Sometimes I hear stories that make me cringe. The acupuncturist who insists their patient MUST take herbs or come in for acupuncture more frequently if they want to improve. The chiropractor who has a patient taking handfuls of supplements that cost a ton of money and coming in three times a week. The massage therapist who tells their client that he or she can feel things (that the patient cannot) which means they need more massage. The herbalist who shrugs off their patients adverse reaction (possibly to the herbs they are prescribing) and insists either a) it is not the herbs or b) it is a healing crisis and the person should/needs to feel worse before getting better. The provider who tells a patient they are getting better based on their "feelings, assessment, etc" even though the patient is feeling no improvements. The provider who suggests natural herbs, remedies, etc. without the appropriate level of training under the assumption that because they are natural they can't do any harm.
A) I could go on and on and on... sadly
B) My blood pressure is rising just writing this
So I want to do a post where I say in as clear a way as possible...
JUST BECAUSE SOMETHING IS NATURAL DOES NOT MEAN IT IS HOLISTIC
JUST BECAUSE SOMETHING IS NATURAL DOES NOT MEAN IT IS HEALTHY
If YOU as a patient are not feeling good about what you are doing. I do not care if it is natural (or as western) as it gets, it is worth further consideration.
If YOU are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, financially strapped, pressured, or invalidated in ANY WAY (when it comes to your preferences, what you feel, what you think), it is worth further consideration.
If YOU are questioning your judgement or feeling like your opinion doesn't matter, it is worth further consideration.
I'm sure that many practitioners legitimately DO believe what they are telling you is true. I do not believe the majority of the practitioners who say/do these things are bad people, unethical, intentionally misleading. But I do believe that they do not truly understand what HOLISM means. Being holistic does not mean natural is automatically good, nor does it mean their way or the highway. Being holistic does not mean I as the practitioner know everything and you know less than you need to to make a good decision for yourself. Being holistic means the exact opposite of these things.
As a holistic practitioner, and I mean truly holistic, not just someone trained in a natural form of healing, I know that regardless of how much I know or how much insight I have on a person from a Traditional Chinese medicine perspective, the bottom line is that THEY do and will always know more than me about what is right for them. So it is my job to share with them my knowledge, prognosis and thoughts, my ideas, suggestions and preferences and then honor the fact that they know their level of commitment this this particular option, their finances, their schedule, their gut instinct, their level of support from others, their priorities, their spirituality, their politics, values, and much more and that they should do whatever feels like the best, most sustainable, most balancing, sane making, and healthy version of whatever I'm presenting and that they alone should make that call. Not me.
And if they decide to try what I suggest and it makes them feel worse or more stressed instead of better and more balanced... They still know more than I do and I need to look at what I'm missing and make a change and honor that.
It is ALWAYS my job to support each individual person right where they stand, without any guilt, pressure or lecturing, without me imposing my finances, schedule, priorities, politics, values or anything else of MINE onto them. Because I am not them. And if I am looking at things holistically that means more than anything else. More than my views on pure Traditional Chinese Medicine, more than my views on natural ways to promote fertility and good health, I need to see them as a whole person with many many more moving parts than the ones I am directly working with.
I hope you will ask more of your natural practitioners, I hope you will insist that instead of merely being natural, they are truly holistic. You deserve it, and I promise you, you will feel much better.
And if you like this topic and want to know more of my thoughts on why one size does NOT fit all and why looking at a person as a whole is important, you might also like this post I did a while back about the concept of differential diagnosis.