Don’t get me wrong. I strongly believe in the power of the body to heal. I fiercely advocate for the use of whole foods, herbs, and certain supplements to help harness those natural powers we all possess. I see the efficacy of acupuncture, meditation, and exercise each and every day. And boy do I know how many things a good night of sleep can fix. But all these approaches still may not be enough to help us feel well.

Sadly, sometimes our bodies betray us. Things go wrong. We don’t always know why although sometimes we do. Cancer, autoimmune disease, neurodegenerative disease, and many other things. And yes, we can absolutely significantly lower our risks of these dreaded diagnoses with appropriate lifestyle choices, no question. But despite our best efforts and positive intentions, sometimes things will still go wrong.

This is important because I see so many patients who try to eat, supplement, meditate, etc. their way out of what has really been a signal by their body that something is just not right. I have diagnosed TREATABLE diseases in some long suffering patients who have sought only the alternative or natural approach.

When disease strikes, we need to respond. Initial response can certainly be to look at our lives and what we can address. Are we sleeping enough? Are we eating the rainbow of fruits and vegetables and minimizing pro-inflammatory consumption of dairy, meats, and processed foods? Are we exercising enough? Are we taking enough time for ourselves? This initial response should also include a look toward the medicinal plant world. Do the plants offer something that may help our symptoms? Plant medicine can be very beneficial without the side effects as they work with our natural physiology as opposed to suppressing our physiology.

But when we do all of the right things and things are STILL not right, well, then something is wrong. Your health is too important not to seek help from your physician. We cannot fear what may be right for our long term health. I often explain to patients that conventional medicine has a real role and it is nothing to be wary of, especially in the hands of a good physician. For when our body falls far from its natural balance, it cannot as easily heal itself, and natural approaches may not be powerful enough. It is a time when a little medicine may go a long way to get closer to where our bodies, and minds, need to be.

This is the power of true integrative medicine. It is the best of both worlds and includes a broad knowledge of the medicinal uses of foods and plants and alternative modalities but also a clinical acumen sensitive enough to know when we need to dig deeper and treat further.

My mission is to help everyone prevent everything. But I know enough to realize that is not always possible. I listen to patients and I listen to their bodies. You know your body better than anyone. So, stop, look, and listen to your body. And when you feel, see, or hear something, ask a physician to listen as well.

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