Monday, July 2, 2012

Big red circle on my back!

No, it is not a rash or any other dermatological problem!   Rather, it is the "health" product sales target that comes with being a Naturopathic Doctor.  As ND's practice preventive and proactive medicine, it comes with the territory that sales representatives for neutraceutical companies, weight loss products, energetic products etc, etc, want us to sell their products to our patients (or at the very least, let our patients know that these products exist).  Each week I have one or more sales representatives drop by the clinic asking me to meet with them so they can show me their particular product.  And, every single product is the best product in the world!!

How about some forest through the trees to help establish a little perspective?  There are two considerations that need to be kept in mind: First: number needed to treat and, second: rate limiting.

1. Number Needed to Treat:

For example, how many people with high cholesterol given a Statin medication will it take for one of these people to add one healthy year on to their life?  This is called All Cause Mortality and the research with Statins is interesting on this one!  Especially for women.  Or, from a natural perspective, how many people drinking pH balanced water or sleeping on a magnetic mattress does it take to add one healthy year onto one person's life or improve one person's quality of sleep?  The answer of course is based on indication; is "X" product actually indicated for a person?
2. Rate Limiting:

Many patients of mine have a gamut of "health machines" and supplements but still suffer from significant health problems.  Unfortunately, the problem here is these machines and supplements, although not usually harmful, do nothing to improve the symptoms that these patients have.  It is like trying to plug up small holes in a dam to save water when the problem is that it hasn't rained in weeks!  This is the concept of rate limiting - something missing that is stopping an important process.

The point is, we have to draw the line somewhere!  If you walk into a health food store and say, "one of everything please!" this is likely to provide some negative interactions and do more harm than good.  I will typically work with people's own supplemental regimen especially if they are part of a multi-level marketing company and have been lead to believe that x or y is necessary for health.  Naturopathic Doctors determine where health products fit into each person's list of priorities and I make suggestions as to particular importance.

So, before you sign on the dotted line with a direct-purchase neutraceutical company, buy that $3000 machine, or start 6 months of a particular treatment, it would be advisable to consult with an ND who has years and years of education in the natural health field.