Photo Credit: Caroline Sada
It happened when I couldn’t take it anymore. I had another reaction and had horrible cystic acne that wouldn’t go away. I had to endure yet another harsh breakout and was frustrated to no end. At this point, I had already given up dairy for 4 months and wasn’t seeing any positive results. I’ve always been interested in alternative medicine and knew there was more going on with me that I just couldn’t put my finger on. Why was it that certain breakouts happened in the same spots on both sides of my face at the same time? It was all very weird. All of my traditional doctors had been stumped by my issues and I knew I wasn’t making this up in my head. I finally broke down and started researching alternative solutions. I looked at many different options but landed on a naturopath.
Why Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is a health care approach that focuses on prevention and the self-healing properties of the body. Naturopaths are trained in four-year naturopathic medical schools and are focused on the whole body and natural healing practices. This practice appealed to me because it seemed to focus not solely on my symptoms but also the underlying factors behind my symptoms. I decided I had nothing to lose, so I found a naturopath in my area with reasonable rates and signed up for an appointment right away.
When I walked into her office, I knew it was going to be a completely different experience than any doctor I had seen. It was a serene environment with essential oils burning and calming music. The muted colors on the walls and the atmosphere calmed my nerves even though I was anxious and had no idea what to expect. I walked into her office and we began.
She started out by interviewing me about my background and my family history. She didn’t just ask about past illnesses or medical conditions either; she wanted to know about my social and emotional history. What causes me stress? What keeps me up at night? She asked a question I’ve never heard a doctor ask: Are you happy? I explained to her my issues with my multiple skin infections and how I had developed eczema, seemingly out of the blue. She explained that it could be an emotional issue affecting my skin, but also that I could possibly have an issue with parasites in my blood.
After that she took a urine sample to see if my body’s pH was acidic or alkaline. According to alternative medicine, a diet with more acidic foods (with meat and cheese for example), leaves the body more susceptible to inflammation and diseases. My body was slightly alkaline, so I was okay on that front.
Afterwards, she did a facial and eye examination. Using a magnifying glass, she inspected every area of my face and spent a lot of time looking into my eyes. Just based off my eyes, she asked if I had recently had surgery (to which the answer was “yes”). She also told me that I needed to sweat, which was interesting because I was rounding out a year-long boycott of exercise (that’s for another blog post).
Once she finished, she asked if she could do a mini reiki session with me. Reiki is a Japanese technique where a practitioner lays hands on you, and transfers healing energy from their body to yours. She laid hands on my forehead, my chest, my legs, hands, and feet.
Finally, she did a magnetic energy test. I knew this would be the cake-taker when she said, “I know this seems weird, just trust me.” She asked me to stand about 10 feet away from her as she stood holding two long rods that had handles attached to them. The rods were perpendicular to her, and pointed straight at me. As I held a glass bottle that held a remedy to my chest, she walked slowly toward me and the rods would go in varying directions. I did this with about eight different remedies. Based on the rods’ response to each remedy, she could determine where there might be an internal problem. We landed on kidney issues and a bacteria issue with my stomach.
Keep in mind that I had never done anything like this before, so all of these practices were new to me. I do practice Christian meditation, though not as regularly as I would like. Other than that, I haven’t been exposed to very many alternative methods.
All in all, my session took 2 hours. After her full assessment, she gave me two tonics and told me to take the drops for a month. She also advised that I come in for a colon cleansing and gave me some recommendations to improve on my diet. She recommended that I exercise for which I begrudgingly agreed that I would. The biggest takeaway was that she needed me to go on a candida diet for at least 30 days. The idea behind the diet is that certain factors cause the overgrowth of the fungus Candida Albicans in our stomachs, which produces symptoms like fatigue, food intolerance, headaches, and yeast infections. The point of the diet is to starve the yeast in our stomachs to reduce its presence and to gain a better balance of bacteria in our gut. No sugar, no carbohydrates, no fruit; only meats, nuts, and veggies. I can’t eat any nuts so I was stuck with meat and veggies. I had come determined and figured if I had come this far, I wasn’t going to let a 30 day diet scare me, so I committed myself and I did it.
So after all of that, what happened??
There are many who believe that alternative medicine is not based in fact or empirical evidence and dismiss many of its claims. There are also many people who don’t trust the establishment and want to rely on alternative methods and trust the evidence and anecdotes on the effectiveness of these methods.
I can’t contribute much to the debate, but what I can say is that my experience with a naturopath produced results for me. Before I went, I was experiencing consistent breakouts. I noticed that the bumps that were surfacing on my face were always in the same spots and had the same characteristic look. Once I finished my session with her and the diet was over, those break-outs stopped Before, all I had to eat was one cookie and I would break out immediately and I was intolerant to many foods. After my candida diet, my body wasn’t as sensitive anymore.
Some things to keep in mind:
Most natural procedures and treatments are not covered by insurance, so you will be paying out of pocket for everything if you decide to go this route. Most of the services are not cheap. In most cases, I found that the initial consultation was at least $350. I happened to discover a reasonably priced provider in my area.
I don’t agree that natural medicine should replace traditional methods. I do believe that they can complement each other. I would never go too far to the extreme with any of the methods, but I would rather learn what I can from both sides and apply that knowledge based on what I know about my body.
What’s the bottom line?
I say it often: you have to study and know your body to understand what works for you. Don’t ever blindly go towards one way while discounting what the other may have to offer. Be open to hear alternatives to the norm because it has value. As long as you do your homework, aren’t choosing treatments that are harming your body, and avoid the tunnel vision approach, it is perfectly fine to explore alternative methods. As for me, I appreciate naturopathic medicine and know that it worked for me. Did I stop seeing my regular doctors? Of course not. But coupled with what I learn from them and my experience with a naturopath, I finally have begun to make progress in healing my skin issues.
So what do you think of my experience? Would you see a naturopath?
- July 02, 2015
- Tiffany A