Questions to Ask Before You Agree to Treatment

Before you agree to let an alternative practitioner treat you, ask questions to ensure that he or she will provide the type of care you want. Set up a short office or telephone consultation with the practitioner so that you can pose the following questions:
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of this therapy as opposed to other alternatives?
  • What will my treatment involve, and how will it affect my life? Will it incapacitate me, alter my schedule or prevent me from working?
  • How do results compare with those from conventional approaches? How do they compare with an approach of watchful waiting?
  • Can I use this method together with conventional therapy?
  • Is there any scientific evidence that validates this approach and proves that it is safe? Where can I find this evidence?
  • Have you personally used this therapy for other people with a health history or ailment similar to mine? What were the results of their treatments? It is possible for me to speak to some of these people?
  • How often will I have to go to your office or clinic?
  • How much does each session cost? What percentage of this cost is for supplies, and what percentage is for your time?
  • How soon should I expect to see results? How and will we know if the treatment is working?
  • What are the potential side effects? (If the answer is "none," ask again and consider seeking treatment elsewhere. Any effective treatment poses at least a slight risk to some people.)
  • Are there any activities or other drugs-prescription, over-the-counter, conventional or alternative-that I should avoid while participating in this therapy?
  • Are you willing to talk to my regular doctor about my diagnosis and treatment plan? How often are you willing to discuss these matters with my doctor? Will you place any limitations on what you are willing discuss with my doctor?

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