It’s hard to find alternative medicine doctors you can trust; it seems everyone is calling themselves experts these days. It's unfortunate because there are plenty of good doctors out there who are passionate about natural healing, and make their patients' health a top priority. Alternative medicine often gets a bad name because the field is supersaturated by improper and incorrect information floating around the Internet.
I have seen people taking only a weekend class appoint themselves alternative medicine doctors. The body is enormously complex, and a strong foundation in high-level sciences is just the start. After seeing thousands of patients, alternative medicine doctors see patterns that others may not, and understand interactions in the body that the lay person cannot. I recommend you do your homework and find good holistic doctors who actually have experience seeing real patients.
I want to share with you how I ended up on this road. I was a sick child--very sick. I had allergies so bad my eyes were continually swollen. I could barely sleep and my nose never stopped running. My lips cracked so badly they were constantly bleeding, and when I played the tuba in band class blood would be all over my teeth. I had terrible migraine headaches and would have to wear sunglasses even inside because light hurt my head so much. The worst part about it was the crippling asthma that came with allergy attacks. It was so bad that my asthma attacks would send me to the hospital about once a month. It was scary because I never knew what irritant would set me off next.
My parents took me to allergy doctors over and over, put me on strong medications, and took me to get weekly shots. Nothing in conventional medicine worked. It was a pretty miserable existence for my family and me.
My mom started looking around for alternative medicine doctors but could not find any in the 1970s. The medical establishment and the AMA’s "Committee on Quackery" was still in full witch hunt mode and holistic doctors were afraid of practicing openly. Alternative medicine doctors went underground, and you had to know somebody who knew somebody to find one. Treatments were hush-hush and done on the down-low.
It had not been that long since they were openly arresting chiropractors for “practicing medicine without a license." Until 1974 not all states recognized chiropractors as primary care physicians, even though they had very similar training and requirements.
My fortune changed in elementary school. The gym teacher was doing a routine check for scoliosis and he sent a note to my mother.
By this time my mother and I both had enough of conventional medicine. She had searched once more for alternative medicine doctors and finally found one that looked promising.
She took me to see a chiropractor for my crooked back, and little did I know it would change the trajectory of my entire life. The doctor examined and x-rayed me. He showed me the scoliosis developing and treated it.
How could all these seemingly unrelated symptoms get better by my doctor adjusting my neck and spine?
What I found out later was that the twisted spine was pinching nerves to my internal organs. Once the doctor removed the subluxation, the nerves to my organs started working correctly, and everything started functioning again.
After this powerful experience, I was hooked. I wanted to be one of the best alternative medicine doctors out there.
I went on to study biology and chemistry in college and then earned a doctorate in chiropractic. During that training I gravitated toward the clinical nutrition and endocrine classes. I set up my own practice in 2001 where I mainly was a pain management doctor and an accident injury doctor. I worked very hard and studied for years so I could get good at helping folks with joint pain symptoms. Although I've helped lots of patients over the years, I came to realize traditional chiropractic is not my calling; I really enjoy managing patients with metabolic issues.
I felt constrained dealing with the government and insurance and felt I could not provide the best care to my patients. I took a few years off and wrote some books and started studying nutrition with deeper focus.
My friend kept telling me about the amazing results he was seeing in his practice by using functional medicine. I started taking classes in it and realized I had found my true calling. I intensely studied the field and still work daily to stay abreast of the latest cutting edge techniques.
Currently I am pursuing my diplomate in clinical nutrition from the American Clinical Board of Nutrition.
Functional medicine focuses on correcting dysfunctional physiological pathways using drug-free options. The study recognizes and works with the body's delicate balance of interconnected systems.
Most alternative medicine doctors who use functional medicine do in-depth assessments, testing, comprehensive blood work analysis, and clinical nutrition. Basically they order very detailed blood work and then make nutrition/lifestyle recommendations to correct the malfunctioning biochemical pathways.
It takes a heavy understanding of biochemistry, clinical physiology, and endocrinology to do this kind of doctoring well. Because of that there are only a handful of alternative medicine doctors currently practicing functional medicine full time.