The following are ideas to keep in mind while you find the right practitioner for you.
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- Be selective! You are developing your own healthcare team—you have the responsibility and authority to make choices about your health.
- Is your primary doctor open to integrative medicine? Speak with your primary healthcare provider to verify if he or she is open to collaboration with an integrative practitioner and/or to see if he or she can recommend a practitioner to you.
- Insurance may not cover the cost. Keep in mind that your insurance may not cover the cost of any complementary, alternative or integrative therapies. This may prove to be especially true in regard to preventive/proactive treatment used to promote health and well-being—versus treatment of an existing disease or condition.
- Was it a trustworthy source? If not from your primary healthcare provider, how did you hear about this integrative medicine practitioner?
- Did you check their credentials? What is the practitioner's training and how many years of experience does he or she have in the particular integrative field? Check for licensure and certification.
- Do your homework! Do some research about the particular integrative medicine discipline you are interested in before you go, so you can ask specific questions (write them down!) and make educated decisions about your treatment.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
- Check out the environment. Are the facilities where you will receive the treatment professional, respectful, private, safe and clean?
Published on January 15, 2006