What is a Holistic Health Practitioner?
It's important to note that there is a difference between a holistic health practitioner and a holistic doctor. When we speak of a doctor we are usually referring to a medical doctor who practices holistic medicine.
If you're searching for a holistic doctor then you should look for someone who has a medical degree and yet approaches health and disease with a holistic philosophy.
I recommend that anyone living with a chronic illness, disease or condition that uses holistic health practitioners to also have a holistic doctor. There are certain aspects of disease and illness management that require the skill of a medical doctor. So finding a holistic doctor is the perfect route. You can then supplement, compliment and extend your health care plan by including other practitioners to cover other bases you desire to explore. Many functional medicine doctors operate under a holistic philosophy as well.
A holistic health practitioner may be a doctor, but there are many other health care professionals from a variety walks of life that fall into this category as well.
Many people are beginning to recognize the interconnection of body, mind and spirit and the importance of treating the whole person rather than separate body parts and adopting a holistic approach. They are beginning to see the value in treating health conditions with natural, alternative and preventative methods.
Most practitioners tend to specialize in a specific area or maybe several areas. For example an acupuncturist may offer acupuncture as well as massage and nutritional counseling. It's hard to find someone who does it all, so you usually end up with several different holistic health practitioners.
A holistic health practitioner may be any of the following:
Mental Health Counselor
Cranio Sacral Therapist
There are even holistic practitioners for caring for your dog and cat and many others.
Although there is a wide variety of practitioners and treatment modalities they all share a common belief and operate under the basic premise of holistic health. They focus on aspects such as life style changes, diet, exercise, and nutrition as well as a variety of other alternative health options.
How Should I Choose a Holistic Health Practitioner?
It depends on your specific circumstances and what it is your looking to accomplish. Some people may desire to explore many different treatment modalities while another person may wish to experiment with only one or two.
If you want to look into herbal healing then you would want to acquire an herbalist. On the other hand, if you're looking for some pain relief you may want explore an acupuncturist, massage therapist or chiropractor.
Most importantly, you should choose a treatment plan and holistic health practitioner that you feel comfortable with. This may require making a few visits to several different people and doing an informal interview to make sure you're a good match.
Do some research and be sure of what it is that you want to explore, so that you don't waste time and money. Clarify your goals and research which modalities are most beneficial for your particular situation, illness, condition or disease.
Where can I find a Holistic Health Practitioner?
One of the best places to find a holistic health practitioner is through the American Holisitc Health Association. They have a very large referral database broken down by state. Each listing gives you the practitioners credentials and areas of expertise.
You can also look in your local phone book, holistic health care is becoming more popular and accepted and people are beginning to advertise themselves as such.
Your local health food store usually has an area where holistic professionals in the community can display their business cards. This is a great resource. If they don't have such an area, you can probably ask some of the people working in the store if they know of someone. Most of the time they do.