Western medicine doesn’t always have the answers. If you’ve been on the merry go round of healthcare providers and specialists and still have no answers regarding your mysterious and bothersome symptoms, it might be time to seek the help of other professionals, such as a natural health practitioner.
Depending on your individual needs, the natural health world is loaded with options that address various aches and pains and ailments, with one commonality--they seek to address the root cause rather than chasing symptoms.
What do these professionals do? Which one would be most suited to address your individual health issues? Here is a list to help you make the most informed decision.
A massage therapist doesn’t just address sore muscles these days. Massage helps with reducing inflammation, increasing lymphatic flow and circulation and helping with regulating hormones. Regular massages can also address mental health issues such as chronic stress, anxiety and depression.
Of course, a massage therapist is great for the obvious--back pain, muscle soreness and tension, but they may also help manage chronic pain and illnesses such as fibromyalgia. Increasing blood flow and lymphatic draining helps the body to detoxify, which can help any inflammatory disease state.
Various massage techniques can cater to a myriad of health concerns, so be sure to research the type of massage that addresses your particular health issue.
Acupuncture has been studied and practiced for thousands of years. Yes, thousands! It is at the hub of traditional Chinese medical theory and focuses on energy forces that run through the body known as “qi.” Targeting meridian points is the premise of acupuncture and involves assessing the energy flow within the body which impacts various organs and manifests as symptoms. Needles are inserted in specific pressure points aligned to signal the body and promote increased circulation, wound healing, stimulate the immune system, help manage pain and more. The needles are not painful or inserted deeply, and there is no downtime from an acupuncture session.
Acupuncture can help with many ailments, from menstrual cramps to mental health issues to infertility, circulation issues, chronic inflammation, pain management and more.
Like acupuncture, herbalism has been practiced for thousands of years. It is believed that for every illness, a plant exists to address the root cause. Many herbs work in synergy with one another, helping to manage chronic inflammation, digestive issues, pain, mood disorders, toxic overload, parasitic infections and more.
In 2016, Americans spent over $7 billion on herbal dietary supplements, according to the American Botanical Council’s Herb Market Report. About 33% of Americans take herbal supplements daily. The World Health Organization estimates that 80% of people worldwide utilize herbal medicine as their primary form of healthcare. Herbalism, after all, was the primary form of healing for thousands of years. Allopathic medicine, as in our current medical system and the use of pharmaceuticals has only existed for a little over a hundred years.
An herbalist focuses on the root cause to explain the reason for the symptoms and chooses the plant-based option that would work best to address the health issue.
Herbalists are natural chemists who can create salves, teas, tinctures, capsules and more. Each herbal prescription is individual and created based on a person’s medical history and symptoms to further address the root cause.
Naturopathic doctors (NDs) focus on prevention through a variety of modalities in order to strengthen the body and provide it with the tools to intrinsically heal itself. Naturopathic doctors emphasize “homeostasis” or natural balance, which they see is thrown off kilter by our unnatural lifestyles-- poor diet, lack of exercise, chronic stress, negative thoughts, etc. They utilize herbal remedies, massage, acupuncture, nutrition and other modalities to help the body achieve homeostasis and in turn, heal itself.
Naturopathic doctors can help with chronic health conditions where allopathic medicine hasn’t been able to address the root cause. These may include metabolic syndrome, gastrointestinal issues, hormone imbalances, chronic inflammation, asthma, pain management and more. NDs can also be utilized to help provide guidance for prevention of chronic health issues by focusing on a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
Functional Medicine Doctor:
Functional medicine doctors take a holistic approach to healthcare. They focus on more than the physical, addressing even emotional and spiritual health to discover the root cause. Their specialty is understanding and identifying complex illnesses that may impact multiple bodily systems.
Functional medicine doctors address inflammatory health conditions such as autoimmune diseases, Lyme disease, arthritis, mental health issues and more. They utilize a systems-oriented medical approach to uncover the root cause of symptom manifestation. Each patient has a unique, individual treatment plan.
The relationship between a functional medicine doctor and a patient is seen as a partnership, rather than “the doctor is in charge.” The focus is on the individual, not the disease. Treatments may involve various modalities, such as herbs, supplements, lifestyle changes, stress management, diet and more.
Testing may be utilized to uncover root causes, as well. These might include nutrient testing, blood work, microbiome stool sample collection, hair analysis, heavy metal testing, mycotoxin testing, genetic variant testing (MTHFR, for example) and other labs not frequently prescribed by western medicine.
A typical appointment with a functional medicine doctor may last over two hours! Functional medicine doctors complete a full medical history, testing, exam and treatment plan and generally spend much more time with their patients than conventional doctors, who average 5-7 minutes per patient appointment.
Proper alignment equals health is the premise behind chiropractic care. Focused more on structure of the body, chiropractors can help manage pain as well as improve circulation, reduce inflammation, reduce the frequencies of headaches, help with sports injuries and accidents. Generally, people seek out chiropractic care when they have frequent back and neck pain, such as sciatica, pinched nerves, whiplash and migraines.
Chiropractors can’t prescribe pharmaceuticals, however, many utilize other modalities in their practice, such as nutritional counseling, supplements and herbs, massage therapy, and physical therapy.
It is estimated that approximately 22 million Americans visit a chiropractor annually, 35% of whom were seeking pain relief as the main reason for chiropractic care.
Integrative Medicine Doctor:
Integrative medicine is the midpoint between conventional allopathic medicine and holistic medicine. It relies on both as modalities to help the body heal itself, incorporating lifestyle habits and being more patient-focused than disease-focused when it comes to diagnosis and treatment. Lifestyle choices are seen by many integrative physicians as the root cause of modern day illnesses, so education is a key factor of care, involving nutrition and supplementation, spirituality, meditation, yoga, exercise, social interaction to help heal the whole person.
An integrative medical doctor can help manage heart disease, mental health issues, chronic stress management, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, autoimmune diseases, pain management and more.
In the natural health world, many other modalities exist that may help you manage chronic health issues that consistently baffle those trying to address them allopathically. These include reiki, body talk therapy, sound therapy, music therapy, Ayurveda and more. Leaning toward natural remedies and treatments may provide answers and comfort to those who choose to explore it. A blend of old wives tales, tradition, documented evidence, generational knowledge and thousands of years of experience may help an individual add more quality of life to their years.
Taking charge of your own health by eating healthy, exercising regularly and choosing the purest supplements to meet your individual needs are also keys to prevention and health management. At Pure TheraPro Rx, our mission is to align with nature to help you meet these needs. We create supplements that build a healthy body, and we do this by first building your trust.
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