Comparing Holistic Practitioner Visits

> Holistic Practitioner Visits Compared

Holistic practitioner visits - comparative analysis. So far I have visited a live blood analyst, a hair mineral analyst, a Traditional Chinese Medical doctor, a raw food nutritionist, a BER allergy test consultant, received a brief iridology reading and visited a Chiropractor. I will compare their findings and approaches here and report also on other holistic practitioners' approaches based on research.

You will find a comparative analysis below, which also compares the costs, which can be quite high, especially when including the price of supplements. A comparison of these different approaches will hopefully help some readers to choose better which approach they prefer, demystifying these professions a little bit. In addition, you can follow the links to more detailed accounts of my visits, explaining what worked and what didn't. Those reports will hopefully allow readers to benefit from some of the wisdom of these practitioners for free, if they cannot afford to visit a holistic health practitioner.

Note that this article is work in progress and prices as well as other information will be added very soon.

Disclaimer: All the judgements below are made to my best understanding and with best intentions. There may be misjudgements or misunderstandings. The below is for informational purposes only to share my personal experience and research and is not intended as a endorsement or rejection of any of the below practices. Any visits to holistic health practitioners will be at your own risk.

Detailed Account of My Experience with Holistic Practitioners

Live Blood Analysis

First ever holistic health practitioner I saw was a live blood analyst.

Strengths of Live Blood Analysis - Compared to Other Holistic Practitioners:

  • Very sophisticated microscope can literally see pathogens alive in blood. Also the behavior of red blood cells and white blood cells can be observed.
  • A skilled live blood analysis practitioner can recognise candida, bacteria inside cells, and other pathogens which could be difficult to diagnose otherwise.
  • The test can tell a lot about pathogens in the blood, but can also sometimes recognise toxins in blood which were secreted by pathogens living elsewhere in the body, e.g. in my case 'aspergillus symplasts' were found, which indicate the presence of aspergillus mold (infectious organism) somewhere in the body.
  • Dry blood analysis can be performed at the same time, which claims to be able to recognise heavy metal toxicity and liver congestion, but I don't know if this part of the test is reliable.
  • Red blood cells sticking together, 'rouletting', can indicate that not enough oxygen is getting into cells. The cause of rouletting is usually said to be acidic blood, although this explanation is controversial.
  • It is good to be able to see one's own blood and have measurable 'proof' (in the form of images) that certain things are going on in one's body.
  • The test only requires a few small drops of blood from a pricking a finger.
  • The practitioner claimed to be able to tell that I was protein deficient from the fact that she had to squeeze my finger to get the blood drop to come out.
  • This holistic practitioner was claiming to be able to recognise whether there was inflammation in the body or not.
  • Strength of the immune system can be determined based on what the white blood cells look like.
  • Some of the shortcomings of the test itself (listed below) can be made up for by a skilled nutritionist using other methods to get a more complete picture of health: e.g. a questionnaire, discussion with the patient/ client, and follow-up emails can be helpful. In the best case the live blood analysis is only a supporting tool for the nutritionist who can determine many things by taking a case history and order additional tests as and when needed.

Weaknesses of Live Blood Analysis - Compared to Other Holistic Practitioners:

