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Choosing an Alternative or Complementary Medicine Practitioner

teek.jpg (3467 bytes) Physicians, and other healthcare practitioners, wishing to refer a patient to an alternative practitioner or to set up an integrative clinic with alternative healthcare providers, need information on the education and training, credentialing and licensing of practitioners.
teepsh.jpg (3095 bytes) Insurers and HMO's need the same information to make reimbursement decisions.
teeq.jpg (4150 bytes) Patients and health care consumers wishing to consult independently with an alternative or complementary practitioner need to know how to select a reliable person.

Please note that the Alternative Medicine Foundation cannot provide referrals or recommendations. We can only point you to practitioner listings.

Guidelines for Choosing a Practitioner 
Practitioner Listings
State Practice Laws
Schools and Training
Professional Associations

Guidelines for Choosing a Practitioner

The following online guides provide helpful advice on selecting a holistic practitioner.

American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA)
Click on Public in left side menu, then select Guide to Choosing a Holistic Practioner.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
See the NCCAM Fact Sheet on Selecting a CAM Practitioner.

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Practitioner Listings

NOTE: It is important to remember that most listings are not recommendations and they are certainly not comprehensive. Professional Associations list only their members. Other organizations that provide listings usually charge a fee for publicizing practitioners' contact information. It is important to find out what group or individual is behind any web listing and how it is funded. See our Resource Guide: How to Assess Internet Resources.

American Association of Naturopathic Physicians
Provides a listing of accredited naturopathic physicians by location and name.

American Holistic Health Association
AHHA has a listing of over 270 practitioner members. Click on the button, Holistic Practitioners, to search by location and/or name.

Ask Dr. Weil

Dr. Andrew Weil's web site has a listing of Like-Minded Practitioners. Many of the listings are integrative practices rather than individual practitioners.
Doctor Weil's Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona also provides an international listing of graduates from the program:

American Holistic Medical Association
Click on Public in left side menu, then select Online Physician Referral Directory to search by location and specialty. Many of the listings are for MDs with CAM credentials.

Community Acupuncture Network
P.O. Box 18157
Portland, OR 97218
CAN's mission is to make acupuncture more affordable and accessible by promoting acupuncture clinics around the country that provide low-cost acupuncture services. The organization has hundreds of acupuncturist members, and dozens of clinics are listed on its website.

Directories of Practitioners Internet Resources
This listing from the Holistic Medicine Resource Center provides international listings of holistic practitioners. There is a further link to Regional/Local Directories at:
and links to a wide range of discussion groups.

The Directory of Information Resources Online is compiled by the National Library of Medicine. Most listings are conventional organizations but a significant number are CAM associations and organizations.

Holistic Medicine Resource Center
An international directory listing of practitioners organizations organized by locality and modality.

Safe Harbor - International Guide to the World of Alternative Mental Health
This nonprofit organization provides a searchable practitioner database for alternative approaches for mental health

Many Professional Associations provide practitioner listings so, if you know what sort of practitioner you need, go to the web site of the appropriate association - see Professional Associations listings below.

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State Practice Laws:

State practice laws vary. For instance, Naturopaths (ND) are licensed in only 13 states; acupuncturists are licensed in 34 states (with widely varying scope of practice); while chiropractors (DC) are licensed in all 50 states. Regularly updated state practice law information can be obtained from several of the main professional associations.

Michael Cohen, Esq has written extensively on CAM, integrative medicine, and the law. This interactive web site potentially covers all aspects of CAM and the law.

National Conference of State Legislatures
NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the 50 states. The web site provides links to all state legislatures, personnel, committees, and current legal activity on all topics.

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Schools and Training

Specific information on schools and training for particular therapies is given in the relevant Resource Guides from the Alternative Medicine Foundation or is available from the Professional Associations.

Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine
Membership includes prestigious academic medical centers involved with changing the way medicine is practiced and taught.

This site has an extensive listing of schools, programs, certification, careers and licensing requirements.

MD Courses from the Rosenthal Center for CAM
Information for physicians wanting to find training or fellowship programs - no longer regularly updated.

White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy
Chapter 4 of the final report covers education and training needs.

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Professional Associations:

For more information on any particular modality, research, or training and licensing, contact the relevant professional association. A cross-section of the main professional associations that provide practitioner listings and regulatory information is listed below. More associations for specific sub-specialties can be found in the relevant Resource Guides

American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM)
AAEM Central Office
7701 East Kellogg, Suite 625
Wichita, KS 67207-1705
Tel: (316) 684-5500
Fax: (316) 684-5709
Organization of physicians who study and treat people with illnesses or health problems caused by adverse, allergic or toxic reactions to a wide variety of environmental substances.

