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The Importance of Integrative Health Care

by June Butlin(more info)

listed in complementary medicine, originally published in issue 99 - May 2004

Being a nutritionist, I firmly believe that as our bodies are made entirely from nutrients derived from the foods we eat, with the help of oxygen and water, it is vitally important to take the patient's nutritional status into consideration in all cases of ill health. However, the medical profession is still not paying enough attention to how nutrients influence the body, and continues to forge forwards in its ability to diagnose illnesses, perform surgical procedures and patent more and more drugs with their never ending list of side effects, which treat the symptoms, but not the cause(s).

Much knowledge has now been gained in understanding how the body functions biochemically, and in the relationship between the mind and body, and the close communication systems between the organs in the body. This knowledge has helped nutritionists to use a variety of mediators such as foods, herbs, supplements, counselling etc to activate the body's own amazing ability to heal itself. For example, if the patient is low in a neurotransmitter called serotonin, he/she may suffer from depression. To raise the level of this neurotransmitter the body needs 5-hydroxytryptophan, vitamin B6 and the minerals magnesium and zinc, found in foods and supplements. These nutrients help the body back to homeostatic balance, overcoming the underlying biochemical causes and thus the depression, without any undesirable side effects.

Some patients need the intervention of the medical profession, but there are also many others who do not respond well to drug therapy, or who prefer a more natural approach to healing. The following two case studies highlight the need for integrative health care, as the patients would have healed faster, and with less stress, if there had been a respectful, professional relationship between myself and the specialist and doctors involved.

Case Study 1

My first patient is sixty-year-old Tom, whose past health history included an abdominal hernia, diverticulitis and high blood pressure, for which he had been taking the drug bendrofluazide, for ten years.

He consulted his doctor with symptoms of severe itching to the arms and legs and irritable bowel for which the doctor prescribed the drug codeine phosphate. His symptoms worsened and he stopped taking the drug before attending my clinic. Tom suffered specifically from multiple bowel movements daily, extreme wind, stomach pains, fatigue, itchy skin and adrenal exhaustion. Nutritional guidelines included a quality wholefood diet eliminating sugar, dairy, wheat, citrus fruit and red meat, and emphasizing oily and white fish, chicken, eggs, a variety of fruits and vegetables, lots of water, and oats or mueseli for breakfast. He ate three meals and two snacks daily and learnt to chew all his foods well. For four months he adhered to the diet and during that time he followed a parasitic elimination programme, a colon, liver and kidney cleanse and took silicea, and deglycyrrihizinated liquorice to repair the epithelial lining of the digestive tract wall.

His progress was slow, but eventually his bowel movements rebalanced, his energy returned and he felt fit and healthy, but the severe itching had spread to all body parts, with some areas erupting in bleeding, skin lesions. As I had checked all substances going into or onto his body for allergic and sensitive reactions, and as I was treating him now for a bacterial skin infection with waltheria and ionic silver, and as his skin condition was still deteriorating I suggested he went back to his own doctor. After much deliberation and searching through many drug manuals the doctor ascertained that the skin condition was 'lichen planus', caused by the blood pressure drug bendrofluazide. This side effect is not listed in standard drug books.

The drug was immediately eliminated and after a short period of time the skin condition settled. Interestingly, the blood pressure has remained normal without the drug.

Case Study 2

My second patient is nine-year-old Sam who had severe diarrhoea for five weeks before attending a consultation with me. He had been prescribed 'flat' coca-cola by the doctor for its sugar content and had been given two courses of antibiotics. I checked Sam for any sensitive reactions to foods and eliminated wheat, dairy, cabbage, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, sugar and citrus fruit for a short period of time. For two days he ate toasted rice bread and vegetable soup in an attempt to settle the diarrhoea and raise nutrient absorption.

This was followed by more solid, nutritious foods with liquid vitamins and minerals, and emulsified essential fatty acids. However, three days after his consultation Sam was admitted to hospital for more tests, another course of antibiotics and hospital food. The diarrhoea continued, but on returning home and resuming the diet his bowels settled. Testing Sam by kinesiology I detected the presence of cryptosporidium (parasite) and an underlying yeast problem, probably caused by the antibiotics. To encourage the body to eliminate the parasite, I recommended taking molybdenum, a mineral that works via the liver's sulphation detoxification pathway, and cloves to kill the eggs. Sam had an appointment at the hospital for a colonoscopy a few days later, but as his diarrhoea had settled, his mother suggested that the procedure should not take place. The specialist himself had thought the cause of the diarrhoea may be cryptosporidion, but was unable to detect it in Sam's first stool test.

After scrutinising Sam's diet the specialist suggested that he ate some wheat to see if the diarrhoea returned, but his mother refused this proposal. Once the parasite and eggs were eliminated, and the underlying yeast infection was under control, Sam was back to great health. But a question still remained. Where did Sam contract the parasites? The prime suspects are the kittens who joined the family three weeks before the diarrhoea started.

The Way Forward

The way forward for health care has to be integration between the medical profession, with its ability to precisely diagnose, and nutritionists and other complementary therapists with their abilities to use natural, safe approaches to activate the body's own healing mechanisms. Drugs and surgery could be used cautiously, as a secondary measure, when natural methods are not effective enough, and the main emphasis for health care would be 'prevention'.


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About June Butlin

June M Butlin PhD is a trained teacher, nutritionist, kinesiologist, aromatherapist, fitness trainer and sports therapist. She is a writer, health researcher and lecturer and is committed to helping people achieve their optimum level of health and runs a private practice in Wiltshire. June can be contacted on 01225 869 284;

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