Nov 3, 2010

A Fantastic Interview That Centers Around Healthcare for You AND Your Pet

HealthyLife.Net Radio Show

Wendy’s Animal Talk
Host Wendy Nan Rees

Guest Russell Louie
Choosing a Holistic Practitioner
November 2, 2010, 1-2:00 PM PDT

Russell, has studied holistic health for over 30 years and lived a holistic lifestyle for over 58 years. He specializes in integrating his scientific background with his knowledge of health, to holistically help both people and pets. As a holistic scientist, his greatest talent is being able to cut through all the marketing hype, using his scientific background to tell people what is truly holistic. Today, our topic is “Choosing a Holistic Practitioner.”

Your topic for today’s show would be helpful to all of us, whether we have pets or not?
Yes, that is correct. My goal is to share what criteria has worked for me, my wife and our pets over the last 60 years, so that others can benefit from our lessons. As you know, I do not believe in mistakes, so I do not mean we have selected bad holistic practitioners. But by sharing our holistic lessons, I hope to make others’ path easier, so they can make better choices.

That sounds great. Let us start with Lesson #1.
#1 on my list of choosing a good holistic practitioner is to be a participant in your or your pet’s healthcare. Part of the problem with the way today’s conventional system is structured, is that we have given our power of discernment away to healthcare practitioners. We tell them our or our pet’s symptoms and they tell us what is wrong with our body based on one-dimensional lab tests. They then prescribe medication, supplements or treatment based on their single point of view and educational experience. Sometimes they guess right and the body comes back into balance and the symptoms go away and sometimes they guess wrong. In either case, the practitioner expects the patient to follow everything they say whether it is right or wrong, it works or not.One of Margaret’s old-school practitioners said it best, “Your job as a patient is to comply.”

So, some healthcare practitioners expect total compliance with what they prescribe?
Yes, that is right. There is no latitude to deviate from the original prescribed treatment or even question it. We favor a more collaborative approach where the healthcare practitioner listens and honors our opinion and works with it when prescribing a healthcare plan. After all, two heads are better than one. I observe and live with my body and my pet 24 hours a day. I think I can provide valuable input, albeit in layman’s terms. The conventional healthcare practitioner only sees a small snapshot based on the sample questions they are trained to ask. I look for a holistic practitioner that listens to all that I have to say, whether it is immediately relevant to their modality or not.

I agree with that. What other lessons have you learned?
When a healthcare practitioner prescribes something, we need to be their eyes and ears until we see them again. It pays to write down what symptoms you are experiencing now, rating each one on a numerical scale and then charting your progress. We get a lot of first-time customers call back saying our holistic product did not work. What they mean is their symptoms did not go away in the 20-30 days they tried it. So, I ask them if they feel they have more energy than before they started, are they sleeping better, do they have more clarity at work and have their mood swings been neutralized. 

If their pet is being treated, I ask if the pet has a shinier, silkier coat, they have more energy, act more playful or affectionate, sleep less, ask to go outside more and have more consistent bowel movements. If they say, Yes, to some or all of these, then I point out that research studies show it generally takes at least 90 days for any permanent change in the body to take effect. This includes changing personal habits, quitting smoking, dieting to lose weight, results from natural supplements, etc. The fact that the new customer did notice some benefits tells me the balancing process still has a way to go before their symptoms improve. They need to be patient and give it at least 90 days.

So, providing this interim feedback gives the holistic practitioner more information to judge unseen results?
That is precisely correct. I like to say to get the maximum out of any treatment plan we need to be an active participant and not just a passive patient.

What else do you look for?
Whenever I have to take increasing amounts of a supplement or give increasing amounts to my pet the longer I take it, I always question my practitioner to see if there is not a better way to balance my body. Having to take ever increasing amounts, tells me my body is becoming dependent on the supplement or product and my body is NOT becoming holistically balanced.

What if the practitioner does not have any more options for you?
Perhaps they do not see anything wrong with being dependent on a supplement or product the rest of your or your pet’s life. Or perhaps you or your pet has exceeded this practitioner’s level of knowledge and experience. I would then ask who they go to when they have issues they cannot solve themselves.

Have you seen this before?
As a matter of fact, Yes. Once I had to move on to my chiropractor’s chiropractor because I had reached a plateau in my body’s progress. My situation was just too complex for my first chiropractor’s skills. A good holistic practitioner should recognize this and give you the contact information for the practitioner they see when they cannot treat themselves.

Can you give us another holistic lesson you have learned?
Yes, make sure the holistic practitioner is addressing the WHOLE body and not just your or your pet’s symptoms. This is very important when considering side effects of supplements.

Can you give me a specific example?
Sure. A practitioner had prescribed high therapeutic doses of glucosamine for a dog with arthritis. The client was not seeing enough progress in their dog and was searching for a better answer. After asking my holistic evaluation questions, I asked the client if she was seeing any side effects from the high therapeutic doses of glucosamine prescribed. She did not know there were any side effects. I told her two of the most common side effects of high therapeutic doses of glucosamine are insulin resistance and yeast overgrowth. The client remarked, “Oh my gosh, is that why I have to clean my dog’s ears out almost daily?”

So, how could this situation have been prevented?
If the practitioner looked at ALL the symptoms of the dog’s WHOLE body, they might have recognized these side effects of glucosamine in the ears. This is a problem we often see with giving high therapeutic doses of supplements to pets. Not many practitioners are looking for side effects. Too many people and practitioners assume if it is all-natural it must be holistic and therefore safe.

