Nearly one million Dutch use alternative healers

Close to one million people in the Netherlands made use of an alternative practitioner between 2010 and 2012, or around 6 per cent of the population.

According to a study by the Dutch national statistics agency CBS, education, gender, age and insurance coverage play a role in determining an individual’s choice in medical care.

Women aged 30-65 most-common users

Clear patterns exist when it comes to the demographic breakdown of alternative medicine use in the Netherlands. Women were twice as likely as men to consult an alternative healer.

Most people who used an alternative practitioner fell within the 30 to 65 age bracket, but this use dropped off rapidly among those older than 65. People over age of 75 were the least likely to seek non-conventional treatment.

Furthermore, 63 per cent of those consulting alternative healers suffer from a chronic condition. However, while many people in the Netherlands rely on some form of non-conventional healing, more than half of these people also visit a specialist in addition to the alternative practitioner.

Overall, people in the Netherlands reported a high level of satisfaction in regards to their interaction with an alternative healer. Between 2010 and 2012, alternative healers were graded a satisfaction score of 8,1, compared to 7,8 for specialists and 7,7 for general practitioners.

Education and insurance also factors

Education levels and insurance plans also affected an individual’s tendency to consult an alternative healer.

More Dutch people with a college or university diploma sought alternative treatment in comparison to those with a lower level of education.

In addition, most people treated held some level of supplementary insurance. Only three per cent of those with basic insurance turned to non-conventional healing methods.

Acupuncture most popular choice

Acupuncture was the most common form of alternative healing, accounting for approximately one quarter of the undertaken treatments.

Receiving 22 per cent of the visits, homeopaths were also a popular option, as were chiropractors and osteopaths. While some people in the Netherlands turned to anthroposophy, herbal medicine and prayer healing for help, these were less common choices.

However, it is becoming more and more accepted for general practitioners to incorporate non-conventional medicine into their prescribed regimens. Some clinics offer acupuncture, or may recommend a specific homeopathic remedy for an ailment. Residents of the Netherlands can check with their general practitioner to see if he or she offers these options.

Source: CBS

Ellen Keith


Ellen Keith

A Canadian with Dutch roots, Ellen has had half her heart in the Netherlands since the day she was born. After years of visits and studying abroad, she finally made...

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