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6 Essential Tips For Picking A Great Alternative Medicine Provider

The decision to move away from conventional medicine in favor of alternative therapies opens an entirely new chapter in your wellness story, one that could see you refreshed and living life to the fullest.

A good alternative medicine provider can move you forward to this positive scene, but face it, not every provider is worth his or her salt. You have to sort the ones who offer snake oil from the ones who can give real healing. These tips will help you do just that.

1) Ask Your Doctor Or Insurance Company For A List Of Professional Organizations Or Providers For The Type Of Alternative Medicine You’re After
Doctors sometimes will give good-faith referrals for alternative medicine providers they know and trust, and this is a good starting point. You needn’t limit yourself to your doctor’s circle, however. Professional alternative medicine organizations, including licensing agencies, should have lists of all their current registered members. You can use this list to get in touch with more providers, increasing the odds you’ll find someone in your area that’s truly a good match for you. Additionally, insurance companies sometimes cover alternative medicine, so they often can give you information for reputable practitioners they’re aware of.

2) Get The Provider’s Credentials
Unlike conventional medicine, not all alternative medicine is strictly regulated or has a central governing body, making it all the more important that you ask about the provider’s qualifications. Any provider you work with should have significant training and experience. Ask about their license or certification, if applicable, or find out where and how long they studied. Cross check the information they provide with professional groups, schools or former partners and employers. Look at the number of clients they have and how long they’ve been practicing, too.

3) Look For Specializations
A good number of alternative medicine providers take a more generalized approach to their practices, treating many conditions with a host of methods. For instance, they might offer both sound therapy and aromatherapy. These providers are not necessarily bad, but providers who have chosen to focus on one area might have insights or know techniques that a generalized provider might not. Keep the providers that specialize in your preferred therapy at the top of your list for this reason.

4) Do Interviews
All the credentials and training in the world don’t amount to much if your provider makes you uncomfortable. Set up a time where you can talk to the provider about his or her general health and treatment philosophies. You’ll get a sense of the provider’s personality, experiences and manner of thinking this way. Ask about fees, research backing up the safety and effectiveness of what the practitioner does (the provider should be able to offer fairly recent studies), typical wait time, estimated treatment length and the number of patients the provider currently has. Do the interviews in person if you can. Body language cues communicate a lot, and you can’t get them over the phone or email.

5) Visit The Place You’ll Receive Therapy
If you conducted your interview in a place other than where you’ll get treatment (for instance, a nearby public coffee shop), take a formal trip to the provider’s office. The environment can be very important with alternative therapies. For instance, you might not be able to relax much during a massage if the treatment room is flooded with harsh light that the provider doesn’t have a dimmer or window treatments to control. You also want to get an idea of how easy it is to get to the facility and determine whether any special accommodations might be needed for your travel.

6) Find Out What Professional Practitioners Or Organizations The Provider Is Associated With
The associations an alternative medicine provider has enable him or her to get information that might prove vital to your care. They also reveal to some degree how well established and respected the provider is, as providers who have been in the field for a while usually have had time to network and form many relationships. They also can show whether the provider is willing to extend his or her hand across the medical aisle and respect the conventional doctor you’ve previously been working with.

Pin ItAnd Finally…

Alternative medicine therapies often can yield amazing results, but the provider you pick has an enormous influence on how much you improve, if at all. By using these tips, you can make an educated decision about which practitioner is best suited and qualified to treat you.

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Katherine Hurst
By Rachel Nall
She is a 2005 honors program graduate from the University of Tennessee in Journalism and Political Science. Selected as a "Torchbearer" at the University of Tennessee, the highest honor given to a university student. She began her writing career with the Associated Press in Brussels, Belgium. She enjoys writing about health care, her practice and passion. Rachel is a full-time nurse at a 20-bed intensive care unit focusing primarily on cardiac care. She enjoys educating her patients and readers on how to live healthier and happier lives.

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