Maybe you have decided to step over that weird line and check out what a “natural” doctor has to say. Maybe you’re fed up with your kid being on antibiotics for yet another ear infection and are interested to see what safe and gentle herbs can do to help. Or maybe your co-workers rave about their remedies which helped them with their cold and you found no relief from your Nyquil and Benadryl.
Last winter I had a terrible and very persistent cough / cold situation. I was taking my remedies and herbs diligently but I was beyond miserable. I was so desperate, that when my friend told me his wife was ALSO miserable with a cough and cold – I wanted to know what over the counter medication she was using, because seemingly my “stuff” just wasn’t cutting it. (yes, I was THAT desperate – I was willing to try anything) So he tells me (I promise I’m not making this up) .. he said to me, “Oh, she gave up on the OTC meds because nothing helped. She’s been taking raw garlic and it’s been helping.” NO WAY. I knew this woman – and she never ever does the “natural” stuff. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He told me how she was using garlic and it was relieving her stuffed nose. Well, just when I was about to throw in the towel with my weird natural stuff – I got a very nice reminder that they DO in fact work.
Back to our discussion:
How do I find a Natural Doctor?
If your mother, brother, sister, friend – all use conventional doctors, stepping out into the natural world can be a little daunting and downright scary when you don’t know the right people. Here are my suggestions:
1. Friends / Family
Obviously, the first place you want to turn to is people you know. Maybe you have an in law, a cousin, an aunt who likes these kinds of things and maybe they know someone to recommend. These are the best people to start your search with because they will be honest and give you a straight answer.
2. People in your Shul or other groups you belong to:
Before we moved to Kentucky, I asked my mother in law the following question: “Is anyone in the Shul ‘weird?’ Ya know, the Yoga, Vegan, hippie type?” And Lo and Behold there were one or two people in the Shul who ARE like that – and made perfect leads on finding Doctors. It’s a funny question, but it works. Usually, the people that are into things like Yoga, or eating an Organic Diet – or as people call them “weird hippies” – these are EXACTLY the people you want to become friends with and hit them up for ideas. These are the ones who will tell you where the freshest / local / organic Farmers Markets are. These are the people who will give recommendations on the doctors / midwives / health practitioners to use. (hmmm maybe they’re not so weird after all )
3. Mom / Health forums
You will notice that number 3 and number 5 seem similar. One is Forums and one is Google. They are 2 very different things. The internet is a magical world of information. There are HUNDREDS are forums of like- minded people sharing information. Mom forums, health forums – they are incredible. (and they are FREE.) Before I moved, I posted on one of my health forums, “any Doctors in Louisville?” One woman I found lives in my city and emailed me a LIST of people she uses. Living her for YEARS she had a suggestion for every different kind – from a Naturopath, an Osteopath, a Chiropractor, an Herbalist, Energy Medicine etc. etc. etc.….
4. Local Health Food Store
I believe that the local health food store, is more than just a place to get some organic vegetables and maybe some natural cough syrup. When I walk into my health food shop (both here and back in NJ) you are instantly greeted with a feeling. It’s hard to explain – but I promise you – it’s different than the feeling from a regular grocery store. (I challenge you to go and tell me what senses you feel when you go. The smell of the lavender pouches, the healthy juice bar… it’s pretty funky)
Anyway, the health food store is also an excellent source of information. For starters – the people who work there are KNOWLEDGEABLE!! (I’m not referring to the people behind the counter. Usually the smart ones are hovering near the supplements / remedies aisle and help people find what they are looking for.) Back in NJ I was best friends with Steve. (or Gary. I cant remember. To me, he looked like a Gary and I think I’ll always think of him as a Gary even though really his name was Steve. Long story short, I stopped calling him by his name because it would have looked REALLY bad if after 3 years I still didn’t know his name) …
So Mr. Steve knew me by NAME. I remember I had a terrible cough – and he helped me find this incredible cough syrup. The next time I was in the store – he asked me how my cough was doing. These are the PERFECT type of people to ask opinions of local natural doctors in the area.
The health food store will also have loads of Brochures, Business cards and other literature that people leave for people like YOU – who are shopping around for a new doctor
5. Online – Google
Lovely Dr. Google. I don’t need to explain why / how Google is a great way to find a natural Doctor. Here’s the ONE problem with Google. (ok maybe 2 problems)
Problem A) Not everyone has a website. Especially natural doctors. The more natural they are – the less likely they are to have a state of the art impressive website. (This means – you find the good ones through word of mouth not via Google)
Problem B) you’re not getting a personal reference. You are judging them SOLELY on their website, and as we all know – that doesn’t always go very well.
I found many Natural Doctors through Google Searches – and months later I am STILL hearing new names that I never found on my searches. But Google as we all know is a great way to start.
Two Things To Keep in Mind.
1) Keep an OPEN mind.
At one point I had my heart set on finding a Homeopathic Doctor. Instead I found an incredible Naturopath. And that’s ok. I was open minded to another kind of method of treatment and it was a good thing. You may be familiar with a certain method a Chiropractor uses, or only want to go to an Osteopath – but in your area, they may be hard to find. Shop around – maybe you’ll find someone great in a different field that you connect with.
2) The “healthier” they are – the less likely they are to take Health Insurance.
There is a multitude of reasons why this is the case, but it’s true. The more holistic and more natural minded the practitioner is, the less likely they will take insurance. Every kind of doctor charges different amounts so it’s silly for me to give estimates. However, many of my fellow natural minded people believe that eating a healthy diet, and going to a natural doctor, keeps you healthier – which means LESS doctor visits and less medicine so in the long run it’s CHEAPER! This is a hugely controversial issue because just doing the math – Organic Vegetables are hugely expensive (we all know that junk food is cheaper) so I can’t really prove it one way or another. But it is something to think about.
Well, I hope I helped to navigate some of the “scary” waters of the world of Natural Medicine. Do you think you’re ready to take the plunge??