Six steps to help choose the best health practitioner for you.

Click here for an audio version.

When I was 18, I injured myself running. This was my first year of living away from home, and I wasn’t sure what to do. Another runner suggested I saw a physiotherapist privately – a new concept to me – and gave me a name. 

That visit to a private health professional was the first of many over the years as I’ve looked for help for running injuries, back issues, infertility, ME/CFS and recently a bike accident.

Many of the times, my approach to choosing who to see has been very casual… follow a recommendation, spot something on the Internet, see something on a cafe notice board. 

This casual approach has worked well for simpler issues such as running injuries, but has been a bit hit and miss for more complex issues such as infertility and ME/CFS.

It’s not just that you waste time and money when you see someone and it doesn’t work, it’s that you’re disappointed. 

That might not be a problem when you’re only disappointed once, but when the number of times starts to build up, that disappointment – without you realising – can convince you it’s not worth trying anymore. You give up looking but tell yourself that’s the best option.

Sometimes it even ends up traumatic. (Have a look at It can be traumatic having a failed treatment. Here’s what to do if you feel this way. if this is true for you). Sometimes the resentment and bitterness can build up so that you can’t even bear to think about the options.

That was the situation for me….until I had a major ME/CFS relapse and I became desperate to get my old life back. Desperate enough to break through the barrier of disappointment and to decide I needed help again.

This time round, I wanted it to be different. I didn’t want to be at the whim of the practitioner as I had in the past; I wanted to feel I’d made the best decision I could. I was no longer willing to be blown about in the wind; I wanted to be the captain of my own ship. A change in attitude that – even though I didn’t know it – made it much more likely that I would recover.  My self-esteem (helped mainly by having counselling) meant that I was happy to ask questions, I was happy to say ‘No’ to somebody who I thought wouldn’t suit.

This time round, I used a much more considered approach to choosing a health practitioner. An approach where I was much more confident I’d chosen the right person for me and one where I felt more comfortable to express concerns. 

This is the basis of the approach I’m going to talk about here, the six steps you will benefit from taking. This blog post is part of a mini-series all about ‘Choosing a practitioner’. Have a look at the end for all the different posts.

It isn’t easy to think through what the best way to do something is when you are fatigued or have a fuzzy brain due to a chronic illness, and I hope that these guidelines will give you a starting point. It may also be that you’re lacking in confidence like I had been, and I hope the guidelines here give you a framework you’re happy to use. Whatever your situation, I hope they help. 😊

The guidelines are based on choosing an Eden Energy Medicine practitioner – the modality I used to recover from ME/CFS – but most if not all points will apply to any health professional. Any comments, please post below!

I hope this post will give you:

Confidence you’ve chosen the right modality and practitioner for you at this point in time (with an idea in the background of whom to see next if this doesn’t work).

An understanding of what you need to do to make the treatment/ programme most effective (and a recognition of any difficulties that you might have doing this, and how to overcome them).

Clarity on how long to give the treatment before having a ‘Is this working?’ discussion.

A burgeoning knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the treatment and programme.

A start in building a strong relationship with the practitioner where you feel confident to say what you need to say.

So what are the six steps?

  • Decide which method to use.
  • What are my options?
  • What do I need to know?
  • Contact three or four professionals.
  • Decision time.
  • Preparing for your first session.

Decide which method to use.

It can be quite a complicated journey to decide what treatment or programme is going to suit you best, and I will hopefully do a blog post all about what to do sometime soon!

However, there do seem to be three steps:  decide your criteria;  research into the options; make your choice of which treatment or programme that suits you best/ or which one to try first. 

