What is Naturopathy?

It is not rare for people to ask me what exactly it is that I do professionally.

  • What is a naturopath?
  • Do they use crystals?
  • Are you a massage therapist?
  • Under what circumstances would I actually book in to see a naturopath?

The following is my attempt to clarify this.

A qualified naturopath is a health professional that is trained to have extensive knowledge of the physiology, anatomy and biochemistry of the human body and the pathophysiology of many illnesses and diseases. They utilise a number of modalities when applying treatment to patients such as nutrition, herbalism, diet and lifestyle modification. Their approach to practice is to adhere to the following naturopathic principles:

  • The healing power of nature
(Vis Medicatrix Naturae): recognising and removing obstacles to allow the body’s inherent self-healing process.
  • First, do no harm: use methods and medicines that minimise the risk of harmful side effects, know when to refer and practice within your scope.
  • Treat the cause (Tolle Causum): aim to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness, rather than suppressing symptoms.
  • Treat the whole person: Understanding the unique physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors that contribute to illness and customising treatment protocols to each individual patient.
  • Education: share knowledge with patients, motivate and encourage individual responsibility for health.
  • Prevention: assess risk factors and recommend appropriate interventions to maintain health and prevent illness.

Naturopaths vary in their experience and areas of specialising however can assist with several health issues including:

  • Weight loss
  • Detoxing
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Fatigue, Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • Acne
  • Digestive disturbances i.e. bloating, cramping, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Food intolerances and allergies
  • Autoimmune diseases i.e. coeliac, Crohn’s, Hashimotos and Graves disease
  • Cardiovascular disease i.e. dyslipidemia, hypertension
  • Skin disorders i.e. eczema, psoriasis
  • Low immunity i.e. recurrent respiratory infections, viruses, Glandular Fever
  • Candida
  • Urinary Tract infections
  • Hair loss
  • Pre-conception and pregnancy care
  • Reproductive disorders and hormonal imbalances i.e. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Endometriosis, Menopause, Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS), dysmenorrhea, low libido, erectile dysfunction

When deciding to seek treatment with any health care professional it is important that you choose a qualified practitioner in order to ensure you receive the best care possible.

Qualified, credible naturopaths will be a member of a professional body such as National Herbalists Association of Australia (NHAA) and Australia Naturopathic Practitioners Association (ANPA). These associations have certain tertiary requirements before enabling membership and if not visible on the practitioners website or business card, this information should be provided upon request.  A credible, qualified naturopath will also be trained on signs and symptoms of when to refer their client to GPs for further investigation deemed appropriate.

In light of recent and I guess long standing controversy regarding conventional medicines vs natural medicines, I believe both have their place in the health care system and people stand to benefit from both.  As long as practitioners practice within their scope and there is respect between conventional and natural medicine and additionally, respect between all natural health modalities, all should be able to coexist and continue to do what is important which is place the client’s and peoples’ wellbeing and health first.

Jessica Gorman- Naturopath Gorman Naturopathy www.gormannaturopathy.com.au

Jessica has completed a Bachelor of Health Science in Naturopathy requiring four years of tertiary study. She is a member of professional body National Herbalists Association of Australia and is a practicing Total Balance Physiotherapy & Pilates in Black Rock

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