Slowly his practice evolved into something new, that did not really have a name, and he called it Complex Medical Problem Solving. Over time, he found myself working mostly with those unfortunate patients who had not received a clear diagnosis from conventional medicine and were suffering with persistent and debilitating illnesses. These included Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic Lyme disease with its co-infections, Autism, and all varieties of Chronic Pain, amongst others.
Several years ago, he began to teach his colleagues what he had learned about working with chronically ill patients and he called this course, “What Every Physician Should Know About Working With Complex Medical Illness.” His patients asked him to provide this same information in a somewhat simplified form, and that is how his books, first, “On Hope and Healing” and his newest book, “Healing is Possible: New Hope for Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Persistent Pain, and Other Chronic Illnesses” came to be. His text, for those books, is derived from the distillation of countless patient visits. When he found a patient’s eyes glazing over as he began to explain some details of biochemistry, he took note. When they sat up, alertly and asked cogent questions, he took note of that, too.
Since the publication of those books, his practice has continued to evolve. He is now primarily seeing referrals from physicians who have studied this new field of functional medicine, and who have tried many of the interventions discussed in these books. They are helping most of those patients, but the ones who are not responding, the outliers, are being referred to Dr. Nathan in ever-increasing numbers. What distinguishes this group of patients is that over time, they have become increasingly sensitive, often exquisitely sensitive, to many of the treatments which had been so effective for others. Many have been formally diagnosed with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), but others simply cannot take even miniscule doses of herbs, or homeopathic remedies without a profound reaction. While their physicians, who may never have seen such sensitivities before, diagnose them as having depression and anxiety, these reactions are not psychogenic, but physical. It is believed that we are seeing the accumulation of massive amounts of toxins in those individuals. They cannot be treated until the toxins have been removed and they are biochemically strengthened, and only then can they even begin to start treatment.