Over the last few years there has been a major shift in natural health care towards a solid evidence based practice.
Today’s patients are savvy as to where they choose to spend their health care dollar. They are better informed and educated around natural health care options. They want to the see the evidence; merely having a conversation and being sent off with a few supplements no longer serves them.
Patients not only want a holistic, integrative approach but they also demand a high level, quality service from their natural health care practitioners. Often the patient has returned from their GP after being told “All of your routine pathology tests are within normal range”. These tests can be very useful but the results are not reviewed based on optimal health ranges but on “normal” pathology ranges which are very wide. This is because the ranges are based on an undiagnosed population and patients often sit within these normal ranges even when they clearly do not feel well. This can leave the patient feeling confused as if it is all in their head but there is little more the GP can offer. This is why many patients turn to natural medicine, they want answers and they want your help in getting them. And this is where integrative pathology testing comes in to help provide more in-depth information about the patient’s own health and for the practitioner to better manage patient health and work towards optimal well being.
Integrative pathology testing, in particular, microscopic blood analysis is a useful screening tool. The advantages of this type of testing is that it can show indicators of subtle, early changes and sub clinical pictures or what we like to call the early warning signs suggestive of a more serious health state brewing which can be overlooked in routine pathology testing. Several different important health parameters are assessed including:
- Nutritional Status i.e. Iron, Vitamin B12 and Folate and essential fatty acids.
- Oxidative Stress, the free radical damage to our DNA which ages us.
- Inflammation, an important driver of cardio-metabolic disease and atherosclerosis.
- Gastrointestinal Health e.g. Leaky Gut Syndrome.
- Immune Status, the right types, numbers and proportions of white cells.
- Liver stress.
- Metabolic Health i.e. fat/sugar dysregulation.
- Monitoring genetic mutations such as MTHFR.
So who would benefit from this testing?
Testing can be utilised with any patients wanting to better their health including weight loss clients and athletes who are looking for a competitive edge. It is useful for obtaining a baseline for new patients from which progress and improvements can be monitored and this of course encourages compliance and understanding when patients can actually see positive changes in front of them. It can be utilised with existing patients as well, especially for those who have unexplained health issues, chronic health conditions such as autoimmune diseases or those needing motivating in regards to diet, exercise and quitting smoking. I recently had a naturopath refer a 30 year old patient to me who was a smoker and she wanted to show the patient the evidence of the damage that the smoking was causing and of course the changes were there along with a greatly increased cardiovascular disease risk. As much as this was confronting for the patient it motivated her to begin her quit journey. Testing is ideal for children as it is minimally invasive and they just love seeing their blood on the screen in front of them. It can provide a great deal of information in particular in regards to their nutritional status without the dramas of having to draw venous blood which can be traumatic for children.
So why utilise this testing service?
Practitioners themselves are moving towards specialising and niche-ing down in their areas of expertise, the old “jack of all trades” is becoming less common in natural health care. The wide range of naturopathic testing available can be overwhelming to navigate through but this can be simplified by allocating testing to a qualified scientist who then allows the practitioner to have more individual patient time and schedule more appointments including new patients.
The burden of collection, testing and interpretation is taken off the practitioners shoulders, there is no need to try and collect fiddly blood samples or perform more complex testing which can be time consuming and expensive to set up.
The practitioner can relax and trust that the tests are performed in full, interpreted and reported with confidence by the one expert scientist ensuring consistency of reporting. Because of this level of expertise, any abnormalities can be confidently reported including less common/rare findings that may be overlooked by less confident practitioners.
From a patient perspective confidence is gained in knowing that your practice offers a specialised pathology service performed by an expert medical scientist with nearly 20 years experience. Patients actively seek out this blood analysis service, you will stand out from other practitioners and clinics in offering this unique form of testing.
If you would like to find out more about the testing services, Haemanalysis offers both for practitioners and private patients please feel free to contact me, I’m always happy to talk all things blood!
Tania Delahoy – Medical Scientist
B.App Sci (MLS)