One day a healthy 50-year old man came in to consult with Dr. Norman Shealy and me at the International Institute of Holistic Medicine, the Shealy Wellness clinic. Unlike many of our clients who come to us with specific chronic conditions and diseases, such as cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid, anxiety, depression among others, this patient came to see us for a wellness visit.
He had good health habits including nutrition, body mass index, exercise regimen, good sleep, and fairly low stress levels (or rather a fairly good stress management system in place).
He was not taking any supplements and was wondering if he should take something to optimize his health. We reviewed his health and medical history, including any risk factors and considered his habits.
He then mentioned that he didn’t like taking pills, and asked about the difference between taking supplements versus prescription drugs.
I answered. One of the main differences is that taking supplements is something we choose to do. Usually, when we reach the point of needing a medication, it is no longer an option or less of one.
Case in point, a person who needs three drugs to maintain their blood pressure needs this medication. If they run out of medications and have no other means of correcting the problem, they take the risk of experiencing secondary damage like stroke, heart attack and other organ problems.
Something else to consider are the side effects. Of course, not all prescription drugs have noticeable side effects, but many do. Take for example the cholesterol medications of the statin family of drugs. The side effects include muscular weakness, headaches, drowsiness, memory loss and dizziness.
The truth is, even if don’t physically experience any, we are causing harm to our body while healing or maintaining symptoms.
We also need to realize that even though we are controlling our symptoms with medications, there is still dis-order or dis-ease in the body.
The medical system and many people have gotten comfortable that it is “normal” to be “abnormal” or chronically out of allignment. Our healthcare system should be renamed the sick-care system. Very little of it has to do with true health and wellness, as we are mostly putting band aids on “fires” that are out of control.
In my experience as an Emergency Room physician for over 10 years, I have realized we are pretty darn good at providing acute and emergency care. The experience has served me well. Now, I had added working in a holistic environment with Dr. Norm Shealy. What I have learned is that the chronic disease model does not work. I have realized that once a process becomes chronic, that is, not responding to conventional medical intervention for over a month or requiring ongoing drugs for management, it means something is not working!
Too many providers and patients believe chronic diseases, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, chronic pain and mental health problems, are permanent conditions to be managed.
We believe that chronic conditions are a result of our habits, lifestyle, un-managed stress and related. We, at the Institute of Holistic Medicine, believe that practicing good habits while maintaining a positive attitude and under the care of a holistic provider and coach, it’s not only possible, but also probable that these chronic conditions can be reversed and eliminated.
In other words, instead of tolerating and allowing the person to stay in the constant state of dis-ease, we recommend becoming proactive in your own health and allowing the body to return to a state of health, wellness and natural ease. That is our definition of normal and desired.
In our office in Springfield Missouri, we are happy to see clients who have chronic medical issues and need help, such as with getting off the medications and reversing their issues in a holistic and out of the box fashion. Of course, we welcome individuals who only need wellness visits, like the 50-year old male who recently visited.