So, when I was choosing between the Gupta Programme and having Eden Energy Medicine (EEM) sessions the criteria for me was: proven track record for ME/CFS (both had this), able to understand the programme/ healing modality (struggled to find details for Gupta, much clearer for EEM); didn’t involve brain too much (EEM head and shoulders over Gupta for this); and healing would be tailored to me (again EEM scored best for this).  My conclusion was to try Eden Energy Medicine sessions first and then have the Gupta Programme as a back-up plan. In the end I recovered without needing more than Eden Energy Medicine sessions. My blog post: How a simple plan was a game changer for my ME/CFS, and how to create your own. talks a little bit more about this.

Whatever approach you use to make the final decisions between two or three different methods, sometimes it becomes clear that something isn’t right for us as we take steps towards it! So if you’re not sure there’s no reason why you can’t do the steps here for two (or more!) options.

Another way to decide between two options and a technique I really recommend – and use myself! – is to do a choice meditation. I’ve found that doing a choice meditation has helped to give me confidence I’m making the right decision and even having sessions at the right time. My blog post How using a choice meditation can support you and your ME/CFS talks you through it, but if you’d like to delve straight in, go to the audio version on YouTube. 

What are my options?

Once you’ve decided what you need – massage….energy medicine – the next step is to do a little research online and find your options. Do I need to see somebody in person? What different qualifications are there? How do I find the names of practitioners? Is there anybody close enough to me or can I have the treatment remotely and is that as effective? My blog posts How to get it right when working remotely with a health practitioner. and Looking to have remote Eden Energy Medicine sessions? Here’s what to ask. may help with this.

Once you’ve done that, you might have something like this, for example:

Eden Energy Medicine.

Best done in person but can be done remotely.

Three levels of qualifications: certified, clinical and advanced.

Practitioners listed on the Innersource website:

Two types of remote sessions: 

One where the practitioner can give you general advice and show you exercises to do at home but cannot energy test you. This is the only type of remote session that the Eden Method (the official organisation) recommend.

One where the practitioner has considerable experience and often has the highest qualification (Advanced) where they have developed a way to energy test and treat you remotely. 

Just a word about recommendations: I’ve both gained by following other people’s recommendations and also been burnt…but then the time I was burnt, I didn’t follow any of my suggestions here! 

Questions

For many years, I would ask whoever I was thinking of working with only very basic questions ‘Does your treatment help this (condition)?’ ‘What is the cost’ ‘When can you see me?’ Looking back it was as if I didn’t want to be too much trouble or, perhaps, I was putting my hopes on this treatment so much that I was scared to probe. I can see now that these were unhelpful attitudes! 

But when I was ready to approach Eden Energy Medicine practitioners, I prepared a list of questions (Have a look at Why did I never think of that? to see the email I used). The questions I wrote then weren’t perfect, but they were definitely a step in the right direction. Here are some areas you might like to cover:

Basics:

How long do your sessions last, and what is the cost?

Between sessions.

What, if anything, do I need to do between sessions?

How do you give me that information?

Can I contact you between sessions for example if I feel worse or I’m unclear about the self-care?

About the practitioner.

Have you had any success with treating ME/chronic fatigue syndrome and to what level – full or partial recovery?

How long have you been practicing for?

Are you part of a professional body?

What would you do if your treatment wasn’t helping me?

Do you have any testimonials I could see?

What is your approach to email contact between sessions?

The sessions themselves.

How many sessions do you recommend, and what frequency?

What is the format of the sessions?

How will you work remotely, and how does that contrast with working face-to-face?

Do you have a wrap-up time at the end (to do a summary of what has happened in the session and give time for questions)?

How will you know if the treatment is working? (My blog post How do I know whether my Eden Energy Medicine sessions are helping? may help you.)

After how many sessions would it be appropriate to review progress?

What would stop the sessions being effective?

Is it okay to have such-and-such treatment at the same time?

How can you give the treatment it’s best chance?

Your needs

Maybe you’re very sensitive to touch or sound, or that you can’t stand for long, or that your brain fog is so bad you can’t take much in. 

Whatever your major needs are, it’s best to mention them as early as possible.

You may also want to do a bit of research to make sure you’re asking all you want to ask by looking at these blog posts:

How to get it right when working remotely with a health practitioner.

