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Working with a holistic doctor

Posted Nov 30 2010 2:16pm

Yesterday, I went to see a holistic doctor. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. Even though I’ve made a lot of changes to my diet and lifestyle, I’m not a medical professional, and it can sometimes be difficult to figure out if you’re on the right path to wellness.

Holistic doctors focus on the overall health of the individual instead of just looking at and treating one or two symptoms. When you go to a holistic doctor, you can expect to talk about nutrition, exercise, stress management, and even spirituality in addition to your medical history and current health concerns. At the office I went to, the staff stressed that patients are in complete control of their own medical treatment. You can decide which recommendations you want to accept to meet your own health goals. In some cases, holistic doctors may prescribe medications if necessary, but they will also likely stress the importance of disease prevention through proper nutrition and exercise, and will also provide you with natural options for treating your medical conditions.

My new holistic doctor told me that I am already doing a lot of things right, like eating a plant-based organic diet, drinking homemade juice and smoothies, and practicing yoga regularly. But there is always room for improvement. My main health concerns at this point are my general lack of energy and the fact that I never wake up feeling rested. She suspected that the culprit could be dysbiosis – an imbalance of intestinal bacteria or even the presence of parasites. So we are doing more testing to try to find out, and I also came home with some additional supplements to add to my daily breakfast smoothie . I hope we can find some answers, because even making drastic changes to my diet (giving up or drastically cutting back on wheat, dairy and processed foods) hasn’t resulted in the changes I was hoping for. “For someone who’s so healthy, you’re kind of unhealthy,” Ryan joked (sort of) the other night when I complained (again) about always feeling tired and run-down.

If you’re interested in working with a holistic doctor, check directories such as those offered by the American Holistic Medical Association . You can also look for a naturopathic doctor or a doctor trained in functional medicine. You may also want to consider working with a health coach, who can perform similar services but may or may not be an actual doctor. Health coaches will help you define your health goals and suggest different treatment options, but may not be able to prescribe medications. It’s always a good idea to inquire about certifications when looking for a health coach. Choose someone you feel comfortable with, because you will spending a good deal of time discussing your medical history and personal life.

Also keep in mind that insurance may not cover some types of functional medicine or alternative treatment options. Holistic doctors may also not accept insurance assignment, which means you are required to pay for services in full and you are responsible for submitting your own claim to your insurance company for reimbursement.

To learn more about holistic health and holistic health care, visit Holistic Health Now .

Dr. Mercola's Total Health

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