Evaluating Your Alternative Health Practitioner

As we covered in a previous article, your first meeting with a prospective alternative health practitioner will establish the foundation for your work together. It's your chance to ask the questions that are important to you, gauge your level of comfort with the practitioner, and get a sense of his or her credentials and knowledge.

Here we've listed a few more questions to keep in mind for that first meeting with your alternative health practitioner. In addition, we've listed some warning signs that might indicate potential problems. You'll want to keep these in mind.

Can you point me to research about this treatment and my condition?
A good practitioner will keep up with the current research in his or her field of expertise. There are new discoveries and ongoing research in alternative therapies just as there are in the traditional medical field. Find out where you can educate yourself about the latest studies.

Are there any concerns about this therapy interacting with my conventional treatment?
Far more often than not, alternative health therapies are used in conjunction with conventional treatments. Because one can affect the other, you'll want to make sure your practitioner is not only aware of any conventional treatment you're receiving, but also the impact the two therapies may have on each other.

Are there any contraindications for using this therapy?
As we've stated previously in other articles, not all therapies work with all conditions. Make sure you thoroughly understand the limits and potential of any alternative therapuetic approaches that you may be undergoing. You'll want to make sure that you're informed when a therapy is inadvisable.

What insurance do you accept?
For many, this is the most important question on their minds. Unlike conventional medical treatments, many alternative health therapies are not covered by health insurance. Make sure you ask upfront so you don't get surprised.

Pay attention not only to the responses that you receive, but to the demeanor of the practitioner as your questions are answered. Make sure there are none of these warning signs:

  • The practitioner is rushed and in a hurry to conclude the interview.
  • He or she lacks the certifications and credentials recommended by your local professional board.
  • The practitioner is evasive in his answers.
  • He or she doesn’t ask questions about your condition, or how you feel about potential treatments.
  • The practitioner doesn’t appear knowledgeable about your condition and implications of treatment.
  • The practitioner can’t cite research or studies supporting the use of the therapy with your condition.
  • He’s adamant that his therapy be your only form of treatment.
  • He doesn’t ask if you have any questions.

The interview should be a two-way process. If you’re not satisfied with the answers you receive, push for clarification. If you still don’t understand, consider whether this is the right practitioner for you. If you’re not comfortable asking questions, then this may be another indication that he or she is not be the right care provider. Remember, your comfort with your health care provider can be the deciding factor in the success of the therapy or treatment.


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