Nowadays, with so many alternative healthcare options available, finding good holistic centers with health care physicians trained in natural alternative health care may not be as challenging as previously thought. The best places to start your search for a holistic center or integrative health center is locally.
If you happen to be new in town or have an ailment that has not been previously diagnosed, choosing a local doctor with alternative health degrees is important to be sure your needs are met. When looking for local doctors in holistic or integrative health centers you may become confused or forgot what needs to be discussed before deciding on the lucky health practitioner who will have you as a patient. What follows are some guidelines you can use to help find the best holistic centers and health care physicians.
Be Your Own Advocate When Searching for Holistic Therapists
Be your own advocate when you are searching for a local doctor who practices alternative complementary medicine. Expect good rapport between you and the doctor. Set up an initial appointment in person or over the phone to see if you feel comfortable. You’ll find out quickly if he is willing to listen to your point of view and respects you a person as well as a patient. You have a right to disagree with the doctor and not be made to feel badly about your point of view.
Ask friends and family for referrals to local natural health care doctors at holistic centers and for primary care practitioners. If you are seeking a holistic therapist specialist, ask your general practitioner for a referral.
Do Your Homework Online
Check online rating sites for local doctor referrals. The referral lists are wonderful because you have the opportunity to view other patients’ comments and feedback, giving you a chance to know what to expect from the doctor ahead of time.
Find out what alternative health degrees the health care physician holds. Online referral sites provide not only patient ratings, but a wealth of information for each health care physician including natural health schools attended, conventional colleges, graduate degrees, and hospitals with whom the doctor is affiliated.
Initial Interview with a New Health Care Practitioner
When you call to speak to the potential candidate for an initial interview, you’ll find out a lot about the doctor and his staff based on whether they will make time for your request for a short phone interview. A doctor who takes the time to call a prospective new patient back is one that should be on your “A” list.
Make a written list of questions ahead of time. Remind yourself frequently that not only does the doctor need to become familiar with your health problems, but you have to become familiar with his practice.
Ask Questions That Can Help You Choose a New Local Doctor Easily
Right up front, ask if the health care physician practices integrative health care or alternative complementary medicine. If you’re looking for something more specific such as a homeopathy, naturopathy or holistic nutrition, be sure you’re in the right place from the start. Ask about the natural health schools he or she attended if you didn’t find out in your online investigation.
Ask if she accepts your insurance plan. Some holistic therapists don’t accept insurance, expecting payment up front; others only accept a few health insurance companies. This may affect your decision whether to make an appointment depending on your finances and on the practitioner’s specialty.
Ask primary care practitioners what hospitals they are associated with and how he or she handles emergencies and after hours calls. Many holistic centers are set up to handle after-hour emergencies without sending patients to hospitals.
Inquire ahead of time about the amount of time it takes to get an appointment, and about waiting room time. Choose the best doctor whose practice fits your needs.
How Does Your Holistic Practitioner Feel About You Being Proactive in Your Healthcare?
If you enjoy being involved in your care, find out ahead of time how the doctor feels about her patients being proactive. Some health care physicians prefer patients merely do as they are told, and do not welcome those who speak out or want to be involved on their own behalf. You may want to avoid these practitioners.
Inquire if the prospective doctor will release your records and test results directly to you. There is nothing more irritating than having to chase that information down and collect it from an arrogant doctor who thinks you are not smart enough to have a copy of your own health records.
What if You Can’t Find a Local Holistic Physician?
In the event you’re looking for a highly specialized practitioner with specific training or live an area with few alternative complementary medical practitioners, contact the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA) online to find a natural health practitioner.
In our society, medical doctors are given a tremendous amount of power and many people hand themselves and their healthcare over to a doctor with little thought for their own wishes. There is no rule that says you have to surrender to a doctor’s recommendations. Many holistic therapists practicing alternative complementary medicine have a less controlling point of view and welcome their patients’ involvement in their own care. When searching for local primary care practitioners or integrative health centers, taking the time to do a little research up front will go a long way toward helping you find the best health practitioner and one who will make you feel good about choosing him.
Resource list: Find qualified homeopathic practitioners and reliable long-distance homeopathic pharmacies for hard-to-find remedies
American Holisitic Medical Association
(Photo credit: Public domain)
Permission is granted to copy the title and first one hundred words with the provision that the author's name be included and a link to the original article be added.