CHOOSE: Finding an Integrative Healthcare
When seeking an integrative healthcare provider, know you're in good
company. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative
Medicine, 36% of adults in America are using some form of integrative medicine,
Some providers are more informed and/or more comfortable exploring and
recommending integrative therapies than others. If your healthcare philosophy
includes IM, consider these tips as you search for a practitioner:
- Ask a healthcare professional you trust and who shares or respects
your integrative health philosophy whether s/he can recommend someone
or make a referral. Many providers rely on word of mouth, so first-person
accounts are helpful.
- Contact a nearby hospital or a medical school
and ask if they maintain a list of area "integrative medicine" practitioners.
Some regional medical centers may even have integrative medicine
departments or practitioners.
- Contact a related professional organization.
Whether it's the American Academy of Family Practice, the American
Chiropractic Association, the Society of General Internal Medicine,
the American Academy on Physician and Patient or the American
Academy of Medical Acupuncture, professional organizations can
often provide trustworthy referrals. They may also provide information
training, licensing, and certification in your state. Professional
organizations can be located by searching the Internet or directories
in libraries (ask your librarian).
Once you have selected a potential practitioner, it is your right and
- Request information about his or her education, training, and professional
- Request referrals from other patients (note: practitioners cannot
release such patient names to you).
- Request proof of licensure, if applicable.
- Interview him or her to establish if your communication styles
and healthcare philosophies are compatible.