Monday, November 30, 2009

Heads or Tails?

It seems to be that your odds of getting the correct diagnosis and treatment from an allopathic physician run about 50%.

As reported by The New England Journal of Medicine, diagnosis and treatment for children was correct 47% of the time, while adults experienced a percentage of 55%.

Further reporting reveals that correct care was given in the following percentages:

Upper respiratory infection: 92%
Acne: 57%
Fever: 51%
Urinary Tract Infection: 48%
Asthma: 46%
Well-child services: 38%
Acute diarrhea: 38%
Adolescent preventive: 35%

Preventive care, in general, rated a 41%.

Now, this is not an attack on medical doctors, let me be clear about that.

What this does show is what we are all, I think, collectively aware of.

Western medicine, in large part, emphasizes and is good at acute care or immediate problems. In addition, insurance is more likely to cover this type of care.

True preventive medicine (think lifestyle changes in mind, body and spirit) is not an emphasis in training and, unfortunately, not likely to be covered by insurance.

I’ve often said that our approach to healthcare in our country is not necessarily incorrect.

It is, however, incomplete.

In other words, we could all benefit from the best of both allopathic and traditional medicine (and by traditional I mean nutrition, bodywork, chiropractic/osteopathy, homeopathy, acupuncture, herbology, etc.), working together to bring about optimal health.

That happens infrequently.

Many people feel like they have to choose one approach over the other, which leaves a gap in their care and health (sometimes this choice is reinforced by their healthcare provider, on both sides of the fence…an unfortunate situation).

I’m here to tell you that you can and should be utilizing both approaches to healthcare to quite literally complement one another.

If you’re only looking at a symptom and suppressing it away, you’re not healing. Would the percentages above be better if the diagnosis and treatment had included a traditional perspective, as well?

I can’t answer that definitively with statistics or research.

I can tell you what I know from over 12 years of clinical practice, focusing on balancing the mind, body and spirit that often the best patient outcomes are when natural/traditional medicine approaches are either utilized in a complimentary role or as a primary approach to a patient’s healthcare issue or crisis.

For many of our patients, the missing link in their recovery is asking the questions and providing the remedies that natural medicine encompasses.

Let me provide an example from a particular patient experience. Kelly (name changed to maintain privacy) had been living with a chronic illness for most of her adult life. When she came to see us she was experiencing a bit of a crisis in her health, one that her allopathic physicians didn’t feel they had any more answers for beyond a lifetime of medication.

We did what we do best, Circuit Healing, Bio-Resonance Scanning, supportive therapies, etc. and as she left us she was in good shape to return to her life. During her stay, we discussed how she had often been told that she should be sicker, based on her diagnosis. She had found some docs surprised that she hadn’t suffered more damage to her internal organs. What they were not aware of was 1) her incredible survivor spirit and 2) her active support of her body via natural means since the original diagnosis. In addition, she is very aware of making life supportive food choices, mental choices, etc. I can’t help but know that had she not been doing these things (eating well, choosing natural support, etc.), she would more than likely have been in a different position from a health perspective.

What’s the take away point from this information?

Well, how can you increase your odds to get better and stay better?

I think you know my position.

Your health, in very many ways, is in your hands. Make sure to include natural, restorative care as part of your overall health plan.

Regardless of your current health state – doing well, struggling a bit with nagging symptoms, or dealing with a life disrupting, chronic condition – keep your approach to becoming well a complete one.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fly Your Freak Flag

For any of you wondering what the heck this blog is about, hang in there.

Consider the following with respect to flying your freak flag.

On March 21, 2008, ‘freak flag’ was named the Urban Word of the Day, according to

How is ‘freak flag ‘defined?

It is a characteristic, mannerism, or appearance of a person, either subtle or overt, which implies unique, eccentric, creative, adventurous or unconventional thinking. Some of you might recognize it in the following explanation, taken from the movie The Family Stone,

“You have a freak flag, you just don’t fly it.”

David Crosby refers to long hair as a freak flag in his song Almost Cut My Hair, "I feel like letting my freak flag fly."

Another definition is letting loose, being down with your cool self, especially in front of a group of strangers -- your inner self that wants to come out, but often is suppressed, from social anxiety.

How do I simply translate it?

Nobody is perfect, everyone has a freak flag.

And a freak flag, contrary to how you might interpret it, is not a negative thing.

‘Flying’ it is ultimately about embracing you are, all of your colorful, unique, eccentric, creative parts, and letting others see that.

Throughout my professional life, as both a practicing physician and teacher, I’ve run across so many people who don’t let their true selves shine. Maybe they’re concerned about what others will think or fear their own judging inner voice. Perhaps they’ve tried flying their freak flag before and been criticized, ridiculed, laughed at, or ignored. Maybe they’re unsure of what exactly their unique mannerism or characteristic is. While not everyone struggles with identifying and flying their freak flag, most people, unfortunately, continue to keep a part of themselves from the world, month after month, year after year.

So what do to do?

First, realize that everyone has a freak flag. Yes, everyone has unique attributes that the world is actually waiting to see and experience.

I’m reminded of a quote at the beginning of Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now, “You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are!”

Start by embracing who you are – your life story (all the ups and downs of it), your different life stages, your challenges, your triumphs. Comparing yourself to others will get you nowhere fast emotionally. Instead, use that energy to draw up a description of the ways in which you see yourself as creative, adventurous, etc. (enlist the help of your close friends and family if you have a tough time with this).

Second, stop holding yourself back for fear of what others will think.

Step boldly forward, waving your flag. You’ll find people will appreciate and support you – trust that. I’ll share with you one of my freak flag moments from my college days.

I was lead singer of an air band (I use the term ‘singer’ and ‘air band’ loosely) and went by the moniker “Jen Bon Jovi.” It’s a side of me that is the performer, entertainer, creative and maybe eccentric, and I fortunately had a supportive avenue to express that. Perhaps unfortunately, pictures from that time period have recently been posted on Facebook, big hair and all.

Finally, remember Dr. Seuss’ words, "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind".

You have a freak flag. Are you flying it?