Over 30 years ago, my husband and I witnessed the healing our medically compromised dental patients enjoyed from alternatives and holistic approaches to healthcare. Never having learned anything about alternative or holistic practices in nursing or dental school, we were at first quite skeptical, being exposed only to disapproving media and the opinions of our respected professionals who we discovered really knew little about the subject. So, we realized that we had to educate ourselves beyond our textbooks and seek out the studies that demonstrated or rejected the validity of alternative therapies.
In the way we were taught to review scientific studies, we researched in peer reviewed journals and found numerous well-founded papers that compared alternatives to conventional treatments as well as no treatment. Authored by credentialed scientists, we read books, attended seminars and conferences, and took many courses on modalities, practices, procedures, and products. The more we learned and opened our minds, the more confused we became. When you see people regaining health, vitality, and happiness naturally, like they have been for thousands of years prior to modern medicine, you wonder why mainstream health doesn’t at least incorporate some of that into education.
The Popularity of Alternative and Natural Medicine
We certainly weren’t experts in the beginning years of our foray into holistic approaches but knew enough that there were other professionals who had the expertise our patients were seeking. We gave them a list of practitioners with their specialties and it was up to them to decide which one was a match for their needs.
Today, there are so many more people seeking natural ways to stay healthy, enjoy life, and increase longevity. If education about alternatives is absent in conventional medical schools, information abounds on the Internet. Informed consumers have demanded health-giving preventive measures and less invasive treatments which have contributed to a surge of holistic practitioners, businesses and products. When Americans are willing to spend over $30 billion a year out-of-pocket for alternative and holistic services, there must be some undeniable truth and benefit.
Heightened Consumer Awareness for Medical Alternatives Requires Objectivity
Our country is all about freedom. In choosing what is best for our body and soul, we should be presented with trustworthy unbiased information from reliable sources. Misinformation, half-truths, or attacks for economic benefit must not be part of the equation. Education is paramount. What is needed for a level playing field is the following:
- Legitimate studies published in peer reviewed journals
- Sufficient factual education of alternatives and complimentary services, modalities and products in conventional medical and allied health curriculums
- Continuing education credits for conventional practitioners in alternative therapies
- Insurance coverage for holistic practices, products, and services
Alternative, Holistic, and Integrative Health Practitioners and You
While Yoga, meditation, and healthy diets have become mainstream, crossing over into holistic and alternative health services requires a willingness to swim against the current. Despite the increases in those suffering from chronic ailments, mainstream medicine may likely dismiss the value of detoxification, energy medicine, immune strengthening and spiritual fulfillment in restoring health and wellbeing. And even thought Einstein proved that energy equals matter times the speed of light, in a material world, it still takes a leap of faith to consider that the energy of thoughts, emotions, dreams, attitudes and intuition have the capacity to affect everything.
Alternative health practitioners manage health conditions, utilize distinct modalities, and generally share a common philosophy that the body can heal itself. That doesn’t mean that you must give up seeing your physician. Most conventional (Allopathic) and integrative practitioners can work alongside the services of a Naturopath, Homeopath, Chiropractor, Biological Dentist, Functional Medicine Doctor, Acupuncturist, Energy Worker or any other alternative health provider. The products and procedures used generally have fewer side effects and for the most part don’t interfere with conventional treatments. But you should always ask if there would be any interactions.
A Functional Directory of Alternative Practitioners
Today, alternative and holistic practitioners continue to proliferate. When there are so many choices, how do you know what modality is most suitable for your condition or even which providers can help? Going back to our days as practitioners, we observed that health consumers were most interested in healing a condition or preventing an illness. If it could be done without the side effects of medications, most were willing to make lifestyle changes and give the more natural measures of alternative and holistic practices the opportunity to help them.
In our years of treating the dental needs of medically compromised patients and the knowledge we gained from our continuing education of alternative and holistic practices, we were able to provide lists of conscientious providers to our patients seeking more natural health measures. Their gratitude and improved health motivated us to expand that list and develop an informative and wide-reaching directory of alternative, holistic, integrative, and complimentary practitioners, businesses, services, schools, and non-profits. We hope you will explore the directory and benefit from that which you resonate with.