When will I get better?

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This is the question every patient will ask (and should ask) when they see a health practitioner.

The answer to the question however is not so straight forward. There are many factors and variables that will determine how soon one’s condition will improve after receiving any form of health treatment. Below are some to consider:

How quickly you got ill

As a general rule of thumb, the more acute the disease, the faster the recovery. This means that the faster you got sick, the faster you should recover from that illness. For example, most people will get over a cold which comes on quickly after a few days of feeling unwell.

How long you have been ill for

The longer you have been suffering from an illness, the longer it will take your body to recover from it. Long-term/chronic illnesses cause physiological and structural changes to the body. When this happens, it will take the body a long time to reverse these changes. When there are structural changes, it may not be possible to reverse these without some sort of surgical or physical intervention. For example, some long-term rheumatoid arthritis sufferers have deformed joints of their hands and fingers. These are structural changes have occurred over a long period of time and cannot be reversed with any herbal or nutritional treatment but may be amenable to some surgical or physical intervention. There is a common naturopathic rule of thumb that states that it will take you at least a month to recover for every year that you have had an illness. That is to say that if you have had an illness for 5 years, expect at least 5 months of treatment before that illness can be resolved.

The type of illness

Some illnesses, like the common cold, are relatively easy to treat compared to say an autoimmune disease. Different diseases cause different changes to the body. Complex diseases cause complex changes to the body and therefore will take longer to treat.

Treating the symptoms or the root cause

It is often faster to get some relief from the symptoms of an illness than it is to completely correct the underlying cause of the illness. Many western pharmaceutical drugs are great for relieving symptoms. For example, the underlying cause of hypertension for some people may be that they have a poor diet and are overweight. Treating the high blood pressure with blood pressure medications can result in a rapid drop in blood pressure but that is just treating the symptom. To treat the underlying cause of the hypertension, we need to address the poor diet and excess body weight. This will take time. Natural therapies such as Chinese medicine, seek to address both the symptoms and the underlying cause of an illness. So you may get a fast resolution of your symptoms using natural therapies, but to address the root cause of your illness, it will still take time.

Other things to consider

There are strengths and weaknesses of each health modality. Some are better at treating musculoskeletal issues and others are better at treating complex medical issues. Choosing the correct health modality and the correct practitioner to work with within the correct health modality will expedite your recovery from your illness. For example, if you have a complex non-musculoskeletal medical issue, you will not get good results seeing a physiotherapist who does dry needling. Instead, you will get better and faster results seeing a qualified and experienced acupuncturist.

Often how fast you can get better comes down to how compliant you are with the recommendations and advice made by your health practitioner. If you do not take your prescribed herbs or nutritional supplements regularly then you may not get any results. If you do not change your diet and lifestyle as advised, then you may not get long term resolution of your illness. If you do not see your health practitioner for regular follow ups, then again you may not get satisfactory results either.

As you can see, how quickly you can better after seeing a health practitioner depends on a myriad of factors. Some are within your control and others are not. Having the correct expectation of the time frame required to get yourself better will prepare you mentally, emotionally and financially when you embark on your health journey with your practitioner.

Dr Reece Yeo

What to expect in your first consult

If you are suffering from some niggling issues that you just can’t seem to shake, and you are motivated, health conscious and believe in natural therapies, I would love to work with you!

Before I can help you, I will need to know ALL ABOUT YOU! That is why prior to your first consultation with me, I will email you a barrage of very detailed questionnaires to complete. Please allow yourself up to 2 hours to complete these questionnaires. These questionnaires need to be completed at least 48 hours prior to our appointment to give me time to look through your responses and come up with great recommendations for you during our first consult.

These questionnaires will ask you about every aspect of your health, your symptoms, your emotions, your lifestyle and your diet so that I can start thinking about how I can help you before I even see you! When you email me back the completed questionnaires, please also email me scanned copies of any relevant pathology or radiology reports.

When you do come and see me, I will first start off by clarifying the health concerns you have and obtain even more details about these from you. If you have emailed me your pathology or radilogy reports prior to the consult, this is also the time when I will go through these with you and explain to you what your results mean. This will take 45-60 minutes out of the 90 minutes we have.

The next part of our consult is the physical examination.

I will start by examining your face. Of interest to me are your complexion, your nose, your ears, and your eyes. When examining your eyes, I will use iridology to help identify more health predispositions you may have to add to my overall assessment of your health and well-being. I will often use the timeline analysis method when examining your irides and ask you about significant times in your life when you may have experienced emotional or physical stress. This is so that we can determine whether these are still affecting you and whether you need to resolve these in order resolve your current health issues.

Next, I will ask to look at your tongue. If you have a habit of scraping your tongue in the morning, I would ask that you not to do this before you come and see me. Your tongue will give me a lot of information to further confirm what is happening in your body. I will look at the colour, the shape and the coating of your tongue.

Moving on to the rest of your body, I will examine your hands next. I will feel the temperature of your fingers, hands, wrist and arms, and check the colour of your nail beds. Then I will check the wrist pulses of your left and right hands. Your pulses will give me even more information about the physiology of your body from a Chinese medicine perspective.

pulse taking

After checking your pulses, I will get you to lie down so that I can perform a visual and manual examination of your abdomen. When examining your abdomen, I will first look at your abdomen from the side and then from the top before checking the temperature of the different parts of your abdomen. Then I will start feeling your abdomen using light touch followed by firm pressure to see if there are any areas of tenderness.

To round off the physical examination, I will look at your legs for their colour, and check for any visible varicose or spider veins, and swelling. I will also feel the temperature of various parts of your legs and press on certain parts of your legs to check for swelling or your pulses.

After examining you, I am ready to give your my assessment of your health concerns and my recommendations. If required, this is when I will advise you of any pathology or functional tests that will further clarify any of your health symptoms. When giving you my assessment of your health concerns, I will explain to you what is happening to your body from both a western and a Chinese medicine point of view. This is followed by dietary and lifestyle recommendations from me and then any herbal or nutritional supplementation if required. When necessary, I will also be referring you to other health practitioners who I work with who can help you with other aspects of your health.

To round up our first consultation, I will make up your herbal formula for you (if required) (this takes about 15 minutes) or pick out and explain to you the nutritional supplements I need you to be on. Then I will schedule you for your follow up with me for acupuncture or for a review of how you are going with the recommendations and supplements I have given you. Your first follow up will usually be between 7-14 days from your first consult.

As you can see, our first consultation is jammed pack and you will go away with a whole new understanding of what is happening in your body and what you need to do to resolve your health concerns.

If this is the level of care you want from your practitioner, then please complete my Booking Request form to schedule your first consultation with me!

I look forward to working with you in your health journey!

Dr Reece Yeo