Dr. Lee on Happiness and Patient Management
Dr. Lee felt that Dr. Melvin Page was one of the most effective practitioners in practice and patient management in the country. Yet from 1950 to 1987, Dr. Page was indicted 6 times for practicing outside his scope of practice.
Fortunately, he won all six cases. The last case was won with over 3,600 case studies and in his closing statement, the federal judge made a point of reprimanding the FDA and AMA for persecuting him rather than finding out what he was doing to make him so successful.
That thoroughness is what made Dr. Page effective. We believe the following quote is a reflection of the philosophy which created his success: “Happiness is getting patients well. Success starts with a happy office. Happy patients are healthy patients. Thus happiness is the foundation of success, not the outcome. Good health is the outcome.”
What made Dr. Page so successful? He first qualified the patients to see if they were a good fit and willing to be successful. That simple act of qualifying your patients can increase your success.
Dr. Page states in one of his lectures that “new patients who are happy with their consultation and report of findings are more apt to try new things and become long-term patients. So, we take a few extra minutes but do a very thorough workup, helping the patient understand what we do.”
This gave him the ability to show patients that the program works with positive changes. The calcium phosphorus ratio encourages compliance! If the patient wasn’t compliant, within a week he could see it and warned them that he would have to fire them as a patient.
“I deal with successful patients, because they want to be successful or I don’t take them” he would say. This got their attention and made them a better patient. You have the same advantage by following the same procedures:
- All of you in the CCWFN program have this same ability by doing the Symptom Survey prior to your consultation and using the Nutritional Exam at the consultation to confirm those signs and symptoms to your findings.
- This can help your patient understand that your practice isn’t just one modality.
- At the consultation, introduce the Page Food Plan immediately and get a 30 to 60 day commitment for Phase II, the maintenance plan.
- When you have a commitment, explain that it’s also important they follow Phase I (the detoxification portion of the food plan) for 3 to 5 days before your Report of Findings appointment.
- You should see immediate progress at the Report of Findings in the digestive section of the Nutritional Exam if they’ve been following the program! This perceived progress will change the patient-practitioner relationship.
Scientists already know that negative emotions can cause a cascade of biological reactions that harm the body. Chronic stress increases inflammation, and constant pain has been linked to low hydrochloric acid levels, as well as a host of other health problems. Is it a wonder that those naysayers always seem to have digestive issues?
So it’s not a stretch to think that happiness, as Dr. Page and Dr. Lee pointed out, can lead to changes in the body’s systems that positively influence our health. We know that in many research studies, the placebo works better than the drug, and the drug companies have been more than happy to point out that a person with a happy and positive outlook can skew the study.
Sarah Pressman, associate professor of psychology and social behavior at UC Irvine who has been researching happiness for about a decade, flatly stated “Positive emotion is good for you.”
But wait a minute – in 2015, researchers seemed determined to deliver a blow to positive thinkers everywhere with the news that happy people did not live longer than sad people!
The study was published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet. They surveyed the results from nearly 720,000 women and concluded that happiness, when considered independently, had no bearing whatsoever on how long people lived.
Now, many of us who have had to sit across from patients who are frowning and complaining would challenge those findings in The Lancet. That’s exactly the opposite of what Dr. Page found. But let us just look at the actual study. I for one wanted to know who funded it, once I looked at the criteria.
They decided to adjust certain factors, like discounting the state of a person’s emotional health, so there were no variables. Many experts in the field took issue with the study’s design, which removed these variables:
• How much the women slept.
• Whether they exercised.
• If the women were happy in their relationships.
• How many medications they are on.
• And no consideration of their diet.
These very basic reasons that make people happy and live longer, are now labeled unimportant and removed from the study as variables in the Lancet paper!
Approaching a study this way is aligned with a statement made by the head of the FDA in front of a congressional subcommittee during Dr. Lee’s troubles in the 1950s: “There is no evidence that food has a therapeutic value.” Yes, the FDA was harassing Dr. Lee and the other pioneers while “looking out” for the nation’s health.
What about the 2011 research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that found older people who reported being the least happy died at nearly twice the rate as those people who reported being the most happy over five years?
Even after adjusting for factors like illness, finances and depression, people who were the happiest still had a 35% lower risk of early death. Another study of older adults in the same age group found that happier people retained their physical function and active lifestyle better than those who were unhappy.
In a 2003 study, researchers deliberately exposed elderly patients to the cold virus. Guess what? Their happiness level was a strong predictor of who got sick and who stayed well. This was tracked and determined by physical markers measuring people’s mucus production and the levels of antibodies in their blood. The happy patients obviously seemed to have a much stronger immune system. Why are they better patients?
In my experience, like Dr. Page’s, people who are generally happy and positive are more willing to make changes. These are the patients who will follow your directions and help support the program by being compliant, instead of spending their time complaining and trying to defeat you. Those happy patients make it possible for you to walk out the door with a smile at the end of the day.
• Are you all using the Symptom Survey in your consultation?
• Are you taking blood pressure and pulse each visit, on every patient?
• Do you have a medical scale and check height and weight for BMI?
• Do you introduce the Page Food Plan with diet and lifestyle at the first visit?
These are simple little things, but can be big things to your patients. Living up to their expectations makes patients happier, healthier and increases compliance. Everybody wins, so follow Dr. Page’s example.
John Brady, Director