So, now that you see the big picture, have chosen your preferred approaches to a personalized holistic health care plan, and understand how to evaluate your progress, what are your next specific steps?
Here is a brief To Do list to get you on your journey of healing. These are only suggestions – again, tailoring the program to your needs is also important. Health psychologists also know that doctors and patients can get paralyzed and take no action when faced with multiple choices. To sidestep decision paralysis, focus on the step-by-step process.
First Steps Action Plan:
1. Write out and review your current choices for treatment options. If you are not sure what to pick, educate yourself as a consumer with one of the resource books, audios, and DVDs listed at the back of this book.
2. Set your healing intention. Put it into words that you write down in a journal, as a screensaver or other reminder on your computer screen, and as an affirmation that you repeat silently or aloud to yourself daily just before you go to sleep.
3. Get more information on the constitutional level of care that you chose – both the therapy itself and the local, regional, and/or national practitioners who offer what you want. Possible ways to find a good practitioner include:
o Use word of mouth from family, friends, staff at other health care professionals’ offices
o Look for small area newspapers or newsletters on holistic or alternative medicine with stories and ads about various providers
o Go on-line with web-browsing to search for official organization websites that list certified and/or licensed practitioners of a specific form of CAM. The Resources list at the back of this book gives you a start on some of the website URLs for these organizations.
4. Meet with your primary care provider and discuss your plans. Explain that you appreciate them and their treatment options, but you are thoughtfully exploring additional options. You want to work with them, openly, to find helpful answers to your health problems.
Many practitioners have ways to accommodate people who travel for their care. If you look for a practitioner who does “acupuncture,” as an example, but you accept whoever is easiest to access — or even cheapest — you may not end up receiving the type of acupuncture best suited to your health care needs.
Make sure to check carefully the credentials, training background, treatment philosophy, and current approaches to practice of each provider you consult. For basics such as professional misconduct, licensing boards in each state can provide information as to whether or not previous clients have lodged malpractice or ethical complaints against a given practitioner.
Research suggests that many users of alternative medicine in Western countries are financially able to afford paying out-of-pocket for the products and services they need for their health care. Increasingly, health care insurers are paying for a small number of alternative medicine services, e.g., for a fixed numbers of visits.