Questions To Ask Your Alternative Health Practitioner

Your first meeting with a prospective alternative health practitioner will lay 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.

Being prepared with a list of questions can help you be sure to get all the answers that you need to evaluate whether this therapy – and this particular alternative health practitioner – are right for you. Here, we've provided you with some potential questions to help you get the answers you need.

1. What are the benefits I'll receive from this therapy?
Ask for specifics. Will it strengthen muscles, improve balance, improve immune system function? You should do some advance research, so you can effectively evaluate the answers you receive. And always be skeptical when you encounter an alternative health practitioner who makes extravagant claims.

2. What, if any, are the risks associated with this form of therapy?
No all alternative therapies come with risks, but many do. A good practitioner will not only be aware of these risks, but will be willing to discuss them and to offer some potential methods to minimize such risks. Don't be afraid to ask about risks. Better on your first visit than after it's too late.

3. How will my particular condition benefit from this form of therapy?
Not all therapies are beneficial for every condition. Have a frank discussion about the expected results from this particular therapy for your particular condition. And don't forget to inquire about your practitioner's experience with your condition. Has he or she treated others with a similar medical history and what were the results?

4. Will there be side effects?
Yes, even natural therapies can come with side effects. Ask about what they may be in your situation, what the odds are that you'll experience them, and how severe they might be. Most of the time, potential side effects will be minimal, but on occasion, you can encounter severe consequences from some therapies. Make sure you know what to expect.

How long does your practitioner expect the treatment?
Depending on your particular condition, the length of treatment can vary dramatically. Some chiropractic therapies may only require one or two visits, for example, while others may require ongoing visits. This can be true in acupuncture or hypnosis or most of the other alternative disciplines. So find out what your practitioner has in mind, how often he or she will be assessing your progress, and if there's a time in the future when the therapy will no longer be required.

There are some other questions you should consider asking, as well as some warning signs to watch for when you first meet with your alternative health practitioner. We'll get to those in a follow up article.


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