Dangers of detoxification programs

Detoxification programs are very popular within holistic medicine.  The idea is that toxins are a major cause of disease therefore removing them would make sense.  However, few people talk about the dangers.

Recently one of my patients did an ionic foot bath thinking that detoxification via her feet would be helpful.  However, all her symptoms flared up erasing the progress we had made with NES.  What happened?

The goal of detoxification is to move toxins from inside the body to outside of the body.  If toxins get trapped into another part of the body before exiting the body, then new health problems occur.  This is exactly what happpened to this patient.    I’ve seen this happen with other detox programs such as I.V. chelation, steam baths, homeopathic and herbal detox programs.  Some people try chelation in order to eliminate heavy metals from their bodies.  While some people benefit from this, a certain percentage of people get worse because the heavy metals get trapped into a new part of their body.

To ensure that toxins exit safely, the excretory (kidneys, liver, bowels), lymphatic, and endocrine systems must be adequately functioning.  Very few holistic practitioners are aware of this and very few know what to do about it.  My Natural Healing Program incorporates all this knowledge and as a result, the vast majority of my patients experience smooth detoxification.

–Dave Ou, M.D.

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Do neurotransmitter imbalances really cause depression?

Many patients see me for depression and tell me that they have a “chemical imbalance.”  They then want a drug to correct this so-called chemical imbalance.  The pharmaceutical industry has done a very good job of exaggerating the science of neurotransmitters.  The following article reviews some of the actual science:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/516262

Some of the highlights include:

-There is little difference in neurotransmitter levels between depressed and non-depressed people

-There is weak evidence linking neurotransmitters and depression.

-Most studies have shown that antidepressants are no better than placebo

-80% of the effects of anti-depressants are due to the placebo effect.

If you’re already on an anti-depressant, please don’t stop it without talking with your doctor.  Many people can experience withdrawal symptoms.  A certain percentage of people seem to respond well to anti-depressants so those should not stop them either.

–Dave Ou, M.D.

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American Heart Association recommends fish oil

The following article comes from the American College of Physicians.   The bottom line is that omega 3 fish oil protects against heart disease so well that even the American Heart Association endorses the recommendation.  Statistically, 90% of Americans are deficient in omega 3 oils.

–Dave Ou, M.D.

Evidence extends recommendations for fish oil’s cardioprotective effect

Healthy individuals should consume 500 mg daily of omega-3 fish oil, and people with known heart disease or heart failure should aim for at least 800 to 1,000 mg daily, according to an evidence review. This extends recommendations for fish oil from healthy individuals to patients with existing heart disease, in whom fish oil has also been shown to reduce the incidence of cardiac events and mortality.

Current American Heart Association recommendations for those without coronary heart disease are two oily fish meals per week, equal to about 500 mg daily of combined docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). This level of intake has been associated with the lowest risk for coronary heart disease death in several U.S. prospective cohort studies. Now, recommendations for patients with documented coronary heart disease are 1 g per day of combined EPA and DHA, either from fish or supplements. Options include herring, mackerel, salmon, albacore tuna, sardines and oysters, or fish oil supplements or cod liver oil.

Authors reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that omega-3s appear to convey up to a 30% reduction in cardiovascular-related death in patients who have established cardiovascular disease or who have had a myocardial infarction. Omega-3s may decrease the risk of atherosclerosis, arrhythmias, myocardial infarction, sudden cardiac death and even heart failure. In addition, there is a 9% benefit in reducing heart failure death, which translates to treating 56 patients for four years to prevent one death.

The authors added that more research is now needed to optimize dosing and the ratio of DHA to EPA for heart failure, atrial fibrillation, cardiovascular protection, maximally treated contemporary post-MI patients or others with relatively low-risk coronary heart disease.

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Treating symptoms vs. genuine healing

Last week, I spoke at the Atlanta chapter of the Institute of Noetic Sciences about my experience in holistic medicine.  One of the themes I talked about was treating symptoms versus genuine healing.  I have found that most of holistic medicine focuses on ways to control symptoms without going to the deeper root of why the body was unable to heal from the problem to begin with.

