If you want to try an alternate treatment, come prepared to prove the success of such treatment. For example, bring a case study, or the Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR) Herbal. This book is a trusted and respected document that defines therapeutic doses and lists possible side effects and drug interactions. Your doctor will appreciate the scientific information and will be more open to your plan.
Encourage your physicians to work together to meet your desired goal. It is your body, your health, and it should be your plan.
When approached with care, alternative medicine works. After all, people have been practicing it far longer than traditional medicine. Though, there are times when traditional medicine can save your life, so don’t discount it entirely.
When it comes to acute trauma, there is no better option than the miracles of traditional medicine. To stay healthy, however, nothing takes the place of God medicine, such as food and plants.