Monday, October 27, 2014

The New Doctor

I have a new doctor.  She was highly recommended by someone who eats a diet similar to my own and also has a complicated chronic condition.  She is an endocrinologist and a holistic practitioner.  I went in skeptical because of some of the alternative medicine mentions on her website, but conventional docs have not done well by me so it seemed worth a shot as long as I keep my eyes open.  I've only had one visit so far, but my thoughts:

Pros:

  • Ordered a huge pile of blood tests to try to cover all the bases in one draw.  (I'm a difficult draw, it took them three pokes to get a good blood flow, and I'm bruised on both arms.)
  • Ordered Cortisol test that should show if I have Adrenal Insufficiency.
  • Covering all her bases, even ordered a parasite screening of the real medical variety.  (I have heard of some pretty hokey alternative medicine tests for parasites that I would not have accepted.)
Eh:
  • Recommended an herbal salve that I think is less effective than A&D.  It does help some, but any over the counter intensive moisturizer used on the proscribed frequency works as well.
  • Recommended an herbal supplement for sinus health that happens to contain something I'm allergic to.  Thankfully I read the label and didn't open the bottle.
  • She did not cover any bio-mechanics or sun exposure.  On the other hand we used most of our appointment time on other things, it might come up later.
Con:
  • Implied that she subscribes to the blood type diet which has little to no scientific basis.  All four blood types are instructed to avoid processed food, so I'm sure everyone that tries the diet benefits over the standard american diet, but which of the four diets works best for you may have nothing to do with your blood type.  I do strongly recommend elimination diets if you think you have a food related problem or any chronic inflammation, to determine food sensitivities by experimentation, but wholesale elimination of food groups based on a fad diet or someone else's sensitivities may do you no good and may do you some harm if you don't properly re-balance your diet without that food group.  Note that my diet is not a strict interpretation of anyone else's Paleo/Ancestral diet, but I've experimented with specific suggestions from those diets and worked out a diet that works for me.
  • Her website and signs in the office indicate a belief in homeopathy.  Now sometimes herbal remedies are labeled homeopathic for marketing reasons and some of those are valid, but true homeopathic remedies are diluted beyond usability and have no scientific plausibility.  That said, true homeopathic remedies are decent placebos.  If the modern american is so easily fooled by a placebo that they are affected even when they are aware the drug is a placebo, and that they are more heavily affected the more expensive the placebo is, if there is no viable medical alternative, or patience and time to heal is the best remedy, I can't really say it's unethical to sell magic water, oil, or alcohol to patients that would benefit from it.  It would be unethical to sell magic water to someone that really needs an antibiotic, vaccine, or other well-proven and effective medication.  Who knows, the herbal salve she sold me could be considered magic oil.  I am being more diligent about applying three times a day than I was with my cheaper over the counter moisturizer, because I don't want my skepticism to prevent me from seeing possible benefit that *might* be there.
In my search for health, I have found a lot of wisdom mixed in with nonsense.  People willing to look outside the box for answers find good and bad ones alike.  I'll just have to stay on my toes and independently vet her recommendations.

I'm considering making my own salve when this is gone.  I think the herbal is less effective than my over the counter because the carrier is too thin.  The herbals may or may not be helpful.  My cousin grows Comfery and will send me a plant, and I can order pure lanolin online.  Can't hurt, the lanolin will still do it's job wether the comfery has any effect or not...