I do think that many people don’t fully understand what I do as a nutritional therapist. Most seem to think that I just do meal plans and tell people what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It really is a bit more than that. So I thought I’d try to explain.
The best starting point I think is to consider our current healthcare system. Modern medicine has made some amazing advances and is truly a fantastic resource we have in our society. Our doctors and nurses provide excellent, expert help and care when illness strikes. Modern surgical techniques and equipment can keep people alive in the most incredible circumstances and give our bodies the opportunity to heal. So in the event of an accident or severe illness there is no better place to be then in hospital receiving that expert care.
Unfortunately I believe chronic illness is not so well served by modern medicine. When I say chronic illness I’m talking about ongoing pain and discomfort that decreases quality of life considerably but is not life threatening. Chronic illness involves the symptoms often considered benign by doctors i.e. chronic tiredness and low energy, aches and pains, joint discomfort, low mood, anxiety, hormonal and period problems, irritable bowel, skin problems, headaches and migraines, regular sore throats, low immunity…the list is endless.
The modern medicine approach to manage these symptoms is to find a pill or pharmaceutical drug that will stop the symptom being a problem. i.e. painkillers for pain and headaches mean that although the pain or headache is actually still there the pain receptors won’t be triggering and hence you don’t feel it. Skin problems such as eczema are treated by slavering on large quantities of creams and ointments to calm down the inflammation. Low mood and anxiety are treated with drugs to numb the feelings and so on.
Problem is masked
The problem with all these approaches though is that it doesn’t actually address the problem it just masks it. Stop taking the painkillers and the headaches are right there. A prescription for the pill to balancing periods or improve acne will only work while you’re taking it. Creams for skin problems again only work whilst you’re using them. So not only are the results varied and effects limited, as soon as you stop you are right back where you were or even slightly worse off as side-effects generally kick in…
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a side effect as “an often harmful and unwanted effect of a drug or chemical that occurs along with the desired effect; a result of an action that is not expected or intended.”
I would really love to know how we as sensible, intelligent beings have become so unconcerned and accepting about side effects of drugs and think that it is perfectly acceptable that they happen.
- The major documented side effects of paracetamol include bloody or tarry stools, bloody or cloudy urine, fever with or without chills, pain in lower back or side, skin rash, hives or itching, sore throat, sores, ulcers unusual bleeding or bruising, unusual tiredness or weakness, yellow eyes, nausea, vomiting, constipation, insomnia, anxiety. Ref: https://www.drugs.com/sfx/paracetamol-side-effects.html
- The common documented side effects of the widely prescribed SSRI ant-depressant Prozac are nervousness, insomnia, weakness, anxiety, drowsiness, tremor, diarrhoea, indigestion, nausea, headache, anorexia, dry mouth, decreased libido, decreased appetite, dizziness, skin rash, excessive sweating. Ref: https://www.drugs.com/sfx/prozac-side-effects.html
- The most common side effects of anti-hypertensive drug combination Lotrel include headache, dizziness, cough, fluid retention, malaise, back pain, nausea, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion, cramps and muscle pain, rash, itching. Ref: https://www.drugs.com/sfx/lotrel-side-effects.html
- The documented side effects of Nexium, a proton pump inhibitor to reduce stomach acid, are headache, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, regurgitation, agitation, dry mouth, excess air in intestines/passing gas, full feeling, thinning hair, muscular weakness, seeing, hearing or feeling things that are not there, breast swelling and tenderness, swollen joints. https://www.drugs.com/sfx/nexium-side-effects.html
I will point out that the list of possible side effects are much larger than what I’ve written here. I just wanted to illustrate my point that the standard treatment protocols for chronic ill health doesn’t generally result in wellness as the end-point.
Typically drugs are commonly prescribed to treat a symptom in the body but none of them fix the problem. To my knowledge they just stop it being felt or redirect the mind to another part of the body as the side effects manifests!
How is nutritional therapy different?
So back to what I do…I help you work out what is causing your symptom to arise. We then use natural foods and nutrients to get the body working again and so potentially resolve the symptom. This means that nutritional therapy is good really for any symptom. It may help…
- the body re-establish optimum metabolic health to encourage safe and long-lasting weight loss;
- the body heal quicker after surgery;
- bones heal more efficiently and stronger;
- control the immune system and limit the damage of auto-immune conditions;
- balance hormonal symptoms
Nutritional therapy can never claim to cure anything but in my experience it can definitely improve the situation and make you feel a hell of a lot better. That’s it really!!
An important note: All symptoms should always be discussed with your GP to ensure no underlying serious health condition. But if no serious condition can be identified always consider your options to properly identify underlying imbalances which when addressed allow the body to heal and thrive optimally once again.