On occasion, a client will come in after a few weeks or months and say something like “I’ve been doing this for ‘x’ amount of time and I’m not seeing any results”; this inevitably leads to a discussion as to what they are doing exactly to try and determine if we are missing something. A majority of the time, when we begin asking specific questions about what they are doing, we find that they are not following their recommended plan of action. Be very honest and specific in your words and actions here; the following exchange is not uncommon:

  • Me: “Are you taking your supplements (or following your diet, or following the lifestyle recommendations) as directed?”
  • Client:”Yes.”
  • Me: “Okay, let’s go through your recommendations. Are you taking {name of supplement} 2 times a day every day?”
  • Client: “Well most days I get it in at least one time; it’s hard for me to get in that second dose.”
  • Me: “What prevents you from getting in that second dose?”
  • Client: “Well, I often don’t get home until late, or I eat dinner out a lot and I don’t take my supplements with me.”
  • Me: “Okay, would it work better if you took them at lunch? That way if you miss them at lunch, you can take them at dinner. If you miss them at dinner, then take them when you get home. Would that work for you?”
  • Client: “Yeah, that should work.”
  • Me: “Okay, are you taking/doing {name of supplement, dietary change or therapy} x amount of times daily/weekly…”

And so the conversation goes. In the vast majority of cases, when we get specific, we find that they are not doing what they have agreed to do. This must happen if we are to determine if the current course of action is going to work so we don’t prematurely change course and lose our way. Once a person is doing everything exactly as directed, we can make the determination to change course, but not before. This can be very difficult for many people, but it especially hard for two particular groups of people that are often at opposite ends of the healing spectrum.

The first are those that are new to alternative and complementary approaches and/or that have not bought in to what they are doing. These people don’t understand the importance of the changes that they are making and/or don’t believe in what they are doing and they inadvertently sabotage their efforts to achieve their goals by not following through on what they need and agreed to do. In this instance, our job becomes helping to get their ‘buy in’ by showing them the data that we collected that explains their present state of health and how our recommendations are going to address those deficiencies/imbalances to get them well. This can take some time, but most of the time we can move them forward.

The second group is usually composed of people that have been trying to get well for a very long time and they’ve “tried everything” and feel that they have still not seen any results. Ironically, people in this group often prematurely abort on a plan of action because they feel like they’ve “already tried this and it didn’t work”. In this instance we have to again present them with the data we have and show them how what we are doing will help them get closer to their health goals if the therapies are implemented exactly as directed and given enough time. Some people in this group will follow through, but many of them will become ‘jumpers’ that move from provider to provider, therapy to therapy, internet article to internet article, and try dozens if not hundreds of supplements or therapies for a short while without getting the results they are looking for, which only supports their belief that they cannot get well. And they won’t get well, at least not until they choose a viable plan to address their imbalances and stick with it. This can be very difficult to do, but those that do will often find that results will come with the proper dedication and guidance.

In the rare event that a person is taking all of their recommended supplements exactly as recommended, are following the dietary guidelines exactly as recommended and are implementing the lifestyle changes we have laid out for them, there are still several possibilities as to why they are not feeling as they desire. The first, and most common reason, is that they haven’t given it enough time. Yes, we all want to feel better immediately, but the fact of the matter is that it takes time to slow down and reverse negative adaptations to our dietary and lifestyle habits (things we often call diseases). How much time can differ greatly based on each person’s condition and situation, but it is not uncommon for it to take 1-4 months to see meaningful changes in the most chronic of cases. Sure, there are people that begin to feel better almost immediately, but that is not the norm and it certainly shouldn’t be expected.

And there is always the possibility that we are missing something. If a person is doing everything we are asking them to do for this 1-4 month period and are still not seeing the results we expect, then we are clearly missing something and need to figure out what it is. We will normally begin by reviewing the data we have to make sure we have harvested all we can before asking them to do any further testing (which costs more money). Once we feel certain we have gotten all the useful information we can from the data that we have, then further testing may be necessary to fill any remaining gaps in the data that will help us determine what to do next.

It has been my experience that there is always a reason (or reasons) that explain why a person feels the way that they do; we just have to find out what those reasons are and address them as best we can. There are certainly cases in which the desired result and what is possible do not coincide with one another; however, for most people, once we find out what the underlying imbalances are, we can address them. It may take more commitment and dedication than a person is used to, but only be addressing the cause can we elicit the effect that we want.