With the ever-escalating chronic disease, including autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, cancers of various kinds, as well as just being unwell, lacking energy, feeling tired and fatigued, catching one cold after another, it is important that practitioners keep an eye on the cause while treating the symptoms. Of course, we want to alleviate the client from pain and discomfort by treating the symptoms, but not at the cost of losing track of the main cause. Often it is easy to treat the symptoms, but when treatment stops, whatever that might have included whether pharmaceuticals, herbs, homeopathy or essential oils, if we do not treat the cause, everything will return, perhaps in an even worse state, and treatment will once again go round the same cycle with the client becoming frustrated and ultimately despondent at best, angry at worse.
The anatomy of disease presents in so many different ways depending on the person, the condition and how it is eventually treated. What we do know is that whatever it is called is simply a label to assist in finding the treatment, very often without regard for the cure. Whatever the anatomy of the disease, we know that most serious, long-standing and chronic conditions have been coming for a while. We simply do not just get Irritable Bowel disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Diabetes 2 or a serious respiratory condition. Your body will have been telling you for some months, if not years that you need to change something. What does this mean? It means that whatever modality and approach you choose to treat your condition, that there is no such thing as a quick fix. It may take several months or perhaps even years to bring your body back to complete homeostatic balance so that you feel fit and well and ooze vitality.
Treating the cause often includes lifestyle changes, dietary changes, as well as an attitude shift in conjunction with the appropriate remedies. Take for example Diabetes 2, defined primarily as carbohydrate intolerance, which is a completely reversible disease. Dr David Unwin as well as Dr Sarah Myhill, both advocate eating a low-carb/keto diet for fixing the out-of-control blood sugar problems, mainly caused by a Western diet. Western diets pre-dispose us to diabetes and by 2030 the British population is on track for 50% of the population to be diabetic as a result. As well as dietary changes, supporting advice will likely include increasing exercise to become more active and getting out to enjoy the fresh air. For example, rather than sitting on the sofa on an evening after getting in from work or finishing the working day, go out for a 30-40 minute walk several times a week. The more active you become the better able the body is to metabolise excess sugars. During the process of making these changes patients might be prescribed the go-to diabetes drug, Metformin, but only for the time it takes to help the whole system to re-balance and then gradually reducing reliance on the medication until finally it is not required.
Virta Health as the basis for their treatment protocol, use carbohydrate restriction which has been supported by clinical trial results showing its efficacy – “In one year clinical trial patients eliminated or reduced insulin usage and eliminated 63% of diabetes-specific medications. 94% of patients eliminate or reduce insulin usage.” They go on to say that, “Our patients continue to eliminate medications like insulin beyond year 1 with 55% of completing patients achieving diabetes reversal in two years.”
From this example you can clearly see that treatment of a disease requires a holistic approach. Following is another example of one of my clients who presented with gout which flared up on a regular basis to the point of debilitation.
Mr M started suffering with gout in his mid 30’s. It was something his father had also suffered, and simply thought that it was a genetic issue and there was little that could be done. Initially the attacks were roughly six months apart, which sometimes resulted in the need to take occasional days off work due to discomfort and pain, but then flare-ups started to increase significantly causing severe pain and debilitation.
Most of his life, Mr M was an active person who enjoyed regular sport. He considered his diet to be healthy with very few ‘take-aways’ and pre-prepared meals, with no over-indulgence sweet and processed foods and drinks. More often than not preparing food from base ingredients at home. Symptoms continued to get worse which drove him to see the doctor. The doctor initially prescribed Allopurinol which made Mr M feel lethargic together with several unpleasant side effects that he described as “being almost worse than the gout itself.” Allopurinol was changed to Febuxostat, a treatment medication for long-term gout, which for some time was effective at considerably lessening the attacks, but eventually had little to no effect, driving Mr M to seek alternative advice and treatment from myself.
His treatment protocol included a multi-pronged approach, including a lifestyle and diet assessment, stress management and overall commitment to the prescribed protocol to firstly clean the blood and then help the body achieve inner balance. On assessing Mr M’s diet, whilst “healthy”, it contained many acid forming foods, which are the primary trigger for the production of uric acid that leads to gout when the body is unable to process it. For three months all alcohol, wheat, dairy, red meat and caffeine were removed from his diet. Whilst this appears rather tough, when assessing the level of each gout attack and understanding that they were getting worse as well as more often, Mr M was ready to follow the advice in order to achieve the desired outcome.
In combination with dietary changes, after ensuring all avenues of elimination were working correctly, Mr M underwent a 3-day kidney cleanse followed by a liver detox using different herbal teas and tinctures. At each consultation he also received a kinesiology treatment. Through the kinesiology several vitamin and mineral deficiencies were identified that were corrected with the relevant vitamin supplements. The change in dietary habits and nutrition combined with the cleansing process, initially did not stem the attacks, however it did lessen the intensity of each attack, and then over the weeks the attacks gradually lessened until they stopped and only returned in mild form when he went off the guidelines and protocol for several days in a row.
During the three months Mr M kept to the prescribed diet and is now able to indulge in some of the “prohibited” food and drink in moderation, without triggering a gout attack which has enabled him to now lead a “normal” life without any negative consquences.
Why was this treatment a success?
1. The whole person was treated and not the disease. Cause rather than the symptoms.
2. The knowledge that ill health is a product of the internal environment of the body rather than external influences and therefore apply principles and actions that enable the body to self-heal through providing the “right” conditions.
3. Cleansing of the kidneys and liver to aid the body in removal of excess uric acid and to clean the blood.
4. The power of eating correct foods – a decrease in acid forming foods. Once the body has returned to a state of homeostasis, these foods can occasionally be enjoyed as part of his normal diet.
5. The client’s willingness to follow the advice fully and engage 100% of the time.
6. The goal to get well and return to an active lifestyle whilst taking responsibility for his own health through education on diet and nutrition, stress management and exercise.
These two examples provide an understanding that treating the cause is critical to achieving long-term results. Yes life-style changes will be inevitable as will some dietary changes depending on the starting point, the symptoms and the cause. However, as the practitioner, I always hope that the client is better off for those changes. Also critical is effective stress management, learning to listen to your own body, to take your foot off the accelerator when you are pushing too hard, while also not being afraid to seek advice and help from a practitioner with the professional skills to support and guide you to achieve the desired change and outcome for your personal health and vitality.