Seven Mistakes People Make When Choosing a Natural Healthcare Practitioner

With a lack of standardization, natural medicine can be confusing to navigate. Here are the 7 most common mistakes people make when choosing a natural healthcare practitioner. Natural medicine works in a totally different paradigm than western medicine. Don't expect apples when you're looking at oranges!

1. Not checking credentials or years of experience

 Natural medicine is a vast topic and so are the practitioners that practice it. Many of the people who come to see me have no idea that I have a doctorate. I have been called a naturalist, a neuropath, a nutritionist, a homeopath and a few more I cannot recall. There are a lot of people practicing different forms of natural healing without a license. You want to be treated by a practitioner that has an actual education and is required to do continuing education on a regular basis to keep their license.  You also want to make sure, if you have been suffering for years with your issue/s that you don’t waste more time with your practitioner not being able to fully solve your problem. 

Here is a little story about what experience can do for you. I love this parable as retold by Solomon Ezra:

One day at a package delivery distribution center, everything came to a halt. Everything stopped running. Nothing was moving and thousands of dollars were lost every minute. After hours none of the workers could solve the problem. The head of operations called the best expert he could find.

The expert technician arrives and goes to one of the numerous beams, draws an X on the electrical box, opens it, and turns one screw about a quarter of an inch and – bam! – like magic everything starts working again.

The director was relieved and asked for the bill. “$10,000,” the technician responded.“ ”$10,000!? You were here for a few minutes and turned one screw.

Anyone could’ve done that…. Please give me an itemized bill.“

The technician wrote on a notepad the bill that read:

Turning screw… $1

Knowing which screw to turn… $9,999

The director immediately paid him. The expert’s experience was what allowed him to hone in on the problem and provide a perfect solution. Now things aren’t always this perfect or easy with health, but real clinical experience when things are seemingly complicated, can be as simple as turning this screw. Always make sure you work with the most experienced practitioner you can find. 15+ years experience is a good standard requirement for yourself.

2. Not choosing a practitioner who provides a complete solution

There is a phrase in the natural healthcare industry called “Green Medicine”. It refers to the replacement of a drug for an herb. For example, if someone has seasonal allergies, and instead of taking Allegra, they are prescribed an herbal combination to prevent the allergy symptoms. No healing has been done, and if the herb is not taken the allergy symptoms will return. This is just practicing conventional medicine with herbs. A complete solution eliminates “obstacles to cure” and allows the body to fall back into balance and heal the way it was designed to do.

3. Choosing a practioner that says only their type of medicine can solve your problem

There are many ways to skin a cat. And sometimes different cats need different solutions. The same thing does not always work for everyone. Your practitioner needs to be able to pivot if their first solution does not work for you. They need to be a detective and have more tricks in their bag than just one. If your issue has not been able to be solved by multiple doctors, you will need a more comprehensive solution that includes nutrition, individualized supplementation, lifestyle changes and treatments to combat the onslaught of stress caused by our crazy disconnected world.

4. Choosing a practioner that does not order or understand optimal levels when interpreting laboratory results

Lab results can be very revealing about what is going on under the hood. Results are the easiest way to determine if something is brewing when there are no overt signs. Having a practitioner who can interpret when levels are less than optimal and know how to specifically correct these imbalances, whether it is through adding a supplement, food or decreasing stress – you want to make sure they know what they are doing. A key question to ask when making your decision to see someone – when you order labs, do you look at standard ranges or optimal ranges? You want to make sure they are looking at optimal ranges because when looking at standard ranges, nuances that could be affecting how you feel can be easily missed. You end up suffering needlessly because they don’t have a full understanding of how to interpret lab results.

5. Not being discerning about reviews and testimonials

There are certain review platforms that hide a large majority of good reviews because they don’t fit the algorithm and place emphasis on reviewers just because they write a lot of reviews. Reading the actual reviews is important to get a feel for where the person is coming from. Sometimes the reason for giving either 1 or 5 stars has nothing to do with the quality of service that the practitioner provides and says more about the reviewer. If real patients have taken the time to write a review or give a video testimonial whether they are bad or good, you will know it if you take the time to look at the review. When the reviews are good, just know that more often than not, it’s because they want to spread the word so other people can get the kind of help they felt so fortunate to find. If your practitioner can offer to connect you with other clients/patients of theirs – you can take this as a strong sign that people have a great deal of trust in them and are willing to put their word on the line for it.

6. Choosing solely based on cost

As often is with material goods, you get what you pay for. You don’t expect to get a Ferrari at Honda prices. Service is the same. With service, you are paying for years of experience and benefits like access to the practitioner. Do you have to wait months to get an appointment? If you have a problem do you have to wait for weeks to get an answer?  Or can you email or text your practitioner and get an answer within a day? How responsive is the office? Do you feel taken care of at the office? Is it a place you feel comfortable? Just like flying first class, you pay extra for these benefits. And if you want first class medical service, which I hope you do, you’ll want to invest a little more for the peace of mind you’ll get from knowing they’ve got you covered when you need something. 

You need to determine what is more valuable – your quality of life or your ability to save a few bucks. When patients are asked what their biggest regret is in their healing journey, without fail they say, they wished they had known about the complete solution when the problem arose instead of wasting years not being able to live life freely doing what they wanted. They say, “If I had to do it again, I would have spent the money at the beginning, solved the problem and moved on with my life.”

7. Choosing a practioner based on who is covered by insurance

Working with insurance can be very limiting for several reasons. Often the more qualified and skilled practitioners choose not to work this way because of the restrictions it places on how they practice. For example, there are labs that can be very helpful at picking up signs of inflammation – yet, many doctors who work within the insurance systems are either highly discouraged or not allowed to order more specialized labs  as a standard of care.  This prohibits you from getting the care you need. Not all practitioners can be covered in-network by insurance as per state regulations. This completely wipes out the possibility of seeing certain types of practitioners.