Answers to commonly asked questions.
Naturopathic Medicine is another title for what you may call Alternative or Complementary Medicine. It is a profession of health care which emphasizes prevention, treatment and the promotion of optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and modalities which address the whole person and the body’s inherent healing abilities. The principles of Naturopathic Medicine focus on identifying and treating the cause of an illness, rather than eliminating or suppressing symptoms. Therapeutic modalities which cause harmful side effects are avoided and the least force necessary is used to diagnose and treat an illness.
A Naturopathic doctor is a doctor who is an expert in complementary medicines such as herbal medicine, nutritional science, naturopathic physical medicine, environmental medicine and homeopathy.
There is a lot of scientific evidence to support the use of herbal medicine as well as nutritional medicine and homeopathy. The National Library of Medicine, in fact, has a medical research database called PubMed which, as of December 2003, contains over 700 and 3500 positive, peer-review, double blind placebo-controlled studies on herbal medicines and nutritional supplements, respectively. A large review article in the prestigious journal Lancet in 1997 even concluded that effects of homeopathy were not completely due to a placebo effect after researchers analyzed 89 randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials. Results of these studies are taught throughout the 4 years of naturopathic medical schools and are integrated into the curriculum.
Most medical doctors are not familiar with the research on naturopathic medicine because they receive very little training about it in medical school. After they graduate, they are often too busy to go the library and look up the research. Most of their new knowledge comes from drug reps and a few journals to which they may subscribe.
Naturopathic medicines are very safe if used under the proper supervision of a licensed naturopathic doctor who is well trained in both traditional applications and scientific literature. Many adverse effects from dietary supplements occur in people who are treating themselves or in people seeing unqualified healthcare practitioners. Adverse effects often occur in people, for example, who are taking more than the recommended amount or who are on a drug or have a condition which negatively interacts with a dietary supplement. A naturopathic doctor from a 4-year accredited naturopathic medical school has had extensive training in prescribing dietary supplements and knows how to properly monitor a patient for any adverse effects.
Naturopathic doctors are experts in complementary medicines and medical doctors are experts in drug therapy and surgery. Both attend a 4-year medical school after completing a bachelors degree and premed requirements. Naturopathic medical schools, however, focus a great deal more on nutrition, herbal medicine, physical medicine and homeopathy than conventional medical schools. In fact, most conventional medical schools offer no more than one or two introductory classes in alternative medicines. The methods which a naturopath uses is different from a medical doctor. Therefore, there is a professional need for naturopaths. Both however, can work very well in a collaborative practice because both are trained in western medicine and both use scientific research to support their clinical practices.
Our Naturopathic Doctors are Primary Care Providers (PCP’s) with most major insurance companies. Individual plans and coverage vary from company to company so it is best to check with your insurance plan to verify coverage.
Plans We Accept: Regence, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Lifewise, Premera Blue Cross, First Choice, Group Health, Aetna and Cigna.
Uninsured Patients: We believe that Naturopathic Healthcare should be accessible by all and offer a payment at the time of service discount. We also offer payment plan options if necessary.
Covered and Non-Covered Services: While most visits are covered for existing health concerns, we cannot bill for weight loss and certain lab tests. Most insurance plans allow for one complete screening exam per year including lab work.
Supplements/Natural Remedies: Supplements and natural medicines are not covered by insurance. We do accept health savings accounts and are able to supply all necessary documentation for reimbursement.