Over the years, I’ve noticed many people only go to the doctor when absolutely necessary and use whomever they can get an appointment with instead of choosing the best practitioner. However, if you wait until there is a “need” and only use who is “available,” you may not receive the best care.

Instead, I encourage you to build a “team” of health professionals who have your best interest in mind BEFORE you have a need to do so. Using the “preventative” methodology, you may want to visit some of your practitioners to ensure you are engaging in the activities that will promote your long term health and well-being.

Building a health team means finding a variety of individuals who can help you in various areas of your life. For example, who is your “go to” for help with exercise? Who do you go to for dietary advice? What about muscle or skeletal issues? Do you have someone to talk with about life issues? I realize you may not have any health problems that would cause you to need a health team at this moment, and that’s great. However, I feel everyone should have a few people on their team for preventative reasons. Some people you may want to consider having on your health team are as follows:

  1. Primary Care Physician (PCP): It’s important to have a PCP on your team that you can go to for more serious situations that require medical attention, and who can also advise you in an emergency situation. Some qualities to look for in a good PCP are…
    1. Good bed-side manner (polite, respectful and speaks at your level).
    2. Understands your personal health goals.
    3. Will not push medication if you choose natural remedies.
    4. Understands and is open to the concept of alternative medicine.
  2. Naturopathic Doctor (ND): An ND is a great complement to a PCP and can help you maintain “homeostasis,” which is your natural state of balance. NDs are trained to look for the root cause of a symptom and not just mask symptoms. Note that there are many different levels of NDs. Choose one who suits your needs. Some qualities to look for in a good ND are…
    1. Understands the value of Western medicine in an emergency situation.
    2. Understands and can apply herbal remedies and supplementation.
    3. Understands a variety of natural health modalities and dietary needs.
  3. Chiropractor (DC): Your spine is a junction for your nervous system, with all of your nerves running through it. It is common for the spine to become skewed and inflamed, causing nerves to be constricted and not function properly. Chiropractic care may help maintain spine integrity and optimize body functionality. Some qualities to look for in a good DC are…
    1. Spends time to understand your individual needs.
    2. Uses measurements to determine what adjustments would be best for you.
    3. Understands and can apply various chiropractic techniques.
    4. Understands the natural healing properties of the body.
  4. Personal Trainer (PT): Even though you may not engage with a PT on a regular basis, it is helpful to have someone to go to, should you have questions or need a change-up in your routine. Some qualities to look for in a good PT are…
    1. Understands different body types and that not everyone can be “buff” or “skinny.”
    2. Understands and can apply many different training techniques, based on your needs.
    3. Understands and respects your body’s limits.
  5. Health Counselor (HC) or Nutritionist: An HC acts as a health “advocate” for you and provides dietary and lifestyle coaching. In Europe, everyone has a health advocate. I feel every person who participates in modern health care should have someone on their side who is the “funnel,” if you will, for all other health practitioners. Some qualities to look for in an HC are:
    1. A good listener.
    2. Understands a variety of health practices and modalities.
    3. Understands health is more than diet. Health also encompasses relationships, career, spirituality, physical activity, and self-esteem.
    4. Understands you are a unique individual and that what works for someone else may not work for you.
    5. Can clearly articulate options and help guide you in making decisions.

You may opt to add even more practitioners to your health team, like a life coach, homeopath, acupuncturist, herbalist, Ayurveda practitioner, massage therapist, yoga or Pilates instructor, or someone else who you feel can add value to your life. The idea is to choose people who value you as an individual and will not treat you as a business transaction. This should be a collaboration of efforts, all with the intention of helping you be as happy and healthy as possible.

By Gina Van Luven
Director of Nutrition Education

This article is for nutrition information purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any health concerns you may have. The information in this article is not intended to promote any specific product, or for the prevention or treatment of any disease.