American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (AAMA)
4929 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 428
Los Angeles, California 90010
Tel: (323) 937-5514
Organization of physician acupuncturists.  Medical acupuncture is the term used to describe acupuncture performed by a doctor trained and licensed in Western medicine who has also had thorough training in acupuncture as a specialty practice. Such a doctor can use one or the other approach, or a combination of both as the need arises, to treat an illness.

American Association for Health Freedom
FormerlyAmerican Preventive Medical Association
PO Box 458
[9912 Georgetown Pike, Ste. D-2]
Great Falls, VA 22066
Tel: (800) 230-2762 or (703) 759-0662
Fax: (703) 759-6711
This nonprofit advocacy organization is dedicated to ensuring health care freedom by lobbying at the federal level, and by undertaking lawsuits that build the body case law in support of consumers' rights.

American Association of Integrative Medicine
2750 East Sunshine
Springfield, MO 65804
Tel: (417) 881-9995
Fax: (417) 881-6414
Advocacy organization for broader treatment options, facilitating a bond between integrative and western medicine. Click on About AAIM and then Member Profiles for a listing of integrative practitioners.

American Association of Naturopathic Physicians
4435 Wisconsin Avenue, NW Suite 403
Washington, DC 20016
Toll free: (866) 538-2267
Tel: (202) 237-8150
Fax: (202) 237-8152
This organization represents the naturopathic physicians from the four recognized schools of naturopathy - see Herbal Medicine Resource Guide.   The web site contains a physician referral listing, searchable databases of information and resources on natural healing by licensed Naturopathic Doctors.

American Association of Oriental Medicine (AAOM)
5530 Wisconsin Ave., Ste. 1210
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Tel: (888) 500-7999 or (301) 941-1064
Fax: (301) 986-9313
Formerly known as the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, the AAOM represents the entire scope of Oriental Medicine, and its members are regarded as the "highest qualified practitioners of Oriental Medicine in the United States." Click on Referral Search at the right.

American Chiropractic Association
1701 Clarendon Blvd
Arlington, VA 22209
Tel: (800)-986-4636 or (703) 276-8800
Fax 703/243-2593
The ACA is a professional organization representing Doctors of Chiropractic. Its mission is to preserve, protect, improve and promote the chiropractic profession and the services of Doctors of Chiropractic for the benefit of patients they serve.

American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM)
23121 Verdugo Drive, Suite 204
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Tel:949-583-7666 or
Fax: (949) 455-9679
ACAM is a nonprofit medical society dedicated to educating physicians on the latest findings and emerging procedures in complementary/alternative medicine. They provide training in chelation therapy and other techniques. The web site offers information on alternative medicine to both physicians and the general public, and a current list of certified ACAM doctors.

American Herbalists Guild
1931 Gaddis Road
Canton, GA 30115
Tel: (770) 751-6021
Fax: (770) 751-7472
Information on finding an herbalist and professional member list.

American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA)
12101 Menaul Blvd. NE, Ste. C
Albuquerque, NM 87112
Tel: (505) 292-7788
Fax: (505) 293-7582
This organization unites allopathic and osteopathic physicians who practice medicine that acknowledges the interrelationship of body, mind, and spirit. These professionals embrace all modalities that are safe and effective, including conventional allopathic medicine.

American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA)
PO Box 2130
Flagstaff, AZ 86003-2130
Tel: 1-800-278-AHNA
The purpose of the AHNA is to renew and enhance the art of nurturing and caring for the whole person.

American Institute of Homeopathy (AIH)
801 N. Fairfax St., Suite 306
Alexandria, VA 22314
Toll free: 1-888-445-9988
Tel: (703) 246-9501
Fax: (703) 548-7792
AIH's membership comprises medical and osteopathic physicians and dentists. This organization strives to elevate and improve the standards of homeopathic medical education while safeguarding the interests of the profession and attaining general recognition and public acceptance of homeopathy. Membership directory available on line.

American Institute for Preventive Medicine (AIPM)
30445 Northwestern Hwy., Suite 350
Farmington Hill, MI 48334
Tel: (800) 345-2476 or (248) 539-1800
Fax: (248) 539-1808
The AIPM promotes positive health behaviors by developing and distributing effective health promotion programs, publications, and products. The Institute trains and certifies health care organizations and corporations to offer its services and delivers its programs through a nationwide network of health care affiliates.

