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CHIS-UK alternative medicine and complementary healthcare information service United Kingdom
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Complementary Healthcare Information Service - UK

Choosing a practitioner

A competent and experienced complementary health practitioner can help you take charge of your personal health. Whilst conventional medicine is mostly about alleviating the symptoms, complementary medicine tends to work with the cause as well as the effect, thereby leading you to a better understanding of how you can have a healthier life.

But how do you go about choosing the right practitioner? Unfortunately, because there are so many different schools and teaching organisations, not all offering the same standard of tuition, it isn't always easy to know if a practitioner has had sufficient training to help you manage your health. For this very reason, it may be important that you educate yourself about the general principles of alternative health care. An informed patient (or client as most complementary practitioners prefer this term) will be in a better position to discern between a competent practitioner and one that only wants to sell you a product, any product, as long as you pay. A good practitioner should help you become your own healer and discuss the ways whereby you can maintain good health, physical, mental, as well as emotional.

We would also recommend that you choose someone who has a relatively eclectic background and a holistic approach. Whilst many conventional doctors tend to specialise in just one aspect of the body or mind, the successful complementary practitioner will understand the link between the many parts that form the whole. He/she will understand the enormous impact the mind can have on the body and vice versa and will recognise that a reflex point in the feet or ears can affect the digestive system or the skin and other parts of the body and mind. It is also important to choose a practitioner that does not reject conventional medicine. Both allopathic and complementary medicine have their roles to play in health maintenance and prevention, let us not throw away the baby with the bath water

You should also feel that you can openly communicate with your practitioner, you should have a good rapport with him/her. An experienced holistic practitioner will know that everyone is different and that what works for one person may not work for another. For this very reason, he/she must listen to you and find out about you so as to better understand what might be the cause of the problem. If you don't feel you are being heard, find someone else to work with you towards bettering your health.

Choose a practitioner who respects your particular needs and circumstances. He/she should work with you, not tell you what to do.

Learn about the complementary approach you have chosen. The more you can understand the mechanism behind the healing process, the more you will be able to fully involve yourself in your own healing. To know that something works is important, but to understand why it works is even better, it empowers you.

There are many ways to find a practitioner. Most will have an entry in the Yellow Pages and many will advertise in your local press. We would also suggest that you also visit our directory of practitioners. You may also want to ask the various complementary therapy organisations to send you a list of practitioners.

And once you have decided who you are going to contact, do not be afraid to ask the practitioner about his/her qualifications and training. A practitioner who has had the proper training will not mind you doing that and should be forthcoming and ready to give you that information.

But ultimately, the most important aspect to take into account when choosing a therapist, is whether you feel you can trust that person enough to involve him/her in your healing process. This knowing can only come from within yourself and it is important that you use your intuition to seek the answer to that question.