For example, someone may take melatonin for insomnia.  Yes, it may often help the insomnia, but if melatonin is stopped, the insomnia returns.  No healing has taken place.  The more interesting question is why isn’t the body producing melatonin and can we correct that problem permanently?  That is the goal of genuine healing and that’s what I focus on.

Most people come to me asking if I can treat their disease.  I tell them that my philosophy is to help the body to heal itself.  When that happens, most diseases and symptoms resolve on their own.

I recently saw a woman distressed by extreme pain over most of her body.  She had been to multiple specialists at Emory and had numerous tests done including MRIs and nerve conduction studies, but nothing was found.  She then sought an integrative doctor who was “board certified” in holistic medicine and was trained by Dr. Andrew Weil, one of the most famous integrative doctors in the world.  The integrative doc tried to balance the her neurotransmitters to help her distress and some creams to help the pain. Admittedly, the treatments were “natural” but they focused on suppressing surface symptoms.  However, there were no changes in her symptoms.

When she came to see me,  I used the Nutri-Energetics Systems (NES).  According to NES research, there is a master control system of the body that regulates every system in the body such as the immune, digestive, hormonal, and detoxification systems.  This master control system is called the body-field.  So instead of independently trying to work on the immune system or digestive system, one can work on them simultaneously via the body field.

As an analogy, the body-field can be thought of as a blueprint for building a house.  Conventional medicine and much of holistic medicine focuses on the wood, concrete, and nails.   There are roofers, plumbers, and electricians.  Bringing in more wood might be helpful but without a good blueprint, a good house can not be built.  NES focuses on identifying and correcting any problems with the blueprint so that the wood, concrete, and nails are set up properly.

Back to the patient, she naturally wanted to know what I thought was wrong with her.   All of her previous doctors gave her various diagnoses and I explained to her my approach of helping her body to heal itself instead of giving her a label or diagnosis.  (I did make sure that she had all of the appropriate conventional tests so that I knew I wasn’t missing any serious underlying illnesses)  I used NES to identify the major distortions in her blueprint or body-field.  I gave her the appropriate NES remedies and her pain quickly subsided as well as her distress.   I have seen results like this using NES hundreds of times.  I have seen only a handful of cases in which NES had no impact and roughly 20% respond on the slow side.  NES is not perfect as research into the body-field is only in the early stages.   They recognize this and research is constantly ongoing to unlock more secrets into how the body heals.

I can only conclude that the researchers at NES are onto something.  NES is not a system that is continued indefinitely.  Once the body-field/blueprint is optimized, which takes about a year, NES can be discontinued while good health continues.  That’s a characteristic of what I call genuine healing.

–Dave Ou, M.D.

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I’ll be on the teaching staff at the Matrix Energetics seminar in Atlanta.

As noted in a previous post, Matrix Energetics will be in Atlanta for the first time on November 13-16, 2009 at the Renaissance Concourse Hotel near Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.  If you’re curious about tapping into your own ability to facilitate healing in others, this is a great way of doing so.  Matrix Energetics has been so successful in my practice, that I rarely do acupuncture any more.  I find that Matrix Energetics works faster and deeper and lasts longer.  No needles are needed either.

The seminar is open to anyone and most attendees are just regular people who want to help friends and family.

For more information, visit the Matrix Energetics website at http://www.matrixenergetics.com You can learn more about Matrix as well as sign up for the seminar.The description and videos you’ll see on the site may look unbelievable and perhaps ridiculous and I was  quite skeptical at first.  However, I’ve seen positive results hundreds of  times with my own eyes.  There is also a free introductory presentation the night before if you just want to see what it’s about before signing up.  You can also go to Amazon.com to order a copy of the book.

Oh yeah, as one of the few certified practitioners in the Atlanta area, I’ll be assisting the staff at the seminar.

–Dave Ou, M.D.

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I’ll be speaking at the Atlanta chapter of Noetic Sciences, July 16.

