Interested in Natural Medicine, who should you see? Part I – MD’s, DO’s and Nurses
There is a large and growing number of people who are interested in Natural Medicine.
Since you’re reading this, I feel like I can safely say, you’re one of those people too.
Recognizing the limitations of the conventional system, people are seeking out options.
But who should they see?
Unlike the conventional system which is clearly defined, the field of Natural Medicine is a wide open frontier.
The purpose of this series of articles is to give a brief breakdown of professionals in the Natural Medicine field to help you decide who you want to see.
Let’s get this one out of the way first
–Dr. Google & You – Many people frustrated with the poor results they’ve gotten and the high costs of the conventional system turn to the Internet (Dr. Google) to find answers.
Good – the Internet has provided an unbelievable amount of information to anyone with a computer and a phone. Websites providing quality information do a tremendous service to people, helping them understand what is going on, providing new directions and treatment ideas for their care.
Bad – the Internet has provided an incredible amount of BAD, WRONG, and horribly BIASED information to anyone with a computer and an Internet connection. Sorting out what is good from what is bad can be very difficult, especially for someone who hasn’t been trained or taken the extensive effort to educate themselves in an understanding of the human body and medicine.
Bottom-line – DO educate yourself. Understand your body and the treatments being given to you. If you have minor health issues (colds, seasonal allergies, etc) feel free to research and try things that you want to. DON’T try and treat yourself for serious, life-threatening, or complicated conditions. At best, you will waste your time and money trying different therapies. At worst you will waste a lot of time and money and worsen or complicate your condition
Primary providers – doctors and licensed professionals
–Conventional MD’s, DO’s & Conventional Nurse Practitioners – these are the gatekeepers of the conventional system, the people most people are used to seeing, and the ones most typically covered by health insurance.
Good – most of these professionals are dedicated, caring and skilled in conventional medicine
Bad – most have little to no knowledge of Natural Health. Their schooling didn’t cover it and most of these providers haven’t taken the time to educate themselves about Natural Health. At best you’ll hear ‘I don’t know’ and unfortunately too many others will tell you uneducated things like, ‘It doesn’t work’, or ‘It’s all a sham’, or ‘There’s no science behind anything they do’.
Bottom line – see a conventionally trained MD, DO, or nurse for conventional medicine. They are perhaps your WORST source of information on Natural Medicine.
–Integrative or Holistic MD’s, DO’s & Nurse Practitioners – increasingly conventional providers frustrated with the regular system are exploring Natural Medicine. These practitioners will tell you that they are integrative, holistic or natural on their website, card, or brochure.
Good – These practitioners are often much more open minded and generally have a better bedside manner than their conventional counterparts. Their visits are often longer and they take a much more expanded view of you as a person (not just focusing on a sick body part or disease). They often combine natural and conventional treatments effectively.
Bad – Their education in Natural Medicine is not standardized and varies significantly. Many integrative practitioners, especially those who have been in practice for a long time and who have been conscientious about their education are well-trained. Unfortunately my experience and the experience of my colleagues and patients is that too many of these practitioners are jumping into natural medicine with very little education. They may take a few weekend courses and read a few books and then re-brand themselves as a holistic practitioner and while the intention is good, they are a conventional ‘wolf’ in holistic ‘sheep’ clothing and don’t have the knowledge or understanding to treat you effectively with natural medicine.
The Bottom line – Do your research. Find out about their education and experience. If their idea of natural medicine is to swap your anti-depressant drug for St. John’s Wort or use bio-identical hormones instead of pharmaceutical hormones, they are not a true Natural Medicine practitioner.
We will continue this article in part II – Naturopathic doctors and Chiropractors.
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