We are learning more and more about healing, curing and complementary medicine than ever before. We are wanting to know what works, what doesn’t and what to use. With the wealth of knowledge, and misinformation, that is out there, how does one know what is effective, or who to see for information or treatment when you pursue a healthy life or treatment for an illness?

The first thing to remember is that there are as many effective treatments, or combination thereof, as there are individuals. What I mean by that is that we are all multi-dimensional beings. And there is no set prescription for any of us to heal.
If there are 10 women with breast cancer, you may have 10 biopsies that give the diagnosis of the same type of cancer. However, you will have 10 different experiences of having that breast cancer. There will be 10 different women, with 10 different life experiences, with various ways of perceiving their diagnoses, with many different DNA configurations, and their own unique Spirits who are journeying down the path of “cancer” for their own learning and growth. All 10 women may even choose the same type of conventional treatment, including chemotherapy, however, they may choose different diets, and different complementary therapies that are helpful and meaningful for them. And their ‘soul’ prescriptions, i.e. the emotional and spiritual work that they will be called to do while healing, will look and feel different for each woman.

There is no set combination of therapies for any certain illness. This may be one of the most difficult things to know when one is embarking on healing, or even just trying to stay healthy and fit. When we are in a crisis, there is a sense of urgency, and we just want to know what will cure, or heal, and help us feel better. Part of the path of healing may just be to quiet the mind and heart and to find out which path is unique for you. Easily said, and a bit more challenging when we find ourselves in a seeming health challenge.

One question to ask is, what is your style of managing your health? Are you proactive? If so, then look for practitioners who are proactive, and who focus their time and attention on preventive care. Do you like to compartmentalize and specialize? If so, you may actually have a team of practitioners who you see for a variety of concerns. Do you prefer aggressive or non-aggressive care? There are physicians and complementary practitioners alike who go for the big guns, and if that is what you want, you’ll want to find someone who has the same philosophy as yours. The same is true if you desire a non-aggressive, gentler or less-invasive approach. You will be the happiest with practitioners whose style is as aggressive or as non-aggressive as yours. Neither is right or wrong, or better than another. They are just different, and both serve a purpose.
The other question that is commonly asked is, “How do I choose someone to see.” As with everything, whether it is termite treatment for your house or ringworm treatment for your scalp, you want to get recommendations. Ask other health care practitioners you trust who it is that they refer to, or have heard is well-respected and competent. Interview the person you’d like to see. A brief five-minute phone conversation can give you a feel for who they are. So can visiting the office and getting a feel for the space and the energy while you pick up some written information or visit for a consultation.

Also, find out if the practitioner you want to see is licensed. State or national licensure is required for some types of complementary practitioners, and not for others. If they are not licensed, are they certified through a school of study, or have they studied with someone who has mentored them?

The bookstores have a lot of information on what therapies are good for a variety of illnesses. The internet is also a good source for information, but be wary: Be sure claims are from an objective source and that there is no ulterior motive to sell something.

While searching for the right type of treatment, you can ask yourself these questions: Is the treatment plausible and does it make good sense? Is it affordable and reasonably priced? Does it match my style and fit with who I am? Is the therapy/treatment sound and solid? Find out if there can be interactions between any other therapies you are on. If science is important to you, find out if there are any valid, reliable studies that support the efficacy of the therapy.

Most of all, find someone you can work with who you trust, and who trusts you. You are an equal partner with everyone on your health care team, including all of your non-physical helpers (i.e. God, Great Spirit, angels, saints, guides, etc.). Ask questions. A mindful heart and mind is more receptive to learning. Listen to and trust your instinct, your intuition, your body and your Spirit. You know yourself better than anyone else. Your inner voice is always offering guidance and direction for you, even if sometimes that guidance is to observe, listen, and be still. Your intuition will be your biggest ally in selecting your “medicine.” Listen to it closely. Learn from it.

Ultimately, our healing starts with ourselves — in our minds, hearts, and souls.

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Christina Anne McDowell, LCSW, is an eclectic spiritual life coach and energy practitioner in the Kansas City area. She may be reached at (816) 444-4170 or spiritcoach@mindspring.com. Copyright (c) 2001 Christina Anne McDowell

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