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Made Appointment with an Alternative Doctor...


ethansmom
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Today I made an appointment with a holistic doctor. She specializes in alternative remedies and is very familiar with CFS and fibromyalgia, which I am suspicious that my symptoms have manifested themselves into. I am having some testing done in October, but until then I needed to establish a "primary" doctor. I am sooo incredibly sick and tired of typical mainstream doctors and their lack of knowledge/interest in POTS that I decided to see this lady and see what she has to offer. I am on quackery alert, but she seemed very legit to me. She spent an hour on the phone with me, then we scheduled a 2 hour appointment for $180, during which she will do a complete evaluation of my overall health, life, you name it. They have a chiropractor on staff, as well as massage therapy, acupuncture, and a nutritionist. It all sounds good, but I was hoping that others had some experiences or advice to share?

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Hi Jessica,

I am studying holistic nutrition and naturopathy, so I certainly believe in what this field can offer. However, just like the medical profession has good doctors and bad doctors, so too does the alternative medicine field. It's good that you're on quack alert, but I hope you have a good experience and that she can truly help you.

You should definitely find out her credentials, where she studied, how long she's been practicing, etc. I'd be interested if she does any kind of non-invasive tests on you. Some naturopaths do things like saliva hormone testing, biological terrain testing (ph of urine and saliva) or things like kinesiology or iridology (in my opinion, the latter two have some scientific questionability, but they're kind of interesting in there own way). She may also suggest a cleansing diet of some sort to get rid of toxins and irritants in your system. And of course she may recommend certain herbs or vitamins

I have always gotten more out of alternative methods of healing and treatment than conventional medicine. It's good that she works in an office that offers other complimentary therapies. I think that's great. Let us know how it goes and good luck!

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when i was searching for answers for some time, i did see a few naturopaths - one said it was my thyroidand gave me a herb that knocked me for six for two weeks, the second said i had reactive hypoglycemia and suggested i stop eating all high carb foods which did seem to help initially.

The last was the best - and admitted he had no idea, but gave me valerian for my symptoms and another herb for energy - this was quite beneficial.

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i was a nurse for 29 years, so am very traditionally oriented. having said that, i do believe there are alternative things that do help people. having said that, i have a friend with terminal cancer who spent 6000 yes that's right 6000 in 3 weeks for some vitamins and iv fluids that were going to cure him. so be careful, there are sheisters in every field of everything. i include traditional doctors in this! btw my friend has less than a couple of months to live and is now completely broke. we just have to be wary and investigate. good luck! morgan

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I second Gena's response.

If I had continued to listen to the medical world, I'd be stuck with a lifetime of prescriptions, psychiatrists and cardiologists, and still feel like crap. Instead, I turned completely to alternative/complimentary therapies. Yes, there were many things that I wasted time and/or money on, but how else would I know if I didn't try it? Having been close to disabled and now living a full life, I have very little respect for the medical community and tons of respect for the alternative world.

It will take some trial and error, lots of patience, and a willingness to put aside your current beliefs and just be open to what you learn. Then follow up with your own research as well. It's been more than worth it for me - I hope you will find the same.

(And please do remember that if this person is not the right practitioner for you, it doesn't mean the therapy is quackery or that all alternative practitioners are full of baloney. Try a different person or different therapy or different combination, and keep experimenting.)

Please keep us posted on how this situation progresses!

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Thanks for all the responses. I am hopeful that things will work out, at least after some trial and error. I have always been open to alternative medicine, but so many people look down upon it...but after all, what did we do before modern medicine?! Lots of other remedies were used for common ailments and more serious ones. I think natural herbs & supplements have got to be better for our bodies, becase they aren't synthetic substances, and with POTS patients being so chemically sensitive, it only makes sense that they could help. I have to give it a shot!!

