Updated: Aug 7
As a Naturopathic Doctor, insurance companies do not want to work with me and others in my profession. This makes it difficult for prospective patients to justify the out-of-pocket costs of working with me. Read on to see why working with a Naturopathic or Functional medicine doctor will be the best investment you can make in your life.
What does a Naturopathic Doctor do?*
Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) are trained to be primary care, general practitioners. We are experts in preventing, diagnosing, managing, and treating acute and chronic health conditions.
NDs are trained in four-year accredited, post-graduate naturopathic medical programs. The training consists of an intense and comprehensive study of conventional medical sciences (anatomy, physiology, pathology, microbiology, immunology, lab diagnosis, gynecology, cardiology, gastroenterology, pharmacology, etc) and natural therapies (botanical medicine, homeopathy, nutritional supplementation, IV and injectable therapy, etc).
NDs use a combination of natural and non-invasive therapies (nutrition, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, botanical medicine, counseling, etc) to provide healing to their patients. NDs often work within an integrated structure to complement treatments used by conventionally trained medical doctors.
6 Principles of Naturopathic Medicine:
Do no harm
The healing power of nature
Find the root cause
Treat the whole person
Doctor as teacher
These principles guide NDs to provide patient-centered care. As teachers (principle #6), NDs are adept at providing all the information about treatments available to the patients. This patient-centered approach allows the patient to be fully informed about all the appropriate treatments for their needs.
What is the difference between a naturopath and a Naturopathic Doctor?
One of the most frequently asked questions is: What is the difference between a naturopath and Naturopathic Doctor? Aren't they the same?
The short answer is: No, they are not the same thing, although the terms are often interchanged.
Naturopaths are not physicians or doctors. They study from unaccredited online programs in the subjects like holistic health, natural medicine, and medical traditions. Though the subjects may provide amazing knowledge, the curriculum does not lead to a medical degree or a state license to practice medicine. Naturopaths are also not qualified to diagnose, order lab tests, prescribe medications, and treat patients. They have avoided the rigors of medical school and the requirement of passing state board and licensing exams. Naturopaths are also not required to have continuing education hours every 2 years to keep up with the latest research in medicine. There is also no governing body to ensure the safety of patients who seek treatment from naturopaths.
Naturopathic Doctors (like me! 🙋🏻♀️) went through an extensive 4-year naturopathic medical program from one of the 5 accredited Naturopathic Medical schools in North America. The 4-year program consists of 2 years of didactic learning in basic sciences and 2 years of clinical rotations. NDs learn to integrate conventional medicine with more natural, disease prevention approaches. NDs take a board exam (NPLEX I), usually between their 2nd and 3rd years of medical school, and a licensing exam (NPLEX II) upon graduation. And like their MD and DO counterparts, NDs can diagnose, prescribe, treat, and specialize! Naturopathic Doctors are also kept in check by state and national governing bodies to ensure the safety of patients.
Great! I know all about Naturopathic Doctors, but how is seeing one an investment in my health when I have insurance to pay for my doctor and hospital visits?
With Money Comes Control
Insurance companies approve or deny testing and treatment. Because insurance companies are more versed in conventional courses of health, they will rarely approve the functional medicine testing necessary to get to the root causes of symptoms and disease. For example, full thyroid panels that go beyond just testing TSH levels will likely be denied and deemed unnecessary. Functional and Naturopathic testing is more in-depth and comprehensive than any testing you may get from your conventionally trained primary care doctor.
Foregoing insurance company approval for these tests will save you time in trying to find out what is going on with you and it will save you money in the long term because you will not be subjected to unnecessary costly treatments.
Preventative Medicine is Key
Naturopathic principles #5 and #6 embody the preventative nature of Naturopathic Medicine. NDs are trained in teaching and empowering their patients. By teaching patients the basics of health, patients can easily make healthy choices to set themselves up for a healthier future.
Conversely, according to the CDC, life expectancy in the United States has dropped for the second year in a row in 2021. The cited statistic states that COVID-19 accounts for 16% of the decline, while other contributors include chronic liver disease and heart disease. Obesity has also steadily increased in the United States since the 1960s and is the greatest contributor to chronic disease in the United States.
Clearly, the rising costs of medical care in the United States do not directly correlate to improved health-- the statistics show the complete opposite. Therefore, it is worth a venture outside of the conventional medical system to seek a healthier lifestyle.
By investing in Naturopathic and functional medicine today, you will prevent very costly hospital bills in the future.
*It is important to note that some patients with HSA and FSA accounts can receive a small reimbursement from their insurance companies by submitting superbills given to them by their NDs and functional testing lab companies.*
Let's make 2023 your healthiest year yet!
If you’d like to work with me and get a more in-depth look at your hormones, cycle, and overall health, call Olympus Movement Performance at 760.216.6047 in Vista, CA, or The Adapt Lab clinic at 858.209.2400 in Solana Beach, CA to make an appointment. I look forward to helping you get your health back on track!
*Disclaimer: Although I am a doctor, I may not be your doctor. The information contained within the pages of this site is for educational purposes only and should not be used to treat conditions. Please consult with your doctor before implementing any of the treatments, diets, supplements, etc. mentioned in this blog.*
*Dr. Francesca is an affiliate for Amazon and other companies. Some links contained within the blog posts may be affiliate links from which she receives a small commission at no extra cost to the customer.*