Finding A Holistic Practitioner

Tips for getting the most from your health care

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.


One of the most powerful tools for flourishing and healing is knowing how to get the right kind of support at the right time.

One of the most common questions I’m asked is “Can you recommend a good holistic practitioner in my area?” Given how often I am asked this question, it would be impossible for me to give personal recommendations to each of you—I simply do not know that many people! However, I do know there are holistically minded health care practitioners almost everywhere. When I travel, I always meet practitioners of complementary (or integrative) medicine, which I define as the best of both conventional and so-called alternative medicine.

My personal preference is to work with practitioners who approach the body as an energy system, which is intimately influenced by thoughts and beliefs, albeit unconsciously most of the time! I have met many health care practitioners who are trained in different disciplines, including some M.D.s and D.O.s (doctor of osteopathic medicine) who share this approach. There are also scores of deeply committed, caring physicians practicing in the United States and around the world who don’t necessarily call themselves holistic, but who may be a good fit for you.

The most important thing to remember is that you must take responsibility for your own part of the health care partnership. In order to flourish, you must own your power to seek health care practitioners and environments that address your health needs, not just disease screenings, drugs, vaccines, and surgery.

The health care you select must be based on your individual needs and values, not anyone else’s. This is as much a part of your health and healing as any health care practitioner or any mode of treatment you might choose. For example, I do not participate in the time-honored, but mostly unnecessary, ritual known as the routine annual physical. And I don’t recommend annual flu shots or routine screening tests based on your age!

How to Find a Health Care Practitioner in Your Area

But, even in conventional practices, you may still be able to find doctors, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives who, by their very nature, are often far more holistic, or at least open to hearing your health concerns and guiding you appropriately, even if that means to another practice. Sometimes I find that chiropractors, massage therapists, or even Pilates teachers know who the holistic practitioners are in towns that I visit and can often recommend someone.

If that doesn’t work, you can consult the following list of online resources to find information as well as practitioners in your area:

  1. Alliance for Natural Health. This is the largest health organization. They stand for protecting your access to natural health therapies.
  2. American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. This is a professional organization, but there are some resources for those looking for a practitioner and also resources for COVID-19.
  3. American College for Advancement in Medicine(ACAM). This is a professional organization with many free resources.
  4. The Institute for Functional Medicine. This is the largest referral network for functional medicine practitioners. You can use the search database for free.
  5. Institute for Health and Healing. This is Sutter Health, a California-based integrated network. If you live in California, you can use the search database to find a practitioner in your area.
  6. Women in Balance. WIBI is a national university of natural medicine. They are dedicated to empowering women to take charge of their hormone health, providing health care providers with the latest up-to-date women’s health research and connecting women to qualified health care providers across the nation.

3 Tips for Finding a Health Care Practitioner You Like:

If you are ready to find a new health care practitioner, here are 3 tips to help you:

  1. Get referrals. When seeking a specialist or other type of health care provider, there are two kinds of referrals to consider: those from satisfied patients (or clients) and those from doctors and other medical personnel. Often, the best people are found through word of mouth.
  2. Look at credentials. Board certification is evidence that a doctor has passed a number of qualifying exams that measure competence to practice in his or her chosen field.Having been through the process to practice medicine and surgery, I can attest to the rigor involved. Most doctors and other health care practitioners have their credentials readily available in their practice brochures. Credentialing varies widely in the alternative health care field, so be sure to ask questions if you have any. Please note that I have found that many gifted healers do not have mainstream credentials.
  3. Assess whether the person is a good fit for you. A health care provider can have all the credentials in the world and still be the wrong person for you. So, trust your heart and your gut before you let that person care for you, no matter how highly he or she has been recommended. You may want to go home and ask yourself whether the provider feels like a healer. Or notice how you felt when you left the office. Did you leave feeling reassured and uplifted? Do you feel like you’re in good hands?

Remember, the health care practitioner you’re working with now may also be open to your ideas and willing to follow along with your new path once you discuss what you want.

Health Insurance’s Golden Handcuffs

Over the years, I have noticed a correlation between chronic ill health in this country and the belief that your insurance, the government, or someone else besides you is responsible for your health care choices. Culturally, we need a huge shift in consciousness around this issue, especially now as we face increasing restrictions regarding our health care and our bodily autonomy. This is because when a patient says that they can’t take a supplement or get a massage because their insurance won’t pay for it, it most invariably leads to these people having poorer health than the ones who said things like “I don’t care what it takes; I’ll find a way to get what I need.” So, please think about what it means when you tell yourself that you can’t do something for your health because of the rules and regulations that a bunch of politicians and insurance executives have come up with. To whom are you giving your power?

I personally don’t expect my health insurance to cover much of anything related to my health—and I have good insurance. My health care consists, first and foremost, of knowing that my health comes from deep within and that my thoughts and emotions are hands down the most powerful forces for flourishing that are available to me. I pay out of pocket for massage, vitamins and minerals, and Pilates and yoga classes. My “primary care provider” is my acupuncturist! I also keep a journal, have a solid social support network, read a lot of books, and keep learning new things. I know that I can attract the resources I need when I need them (some of which have indeed been in mainstream hospitals). When you are truly ready to assume responsibility for your health, you will find the resources you need.