  • Different live blood analysts use different types of microscopes so you don't always get what you think you are getting unless you check ahead of booking your appointment. 'Dark-field microscopy' and 'phase contrast' are the two types I'm familiar with.
  • The supplements and the examination can be quite costly and may need to be repeated regularly.
  • The test is slightly invasive, a few small drops of blood are required so it is important that the test is done in hygienic conditions and some people may not like it.
  • How useful the test is relies greatly on the skills of the live blood analyst: One has to be able to trust that their judgement is correct. It would be easy to read more into the test to impress a patient/client than can actually be seen.
  • The quality of the blood can change quickly. For example, if you are dehydrated, or your health is otherwise compromised during the test the blood can look very different compared to if you are in full strength.
  • The patient/ client can receive a huge amount of information in a short period of time, including many very detailed recommendations including diet, supplementation, and lifestyle. One can feel 1) overwhelmed about the quantity of information 2) doubtful whether the information is true because there will not be enough time for the practitioner to share all the reasons why he or she recommends certain things 3) uninspired to follow all the recommendations if reasons for them are not understood well enough. In addition, since the human body is very complex, this type of holistic practitioner can miss some important bits of information which are obvious to the patient/client but easy for the practitioner to miss who has only limited time to see each patient (e.g. my live blood analysis practitioner recommended I eat carrots although I had already said I was allergic to them.)
  • Deficiencies and toxicities cannot be seen 'first hand' but only second-hand information about some of them can be found. Therefore even serious deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, which can be the underlying cause of many symptoms, can be missed.
  • Seeing pathogens, 'rouletting' and weak white blood cells in your blood can be scary and overly worrying.
  • To my knowledge, autoimmune conditions cannot be recognised in live blood analysis.
  • The test does not necessarily 'see' dysbiosis or problems originating in the gut.
  • Live blood analysis cannot test for or recognise food or chemical allergies.
  • Parasites/ pathogens that are not in blood can sometimes but not always be picked up by live blood analysis.
  • Larger organ problems, e.g. endocrine gland weaknesses/ imbalances; parasites in liver/ intestines etc.; brain chemical imbalances, etc.; health of the heart, muscles or lungs; etc. cannot be determined directly.
  • Stress levels cannot be seen directly, although they can be determined in a questionnaire and a discussion with the nutritionist.
  • Many imbalances to do with hormones cannot be recognised.
  • Many live blood analysts recommend a specific diet, which may be more based on their belief than absolute science. My live blood holistic practitioner recommended I eat meat and organ-meat to correct a protein deficiency even though in my view they are not necessary for health. Other live blood analysts recommend raw foods. However, your images of your blood can't directly tell what an ideal diet for you is.
  • The certification of live blood analysts is not regulated in any way and one can become certified by taking an online course. The test is generally quite expensive, and the practitioner will also have to purchase a microscope and the cards which show various samples of blood pictures and their interpretation. Due to the high cost the practitioners can be 'protective' of their cards and information, not willing to give out all the knowledge freely. Therefore the blood picture cards, for example, cannot be seen online for people to debate their usefulness or not.

A full report of my Live Blood Analyst visit can be read here.

Note: If you are a live blood analyst/ live blood analysis researcher and you feel that some of these judgements are unfair/ incorrect, please get in touch and I will adjust the test and/or publish your comment either anonymously or with your name.

Practitioners/ sources that recommend live blood analysis:

  • Many raw foodists like the live blood analysis because it claims to be able to show whether the blood is acidic or not.
  • Those who believe that the cause of most disease is acidic body often support live blood analysis.

Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis

I also got a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) done in parallel with the live blood analysis. The HTMA reports on mineral deficiencies and heavy metal build-up in the hair. It claims to be able to tell about the mineral deficiencies and heavy metal toxities in the cells (based on a hair sample), the health of the endocrine system, and oxidation rate (metabolic rate), i.e. how well the body generates energy.

"When the body can't eliminate some toxins fast enough through the kidneys, they are dumped into the skin and hair. These toxins can take the glow out of healthy skin..." - Richard Passwater: "The New Supernutrition" (book)

Strengths of Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis - Compared to Other Holistic Practitioners:

  • It is claimed that by measuring the levels of minerals and metals that are present in hair much can be understood about the body's health at cell level, as well as which minerals are being utilised properly and which are not.
  • The test claims to be able to tell which heavy metal toxicities the body has.
  • HTMA claims to understand how well the cells utilise oxygen, what the metabolic rate is, and how healthy the endocrine system is, by seeing which minerals and metals are dumped in the hair in which quantities.
  • It can be impressive to read the report which purports to give highly detailed information about your body and health.
  • I did begin to feel stronger after beginning their supplements. (However, the supplements included adrenal glandular concentrate, which may have acted as a stimulant, and I did begin to get some fairly big problems, which seemed supplement-related, later on.)

