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I write this blog with mixed feelings. I believe alternative medical practitioners of all kinds (including NDs) give wonderful service often in their practices. However, unfortunately, it’s not too uncommon for me to see a patient who has been seen by other alternative health care doctors (i.e. NDs, chiropractors who prescribe supplements, nutritionists, etc.) who continue to be ill despite of all the efforts.

In my opinion, healing is like flying an airplane. In order to take off, first you must have a DIRECTION for the airplane to move towards. Once the airplane has gained enough momentum, the tip goes up into the air and then the entire plane takes off. You will continue to gain height for a while, and then the airplane is set on cruise control while the pilot continues to monitor all the equipment in the cockpit, hopefully! 🙂

In order for our body to heal, we must also first have a “direction” towards which we move. Then, with the aid of proper lifestyle, diet, body work (craniosacral therapy, chiropractic, massage, etc.), and various other supplements and medications, our body starts to gain momentum, and it will eventually start to take off. Once our body “takes off” (i.e. we stop having symptoms), we must not think that we are completely done! It will take months before we reach the altitude appropriate for “cruise control”- optimal health. (Note that, unfortunately, the great majority of patientsÂ’ “collapse” soon after taking off because they mistakenly believe that their “airplane” is at a high enough altitude to stop all their supplements and dietary restrictions. Of course, weeks to months prior to reaching this point, I warn my patients that they should continue their therapies until they have gained true optimal health, and that they should not stop their supplements, lifestyle and dietary regiments as soon as they start to feel a little better.

With the human body, I believe what gives the person “direction” is their “constitutional homeopathic remedy” (SEARCH this subject on our website for more information). Without this remedy, often the patient’s body does not even properly utilize the other supplements and drugs because the body as a whole does NOT have a direction of cure to move towards. Therefore, a person’s constitutional homeopathic remedy is the first, and most important therapy missing in their treatment plan or prescription.

The second missing therapy in most patients’ treatment plan is the emphasis on organ (specifically, liver and kidneys) cleansing/detoxification. Most NDs do detoxify their patients, but I find that organ detoxification is not offered nearly as often or as long as it should. For example, I had a patient today with hypothyroidism and iron deficiency anemia. Both conditions point to poor liver function. Note that “poor” liver function cannot be detected by a basic conventional blood test unless the organ is severely impaired/diseased as in hepatitis, alcoholic cirrhosis, liver cancer, etc. (Liver converts T4 to T3. Refer to the blog I wrote on hypothyroidism, posted on June 5, 2010; and liver also plays a critical role in iron metabolism. If the liver is too toxic, it does not metabolize iron properly, leading to iron deficiency anemia. I once had a medical doctor as a patient who had been given iron injections on a monthly basis for decades. After a few months of liver detoxification, her anemia was cured!) My patient today was only offered thyroid hormone for treatment of hypothyroidism and iron supplementation for treatment of iron deficiency anemia. These are definitely suggestions that are good and would have been made by just about any doctor, MD or ND. She was not offered any therapy to help with liver detox, or any other specific therapies (including nutrients and/or herbs) to directly support the thyroid gland naturally. I offered this patient selenium, and some herbs for thyroid support. I also offered her liver cleansing using UNDA numbered compounds. I assured her that both of her conditions would definitely improve in a few months. (Note that I suggest that my patients do some sort of liver cleansing/detox for at least a few weeks per season for health maintenance even after they have gained optimal health.)

One of the most important fundamental ideas in natural medicine (or naturopathic medicine) is to find the “root cause” of diseases/conditions. I believe it is truly unfortunate that we, as naturopathic doctors, are often not addressing the “root cause” of our patients’ conditions.

Again, in my experience, the most healing modalities available to us as naturopathic doctors or other alternative health care providers are constitutional homeopathy and deep cleansing of the organs (otherwise known as biotherapeutic drainage/detoxification- refer to a powerpoint slideshow presentation on this subject under Educational Slideshows on this website).

Dr. Sharif