Stop focusing on being ‘cured’ and look for the small changes. 10% changes are healing and you can gain the momentum you need to feel 100% over time! Dr. Alison dives into why research and medicine has driven us to look for a cure and how to support yourself daily through small changes.
*This podcast is also shared on Chasing Chickens Podcast
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Read the Transcript:
So welcome back, today I am going to share this message across all my platforms because I feel like it is one of the most important messages that I have to share in not only my own health journey but also my patient’s health and programs, my business, and this impacts every area of our life.
On my “Chasing Chicken’s Podcast, I just shared about the topic around shame and chronic illness and for me this really shows up because I have held onto this shame and guilt because I have ulcerative colitis and I can’t cure myself as a functional medicine doctor. And that I am a wellness advocate with doTERRA and I can’t use oils to quote ‘cure myself’ and not only do I feel sad, guilty, right, all those emotions. I have also felt like I am failing myself, even though I am getting better, I am doing all the right things to help my body in almost every way that I can. I still have flares, I still have emotional and physical stressors and I’m still doing what feels like a million things to keep my health going.
But over the past few weeks, I have really come to embrace the theme of looking for 10% better when I make a change or add something new to my regimen.
Somewhere along the way in our medical system, we as patients and doctors have come to believe that we have to cure everything. That some form of treatment out there will be 100% effective and you will be able to walk away fully functioning, 100% better, and life will resume as normal. And when that doesn’t happen, wow, are we upset. As a patient we feel frustrated, let down, and sometimes even worse off. Doctors tend to blame patients for not taking their medication correctly, or ignoring recommendations, or just plain ignoring their patients, which is what happened to me.
I want to make a disclaimer before we dive in deeper into this conversation because I want to make clear and put out my FDA disclaimer that in no way am I saying that anything I do is curative, legally we only reserve that term for pharmaceuticals and surgery. And while I don’t believe that only drugs and surgery cure, I do believe that we need a combination or integrative approach to everything we do.
Over the years, I have recommended essential oils, supplements, diet changes, and quite a variety of support for my patients. And what I have found, and I don’t say this to mock or disparage anyone but It’s a real issue that we need to come together on and understand in the holistic and medical world.
I’ll talk to a patient, and they said “oh, that oil you gave me didn’t work for my hormones at all.” and I’ll say “I’m so sorry to hear that, tell me more. You were having 10 hot flashes a day, are they getting worse?” Then they tell me, “no, I’m only having 2 hot flashes a day now. Nothing is helping.”
Or the same thing with migraines where someone was having migraines that lasted 5 days around their period and now they only have one day of a headache, but they feel that they have failed, their plan has failed, or I have failed them.
How about IBS patients, where they were running to the bathroom 10 times a day and this is not an exaggeration but now they are going twice a day but feel constipated because the change is so weird.
Then, they run off to the next functional medicine doctor, acupuncturist, specialist trying to find the ‘cure’ without ever really stopping to say, wow, I had an 80% reduction in my symptoms. That’s amazing!
We get hung up on being ‘cured’ or ‘fixed’ and that is the first issue. And I really think that this stems from a few things.
First: research. When we do research we minimize variables to see what is effective and what isn’t. So when we do research on even essential oils, you use one oil. For one symptom, and measure changes subjectively and objectively. Then at the end we can say this one thing worked for this one issue.
But that isn’t how the real world works. We need integrative solutions. Which is why our current methodology of research doesn’t work for medicine and holistic care. When we study say cancer patients and we utilize integrative medication during research we see much more drastic changes. When we change someone’s diet, utilize supplements, and medication or low-dose chemo, acupuncture, chiropractic, and essential oils: wow we see better results than when we use just one modality. But then we can’t point the finger at the ‘one thing that worked’ because we need to do everything.
When we look at ‘integrative research’ we see that pharmacologic interventions, mind and mood therapies, body work, and nutrition all work together and help improve outcomes much more quickly and effectively than just one practice or intervention at a time.
Second: when i give someone a plan, it includes all of this integrative planning. We talk about diet, nutrition, blood sugar, brain health, supplements, exercise, hormone planning, testing, oils, and mindset. That is a lot to cover. And some of my patients will say okay, I’ll just try the food changes because I want to see if that helps but I’ll wait on the supplements.
I have to tell them that they might see a 10% change, but they have to do the whole plan to see a big change.
Every little piece of your plan will build you up to get to that 80-100% better.
When I work with someone and give them a diagnosis, or root cause, whatever that looks like for that person, I always say “it’s never just one thing”. We have to look at nutrition, heavy metals, mold, digestion, hormones, you get the idea.
And with healing, it’s never just one thing. I can’t sit here and say just taking this one supplement will fix everything.
And third: I think we jump ship too early when trying a new process or protocol. I had a patient try their new meal plan for three days and then quit because they felt worse. Even though I warned them they would feel worse because we still needed to address their infections first, they still quit everything. Which is such a shame because she will never know if she could have felt better.
We expect immediate relief when that is such a rare situation. Outside of IV pain medication, we need time. We need to take antibiotics for 10 days, we need to take anti-depressants for 6 weeks, but we expect a diet to help us drop 10 pounds in one week or a new supplement to improve our sleep with the first dose or we give up.
So I encourage you to give your program or protocol, whether you are creating one yourself, working with me or another practitioner. And be consistent in how you care for yourself.
So when you do try something, and you pick one thing to work on, that’s a great start. But I want you to focus on what helps you feel 5-10% better. Not 100%. Be excited about the little changes like sleeping 5 hours instead of 4. Amazing. Look for the small improvements and let those build up as you continue to build your plan.
As always, if you need personalized care please schedule with me online, make sure to like and subscribe to stay up to date with all our weekly podcasts and I’ll see you next week.