ŌLooking for Holistic Therapies? Remember to Choose Wisely!Õ


More and more of us are choosing one of the natural healing arts to care for illness and injury. The Office For Alternative Medicine in Washington DC (OAM) reported that last year more than one third of all Americans spent their time and money on some form of alternative medicine, everything from acupuncture to herbs to massage.


I prefer to think of these therapies as complimentary or integrative, an adjunct to what is already available. Of course itÕs okay to use just natural therapies, but for those currently using prescription medications remember you want to be safe. One should not suddenly or abruptly stop taking prescription medication without first discussing it with your physician. Switching from drugs to more natural therapies is a process, kind of like stepping on the gas as you gently let off the clutch.


ItÕs not surprising that there is a great deal of confusion about natural therapies and how to use them. Much of the confusion comes from relying on the wrong sources for information.


As the population ages there has been a rise in the numbers and kinds of chronic degenerative diseases, which explains the sudden and intense interest in natural therapies. Medications cannot and will not ever be the entire answer to the kind of difficult problems that come with aging and disease. 


Scams abound when it comes to a promise of a cure or pain relief using natural therapies, so where does one start? The Internet is a good source of information, but first do research into your illness. WebMD is a good source, or look at The OAM site and see whatÕs working.


Just as you wouldnÕt consider going to the doctor without checking out credentials you shouldnÕt accept less from any other health care professional.  Ask questions and find out just whom you are dealing with and what they are offering.


Here are some things to look for when choosing an alternative health practitioner.


Do they have a permanent office and can you find them when you need them? Is the office just a front with other locations as well? Do they answer their calls or return your call promptly?


Are diplomas, certificates or state licensures displayed? Take a good look. Are they from legitimate sources and schools?


How did you hear about this individual? Were friends or family members helped by what they had to offer?


If you are still in doubt ask about their credentials. Anyone that has you best interest at heart will not be afraid to answer or try to intimidate you for asking.


Most individuals that reported back to the OAM and had worked with a legitimate alternative health care professional had positive things to say about their experiences even if the therapy had not been all they had hoped for. ItÕs okay to follow your intuition about holistic therapies, just remember to use a common sense approach based on facts. Till next time, Rebecca