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Medical Tourism: Naturopathy (History, Costs and More)

Updated on October 30, 2012

Medical tourism is an increasingly popular practice. People leave their home country to get medical care. Sometimes they do this because higher-quality care can be received in another country. However, it is also common for people to go to get care in another country because it is less expensive. Even with the cost of travel, the low price of health care in some areas makes it possible to receive treatments at a fraction of the cost of what they would be. Because of this, it is common for people from high-priced countries in Europe and North America to get medical care from doctors in countries located in South America and parts of Asia.

Interestingly, naturopathy is an area of medicine that has become more and more popular for people who are interested in medical tourism. Naturopathy is an alternative healing option for people who are interested in a holistic approach to bettering their health. It is something that is widely available in America and Europe. However, it is also widely practiced in places like India and has been practiced in those places for many, many years. Medical tourism allows Western patients to take advantage of the long history that these countries have with naturopathic medicine while also getting a better price on meeting their health care needs.

Understanding Naturopathy

Naturopathy is a form of medicine through which you and your doctor work together to balance the body. Naturopathic doctors believe that the body is a self-healing tool which has the power to take care of itself when it is treated properly. This is a holistic form of medicine which looks at diet, stress, exercise, habits and health problems to determine what is wrong with the patient. Nutritional changes, new exercises, body work, energy work and healing with herbs and other natural medicines are all commonly used together to balance out the body and encourage healing. The patient is looked at as an individual who is also a key tool in improving his or her own health.

Why Westerners are Interested in Naturopathy

This method of healing is appealing to many Westerners for a variety of different reasons. Those reasons include:

·      The holistic approach to wellbeing. People today realize that simply popping a pill or having an invasive surgery might not solve the underlying health problems that caused their conditions to occur. They like the idea of a holistic approach to medicine which creates real lifestyle changes for them and allows them to have better overall health in the years to come.

·      The patient-centered approach is a relief. The world of Western medicine is often very automated. The doctor tells you what to do based on his years of education and experience and you do it. This is not the way that it is with naturopathy. Although the doctor serves as a well-educated guide, the patient’s individual needs, concerns and instincts are taken into deep consideration as part of the healing process. This is very empowering and can be healing in and of itself.

·      Natural medicine may be less painful than traditional Western medicine. These cures are based on items found in nature and are combined with treatments such as acupuncture or massage therapy. This tends to be gentler on the body and to have fewer side effects than many of the forms of medicine that are recommended by traditional medical doctors.

Reasons for Naturopathic Medical Tourism

Isn’t it possible for the people who are interested in naturopathic healing to get treatment in their home countries? Of course it is. European and American cities are filled with doctors who have been trained in and are practicing naturopathic medicine. Nevertheless, there are some people who remain highly interested in medical tourism for this type of treatment. Here are some of the reasons why that may be:

·      Naturopathy can be expensive. In spite of the fact that this is an alternative form of healing that requires less invasive procedures and less costly medications, naturopathy does cost some money. Unfortunately, most of the cures are not covered by health insurance since they’re considered “alternative”. This means that the treatments can be too expensive for some people. Medical tourism offers a chance to receive these same treatments at a fraction of the cost.

·      Long history of naturopathy in some areas. Some people want to go to the places where naturopathy has been used for a long time because they believe that this long history is going to allow them to get better care. This may or may not be true. What is true, however, is that they are likely to find that others in these places are more accepting of their use of naturopathic medicine than some of their friends and family members back home may be. That support can be very helpful when undergoing any form of medical treatment.

·      Travel itself can be relaxing. Some people choose medical tourism because it gives them a chance to travel. They get to relax and focus on healing themselves. This self-care is a big part of naturopathic medicine and could contribute to the desire to travel to other parts of the world to receive health care.

Where to go for Naturopathic Medical Tourism

The most common place that patients travel when they are seeking naturopathic cures is India. India has a long history of naturopathy and is an inexpensive, interesting place to travel. Kerala is a particular popular destination in India for this form of treatment but other areas are popular as well. In addition to India, medical tourism for naturopathy is popular in Vietnam and the Phillippines.

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