Naturopathic Health Care
Naturopathy is a system of healthcare with a deep history of traditional philosophies and practices, medically trained practitioners and a breadth of natural treatment options to serve patients. (World Naturopathic Federation)
Why use a Naturopath?
Considered the “natural health physician”, a naturopath specialises in providing support for acute and chronic health conditions from a holistic perspective.
Properly trained naturopaths focus on two main areas:
- supporting the body’s ability to “self-heal” and
- empowering people to make lifestyle changes necessary to attain (and maintain) optimal health.
Principles of Naturopathy
The naturopathic principles taught in most countries include:
- First, Do No Harm (primum non nocere)
- Healing Power of Nature (vis medicatrixnaturae)
- Treat the Cause (tollecausam)
- Treat The Whole Person (tolletotum)
- Doctor as Teacher (docere)
- Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Advantages of Consulting with a Naturopath
In today’s world of seemingly ever-increasing threats to our health and limited options available for some chronic health conditions, many people are choosing to return to common sense and historical treatment options that have stood the test of time. An increasing number of studies are proving the worth of these treatments, and validating their safety. Here is a great resource for advancing this in our increasingly “evidence-based” world: http://worldnaturopathicfederation.org/research/
The philosophy of naturopathy is different from conventional medicine.
Conventional (allopathic) medicine excels at emergency medicine and symptom management. The strength of naturopathic medicine is its focus on identifying the underlying cause of the condition and helping the client to change those conditions. Whereas conventional medicine relies heavily on pharmaceutical drugs, naturopathy relies primarily on diet, lifestyle, and natural products (e.g. vitamins, herbs) as treatment interventions.
Naturopathy can be seen as a natural approach to health and health care, incorporating a number of elements or therapies which would be useful to stimulate the body’s various systems and restore it to a state of equilibrium, often restoring health where other options have failed. This is because the individual is seen as a whole, not merely the sum of the parts. Thus connections between dysfunctions in one area and symptoms in another are made and treated.
Naturopathic management strategies aim to restore health, not merely reduce symptoms.
Strategies to identify the underlying contributors, rather than treat the symptoms is a key difference. Rectifying imbalances which interfere with bodily functions, causing ill-health, disease and general malaise using a number of therapies, such as herbal remedies, nutrition and recommendations to make imporant lifestyle changes are common. Your naturopath will support you along this journey.
What to expect
A typical first consultation with a qualified naturopath is very in-depth, and usually lasts about 90 minutes, although this may be less for children or acute conditions. You can expect this consultation to include taking a thorough health history, asking about your diet, lifestyle, stress, and environmental risks. Next, the naturopath may do a physical examination (depending on your presenting problems) and you may be asked to do laboratory tests. Some tests can be done in clinic (such as blood pressure, body composition or specialised tests), at your local community laboratory or specialised tests, to examine your digestive process for example. See our testing page for more information on the kinds of tests we offer.
Subsequent visits may vary, but are typically half an hour.
There may be occasions when you will be referred to a doctor or other health professional if it is deemed appropriate.