The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) was founded by Apollo astronaught Edgar Mitchell.  IONS

  • Explores the frontiers of consciousness
  • Builds bridges between science and spirit
  • Researches subtle energies and the powers of healing
  • Inquires into the science of love, forgiveness, and gratitude
  • Studies the effects of conscious and compassionate intention
  • Seeks to understand the basis of prevailing worldviews
  • Practices freedom of thought and freedom of spirit

The following is the press release from http://www.plastikos.com/events.htm:

Monthly Noetic Sciences Meeting (on the third Thursday of every month)

Please join us for our July Noetic Sciences meeting on Thursday, July 16th at 7:15PM at 4370 Georgetown Square, Atlanta GA 30338. Our guest speaker will be Dave Ou, M.D. and he will be speaking about Consciousness and Healing: A Medical Doctor’s Journey as a Patient and Practitioner of Holistic Medicine. Join us for refreshments at 7:15PM followed by our speaker’s presentation at 7:30PM.

Dave Ou, M.D.  has had a long interest in holistic and energy medicine and uses it successfully to help those who have not been successful with conventional and alternative medicine.  He graduated Cum Laude in Physics from Cornell University, received his M.D. from the University of Miami  and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Emory University. His views on healing have been influenced by diverse systems of thought including conventional science, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, homeopathy, quantum physics, and medical intuition. He is uniquely trained in cutting edge systems of energy medicine as one of three medical doctors in the U.S. certified in Nutri-Energetics Systems and one of 3 medical doctors in the U.S. certified in Matrix Energetics.  He has spoken to medical students at Emory and to leaders in holistic medicine throughout North America and Europe.

He has spent much of his life trying to learn how to help the body heal itself because of his own health challenges that began in childhood.  Through his personal experiences, his perspectives on love, healing, energy, and consciousness have constantly evolved.  He’ll share both his successes and failures during his 20+ years of exploration of numerous holistic modalities.  Finally, he’ll share his latest findings on little known systems of energy medicine that he has found to have powerful and reliable effects on even serious health challenges.

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Dr. Mercola endorses Matrix Energetics – Was I involved?

Many of you have noticed that I often give links to Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website.  His website is the most visited natural health website in the world and even exceeds Drs. Deepak Chopra’s and Andrew Weil’s sites.

I noticed that Dr. Mercola gave a talk on Matrix Energetics, one of the modalities I use, at a conference in Chicago http://autismone.org/default.cfm?goto=chicago&page=thriive

I then noticed that he wrote “Additionally there are large numbers of highly effective energetic therapies like Meridian Tapping Techniques, or quantum approaches like Matrix Energetics, which can provide powerful options.” at the end of the following article: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/06/09/In-The-Land-of-the-Free-is-Natural-Medicine-One-of-Your-Freedoms.aspx

I started to wonder if I was involved.  The reason is that last year, I helped teach a class on energy medicine in  which Dr. Mercola’s then medical director was one of my students.  I  demonstrated Matrix Energetics on him and he in turn took a class on Matrix Energetics and demonstrated it to Dr. Mercola’s staff.

Regardless of whether I was influential or not, I applaud Dr. Mercola for recognizing a modality that has worked very well on many people in my office and around the world.

For those in the Atlanta area, a Matrix Energetics seminar is coming to town in November 2009.  My understanding is that details will soon be posted on the Matrix Energetics website.  It’s open to the public for anyone who wants to harness their own ability to help others heal.  There’s usually a free introductory seminar the night before the main seminar for those who want to get a preview before they commit.  You should be prepared for a mind opening experience unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

–Dave Ou, M.D.

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I just came back from a holistic primary care conference

I recently returned from a conference called “Heal Thy Practice: Transforming Primary Care” sponsored by Holistic Primary Care. It was a conference for medical doctors in primary care on how to bring integrative medicine into primary care. It was a great experience to be among like minded doctors in internal medicine, family medicine, and pediatrics who are dedicated to helping their patients improve their health without relying on pharmaceuticals.

One of the main concerns that we discussed is that the current medical system in the U.S. does not focus on prevention of illnesses. One speaker said the amount of money spent on prevention is a measly 3% of all money spent in the U.S. on healthcare. A very large percentage of the health care problems are entirely preventable, but the system is designed to take care of problems when it’s already too late.

The U.S. health system strongly encourages doctors to do procedures and tests. It takes a doctor a great deal of time to sit down with a patient to go over issues such as diet and exercise. Insurance companies will pay doctors about $100 to spend 30 minutes talking about a healthy lifestyle. In contrast, insurance companies will pay doctors $100 to spend 10 minutes to refill medications for a person with diabetes and hypertension. Insurance companies will pay doctors over a hundred dollars to take 5 minutes to remove a mole. Doctors such as myself who spend time to teach patients to prevent health problems basically lose money in our current system. It rewards doctors to spend no more than 5-10 minutes per patient.

