What is Naturopathy?
Naturopathy is a health profession which approaches health problems in a holistic
manner without the use of conventional drugs. The holistic concept provides a
mechanism through which the individual is treated as a whole, encompassing
physical, mental and emotional aspects with consideration of the environment,
genetic factors and lifestyle. It aims to restore any imbalances of the body, optimise
the body’s functioning and achieve a healthy mind, body and spirit.
Functional disorders and chronic disease can occur when the body’s normal metabolic function is out of balance, impairing the immune process, the capacity to detoxify, the function of organs and general maintenance and repair of tissues. Naturopathy sees the body as having an innate healing ability and aims to create the optimal environment through which this can be achieved. Naturopathy incorporates various modalities in order to optimise health and well being. Modalities used by Naturopathic clinicians include, but are not limited to:
- Herbal medicine
- Lifestyle counselling
- Flower essence therapy
What Clinical Conditions can Naturopathy be used to treat?
Naturopathic clinicians treat both acute and chronic conditions whilst emphasising the importance of preventative medicine and lifestyle factors. Because naturopathy addresses the body as a whole it has the capacity to assist with all body systems and all conditions that have created an imbalance in homeostasis. Some examples of common conditions that are treated by Naturopaths include:
- Digestive conditions such as Irritable bowel syndrome, food intolerances and allergies, constipation, inflammatory bowel diseases etc
- Reproductive system conditions such as painful periods (dysmenorrhoea), premenstrual syndrome, menorrhagia, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, fibroids, menopausal transitioning and more.
- Fertility management, including preconception care, infertility issues, miscarriage prevention, optimising health in pregnancy and birth support
- Hormonal imbalances and associated conditions such as underactive thyroid ( hypothyroidism), menopausal support etc
- Immune system conditions such as allergies, colds, flus, fluid build up in the ears (otitis media)
- Respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis
- Stress, anxiety and depression
- Weight Loss
- Liver detoxification and optimising liver function
- Autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Graves disease (Hyperthyroidism), MS (Multiple sclerosis, RA (Rheumatoid arthritis) etc.
- Fatigue and low energy, and improvement of general well being
Who can practice Naturopathy?
At this stage in Australia there is no legal restriction on practicing naturopathy, it is therefore important to investigate the practitioner and ensure that they are registered with a professional body such as ANTA or ATMS. Professional bodies dictate academic standards and ensure that members have completed courses from approved colleges and universities.
Typically, a Naturopath will have studied a Bachelor of Health Science, specialising in Naturopathy. The course usually incorporates study of subjects such as Biochemistry, Anatomy & Physiology, Pathology, Clinical Diagnosis, Psychology, Clinical Nutrition, Herbal Medicine, Homoeopathy and Iridology.
Interactions and Precautions
It is important for the client to advise the naturopathic clinician of any conventional medications they are taking or treatments they are receiving and in turn to advise the medical doctor of any naturopathic treatments. Some medications can interact with herbal medicines and nutritional supplements, causing either adverse reactions, inhibiting the function of either medicine or enhancing its function which could all result in negative outcomes. If the Naturopath is advised of medications they are equipped to work in a complementary fashion and provide greater overall benefit