Remedies That Work, Part 1: When Remedies Fail

For most folks (and most conditions), the standard, most-prescribed remedies work consistently and remarkably well.

Dr. Connie Hernandez, ND
Dr. Connie Hernandez, ND

But for others, not even the most carefully chosen, scientifically verified remedies are effective.

What’s going on? Why do some remedies work for some people, and not for others?

For starters, it’s surprising how often people will cling to an incorrect diagnosis.

“But my health practitioner told me I had this issue – and she ought to know!”

“But my symptoms match any number of studies I found on Google!”

Of course, if the diagnosis is incorrect, the remedy doesn’t stand the remotest whisper of a shadow of a chance of working.

Let me give you an example. An antibiotic won’t be effective against a viral illness. And a heartburn remedy isn’t going to help treat a heart attack. The lesson? Making a correct diagnosis is often quite a bit trickier than we imagined!

And even with a correct diagnosis, the indicated remedy might not work. Again – what’s happening? A treatment failure can happen if the cause of the condition is multifactoral – as many conditions are.

For example: a person with low thyroid function may have issues with adrenal stress that are preventing the conversion of thyroid hormone to the active form. Thus, treating the patient with activated thyroid hormone will merely agitate him or her, without affecting the underlying adrenal cause. Or the lack of thyroid conversion may be due to low iron, in which case iron supplementation may restore the patient’s thyroid function to normal.

Experienced health practitioners recognize that it’s absolutely critical to identify any underlying causes, instead of simply looking at the symptoms and throwing remedies at the most “obvious” cause.

The Body-Mind Connection

The effectiveness of a remedy can be strongly influenced by emotional and mental factors.

It’s one reason why asthma occasionally fails to respond to the usual barrage of steroid inhalers, antihistamines, and other known effective medications.

When we take emotional factors into account, and remember that asthma can be brought on by “grief stored in the lungs,” we may be able to assist the patient by prescribing remedies that work on their underlying emotional issues – for example, a flower essence of yerba santa herb, or perhaps appropriate counseling, or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).

Over decades of practice, we’ve seen that a person’s belief systems may powerfully influence the effectiveness of a particular remedy.  The research is clear: our minds and feelings have a tremendous impact on our physical health.

In fact, our thoughts and feelings directly influence every bodily process. Thus, negative thoughts and feelings can create very real physical symptoms and prevent even the most effective remedies from working.

Again, here’s an example. We occasionally treat patients who believe themselves to be extremely sensitive to medication.

To find out if it’s actually the medication that’s causing their symptoms, or if it’s their beliefs about the medication, we may give them a harmless substance that is known to have no side effects. If the patient reports a severe reaction, in this case we can known for certain that the source of the symptoms is the patient’s powerful thoughts. We call this is the “nocebo” effect.

Conversely, patients who receive a harmless placebo may report great benefit. We find that people who believe in their own ability to heal themselves, or who believe very strongly in their healers and their methods, tend to respond most positively to a placebo. Meanwhile, people who have little faith in their healers or their own healing powers will show no effect.

In our work, these are just a few of the factors we find it necessary to take into consideration, in determining which remedies will best help our patients to overcome their health challenges.

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