March 30, 2017

Spot the BS: 4 Essential Questions when Looking for a Holistic Health Care Provider.

I’m an Ayurvedic Practitioner and totally subscribe to a holistic health model, but I’ve got to get something off my chest: There’s a lot of BS in the holistic health world, and it’s hard to know what’s actually going to help you and what’s snake oil.

But here’s some background: A client of mine has been suffering from vertigo, anxiety, and a whole host of other things for years, and she has seen “doctor after doctor” with no results.

I finally said, “Okay, who are these people? I want to research them!” And I found that they were all quacks! Seriously, one guy said he could cure cancer with his own “proprietary blend of microbiome-enhancing supplements.” Oh, he also had a skin care line.

No. Just no.

It is extremely important to know how to navigate the alternative medicine world and learn how to spot the BS early and often.


There are people out there who will prey on our desperation to feel better. They’ll say all the right things, but when you get down to the nitty gritty, their methods are flimsy (at best) or dangerous (at worst).

What really bites me though are people who’ve actually gone to medical school, but then switch to “alternative health,” and use the social proof of their medical degree (although their license may have lapsed) to manipulate people into buying their junk.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m all about alternative medicine. I think our Western medical mindset can often miss the connections between symptoms, and it’s important to find a practitioner you trust to help you interpret data and offer more natural therapies.

But you need to know how to spot the snake oil.

So, as I’ve been looking for practitioners that work in the area that will help the client I mentioned above, these are the questions I’m asking:

1. Are they board-certified? If yes, by whom? If offering lineage-based teachings (like spiritual-based meditation), who is their teacher and what is their lineage? An ethical practitioner will be happy to tell you all about their mentors and lineage.

2. Do they have any peer-reviewed articles published? If yes, are they linked? If they link to research, is it solid research that’s peer-reviewed (instead of self-published)?

3. Are they enthusiastic about a collaborative care model? It’s a red flag when a practitioner (of any kind!) is unwilling to collaborate with others to help you feel better. “My way or the highway” does not a happy healthy person make.

4. What does your gut tell you?

That last one is really important. Listen to your gut.

Does it seem weird that this person is listed as a cardiologist, but he’s selling vitamins and skin care and telling you he can cure cancer? (Seriously, that’s what this guy had on his website.)

Do they make wild promises that seem too good to be true?

Will they have a quick phone consult with you to ensure they’re the right fit for you?

And more.

Step into your power place. Let got of “being nice” and don’t stay silent because you are “afraid of hurting someone’s feelings.” Ask questions and get more information.

We are our own best health advocates, and it’s super important that we build the right team around us to support our wellness.

What questions do you ask when seeking out a health care provider? Comment below so we may learn from your wisdom!




Author: Katie Meyer

Image: Flickr/Arallyn

Editor: Travis May

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