Some Things to Be Aware Of
While I work with integrative (e.g. non-pharmaceutical, non-surgical) therapies, I also use and recommend conventional medical therapies for my patients. My approach is “both-and” rather than “either-or”.
I deeply respect conventional/modern/Western medicine for what it has brought us. The scientific method (and individual scientists) may not be perfect, but it’s the best method we’ve developed to work out what is true and what works. I respect the scientific method for what it tells us about our world.
I very much promote the mundane basics of good health. You cannot out-supplement problematic lifestyle choices. Here are some of my standard recommendations to my patients. If you have questions about any of these, I invite you to make an appointment to discuss them with me.
- Vaccinate — yourself and any children you may be responsible for, according to the standard CDC recommendations. Vaccines are safe and prevent diseases that you do not want to have to deal with. Even if you believe that you and yours would survive a vaccine-preventable disease quite safely, others that you are around may not be so lucky. So vaccinate for the good of those around you as well as for yourself.
- Stop smoking. This includes cigars, pipes and (until we have better evidence on it) e-vaping.
- Keep your drinking within recommended limits (2 drinks per day for natal males and 1 drinks for natal females).
- Eat sensibly: in general, that means vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds and nuts, whole grains, small amounts of animal protein such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy (if you are not vegan). That being said, what you eat may vary depending on any illnesses you have (yes, there are conditions where people cannot tolerate large amounts of fiber or raw vegetables). When it comes to weight loss different diets tend to work for different people. I think it’s fair to say however that a diet of pastries and soda is not going to be good for 99.999% of the population.
- Exercise moderately.
- Recognize that medications can be a life-saving and life-affirming choice in many conditions.
- If you are on medications, I will ask you to keep taking them until and unless your condition is well controlled without them (yes, we have ways of sorting out when that occurs, even while you are on medications).
- If you need medications to prevent damage or death, then I will either prescribe them or refer you to a provider who is qualified to manage those medications.
- The same goes for surgeries.
- Sometimes there is some “wiggle room” about taking medications, other times there is not.
- Get standard preventive screening exams and tests, such as colonoscopies, and mammograms.
- If you are struggling with challenges in your life that make it hard to take the steps you need to care for yourself, it’s fine to acknowledge that you need help. Whether that’s financial assistance, medication, therapy, surgery, a caseworker: getting that help is an essential part of moving forward with your health. If taking these steps is a challenge, I can work with you to find ways to make them do-able for you. However if you have severe, consistent challenges that make it difficult for you to carry out basic steps needed to take care of yourself, then our first step will be to make an appointment for you with a clinic, provider or agency that has resources to help you with those challenges.
The goal isn’t to be 100% natural. The goal is to be alive and healthy.
The goal is not avoiding medications or surgery. The goal is to be as functional and healthy as is optimal and possible – for you. Do not let anyone shame you for making the choices that work best for you. We can continue to use appropriate integrative therapies together with medications and surgery to support you in what you need to live your life, as best as you can.
A word specifically to those living with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and various other mental conditions: you are not to blame for your condition, and taking medication is not a failure. Medication can make it possible for depressed, anxious, sleepless people to finally be able to take the steps they need to exercise, sleep well, eat decently, get to therapy routinely. If medication is needed, take it, and honor yourself for taking care of yourself.
These same cautions apply to cancer patients. Surgeons, oncologists and radiologists are trying to help you. Listen to them.
And, these cautions apply as well as those who have conditions that can cause damage or death if left untreated with conventional medications.