Tolle causam (Find the underlying cause)
In naturopathic medicine, the identification of the underlying cause of a physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual imbalance in order to effect a cure is called tolle causam, (meaning "discover and treat the cause" in Latin). In the context of tolle causam, symptoms are considered to be a language -- the code that your body, mind, emotions, and spirit use to talk to you. They are welcomed as messages from within about what is going wrong in the system as a whole. They point you and your doctor to the source of your discomfort.
Modern evidence-based medicine relies on a diverse array of tests to evaluate physiological function and tissue abnormalities. They include, but are not limited to: radiographs (X-ray), X-ray computed tomography (CAT scan), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, biochemical analysis of body fluids and stool, colonoscopy, endoscopy, mammograms, and biopsy (tissue sampling and analysis).
Naturopaths use specialized tests to assess aspects of physiological function that are not evaluated with conventional laboratory tests. Some are performed in the office; others are done by special laboratories. For example, Ayurvedic pulse and tongue diagnosis allow your doctor to detect imbalances at deep energetic and/or metabolic levels, sometimes before you begin to experience symptoms.
HeartSong uses in-house diagnostic testing devices and specialized laboratories for testing that is not done by conventional labs. Some of the specialized laboratories used more frequently at HeartSong are listed below. Go to the websites noted by each for a list of tests that are offered and see medical technology for a description of in-house testing.
Doctor's Data (www.doctorsdata.com)
Doctor's Data, Inc. (DDI) specializes and pioneers in essential and toxic elemental testing of multiple human tissues. DDI's tests are utilized in the assessment, detection, prevention, and treatment of heavy metal burden, nutritional deficiencies, gastrointestinal function, hepatic detoxification, metabolic abnormalities, and diseases of environmental origin.
Genova Diagnostics is a global specialty clinical laboratory, pioneering a systems approach that supports healthcare providers in the personalized treatment and prevention of chronic disease. Genova offers more than 125 specialized diagnostic assessments, covering a wide range of physiological areas including digestive, immunology, metabolic function and endocrinology.
IGeneX, Inc. is a specialty immunology laboratory and research facility, providing personalized service to over 1,000 private practice physicians, hospitals, and other clinical reference laboratories throughout the U.S. and Canada. It is known for the reliability and accuracy of its testing for Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.
Neuroscience, Inc. (www.neurorelief.com)
NeuroScience, Inc. is a research- and education-driven company committed to improving human health through the neurological, endocrine and immune systems. Its vision is to evolve the understanding of the nervous system's integrated role in overall health. Its mission is to provide health care practitioners with nervous system based medical solutions that improve the quality of life through innovative research and world class services.
Metametrix Clinical Laboratory (www.metametrix.com)
Metametrix is recognized internationally as a pioneer and leader in the development of metabolic, toxicant, and nutritional testing. The mission of Metametrix is to improve health worldwide by providing clinical laboratory tests that identify nutritional imbalances and toxicities underlying chronic diseases.
Doctors collect information in personal interviews to help determine the cause of symptoms that you describe to them. Doctors may ask questions and interpret answers differently depending upon their philosophy of health and healing. The personal interview is also a time for you to decide whether or not your doctor is approaching your health care in a way that makes sense to you.
Primary care providers are aware that the medical interview is their most versatile and comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic tool. During the interview, your physician can get a sense of who you are socially, culturally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually by asking you certain questions and watching you while listening to your responses. There is a lot of information available, and the holistic practitioner is eager to integrate as much as possible about all your needs, concerns, and goals for care. Your practitioner needs to keep track of information on multiple levels, and to document for the purposes of insurance what is being learned during the process, the conclusions that are being drawn, and their implications for future care. The more proactive you can be in providing information about your situation, the more successful your doctor will be in discerning what might be going on, and deciding what to do next in terms of diagnostics and treatment.
Most clinicians feel that your medical history has greater diagnostic value than any other diagnostic tool, including a physical exam and laboratory diagnostics. What you choose to share and what you withhold can have a significant impact on your physician' ability to correctly diagnose, and subsequently treat, whatever is bothering you. Think about why you are going to the doctor before you go in. Think about everything that you know about yourself and circumstances associated with your health concern. Make a list of things you'd like to discuss, so you don't forget something important. The medical interview is your time to really share who you are and what you want to change.
What many people visiting a doctor do not realize, is that not only is the medical interview a time to share about themselves and gain insight about the condition of their health, but also it is a opportunity to learn about the physician, to understand the nature of the doctor's approach to health care, the way he or she relates to you, to notice how you respond to the relationship, and to decide whether this is someone with whom you'd like to build a long-term therapeutic relationship. A productive and fulfilling healing partnership with a medical practitioner requires as much from you as it does from the physician. Are you willing to listen to what is suggested? Is it being explained to you in a way that is helpful and affirming of who you are as an individual? Are you excited by some of the ideas that your holistic practitioner has, or are you frightened? Are you able to share your feelings and ask questions? Do you feel received and heard? Are you able to express your needs, to say when you need something more, and to confirm when is helpful and explain why?
Take the time you need to consider carefully whether you are willing to commit to really trying what is being suggested. If you are, say so. And if you are not, tell your clinician this as well. Your treatment plan will only be successful if you are are willing to participate fully and actively in its implementation. The more honest you can be about what you are willing to do, or not, the more accurately the plan can be designed to meet your needs on all levels -- physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental.
Self-assessment tools are questionnaires that allow you to record information concerning a particular area of your physiological or mental function in an organized fashion. Your doctor will invite you to complete assessment tool(s) as a way to refine the process of uncovering the root cause of your discomfort.
HeartSong has a number of different assessment tools. You will be asked to complete some of them -- the Health Assessment tools -- prior to your first appointment. Others you will be asked to completed on an as needed basis, depending upon your circumstances.
Here is a complete list of assessment tools currently used at HeartSong.
Intake Health Assessment Tools
- Health History and Concerns
- Social and Cultural Information
- Review of Systems
- Present Constitution
- Pediatric Assessment Form.
Nutritional Assessment Tools
- Nutritional Assessment
- Model Log for Daily Diet Journal
Mental Health Assessment Tools
- Neurotransmitter Evaluation
- Identi-T Stress Assessment
- Enneatype Test http://www.enneagramworldwide.com/
A therapeutic trial is a form of subjective diagnostic testing and may be suggested to you when objective testing is unable to unequivocally discern the cause of your symptoms. For example, you may have a sensitivity to a substance which does not show up in allergy tests. In this case, the only way to determine whether the item is causing your symptoms is to do a trial of treatment. In this case, the trial would be a period of time where you avoid the item completely to see if your symptoms improve.
Self-awareness refers your understanding of your personal traits, behaviors, and beliefs and your experience of your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual sensations and feelings at any given moment in time. The more open you can be about what you know about yourself, the more accurately imbalances can be diagnosed and the more personalized your treatment plan can be.
One of the most important sources of information for determining the underlying cause(s) of your discomfort is your own awareness of your state of health.
Your perceptions of
- your symptoms,
- what soothes them,
- what makes them worse,
- their significance for you,
- your feelings about them,
are all vital for your physician to understand what will help restore health.
Come to your appointment with as much information as possible about what you are noticing about all dimensions of your health -- mental, emotional, physical, spiritual.
Hear what someone has to say about specialized in-house diagnostics:
I love the biopedance testing that HeartSong uses to analyze body composition because it shows me so much more than just my weight. I can tell if I'm gaining muscle mass, and losing fat mass, and how my hydration levels are as well as many other things. The testing is very fast.