Weaknesses of Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis - Compared to Other Holistic Practitioners:

"Hair is a protein that grows out of hair follicles in the skin. Normally, a hair grows in the hair follicle for many months, stops growing, and falls out. A new hair then grows in the follicle. It takes weeks for a hair sample to show changes in the body, because hair grows slowly. Hair samples do not show recent changes in the body..." - WebMD.com
  • The hair mineral analysis test can be quite expensive and the recommended supplements even more so.
  • Anyone with a nutritionist or natural health practitioner title can become a hair mineral analysis practitioner.
  • Hair analysis shows what nutrients and toxins your body was dumping into the hair many weeks ago, so the results are always somewhat out of date. In addition, it can take a couple of weeks to get your test results and the nutritionist's interpretation of it.
  • Hair mineral analysis cannot detect pathogens in the body, directly or indirectly, whether parasites, yeasts, bacteria, molds, etc.
  • Hair mineral analysis does not detect allergies or sensitivities.
  • Levels of inflammation cannot be directly measured by HTMA.
  • The test and supplement recommendations are aiming to balance the body in the very long-term, recognising that their patients often feel much worse before they begin to feel better. According to some reports online, however, some patients don't seem to begin to feel better even after many years.
  • Autoimmune diseases, health of the immune system and the bacteria balance in the gut cannot be understood from HTMA.
  • Hair mineral analysis cannot directly detect vitamin or amino acid deficiencies, EFA deficiencies, or hormone imbalances.
  • The analysts can claim that the body is toxic in certain heavy metals even if they don't show in the hair (since according to them the body is not 'strong enough' yet to detoxify them, and supplementation is needed to detoxify.) Believing in such a statement requires a lot of trust by the patient/client on the practitioner.
  • You cannot order a hair tissue mineral analysis directly from the lab, but need to pay a nutritionist to interpret it for you. This practice may differ from lab to lab and now there are hair tissue mineral analysis home test kits available online - although I have no idea whether they are reliable to some degree or complete hoaxes.
  • Interpretation of why a certain nutrient or toxin may show up in the hair is a very complex science. It is therefore difficult to trust that the nutritionists' interpretation is always right. For example, after a lot of zinc supplementation, my hair samples showed lots of copper in the hair, which was interpreted as a good sign by the nutritionists, as the 'toxic copper' was being excreted by the body in large quantities. At the same time, however, I was in my own opinion beginning to exhibit symptoms of copper deficiency, and, indeed, too much zinc supplementation can cause you to become copper deficient. The nutritionist himself confessed that the elimination of 'toxic copper' from the body can last many years, while people exhibit 'copper toxicity/ copper detox/ copper dump' symptoms. However, the copper dump symptoms in my view are not always that far from copper deficiency symptoms. Therefore I question whether the nutritionists can always tell the difference whether the nutrients being dumped in hair are useful nutrients that the body is unable to utilise for some reason or toxins being detoxified. Copper, as well as many other metals and minerals can be in the body in 'toxic' form or in 'toxic quantities' while at the same time being an essential nutrient but only when the body can utilise it properly.
  • Hair and blood concentrations of nutrients can sometimes be correlated and sometimes not, depending on the nutrient, as was explained by Bogden and Klevay in "Clinical Nutrition of the Essential Trace Elements and Minerals" (book). To complicate matters further (and as the same book mentions) certain nutrients can cause the hair to grow slower or faster, e.g. zinc deficiency can cause the hair to grow slower, resulting in higher concentrations of nutrients in the hair.
  • HTMA claims that by measuring minerals and metals in a hair sample the nutritionists can tell which minerals are properly utilised by the cells and which are not. This is presumably a result of decades of research, experimentation and refinement of technique. It is, however, for a client/patient very difficult or impossible to know for sure that the interpretation of the nutritionist is the correct one.
  • In my experience the hair tissue mineral analysis treatment protocols relied to a large part on large quantities of supplements. This can be expensive and also, such large quantities of supplements can bring the body out of balance. In my case some of the supplements clearly caused anxiety, which took quite some time to overcome, affected my performance at work as well as outside-work social relationships, and was a cause of considerable amounts of stress.
  • The nutritionists I worked with did not support raw food, vegan or vegetarian diets but insisted on meat-based diets as being necessary for healing. Conversely, I believe that many different diets can be healthful depending on the person's body type and preferences.
  • The quality of the supplements can be questioned.

