Finding the right complementary practitioner is an important step. It is worthwhile to do extensive homework to ensure you find a good therapist, and to establish at the beginning whether a rapport will develop between the two of you.
Conventional doctors and dentists must be registered with their professional councils, in turn, these councils, are responsible for inspecting colleges and setting standards and professional discipline.
Although osteopaths and chiropractors are regulated, this is not always true for other therapies. It is important, especially when suffering from a chronic or severe condition such as arthritis, that you check your therapist’s qualifications, training and experience with a governing body.
Certificated on the wall may mean little in practice, so follow your intuition. If you do not feel comfortable with a therapist’s credentials, look for another one elsewhere.
Many health centers and hospitals have complementary practitioners attached to them. Before going to an unknown therapist, ask your doctor what is available through the surgery. Some health professionals practice complementary therapies themselves, general practitioners may prescribe homeopathy, nurses may use aromatherapy and physiotherapists may perform acupuncture.
Your therapist should be knowledgeable about the nature of arthritis. It sometimes helps if the therapist has had personal experience of the condition. In fact, many complementary therapists train in a particular discipline after they themselves have been helped by it. This tends to give the treatment they are offering more credibility.
Meeting with the Arthritis Therapist
The treatments given by a complementary therapist can work in subtle ways, so it is important that you and your therapist can work together in harmony and that your practitioner has some empathy with your condition. Some research suggests that the therapist can be just as important as the therapy itself. If you do not feel an instant rapport with your therapist, it is best to seek help from someone else.
Before signing up for an expensive and protracted course of treatment, check whether your therapist is happy to work with your conventional doctor and whether the treatments are covered under any health insurance schemes. Many are these days, especially if you have been referred by your doctor.
Therapies such as acupuncture, osteopathy, homeopathy and the Alexander technique have become accepted by conventional doctors and are available under a number of schemes. You should insist on knowing in advance how many treatments you are likely to need, and how much this is likely to cost. Ask precisely how the treatment offered is likely to benefit your arthritis.
The therapist’s premises do not have to be luxurious, perhaps you should be on your guard if they are, as that could mean they are making too much money of their clients, but they should be clean and tidy. If you are not satisfied with what you find, do not book any sessions. Always be wary of any hard sell methods, or attempts to make you buy expensive extras, such as dietary supplements, books and videos.
Once you have begun a course of treatment, the therapist should keep to the times of your appointments, and be as efficient and practical as any other doctor. Although you cannot expect to feel better immediately, you should be able to observe progress as you continue with the treatments.
The great majority of complementary practitioners are honest, decent people who want to help restore your health. They are also understandably enthusiastic about the treatments they can offer. However, arthritis is currently incurable and may always return. There are no miracle cures, so never book sessions with any practitioner who claims to be able to get rid of your arthritis forever.
Questions You should Ask to the Arthritis Practitioner
When deciding on a new practitioner, contact the relevant school, college and/or professional organization to find out everything you can about his or her qualifications. Some therapies have more than one professional body, and one may have less strict requirements that another.
If you are in any doubt, look elsewhere for treatment. When you first contact a new practitioner, ask the following questions before making a decision to see him or her for treatment:
- What qualifications do you have, and when and where did you obtain them?
- Do you belong to a professional body? If he or she does not, be very wary.
- If there is no professional body in your field, how are you and other s in your profession regulated? Is your practitioner on any form of register, for example, or does he or she practice through a respectable clinic?
- How long have you been practicing? Have you kept up to date with advances in knowledge since you have qualified?
- What do you know about my form of arthritis?
- Have you already had success in treating people with any form of arthritis? Can I speak to any of these people?
- Do you think you can bring about a significant improvement in my condition? If so, how long is treatment likely to take, and what will it cost?