Naturopathic doctors, also known as NDs, are healthcare professionals who use natural and holistic methods to treat patients. These methods include nutrition, herbal medicine, and lifestyle counseling. Despite being evidence-based and effective, most health plans in the United States do not cover ND services. This has led to a growing number of employees and their dependents seeking out naturopathic care on their own.
To earn “ND” credentials, a licensed naturopathic physician (ND) attends a four-year, graduate-level naturopathic medical school and is educated in all of the same basic sciences as an MD. While in med school, an ND candidate also studies holistic and nontoxic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. Along with schooling, an ND gains another 2 to 5 years of experience through a residency, job shadowing partnership, or another apprenticeship program. Overall, it takes 10 to 15 years to become a naturopathic doctor, which mirrors the same educational requirements and qualifications of any other licensed medical doctor.
The reason why most health plans do not cover ND services is due to their classification by insurance companies as “alternative medicine.” This categorization allows insurers to group together many varied healthcare approaches and claim that there is not enough evidence to support covering these services for members. As a result, healthcare services provided by naturopathic doctors are not covered by most insurance plans.
Despite the lack of coverage by health plans, more and more patients are seeking out naturopathic care, and outcomes-based studies support this shift. Many ND treatments have been proven to be effective in clinical studies. For example, a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that NDs were equally effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease among patients as their MD counterparts who rely heavily on pharmaceutical intervention.
One of the main reasons why patients are turning to NDs is dissatisfaction with conventional medicine. Many patients feel that conventional medicine focuses too heavily on treating symptoms rather than addressing the underlying causes of illness. They also feel that conventional medicine can be impersonal, with doctors having little time to spend with patients. NDs, on the other hand, take a more holistic approach to healthcare, focusing on the whole person and addressing the root causes of illness.
Another reason why patients are turning to NDs is a desire for more personalized care. NDs spend more time with their patients, getting to know their unique health needs and concerns. They also work with patients to develop personalized treatment plans that take into account their individual lifestyle, dietary habits, and medical history. NDs often spend an hour with their patient several times per year, in stark contrast to the 7-15 minute/year average that serves as the standard for preventative healthcare by primary care physicians in the US today.
Finally, patients are turning to NDs due to a growing awareness of the benefits of natural and holistic treatments. Many patients are concerned about the potential side effects of conventional drugs and are interested in exploring natural alternatives. NDs offer a wide range of natural treatments, including herbal medicine, acupuncture, and nutritional and lifestyle counseling to support any type of health goals.
Despite the growing popularity of naturopathic care, many patients struggle to find quality ND services. This is where SoulBeing comes in. SoulBeing is a highly trusted resource for finding quality naturopathic care. We offer a directory of NDs who have been vetted for their training and experience, ensuring that patients can find the best possible care.
In conclusion, while most health plans in the United States do not cover naturopathic services, more and more patients are turning to NDs for their healthcare needs. This is due to a growing dissatisfaction with conventional medicine, a desire for more personalized care, and a growing awareness of the benefits of natural and holistic treatments. For those seeking quality naturopathic care, SoulBeing is a trusted resource that can help connect patients with highly qualified NDs.