According to a recent study of 18 major HMOs and insurance providers, 14 offered at least 11 of 34 alternative therapies or natural healing methods. Of the most frequently covered natural healing methods, acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy and herbal remedies are the most popular.
Even with an increase in insurance coverage for some natural healing methods, the general public is still undereducated about the benefits of incorporating natural healing methods into their normal healthcare regimens.
By definition, natural healing methods or complementary and alternative medicine, as they are known by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), are a group of diverse medical and healthcare systems, practices and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine.
On most occasions, natural healing methods are used in conjunction with conventional medicine. For instance, aromatherapy might be used after surgery to aid in recovery. Natural healing methods can also be used instead of conventional medicine, such as using herbal remedies to treat illness rather than prescription drugs.
Due to the increase in popularity of natural healing methods, many schools have opened to train natural healing practitioners. Programs in natural healing methods, like the ones offered at Orange County’s Academy of Natural Healing, focus on various techniques ranging from spa therapy, which includes massage, stone therapy and aromatherapy, to holistic health practices, which focus on holistic healing of the body, and herbal studies, which promotes herbal remedies for common ailments.
As these natural healing methods are proven to be safe and effective, they are adopted into conventional medicine, and new healing methods emerge. Such was the case with chiropractic, and now acupuncture. Americans’ are seeking out these alternative or natural healing methods as they strive to live healthier lives. It is only a matter of time before insurance companies pick up on the popularity of such practices and begin to offer coverage.