Nancy Burton L.Ac.


Doctors are now attending seminars and reading articles about de-prescribing. This means get-ting people off of drugs. Prescribed medications are a major cause of death in this country. Drug companies have promoted the 5 over 50 rule, meaning that everyone over 50 should be on at least 5 medications. But drugs have side effects, which often lead to more drugs to treat the side effects, which leads to more drugs. As the American Medical Association, (AMA) is finally ac-knowledging, its time to break the vicious cycle.

Do we need drugs and western medical intervention? Of course we do. I’m one of many people who wouldn’t be alive today without it. They are essential for acute, life threatening incidents. Do some people need to be on prescription medication the rest of their lives? Of course. But drugs don’t always work well for chronic conditions and often cause additional problems. In other countries western and Holistic medicine are used effectively hand in hand, to minimize the use of many drugs and reduce the duration or dose of others. This lowers health care costs and in-creases overall national health. Its time we learned from their example.   

There’s now a crack down on prescribing opiates for pain. These medications are addictive. They’ve lead to people becoming dependent on other drugs, prescribed or illegal. One of the reasons more insurance companies now cover Acupuncture is because pain was the first thing the World Health Organization and the AMA acknowledged Acupuncture excels at treating.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas have shown to dramatically reduce health care costs. Studies show that in just six months, for back pain alone, the cost savings is almost 50 percent. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas reduce the necessity for pain killing drugs. They can reduce pain by treating the source of the pain, such as inflammation, edema, lack of circulation, or by warming or cooling parts of the body and delivering nutrients to specific areas like joints, muscles or bones.             

Each time I see a new patient I have them list any drugs they’re on and exactly what they’re tak-ing them for. I also request they go over their list with their pharmacist. Pharmacists are trained exclusively in drugs, including drug combinations, dosages and side effects. So always ask your pharmacist about any drugs or combination of drugs you are taking.

While most drugs are compatible with Chinese herbal formulas and supplements there are some contraindications. Which is why Holistic practitioners need to be aware of what you’re tak-ing. Holistic practitioners, like myself, are not trained in drugs, so we’ll never tell you to get off a prescribed medication. When my patient’s symptoms resolve, I advise them to work with their doctor and pharmacist to see if they can lower or eliminate any prescription drug related to the resolved symptom. For instance, as a change in diet and prescribed supplements lower blood pressure or blood sugar you can see how it’s important to work with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure the originally prescribed dosage isn’t excessive as the issue subsides.

Just as it’s important to not take more drugs than necessary, it’s important to not take more sup-plements than needed. Even whole food multi-vitamin become redundant once a person has improved their diet and digestion, thus giving the body what it needs to function and heal. De-prescribing supplements is an important aspect of my treatment plan. Anything you’re putting into your body that it can’t assimilate, and isn’t beneficial, can have adverse effects on digestion and your health. Many people are literally peeing their money down the drain with all the sup-plements they’re taking that aren’t actually working for them.

I ask my patients what supplements or vitamins they’re taking. Then we test to see what their bodies are assimilating, and what they aren’t. People often read or hear about various supple-ments for certain symptoms so they try them. But we’re all biochemically individual, so what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for someone else. And unless you know the background of the supplement company you never know what you’re getting. The best supple-ment companies test to make sure they are getting the correct herbs. Some herbs are virtually identical but one may have certain medicinal property while the similar one does not. Its neces-sary for companies to test to be sure the active ingredient is active initially and throughout pro-cessing. Some companies might use the leaf of an herb instead of the root, which is less expen-sive but not effective. Oyster shell is a common ingredient for calcium supplements. The shell contains plenty of calcium but our bodies can’t digest and use ground up oyster shell. Some supplement companies’ even use toxic fillers to save money or make the pills or tablets look more appealing. People often discover that it costs less in the long run to go to an Acupunctur-ist, Naturopath or Chiropractor who prescribes appropriate supplements than to spend money for years on supplements that aren’t working for them and sometimes cause additional prob-lems.

Therefore the best way to minimize or eliminate prescribed medication, while working with your doctor and pharmacist to do so, is to eat nutrient rich food to give your body what it needs. Ex-ercise, to help distribute these nutrients, is also critical. And consult a Holistic practitioner like me to figure out the root cause of your health issues, and which supplements are appropriate for you.

And finally, don’t put anything in your body on a regular basis, including supplements, which your body doesn’t need.

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Nancy Burton, L.Ac. is a Licensed Acupuncturist. She incorporates Acupuncture, Herbs, Tui Na (Chinese Medicinal Massage), Homeopathics, Nutritional Supplements, Muscle Testing, and Nutritional Counseling and Therapy in her practice. Her goal is to give patients the tools they need to achieve and maintain good health.

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