American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA)
500 Davis Street, Suite 900
Evanston, IL 60201-4695
Tel: (847) 864-0123
Fax: ( 847) 864-1178
AMTA is the largest organization representing massage therapists from all round the world. The mission of the American Massage Therapy Association is to develop and advance the art, science and practice of massage therapy in a caring, professional and ethical manner in order to promote the health and welfare of humanity.

American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA)
Formerly American Oriental Bodywork Therapy Association

Laurel Oak Corporate Center, Ste 408
1010 Haddonfield-Berlin Rd.
Voorhees, NJ 08043-3514
Tel: (856) 782-1616
Fax: (856) 782-1653
AOBTA represents a coalition of many related disciplines and certifies trained therapists. The organization provides membership benefits, including insurance and publications, and a referral service of qualified therapists for the public.

American Osteopathic Association and American Osteopathic Information Association
Chicago Office:
142 East Ontario St.
Chicago, IL 60611
Tel: (800) 621-1773 or (312) 202-8000
Fax: (312) 202-8200

Washington Office:
1090 Vermont Ave.NW
Suite 510
Washington, DC 20005
Toll-free phone: (800) 962-9008
General phone: (202) 414-0140
Fax: (202) 544-3525

All doctors of osteopathy (D.O.'s) within this association are trained in osteopathic manipulative treatments (OMT), with some specializing more in OMT, and others more in conventional medical techniques. The AOA is the national organization representing all D.O.'s. On-line DO search by state.

Association for Comprehensive NeuroTherapy (ACN)
PO Box 210848
Royal Palm Beach, FL 33421-0848
Tel: (561) 798-0472
Fax: (561) 798-9820
The ACN is dedicated to exploring advanced and alternative treatments for neurological conditions. Latitudes is ACN's newsletter. Click on Advisors for a listing of doctors, physicians and specialists with their bios, categorized by specialty.

Complementary-Alternative Medical Association (CAMA)
PO Box 373478
Decatur, GA 30037-3478
Tel: (404) 284-7592
CAMA is a non-profit group organized to educate citizens, health practitioners, and lawmakers concerning the benefits and options afforded by complementary-alternative medicine, to promote freedom in health care choices, and to advance the practice of complementary-alternative medicine in union with allopathic medicine. Click on Find a Practitioner for detailed listings under many modalities.

Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
3909 National Drive, Ste. 125
Burtonsville, MD 20866
Tel: 301-476-7790
Fax: 301-476-7792
Tel: (301) 313-0868
Fax: (301) 313-0869
The mission of the CCAOM is to advance acupuncture and Oriental medicine by promoting educational excellence within the field. Membership in the CCAOM is open to all schools of acupuncture and Oriental medicine that meet their specific requirements. Provide Information sheet: Know Your Acupuncturist

Foundation for the Advancement of Innovative Medicine (FAIM)
2 Executive Blcd., Ste. 206
Suffern, NY 10901
Toll free:(877) 634-3246
FAIM aims to serve as a voice for innovative medicine's professionals, patients and suppliers. This foundation defines innovative medicine as a treatment or therapy of empirical clinical benefit that is outside the mainstream of conventional medicine.

Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians
PO Box 8341.
Covington, WA
Tel: (253) 630-3338
Fax: (815) 301-6595
Click on "Searchable database of HANP members. Publishes quarterly professional journal, Simillimum.

National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA)
National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy
3327 W. Indian Trail Road PMB 144
Spokane, WA 99208
Tel: (509) 325-3419
Fax: (509) 325-3479

NAHA is a resource clearinghouse for ideas and information on aromatherapy, with a primary interest in promoting and using essential oils for health and healing purposes. Education is the main aim of this association, through communication and interaction via mass media, educational institutions and universities, and governmental business sources. Listings of approved schools online.

National Center for Homeopathy (NCH)
801 N. Fairfax Street, Suite 306
Alexandria, VA  22314
Tel: (877) 624-0613 or (703) 548-7790
Fax: (703) 548-7792
NCH is a membership organization whose mission is to promote health through homeopathy.  Offers education to lay persons and training for professionals, as well as a "How to Find a Homeopath" section on the web site from which you may search the NCH database for practitioner-members in your area.

National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)
11 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 300
Alexandria, VA 22314
Tel: (703) 548-9004
Fax: (703) 548-9079
The NCCAOM promotes nationally recognized standards of competency and safety in acupuncture, Chinese herbology, and Oriental bodywork therapy for the purpose of protecting the public. Accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, NCCAOM awards competent and safe practitioners with certifications in the above mentioned therapies. Can search on site for practitioners.

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Page last updated May 6, 2010
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