This is a really good question that I hear at least
once a day. When I first heard it, I would answer "Of course it
will work. Natural Medicine has been proven effective for centuries."
Then, I realized that the real question was "Am I a good candidate
for natural medicine?'. And the truthful answer to that question is
"maybe". Over the years, I have determined a profile of what
a successful patient will look like.
A successful patient will:
Be committed to change from the outset.
If you tell a person that she needs to eliminate dairy from the diet
and she doesn't, even if she complies with any amount of pills you give
her, the outcome won't be as good.
Be willing to consider a diagnosis different
from the one you came in with. I've had several patients who come in
asking me if I treat some pretty obscure condition. In one case, it
was an extremely rare skin condition. When I suggested that the laundry
detergent should be ruled out, the person became indignant. Six months
later, I received an email telling me that it had been an allergic reaction.
Be flexible in how you can be treated.
We are always looking to treat the underlying cause so that your whole
body becomes healthier. If you come in with allergies, we will treat
your liver and your intestines, along with supplements to ease your
allergy symptoms. If you insist we stick to the allergies, then all
you have done is substituted natural medicine for conventional medicine
- instead of eliminating the underlying susceptibility to the allergies.
While we usually get some margin of improvement within a few weeks,
and in many cases within a few days, natural medicine (and conventional
medicine) can take months to finish its action. It is puzzling that
someone will expect a "cure" in one week for a condition they
have had for 10 or 20 years.
Most naturopathic doctors feel it is an important part of their job
to answer questions. After all the better you understand what is going
on, the more committed you will be to it. " Not stop in mid-treatment
just because he are feeling better. Even if you are feeling better,
you are not necessarily healed. And often the symptoms will come back
2-3 months after you stopped the treatment and we have to start at the
Please tell us if things are going as expected or not. We have many
different ways to treat conditions and sometimes it takes us a few tries
to get the right one for you. After all, each person has a different
constitution, so what works for 70% of people may not work for you.
Be completely candid. Often there is an emotional component to illness.
If we don't know that you lost your job, had plastic surgery or suffered
the loss of a child a few months before the medical condition started,
we won't be as effective because the emotional and physical stress of
these seemingly unrelated situations often contribute to the illness.
Stay in touch.
I have patients that come in once or twice a year for fine-tuning. They
are committed to stay in excellent health and have learned not to wait
until a problem is full-blown. Not wait until she is at the end of her
rope. These are the hardest patients to treat. They are so overwhelmed
by the problem and by the time they get to your office they could literally
have 3 months to live. Natural medicine should be the starting place,
rather than the point of last resort.
Not come in because someone forced her to.
The patient has to be willing on her own.
After all, the well-meaning friend won't be there 24/7 to force compliance.