Naturopathy - the basics explained

Author: Kaye Wright | 30 Jan 2011

Tagged: Sports Nutrition

Good health is essential if you really want to squeeze the most out of life. But how often do you underestimate it or take it for granted. Everyone wants to feel healthy and full of energy however, as a rule, it's only when you become ill, or someone close to you becomes ill, that you might stop and take stock of how healthy you actually feel.
The usual approach to feeling unwell is a visit to the GP possibly resulting in a prescription for pharmaceutical medication. Sometimes, this is all you need but sometimes it only treats the immediate symptoms, and whilst it can be effective, it may not always address the underlying cause of the problem.
Perhaps you feel you've exhausted the possibilities modern medicine offers, and yet, the health condition persists.
Naturopathy offers a different approach. Whether you have a serious health concern, or you're just not feeling "right", naturopaths can help you to restore and maintain your health and wellbeing. It might be looking at ways to potentially prevent your health issue from getting any worse, or maybe reducing the medication you're currently on - our aim is to help you get on top of your health issues and feel happier about the state of your health.
Naturopaths don't just treat the immediate complaint; we also look at the whole picture in order to offer a comprehensive health assessment. Dietary, lifestyle, environmental, emotional and genetic factors all play a part, and we'll take these into account when evaluating your current health status. A good naturopath will take a full history of your health. We may look at your eyes (known as iridology), nails and tongue as well as other physical signs of your current health status such as body composition and cellular age. We may also suggest pathology testing or ask you to complete food or symptom diaries and questionnaires.
Naturopaths aim to investigate the source of the problem, to help eliminate, or at least minimize the current symptoms and reduce the risks of future illness, by considering the underlying causes. We then tailor an individual treatment program to suit your unique needs.
Naturopathy encompasses a holistic approach to the treatment of physical and emotional health issues. Given the right tools, naturopaths believe the body has the ability to restore itself, and Naturopathy supports and encourages this innate healing process.
Naturopaths draw on a number of forms of treatment, used individually or in combination, to achieve the desired results. These include:
Herbal Medicine - using liquid or tablet extracts of whole plants for their therapeutic value. It is one of the oldest systems of medicine and is still practiced widely around the world.
Diet and Lifestyle - we'll look at your diet and lifestyle, identify factors that may be contributing to your health issues, and suggest simple changes to achieve positive outcomes.
Nutritional Medicine - the use of vitamins and minerals to supplement your diet where specific nutrients may be lacking or if you have specific needs for additional nutrients.
Sometimes naturopaths also use medicines such as flower essences and homoeopathy that work on the subtle energies of the body.
There are many benefits of natural medicine:
* Often, considerable improvements in your health can be made, without the significant side effects which may be associated with pharmaceutical drugs. Naturopathy is a safe, gentle, non-invasive therapy.
* Naturopathy looks at the "big picture", treating the person, not merely the condition in isolation. Naturopaths seek to minimize the risk of progression of the illness, by investigating the original source of the problem. Following a thorough health assessment, a treatment plan is developed which is tailored to the individual.
* Most health concerns can benefit from practical naturopathic advice and treatment. Naturopaths assist a wide range of conditions including insomnia, anxiety, stress, diabetes, high cholesterol, weight issues, fatigue, high blood pressure, digestive problems, and more. Many of these complaints are lifestyle related and can lead to more serious complications over time, if left unchecked.
* Naturopathy is a collaborative process. We encourage you to take control of your health by equipping you with tools and advice to enable you to make more educated health choices.
* Although naturopaths spend much of our time treating current symptoms and problems we also have a focus on maintaining wellness and preventing illnesses from developing as we age - i.e. we aim to help you achieve healthy aging (a bit like investing in your superannuation now for your retirement later).
If you are interested in seeing a Naturopath make sure you choose one who is well qualified (these days, most naturopaths have completed a four year Bachelor of Health Science or similar). They should be a member of a professional association such as the National Herbalists Association of Australia or the Australian Natural Therapists Association and they should be registered with major health funds. Don't be afraid to ask them how they work or to discuss your health concerns with them before making an appointment. It is also worth knowing that Naturopathy is not necessarily a "quick fix". Depending on the complexity of your health problems it may take a few appointments to unravel the issues and get you heading in the right direction. But consider it a worthwhile investment in yourself and your future health.
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