If you’ve embraced natural or “alternative” medicine, you’ve seen the difference it can make. However, as with anything, being informed is crucial. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it is harmless. Often, well-intentioned people make mistakes that actually damage their health! Learn how to avoid these natural medicine mistakes and make healthy choices.
Too Much of a Good Thing
It’s possible to overdose on just about anything… even water! When you discover a food or a supplement that makes you feel better, carefully adjust the amount. Always check the recommended dosage. When it comes to supplements, make sure to buy them from a reputable source so you know you can trust the amount the label says it contains. Then, if the recommended dosage makes you feel better, don’t assume that even more will make you feel better still.
Some vitamins, herbs, and minerals can cause side-effects that increase with dosage. These may be as simple as gastrointestinal upset that passes in a day or two, but they could become more serious.
An All-or-Nothing Approach
Traditional medicine is based on hundreds of years of scientific research. Medical science changes all the time. You don’t have to eschew all traditional modes of treatment in order to pursue a naturopathic lifestyle. Just choose wisely. Also, remember to address the root cause of your condition, not just the symptoms (as traditional medicine often does). You can combine natural health options with more traditional ones.
If your doctor suggests a new prescription drug for a chronic condition, it might help. Just ask plenty of questions and inform yourself about all of your options. Tell your physician about everything you do for your health. An open minded doctor will not disparage your natural choices, but help you find the right balance. Remember, some pharmaceuticals can negatively interact with natural supplements, so don’t leave anything out.
Relying on One “Miracle” Remedy
Occasionally, you will find a remedy so effective, it feels like a miracle. The truth is, most positive health steps rely on a combination of factors. So, for example, increasing your intake of sea vegetables may noticeably improve your health. That’s fantastic! But keep in mind, you still need a balanced diet, adequate exercise, and attention to your stress level. As you explore natural remedies, find the ones that work for you but use them as part of an overall healthy lifestyle.
If It’s on the Internet, It Must Be True
When you hear about a new-to-you natural remedy, research it. Don’t act solely on the advice of an internet ad, no matter how convincing. Search online for practitioners and reputable medical journals with a large body of thoughtful, informative content, and who cite their sources.
If possible, talk in person to a physician with integrative health expertise. Research costs, too. An online ad or Facebook post might suggest a “great deal” that actually costs more than the product should. On the flipside, something that costs considerably less than average might be of inferior quality. Large price disparities can be red flags to watch out for.
Here are some of the strangest pieces of advice patients say they found on the internet.
Every BODY is Different
Your best friend swears by acupuncture and your daughter loads up on echinacea. When anyone discovers a natural remedy that works for them, they tend to sing about it from the rooftops. You may be disappointed to discover that what works for their condition is less effective for yours.
Meanwhile, when something works for you, you may wish to sell someone else on it. The great thing about integrative medicine is that it addresses the whole person, so you have to consider all the factors. In particular, children and seniors metabolize things differently than other adults. Underlying conditions, your individual microbiome, lifestyle, and many other things make you unique. Any one of these factors could cause a treatment to work better or not as well for you as it does for your neighbor. Consult with your physician and make informed choices.
As you consider this advice, based on my thirty-plus years of integrative medicine experience, you’re taking a positive step as an informed patient. Thank you for turning to my blog for sound, trusted medical advice.
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