Practitioners/ sources that recommend hair tissue mineral analysis:

  • Many orthomolecular practitioners.
  • Philpott: Brain Allergies -book.
  • Ken Rohla, raw food educator - although he said he uses the test as a guideline while making his own (raw food) diet plan as a result and ignoring the supplement recommendations.

Note: My experience is based on using one lab and other labs may be able to provide a more convincing service. In addition, the shortcomings of the nutritionists may have made the lab's work appear worse than it was.

For the full report of my experience with this type of holistic practitioners, read: Hair Mineral Analysis

Traditional Chinese Medical Doctor

My experience with a Traditional Chinese Medical Doctor was a good one. She provided acupuncture, infra-red light, massage, herbs, and nutritional advice in an attempt to achieve overall good health, mental balance and well-flowing Chi energy. I did feel that the many visits to the TCM holistic practitioner did have beneficial effects.

Strengths of Traditional Chinese Medicine - Compared to Other Holistic Practitioners:

  • TCM practitioners use a combination of 1000s years old medical wisdom and modern understanding of the human body. Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on a very long tradition of master herbalists and doctors.
  • In my experience the treatments work. I was especially impressed by the effectiveness of the herbs and the advice given to me by my doctor in conversations, as I began to understand the human body and my specific weaknesses much better and in a more holistic way. (I did ask a lot of questions, however!)
  • The doctor explained that she could use electric acupuncture on conditions where the movement of certain body parts was restricted. (She said the treatment was too strong to be used on me.)
  • Traditional Chinese Medical Doctors use herbs in large quantities, which are to be made into tea by the patient/client at home. I prefer using herbs instead of supplements, since they are 'wholefood' and natural.
  • Much can be gathered by feeling the patient's pulse.
  • TCM does not pretend that everyone's body type is the same, but different body types are recognised.
  • TCM works in balancing the energies of the body, which can be seen as a deeper and more holistic type of healing than can be achieved by supplements or detoxification alone.
  • Traditional Chinese Medical Doctor can recommend specific Qi Gong exercises to suit your body type and imbalances, which you can do at home.
  • Even though the Chinese Doctor works with different subtle energies of the body, there is no specific religion involved, apart from Taoism, which according to my understanding is just a belief of natural balance (it doesn't involve rebirth, life after death or anything of that sort). Therefore, the doctor's approach is surprisingly pragmatic. So you can see chakras and various subtle energies of the body as natural things (like electricity), which have nothing to do with supernatural phenomena or religion.
  • A Chinese Doctor's knowledge of herbs is second to none. They can truly be called master herbalists and I was so impressed that the experience made me not want to dabble too much with herbs myself without guidance.
  • Chinese Medical Doctors are in my view some of the best holistic practitioners, giving advice on diet, exercise, less stressful lifestyle, herbs, the effect of hot and cold on the body, chakra balancing, mental health (via meditation), Chinese supplements, and practical everyday life advice.
  • A good Chinese doctor takes time to properly speak with you and assess your situation, so you feel undestood and cared for. At least this was my experience.
  • In my view the acupuncture was definitely doing something as I often fell into deep sleep afterwards, and could also feel some 'energy' movements in my body while lying down and resting after the acupuncture session.
  • TCM Doctors go through long training and their official credentials can be checked with the 'Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture UK' (ATCM). "All members of ATCM are properly trained in TCM or acupuncture to a degree of Bachelor or equivalent, or above. They are bound by the Association's Code of Practice and Code of Professional Conduct at all times." In the USA the 'American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine' (AAAOM) serves a similar purpose and other countries will have their equivalent organisations.

