Choosing a Doctor
These days, patients are informed consumers. The internet lets anyone research any condition. Between MD’s, DC’s, and DO’s, there are choices among well educated physicians. But now there are also acupuncturist, nutritionists, and a variety of healers, often with fewer credentials. How does one decide whom to see for what?
When I talk to clients, I explain there are three approaches to healing; disease, preventative, and wellness care. Additionally, treatment approaches range from focused, invasive and man-made to holistic, gentle and natural. No one person can really do it all well.
It’s important to understand the objectives, philosophy, education and skills of the practitioner because who’s right for you depends on your goals and condition. Each approach is important in the right circumstances. Much of todays confusion is because there’s misunderstanding about who’s providing what.
With disease care, there is already a condition present in your body that needs treatment. In other words, you’re sick or had an accident and you need help. It’s also known as restorative or regressive care; the goal is to return you to how you were before the problem arose.
With preventative care, there is no current condition. Treatment focuses on avoiding disease in the future.
With wellness care, we are not focusing on the disease, instead we focus on the person. We increase strengths, optimize potential, integrate systems or learn new skills. Also known as reorganizational care; the goal of wellness care is making available latent resources, somewhat like defragging a hard drive.
A number of today’s practitioners will incorrectly say they are doing wellness care or are holistic practitioners. What they often mean is that they are trying to offer more natural or less invasive disease treatments. The way any practitioner treats you may be invasive or non-invasive, and man-made or naturally based.
For example, a person diagnosed with cancer can be treated with chemotherapy, an invasive, man-made treatment. If the doctor also prescribed eating an alkaline diet, that would be an example of a non-invasive and naturally based treatment. Either approach is about physically curing the cancer. Either treatment may succeed. One is less destructive to the patient.
If you need help for a condition, ask the doctor if they are educated in, or open to less invasive, natural alternatives in addition to exploring wellness care. Experienced practitioners know when to refer to another specialist or discipline and can help you find all the support you need.
© 2008 Dr. Karen Thorson All Rights Reserved
Choosing Holistic Care
If you‘ve had an accident or have a threatening disease, traditional restorative care is the way to go. Typically, hospitals and doctors are trained and prepared to relieve your acute condition and restore you to how you were “before.” However, if you are dealing with chronic issues like headaches, back pain, exhaustion, PTSD or the like, then a holistic approach, reorganizational care, can be the better way to go.
For most chronic issues, drugs often only mask the symptoms. But pain or discomfort is your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t right. Not unlike painting over the oil light in your car, just because you’ve suppressed the warning, doesn’t mean the problem is resolved. And, taking drugs over a period of time takes a toll on your body, especially your liver and kidneys.
Long-term health solutions require looking fully into the problem in order to solve it. A holistic practitioner considers your whole person, taking account of how your mental attitude, emotional state and your physical condition are one.
Consider those happy times when you were too busy to be sick, mentally decided it couldn’t happen, and it didn’t. Now remember a difficult time (one of loss or change) when emotional fear or sadness made you physically exhausted or even ill. In such circumstances, it becomes especially clear that your body-mind-spirit are one being.
Emotional pain such as divorce, financial or parenting issues, deplete your body and distract your mind. Physical stresses such as accidents, birth, environmental toxins also depress your immune system, affect your mood and dull your mind. Even fun things like weddings or vacations can be stressful and exhausting. Keep in mind that stress in any one area of your life can be carried over into another and be expressed as hard-to-understand, seemingly-unrelated symptoms.
Children’s body-mind-spirit are one being as well. It’s easy to recognize how kids may express their sadness about divorce as tummy aches. Similarly, physical issues such as food allergies may manifest emotionally as anger, or mentally as a short attention span. Even years later, childhood events, from birth trauma to bike accidents, can resurface as symptoms.
In choosing a holistic practitioner, look for someone who skillfully considers ”all” of you, not just your symptoms in isolation, to help you discover and understand the deeper underlying causes of your condition . If you are ready to make a commitment to these deeper changes, a holistic practitioner can help.
© 2008 Dr. Karen Thorson All Rights Reserved