Don’t Just Get a Second Opinion…Get a Second Perspective
Many of your doctor’s appointments may be rather routine. However, at some appointments, your doctor may recommend a new prescription or a procedure that could impact your life for years to come. If I agreed to take every prescription that my doctors have recommended over the years, I would probably be taking four or more different medications daily — despite the fact that I enjoy generally great health!
So what should you do when you are confronted with a major health care decision, such as whether or not to take a drug known to have potentially life-altering consequences? My advice is not to just get a second opinion, but also get a second perspective. Many traditional doctors approach health problems with the same set of tools and strategies — generally, these are FDA-approved pharmaceuticals and procedures. The current medical model is to treat the disease or its symptoms, rather than to identify the underlying cause of the problem, address it and then enable the patient to bring their health back into balance.
This is the role that naturopathic and integrative physicians, herbalists, nutritionists, acupuncturists and other holistic health care practitioners can play. Often times, people end up seeking out these “alternative” practitioners when they have exhausted all of the conventional options, yet still feel unwell. But in many, if not all, cases, getting help from a professional with a holistic perspective on health, in addition to the care you’re getting from your regular doctor, can result in faster, more complete healing.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t let one person make all of the decisions about your health. And you shouldn’t exclusively see a doctor who relies only on traditional, pharmaceutical solutions, if that’s not how you want to solve your health challenges. Find a doctor or health care practitioner who can relate to your knowledge of and desire for nutritional advice and a holistic approach to wellness. There’s no reason to settle for less.
If you want support in making decision about a chronic health challenge from someone outside the conventional medical frame of mind, you can find help by searching the databases of the following organizations:
American Holistic Medical Association
The AHMA lists MDs and DOs (osteopaths) who specialize in a natural approach to medicine and who may prescribe vitamins, herbs, chiropractic care, acupuncture and other healing modalities for their patients. Their database allows you to search for a physician with a special interest in nutrition.
American Association of Naturopathic Physicians
Naturopathic Physicians (NDs) receive rigorous training in nutrition, botanical medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy and acupuncture. In some states they prescribe and in others they are only allowed to give guidance. Call toll-free: 866-538-2267
American Association for Environmental Medicine
Those interested in environmental medicine assess a patient in relationship to everything that may be affecting him internally and externally and are particularly interested in the effects of pollution, irritants and allergens that may be undermining your health or quality of life. AAEM members recognize the need to balance the body which may include supplementation. You can search their database by state.
Nutrition in Complementary Care
If you would like to work with a registered dietitian (RD) who is interested in alternative therapies and the use of supplements, you can search for members of this American Dietetic Association practice group by state.
Article updated on: August 4th, 2012