(NaturalNews) There are more holistic doctors to choose from than ever before. From naturopaths to MDs practicing integrative medicine, the expanded array of choice opens up a variety of holistic health options. As with any profession, there are some doctors who love their work and provide service above and beyond what is required, whereas others do the bare minimum (and unfortunately some don't even do that). Just as you would go about finding the right contractor or hairstylist, if you want to be treated by a holistic doctor it's up to you to sort through the options to find the right one. The difference in this case is it's not your house or hair that's at stake, but your health. Here's a look at some of the important factors to consider when making your decision.
How to choose a practitioner
Referral - Wherever possible try to get a personal or professional referral from someone you trust. If you don't know who to ask, contact the American Holistic Medical Association (see below) or other reputable holistic referral source.
Research - Once you get a referral, research the practitioner's qualifications, experience, certifications, specialization and hospital and professional affiliations.
Assessment - How did you find your doctor visit? Did you leave the appointment feeling well informed or confused? Since holistic medicine is intended to cover the whole self (also called holistic for that reason), an appointment will generally last longer than with an allopathic physician since questions about lifestyle and emotions are common in diagnosis and treatment.
Some other considerations: Do you feel like you were treated as a whole with recommendations to improve your overall health and well being? Do you feel comfortable with and trust the doctor? Do you feel respected? Since holistic health is about taking ownership of yourself, you should feel like you're a part of the decision-making and recovery process rather than just passively going in, listing some symptoms and getting prescribed some pills.
How to find a holistic doctor/practitioner
The American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA) can help you find the right holistic practitioner. They have an online holistic doctor/practitioner finder that allows you to search by location, practice, doctor's name or area of expertise (over 100 modalities).
Established in 1978, the AHMA also has a lot of experience answering questions from the public about holistic medicine. They regularly respond to questions via phone and email about particular modalities and provide suggestions on how to holistically treat specific diagnoses. They also help doctors find other holistic practitioners and vice versa.
If you didn't find the right doctor in the first go, that's unfortunate, but it does happen. Finding a practitioner that works for you might take some experimentation since there are so many different modalities to choose from. A particular form of medicine may work wonders for one person but might not work at all for another, or it may not work at one point in time, but can work years later. Take the time and you will find the right modality and doctor that works right for you.