What other lessons can you share?
Conventional medicine looks to eradicate symptoms. Holistic practitioners are trained to look beyond that and identify the possible origins of those symptoms. They will try and identify what gland, organ or body system is producing the illness. But few holistic practitioners are trained to look beyond the first set of circumstance they find.

I am not following that reasoning; can you give me an example?
Sure. Supposed a client, people or pet, has classic symptoms of being hypothyroid—constant, fatigue, weight gain, dry hair and skin, hair loss, irritability, depression, intolerance for cold, muscle cramps and constipation. The holistic practitioner prescribes a thyroid supplement and the symptoms improve but do not entirely go away. So, the practitioner looks for something stronger.

I have seen that before. What is wrong with that?
Even if the holistic practitioner does find a stronger remedy, that will still not resolve the hypothyroidism. It will only make the body dependent on the stronger supplement. Remember one of my earlier lessons of prescribing ever increasing dosages?

What would you do as a holistic practitioner?
I would realize that since the thyroid is a secondary gland in the endocrine system, just giving a stronger thyroid supplement is only temporarily “fixing” the symptoms. While this might be necessary in the short-term, my long-term solution would be to look at what imbalance might be occurring in the primary glands that control the thyroid: namely, the pituitary (master gland), pineal and hypothalamus in the brain. If we could balance these three glands and organs in the brain, then the brain would pull up the secondary thyroid by the bootstraps, so to speak, without having to give a stronger supplement. This is what I call healing from within or from the top>down.

I see that now. Your thinking is definitely more holistic. Give our listeners another tip for choosing a good holistic practitioner.
A good holistic practitioner will be proactive and not wait for symptoms to show up before making a recommendation. Most people wait for symptoms to show up or blow up before taking action in their own lives and that of their pet. But this is even harder for our pets, since they cannot talk. So, we have to be observant to any changes our pets display, so that we can take preventative holistic action.

Can you give my listeners an example?
Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) in cats does not show up in clinical signs (blood test) until 50-75% of kidney degeneration has occurred. By the time clinical signs confirm CRF, it is almost too late to help holistically. I would rather teach the client to recognize the subtle signs of impending kidney disease, such as:

  1. Increased thirst
  2. Increased urination
  3. Vomiting both food and clear liquid
  4. Nausea and gagging
  5. Weight loss
  6. Muscle wasting
  7. Poor, dry coat
So, what does one do if they notice some of these signs in their cat?
I would first get a vet exam to either confirm or rule out CRF. If the cat is younger, I would take preventative measures such as eliminating all dry food, transitioning to canned food or even home-cooked and a raw food diet. These diets have more moisture than dry kibble.

I would next look for a holistic product that supplied abundant Omega oils and was high in antioxidants. Holistic vets say these are two critical nutrients for CRF cats.

So, you would give dietary suggestions first rather than just a kidney supplement for cats?
That is correct. Remember, I would rather address the WHOLE body with whole foods and superfood products that just treat the kidney symptoms with a supplement. To me, that is just supplementing the symptoms.

I am beginning to see the wisdom in your holistic thinking. Can you summarize for our listeners your personal guidelines for finding a holistic practitioner?
Here is a list of guidelines for choosing a good holistic practitioner for both people and pets:

  1. Be a participant in your or your pet’s health care. Do not just comply with their recommendations but ask questions and understand your practitioner’s reasoning.
  2. Be observant to any changes in your or your pet’s body.
  3. Provide this feedback to your or your pet’s practitioner. Be an active participant and not just a passive patient.
  4. Do not accept ever increasing dosages as a true holistic answer.
  5. If you reached a plateau in your or your pet’s progress, ask for more options. These options could include seeing your practitioner’s practitioner.
  6. Consider all side effects of supplements and how they affect the WHOLE body.
  7. Make sure the practitioner is looking for the primary cause of your or your pet’s illness and not just treating the symptoms with a supplement.
  8. Look for a holistic practitioner that helps you proactively prevent illness and degenerative diseases BEFORE symptoms show up.
You seem to have wealth of pet knowledge. How can we access more of your 58 years of holistic wisdom?
One way is to go to our website, and sign up for our free monthly e-newsletters. We have written articles on such topics as, Is glucosamine the answer for arthritis? Healthy water for you and your pets and Whole Food Products vs. Supplements. All past articles are archived online and one can search for a specific topic. If your listeners will check the box at the bottom of the subscription form, we’ll send subscribers a free report entitled What Pet Food Companies Don’t Want You to Know. This report contains 11-points some of which we covered today.

Do you offer any consulting services if I want more personal attention?
Yes, we have Mini- and Extended-Consults for those who purchase one of our holistic products and want to get the maximum usage for their pet. We also offer full Holistic Consultations in 15-30-60 minute blocks.

What other holistic resources do you have that would be of interest my listeners?
I just started a personal blog called Wholistic Answers. Your listeners can go to it at

We also have written a series of Holistic Choices e-Books. Readers can take advantage of the latest holistic research we find and absorb the information in a small chunk rather than a 100+ page book. The first three titles that have been published are:

  • Save Your Dog or Cat
  • Secrets of Longevity (for people )
  • How to become a canine massage provider
How can my listeners I and get a copy?
Go to our website and click on the e-Books button in the left column on our home page. As a special offer, I will give your listeners a free e-Book with any purchase of one of our bio-algae concentrate products. Just have them enter in the Special Instructions box of our shopping cart, “Wendy sent me” and ask for their free Save Your Dog or Cat e-Book or mention it in their telephone order

Thank you for sharing your holistic wisdom with my listeners today. For more information on Optimum Choices and holistic options for your pet, go to Russell’s website at You can e-mail them at or call toll-free 866-305-2306.

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