It is fairly well accepted, that when a human being gets desperate, that desperate being will do desperate things. Yet, who among us hasn't been down and desperate, in sickness or health holding our hand out to another pleading for the same thing we all want...Some one to help us. If you are thinking about engaging and utilizing an alternative health practitioner, consider the following ten rules:
#1) Credentials, which may include a "Granny Clampett" type reputation. Because referrals from satisfied customers (patients) are the best kind of referral.
Questions you might want to ask; Ask how long the provider has been in practice. That great equalizer, "time" has a way of weeding out Quacks and Frauds.
However, if there is a failure of the above; look for licenses, certifications, credentials and professional organizations the practitioner belongs to. Sometimes, legitimate credentials give rise to credibility. Then, unfortunately, forget all of the above, because there is an equal percentage of credentials that will give rise to Quackery.
#2)The Idea Light!
Here's a thought that should turn your idea lite on.
Beware of unusual diagnostic procedures, if it sounds to good to be true, it probably isn't, and if it looks and sounds crazy - it probably "is".
#3)Listen To Yourself!
If you feel like running - RUN! Intuition or gut feelings may be your
"idea lite" turning on. Beware when someone tells you not to follow your own
thoughts and feelings.
Leave the lite on and exit the room...
#4)When traditional medicine fails, desperation rules.
Research, research, research! In reviewing literature, especially flyers - which are immediate suspects, beware of direct or indirect claims of a "miracle cure", Titles like "What Your Doctor won't Tell You", (doctors are either very helpful, or delegate to their nurses, who are very helpful in explaining things) "Amazing New Secrets", "Secrets..." of anything.
Not All Quackery Resides In Alternative Medicine.
And in my lowly, but professional opinion, it's irrelavant as to whether the results ("cure") are from a traditional working cure or from a psychosomatic source. The results -are- pretty much the same.
#5) Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open.
Ask questions, lots of questions, and tune your lite to come on if legitimate questions are discouraged. Look for a leisurely, relaxed manner, which usually reflects experience in the holistic nature of alternative medicine. Look for a practitioner that has the ability to modify their actions to meet your particular needs. Who include in your care plan, mutually agreed upon short term goals and outcome criteria, relevant medications, treatments, and works in a manner that facilitates the achievement of your desired goals and outcomes.
#6) Smell The Roses.
Then RUN - If the practitioner wants you to follow their treatments to the exclusion of all others. Or isn't particularly interested in other treatment modalities or the drugs - that may be keeping you alive -
If its an Herbalist you're checking into, or simply wanting to try some. Be aware that mixing some herbs with pharmaceutical drugs can cause the prescription drug to overreact, under-react, or be excreted by your body before it can do its work. Herbs should be a compliment and not an exclusion. For example, many herbs help one system at the expense of another. Ephedra is good to dry the sinuses, or combined with coffee for weight loss, but raises the blood pressure, and because it contains several species of ephedrine (reserpine reactions), will interfere with MAO inhibitors (antidepressants) in a very similar manor as tyramine containing foods.
On the other hand, you may be taking an OTC or a prescription drug that an herb can help alleviate the harsher, or long term side effects from their ingestion. For example, drugs that are hard on your liver can be augmented with milk thistle (silymarin), which will help support your liver.
#7) A Web Site -
Can be a bad thing. OK?
If your potential practitioner is a purchase only site or a phone number only, that desirable lite may turn on. A specific address is preferred (a P.O. box isn't a specific address), because it can give you recourse (Leave the secrets to the C.I.A.).
800 phone numbers doesn't cost you anything, use them and ask questions.
900 numbers - Why wait! Get your jogging shoes on.
#8) The Goose and Gander Syndrome.
Beware the alternative health care provider who treats all of their patients the same. Responses to health or illness is a very individualized experience. In nursing, "pain is exactly what a patient says it is", meaning one shouldn't make a judgment call, we all act, think, feel, and go through illness differently.
#9)When to believe?
Seemingly every minute of every day someone comes up with a new something or other, and in health care the some-thing-or-other often comes under the heading of "cure". Ask the health care provider for references or liturature, prefferably scientific articles published in respectable journals. Don't take the practitioner's word for it.
#10)Darkness into lite?..
We are all whimpering babies near the edge of a medical nightmare. As of January 1999, the periphery of that darkness may have grown somewhat, and whether it leads to lite or not remains to be seen. In January of this year the FDA lost its chosen role as Diogenes, and sole arbiter of truth, in a landmark Court of Appeals decision. The ruling basically states that the FDA must stop violating First Amendment rights of supplement manufactures to include valid scientific information on their labels. What remains to be seen is whether that decision leads to consumer enlightment or a repeat of the misleading information found on old (& still-some new) food labels.