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How to Select a Holistic Health Practitioner - 6 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Our intention with this post is to help people who are considering a holistic health practitioner or alternative medicine provider. We want to help you see through some of the clutter in healthcare and shorten your learning curve so you can ask the right questions and avoid some of the most common mistakes people make when choosing holistic health practitioners.

Clarifying what a Holistic Health Practitioner actually is

By definition, a holistic health practitioner is a professional who takes the whole person, including physical, mental and spiritual aspects into consideration when treating a health condition or promoting a higher level of wellness. That’s what makes us different.
There are several different types of practitioners that can be found incorporating this philosophy towards health. Some of the most common are whole body chiropractors, naturopaths, acupuncturist, and functional medicine practitioners. There are other practitioners who may align themselves with a similar holistic whole body approach but from a general perspective, those listed usually specialize in it.

Attributes of a Successful Holistic Health Practitioner

Empathetic Holistic Health PractitionerSuccessful holistic health practitioners will usually possess some, if not all of the following attributes:

  • High level of empathy and understanding of other’s pains, committed to lifelong learning, they are curious and open-minded, they are sensitive and compassionate, very good listeners and wonderful verbal communication skills, highly observant and detail-oriented, and they practice what they preach by being highly attentive to their own health.
  • A majority of holistic health practitioners will find they have knowledge and expertise in anatomy and physiology, nutrition and biochemistry, stress management and relaxation techniques, natural remedies such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, and oils, as well as a strong sense and understanding of physical bodywork.
  • Holistic healthcare can sometimes be interchanged with some other terminology such as “alternative medicine”, “functional medicine” or CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine). Alternative medicine is by definition any range of medical therapist that are not regarded as orthodox by the medical profession.

Years ago this often misunderstood segment of healthcare was looked upon as unproven or even quackery. Times have continued to evolve and what was once put down by the majority because it was not understood is gaining massive tracking in today’s culture because of its wild success.

Addressing root causes instead of symptoms

A holistic health practitioner will not push medications on his or her patients.People of today’s culture are sick and tired of traditional medicine and simply treating the symptoms rather than addressing the causes of their symptoms. More so than ever patients are educating themselves about optimal health and are looking for answers. They no longer want to keep popping more pills or removing more body parts.

Medications are being way overused and are turned to too quickly when the consumer base is consistently challenging the status quo and asking the question, “Why?”

  • By addressing root causes, rather than symptoms, holistic health practitioners become more familiar with identifying the complexity and driving factor of the disease.
  • They often will find that one disease or condition may have many different causes, or that one cause may lead to many different conditions.

Selecting a health care practitioner is a big decision and one that should be taken seriously. There are far too many false claims and pieces of marketing hype to fall victim to a bunch of lies rather than finding the truth.

Mistake # 1 – Not Doing Your Homework

Doing-your-homework-when-selecting-a-holistic-health-practitionerJust like any other service that exists you will find “good” and you will find “bad.” If we do our homework properly then we can normally just be a witness of the “bad” in hearing some of the stories gone wrong rather than having to go through the experience of “bad” ourselves.

One of the biggest mistakes that are made when selecting a holistic health practitioner is having someone else make the selection for you.

  • It is only you who knows what you are looking for and it is only you that ultimately is responsible for your health. When we allow others to make the selection for us we can end up in an experience that comes back to haunt us.
  • It is very common for people to select a healthcare practitioner by a location which is closest or by a listing from your insurance network of who participates with them. Nine times out of ten this is the wrong method of selection and will come back as a mistake.

Do your homework! Ask around for a referral. Find out the background info and reputation of the holistic practitioner.

  • Are patients leaving raving reviews or the opposite? When it comes to any type of service industry, especially healthcare, let the patients’ experience be one of your biggest clues as to whether or not you may be developing a relationship with the right holistic health practitioner or the opposite.
  • Many of today’s holistic healthcare practitioners have additional credentials such as ongoing certifications or diplomates in specialized categories. These alone are not enough to base your decision on but can offer some clues as to where the practitioner’s expertise may lie.
  • Teaching is another source of background info to look into. Do these practitioners teach to their peers? If they do, they normally have a solid understanding of the subject matter which would only be a benefit to your experience.

Mistake #2 – Only Going Where Your Insurance Allows

Holistic health practitioner recommends not only going where insurance allowsMake no mistake all of us want to avoid spending more money than we have to, especially as it pertains to health care. We are all putting money into our health insurance premiums on a regular basis so we hope to be able to utilize it and avoid having to invest additional money in areas they may offer coverage. The mistake here is that this can actually be more expensive and can lead you into the office of the wrong holistic health practitioner.

Many times practitioners who operate within the insurance networks are forced to charge additional fees to make up for the significant cuts the insurance carrier is going to ask them to accept.

