What does a naturopath do?

When I get asked what my job is, the next question tends to be ‘Oh, what does a naturopath do?’  So, I thought I’d try to answer the question in this blog post.

What is naturopathy?

To start with I thought I’d explain what naturopathy is.  Naturopathy is a type of natural medicine that uses therapies, such as herbal and nutritional supplements, diet and lifestyle advice, to help the natural healing processes of the body.  Naturopathy aims to treat and prevent disease, rather than simply relieve symptoms.  Naturopaths view a person as a whole, and how the different body systems interact with each other.  This is why naturopaths ask questions that may not seem associated with your condition.  And they do like to ask lots of questions about bowel motions!  Naturopaths work to educate, empower and motivate clients to help them take control of their own health.

What does a naturopath do?

Naturopaths are excellent at helping with chronic conditions, such as

  • Insomnia and fatigue, including chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Digestive complaints (read more in my blog post on ‘What is Gut Health?‘)
  • Mental health conditions
  • Stress (read more in my blog posts on ‘What is Stress?‘, ‘Symptoms of Stress‘ and ‘How to Manage Stress‘)
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Skin conditions – eczema, dermatitis, acne, psoriasis
  • Allergies
  • Improving immunity
  • Female and male health
  • Diabetes and metabolic syndrome
  • Weight loss

Naturopaths also help with acute conditions such as colds, flu, hay-fever, gastro and cold sores.

Naturopaths may work alongside your GP and other health professionals, especially with chronic conditions.  Degree qualified Naturopaths are taught to safely prescribe their treatments when patients are on prescription medicines.

What to expect during a naturopathic consultation

The first time you see a naturopath the appointment may last 60-90mins – this allows them to take your thorough case history.  You will be asked about your current and past health, diet, lifestyle, family history and your environment, physical examinations may be performed and you may be referred for further investigations, e.g. blood tests.  This information gives your naturopath a complete overview of your health and allows them to determine the underlying cause of your concern.

A naturopathic consultation is a collaborative process where, together, the patient and the practitioner choose short and long term health goals.  The naturopath then takes all the information they have gathered to formulate an individualised treatment plan.  Degree qualified Naturopaths combine scientific evidence and traditional understanding of herbal and nutritional medicine and diet and lifestyle advice when formulating treatment plans.

Often treatment by a naturopath takes more than one appointment and require the patient to be willing to make changes to their diet and lifestyle.

What principles guide naturopaths?

Six principles underpin the practice of naturopathy:

  1. First do no harm – the safety of our patients is number one
  2. The healing power of nature – the body has a natural instinct to heal itself
  3. Identify and treat the cause whenever possible, not just treat the symptoms
  4. Treat the whole person – including their body, mind and spirit
  5. Education – empower and teach patients to care for themselves
  6. Prevention – help prevent illness and chronic conditions before they occur

What qualifications do naturopaths have?

It is important to check the qualifications of your naturopath.  A qualified naturopath will be registered with a naturopathic registration body.  The minimum qualification for registration is an Advanced Diploma in Naturopathy, however, most newly graduated naturopaths will have a Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopath).  Topics studied include, pathology, biology, biochemistry, pharmacology, psychology, herbal medicine, nutritional medicine, as well as time spent working in the student clinic seeing patients.

If you’d like to know more about naturopathy and how I can help you,  please book in for a free discovery call here, or email me at annie@anniebarrettnaturopath.com.au or call me on 0416213055Or

You can find out more about the consultations I offer here.

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