What is naturopathy and how can it help regain health and vitality?
Understanding what a naturopath does and what treatment involves can be a little confusing sometimes, so please read on for a little more detail of how naturopathic medicine works, and whether it may be helpful for your health and wellbeing.
The goal of a naturopath is to understand health issues with the bigger picture in mind. We take into account all aspects of health including physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual influences on health and wellbeing. We look for the underlying issue and aim to restore, promote and maintain health through supporting the innate wisdom of nature. The absence of disease is not necessarily wellness. We are looking to support vitality within the body.
Naturopathic medicine focuses on prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and natural substances that encourage the body’s inherent self-healing process.
On a physical level, we are looking at how the body is working as a whole. When you have a naturopathic consultation we ask about every aspect of the body, not just what is troubling you at the time. All of our organs and their functions work together in harmony, so if something is out of balance, and you are experiencing symptoms, we are looking to understand the underlying cause.
For example, you may have eczema, and your skin is bothering you, but we want to look further to understand why it is there in the first place. It could be that there is a problem with digestive function, or a food allergy or sensitivity. It may be related to liver function. It could be an allergy to something you are exposed to, such as chemicals or allergens. It may be that you are deficient in essential vitamins and minerals from your diet. It may be that your immune system is over-reactive. It may be a deficiency in digestive function, and you are not absorbing the nutrients from your diet. Your microbiome may be out of balance. It could be a reaction to a highly stressful situation. There are many contributing factors to an imbalance in health, and we are the detective trying to piece together the cause.
Everybody is different and as a naturopath we treat every person as an individual and tailor make the treatment plan according to the person.
Philosophies behind treatment
Naturopathy is governed by a set of principles or philosophies which we learn and continue to apply through any consultation.
1. First, do no harm
2. Identify and treat the cause
3. Support the healing power of nature
4. Treat the whole person
5. Doctor as Teacher
6. Prevention is better than cure
1. Nutrition – using food as medicine. Looking at food choices and helping with adjustment if required.
2. Lifestyle – emphasis on adequate hydration, sleep, movement, balance, and reduction of stresses and toxic exposure.
3. Herbal Medicine – using whole plants as nature intended – teas, tinctures, tablets and culinary herbal medicine.
4. Flower Essences – Using the higher energetic vibration of plant medicine.
5. Supplementation if required – vitamins, minerals, probiotics, protein etc. We address deficiencies that may not be able to be corrected with diet alone.
6. Homeopathy – energetic medicine.
7. Aromatherapy – super-concentrated plant material.
8. Hydrotherapy – hot and cold treatments, using herbs, aromatherapy, flower essences and/or minerals with bathing.
How a naturopath approaches treatment
1. Consultation – Your naturopathic consultation will include extensive questioning on your presenting health issue as well as additional questioning on other systems of the body, lifestyle, diet, stress levels and your psychological and emotional challenges. What affects one part of our health will also affect other systems, as it is all interconnected. We then develop a plan together to address your health concerns.
2. Identify and remove the causes or obstacles to health – Improve digestion, remove toxins, and identify issues.
3. Establish healthy choices – lifestyle, diet, movement, relationships, work and home life.
4. Stimulate self-healing – the body is incredibly clever and knows how to bring itself back into balance. A naturopath supports the natural healing ability by ensuring the body has what it needs to recover.
5. Strengthen weakened systems of the body – Digestion, immune, hormonal, nervous system etc.
6. Restore and regenerate – we don’t suppress, we support the natural healing power of the body.
7. Address pathology – a naturopath can order blood tests, stool tests and allergy tests on your behalf to investigate issues further.
Supporting mental health issues from a holistic perspective is something I have been passionate about for decades. There are many complementary options to help manage depression and anxiety, including optimal nutrition, movement, breathing techniques and herbal medicine. Naturopathic medicine can offer assistance with stress, burnout, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, addictions and insomnia. With a Bachelor degree, I am trained to work alongside pharmaceutical medications and can help minimise side-effects or assist with the transition to natural means to manage mental health conditions.
The link between digestive issues and mental health via the Gut-Brain Axis, and the microbiome intrigues me. Digestive health is fundamental to wellbeing, and imbalances can cause pain, bloating, tiredness, and mental and emotional irritability. Addressing digestive complaints through naturopathic medicine can assist with all aspects of gastrointestinal discomfort, identifying and treating the underlying cause, providing assistance with irritable bowel syndrome, food intolerances and allergies to help reclaim your energy again.
If you wish to look further into supporting your health and wellbeing through naturopathic medicine, email firstname.lastname@example.org to book an appointment.