Choosing a Holistic Practitioner
By Dr. Caroline S Walrad, Ph.D.
Holistic practices are becoming more plentiful and available to the general
public everyday. Every year more insurance companies are recognizing the value
of treating the whole individual instead of one of the body parts at a time. I
always wondered why ‘holistic’ wasn’t spelled ‘wholistic!’ The selections of
holistic doctors with varying educational backgrounds can be confusing for
someone trying to select the best course of treatment for oneself.
The cornucopia of holistic doctors include the homeopath, naturopath,
acupuncturist, massage therapist, chiropractor, herbalist, nutritionist, energy
therapists, and more. The word homeopathy is used for those specifically
trained with years of study in homeopathic philosophy and the use of homeopathic
remedies. This is a science and art specific to the collection of symptoms from
the patient and exploring the correct selection of a ‘remedy’. If you are
interested in combining your mental, emotional and physical symptoms for relief,
the homeopath is a good place to begin. All homeopaths are holistic
Another holistic practitioner is the Acupuncturist or Doctor of Oriental
Medicine. After years of study, this practitioner will understand thousands of
years of teaching the ‘meridians of the body’. Painless insertion of needles in
specific areas of the skin affect changes in the body and increase the flow of
‘chi’ of these meridians. Many are trained in correct Chinese or Oriental Herbal
usage and the doctor uses these herbs for your therapy. Again, like the
Homeopath, the whole body is taken into consideration for treatment and cure is
felt by the patient on all levels of mind, body and spirit.
The Naturopath, especially in Arizona, is extremely well trained in all aspects
of healing. Studies are the same as if training for medical doctor’s degree,
but include a comprehensive understanding of many treatments. Not only can the
Arizona naturopath treat with medical drugs, but also has knowledge and ability
to treat the patient with every holistic approach. The ND has had clinical
training and is licensed in all methods of healing.
The Chiropractor has very similar training as the medical doctor, too. However,
while the MD’s study pharmaceuticals, the chiropractor studies the spine and
it’s ability to be adjusted for correct energy flow. The whole body is taken
into consideration for treatment and is individualized for pain relief. Many
chiropractors today proficiently utilize many holistic therapies such as
nutrition, energy balancing, mental and emotional releases of the body and
There are many choices when one does not feel well and prefers treatments that
do not include drugs. It is best to start by asking friends and those you meet,
if they like a specific holistic practitioner and a particular type of therapy.
To choose a holistic doctor from the phone book has challenges and can be risky.
Please ask these doctors for their training and philosophy and even patient
referrals. It is considered customary to ask questions about the procedures and
therapies before you make an appointment. Ask to speak to the doctor/therapist
directly. It is important to feel comfortable with whom you choose to work with.
Why are you going to a holistic practitioner? It is best to list all of your
complaints are from head to toe. It will be expected for you to be an active
part of your healing process. This means that you may be asked to change your
food selections, exercise, drink more purified water, and take time out for
yourself by creating it in your schedule. Sometimes, with guidance, changes such
as these will make a tremendous difference in your health immediately. Although
there are many choices for a therapist, the real choice begins with your own
commitment to health. There are no magic drugs. The ultimate goal of holistic
practitioners for you is for you not to need ANY drugs and for you to find your
healing path on all levels to feeling energy and free from disease and pain. The
holistic doctor will work with you to achieve your goals. You will, through
experiencing more than one type of healing modality, find the therapy that you
respond to the best. The Cornucopia of Healing is available to you right now.