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Alternative Medicine

Your First Visit to a CAM Practitioner

20 years, 5 months ago

9733  0
Posted on Nov 07, 2003, 12 p.m. By Bill Freeman

What to Expect On Your First Visit to a Complementary and Alternative Practitioner If you've never been to a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioner, it's natural to wonder what to expect on your first visit. The following will hopefully help to dispel any fears or uncertainties that you may have.

What to Expect On Your First Visit to a Complementary and Alternative Practitioner

If you've never been to a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioner, it's natural to wonder what to expect on your first visit. The following will hopefully help to dispel any fears or uncertainties that you may have.

On your first visit, your CAM practitioner will need to assess your health needs in a variety of ways in order to determine the nature of your illness and the best way to go about treating your problem. He or she will review your current healthcare routine and medical history, which includes past and present medical problems, surgeries, and hospitalizations. Your CAM practitioner may want you to specify information about medical problems that affect or have affected relatives such as your parents, siblings, grandparents, and children.

Your CAM practitioner will ask about medications that you are currently taking. These include prescription and over-the-counter drugs as well as all vitamins, herbs, and other nutritional supplements. In addition, your CAM practitioner will want to know about certain lifestyle factors that could be affecting your health. These may include:

Alcohol, drug, and tobacco use
Amounts of exercise and physical activity
Dietary habits
Occupational exposures to such hazards as asbestos, solvents, and lead paint

Your CAM practitioner will likeley perform a routine physical exam. Most of the time, this is as simple as checking your blood pressure and pulse, looking in your ears and eyes, and measuring your height and weight. He or she may order specific laboratory or diagnostic tests to more thoroughly identify your health needs. Tests may include, but are not limited to, analyses of functional nutrient, trace mineral, antioxidant, and amino acid levels, as well as a full blood panel that may give valuable clues in the diagnosis of a multitude of medical conditions.

After your examination, your CAM practitioner may suggest various therapies such as herbal or homeopathic remedies, relaxation techniques such as yoga, massage, and mediation, acupuncture, nutritional supplements, dietary changes, and chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, among many others. While these various approaches to health and healing differ widely in their philosophical basis and treatment plan, your CAM practitioner will strive to recommend remedies to boost your immune system, promote overall well being, and prevent reoccurring illness, focusing on treating the main cause of your condition instead of just the symptoms.

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