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I agree with all the above posts regarding being careful--as or more so than you would be with traditional modern physicians. That said, naturopathy in particular is generally benign, gentle and non-invasive and may be helpful. I saw a naturopath who was understanding and compassionate--more so than any doctor until I found my current specialist and got a proper diagnosis. She did a few interesting tests and gave me some treatments that didn't do anything for me. She was also unable to diagnose my problem, yet had some general ideas, some of which were correct. The thing that irritated me was when I was finally diagnosed and I gave her the diagnosis, she was kind of funny about it and insisted she had already diagnosed me and knew exactly what was wrong--yet, she never suggested any of the simple things like extra fluid or salt intake, that would definitely have helped. I wanted her to know about my physician so that if she ever saw other POTS patients she could refer them to my specialist--but she insisted that she is as much a specialist in the disorder as he is. I found this a bit disconcerting. Anyway, like others have said--there are a variety of physicians of all kinds out there, so careful screeing and some skepticism is always prudent.

Also, Jessica, don't assume that herbal remedies are always safer and gentler with fewer side effects. This may not be the case. And also, there is much less scientific scrutiny of these remedies. Regardless, there is a place for this alternative medical wisdom, I believe. Even traditional doctors are beginning to acknowledge that--it does require more active involvement on the part of the patient though--as far as researching the credentials of the alternative physician, getting 2nd opinions, etc.

I agree it is worth a shot.

Katherine

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Okay soI am definitely open minded to different types of treatments. But maybe I am a little nervous about spending my hard earned money on what-ifs....I'm just glad I have you all to help me out here. When I talked to this lady on the phone, she said her specialty is CFS and Fibromyalgia (before I even went on to tell her about myself) and I think that's what caught my attention. But she did seem pretty confident that she could help- which makes me wonder what this is all about. I guess I will make my determination after the first visit, as to what my comfort level is with continuing the process.

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Jessica

I love your Gandhi quote selection, btw.

I so know what you mean about spending your hard-earned money. Alternative medicine can be no less expensive than the non-alternatives. It may be helpful, but maybe not. Unfortunately with illnessses like ours there are "alternative" practitioners out there who take advantage of the fact that there is so little understood about these problems to make claims or promises for which there is limited or no evidence to support their efficacy. BUT, there are also practitioners who might be helpful. So, good luck. In the meantime, you might also want to consider finding a mainstream electrophysiologist with POTS knowledge as well.

Katherine

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Well here is my thought process right now...I just moved so I have no docs at all here, and have been turned down by 3 (yes, 3) health insurance companies, so I'm on my own for payment options. Therefore, I am planning on doing this: I have an appointment with this holistic doctor next week. Then next month (October) I am seeing a new cardiologist who came highly recommended by a friend who has POTS. In November, I am seeing an autoimmune specialist to be evaluated for CFS and Fibromyalgia. Sooo...hopefully all my bases are covered :rolleyes: The expenses are killing me financially, so I am trying to space things out a little so I can pay in full for each visit. I hope I can get some answers...I will keep posting on my progress to see what type of input I can get before I continue with any new treatments, etc....

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Just some common sense guidance about herbs...

I agree with many of the above posters who mentioned to be careful with herbal remedies. I am very sensitive not only to meds, but also to some herbs. If your naturopath recommends any herbs, I would start out on a dosage that is less than recommended and gradually build up to see if you tolerate it (just like we do with rx meds). Also, mixtures with multiple herbs in them make it difficult to determine which one may be causing an adverse reaction, if you do indeed have one.

If she tries to push a bunch of herbs and/or supplements on you at once, I would ask "which of these do you MOST recommend to help improve my condition?" and then start out with one or two of these natural therapies at first, instead of trying so many new things at once. You can always add the others in slowly to your regimen over time. Good luck and keep us posted :D

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Thanks again for all the information. I talked to her again yesterday, and she did mention that she would want to start with one thing at a time, and possibly a "cleansing" process which makes me a little nervous. I tried the Candida cleanse and failed after a week, on the diet anyways!! I dread anything that might make me feel worse before I feel better.

But at any rate I will not do anything I don't feel comfortable with, just tired of mainstream doctors and ready for a change.

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HI I just wanted to say that i have been seeing mainstream doctors for a year now and they have done nothing to help me. Or if they have it was at my request. I think it is worth trying an alternative doc. You have to be careful but it is that way with all docs. If you dont' have a positive experiece with this doc i wouldn't give up on alternatives because some might really help. Mainstream docs are so into giving out meds, like antidepressants, and they can really screw you up sometimes too. You just have to be careful either way. If a doc suggest a treatment look it up on the net and see what other people have to say. Hope you get some hep with this new doc.

