Why natural medicine does not work

Why natural medicine does not work

Twenty years ago natural medicine was considered complete quackery among medical scholars and health practitioners. Yet there was something mysterious and enticing in this natural concept that the crowds of North America hesitantly, although curiously, accepted natural medicine as an emerging new trend.

Time passed and hard evidence about value of natural medicine could not be denied. Experiences of early natural medicine users were so positive that it convinced a large proportion of North Americans to wholeheartedly plunge into this new idea.

America loves natural medicine

Open-minded individuals and “softer” skeptics started to get converted into believers. As North America has been slowly becoming natural medicine lovers more and more individuals brave a visit to a natural doctor in hope of finding a pill without side effects.

Yet, for a surprisingly large portion of those who try natural medicine the treatment does not work. That’s true. Let me give you an example from my recent encounter in the clinic.

Doctor, what can you give me for…

A 75-year of lady came to my office. She has never been to a naturopathic doctor, but her daughter send her over saying that she had a great experience herself and is sure her mother would find a relief from her problems as well.

The lady had nothing to lose. After all, her doctor could not help her with a very bothersome ringing in the ears. She wished nothing else but just to have it stopped.

I listened to her carefully. She had multiple illnesses including glaucoma and was on about eight different prescription medications: for blood pressure, for stomach, for joints, for sleep, and for high cholesterol.

She was ok with those and accepted the pills as a necessary part of medical treatment. After all, all her problems were due to “old age” and “genetics” as she explained them to me. She did not see any correlation between what she was doing or what she was eating and her state of health.

One pill for blood pressure, another one for stress?

To her ringing of the ears was a simple and isolated problem that could be cured by getting a right prescription, just like it happened with her blood pressure, stomach ache, joint pain, and insomnia. She was convinced that a cure comes from one pill for each ailment. However, her doctor did not have a magic pill for ear ringing, so she came to our clinic hoping we have it.

I sat for a minute and tried to gather my thoughts. I had to somehow give her bad news: the ear ringing cannot be cured by a pill, but require changes in lifestyle. Her diet was poor, she was having multiple nutrient deficiencies, and her diet diary revealed many pro-inflammatory, artery-clogging foods.

To stop the ringing she needed to improve microcirculation to her ears, ideally by changing her diet or alternatively by taking tons of supplements that would not go well with her current meds, her stomach or her pocket.

Health require effort

I gently introduced the idea of nutrition. She was fascinated and open-minded at first. The problem arose when we got down to practice. She was explaining to me that she likes her foods the way she has them, and her husband expects her to serve Italian dishes and nothing else. She was also telling me that it is a tradition to gather with friends over desserts. They are a must for good times.

She had a hard time understanding that her meals could have anything to do with her ears, or her other illnesses. She had a hard time grasping that in order to remove ringing she needs to improve circulation to her ears and in order to do so she needs to work on the plaque in her arteries. To me it was a huge undertaking, but she was hoping for just one pill.

Natural medicine is not the same as supplements

She was set in her ways and I saw no hope in proceeding with dietary changes, so I opted for the second option, supplements. She had high hopes for the pills, so she gladly took that options. However, to her surprise she did not end up with just one pill for ears, she ended up with several bottles of natural remedies: some to address her nutritional deficiencies, some to help with microcirculation. None of them were covered by her drug plan, which she did not like.

I saw her a month later. Her ringing was better, but she was tired of the pills. Of course I would be too, so I approached her again with the possibility of changes to her diet, after all, it would not cost her anything. She may have a permanent reduction of ear noise, and a good chance of reducing her prescription medications due to overall improvement in health. Yet she remained adamant about her diet.  The two best options of either dietary changes or tons of supplements unfortunately were unacceptable to her.

Do natural cures exist?

Could her ear ringing be gone for good? I believe, yes. But why didn’t natural medicine work for her? Was it a failure of natural medicine or a failure of an individual to comply with the required changes? 

Next time if natural medicine fails you ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I really understand the CAUSE of my problem
  • Is the CAUSE related to my nutrition and lifestyle?
  • Does the treatment I use ADDRESS the CAUSE of my problem?
  • Am I COMMITTED to changing my diet and lifestyle to create the healing environment for my body
  • Am I going to abandon EXCUSES such as “I do not believe it will work for me”, “my husband would not approve it”, “my kids like it this way”, or “I have no time to do it”

If the answer is “YES” to all of the above you are on your way to benefit tremendously from natural medicine. If not, well… maybe natural medicine is not for you. But if you already bought some natural wonder pill from the internet that you have tried and did not work, do not blame natural medicine for lousy performance, but yourself for having unrealistic expectations.



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