We also talked about the high overhead of practicing medicine. The average doctor has 4 support staff members. This often involves someone who spends their whole day dealing with insurance companies. If a patient needs a test that a doctor feels is important to get, it may take a staff member hours on the phone to get prior authorization. The same thing can happen if a doctor feels that a patient needs a certain medication that isn’t covered by insurance. As you can expect, it is very frustrating and expensive for doctors to deal with the insurance bureaucracy. When you add up the cost of employees, rent, malpractice, insurance, utilities, and supplies, each doctor in my practice has an overhead of over $200,000. The partners in my practice know that we could make more money seeing patients very quickly, but we believe that we’d have to sacrifice quality of care to do so. Collectively, we have agreed to focus on quality of care so we spend twice as much time with our patients compared to average meaning we see half as many patients as the average doctor. After paying overhead, the average income of a doctor in my group is about $90,000.  (Did you think all doctors were millionaires?)

You may have heard about the impending primary care shortage.  Only about 3% of medical students plan to go into primary care.  This is because the average medical student graduates with $150,000 of educational debt.  It is impossible to make a living spending time with patients.

On the positive side, we also talked about how integrative medicine has the capacity to save the health care system. This is because it can manage chronic illnesses at the fraction of the cost of conventional medicine. However, doctors who practice integrative medicine are often looked down upon by medical boards and other physicians. Many of us shared experiences of being ridiculed by conventional medical doctors and laypeople. Some have even been prosecuted by medical boards. There was a case in Maryland in which a psychiatrist was able to get a patient off of medications using natural supplements. The patient happened to see another psychiatrist and the conventional psychiatrist filed a complaint against the integrative psychiatrist for not using medication despite the fact that the patient was stable. After several months in court, the integrative psychiatrist was acquitted. It takes a thick skin and commitment to what we believe in order to practice integrative medicine.

–Dave Ou, M.D.

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Average doctor spends $70,000 per year to deal with insurance

According to the May 14, 2009 issue of Health Affairs, it costs the average doctor almost $70,000 per year to interact with insurance companies.  This includes filling out forms and making phone calls to to get preauthorization for tests and prescriptions, figuring out what prescriptions are on formularies, filing claims,  appeals, and trying to get paid promptly.  In the U.S., this adds up to almost $31 billion per year spent by doctors’ offices.

In a previous article, I mentioned that the average physician has 4 support staff members.  The above statistics would mean that over half of a doctor’s staff are there just to deal with insurance companies.

What does this mean to you?  I  estimate that about for every $100 paid to doctors, $25 is spent to deal with insurance.   That is not good use of your hard earned money.

–Dave Ou, M.D.

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Carcinogens 10,000 times more toxic than chlorine common in tap water

I recently heard an interview with water expert Robert Slovak who pointed out that one of the most dangerous chemicals found in tap water are “disinfection by-products” (DBPs).  They are formed when chlorine mixes with certain organic components in water.  The two major classes are trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids.    They are recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  to be linked to damage to the brain, kidneys, and lungs.  They are also linked to cancer and are considered to be 10, 000 times more toxic than chlorine.  The EPA says that any level over 0 is dangerous.  However, since water companies don’t have the technology to keep DBPs to 0, they allow companies to have up to 80 parts per billion.

After I heard the interview, I   received a copy of my tap water quality analysis performed by my public water company.   It showed that the DBPs in my tap water was up to 73 parts per billion!  I then checked to make sure my water filtration system filtered out DBPs and was relieved to find it filtered out 98% of DBPs.

I suggest that you ask your water provider for a copy of their water quality analysis and look for the DBPs.  If they are over 10 parts per billions, I’d recommend a water filtration system that removes DBPs.  You can visit http://www.nsf.org for a list of tested water purification systems.

You can also learn more about the dangers of DBPs at http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/02/17/Tap-Water-Toxins-Discover-Your-3-Best-Solutions-Straight-from-the-Expert.aspx

Dave Ou, M.D.

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