The following are a few guidelines to help you to find and derive optimum benefit from complementary practitioners:
1. Always consult a properly trained, qualified professional, who has adequate insurance and is working from clean, hygienic premises.
2. Do not assume that if a practitioner is recommended by a friend, this eliminates the need to make your own checks. Be very wary of anyone who claims to be able to “cure” you.
3. Some GP’s or PCTs offer access to complementary treatments, such as acupuncture or physiotherapy. You can find more information on the NHS complementary medicine services on their website www.nhs.uk (search for ‘complementary medicine services’). If the treatment you require is not available on the NHS you will probably have to pay all of the costs yourself, although some branches of complementary medicine are covered by private health insurance (check with your insurer first).
4. Do not pay large sums in advance for a course of treatments - most practitioners work on a payment per session basis. The first consultation will usually be the most expensive (expect to pay £50-£100) with follow up sessions costing £30-£60 (prices will vary from area to area and according to the treatment being provided); expect to pay extra for investigations, such as x-rays etc. if required and any remedies provided. Medical doctors offering Complementary or Alternative Medicine (CAM) will usually charge higher rates between £100-£200 per consultation.
5. If you have not experienced any significant benefit after 6 sessions / treatments, you are unlikely to do so. Do not go on and on spending money in hope. Honest practitioners will not encourage you to do this. Review the position and consider other options.
6. Keep both your doctors and your complementary practitioners informed of ALL other treatments, drugs, remedies and therapies you are taking for ANY condition. Incompatibilities can be dangerous.