As a naturopath, I often hear “Oh, I have tried such-and-such (a product, a treatment, a modality) and it didn’t work for me.” When I was studying to be a naturopath, if a patient would tell me something along these lines I would believe them without question, but now with years of experience behind me, I always want to dig a little deeper. It often comes back to the what, when, where, why, and how long when you are using natural medicine.
If you are currently taking a supplement, trying a different eating style, or getting some new treatments in any modality, and you are not sure if the particular therapy is working for you, read through the points below to find out if you really have given it a good enough go.
Sometimes things take time…
This is the most important aspect of giving something new a try. How long did you do it for? What the new thing is, will also influence how long you should try it for, but generally I suggest trying something new for at least 3-6 months before making a judgement on how it works.
I know that may seem like a lot of time and money to ‘waste’ if the modality doesn’t end up meeting your needs, but in my experience, this time frame will either fix the problem, improve the problem, or not affect the problem. And you’ll know. For certain.
In regards to supplements, certain supplements should be used for certain periods of time before expecting to see results. For example, iron supplements should be taken for at least 1 month to allow iron levels to increase in the blood. It can easily take 3 months to improve an iron deficiency. Taking iron for one week will not do anything in the case of low iron levels. If the supplement is directed at making changes to your reproductive cycle, you need to be on these supplements for at least 3 months before you notice changes. You may need to continue on them for longer, but I always tell my clients that start on Chaste Tree (for example), it takes 3 months minimum to start noticing improvements. Give up before hand and I don’t doubt you have seen little change, that is to be expected.
In regards to diets, I would be giving any new way of eating a minimum of 6-8 weeks before making a decision about it’s use for you. For example, an elimination diet will remove all the allergenic foods from your body, but you need to wait 6-8 weeks until you body clears out the allergenic complexes it has created in response to these allergen foods! Yes, you might be avoiding the guilty food item, but its immune complexes are still circulating in your body, in some places, causing symptoms.
When we start talking about treatments such as osteopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture ect, the trial length may depend on your specific condition and your practitioner. Discuss how long they expect it to take for you to see results, and if you are not happy with the length of time (some chiropractors suggest very intensive, very expensive initial treatment programs), I would seek a second opinion.
Personally I have tried naturopathy, acupuncture, homeopathy and Ayurvedic medicine and given each of these modalities (alone), at least 6 months to do their work.
You may need to be 100% committed…
Check with your practitioner about how strict you have to be with your new thing. Is it really going to work if you give it a half hearted go? Will one tablet per day work just as well as your recommended 3 per day? Often the answer is no, sorry.
If you’re avoiding an allergen in your diet, for example, it needs to be out of your body 100% for at least 6-8 weeks. Even the tiniest bit of the offending item will have you back to square one, needing to start all over again. There is not point trying to judge a low allergen regime if you decide to have that allergen every now and again.
The same goes with supplements. I know sometimes it is hard to take your supplements at the recommended dose, every day, but find out if you need to be strict for a certain period to gain the best effect. If your problem is only mild, the occasional missed dose may not matter, but in certain conditions, for example in detox, taking the supplements occasionally just won’t cut the mustard.
The practitioner cannot always be 100% right first time…
This is another reason to stick to a modality for a decent amount of time. All practitioners do their best to hit the nail on the head the first time round, but if they don’t (and yes this happens, we are not perfect :)), please make sure you go back, give feed back, and allow your practitioner to try again.
I know it’s easy sometimes to think “Well that doesn’t work, I’m not going back there!” But the fact that the thing has not worked, gives your praccie a vital piece of information about what is really going on for you. They may very well hit the target the next time, due to the fact that the first time didn’t work.
Give it a decent go…
I have pretty much already mentioned this- give your chosen thing a decent enough go so that if you do have to give up on it, you know you tried your best. You don’t want to have any question in your mind that perhaps it didn’t work because you didn’t follow the recommendations well enough, or given it a long enough try.
“Yes I know I was supposed to give up coffee but I just heard coffee is good for you on the telly so surely I can still have it and it won’t affect me….” Ah, no. I promise you, we aren’t cruel. Coffee would have been excluded for a very important reason. Please just ask us if you have forgotten what that reason is, we won’t blame you for forgetting!
Be open and communicative…
I have pretty much already covered this point too. Talk to your practitioner! Don’t be scared of giving them negative feedback. Never lie and say things are going better than they are. We learn from your experiences, so if everyone kept telling their praccies that such-and-such treatment worked ‘fine’ when really it didn’t, your praccie will keep recommending it to other clients.
Help a praccie out and give them the truth. If you’re uncomfortable about it, send an email or a text. Voice your doubts, but try not to blame them.
Our job is to help you, and we all try our best to do that. Honest communication will simply make us better at our jobs! And our clients are the ones who will benefit! Look at that, love it when everybody wins!
For anyone wanting to give naturopathy or nutritional medicine a go, please contact me at www.embracinghealth/naturopath for a consultation. I would love to help you.