Today's natural health care practitioner (most likely ND, DC, Lac or nutritionist) is likely being blind-sided by the modern patient.
Who is the modern patient?
Someone who is chronically ill, and dose not respond to typical treatment.
What is typical treatment?
Something like an allergy elimination diet, with basic supplements (probiotics, fish oil, vitamin D, glutamine, etc...).
Simply cleaning up someone's diet and basic supplements is not enough.
The modern chronically ill patient is not only deeply toxic, but often will suffer from what I simply call "immune system confusion." The bombardment of vaccinations, toxic chemicals, EMF, poor gut health and emotional stress have caused an epidemic of autoimmune disease, hypersensitivities and other illnesses caused by a deregulated immune system.
To put it simply, the immune system can no longer recognize self from non-self, or properly identify how to detoxify substances even if recognized as non-self. We did not evolve to recognize and detoxify BPA - but we are stuck with it and thousands of other chemicals in our bodies nonetheless.
What they do not teach in Naturoapthic school (at least when I attended University of Bridgeport 2005-09) is that this problem is going on, but less how to address it.
For the most part I think the field prefers to just talk about the good it can do, and ignore what is not well understood. But I'll be honest, there are untold numbers of these chronically sick modern patients gong not from MD to MD, but from ND to ND looking for answers. They know the MD's have no answers, and keep on chasing simple solutions offered in the world of natural health. Often they become natural health experts themselves - but can not put the pieces together because they have no formal training in natural health philosophy (so can not escape reductionism and understand self as holistic unit - even if they think they are). Therefore they will chase one supposed miracle cure - with all the science to back it up - one after another.
Ways the modern patient is being treated:
1) Don't treat the problem, just act like you do
If you go to a ND for hypothyroidism and are in a state where ND's have prescriptive rights you may be given Armour or other natural desiccated thyroid hormone. This may be better than synthroid. It is however, doing virtually NOTHING to treat the cause of autoimmune hypothyroidism.
2) Don't eat anything
Gluten free diet, FOMAPS diet, salicylates diet, Candida diet - fuck it - just tell people to eat nothing. Since people are supposed "allergic" or "sensitive" everything - just tell them to starve.
I'm not against these diets - and many people are simply forced onto them - but why can't people just eat a whole food diet? Why do people develop celiac disease.
Most of the people who come into see me are already on terribly restrictive diet. I do encourage sugar free, dairy free, gluten free, GMO free, only real foods - but they really are already doing that.
If eating an apple sets off your Candida symptoms, chances are you need to do more than eliminating apples.
3) Functional tests
I AM NOT AGAINST FUNCTIONAL LAB TESTS
I am against people being promised the final answer by some next functional lab tests. I am against people spending not just hundreds, but literally thousands out of pocket on functional lab tests that detail the effects of their chronic illness, but not their cause. I am against practitioners who blindly have patients pay all sorts of money on the newest / greatest test but have no skills whatsoever in diagnosis without a lab test.
I am against supposed "expert" telling a roomful of natural health practitioners that he would never treat Candida if not on a lab test.
It's bad enough MD's are now deskilled b/c well - just order MRI.
Do we need to be deskilled as well.
The more we depend on functional lab tests then not only the less people can afford us (not that practitioners make money off of this - profit goes all to the lab) but also the less skills we develop using other assessment.
I run functional lab tests sparingly.
I hate it when people come in with their big stack of labs and just refuse to hear that
1) the answer is not in the labs
2) the answer is not in the new lab test they want
I hate the 20 minute discussions where I have to gradually lead someone to the conclusion that their functional labs fucking suck (maybe I should just come out and say that?)
Every now and then someone walks in who I simply can not work with b/c they are obsessed with functional lab tests. Despite going through thousands on lab tests and "functional medicine doctors" they need more. They argue with any assessment given if not on lab tests. They have fantasies about some new lab measure being "the answer." They complain about having no money - but always have a few hundred for the next functional lab test.
4) Blame the patient
When everything you do doesn't work - it's just a bad patient - call then non compliant - call them "crazy" - just call them something to hide from your ignorance
5) Allergy elimination techniques
There are things like NAET - just work on desensitization
I'll say this about various "desensitization" - are you being treated or is the practitioner simply shutting down your body's attempts at detoxification.
From what I've been told by a handful of people in my field I truly respect - it is not the former but the later.
6) Work on palliating symptoms
Just keep on doing the same old - but never truly break the case
Instead of simply attacking conventional medicine (we all know that sucks) the natural health field needs to look at itself and realize the same old rules do not apply! We have to many fake "experts" in natural health who should just shut the fuck up. Not the Dr. Weil types, I mean the types who get paid to lecture other practitioners - seriously - I can't imagine any other field that has so many ignorant "experts." I don't know where the fuck these people come from.
The typical natural health care practitioner is a kind hearted, well meaning and I think humble person. We deserve more than fake experts and their promises of some secret knowledge.
There is no "expert" in my field who I have found to be fully honest. NONE. Even the ones I respect, the ones who really taught me what I need to know. I have found all to be to some degree dishonest, manipulative, not aware of own short-comings, or at least to over-hype certain therapies.
(edit: the one truly honest - say it as it is lecturer I've seen is Dr. Sesenig - who taught naturopathic philosophy at my school - I loved listening to him. The only person I've seen who wasn't afraid to say it as it is.)
Virtually all practitioner education in the natural health field is promoted by supplement or lab companies. Any such training is to a degree - misleading and fraudulent. This doesn't make the training wrong or not valuable (it may be quite the opposite) but the education is compromised.
Just as it's compromised when a pharmaceutical company teaches the doctors, it's compromised when a supplement company does the same.
The field needs to get rid of dogma.
I have found homeopathy to be invaluable to treating the modern patient.
I prescribe homeopathics based off of kinesiology muscle tests - not accordingly to classical homeopathic dogma. I also use nosodes also quite a lot.
The homeopathic field - stuck in it's own 19th century dogma is an example of what the natural health field needs to avoid.
You're not going to learn how to treat the new modern patient by holding onto old dogma.
Yet part of the answer is the old. I have found more validity in the philosophies and techniques handed down by generations of practitioners who came before me, than the latest health fad or "expert."
The tried and true works, but the homeopaths, eclectics, NDs of 100 years ago did not face the same sort of patients as today.
I do not believe it is valid to transpose the exact same sort of treatment from one time/place to another, yet the old truths must be held onto as a foundation.
Within the Naturopathic field there is a rift between those who want a more traditional practice (what did ND's do decades ago), and those who wish to be more "scientific." The longer I'm in this - the more I move towards the more traditional side, but in a way where the tried and true is build on and using newer systems such as kinesiology or biotherapeautic drainage, to adapt to the sort of people who come into my office.