Finding an alternative medicine practitioner can be daunting, even for those of us who are open to a holistic approach to disease and prevention. How do we find a doc in my area? How do I know if s/he is any good? How can s/he help me in my particular needs? Adding to the stress of trusting a perfect stranger is the fact that most medical insurance companies do not cover visits, treatments, or supplements prescribed by/with alternative practitioners. Why bother?
An alternative medical practitioner can provide a different angle to your health care needs. Working in concert with your traditional medical doctor(s), an alternative specialist can enhance the care plan, providing support with nutrition, supplements, and lifestyle. It's my opinion that visiting both types of practitioners (traditional and alternative) will provide the best overall care.
One of the first things I did after my cancer diagnosis was to research, interview, and choose my Kaiser surgical team and oncologist. I was provided a list of docs with their short bios, and I went to work narrowing down the group to 4-5, including a general surgeon, a plastic surgeon, an anesthesiologist, an oncologist, and a radiologist (whom I never ended up using). Word of mouth, asking around, reading reviews, and personal interviews helped me in my search.
At the same time I reached out to a few trusted friends about who they recommended as alternative health care providers. It was important to me to get my nutrition on point and get a different viewpoint on my cancer treatment. With a few recommendations I researched as much as I could online, visiting their web sites, reading reviews, etc. I called their offices and spoke with their front desk staff to get a vibe of the place. I looked into what it was going to cost me (which was a potential roadblock). I finally narrowed it down to Dr. Mark Carney of Thriveology, located in Denver, Colorado. Not the closest to my home, not the cheapest, but definitely a great fit for my needs, Dr. Carney has turned out to be a wonderful and essential addition to my health care team.
Things Dr. Carney has helped me with that my traditional docs haven't:
- nutrition counseling
- hormone testing
- heavy metals testing
- intensive thyroid testing
- parasite testing
- individualized supplementation
- chelation therapy
- stress-relief plan
- fitness plan
- sleep plan
- pre-surgery plan to strengthen my immune system
- post-surgery plan to strengthen my immune system and to heal faster
- DNA testing
- and much more.
I have learned so much about my body, what its strengths and weaknesses are, and what I can do to make the most of what I have. I can't imagine this journey without all the additional information and guidance from my alternative doc. As much as I like and respect my traditional medical team, none of them have the time or the broad knowledge to help me beyond their specialty. They are limited by their employer and narrow in their scope of expertise and so although talented in excising tumors or reconstructing breasts, are not about to offer advice on how to help me on such topics as how to deal with my COMT mutation or how to decrease my cortisol levels.
What does this have to do with you?
I suggest you find an alternative practitioner in your area BEFORE a crisis strikes. Even if it's not in your budget to visit him/her regularly, make an appointment and get one aspect of your health in line. Pick something like nutrition, digestion, PMS, etc., and work with your practitioner to get it on track.
If you've already got a significant health concern, it's not too late to get a holistic viewpoint, which in concert with your traditional docs will provide you a stronger approach to your issues.
Here's my 10 steps to finding a quality alternative health practitioner in your area:
- Ask around. Ask coworkers, friends, family, neighbors. Ask on social media. A strong opinion from a respected individual goes a long way.
- Search through one of the links provided below. (They're in random order-- pick a couple you like and go to town).
- Visit the sites of a few of your top pics. What do you like about what you're seeing/reading? What don't you like?
- Google the names of your top pics. What come up? Is it positive? Negative? What do the reviews say?
- Call the office of your top pics and speak with the front desk person/staff. Are they helpful? Courteous? Do you feel heard? Do you get a good "vibe?"
- Ask if they offer a discounted or complimentary initial visit. If yes, book an appointment at each site that offers that.
- Ask what sort of information is required before the doc will see you (beyond the free appointment, if offered). For example, my doc sent home a large packet that I filled out before my first comprehensive visit, including a detailed health history, family health history, 7-day nutrition journal, etc.
- Make sure you ask about pricing and if there are any discounts for cash payments.
- Attend your initial appointments and ask the same questions (prepared in advance) so you get a feel for who best fits with your philosophy.
- Take a leap and choose someone! You've gotta start somewhere. You can always switch to another practitioner if things don't go as planned.
Here's my list of traditional practitioner search engines:
Wishing you love and light in your journey towards optimal health!