How to Avoid Holistic Care Scams

If you’ve ever suffered from a long-term illness, you know what desperation for a cure feels like. Even if you’ve never been a subscriber to anything other than traditional Western medicine, you may start considering alternatives.

You don’t have to go to the other end of the spectrum, however, to find medical care that offers another, different perspective. The practice of holistic medicine includes treating patients with both conventional medical practices and alternative therapies.

When you visit a holistic medical provider, you can expect to be seen as a person, not a disease. Holistic care rests on the foundational belief that healing comes by attending to the whole person—body, mind, spirit and emotions. Holistic medicine focuses on treating the cause of a disease, not just alleviating the symptoms.

It sounds great, right? It absolutely can be. However, as with anything else that has the potential for good, there is also potential for that good to become corrupted and, ultimately, cause a lot of harm.

Under the guise of holistic care, many health scams have surfaced. The popularity of holistic medicine and alternative therapies has opened the gates wide for abuse and fraud. While some alternative therapies are effective in treating various conditions, it’s always wise to take some time to do your research.

Your health is too important to jump into untested waters, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look into other philosophies of treatment. If you have a doctor you trust, start there.

Talk to him or her about branching out beyond the conventional tests and treatments. Even if he or she doesn’t agree with your decision, he or she can give you some basic guidelines that will keep you safe as you begin your investigation.

If you don’t have a doctor you trust, here are some things to be aware of to avoid scams in the world of holistic medicine and alternative therapies. Following these will not only provide you boundaries with which to safeguard your health, but it will also protect your wallet. Nobody wants to throw money at treatments that, safety aside, don’t even work.

Alternative Therapies to Avoid

Cure-All Products

If one pill promises to cure your diabetes, Lyme disease and seasonal allergies all at once, it’s probably a scam. Science is far more precise than that, and evidence shows that many conditions are unrelated and must be treated individually.

Quick Fixes

Beware of any product that makes claims such as “30 days or less” or that promises a cure for a complicated health problem in short order. There are rarely quick fixes in life, and if one existed, it’s likely your doctor would have prescribed it for you already.

All Natural

This is a phrase that has been terribly abused. It has been used to convince people that natural is the same as safe, which is misleading. Many natural things are not safe for humans, such as arsenic. Just because something is labeled “all natural” doesn’t mean you should take it or use it.

Miracle Cure

Even if you’ve grown mistrustful of conventional medical care, you can be certain that if a miracle cure were discovered, it would be widely reported and confirmed by medical professionals, scientists and all the major news outlets. If that’s not the case, be wary.

When holistic care is done well, it can be very effective. If you decide to go down this road, do it wisely. Get a recommendation from someone you trust before choosing a practitioner. You can also contact well-respected medical associations for a list of holistic care providers in your area.

Once you make an appointment, do all you can to research the education, training and track record of the doctor you’ve chosen. When you meet the doctor, pay attention to how you’re treated. Are you seen as a whole person and not just a problem to solve? Does the physician use any of the phrases mentioned above? If so, find a new doctor immediately.

If, however, your holistic care physician treats you with respect, seeks to treat you comprehensively and balances conventional medical treatments with alternative treatments well, you just might be on the road to healing.

How about you? Have you ever been scammed in the alternative medicine world? Or have you had a positive experience with holistic care? Share your experiences in the comments.

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