Weaknesses of Traditional Chinese Medicine - Compared to Other Holistic Practitioners:

  • In the past (perhaps still) much of this traditional knowledge has been highly secretive and passed on from master doctors to select disciples. Therefore the knowledge that each doctor has may vary a lot and especially the amount of knowledge that has reached practitioners who were trained in Western countries can be very limited.
  • I didn't notice any effect from the pills that included herbal remedies - although the doctor did explain that the pills were weaker than the herbs. They were also the cheaper option.
  • Acupuncture can hurt a fair bit (may depend on the doctor) so it may not be everyone's cup of tea.
  • There have been reports of some herbs to have been contaminated with heavy metals. This could be true of any food, superfood or supplement, however.
  • Some people claim that large quantities of the herbs can be harmful to the kidneys, however, I trust my TCM doctor's knowledge on this.
  • TCM doctors work with the pulse, how your body looks, symptom descriptions, and they aim at balancing the subtle energies of the body. Therefore they don't diagnose specific parasites, pathogens, mineral or vitamin deficiencies, hormone imbalances, or food and chemical intolerances/ allergies. As long as the symptoms improve, however, this doesn't seem to matter much, unless you want definite measurable proof of problems and conditions. This may be seen as a weakness or strength, in a way it could be said that the TCM doctor's understanding goes beyond these specifics, and is more holistic and sees more fundamental imbalances. Do keep in mind, however, that some problems take longer to heal than others, e.g. my menstrual cramps would have taken many months to solve (my TCM doctor said) whereas juice fasting and raw food diets seemed to bring much quicker relief from menstrual cramps.
  • TCM has been more succesful in treatment of some conditions than others - again, this may depend on the skills of the specific doctor, however.
  • It is debatable whether the herbs provide more symptomatic relief or deep healing of the body - perhaps they can be capable of both, depending on the herb.
  • TCM doctors don't usually recommend raw food diets, vegan diets or vegetarian diets. Their diet recommendations are usually at least partly in keeping with traditional Chinese food, and therefore include white rice (but no sugar).

Detailed account of my visits to the Traditional Chinese Medical Doctor.

chinese herbs, traditional chinese medicine
One day's dosage of Chinese herbs I received from the Traditional Chinese Doctor.

BER Allergy Testing

According to the practitioner, this machine was invented based on the findings of both kinesiology and acupuncture.

BER allergy testing was advertised at my local pharmacy so I booked an appointment. The practitioner had an electronic machine with a clear plastic (?) container in one end, where he would place different substances contained in small bottles. The machine also had an electrical wire with a metal probe, which would be placed on my hand between the knuckles. Depending on what substance was placed in the container and what settings the allergy tester used, the machine would give out readings and make high or low sounds.

The idea behind BER testing is that the strength of the body's energy meridians are measured using an electronic device. Following kinesiology, it is believed that the energy becomes weaker when substances which are harmful to the body are either held in one hand or otherwise brought into contact with the meridian.

I will write a separate report on the findings of my specific test.

Strenghts of BER Allergy Testing - Compared to Other Holistic Practitioners:

  • If the test really works as it's claimed to, it is an extremely powerful tool to test what is beneficial to the body and what is not. Everything that can be put into the container can be tested, specific supplements, foods, etc.
  • The test also claims to be able to tell which pathogens may be burdening the body, by telling how strong negative reaction the body has to them. E.g. in my test candida overgrowth was indicated.
  • The practitioner also tested me for deficiencies: mineral, vitamin and amino acid.
  • A very long list of foods were tested.
  • I seemed to benefit from the test quite a lot. I began to take an amino acid supplement and certain vitamins, continued to take digestive enzymes, aligned my diet more closely to anti-candida diet, took candida killing supplements and probiotics and began to look and feel much stronger. This was not necessarily related to the test results, however, although it felt like it was.
  • I was quite impressed by the test initially, although became more doubtful afterwards.

Weaknesses of BER Allergy Testing - Compared to Other Holistic Practitioners:

  • It seems impossible to know whether the test is real or a hoax.
  • It is difficult to find information on BER testing to understand better how and why it works (or not).
  • The practitioner doing the test does not need any qualifications, although he claimed to have trained in BER allergy testing.
  • It seems too good to be true.
  • The test results are interpreted by the practitioner and his recommendations may be good or not so good, in terms of what supplements to take, how to eliminate candida, etc.

