How to Find a Good Naturopathic Physician Near Me?
A good naturopathic physician near you can offer you personalized care that is aimed at treating the root cause of your illness and not just its symptoms, through the use of holistic methods and techniques that are also cost-effective. Studies have shown that the non-invasive and non-toxic approach of naturopathic physicians as well as the use of natural health products for the treatment of illnesses can potentially reduce your overall health care costs by up to 73%. Another key benefit offered by naturopathic physicians is the reduced risk of serious adverse reactions to prescription drugs through their use of natural therapies. According to a report from the Harvard Center of Ethics, approximately 2.74 million serious adverse drug reactions and 128,000 deaths occur annually due to prescription drugs that were properly and legally prescribed.
However, with many people claiming to be experts in naturopathy and other alternative forms of healthcare, finding the right naturopathic physician can be tricky. Therefore, to ensure that you end up with the most qualified naturopathic physician near you, you should ask, and also get satisfactory answers to, the following questions:
Are You Licensed, Registered, or Certified?
At least 22 states currently have laws and regulations that require the licensing or registration of naturopathic physicians. In these states, naturopathic physicians are generally required to complete a four-year accredited naturopathic medical program and pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX) administered by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners. Once licensed or registered, these naturopathic physicians are required to discharge their services within the specific scope of practice that is defined by their state's laws and regulations and also fulfill state-mandated continuing education requirements every year.
It is advisable to contact either your state's consumer protection agency or naturopathic medicine regulatory authority to get specific information on the regulatory requirements of naturopathic physicians in your locality before you see one. If you reside in a state that requires the mandatory licensing and registration of these professionals, then make sure that you request proof of this from the naturopathic physician you intend to see and verify it with the issuing regulatory authority.
In addition to licensing or registration, it is also in your best interest to work with a naturopathic physician who is a professional association member, especially if you reside in a state that does not regulate the practice of naturopathy. Professional associations like the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians as well as its various state associations and specialty affiliates, generally have minimum requirements for admittance that ensure that their members have received the necessary training required for the expert diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of illnesses. As such, there is a certain level of assurance that you will receive the best care possible if you retain the services of a naturopathic physician that belongs to these types of associations. In some cases, these naturopathic physicians may also have board certifications obtained from organizations like the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians and the American Naturopathic Medical Certification Board that indicate their specialization in specific areas of naturopathy. Note that if the naturopathic physician you intend to see claims to belong to a professional association or be board-certified, you should always verify this with the relevant association or certification-issuing organization.
How Much Does a Naturopathic Physician Cost?
The total cost of seeing a naturopathic physician is dependent on factors like your health concerns and the type of naturopathic services that you may require, the specialty and experience of the naturopathic physician, and your location. As such, this cost can range from $150 to $700 for an initial 90-minute consultation and $100 to $300 for follow-up 30 45 minute consultations.
Given the relatively high costs of seeing a naturopathic physician, there is always the fear of going beyond your budget when you do so. To make sure that this does not happen, you should consider the following tips:
- Look out for free initial consultations. Some naturopathic physicians offer free 10 -15 minute consultations, usually via phone. You can use these free consultations to get a feel of the physician's methods, techniques, and billing methods before committing to a paid consultation.
- Consider seeing naturopathic physicians that are just starting their careers. These types of naturopathic physicians generally charge lower fees than their more experienced colleagues.
- Inquire about sliding scales and payment plans. Some naturopathic physicians offer sliding scale and payment plan options to patients that may be experiencing financial difficulties or are unable to pay the standard fees at once. Note that you may be required to meet certain eligibility requirements to qualify for these options.
- Contact your insurance provider and find out if they have any naturopath insurance coverage plans or policies. Note that the availability and coverage limit of these plans depend on the insurance provider.
- Ask about any promotions and discounts that may be available to first-time patients. These may include discounted fees on supplements or reduced consultation fees.
What Are Common Naturopathic Physician Expenses?
There are several costs associated with seeing a naturopathic physician, and in many cases, these expenses are not calculated into the cost of your consultation fees. The most common additional naturopathic physician expenses are:
- Cost of Supplements: Naturopathic physicians typically utilize supplements as part of their treatment routines and the amount of money that you will have to spend on these supplements usually depends on your specific health issues. Patients with basic health concerns generally spend an average of $20 - $60 per week on supplements, while patients with severe or complex health issues may spend as much as $50 - $100 per week.
