Some readers may have a strong reaction to this question.
Are naturopaths a waste of money?
This question is likely to arouse a strong response. On both sides.
Because I’m going to tell the truth.
I am uniquely qualified to write about seeing a naturopath.
That’s because I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on these practitioners, who offer a more holistic form of healing.
If you see a naturopath, be prepared to pay out of pocket.
That’s because insurance coverage is poor. Your health plan may not pay for consultations, or the many expensive tests you are likely to “need.”
Naturopaths are doctors. They don’t prescribe drugs. Instead they try to harness the body’s natural ability to heal.
Some medical doctors known as integrative physicians practice a similar form of medicine. Integrative physicians have the initials MD after their names, and they sometimes take insurance.
Both types of doctors are often referred to as “naturopaths.”
The problem is that both types of doctors are hard to find. Especially outside of major metropolitan areas.
However, some naturopaths may prefer to live in a more rural area. So you can find them in small towns as well.
Are Naturopaths A Waste Of Money?
But here’s one thing I’ve found.
Skill level varies. Greatly.
Our family members have seen a number of naturopaths. We spent tens of thousands of dollars.
Only one of them I believe was worth it.
This practitioner was very skilled. In herbs, as well as in homeopathy.
She prescribed a number of homeopathic remedies that helped. This is what made her valuable.
She didn’t go for a lot of testing. I was able to see results in just one or two visits. Each visit was less than $300 out of pocket.
(I forget how many times I saw this practitioner myself, because another family member also saw her.)
However, I believe it was primarily the well selected homeopathic remedies that made a big impact.
Unless a naturopath has skill in this or another type of energy medicine, I don’t think the average person needs to see a naturopath.
Because you may be able to get similar results working with your regular doctor. Especially if he or she has a more natural mindset.
Thanks to the Internet, you can do your own research. Then you can share your findings with your regular doctor. (These visits will be covered by insurance.)
There’s so much information available. Much of the dietary advice and lifestyle changes will probably be the same. No matter which naturopath you see.
If it were me this is what I’d do. Then I’d spend whatever out-of-pocket money I had on energy medicine – homeopathy, acupuncture or good chiropractic care.
You’ll most likely spend much less money on energy medicine than you would seeing a naturopath.
Pros And Cons of Naturopathy
There are definite pros and cons to seeing a naturopath. But first I’ll discuss the positive aspects.
Because I do have great respect for practitioners who aren’t wedded to the pharmaceutical industry.
So here we go with the positives:
- Naturopaths receive infinitely more training in nutrition, compared to regular MD’s. Naturopaths will recommend specific dietary changes and support you as you try to change your diet. Conventional doctors, on the other hand, often overlook the connection between diet and disease. This is why you’ll see soda being served to hospital patients. I think this is partly because conventional medicine relies so much upon drugs and surgery.
- Naturopaths seek to heal without drugs. Western medicine is based upon drugs. Research is often geared toward bringing new drugs to market. People often take multiple drugs, forgetting that each one can have side effects. Some of them serious.
- A naturopath will support your desire for natural healing.
- Some naturopaths may be highly skilled in certain types of energy medicine.
- A few states now mandate that naturopaths be allowed to practice medicine alongside regular doctors. If I lived in such a state, my primary care physician would be a naturopath.
Okay, here is the downside of seeing a naturopath:
- Cost is an issue. Insurance coverage is very poor if the doctor has the initials ND after his or her name. This stands for Doctor of Naturopathy. So you will end up paying out of pocket. Costs could run into the thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.
- Office visits are expensive. You will likely get more personalized attention during the initial consultation, compared to a regular insurance covered office visit. I researched the price of an initial ND consultation for an earlier post. I found it averaged from between $250 to $400. I did a little calling around to a highly regarded naturopath in my region. The initial visit was $600. Some of the recommended treatments would cost $1,000 to $1,500.
- Lack of standardization. There appears to be little standardization of tests and recommendations, compared to more mainstream medicine. This is good and bad at the same time. It allows naturopaths to think outside the box. (Believe me, if I had a “terminal” illness I’d want someone to think outside the box.) It also allows unscrupulous practitioners to run up the bill on questionable tests and treatments.
- Skill level varies. This is true of any doctor. But when choosing a naturopath you do need to shop around. If you spend all of your money on useless treatments you won’t have any left over to spend on something that might help you.
- It’s hard to find a naturopath. It really is. You may need to travel out of your area. Depending upon your need this may require a plane trip.
- Long waiting lists. Lengthy waits for appointments may happen because of a scarcity of practitioners. (However, having a full practice is also a sign of patient approval.)
Should I See A Naturopath?
Everyone is different. Even though I suffer from chronic nerve inflammation I don’t feel the need to see a naturopath.
I’d much rather spend my money on healthy organic food and natural remedies.
Plus energy medicine when needed.
But would it be worth it to see a competent naturopath if I had a serious illness, which mainstream medicine couldn’t help?
You bet I would.
Healing Chronic Pain Naturally
By the time my chronic pain hit hard, I was very well acquainted with natural medicine.
I had worked with a homeopath in the past and I knew what homeopathy could do.
During my healing process, I saw two excellent homeopaths. I can’t even begin to tell you how much they helped.
I did a form of acupuncture and also saw a good chiropractor when the pain flared.
But I didn’t spend thousands and thousands of dollars seeing a naturopath.
Because I didn’t feel the need to go broke. (A life-threatening condition would be a different story though and I would gladly pay money to a practitioner who could help me get better.)
Natural healthcare is great. Paying for it is not.
That’s one of the reasons I designed a very inexpensive and easy-to-follow online course for healthcare consumers. The modules will teach you how to work with your own doctor, so you can enjoy natural healthcare paid for by your insurance company.
I firmly believe most doctors want to help their patients get better. Click on the image below for more information.