I figure that my health insurance is designed to take care of a major medical emergency such as a car accident. That’s it! In my view, we should abolish the term “health insurance” and call it what it ought to be called, which is “crisis insurance” or “disease insurance.”  The business of creating health and staying healthy is your responsibility, and because none of us is perfect at this, we need a backup in case of catastrophic illness or an accident. That’s what our “disease-care insurance” should be for.

Of course, I hope that in the not-too-distant future, true health care will be covered by insurance or at least we’ll have a plan in which individuals can use their health insurance money to pay for health-enhancing modalities. In the meantime, if you must see a doctor who takes your insurance, I recommend trying to find an osteopath. These practitioners are medical doctors with “D.O.” after their name instead of “M.D.” Their medical school training is holistic, and many good osteopaths in the United States take insurance.

Getting the Most of Your Care

One of the most powerful tools for flourishing and healing is knowing how to get the right kind of support at the right time. To do that, you must stand up for yourself and for what you know and feel—and you must absolutely believe that you have the ability to attract what you need as well as be willing to receive it. Remember, your health care provider has a body of knowledge. You have knowledge of your body. Both are necessary. Pair the knowledge you have of your body with a willingness to do what it takes to truly flourish. It will guide you to the right medical professionals at the right time.

In these times of unprecedented censorship regarding our speech and our own health freedom, our medical freedom is at stake. So, it’s a good idea to arm yourself with knowledge and resources you can rely on to guide you through murky waters. I encourage you to visit my blog on health freedom (and all of my blogs) and to sign up for my free biweekly eNewsletter.

You may also want to sign up for Pam Popper’s eNews on her website and participate in her weekly calls or register for one of her courses. You can check out her website, Make Americans Free Again, for more information on how you can reclaim your health freedom. For those of you with children and grandchildren, my colleague Lawrence Palevsky, M.D., is a holistic pediatrician with a wealth of knowledge on this website.

Have you found a good holistic practitioner? Please share your stories and resources in the comments.

Last Updated: January 19, 2021

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.


Add comment
  1. shelly
    1 year ago

    have you seen in your practice covid causing spotting as well as irregular ovulation? 31 yrs old and wants another baby. daughter in law started having issues after covid…not vaxed

  2. Alice Carroll
    2 years ago

    Wow, I didn’t realize that there are so many associations to consult when planning to find a family doctor. I’d like to find one soon because I’m interested in getting more regular checkups from now on. I think that will be a good way to ensure that my immune system is in good condition at all times.

  3. Mary Lin
    2 years ago

    @Dr_Northrup there are barter exchanges and food coops sourcing from local farms sprouting up everywhere. You are prime to do this Maine, using the MOFGA network that has been decimated by the Plandemic. Many are using a free international barter exchange based on the decades-proven LETS system called CES, Community Exchange System It’s free and easy to use and allows exchange with all other communities in the network in the whole world. A dozen neighboring communities in Colorado have started exchanges and there are local farm based food coops in existence and new ones starting up right now that will be using the barter system — message me if you want to find out how it all works, it’s ingenious.

    We MUST do this is we are to survive the attempt to remove all cash and convert all currency to digital central bank social credit. Also the still-news-bubbled Liberals love the local barter exchanges as they can used to grow local food networks. we have one called Urban Food Forest and it’s just a group on the local Exchange and we’re preparing to trade produce, seeds, and assistance, and even organize so that some folks grow squash, others basil or tomatoes. We are across the political spectrum and we are uniting.

  4. Paula Baron
    3 years ago

    Dear Dr.,
    I am desperately looking for an M.D. in Connecticut that believes in hollistic approaches as well, and takes Medicare Disability Insurance. Can you recommend a Dr. for me. Much appreciated!

  5. Peggy Hunt
    3 years ago

    I would love to come off my meds. The side effects are not good for kidneys. Its been 18 years now.

  6. Rebecca Gardner
    4 years ago

    I love your suggestion to find a holistic doctor who approaches the body as a system of energy. I want to find a holistic medicine practitioner to help with my anxiety and depression that’s been worsening for the last few months. Thanks for teaching me what to prioritize as I start looking for a holistic doctor soon!

  7. Donna
    6 years ago

    Do you help w estrogen blockers but naturally? I’m don’t want to take the pills my oncologist gave me. Help!!


  8. Eve
    6 years ago

    I completely agree that health insurance shouldn’t dictate what we do to take care of ourselves, but I don’t agree with your comments on those who have said they cannot get a massage or whatever bc of laying for it. It sounds like the words of someone who has not been in that position before. I cannot pay for it if insurance doesn’t cover it. Last year we needed some blood tests – mostly routine for my daughters checkup. I went where the dr told me and guess what? $1500!! That’s WITH health insurance but being out of network.

  9. Gary Puntman
    6 years ago

    I like that you said you should start with a health care provider who you trust and believe in. They can be able to help you find the right holistic practitioner based on your goals. I like the idea of choosing someone based on your needs and values.

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