Shining Light on Alternative Assessment & Treatment Methods

Posted on: December 17, 2017

A Western medical bias has created concern, skepticism and doubt in many toward alternative healing modalities. Several years ago, my partner’s Kaiser doctor told him that all herbal and nutritional supplements were useless, unregulated, and could be dangerous. So, a recent post on a neighborhood website expressing concern and skepticism about muscle testing and nutritional supplements prompted me to offer my perspective, and hopefully shine a light on both.As a Doctor of Acupuncture and OrientalMedicine, specializing in Functional medicine, I’ve used muscle testing and prescribed nutritional and herbal supplements for nearly thirty years, with positive results for several thousand patients. Muscle testing (Applied Kinesiology), developed by Dr. George Goodheart, DC in 1964, has been taught to millions of alternative health practitioners. It is a form of biofeedback used to access via the nervous system information not accessible to the patient’s conscious mind.Muscle testing is a useful assessment and examination tool, like feeling a pulse, examining the tongue, throat, eyes or face, listening to the heartbeat, or to the lungs while breathing, palpating the abdomen, etc. All these tools can help determine a diagnosis, guide a treatment and track results over time. But muscle testing is more versatile, and can be used in a variety of ways by diverse practitioners.I was certified in muscle testing in 1987 by Dr. John Thie, founder of Touch For Health Kinesiology Association (TFH) in Pasadena, whose graduates now teach muscle testing in 60 countries. I also apprenticed and worked with Dr. Stephen Stiteler, L. Ac, OMD, HMD, NMD in Los Angeles, for 13 years.Dr. Stiteler taught acupuncture, and a form of muscle testing using an O-ring response. He integrated the alternative therapies of naturopathy, acupuncture, nutrition, herbal remedies and homeopathy. And he used his vast knowledge to formulate high-quality medicinal herbal and nutritional supplements.I use muscle testing with other standard assessment and examination tools to get as much information about a patient as possible before arriving at an initial diagnosis. Initially, I ask all patients to bring in current lab tests to assess with the first visit. I then suggest specific lab tests – blood, stool, saliva, etc. – to confirm or clarify a diagnosis. But if clinical tests are cost-prohibitive for a patient, my initial diagnosis will guide the next steps of treatment, and examination at each visit will track the improvement.Muscle testing, like all standard assessment and examination methods, is subjective. Technological diagnostic tools like X-rays, MRI’s, Cat Scans and clinical tests are objective in what they produce, but subjective in their interpretation.No method is infallible, and human and technological errors do occur. X-rays, MRI’s and Cat Scans can be misread. Clinical tests can be misread, or can produce false positives and negatives. The effectiveness of any method or treatment in any medical paradigm depends on the experience, knowledge, skill, and yes, the subjective intuition of the practitioner.Now let’s look at herbal and nutritional supplements. My mentor, Dr. Stephen Stiteler, formulated professional quality herbal and nutritional supplements. These were distributed by a professional supplier and sold exclusively to certified healthcare practitioners. In the years since, many doctors and bio-chemical researchers have contributed to the formulation and refinement of professional quality supplements and natural remedies widely used by licensed alternative practitioners.These professional herbal and nutritional supplement companies source the finest ingredients available, produce their products in GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certified laboratories, and sell them exclusively to licensed alternative practitioners.In my practice, I use only professional grade nutritional and herbal supplements. They are rigorously regulated by the FDA, assayed for purity and potency by established third party laboratories, and periodically and randomly assayed on an ongoing basis. Each supplement that passes inspection contains exactly and only what the label claims in terms of the content, quality and dosage.The herbal and nutritional supplements sold in drugstores, supermarkets and health food stores are lower grade, cheaper, and unregulated. In random studies these supplements have been found to vary widely in quality, to contain fillers absent in professional grade products, and even to not contain the primary ingredients advertised on their labels. For all these reasons, the professional grade nutritional and herbal supplements purchased through licensed health care providers are higher in quality, safer, more effective, and yes, more expensive than their unregulated counterparts.Yet no doctor, method, supplement or drug can do what only you can do for yourself. A healthy lifestyle that includes a good diet, regular exercise, proper hydration, sufficient sleep, and lots of love will always be the best medicine. In the end, your health largely depends on your healthy habits. So this holiday season, and in the New Year to come, commit yourself to practicing the highest self-care possible, and give yourself the gift of optimal health.Happy Holidays! Dr. Sara