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 study for as long as a primary care physician - around 5 years minimum at degree level. They study biomedical science and they choose an area of specialism. My specialism was in clinical nutrition. Many go on to do post graduate level qualifications. I have continued my studies with a focus on reproductive health.
In other countries of the world, naturopaths are known as naturopathic doctors. Here in the UK, we just tend to call ourselves naturopaths.
What do they do?
Naturopaths see a place for pharmaceuticals, but also understand that the side effects of prescription medicines can be detrimental to health. Naturopaths will suggest natural means of getting well where-ever possible but also understand the need for conventional care when necessary.
Naturopaths can do a huge amount of diagnostic testing, from thyroid checks to stool analysis, full blood counts to adrenal functioning, intolerance testing to hormone function and just about everything in between that can be assessed from bodily fluids and certain tissues.
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.
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.
What could I see a naturopath about?
Common problems that are supported by a naturopath are menstrual problems, hormone imbalances, fatigue and low energy levels, disturbed sleep, digestive discomfort, headaches and migraines, skin issues, allergies, blood sugar irregularities, joint health, mental health challenges, anxiety and depression plus many other reasons.
Once a naturopath has identified an area of concern, they will work with their clients to:
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.
Can I combine care?
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.