Friday

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hey jess...

when is your appt? let us know...

i want to hear more about it!

i hear you on the alternative thing. i really got taken by someone who was in to the candida stuff and andrenal exhaustion. i won't go in to the whole saga, but i really did do my research before i saw her. but you will know how you feel about her after one meeting...you are in tune with your gut feelings!

this woman was 85 bucks for the first visit which lasted over an hour...so i thought that was okay, but then, i was so tired at the end of the appt. and she was so pushy wiht supplements that it cost me double that by the time i left. i was not happy about starting multiple supplements at one time and she was very pushy. i was so exhausted i bought the stuff and left. and i am sitting there cleaning out my wallet in front of her, digging ofr enough money.

well, i came home and thought about it, and ended up emailing her and taking the supplements back. i know she was not in the least bit happy with me, but i felt that a couple of the supplements were too risky...one was an adrenal hormone from cows! which comsumer reports had just rated in its top ten most dangerous supplements! the one goodthing was that i did start probiotics after seeing her.

she also did muscle testing for foods and it was completely inaccurate. i really thought maybe i did have the candida thing, but now i have focused on eliminating dairy and wheat/gluten, and that has solved the problems that i thought were from candida.

anyway, i guess my point is that i get wary about the supplement thing. and when they tell you there are no side effects b/c they are natural and the bottles have nothing on them! she tried to tell me that it was better than regular meds b/c think about how many side effects those have,etc. and i'm thinking, yeah, b/c they are fda regulated, we actually know what the side effects are!

i figured out pretty quickly that she made her money off of supplements. and she was not the first person i saw who was like this.

it's funny you said aobut how confident she seemed to be that she could help you...b/c this woman said to me...there is no reason you need to be sick. i can make you better. i've treated people like you before with good success. i thought that was pretty bold considering that i have be completely debilitated for six years! if there was a miracle cure, it wouldn't be such a secret!

i see someone regularly though, who does energy work. and i know she is totally out there and wacky. but i love her and she is so wise. and the sessions give me that total relaxation that is so hard to get....i don't know if it really makes me physcially better, but it gives me a great feeling that day and a good night's rest. and i really like her. and she never makes promises about curing me. she admits that my case is a challenge. and she doesn't push any products at all...so that works for me. it is still a big expense though. i can't tolerate massage, so for me this is sort of my substitute!

i have also tried acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, etc...but not with much luck. i like my yoga, meditation, energy work....and probiotics. otherwise i am conservative in the supplement dept! i try to stay open, but cautious. that is the hard part, b/c there are really great people out there and then there are the folks who take advantage of people like us who have illnesses that the traditional medical world can't fix....they prey on people who will do anything to get better. that is so sad!

i hope you have a good experience. in the end, one visit will probably be enough for you to tell if you like her or not...so you are out a little bucks, but not enough that you can't recup, you know? sorry...i didn't mean to ramble so long. i just felt so taken by that woman and so upset b/c i had really done my research and consider myself a smart consumer! oh well. live and learn!

later alligator!

emily

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I just wanted to add that I think Emily made some very good, commonsense points to keep in mind when going to an alternative physician. I had a similar experience to hers--not quite as extreme--but definitely be suspicious if such a physician:

1. Claims they can definitely get you well. We all know here in our collective wisdom that there are no magic bullets, yet, for this condition.

2. Insists that a supplement will not have side-effects. (Emily, I was also offered that adrenal supplement--while I was pregnant. After talking to my endocrinologist, I also determined it might not be safe, let alone useful.)

3. Claims there are tests that will diagnose your condition or identify deficiencies that have no basis in science.

Katherine

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Katherine,

those were really great tips...and laid out so nicely in the outline form instead of my rambling! :)

i felt kind of goofy posting, but now i am glad i did b/c i feel validated about what happened and my decision...

i can't believe you were prescribed the adrenal hormon while pregnant! eeeek! thatn kind of scares me!

emily

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