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Editorial Issue 36

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 36 - January 1999

What attributes make for a good practitioner, and, perhaps, more importantly, which sort of practitioner is right for you and your particular health problem?

These fundamental questions, although appearing on the surface to be simplistic and even self-evident, in my experience go right to the heart of natural and holistic health care, and may hold the key to how well your health blossoms.

Practitioners are, after all, only people, and have the same spectrum of qualities and qualifications as people in every walk of life. Hence, some practitioners are very well educated, extremely well-spoken, highly authoritative and appear to be knowledgeable about their subject. These "knowledge-based" practitioners may be the sort of person you want to consult if you seek reassurance regarding your diagnosis and treatment plan.

Other practitioners may have a completely different demeanour and personality. They may be quiet, shy, not talkative, even somewhat inarticulate, more intuitive rather than "knowledge-based". Such practitioners may appeal to you over the more extrovert type. There isn't a right or wrong personality type of practitioner – much of the chemistry depends upon what suits you. Some practitioners may be much more "hands-on", rather than intellectual and this may be what you seek for a musculo-skeletal, emotional or digestive complaint.

Throughout my life, I have gone through an evolutionary process which is constantly changing, depending upon what complaint I have and what sort of treatment I am seeking. When I was working in the medical and scientific world, many of the practitioners I visited were more in the conventionally trained disciplines. As my experience has grown, I have become more open to less conventional types of therapies, providing the practitioner is well-qualified.

Regarding training and qualifications of practitioners, it goes without saying that it is imperative to check out the thoroughness of the training of the practitioner you have chosen to consult. There is a spectrum of training which spans full-time degree programmes at university over 4 years for certain professions, and occasional weekend training sessions for others. Again, the more information you can glean regarding the training of the practitioner, the better informed you will be.

For myself, the particular therapy I will seek out will to a large degree be dictated by my health complaint. For a musculo-skeletal problem, say a repetitive strain type injury, my first port of call might be an osteopath, physiotherapist, or remedial massage therapist, perhaps buttressed by appropriate nutritional supplements. If this doesn't alleviate the problem, I might super-impose an energy-based therapy, such as homeopathy and/or healing.

However, for a skin complaint, of perhaps allergic or even fungal origin, I might first obtain confirmation of the diagnosis from my GP, then consult a medical herbalist, aromatherapist or nutritionist.

For a stress-related or emotional problem, I might choose to follow a self-help regime of relaxation, yoga or meditation.

I used to visit practitioners far more often in the past than I do now, as I wanted my problems "fixed" as quickly as possible. Now, although I still want my problems "fixed", I am somewhat more sceptical that someone else can fix many of my complaints. This doesn't mean that I don't seek help, advice and confirmation from practitioners, just that I am more confident that I can try to find a solution without mixing too many modalities.

As for the practitioner, I have become more demanding that the practitioner I seek within a personal therapeutic setting embodies what they practice. In other words, I would find it very difficult to consult a nutritionist who smoked and ate a diet filled with junk food, and the same would go for a meditation teacher who was strung out and suffered constant anxiety attacks. However, if I received a diagnosis of cancer or other serious disease, I would seek the best "knowledge- based" conventional information available from an expert of whatever personality type, as well as informing myself of all potentially therapeutic complementary and alternative treatment options, including diet, herbs, bodywork as well as healing and esoteric disciplines.

The varied articles published in this issue, encompassing Hypnosis, Reflexology, Ayurvedic Medicine, Homoeopathy, Essential Oils, Herbal Medicine, Nutrition and Physiotherapy are more than ample proof that you are in control of choosing the right therapy and practitioner for you.


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About Sandra Goodman PhD

Sandra Goodman PhD, Co-founder and Editor of Positive Health, trained as a Molecular Biology scientist in Agricultural Biotechnology in Canada and the US, focusing upon health issues since the 1980s in the UK. Author of 4 books, including Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art, Vitamin C – The Master Nutrient, Germanium: The Health and Life Enhancer and numerous articles, Dr Goodman was the lead author of the Consensus Document Nutritional and LifeStyle Guidelines for People with Cancer and compiled the Cancer and Nutrition Database for the Bristol Cancer Help Centre in 1993. Dr Goodman is passionate about making available to all people, particularly those with cancer, clinical expertise in Nutrition and Complementary Therapies. Dr Goodman was recently featured as Doctor of the Fortnight in ThinkWellness360.

Dr Goodman and long-term partner Mike Howell seek individuals with vision, resources, and organization to continue and expand the Positive Health PH Online legacy beyond the first 30 years, with facilities for training, to fund alternative cancer research, and promote holistic organizations internationally. Read about Dr Goodman and purchase Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art.  She may be contacted privately for Research, Lectures and Editorial services via:   and

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