- Membership Fees: Some naturopathic clinics offer membership-based care to their patients that typically cover all required follow-up appointments and provide discounted rates on supplements. The cost of these fees is dependent on the naturopathic clinic and they can be charged weekly or monthly.
- Specialty Consultations: Some naturopathic physicians may charge extra fees for specialty consultations like fertility or infant consultations.
- House call fees: Naturopathic physicians that offer the option of house calls to their patients generally charge an additional fee for this service. In many cases, house calls will cost you an extra $20 - $50 on top of the standard consultation fee.
- Cost of Additional Tests: While initial consultation fees usually cover the costs of basic tests like blood and urine testing, your specific health-related issue may require you to take additional tests. These additional tests are typically not covered by your consultation fee and you will have to pay a separate fee for them.
- Cancellation/Missed Appointment Fees: Some naturopathic physicians have cancellation policies that include charging patients for missed appointments or late cancellations. These fees usually range between 10 50% of the cost of the missed or canceled appointment.
- Shipping/Courier Fees: If you wish to have supplements or other items from the naturopathic physician delivered to your home, office, or any other preferred location, then you will be required to pay a courier or shipping fee. Note that some naturopathic physicians may also charge a handling fee per package that is shipped in addition to this fee.
Some naturopathic physicians may inform you about these extra expenses when you contact them, while others may only do so after you have begun your consultations. You can avoid unpleasant surprises and misunderstandings with your naturopathic physician by finding out the exact services that will be covered by your initial consultation fee and inquiring about additional fees before finalizing any payment arrangements. It is also advisable to request a receipt or invoice for any payments that you make.
Who Will Do the Work?
While some naturopathic physicians own their practices, others may work for clinics and healthcare facilities that employ several healthcare professionals. Because naturopathy generally involves personalized care, it is important to know who exactly will be providing you with this treatment and to also build a rapport with them. If you reside in a state that regulates the practice of naturopathy, make sure that the naturopathic physician that you will be working with has met all the necessary licensing or registration requirements. Also make sure that this physician belongs to a professional association, regardless of whether or not your state of residence regulates naturopathy.
Once you have done this, it is a good idea to find out if the naturopathic physician specializes in an area of naturopathy that is relevant to your specific health-related needs. You should also request proof of certification in this particular area. Finally, ask questions like how your health issue will be diagnosed, the methods and techniques that will be used for your treatment, what to expect from your initial consultation, and how many subsequent appointments you may require.
What Qualifications Should a Naturopathic Physician Have?
Individuals that wish to become naturopathic physicians are required to complete three years of pre-medical educational training and earn a bachelor of science degree before undergoing a four-year program in an accredited naturopathic medical school. These four-year programs consist of a minimum of 4,100 hours of in-residence, hands-on classroom and clinical training. During this time, students are taught with a standard medical curriculum and are also trained in disciplines like homeopathic medicine, clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, acupuncture, physical medicine, counseling, and other holistic and non-toxic approaches to therapy with an emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. After completing the four-year program, these students must sit for and pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations before they can be referred to as naturopathic physicians. Some naturopathic physicians take further steps to demonstrate their professional competence by obtaining board certifications from organizations like the American Naturopathic Medical Certification Board and the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians.
Note that some states require licensing and registration for naturopathic physicians. In these states, naturopathic physicians are generally required to complete state-mandated continuing education annually. Also, many naturopathic physicians belong to professional associations like the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, the Pediatric Association of Naturopathic Physicians, and the Institute of Naturopathic Generative Medicine.
Will You Provide References?
Asking for references is always a good way to make sure that you select the most qualified professional when you have to see a naturopathic physician near you. Because naturopathic physicians are bound by a code of ethics that requires them to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of their patients, these professionals are generally unable to provide you details on past clients that can vouch for them. However, you can get referrals to good naturopathic physicians near you from reputable sources like your relatives and loved ones, close friends, trusted colleagues, and local professional naturopathic physician associations. It is advisable to look up these referred naturopathic physicians on third-party websites that allow interested parties to post personal reviews and testimonials on professionals that offer their services to members of the public. Examples of these types of websites include Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Google Review. It is also a good idea to contact your local naturopathic medicine regulatory authority or consumer protection agency to ensure that no official complaints or disciplinary actions have been taken against the naturopathic physician that you intend to see.