Looking to have remote Eden Energy Medicine sessions? Here’s what to ask.

How do I know whether my Eden Energy Medicine sessions are helping? Here’s three suggestions.

Contact!

It’s very tempting to contact just one person, especially if you have a recommendation but I’ve found that I gain a fuller picture by contacting more (three or four seems a good number) and, once I’ve made my decision who to see I feel more confident that I’ve made the right one.

My suggestion is that you create a standard email where you ask the questions you wish to ask, you explain your personal situation, include your phone number if you are happy to be called and then press the button!

Sometimes you learn about the character of the practitioner by how they respond to your email. If I’ve emailed somebody and they reply by asking me to call them rather than answering my questions – or at least some of them! – I’m a bit flummoxed and feel that they haven’t listened to what I want. This isn’t a good start!

Once you’ve got the replies in, you can start to build up a conversation with the practitioners that potentially seem a good match by asking any more questions you’ve thought of. It is better that you ask the questions now rather than once you’re in the middle of a block of sessions!

If you are up to making phone calls, you might want to call. I find it gives me a better feel for the personality of the practitioner and whether I feel I can work with them. 

Decision time!

Sometimes as you go through this process, it becomes very clear who is the best person for you to see, and it’s not necessarily the best qualified or the most experienced! When I had ME/CFS, the practitioner I chose to see wasn’t yet qualified – she completed her training whilst I was seeing her – but she lived close enough that I could drive by myself, an important factor for me.

But what do you do if you’re not sure? Sometimes I’ve written down the pros and cons, but the technique I like best is the choice meditation. Have a look at How using a choice meditation can support you and your ME/CFS for a script or for an audio version, go here.

Preparing for your first session

I found it incredibly nerve wracking having my first Eden Energy Medicine session. Apart from occasionally seeing the doctor and my counsellor, and my daily walks I hadn’t left my home in months. Whatever your situation, here are some things to think about:

What else do you need to tell the practitioner to make sure the sessions work for you?

How can you make the journey there as relaxing as possible?

How can I be as relaxed as possible before, during and after the session? Irene Lyon suggests in this video we have a relaxing hour before and after a session. 🙂

What do I need to take with me/ have close at hand? I’ve found that it really helps to write down key bits such as self-care as soon as possible after session.

If you’re having remote sessions, have a look here for some other questions you might want to ask yourself.

So let’s just go through the steps again to choosing a practitioner:

  • Decide which method to use.
  • What are my options?
  • What do I need to know?
  • Contact three or four professionals.
  • Decision time.
  • Preparing for your first session.

And the other blog posts in this mini series that you might like to look at are:

How to get it right when working remotely with a health practitioner.

How using a choice meditation can support you and your ME/CFS

Looking to have remote Eden Energy Medicine sessions? Here’s what to ask.

It can be traumatic having a failed treatment. Here’s what to do if you feel this way.

How do I know whether my Eden Energy Medicine sessions are helping? Here’s three suggestions.

So where has that got you to? Here’s the ideal 😉 situation – I think the maximum points I’ve ever managed are four out of five, but now that I’ve written this, I’ve got something to refer to!

Where you want to be:

Confident you’ve chosen the right modality and practitioner for you at this point in time (with an idea in the background of whom to see next if this doesn’t work). Feeling this is your last chance is a bit of a desperate place to be! I talk a little about this in How a simple plan was a game changer for my ME/CFS, and how to create your own.

An understanding of what you need to do to make the treatment/ programme most effective (and a recognition of any difficulties that you might have doing this, and how to overcome them).

Clear on how long to give the treatment before having a ‘Is this working?’ discussion.

A burgeoning knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the treatment and programme.

Starting to build a strong relationship with the practitioner where you feel confident to say what you need to say.

Hope this blog post gives you the confidence and framework that ensures you choose the practitioner best for you!

Warm wishes

Ali


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