Maine's specialists in natural medicine.
The Maine Association of Naturopathic Doctors is the professional association for Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) who live and work in Maine.
Formed in the mid-1990s by a small group of trailblazers, the association now includes more than 35 licensed NDs. They are among more than 4,000 nationwide. This steady growth reflects a rising public interest in holistic treatments and natural methods of healthcare that are outside the scope of conventional medicine.
While NDs in Maine come from diverse backgrounds and specialize in different types of treatments for patients, they all share a common approach. Naturopathic Doctors seek to find and treat the underlying causes of illness, rather than simply managing symptoms. Here are some facts about MAND members:
Training and education. NDs in Maine must be graduates of accredited, doctoral-level naturopathic medical schools. This encompasses more than 4,000 hours of education and training, including the same Western medical sciences as MD's. Members must be licensed by the State of Maine.
Time with patients. NDs take extra time to listen, answer questions, and discuss options. An initial visit typically lasts one or two hours. Patients of ND's are full partners in their treatment, and are empowered to take control of their own wellbeing.
Natural solutions. Prescription drugs can be helpful. Too often, though, they suppress pain and other symptoms, while underlying causes are not addressed. This can lead to more health problems. NDs look for and treat root causes. They prefer natural methods and substances that support the body’s resources and have fewer side effects.
In Maine, the ND license assures the public that the holder meets high standards of education and ethics. NDs continue to earn the trust and collaboration of MDs, DOs and other healthcare providers throughout the state.
Frequently asked questions
What sets you apart from other types of doctors?
Naturopathic Doctors are distinguished by our unique approach to wellness. We seek to find and treat the underlying causes of illness, rather than simply managing symptoms. We respect and treat the whole person.
Are Naturopathic Doctors, NDs, real doctors?
No offense taken, we get this question a lot! Yes, we’re real doctors. To practice in Maine, NDs must be graduates of one of four in-residence, doctoral-level naturopathic medical schools accredited by the U.S. Department of Education. Graduates of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine are also eligible. These schools require more than 4,000 hours of education and training. We are educated in the same basic Western medical sciences as MDs, including physiology, microbiology, immunology, gastroenterology, obstetrics, and more, as well as areas specific to Naturopathic Medicine.
What are some of the common treatment methods used by NDs?
Some NDs in Maine have general practices, while others specialize in one or two areas of Naturopathic Medicine. Though we practice in different ways, common tools of the profession include clinical nutrition, supplemental nutrients, botanical medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture, and health counseling.
Are NDs licensed and regulated in the state of Maine?
Yes. NDs have been licensed since 1996 to practice Naturopathic Medicine by the State of Maine’s Complementary Health Care Providers Board. We must pass rigorous professional board exams before we are eligible to be licensed.
If I choose to see an ND, do I have to give up my other doctor (MD or DO)?
Absolutely not. You can continue to see any doctor of your choosing, while also receiving care from an ND. In Maine, many families are seeing Medical Doctors, Naturopathic Doctors, and other providers such as Chiropractors and Licensed Massage Therapists, depending on their individual needs. This is the new model of integrative medicine, as consumers and providers are realizing the benefits of both natural and conventional care.
Will you refer me to a conventional doctor if necessary?
Yes. NDs in Maine refer patients to Medical Doctors, surgeons, specialists and emergency services when they are best suited for the task at hand. On the flip side, MDs, DOs, and others often refer patients to us for a variety of reasons.
Do NDs use modern diagnostic tools?
Yes. NDs often use technology such as medical imaging (Ultrasound, MRI, X-Ray), blood work and other laboratory testing to diagnose health problems. We are also able to prescribe some conventional medications, such as antibiotics and hormones, when they are necessary or indicated, although we prefer to use other methods that support the body’s resources and have fewer side effects.
Some NDs also offer advanced testing for food allergies, hormone imbalance, imbalances in the gastrointestinal tract, Lyme disease, genetic mutations, and other underlying causes of chronic illness.
Will my insurance company cover services offered by NDs in Maine?
We are working toward full and fair insurance coverage for our patients. Here’s the great news: The federal Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to cover services from licensed healthcare providers, including NDs in Maine, and we are seeing progress on that front. Maine Community Health Options, Anthem BlueCross, and Cigna all have Naturopathic Doctors in-network. However, this doesn’t mean that all NDs choose to be in-network, so please ask your local provider if you intend to use insurance.
Here’s the not-so-great news: Many insurance companies have been slow to comply, and some have not complied at all, including Harvard Pilgrim and Aetna.
Here’s what you can do: Ask your insurance company if office visits and other services from a licensed Naturopathic Doctor are covered. If the answer is no, you can register a complaint. Tell them federal law supports your right to choose healthcare providers. You can also get a billing summary from your ND, and send it to your insurance company with a request for reimbursement. NDs in Maine recognize that many of our patients pay out of pocket, so we strive to keep our services affordable and to offer individualized payment plans that suit the needs of your family.
How much time can I expect to spend with an ND?
Extra time spent with patients is one of the hallmarks of Naturopathic Doctors. This reflects our belief that health is a product of physical, emotional, environmental, and other factors. In order to understand those factors and to create an individualized plan, good communication and plenty of face time are essential. An initial visit might last an hour or more, and follow-up visits usually last between 30 and 60 minutes.
How many NDs practice in Maine, and around the country?
There are more than 35 Naturopathic Doctors living and practicing in Maine. Nationwide, there are an estimated 4,400 licensed NDs, according to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Naturopathic Doctors are currently licensed in 17 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and five Canadian provinces.
Why do people in Maine seek treatment from NDs?
People see NDs for a wide variety of reasons. Many individuals and families work with NDs for their general healthcare needs. Others have turned to NDs when their symptoms and health issues have not had improvement with conventional healthcare and pharmaceuticals. Many people like the collaborative approach of working with a Naturopathic Doctor to optimize their health and improve the quality of their life.
Women’s health, hormone balance, gastroenterological issues, fatigue, endocrinological issues, asthma, allergies, Lyme disease, and many more health concerns bring people to our practices. We believe Naturopathic Medicine is on the rise in Maine, in part, because of the culture of our state. Mainers are generally independent, free-thinking, and tend to use what works, regardless of what others might say.
Is Naturopathic Medicine based on scientific evidence?
Naturopathic Doctors increasingly embrace evidence-based medicine, while recognizing there is much about the human mind, body, and spirit that remains beyond the understanding of scientists. We also consider the fact that over time, the best medical practices as supported by science are often later viewed as ineffective, or even harmful, to health. Today’s NDs strike a balance between respect for the healing power of nature — much of which science has yet to be able to fully understand or measure — and the best available research in our fields.
Is there a difference between Naturopathic Doctors and “Naturopaths”?
These terms are often used interchangeably. Some NDs also refer to themselves as Naturopaths. Under Maine Law, if a practitioner is using the title “ND” or “Naturopath”, he or she must be fully licensed as a Naturopathic Doctor. Practitioners without the proper training are not allowed to use these titles. Consumers should always check the credentials of anyone offering healthcare services.