Iridologist

Strengths of Iridology (Iris Analysis) - Compared to Other Holistic Practitioners:

  • Health of many organs, location of lymph/ mucus congestion, nervous system strength/ weakness and general genetic strength/ weakness can (supposedly) be determined by looking at the iris of your eye.
  • Non-invasive.
  • Based on the idea that nerve endings in the eye allow for 'eye reflexology' readings, similarly to reflexology and acupuncture maps of hands and feet.
  • Iridology claims to be able to analyse lymph and mucus congestion, where there are not many other ways to analyse it.
  • The analysis by Robert Morse seemed surprisingly accurate in my experience.

Weaknesses of Iridology (Iris Analysis) - Compared to Other Holistic Practitioners:

  • Relies on accurate analysis of the eye, which can be tricky.
  • It's very difficult to know to what degree one can rely on it (if at all).

My Eye Iridology Experience/ Iris Analysis.

Nutritionist

Strengths of Nutritionists - Compared to Other Holistic Practitioners:

  • Is often combined with other analysis methods, e.g. live blood analysis, case history, blood tests, allergy tests, etc.
  • If you are committed to a certain diet, you can find that different nutritionists work with different diets.
  • Nutritionists can take into account tests and analysis by other holistic practitioners.
  • They can recommend both a diet and supplements as remedies.
  • Various certification organisations exist, you can choose according to your priorities which type of certification your nutritionist should have.

Weaknesses of Nutritionists - Compared to Other Holistic Practitioners:

  • Some nutritionists are better trained than others, and they have to undergo less training than dietitians.
  • Quality of nutritionists' knowledge varies a lot.
  • They don't necessarily rely on anything else than case history as a basis of recommendations and analysis.

My experience with a Raw Food Nutritionist London

Functional Medicine

Work in progress. This part of the article will be completed soon.

Homeopathy

Work in progress. This part of the article will be completed soon.

Ayurveda - Traditional Indian Medicine

Work in progress. This part of the article will be completed soon.

Chiropractor

Work in progress. This part of the article will be completed soon.

Antioxidant Clinic

Work in progress. This part of the article will be completed soon.

Laboratory Tests

Work in progress. This part of the article will be completed soon.

Genetic Tests

Work in progress. This part of the article will be completed soon.

Dietitian

Work in progress. This part of the article will be completed soon.

I'm going to see a GP to see if she can refer me to a dietitian. I will report here on the findings.

Oxygen Treatments

Work in progress. This part of the article will be completed soon.

Detailed Account of My Experience with Different Diets

Candida Diet

Advocated by: Dr. Jeffrey McCombs

I did this plan by Dr. McCombs based on his book and free email consultation:

Dr. Jeffrey McCombs: Lifeforce Plan (Anti-Candida Diet). This explanation is more brief than the other articles since I didn't yet have this website then.

Work in progress. This part of the article will be completed soon.

Books By Holistic Health Practitioners

Each naturopath/ health practitioner generally has a specific kind of diet they recommend, as well as supplement advice, and whereas the supplements can vary widely depending on the condition, the ideal diet recommended to different patients normally does not vary that much. So in addition to the above holistic practitioner visit testimonials, I have also provided summaries of some of the most inspiring books written by different natural doctors and health practitioners. I found plenty of advice in these to implement the strategies at home, without ever even seeing the natural health specialist, and I hope you will too.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman: Eat for Health

Dr Marilyn Glenville: Fat in the Middle

Queen Afua: Heal Thyself for Health and Longevity

Paavo Airola: Juice Fasting

Barbara Wren: Cellular Awakening

Peter A. Levine: Healing Trauma

Dr. Stephen Cherniske: Caffeine Blues

Dr. Soram Khalsa: Vitamin D Revolution

Dr. Edward Howell: Enzyme Nutrition

Dr. Arthur Coca: The Pulse Test

Dr. William Philpott: Brain Allergies

Please share below your own best (or worst) holistic practitioner experiences!

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