Naturopathy focuses on the body's ability to heal and maintain its health. It uses a holistic approach to healthcare incorporating nutrition, dietetics, herbal medicine and massage, to help the body heal itself
Naturopathy emphasises the importance of diet, exercise and stress management, and as such, its real benefit lies in its potential to prevent disease and illness. It is covered by health funds under extras cover.
Anyone can benefit from naturopathy. The principles of naturopathy are ideal in maintaining health and wellness, and can assist those who are healthy by providing beneficial advice on nutrition and exercise.
As an additional therapy to conventional medicine, naturopathy can benefit those who are sick by looking at and attempting to correct the underlying causes of the illness, rather than just treating the symptoms.
Some of the common conditions treated by naturopaths include:
On your first consultation, your naturopath will discuss your current health and your past medical history, and may assess your diet, exercise and activity levels. Based on these discussions and your health goals, your naturopath will tailor a treatment program to suit your needs. This can involve a modification to your diet, prescribing herbal remedies and the introduction of exercise and stress management techniques.
When choosing a naturopath, be sure to check for qualifications and membership to a professional body, such as the Australian Natural Therapists Association. Currently, there is no law in Australia that governs or registers who can use the term 'naturopath', meaning anyone can legally call themselves a naturopath.
Like other extras features, you must be covered for naturopathy under your health insurance plan if you wish to claim benefits for treatment. It is also important to check that your health fund will pay benefits for your treatment with your chosen naturopath.
If the practitioner you wish to see is registered with your health fund, you will be able to claim your benefits on the spot using your health fund membership card. Your practitioner will receive your benefits directly from the health fund, and all you need to do is pay the difference.
If you are required to serve waiting periods, they must be completed before your claim is valid. Usually naturopathy only has a 2 month wait, which may be waived in the form of a special offer from the health fund, or if you switch from another health cover that also included naturopathy benefits.
Health funds generally require that practitioners are not related to you, in order for your claim to be eligible.
The amount that your health fund will pay depends on the level of cover you have with them. Health funds will pay a capped benefit for each visit (either a dollar amount or percentage of the cost), and these are combined together to create the maximum claimable amount in any 12 month period. That amount may be higher on a more expensive health cover plan, and lower on a more basic plan.
Please note: This information is provided as a general guide only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice provided by a medical professional or your health fund. We highly recommend you consult a doctor if you are concerned about your health, and speak with your health fund for specific health insurance-related queries.