The holistic health practitioner (sometimes known as a holistic provider, holistic health therapist or holistic healer) recognizes that it is the imbalance of our body, mind and/or spirit that leads to our everyday discomforts and pain. Rather than simply eliminating the symptoms, the symptoms are a guide used to find the root cause of the imbalance. Holistic health principles can also be applied when more serious chronic conditions and disease occur. Holistic health practitioners consider the whole person to recommend treatments that support the body’s natural healing system. These treatment techniques help the patient take responsibility for their own health and achieve a higher level of wellness.
When looking for a holistic practitioner to help treat a medical problem, be as thorough and careful in your search as you are when looking for conventional care. Holistic practitioners are not all the same, each having their own specialty or expertise. Shop around to find the best fit for you.
Choose a type of treatment. Holistic health practitioners offer services in a variety of healing modalities including but definitely not limited to chiropractic medicine, massage therapy, naturopathy, acupuncture, aromatherapy and homeopathy. You do not have to adopt a new set of beliefs, a new religion, or agree with every holistic approach and modality. Find the one(s) that feel right for you.
Get a recommendation. When possible, get a recommendation from someone you trust like a medical professional or holistic practitioner you already see. Your primary care physician may be trained in holistic modalities (integrative medicine) or may work in conjunction with holistic practitioners.
Do your research. Read the holistic practitioners website and look for online reviews of their services. Find out as much as you can about the practitioner’s training, experience, specialties, licensing and certifications. The licensing and certification requirements vary from state to state and discipline to discipline, so contact your state regulatory agency if you’re not sure what to look for.
Additionally, explain your health conditions to the practitioner to find out if the practitioner has training and experience working with people who have your conditions.
What’s your comfort level? Is the practitioner’s treatment philosophy similar to your own values and beliefs? Does the practitioner listen to and respect your concerns? Make sure that the practitioner is someone you’d like to work with, who makes you feel respected and at ease.
Be ready to answer lots of questions. In order for the holistic practitioner to understand you as a whole person, be prepared to answer lots of questions related to your body, mind and spirit. This includes questions about your health and lifestyle including your eating, exercise and sleep habits. You may be asked about your religious beliefs, relationships, and how you feel emotionally. The holistic practitioner will use your answers in their evaluation before offering treatment. The practitioner may also offer lifestyle changes and self-care techniques to promote your optimal wellness. Choose a practitioner who will spend enough time with you to understand of your needs.
Coordinate your care. Let your conventional health care providers know about all complementary approaches you use or intend to use in combination with Western medical treatment. Treatment works best when your conventional health care providers and holistic practitioners work together (or at least communicate). Keeping your health care providers fully informed helps you to stay in control and effectively manage your health.
How much do the practitioner’s services cost? Don’t assume that your health insurance will cover holistic health services. Some insurance companies cover the full or partial cost of chiropractic care or acupuncture, or even massage therapy or herbal remedies for some conditions. Other holistic health modalities may be covered when they are better studied and scientifically proven to be safe and effective.
If your budget doesn’t allow you to see a holistic practitioner, don’t let that get in the way of taking charge of your health. Check the class catalog at your local recreation center, health food store, library and/or botanic gardens to find a class or a workshop to get started on your journey toward optimal health and wholeness.