Choosing a complementary medical practitioner

Submitted on Saturday January 5th, 2013

Is Mom considering an herb-based remedy? Or perhaps you're wondering if acupuncture could help Dad's arthritis. Nearly 40% of American adults are turning to complementary and alternative medicine ("CAM").

You probably have heard individual success stories. But the risks and benefits of many alternative treatments have not been scientifically confirmed. And sometimes seemingly harmless herbs or supplements can actually interfere with prescription drugs.

It's not that your loved one shouldn't try alternatives. You simply want to take reasonable precautions. Then coordinate with your relative's regular doctor.

Find a competent practitioner.

  • Ask your loved one's doctor for a referral.
  • Look online for a professional organization. They can provide information about training and licensing and a directory of providers.
  • Find out if there is a state regulatory agency that records problem practitioners.
  • Check out our January 2012 article about how to find a good doctor. Use the same guidelines while choosing a CAM practitioner.

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