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What Is Naturopathy?

What Is Naturopathy?

Naturopathy emphasises the body’s ability to heal itself and uses natural remedies like medicinal herbs, nutritional supplements, and lifestyle adjustments to promote overall well-being. 

Naturopaths consider the broader context in which a person lives including their physical environment, relationships and social connectedness, and level of exercise etc. An ongoing relationship with a naturopath can also lead to an exploration of the psychological, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of health.

In doing so, naturopaths aim to treat the whole person for overall wellness and disease prevention. If a person is unwell, a naturopath will look for the underlying causes of the illness rather than treating the symptoms alone, drawing on a range of modalities to tailor treatment to the individual.

Naturopathy uses holistic traditional practices that date back hundreds and sometimes thousands of years. Increasingly, as the body of scientific research on natural and complementary medicines and therapies grows, evidence-based practices are also incorporated.

Naturopathic medicine is grounded in a number of core principles. Read on to find out more!

First, do no harm

A naturopathic treatment plan uses therapies that are gentle, non-invasive, effective, and do not have adverse side effects. A conscious effort is made to use methods that do not suppress symptoms. Examples are herbal medicine, homeopathy, nutrition, meditation and mindfulness practices, flower remedies, acupuncture and more.

The healing power of nature

The body has an inherent ability to maintain and restore health. Naturopathic physicians facilitate this healing process by removing obstacles to cure and identifying treatments to enhance healing.

Identify and treat the cause

Naturopathic physicians treat the underlying causes of illness rather than just the symptoms of disease. Symptoms are an external manifestation of an internal imbalance due to any combination of physical, mental, or emotional causes. Symptom management may be important, but it is more important not to disregard the underlying cause of disease.

Doctor as teacher

The Latin root of doctor is docere, which means "to teach." The primary role of naturopathic physicians is educating, empowering, and motivating patients to assume more personal responsibility for their health by adopting a healthy attitude, lifestyle, and diet. Thomas Edison once said, "The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest patients in the maintenance of the human frame, in diet, and in the prevention of disease." It is more effective to teach than treat patients.

Treat the whole person

Naturopathic physicians identify specific weaknesses or dysfunctions in their patients and tailor treatment based upon the patient's individual presentation. It is the patient that needs treatment, not the disease state or symptom. Naturopathic physicians are interested in finding and treating characteristic symptoms that define the patient rather than common symptoms that define the disease. William Osler, MD, once said, "It is more important to know what sort of patient a disease has rather than what sort of disease a patient has."

Prevention

It is far easier and cheaper to prevent a disease than to treat a disease. Naturopathic physicians evaluate both subjective and objective information necessary to uncover potential susceptibilities to future disease states in their patients. They can discuss specific lifestyle strategies or nutritional supplementation as a means for disease prevention.

What kind of education do Naturopaths need?

A bachelor’s degree is now the minimum standard of education recommended by the Australian Government. These requirements may be met with achieving a Bachelor of Health Science in Naturopathy – BHSc (Naturopathy). Some naturopaths may also have a Bachelor of Naturopathy (BNat).

The degree is monitored to ensure graduates achieve a high level of cognitive, technical and communication skills, and can work autonomously in complex and unpredictable environments (Australian Qualifications Framework Advisory Board, 2013). This requires well-developed critical thinking, judgement and decision-making skills. As primary contact practitioners, these educational standards are in line with the qualifications required for allied and other registered complementary health professions.

Australian Naturopathic educational standards include training in Western herbal medicine and clinical nutrition, lifestyle and behavioural counselling, and traditional remedies such as homeopathy and flower essences.

Why see a Naturopath?

For many reasons! People consult with naturopaths to gain assistance managing a range of conditions including cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, mental health, gastrointestinal, respiratory and reproductive conditions.

Naturopaths often work in conjunction with medical and allied health practitioners offering complementary medicine to clients with a range of acute and chronic health conditions.

If you would like to experience what all this means, you can swing by Santos Organics stores in Mullum or Byron CBD and visit our qualified naturopaths in the Santos Organics Apothecary for a free 15 minute over-the-counter consultation. They can guide you on your journey to better health. 

This blog has been created by our Naturopath Jana Brunclikova.

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References

Australian Qualifications Framework Advisory Board. (2013). Australian Qualifications Framework, Second Edition, Australian Qualifications Framework Council. Australia, 1-111.