I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve been at a party, my child’s playgroup or a friend’s wedding and the inevitable question comes… “so, what do you do?” The most common response I seem to get is a blank look and a vague …”ok”, quickly followed by a change of subject. Of course this isn’t always the case, but often it is as many people don’t really know what a Naturopath does and seem too afraid to ask, so I thought it was about time that I wrote something to explain exactly what I do.

First things first….a little introduction to Naturopathy.

The term Naturopathy is relatively new. It was coined in the late 1800’s as a term to describe a system of medicine that followed the philosophies below. These philosophies were based on the principles and philosophies of Hippocrates, the Greek physician who has incurred the title of ‘The father of Medicine’.

A Naturopath is someone who practices this system of medicine. Naturopathy is considered a Complementary medicine, meaning that it works side by side with conventional medicine. Modern Naturopaths undergo extensive training in health sciences as well as both scientific and traditional understandings of Nutrition and plant medicines (Herbal medicines).

A Naturopath who has undergone appropriate training through an accredited college or University should be registered with an industry governing body. This is important to make sure that your practitioner is appropriately trained to advise you on your health needs.

Naturopathy incorporates Nutrition, Lifestyle Counselling and Herbal Medicine based on thorough health assessments. It may also include other modalities such as Massage, Homoepathy or Counselling for those with specialist training in these areas.

Every Naturopath may work slightly differently but the foundation for every Naturopathic treatment is based around the following philosophies….

  • The Healing power of Nature

The body knows how to heal, it just needs the right environment and resources to support those inbuilt healing processes. The aim of the Naturopath is to provide the body with everything it needs to return to balance.

  • Identify and treat the causes

There are times when relief of symptoms is required however our main aim is to get to the root cause of the problem so that symptoms can be alleviated for good where possible.

  • First Do no Harm

Naturopaths, like all health care professionals, have a duty of care to their patients to only use medicines and therapies that are non-toxic and beneficial to the client. Naturopaths aim to use medicines and therapies that are as gentle and close to nature as possible. This means starting with dietary and lifestyle changes and using herbs and nutrients as indicated for extra support. More aggressive therapies are considered a last resort.

Important note: this is not to imply that all nutritional and herbal supplements are completely safe for everyone at every time. It is important to seek guidance on natural products from a trained professional to check on interactions, dosage, quality of product etc. in order to ensure safety and benefit.

  • Naturopath as teacher

Part of a Naturopaths role is to empower people to take responsibility for their own health. Ultimately our aim is to educate our clients to know their bodies better and feel confident in making choices for their well-being.

  • Treat the whole person

A Naturopath takes a holistic approach to a person’s health. Addressing all areas of health and life is important for achieving the best results. We understand that every body part and system doesn’t work in isolation but effects many other areas of the body. We also recognise that there are many external influences that heavily impact our health. Stress, lifestyle, diet, social networks all have a part to play when addressing health issues.

  • Prevention

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘prevention is better than cure’. Well that’s what we’re all about. Not everyone who comes to see me as a Naturopath is really ill (although many are). Some come wanting to learn how they can reduce their risk of ending up with many of the ailments they have seen their family members suffer through and make sure they have the best quality of life as they age. It’s all about setting you and your family up for a healthy and happy future.

Why would I want to see a Naturopath?

So glad you asked. There are many reasons why seeing a Naturopath is beneficial. Below are some of the main reasons.

  • Get clarification on the plethora of health information available

With our ever increasing access to information on health and natural medicines it quickly becomes overwhelming and stressful trying to decipher the good, the bad and the unnecessary. Your Naturopath can give you reliable information about your health, diet and natural products.

  • Get advice specific for your needs

We recognise that you are an individual with different circumstances and motivations to the last client. This is why we aim to build treatments specific for your needs. After all what is healthy and beneficial for one person may not be healthy for you.

  • Be confident that any supplements you are taking are beneficial and Safe

Many clients come to me having already spent hundreds of dollars self-prescribing supplements that they aren’t even sure are good for them. Your Naturopath can give you their expert advice on what supplements (most appropriate ingredients, doses and quality brands) may be of benefit to you and explain any cautions that might be relevant when taking that product. This will not only give you the peace of mind that your supplements are safe for you, but will also save you from wasting money buying products that have no benefit.

  • Learn about your body and how to look after it

Be empowered to look after yourself well into old age. Learning more about how your body works and what it needs gives you the tools to take responsibility for your own health and well-being.

  • Keep motivated and stay accountable

We’ve all had times in our lives when we’ve decided now is the time for a health kick. I’m going to start exercising, eating right, cutting back on the beers, but generally these health kicks are short-lived unless we have the necessary support. Research has shown that people undertaking health programs are significantly more successful if they have some sort of ongoing support throughout. A Naturopath can help keep you accountable and stay motivated by monitoring your progress so you can see the improvements you are making. We guide you through challenges that might otherwise prevent you from reaching your health goals.

  • More vitality, less sickness!

I could go on for hours about the benefits of using diet and lifestyle interventions and herbal medicines to improve a range of health conditions. From just wanting a bit more energy, to hormonal complaints to long-term chronic illnesses, there aren’t many areas that can’t gain improvement from the right Naturopathic treatments.

To find out more specifically the types of health complaints frequently addressed at our clinic, follow this link.