Why Natural Medicine May Not Be Working For You

Tom Daschle is now the new Secretary of Health and Human Services.  I have no idea what his plans are for healthcare in America, and frankly, I’m always worried when I hear politicians talking about “healthcare reform”.  But I watched a speech he gave recently, and there was something he said that I completely agree with.

He talked about how a healthcare system is like a pyramid.  He described the base of that pyramid as being comprised of prevention and wellness strategies, which he rightly said is the most efficient, least expensive portion of the entire system. 

As you move up toward the top, the technology becomes more invasive and more expensive, (e.g. – surgery, sophisticated diagnostics, expensive drugs, emergency care, etc.).

Whereas other countries’ port of entry into the health system is at the base, (prevention and wellness), and works it’s way to the top until the money runs out, America’s port of entry is typically at the top, (expensive, invasive procedures and therapies), and works it’s way down until the money runs out.

As a nutritional counselor, I’ve seen this for years.  A person is diagnosed with a very manageable illness, but instead of opting for simple steps to alleviating it’s affects, such as diet, supplements, and exercise, they’re instead instructed to go to a doctor, run a battery of ancillary tests, and begin taking a symptom-masking drug that does nothing to alleviate the real cause of the illness.  Eventually, the drug stops working, the body’s ability to heal itself is seriously compromised, the disease becomes more aggressive, and countless thousands of dollars have been spent.

It is usually only after all other resources have been exhausted that a person will make his/her way down to the bottom of the pyramid, and seek out natural “alternatives” for the health challenge.  At this point, the safe and gentle effects of natural medicine are forced to “swim upstream” at a break-neck pace, something which natural methods are not naturally good at.

For example, if you were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and you came to me, I would put you on a program, which included a foundational diet, supplements, and exercise.  In my experience, this has worked wonders, and many of my clients didn’t need to continue their diabetes-support supplements after only a few months on the program, instead sticking with just the foundationals.

But what typically happens is a person comes to me after decades of medical interventions, zero lifestyle improvements, a pancreas that is shot, and symptoms that border on devastating, (e.g. – neuropathy, vision problems, muscle weakness, etc).  In other words, the the disease has run it’s natural course in the absence of fundamental lifestyle changes.  Now they come to me for “alternative” help, but the body is so damaged, fish oil and chromium and alpha lipoic acid and other nutrients just won’t do the same thing they would have done had the person begun taking these years and years earlier.

Instead, what would have happened if the person changed his/her lifestyle years earlier?  Do you think the body would have been nourished better?  Do you think the body would have been equipped to function properly?  Do you think he/she may have been able to maintain something like this for the rest of their lives, once their energy returned and their bodies were given what they naturally needed, in the first place?

“Prevention” isn’t a sexy word.  It isn’t an inspiring word.  It makes no sense to those who aren’t “feeling bad”, or who are able to feel better with a simple pill they can get filled at the pharmacy.  But the simple pill that merely masks symptoms while the disease continues to run rampant is a tender trap.  It lulls you into complacency.  It makes you think everything’s all right.  Aahhhh….

Resist the temptation to begin your healthcare at the “top of the pyramid”. 

Resist the lulling effects of symptom-masking drugs if at all possible.

Make prevention and wellness and natural health your mainstays.

P.S. - For those who have started at the top of the pyramid, there’s still hope.  Your journey to health may be more challenging.  It may taker longer than you had hoped.  You may be in a situation where you have “hybridized health”, (partially natural, and partially conventional).  But no matter, your body simply works better with more nutrients rather than less, and with more exercise rather than less.  The positive benefits will outweigh the effects of complacency.  So take heart, and slide to the bottom of the pyramid as quickly as you can!





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