I normally don’t fit in within the allopathic health view, but I also have a hard time fitting in within the natural health community sometimes. My views sit somewhere in the middle where I like to put everything in a balance scale and get what I think it’s the perfect combination from both worlds.
I don’t believe in an either / or (allopathic or natural), all or nothing approach to health, integration and complementing is my approach. I have encounter many people in the natural health community that believe you should always use alternative remedies and only recur to allopathic medicine when it’s a death or life situation. Then there are those that think botanical remedies or other complementary therapies are nothing more than “woo-woo” and they have no effect in the body except for a placebo effect (which really isn’t a bad thing as many make it sound, but we’ll talk about placebos another day).
In this blog I am focusing on “alternative” or natural health though, because it’s what my practice would fall under. And I don’t like using the word “alternative” either, and as you read through you will understand why.
I believe in integration, in team work and collaboration. You don’t have to pick one or the other, you can work with both or the one that better suits your needs according to the circumstances, and that will give you the best outcome. It’s our own choice, and that is the beauty of taking responsibility of your own health; the problem comes when well-intentioned but many times misinformed people share their beliefs as if it was the ultimate truth. Or when in attempt to belong to a particular social group one feels the need to follow their views and advise all the time, even if your gut is telling you otherwise.
What do I mean by integration and exactly what extreme views I am talking about? – Well, let me give you an example to better explain myself:
Person X has some sort of a bad rash, and asks a group of natural minded people say, on facebook, what it may be and how to deal with it. Person X will get hundreds of different responses or suggestions. Person X will be a bit confused and probably use several of the suggestions mentioned until something works, nobody sees a reason why she should go to the doctor because it’s just a rash.
What would my scenario would look like?
Person X comes to see me because she has developed a bad rash and would like a botanical product to help. Sure, I can create a blend to help with some of the symptoms, such as itchiness that she may have, but I would probably refrain from helping if I feel Person X needs to go and get a formal diagnosis and then come back to see me. Why? Without knowing what it is we don’t know what the proper oils or herbs could help, once a formal diagnosis is given then we know how to approach it, if the person still wants to use an ointment. Eczema and psoriasis for example may look similar but will require different approaches, some essential oils that are commonly used on the skin could be extremely irritant to someone with eczema. Even worse, if this “bad rash” is actually MRSA you can see how problematic this would be.
So, then after a diagnosis Person X comes back because it’s eczema and doesn’t want to use the typical creams used for it, she can choose a natural product if appropriate – that is her choice - and the product created for her now has better chance at providing effective relief since we know what we are working with. There is also no need to hide this from the health care professional, because they may still need to do future evaluations on the issue and you want to be honest and disclose this information. Who knows, maybe the doctor will even suggest others the option to work with an Aromatherapist/Herbalist if they think it would be a good fit for their case.
This is also why I do not provide much advise online except for very general things, everyone is different and so it’s their situation, just because 2 people come and see me for an essential oil blend to help them relax, it doesn’t mean they will both get the same blend, factors such as their health, medications, stressors, lifestyle, etc., will determine the end product. And it doesn’t mean that every client I see will have to go for a diagnosis all the time before meeting me, of course not, if I have a cold I generally just know it and deal with it, if I know I have always suffered with eczema during certain seasons I don’t need to go and confirm that again. But when things do not fit what is “normal”, such as the cold has gone on for 3 weeks and it’s not getting any better, then you have to investigate further.
You also do not have to use only natural products, no matter how naturally minded you are, sometimes using your prescription along with a natural remedy may work best for you. This is why TEAM work is so important among different practitioners, and I just wish others could see this too.