There is one thing almost all of our patients have in common: taking supplements. Whether it's a preventative measure or a therapeutic dose of natural medicine, patients of integrative therapies use supplements as a staple of healing.
Of course, there are criticisms of this lifestyle. It has been said that Americans have the most expensive urine in the world, due to the unabsorbed nutrients from our supplements we excrete. Some say that all these pills are a scam, an unregulated industry with highly varying quality. It is true that absorbability and quality control can be a concern, which is why Dr. Chappell strongly suggests that his patients take the brand names that he hand picks for his practice. The companies we deal with create extremely high quality products, and they have long-term relationships with us that are built on consistent results and trust.
But there is more to the "supplement problem" than this. Many of our patients have trouble swallowing their pills, allergic reactions, and poor compliance due to being overwhelmed or confused. I'll try to pass on some advice and ideas in the hope that we can make your experience of natural medicine as effective as possible on a practical, medical and spiritual/emotional basis.
There are people, even children, who have no problem swallowing a pill. My mother used to impress people by her ability to swallow a handful with one big gulp of water. However, not all of us find it that easy. For those who struggle with swallowing, it may be possible to find an alternative product such as a liquid or a cream that would avoid the problem. Another technique is to experiment with different forms of supplements such as capsules, gel caps or tablets. One thing I have found quite helpful is to take my supplements with a tepid drink, such as the last few sips of tea that I've let cool while on the counter. Warm water relaxes the throat, but I like it better when there is a flavor such as mint. If you use juice, acidic types such as orange or tomato seem to work better than apple or grape.
Allergies are very prevalent among our patients, and it is not uncommon to be reactive to natural herbs and nutrients. One reason we choose the products we do is that they are hypo-allergenic; however, there is still a chance that a patient can react. If you feel allergy symptoms or any abrupt changes for the worse when you start a new supplement, please let the doctor know immediately, and a substitute can be found. We are also comfortable pre-testing patients with applied kinesiology to reduce reactions.
Remembering that taking a complicated list of supplements can be a challenge, I have been inspired by patients who make a spreadsheet outlining all of the medicines and supplements they take, when, what health goals they are trying to achieve with them, doses, and dates of changes. This is an excellent practice, and can help others in your life be aware and remind you to follow through. It is possible to get plastic compartment pill boxes for the days of the week, but most of our patients find them too small. One idea is to buy three of them and mark them "morning," "noon" and "evening." This way you can prepare your doses a week in advance and avoid confusion. It is important that you keep the doctor informed at all times about what you are taking, and don't discontinue a substance without guidance.
On an emotional level, taking supplements can be an unpleasant reminder of illness which can produce an emotional block against taking them. I find it essential to make peace with the process of putting these pills into my body.
One way to do this is to remove the supplements from the bottles they come in and find something more symbolically and aesthetically appealing to keep them in. I use round carved wooden boxes, a decorative blue-green glass jar, and a Japanese tea container so that the act of getting out the pills is pleasing. I don't mind having them in a visible place, and therefore remember to take them more readily. Remember to keep all prescription medicine and supplements out of reach of children.
When I take the pills, I try to bless them and ask my body to accept them and use them for my highest healing good. Saying a little prayer is a wonderful ritual to accompany the act of taking the supplements and energetically prepares and enhances the body's acceptance of them.
Our goal at Celebration of Health Association is to get and keep you feeling better. Supplements are effective tools and important features of our therapy. But they will only work if they are taken properly and consistently. Sometimes, just like with prescription drugs, it takes time to find just the right combination. The doctor's job is to lead you through this exploration and to help you find a healing path that will lead to long-term wellness.