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Discriminate between the different types of alternative medicine.
Favour those treatments which involve lengthy and comprehensive training. Practitioners are often required to become registered with a professional body in order to practice and ought to have professional indemnity insurance.
Ask about the level of training your prospective practitioner has undergone.
How many hours did it entail? How much supervised practice was involved? How do they update their skills? You may not want to place yourself in the hands of someone who has only completed a couple of weekend seminars and seen two or three people to date.
Does the practitioner readily acknowledge the limits of his or her expertise?
Be wary of someone who feels they can turn their hand (or mind) to anything with equal success.
What attitude does the practitioner have towards conventional medicine?
Expect the practitioner to ask you what your medical doctor has to say about your condition, before deciding whether or not to treat you.
Ask your medical doctor about choosing a complementary medicine for your condition.
Many G.P.'s know very little about alternative medicine and they may indeed be sceptical. However a competent G.P. will be aware of the seriousness of your condition and have a good understanding of the options available to you within conventional medicine. Don't delay in seeking medical advice about your condition.
Ask your family and friends if they know of a good practitioner.
Word of mouth recommendations are an important source of information.
Ask the practitioner if you can confirm their membership of a relevant professional body.
A good practitioner will respect your wish to do this, and it may only involve a brief telephone call.
Check out the research yourself.
There is a growing body of research into the efficacy of complementary medicine. Therapy-World.co.uk has a page of links which include research bodies, and searching their databases is easier than you might think.
Copyright Therapy-world.co.uk 2000