Alternative-medicine practitioners

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor
This 3,500-year-old practice uses Chinese herbs, Oriental bodywork, and acupuncture to balance your body’s energy currents, treat blood deficiencies, and restore the natural rhythms of the mind and spirit. TCM doctors in the U.S. typically specialize in either acupuncture or Chinese herbology, though they may apply both. Although licensure varies by state, make sure the practitioner is board certified in Oriental medicine by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Find one

When your body’s energy—known as qi (pronounced “chee”)—gets stuck or becomes excessive or deficient, it can cause disease, muscle soreness, tension, depression, anxiety, and more. To restore natural balance, acupuncturists stick a series of cat-whisker-width needles into specific energetic points on the body (don’t worry, it’s painless). If also certified in Chinese herbology, acupuncturists might suggest a rigorous herbal regimen. Make sure your acupuncturist is NCCAOM certified. Find one

Naturopathic doctor
These specialists foster the body’s power to heal itself, looking at the whole person rather than just the body part. Have a cold? A naturopathic practitioner will skip symptom-suppressing meds, such as antihistamines and cough syrup, and instead provide nutritional supplements, herbal medicines, dietary alterations, counseling, and physical therapies designed to boost immunity. If it’s your third cold of the year, a naturopathic doctor will find and treat the real culprit, such as work- or relationship-induced stress. Licensure varies by state, but be sure to look for ND after the name. Find one

Homeopathic practitioner
A specialty within naturopathic medicine, this 200-year-old practice is based on the idea that substances that cause symptoms can be used to cure the same symptoms—like a vaccine, but without the toxicity. Homeopathic remedies are composed of diluted plant, mineral or animal extracts, which can trigger the body to heal multiple symptoms, such as PMS, headaches, depression, and joint pain, all at once. Because there are a wide variety homeopathic certifications and licenses, find a practitioner who is also a licensed ND or MD. Find one

Integrative Medicine practitioner
Integrative medicine began in the early 1990s, when an increasing number of Western doctors started incorporating aspects of Eastern medicine into their practices. Similar to holistic medicine, the goal of integrative medicine is to treat the mind, body, and spirit—not just the disease. The difference? Integrative medicine’s five healing methods—structural work, nutrition and supplements, electromagnetic treatment, and psychological and spiritual healing—have been scientifically proven, meaning Western doctors can’t debunk their value. No formal certification exists (yet these are certified doctors, right?), so check to see if the doctor has a “fellow” or “diplomate” status with the American Association of Integrative Medicine. Find one

TAGS: General
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.