If you lived in Australia, or the USA then you would probably know what a Naturopath is.
You would probably have known about Naturopaths since being young, and may even have a naturopath that you visit alongside your primary care G.P.
In the U.K, where I am based, Naturopaths are not as well – known. So… what exactly is one ?
Naturopaths have studied for many years to understand the human body. Instead of pharmaceuticals, naturopaths suggest natural means of getting well.
Naturopaths have studied biomedical science and will have years of training in clinical nutrition. They can do a huge amount of diagnostic testing, from thyroid checks to stool analysis... intolerance testing to hormone function and just about everything in between that can be assessed from bodily fluids.
Naturopaths use the body`s own innate ability to heal itself, under the right conditions. Naturopaths use nutrition, vitamin and mineral supplements and herbal and natural remedies to treat conditions. Some naturopaths use accupuncture and other forms of traditional medicine.
We believe in preventative care, where keeping our bodies in as healthy a state as possible will help to prevent serious illness and disease. This not only refers to the physical working of the body, but also the mind, as the body and mind are intricately connected.
Naturopaths work with the principle that our bodies work as a whole system and need to be treated this way, rather than isolated areas of the body. We look at the bigger picture and seek out the cause of what's troubling you by looking at what`s happening both inside your body, and outside of it.
If you visit a naturopath because you get headaches, your whole system will be looked at, from your digestion, to your hormones. We know that symptoms like headaches have a root cause that needs to be found in order to heal. We believe in supporting the reason for the symptom, rather than just relieving symptoms.
Digestive and gut health is a major focus of a naturopath. It`s basic science – if your digestive system isn`t functioning optimally, you are unable to digest your essential nutrients and this has a knock on effect all over your body… right down to a cellular level.
Naturopaths work with skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis and acne and often use it as a clue as to something else going on internally.
Other common problems that are supported are menstrual problems, Fatigue and low energy levels, disturbed sleep, headaches and migraines, joint health and mental health issues, such chronic stress, anxiety, and depression. Once a naturopath has identified an area of concern, they will work with their clients to:
Naturopaths in the USA are known as Naturopathic Doctors. Here in the the UK, we tend not to say the term Doctor, but instead use - practitioner, or just - Naturopath. They have completed the minimum of three intensive years of study and continue with their professional development by extending their areas of expertise each year. We never really stop studying!
Naturopathy is also known as Functional Medicine, it pretty much means the same thing. An increasing number of people are exploring naturopathy, often after they feel they've exhausted more conventional treatments or are frustrated at just having symptoms relieved when they have an intuition that there is something deeper going on.
Primary care G.Ps are often happy to work alongside a naturopath. The restrictions of budget on the NHS is as frustrating to G.Ps as it is to patients. Naturopathy can delve deeper into exploratory areas of symptoms than the NHS budget currently allows for. For example... If you get diagnosed by your G.P as having IBS, it`s most likely that you will have to just deal with it on your own after diagnosis. With naturopathy, we can look deeper into why you are having the IBS symptoms in the first place.
A good naturopath works hand-in-hand with more conventional practitioners, not against them — you can see both a GP and a naturopath, and receive naturopathic treatments without abandoning standard medical ones. If you have a serious condition, you need the backing of your G.P and health service behind you. There are certain conditions that a Naturopath will not treat and will refer you back to your G.P.
Naturopathy is not intended to replace conventional medicine, it is an additional level of health that can support you along your journey through allopathic treatments to find balance and wellness once again
Here`s a little corner of the world where I discuss life, our bodies, natural remedies and nature.