Dis-ease is abundant in our society. Cancer is rampant, instances of obesity and diabetes are continuing to rise, and the common cold has become even more common. This begs the question: what are conventional doctors doing wrong? In my personal opinion, there isn’t much they’re doing right – but that’s a rant for a different blog. Today, let’s take a look at why you should consider incorporating a visit to a natural doctor into your health regime.
1. They make time for you
Typically, your first appointment with a naturopath or other such holistic practitioner will range between 45 minutes to 1.5 hours in length. Just in case you haven’t paid a visit to your conventional doctor lately, the typical visit lasts less than ten minutes. You do the math.
When it comes to your health concerns, there should be no shortage of time. Feeling rushed and limited to “one concern per visit” is frustrating on many levels, not to mention degrading. The first time I went to see a naturopath, her and I sat for the better part of two hours discussing everything from my lifestyle to my diet to the detailed specifics of my menstrual cycle. Whether this motivates you or makes you uncomfortable, I promise you it’s essential to your well-being – and very, very rewarding. These lengthy, in-depth sessions allow your healthcare professional to fully understand what makes you tick and what makes you sick so that she can move on to the next step: a proactive and comprehensive approach to healing.
2. They get to the root of the issue
How many times has your doctor assessed your vitals and promptly handed you a prescription for antibiotics? Sadly, this approach to healing is as common as it is detrimental. Conventional doctors are trained to slap band aid solutions on problems, no matter how large or small. The truth of the matter is that they work closely with pharmaceutical companies, AKA the money-makers of the health industry. They’re paid to promote drugs, and they’re using their influence to market them to nearly every patient that walks through their doors. Why? Because that’s all they know.
Holistic doctors are polar opposites in this regard. After taking the time to get to know you and your unique circumstances, they step back and look at your health from a “whole” perspective. If you have digestive complaints, for instance, they don’t just consider the digestive system. They look at your work and home environments (“Are you stressed or worried on a regular basis?”), your food intake (“Are you getting enough vital nutrients?”) and all the other information you’ve given them. Using this, they reach a conclusion based on the big picture. Then, instead of handing you a prescription for pills, they write you a list of detailed instructions on how to combat your health problems from the inside out. This approach not only assists you back to a state of good health, but ensures you stay there.
Instead of handing you a prescription for pills, a natural doctor will write you a list of detailed instructions on how to combat your health problems from the inside out.
3. They view you as a person rather than a problem
On the odd occasion that I visit my family physician, I like to play a series of games. First, I time how long I spend in his office (usually between five and seven minutes). Next, I count how many times he asks me questions that don’t pertain directly to the health concern I’ve brought to the table. Last year, for example, I went to my conventional doc to address the severe dysmenorrhea I was experiencing (god awful period pain, in layman’s terms). I told him the problem, and waited for him to ask me about my stress levels, my exercise routine, which relaxation techniques I practiced, etc. I waited and waited, but no such questions ever came. Instead, he suggested I go on the birth control pill. Surprise, surprise.
Flash forward a year to my first appointment with my naturopath. Her solution to the same problem (no, I did not go on birth control and yes, I was still experiencing severe pain once every month) was to take a few natural supplements to lower my cortisol levels, incorporate more healthy fats into my diet, and use castor oil packs once a week to help my body rid itself of toxins and other unnecessary gunk. All of her advice came from a place of genuine care and individualized care. Her solutions were authentically directed at my specific case, not at the problem itself. See the difference? Which solution sits better with you?
4. They heal naturally
I’m so sick and tired of being told to take NSAIDs. Over the counter pain killers like Aspirin, Tylenol, Advil and Ibuprofen are great for cutting severe pain, but as a society we’ve become way too reliant on them. First of all, we’re using them to mask underlying problems that are vying for our attention. If you get headaches more than once a month, there’s something wrong and you need to fix it, not head to the drugstore. Secondly, we’re using them in a very uneducated manner. Do you know the ingredients in your go-to pain meds, or the effect they’re having on your body? If not, then it’s time to do some research. There is certainly a time and place for NSAIDS but, for the most part, the same desired effects can be achieved through natural solutions.
Holistic doctors are equipped to help you without the use of synthetic chemicals. By harnessing the natural power of the earth and the healing abilities of our own bodies, they can effectively cure – not just mask – almost any symptom. And the good news is, you don’t have to “believe” in natural medicine in order for it to work its magic. It just works.
Holistic doctors are equipped to help you without the use of synthetic chemicals.
5. They focus on prevention
From short-lived appointments to chemical-laden, band aid solutions, conventional medicine is becoming less and less effective in preserving the health of humankind. That being said, it’s never been good at preventing disease. I’m convinced it’s because conventional docs don’t actually know anything about anything, but again, that’s a rant for a different blog. For now, just suffice it to say that natural doctors are more educated when it comes to keeping dis-ease at bay. They’ll equip you with the tools to boost your immunity, improve your digestion, strengthen your cardiovascular health and enhance the condition of all your other bodily systems in order to ward off illness. They’ll teach you how to lead a more balanced lifestyle, tell you what foods are best suited to your energy constitution, and even help you deal with stress in a safer way. Sure, they’ll make you healthier – but they’ll also keep you that way.
The downfall: a word about money
I’ll be the first to admit that bi-monthly visits to an acupuncturist take quite a toll on my wallet. For a while, I struggled with whether or not it was the right approach for me. Financially, it was a lot to handle. But before you swear off the natural route, ask yourself this: How much do you spend on “necessities” like gas, electricity, insurance and food every month? Do you ever consider not paying rent because it’s “too much to handle”? No. Because these things are essential… and so is your health. So stop grappling with whether or not you should take the plunge into the holistic world. At the end of the day, you have no excuses. When you’re healthy and thriving in your 80s, you won’t regret forking over the extra cash.
Switching to a natural doctor changed my life, and I sincerely hope it brings you the same gratification.