I have a lot of foreign friends coming from outside of The Netherlands to study or work here for an international company. Anyhow, often I get the question of how Physical Therapy in Holland works. For them and for you I will briefly explain what you have to do if you want to visit a physical therapist.
For a treatment of a physical therapist (PT) you don’t need an “verwijzing” from a doctor or a general practitioner. If you for instance have a sore neck or you straint your hamstrings during soccer, you can make an appointment with a PT directly. When, however, after an anamnese and a physical examination, the PT cannot explain the cause of your complains or needs/wants extra information about the complains, you might be sent (back) to your doctor or GP.
In Holland everybody must have a “zorgverzekering” (health insurance). In general there are two kinds of health insurance: Restitution (you can decide on which practioner you go) and natura. This is what they call “keuzevrijheid”. Following, you can also choose whether you only want a basic-insurance or an “aanvullende” (additional) insurance in case you think the basic one doens’t cover your needs. This additional insurance, in comparison to the basic insurance, is not obligated. The payment of the physical therapy treatment depends on the type of the insurance you have. You can find the details on the payments in your policy. With an restitution policy you can choose your own practioner (and also hospital or pharmancy). Although, you will have to pay the bill in advance, in most cases, you will be able to get (a part) of it back from your insurance later on.
You also should know that in Holland everybody has an “eigen risico” of 350 euros. This means that the first 350 euros you spend on healthcosts you will have to pay yourself. This doesn’t count for the treatments by GP and with some insurances you can still get physical therapy back. The best thing would be is to call your health insurance and ask them directly if they cover a PT treatment.
Different kinds of physical and manual therapy
A PT treats patients with all kind of complains. Like I mentioned before, if you have a sore neck after turning your head or if you, while playing a soccer game, suddenly got this cramp in your hamstrings, you can contact a PT. A PT then can use a wide range of sources to help you getting rid of your complains: For example with passive and active mobilisations, massage, taping, exercises and/or advice and information.
When your complains have a more bony cause, it’s to be adviced to go to a “manuele therapeut”. Manual therapy is a master study and the therapist has more knowledge about the bonyformation of the skeleton; just like a sport-PT knowing more about sport related injuries. Going further, there are also different forms of manual therapy which can be categorized in two: the one that is based on cracking and the one that doesn’t. At the moment I am studying for the latter one where with the help of subtle movements we learn to restore the axes of the joints. If you would like to be informed more on this subject, please do not hesitate to contact me.
I hope I was able to inform you enough about “fysiotherapie” in the Netherlands. Should you have any questions or remarks, please let me know. I wish you a great stay in Holland.
Robin van Rijgersma
0031 6 12 72 28 67