You just got back from the doctor and they delivered some shocking news, along with an urgent treatment plan. You decided to wait, go home and collect yourself. You’ve also decided that part of this waiting is going to involve looking up some alternatives. You consult the internet… there are over 1 million search engine results for your condition. Talk about overwhelming! What do you do? Who do you trust?
Throughout life, most people have a default source of trusted information. Some people trust the experience of their friends and family, some go right to academic and research papers, and some won’t bother doing anything unless their doctor says it’s safe and effective. For most people, the order of health discovery is: health practitioner, friends/family, broader community (like the internet), academic research – in that order. Go with what you trust first and branch out from there. Let intuition and results guide you!
When you come across a treatment, remedy or protocol you’d like to try, there are some things to consider.
Keep protocols pure. The most important piece of advice I can give is to stick to a protocol as it is given. If a protocol says to eat whole, fresh oranges in the morning, then don’t eat them in the afternoon, squeezed into juice! If you make changes then you’re no longer following the protocol and you’ve gone “off the grid”. There may be reasons why the instructions are given a certain way that don’t seem obvious. If you want to mix and match, do it after you understand the protocols individually, otherwise you might not know why something does or doesn’t work.
There’s something a lot more important underlying this approach. When something works, you can reverse engineer why it worked. For example, if you take an herb to calm your nervous system and it makes your chronic condition better, it might indicate that your condition is triggered by stress. This is called diagnosis through inductive reasoning. You look at the clues and make educated guesses about your health. By keeping protocols pure, you can follow the trail of bread crumbs back to root causes.
Keep medicines high quality. Many people write off protocols as useless without realizing that the quality of the medicines they were using were not very good. Synthetic medicines like pharmaceuticals tend to have a much longer shelf life than plant based medicines. There are also different manufacturing standards. Herb stores that have low product turnover, or herbs exposed to air in big jars on the shelves, will tend to have lesser quality. Some companies use fillers and additives, or the herbs they source are grade B or C instead of Grade A. It takes some research, or a professional herbalist, to source the best quality for you. If you are using the best, then if it doesn’t work you know for sure that quality wasn’t an issue.
Longevity and patience. As a general rule, remember that the longer you’ve had a chronic condition for, the longer it usually takes to treat. When you try a protocol, you might not get the full result instantly. Sometimes it takes weeks or even months, depending on what you’re doing. Many patients who’ve come to see me over the years are looking for a quick fix. When one week’s worth of herbs doesn’t radically cure them, they are disappointed. The reality is that peeling back the onion layer takes time, patience, and gentleness. Remember, this is not about symptom relief but treating root causes. Symptoms are easy to suppress but root causes take longer.
Less is more. The “go big or go home” approach doesn’t tend to work too well with chronic conditions. If you research an herb or vitamin that might be good for you, taking more of it doesn’t mean you’ll get better faster. Often it overloads the body and progress slows to a halt. Using smaller amounts over a longer period causes long-term change. It’s better to start small and then gradually increase. If your condition is complex, then adding a bunch of things at once or too much of one thing will cause pushback. Trust me, I learned this the hard way!
Avoid comparisons. While it’s great to get advice from other people, don’t assume that what didn’t work for them won’t work for you either. Everyone is different and medicine is highly individual! Comparing yourself to others may be like comparing apples and oranges, which youwill discover if you attach yourself to someone else’s process to closely.
Record your experiments and your progress. As your own private eye, I recommend keeping a journal or log of everything you try. What worked? What didn’t work? How did it make you feel? Thoughts, feelings, impressions in your body — it’s all relevant. You might think that you’ll remember that really weird herb name and what it did to you, but maybe 10 or 15 experiments later you’ll find it slipping your mind. I’ve found this kind of journaling really useful over the long-term because eventually when I want to mix and match different protocols, I can take the best of different systems that have worked for me and try putting them together.
May this advice help you to refine your process a little be more in your health goals! If you have any questions please comment below or send me an e-mail through the contact page!