Our goal at Four Rivers Clinic is not only to help our patients feel better in the short run but to help them, whenever we can, to recover a state of optimum health so they can live the most satisfying lives possible.
Much of current medical treatment is focused largely on reducing symptoms. While this is an important and worthwhile goal, stopping there is an incomplete approach to health care and often results in a worsening of health over time. The symptoms that we experience when we become sick are really just signposts for deeper underlying imbalances. When treatment is focused solely on symptoms, underlying imbalances often go unaddressed and may continue to worsen over time. When this happens, both symptoms and health tend to deteriorate over time.
While we certainly address symptoms so that patients can regain their quality of life as quickly as possible, we do this within the larger context of restoring the body’s health and resilience. We have found that there are three general phases that must be addressed in order to restore optimum health and wellbeing.
Phase 1 – Stabilization: The first goal of treatment is to get our patients feeling better: to reduce pain, improve energy, improve well-being, etc. This phase of treatment often brings significant improvement in how patients feel in a relatively short period of time (weeks to months) and sets the stage for the next phase of treatment.
Phase 2 – Health restoration: Once patients are stabilized we can begin the truly exciting work of naturopathic medicine, the actual restoration of health. While stabilization focuses on reducing symptoms, health restoration focuses on resolving the underlying causes of ill health, where possible, and thus restoring function and vitality. This not only leads to further reduction of symptoms and improvement in well-being but also the ability to maintain these improvements even after therapies are discontinued.
Phase 3 – Optimization/Prevention: Each of us has a unique constitution, a combination of strengths and weaknesses in our physiology, biochemistry, physical structure and even our mood and mental outlook. Disease generally develops when our constitutional vulnerabilities encounter challenges from the environment that they are unable to successfully overcome. Even after health has been restored these vulnerabilities may remain and provide an opportunity for future health problems to take hold. While we might think that these inborn strengths and weaknesses are unchangeable, advancements in genetics research have demonstrated that while our genetic code itself does not change, there is much we can do to alter the way our genes are expressed. Optimization/Prevention seeks to strengthen and balance the body at the level of our fundamental constitution so as to maintain optimum health as we move forward in life.