  • How this can affect you is that there will be times when the combination of copays, deductibles and excessive fees charged may end up your responsibility.
  • Often times this can add up to a larger investment than if you simply avoided the insurance trap and chose to self-pay or pay out of the network.

Most holistic healthcare practitioners that are certain in the outcomes they can deliver to their patients have chosen to opt out of playing within the insurance game and are now going directly to the consumer with very fair fees. Every other industry offers a direct to consumer exchange. It’s only when there is a middleman that things tend to get complicated.

In addition to the fees potentially being higher,  you often end up working with a doctor that you really have no desire to work with.

  • Wouldn’t it be worth having a solid relationship with the holistic health care practitioner that you wanted to work with? One you felt great about working with. One with a fair and transparent fee structure.
  • No more wondering or guessing but a true doctor-patient relationship filled with respect and focus on the same goals of getting you well and keeping you well.

Mistake #3 – Using Convenience As Your Sole Decision Maker

Convenience when selecting a holistic health practitionerSometimes going the extra mile can really pay off.

When you are dealing with something as precious as your health it’s vitally important to make the right decision. Selecting your holistic health practitioner is not the same as choosing where you are going to have lunch. When it comes to some decisions in life, convenience comes into consideration much of the time, but it’s not the way best way to select who will be working with your most precious asset, your health.

Go the extra mile! After all, it’s rare that you will be spending every day in the office of your holistic health provider. Since you will not be needing to be in the office on a frequent basis you want to eliminate making your decision solely based on proximity alone.

Mistake # 4 – Believing You Need Someone of the Same Sex As You

Holistic-Health-Practitioner-GenderOf course, we can sometimes be more comfortable talking about private matters with someone of the same sex but don’t mistake the fact that some of the best holistic healthcare practitioners in your area may be of the opposite sex. Choose the best over what’s the most comfortable. A good holistic provider will usually have a solid understanding of both sexes and common health concerns that each may have.

It may be an uncomfortable thought to discuss your “female” or “male” concerns with someone of the opposite gender but don’t allow this limited thought to prevent you from engaging in a relationship with the best holistic doctor in your area.

Mistake #5 – Using the Internet as the End-All-Be-All

Holistic Health Practitioner SearchIn today’s world with all the technology increases and resources we have, we can go to the internet and find answers to about anything we need. This can lead to a false reality at times.

Just because we “read” about a topic on the internet doesn’t mean that we are now an expert on it. There is nothing wrong with doing some background work on further understanding the topic of health but it’s a far cry from acting like a doctor.

Please remember the length of schooling that it takes to become a doctor.

  • Almost all holistic healthcare practitioners have gone through enough schooling to earn their doctorate degree.
  • They have an extensive understanding of the human body and its anatomy and physiology.
  • Being a great holistic health care provider is more than simply reading about science online.

There is a massive amount of art and skill applied in order to assist someone’s body to heal and the art and skill come from real life experience.

  • We can afford to go online and discover methods to fix our car or our dishwasher per say, but when it comes to our health it can be a matter of life and death.
  • For that reason alone it’s not a good idea to play doctor yourself using bits of information you have acquired from online sources.

Too many times a patient will come into a holistic health care practice such as ours and after doing their research online tell us everything that is wrong and exactly what they believe is the solution.

  • Sometimes they are spot on and are correct but there have been way too many episodes where they are dead wrong.
  • Being dead wrong with your health will only lead to more frustrations, aches, pains, and future declining health.

Once you have selected your holistic healthcare practitioner, then you can open yourself up to trusting your decision and the doctor that’s in front of you.

Mistake #6 – Leaving Because You Didn’t Like Hearing the Truth

Leaving a holistic health practitioner because you don't like the truthOk, this one may hurt a little bit. All of us like to be right!

When you are face to face with a really good holistic healthcare provider there may be times when the truth hurts and you may not like what you hear. It may contradict the current belief system you hold on health.

If you are stuck in your ways and believe you have to be right rather than doing what it takes to get well regardless of whose idea it was then you may fall victim to a huge mistake in healthcare.

  • A good holistic doctor will not ever try and harm you. They operate with your best interest in mind at all times and sometimes because of their experience and expertise they may know what’s in your best interest more than you do on the topic of health.
  • The holistic health care provider will be forced at times to confront the hard truths and assist you to see some of your potential blind spots that may be in the way of your healing.

You may not like the way this feels. Please don’t make a huge mistake and leave the relationship in order to find someone who will fabricate the truth simply to tell you what you want to hear. This can come back to haunt you in many ways. Its way more important in the field of healthcare to be in the presence of someone that is not afraid to share the truth. Remember the goal of any good holistic health practitioner is to get you well and keep you well!


We hope that this simple guide to selecting a holistic health practitioner and list of mistakes to avoid was helpful to you and sets your health in the right direction for years to come!