What is a Naturopath?
So what exactly is a Naturopath and how can they help me?
Well to answer that question I will first tell you about the different qualifications that Naturopaths can have. Some have a diploma which is completed through external study and then short placements each year in a working clinic. Others, like myself, have completed a Bachelor of Health Science Degree in Naturopathy. This degree is 4 years full time with the initial 2 years very similar to any other medical degree. Any Naturopath with a degree would have completed units in biology, anatomy, chemistry, biochemistry, clinical pathology, pharmacology, psychology, counselling, nutrition, dietary planning, nutritional physiology, analytical research, diagnostics, clinical examination as a start. We then also have to learn core naturopathic units such as plant botany, herbal materia medica, clinical herbal medicine, clinical nutritional medicine, herbal pharmacology, iridology, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, history of traditional medicines, business planning to name a few! In the final 18 months we are also working as naturopaths in a teaching clinic in the city as we are required to have 650 hours of clinical placement before graduating.
We use our knowledge of the human body in a holistic way. Looking at how each system (gastrointestinal, immune, nervous, hepatic, reproductive etc) interacts with the other and what are the possible causes of any signs and symptoms you may be experiencing. It is not a quick fix (although it can be quite simple), it is not just giving symptomatic relief (although we often will) and we do not diagnose conditions. What we do is offer minimal intervention techniques to help the body heal itself and restore balance. These interventions include dietary planning with specific therapeutic diets, nutritional advice, herbal remedies, therapeutic doses of nutritional supplements, exercise advice and lifestyle recommendations including advice for your mental wellbeing as well as physical wellbeing. We spend time listening to your health concern, we then research your individual case and present you with a well thought out treatment plan of how we are going to address your issue and return you to optimal health. We happily work in conjunction with your primary practitioner (doctors, specialists, etc) and are aware of pharmacological interactions and risks.
A visit with a Naturopath is the start of a journey which will be educational, enlightening and empowering. It can be a slower process but has long lasting results by addressing the underlying drivers of dis-ease within the body.
Always ensure that your Naturopath is registered with an association as this means they will have strict guidelines to follow in regards to continuing practitioner education, insurances and policy and procedures.
Now you know how a Naturopath is trained, what they do and hopefully you will make an informed decision in regards to you own health.