Quick Facts about Naturopathic Physicians
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Expert Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Naturopathic Physicians
Are Naturopathic Doctors Real Doctors? Do Naturopaths Go to Med School?
Yes, naturopathic physicians are real doctors and they undergo a four-year medical school program. Naturopathic physicians have similar diagnostic and assessment skills like most other medical doctors and they also receive similar levels of training. However, their approach to medicine and their methods of treatment differs from that of conventional medicine and these professionals typically treat their patients holistically rather than focusing on a specific symptom, disease, or diagnosis like most other medical doctors.
What Can Naturopathic Doctors Treat? What Can Naturopaths Diagnose?
Naturopathic physicians can diagnose and treat a broad range of acute and chronic health issues such as cardiovascular diseases, allergies, asthma, chronic pain, diabetes, digestive issues, fertility issues, menopause, respiratory conditions, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Who Should See a Naturopath?
You should see a naturopathic physician if you find yourself in any of the following situations:
- You want to treat the root cause of an illness or health issue and not just the symptoms
- You have chronic pain and you do not want to depend on pharmaceutical drugs to manage this pain
- You want to actively participate in managing your health
- You have exhausted all conventional medical options for the diagnosis and treatment of your health condition
- You want personalized healthcare
Which Is Best Naturopathy or Homeopathy?
While naturopathy and homeopathy are both forms of alternative and non-invasive treatment, homeopathy typically focuses solely on the use of natural remedies to treat illnesses while naturopathy utilizes different types of treatments and modalities, including homeopathic remedies. As such naturopathy is more encompassing than homeopathy and is generally a better option for the diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of health issues.
What Does Naturopathic Care Involve?
Naturopathic care generally involves a blend of holistic therapies and conventional treatment methods aimed at diagnosing, assessing, managing, and treating a broad range of health issues. This usually includes nutrition counseling, hydrotherapy, homeopathic treatment, botanical medicine, x-rays, and minor surgery. When providing naturopathic care, naturopathic physicians look out for the root causes of their patient's symptoms and any underlying imbalances to determine the necessary treatment and help these patients rebalance their bodies' natural healing process.
Do Naturopathic Doctors Prescribe Medication?
Licensed naturopathic physicians receive training as primary care providers and this includes rigorous education in pharmaceutical drugs. As such, they may legally prescribe medications to their patients per the laws and regulations of their states of practice. However, naturopathic physicians typically utilize natural and less invasive therapies that do not have strong side effect profiles before making use of prescription drugs.
Do Naturopathic Doctors Take Insurance?
Yes, some naturopathic physicians take insurance. However, you should always confirm this with the naturopathic physician that you intend to see. You should also contact your insurance provider to find out the extent of your coverage. In many cases, standard laboratory tests are covered by your insurance and you will likely get a partial reimbursement on your consultation and appointment fees at the very least.
How Do Licensed Naturopathic Doctors Address Seasonal Allergies?
Licensed naturopathic physicians address seasonal allergies by using methods and techniques that involve botanical medicine, therapeutic nutrition, and lifestyle modification to treat the underlying causes of the allergic reaction and support the body's innate healing capacity.
How Do Naturopathic Doctors Treat ADHD?
Naturopathic physicians treat ADHD through holistic methods that focus on treating the patient's mind, body, and spirit. These treatment methods are aimed at understanding how each patient experiences their ADHD symptoms and discovering these patients' individual limitations. Common naturopathic therapies used for the treatment of ADHD include diet and lifestyle changes, supplementation, botanical medicine, and behavioral therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
How Do Naturopathic Doctors Help People Manage Blood Pressure?
Naturopathic physicians help people manage their blood pressure by identifying the well-known causes and modifiable risk factors of high blood pressure like obesity and stress as well as the less examined causes of this condition like nutritional and mineral deficiencies.
Naturopathic physicians also help individuals that have been diagnosed with high blood pressure manage their condition by identifying the environmental, genetic, behavioral, and lifestyle factors that raise their blood pressure and addressing these issues through highly individualized therapies. These include exercise prescriptions, clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, behavioral medicine, and standard medication in some cases.