What we can do
I am often asked about what my profession is. At times it is strange to be in a place where a percentage of the population do not know you do for a living, but it is always nice to see the response when I tell them. Below are five things that sum up Naturopathy and a in addition to some misconceptions surrounding it.
Naturopathy is holistic
It was only this week that I was reading a popular health magazine and a chiropractor was introducing his profession to the readers and one thing stood out: “we have a different philosophy to the medical world”. This is also true for Naturopaths, as we view the body in a holistic way. In other words, an all-inclusive, broad and universal system. It is not simply one chemical pathway or even one body system, but we see all of the body as a complex whole, always interacting with its parts, inter-dependent on each other.
Naturopathy views the body as a whole
Naturopathy uses natural means to treat
A friend of mine who practices Law also asked me what I did, and after a small introduction he commented that we basically we treat without drugs or surgery. This is very true. In my clinic I use nutritional and herbal medicines along with diet and lifestyle coaching.
We support the body with nature
Naturopathy is Western
While Naturopaths use herbal medicine from Native America, China, India and South America, the tradition of Naturopathy is from Europe. The first Naturopaths where called “Eclectics” and these were medical professionals in the 19th century who used Native American medicine in practice.
If Chinese Medicine represents the East, so Naturopathy with the West
Naturopathic practitioners hear your story
Many medical consultations will go for about 5-10minutes. This is usually due to the high patient load on a heavily burdened public system. The patient will usually walk away with a prescription or referral but usually will not get time to unpack their story or tell the physician how they got there. This is “6-minute medicine”. Naturopaths on the other hand, will take a first case for about 60 to 90 minutes and will make every effort to hear the patient’s story.
Basically: Naturopaths listen
Naturopathy follows ancient traditions
While the term Naturopathy is a recent term, its philosophical basis and indeed, many of its medicines and steeped in history. The holistic practices of Naturopath date back to ancient Egypt where Papyrus date back to the 16th century BC and outline this holistic mindset. Many herbal medicines date back centuries.
Naturopaths have traditions going back centuries
Naturopathy is not pseudo-science
When I first saw a Naturopath, and indeed, for most of my studies at college, I considered there to be very little scientific evidence for Naturopathic Medicine. The academic criticism from the medical world bared heavy on my shoulders and I was very close to dropping out. I’m very glad I didn’t. This is because after many years of reading endless papers on the subject, and seeing outcomes in clinic; I am clear that it is not only safe, but also effective. The traditions of the past in herbal medicine are coming to light in modern clinical studies, and the principles of Naturopathy stands in its own right. Certainly, we have a way to go with our understanding, but such is the nature of science. To be fair, some new insights, such as functional nutrition, are difficult to prove with such complex inventions based on individual biochemistry. However, when clients report relief after decades of no change, the picture becomes clearer.
Naturopathy is unique as it blends both tradition and science
Naturopathy is not dying
Up to 60% of Australians use some form of Natural medicine and as many as 11% see a practitioner. Complementary and Integrative Medicines turn over up to 4 billion dollars annually. More and more Australians are seeing the value it has to offer and are finding benefit from these traditions. I am very fortunate to be a part of this and continue to help people achieve better health, both in my clinic and in my family life.
Thank you for your interest in this unique and wonderful topic. I hope you have a better understanding of what Naturopathy is and can do for you.
Yours in health,
| Naturopath | Educator | Writer |
Hechtman, L. (2012). Clinical Naturopathic medicine. Sydney, Australia: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier Australia.