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The main reason I write a monthly column is to help empower people to take their healthcare into their own hands and become more aware of the how the body works, how disease takes hold, and what testing and treatments are available.

The most important goal of any treatment, natural or synthetic, should be to treat the factors actually causing the symptoms. I strongly recommend that you spend the time, money, and energy required to investigate the causes of your symptoms thoroughly with your naturopathic physician, medical doctor, and/or other qualified healthcare practitioners so that you can make use of the most appropriate treatments.

Treatments only really work if they are aimed at treating the causes of disease and support the body’s healing mechanisms. Treatments that have no particular aim, focus on suppressing symptoms, or work against the body’s healing mechanisms usually don’t work over the long-term. However, when an accurate diagnosis is made the most appropriate and effective treatments can be selected.

In the vast majority of cases, natural therapies like nutrition, food allergy elimination, stress management, oral supplementation, intravenous nutrient infusions, acupuncture, neural therapy, prolotherapy, and joint manipulations provide the most effective treatment for the most common conditions. When used properly these natural treatments address the causes and underlying mechanisms of disease and promote healing.

There are times when pharmaceuticals and surgeries may be the best option. Serious infections often require antibiotics. Many fractures need surgery. Many cancers respond best to chemotherapy or radiation. However, in the vast majority of cases natural therapies work best and provide a long-term solution.

It is very important to note that it does not have to be one or the other. Healthcare should be about what is in the best interest of the patient, not a battle between “alternative” and “conventional” therapies. When pharmaceutical medication or surgery is required natural treatments can be utilized in conjunction and should make conventional treatment more effective.

A truly empowered patient will take their healthcare into their own hands and pursue the best advice and treatment possible for them. They will employ their own team of medical advisors who have the patient’s best interests at heart. They will focus on treating the causes of their symptoms, providing the essential nutrients required, supporting the body’s healing mechanisms, and work to prevent future complications.

The future of medicine is healthcare. The future of healthcare is not just medicine. While amazing advances in medical sciences and new therapies continually emerge the fundamental requirements of health remain consistent. No medication, supplement, or procedure can replace good nutrition, exercise, stress management, or clean air or water. No medical advance or diagnostic test will replace the one-on-one patient-doctor relationship, proper physical examination, thorough initial consultations, and productive follow-up consultations.

To feel well is not always to be well. However, when you feel well, and I mean truly well, you can maximize your potential. Doors open, possibilities emerge, and great things happen when you feel well. Whatever your life goals are I encourage you to place wellness amongst your top priorities. Feeling well puts you in the best position to be your best and to be the best for your loved ones and others around you.

Dr. Brent Barlow

Dr. Brent Barlow is a naturopathic physician and author of the book series, To Feel Well. The first book in the series is now available. Click Here for more information or to purchase Improve Your Digestive System. He is an expert in the field of integrative and holistic healthcare and has a special interest in treating cardiovascular, hormonal, inflammatory, and digestive system disorders. He is board certified to utilize advanced integrative procedures like intravenous nutrient infusions, prolotherapy, neural therapy, and hormone prescription. Dr. Barlow is a graduate of the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in Vancouver and practices in Kelowna, British Columbia.