The World Health Organization (WHO) refers to alternative complementary medicine as ‘an important and often underestimated health resource.’ One of the roles of WHO is to support its member states in developing evidence-based policies and strategic plans. 

Through their global report, the WHO sends a very clear message to the world that we should be utilizing this type of medicine much more. If you are thinking about using complementary medicine, you need to read about the 7 alternative medicine questions you should ask.

If you ask these questions, you will be better informed about what your options are and better placed to be in control of the healthcare that you receive. That is exactly where you need to be because most often you are the only one who can decide what care you should accept.

1. What Are Your Qualifications?

Standardization and accreditation are tools that will protect you. Make sure the treatment provider has received their qualifications from a school that is accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). This accrediting agency is recognized by the Department of Education.

Graduates from these programs are qualified to sit licensing exams. It is also wise to ask if they studied from home or by correspondence. Such programs, although instructive, don’t provide the needed experience. These questions may seem probing, but pluck up the courage and you will see the wisdom of them in the end.

2. How Long Have You Worked in This Field?

Qualifications are one thing, but having experience is another. You want someone who not only qualified but has a measure of experience in dealing with patients that have your symptoms.

Everyone has to develop their experience somehow, but you don’t want that to be at your expense. Of course, it depends on many other factors like how complicated or rare your problems are. If there are well-established treatment protocols, then you can perhaps feel more relaxed with someone you trust but is still building up their experience.

3. Will This Treatment Be Successful?

Always ask this question. It is unlikely you will get a straightforward yes or no. Still, you should expect some estimation of how likely your treatment is going to be successful. 

Make sure you are clear on the definition of ‘success’ in your case. You want a doctor that will help you have realistic expectations and advise the best course of treatment to achieve them. In the end, you will have to weigh the probabilities of success against all the other factors, including expenses. 

4. Alternative Medicine Questions – Know the Risks

This isn’t a casual question asking if there are any risks. It is more in-depth and demanding than that. You need to not only ask about risk but ask for evidence that the risk profile of this treatment has been thoroughly evaluated.

It may be that there are ‘few known’ risks. That doesn’t make the treatment ‘low risk’ if it hasn’t been thoroughly researched.

You need to ask to see the data or read the research literature yourself to get a stronger grip on what the potential unwanted effects of this treatment may be. You don’t need to be a medical expert to understand the research. In fact, if you are struggling, you can ask your treatment provider to help you grasp the takehome message.   

5. Will This Affect My Conventional Medical Treatment?

Never forget to ask this question. There are several well-known drug interactions between natural remedies and mainstream drugs. For example, St John’s Wort is a well known natural remedy for treating depression, but this substance can reduce the effectiveness of prescribed anti-depressants.

More than that, drug interactions may lead to a vast range of unpleasant side effects such as headaches, dizziness, anxiety, insomnia, and irritation. So as a rule, never take any complementary medicines without first consulting your treatment provider.

6. Do You Offer Integrated Treatment?

There is a school of thought that says it is best to combine the diagnostic and treatment strengths of conventional medicine with the symptomatic management of complementary medicine. 

This approach is intended to more holistic and take into account the whole person and not just focus on one system that may be affected by the disease. Integrated care sounds good, but you still need to do your homework and ask the other questions in this article.

7. Where Should I Go for More Information?

There is no need to rush to make decisions that could affect you for a long time to come. Far better to take your time and make sure you have all the information you need to be completely informed and empowered to decide for yourself.

Your alternative medicine clinic should be able to point you in the right direction for more extensive information. It is a good sign if they are encouraging you to seek as much information as possible. If all they have to offer is a generic leaflet, it is probably best to steer clear of this clinic.

Ready to Ask These Questions?

In this article, you have read about 7 knowledge-seeking questions that will illuminate the facts and information you need before you make any decisions. These alternative medicine questions require boldness and courage.

Don’t be intimidated and trust that whomever you speak to wants to help. Let the questions do the work and allow the answers to guide your thinking and final decision.

Don’t stop reading here. You can find more articles on our site that will help you stay on the cutting edge of health trends.