Author: Dr. Reba Eagles
Medicine as a path to health has changed over time, and in recent years we have come to understand that traditional medicine is not getting us the results we want. Everywhere we look these days we are told, “Call your doctor, call your doctor, call your doctor.”
Doctors are being asked to treat chronic conditions using tools designed for acute care. Pharmaceuticals have become the most often used tool, however they only mask or suppress the symptom. When you stop taking the medicine, the symptom returns. The side effects of the drug can cause even more symptoms and, in many cases, can cause death.
Functional medicine has developed out of this need for something more. Coaching and mentoring are an important part of this as true healing requires action on the part of the patient. When there is malfunction in the body there are always, however unintentional, habits and behaviors that are contributing to the disease. The habits and behaviors that contribute to illness cannot be the same habits and behaviors that create a state of health. A mentor can be the most important part of the journey.
There are many things a mentor should be for you and you should have the opportunity to interact with them before you make a long-term commitment. Long term is relative but even a few months can become very difficult if you do not feel total confidence in the person you have chosen to lead you to your new you.
What are the most important things to look for when looking for someone in whom you place trust for your health. A mentor must be able to help you to achieve YOUR goals and not push on you their own goals for their own advancement. In general, mentors will:
- Help you make better choices
- Inspire you to do your best
- Engage you in your own process
- Show you a path you may not yet have considered
- Develop steps based on your abilities to ensure your success
If you think you need someone to help you get healthy you have probably acclimated to a much smaller life than the life you want to lead, or even the life you imagine you are leading. Our culture teaches us to “toughen up, walk it off, just keep going, ignore it and it will just go away”. We have been taught to take a pill and expect everything to be okay again. But gradually, often in measurements too small for our conscious mind to recognize, we acclimate to doing less. We stop making plans because we don’t know how we will feel on any future date. We stop doing everything necessary and start doing whatever it takes to get by and think we are still doing everything. But we aren’t.
This is the point at which you need someone that can look through all the different nutritional advice for your condition(s) and help you to make the right lifelong changes to ensure your health. Someone who can develop a plan based on your specific needs rather than based on a philosophy for all.
This person needs to be able to guide you on your way toward living the life you want, rather than the life you have had to settle for because of poor health.
How do you know if you have found someone who can really help you?
- Do they test enough to be able to diagnose you holistically?
Intuition can be helpful as a health practitioner but testing all aspects of a person’s health so they can be diagnosed holistically will determine exactly where to start. When you don’t feel well or when you are in pain, you want to eliminate your symptoms as quickly as possible. Testing allows the practitioner to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and get to the root of the problem, the underlying cause.
- Do they treat at the root or merely give you natural products for your symptoms?
If you see someone who calls him or herself a functional medicine practitioner, and yet gives you something for your sleep, something else for your constipation and something else for your diabetes; this person may not truly be practicing functional medicine. If you do not test to determine the underlying root of your health concerns, you cannot know the best place to start with treatment. And to truly treat from a functional perspective you must treat the root. Treating the symptoms, even if you are using natural methods, is still not functional because it doesn’t fundamentally change anything. You are at risk of symptoms returning if you stop taking the treatment.
- Do they teach you lifestyle changes so you can keep your health once you are done with treatment?
Unless you learn how to take care of your healthy body, your habits and behaviors will call your body back to where it was before starting treatment. The goal of a good functional medicine practice will be to guide you to habits that support your healthy body. In this way, rather than relying on someone else to keep you “healthy” (read: on medications with a history of surgeries), you learn how to maintain this new healthy body and learning to “drive your own healthcare bus”.
Our purpose, at Original Medicine is to make disease and chronic pain optional for as many people as possible using natural methods.
Dr. Reba Eagles is a NM State Board Licensed Doctor of Oriental Medicine, certified in Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, and oriental medicine. She help people find REAL solutions versus a band-aid for the ‘silent killers’ and to change their life direction, heal from disease, and regain their emotional and spiritual health.