After Conventional Medicine…Then What?

If I ever get hit by a bus, please don’t take me to an acupuncturist. I don’t want to get a massage or soak in a sauna or be bathed in essential oils. I want to go to a hospital and be treated by a doctor, because that’s the appropriate place for severe trauma and the appropriate professional to treat the resulting injuries and potential infection. Conventional medicine definitely has its place, and I am grateful for it!

However, most of us aren’t dealing with acute injuries or life-threatening infections. We have chronic conditions that appear to be a life-long ball and chain that is sabotaging our health. Symptoms like migraines, anxiety, depression, diabetes, heart disease, mental decline, gastrointestinal distress, stubborn weight gain, acid reflux, and the like…we go to the doctor and get a tidy little label that summarizes our symptoms, and we receive a prescription to treat those symptoms. We get a WHAT and a drug to treat it. But we rarely get a WHY.

I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to settle for that. And you shouldn’t. Here are some other options to consider. There could be variations and overlap in certifications and licensure, so be sure to do your research and find the individual best suited to meet your needs:

1 – Integrative Health Provider: this is a formally trained, certified medical professional who believes that the body works as a cooperative whole, and not as totally separate systems. So for instance, if you are suffering from chronic depression, an integrative health professional probably won’t recommend anti-depressants as the first course of action. Instead, he is more likely to delve into the health of your gut (yep, your gut), because he understands that the gut and brain are intricately connected and in constant communication with one another. Rather than prescribe “standard of care” medications (that you will likely end up taking for the rest of your life), he will first pursue diet and lifestyle changes, and potentially suggest some natural supplements to support your healing. In short, an integrative health physician seeks to root out and address the CAUSE instead of medicating the SYMPTOMS. This approach to medicine is revolutionary. It’s also exactly what our world needs. You’ll find your appointments will be a little longer than in a conventional medical setting, and the physician more interested in a wide range of habits and behaviors that might seem totally unrelated to your main health concern. After an initial consultation, there will likely be some lab work ordered, and then regular follow-up visits to track progress.

2 – Nutritional Therapy Practitioner/Consultant: An NTP/NTC is trained in the work of Weston A. Price mostly and addresses treatment with a holistic approach using food and natural supplements. Unlike other holistic nutrition programs, however, this one does not espouse a low-fat, vegan foundation (which, in my opinion, is one of the reasons why so many people are in the poor state of health that they are). An NTP has been taught the importance of healthy fats and the need for animal products in the diet. (Not piles of it, by the way – – veggies are certainly the most important – – but at least a small amount of animal products to support optimal health). These professionals are also trained to evaluate each client as an individual with unique needs and a one-of-a-kind body, and NTPs have a variety of tools at their disposal to develop a plan of care that is personalized and tailor-made. No pre-made templates, no one-size-fits-all solution. They believe in the body’s innate intelligence and seek to listen to that. They do not have the rigorous medical training that an integrated health physician has, yet they likely have a deeper understanding of how specific nutrients can support health, and which supplements have proven most effective in different clinical situations. Most arrangements with an NTP last between 3 – 6 months.  (It’s my hope and plan to add an NTP certification to my resume in the year, or so, ahead.)

3 – Primal Health Coach: This is what I am, and I will tell you – it’s the most in-depth, comprehensive training I have completed since graduate school! A PHC walks alongside you to develop a more specific long-term plan to implement the recommendations provided by the integrated health professional and/or the nutritional therapy consultant. We share relevant knowledge, tips and tools based on the ancestral health model to assist you in becoming your own best advocate.  And if we do our job right, you’ll need us once and then NEVER AGAIN.  Each health coach might offer slightly different services based on training and interests, but among the most common are: pantry and refrigerator purge and restock, dietary guidance, recipe collection, grocery shopping tutorials (how to shop the perimeter, read labels, find the best quality protein and produce…), cooking lessons, fitness plans, weight loss/maintenance plans, doctor appointment attendance and support, sleep optimization, regular check-ins and accountability, and virtually endless provision of educational resources. Most coaches have arrangements lasting 30 days up to 6 months.

If you want more information about any of these areas, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I can help you find the appropriate provider based on your health concerns and goals, and I would like nothing more than to see you get real answers to the issues you are facing. It is possible!