What Is Naturopathy?
Naturopathy is a distinct primary health care system that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. It is based on the healing power of nature, supporting and stimulating the natural ability of the body to heal itself. Naturopathy is the art and science of disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention using natural therapies including: botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, naturopathic manipulation, traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture, disease prevention, lifestyle counselling and health promotion.
What Do Naturopaths Do?
Naturopaths help you get to the root underlying causes of your health issues and guide you on the changes you need to make in order to get well. They may offer advice on dietary changes, lifestyle changes, and guidance on emotional well-being. They may be able to give you treatment such as osteopathy, naturopathic manipulation or massage if they are suitably trained. And they may prescribe natural remedies such as herbs, homeopathy or nutritional supplements.
Are There Any Guiding Principles?
Yes, we have many principles by which we work (unlike conventional medicine) These are the most important:
First, Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere)
This is the first and most important of our guiding principles. We utilize methods and natural medicines which minimize the risk of harmful side effects (we only use techniques and natural medicines that would not harm a healthy person to do/take). We acknowledge and respect the individual’s healing process, using the least invasive or gentlest method necessary to diagnose and treat illness. And we avoid, whenever possible, the harmful suppression of symptoms.
Naturopaths choose remedies and therapies that are safe and effective, to increase your health and decrease harmful side effects.
The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae)
Naturopaths work to restore and support the powerful and inherent healing ability of the body, mind and spirit and to prevent further disease from occurring. Naturopaths identify and remove obstacles to recovery, facilitating and augmenting this ordered and intelligent healing ability.
Identify and Treat the Cause (Tolle Causam)
The primary goal of a naturopath is to determine and treat the underlying cause rather than simply managing or suppressing their symptoms. The underlying cause may be due to diet, lifestyle habits, life events, posture or environment. Symptoms are viewed as expressions of the body’s natural attempt to heal.
Treat the Whole Person (Tolle Totum)
Each person is unique and requires individualized care. In treating the cause of any condition a naturopath takes into account not only your physical symptoms, but also mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, spiritual and other factors. Disease affects the entire person, not just a specific organ or system. Your nutritional status, lifestyle, family history, feelings, environmental stresses, and physical health are all carefully evaluated and addressed.
Doctor as Teacher (Docere)
Naturopaths will assist you in understanding health and illness. He/she will provide with an understanding of the factors that affect your health and help you balance and become more capable of maintaining your own health. Naturopaths also acknowledge the therapeutic value inherent in the doctor-patient relationship.
Disease Prevention and Health Promotion is the Best Medicine (Prevenere)
Naturopaths believe that health is more than just the absence of disease. Consequently they apply all of the above principles proactively to prevent disease and promote optimum health. Naturopaths emphasize healthy daily habits, they assess risk factors and hereditary susceptibility to disease and make appropriate interventions to prevent illness.
Health entails daily functioning on the highest possible levels, and is obtained by proper nutrition, exercise, a balanced lifestyle, positive emotions, thoughts and actions. The capacity for optimal wellness or an improved quality of life is inherent in everyone.
What Training Do Naturopaths Have?
Full members of the GCRN have been trained to a degree level standard in naturopathy, and often in a separate discipline such as osteopathy, nutrition or medicine. They will have completed a minimum of 1,500 hours of academic studies, including medical subjects such as anatomy , physiology and pathology, and 400 hours of supervised clinical practice, or have had the equivalent in practical experience. Some members of the GCRN have trained in the USA, Australia or other countries, and may have higher levels of training, and may be trained as primary healthcare practitioners using naturopathic medicine in their country of training. As the title of naturopath is not currently protected in the UK, Naturopaths who are not GCRN members may have had little or no training.
What Will Happen On My First Appointment?
Every Naturopath works differently, some will send out a questionnaire to you prior to your first appointment. All Naturopaths will take a thorough health history, and may carry out a physical examination where necessary. Your Naturopath may suggest that you need some blood tests and refer you back to your GP, or they may offer you access to private functional medicine testing. Sometimes they will perform other health investigations such as allergy testing. After they have got as much information as they need they will suggest a course of action.
Will My Naturopath Work Alongside My Medical Doctor?
Naturopaths are very willing to work alongside medical doctors. We are happy to provide information about our tests and services to any health professional that you would like us to share this information with.