Naturopathy is a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, with the primary aim of identifying and treating the underlying causes of illness and disease using nutrition, herbal medicines and lifestyle strategies.
The core principle of a Naturopathic treatment protocol is ‘healing through nature’, so treatment will focus on supporting the body’s innate self-healing abilities to overcome any health complaints and regain optimal
Naturopathic medicine is both an art and a science, using a unique combination of both scientific and traditional evidence in order to treat the person, not the disease. With an emphasis on disease prevention, Naturopathic case-taking often uncovers dis-ease long before a diagnosable pathology develops since particular predispositions in the body can often be identified before the onset of acute disease occurs.
A Naturopath’s ability to apply natural methods of healing is of considerable importance in our modern
“Health is the expression of a harmonious balance between various components of man’s nature, the environment and ways of life – nature is the physician of disease.” – Hippocrates
The Origins of Naturopathy
The principles of Naturopathy were first used by the Hippocratic School of Medicine in around 400BC and they are based on the beliefs of Greek philosopher Hippocrates, who is considered the Father of Medicine. Hippocrates recognised the importance of viewing the whole person to determine the cause of disease and using the laws of nature to induce cure. The following 6 principles underlie the foundations of naturopathic medicine:
- First, do no harm – the least invasive treatment options are used
- The healing power of nature – recognition of the body’s inherent ability to heal itself
- Identify and treat the cause – there is always an underlying cause, be it physical or emotional
- Treat the whole person – recognising the body as an integrated whole
- Naturopath as teacher – empowering patients to take responsibility for their own health, acknowledging the therapeutic value of the physician-patient relationship
- Prevention is better than cure – promotion of overall health, wellness and disease prevention
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates
Which health conditions can Naturopathy treat?
Naturopaths treat both acute and chronic conditions, with numerous health conditions successfully treated using Naturopathic principles, including all the same conditions as traditional medical doctors. The more integrated form of training often allows for a wider range of treatment options so naturopathic care is well suited to anyone at any age.
Chronic conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, fatigue, PMS (premenstrual syndrome), digestive complaints, arthritis, skin disorders, allergies and asthma are particularly well suited to natural medicine,
“The best doctor gives the least medicine.” – Benjamin Franklin
What happens during a Naturopathic consultation?
An initial Naturopathic consultation will last an hour and will involve a comprehensive health review including a detailed discussion of the presenting condition(s), relevant body systems, medical history, diet and lifestyle as well as physical examinations such as blood pressure, and nail, tongue and iris analyses. Follow-up pathology testing such as hair, stool and blood analyses may also be required.
Once all the required information has been gathered, a treatment protocol that addresses all aspects of the individual’s health status will be formulated in order to support the body with healing. The treatment plan may include nutritional supplements, herbal medicine and other suitable remedies as well as advice on diet, lifestyle and exercise. Referrals to other health practitioners may also be necessary as part of the integrated health care approach.
Subsequent consultations last for 30 minutes and will involve a progress review to determine whether any changes are required to the initial treatment protocol as well as any follow-up questions and further supportive strategies. Ongoing consultations are usually recommended on a fortnightly basis until both the practitioner and client are happy with the progress made and the client is feeling ready to continue their own health journey, with further support as and when required.
“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.” – Hippocrates
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