Despite the fact that 2 out of every 3 Australians have accessed complementary medicine in their life, the question of what a naturopath actually does is all too common. So I’ve put together a brief run down on what it is that we actually do, for those wondering.
Naturopaths are holistic health care practitioners who use natural remedies to encourage the body’s natural ability to heal. We can offer advice on diet, exercise, emotional wellbeing and nutritional or herbal supplements. Naturopathy for me is about going back to basics and focusing on good food, moving your body, looking after your emotional health and removing anything toxic from your body – it is of course all about balance!
Naturopaths look deeper, in a way that considers the body as a whole. For example, say you’re suffering with acne – instead of a topical cream to dry the skin out or target the breakouts as a stand-alone symptom, a naturopath will consider why this is even happening in the first place. Is there an issue with your gut or liver and detoxification pathways? Are your hormones in need of a little recalibrating? Are you deficient in certain nutrients essential to skin health like zinc, vitamin A or essential fatty acids? Until the underlying imbalances are identified and corrected from the ground up, the acne is likely to continue. Natural medicine will support the body’s own ability to heal, rather than forcing reactions within the body that may just mask symptoms, not fully resolve them
This theory can be applied to any state of disease you may be experiencing. A Naturopath will teach you how to restore and maintain good health through plant base medicines and supportive nutrients as well as dietary and lifestyle practices and even evaluation of your environment.
For some, medical intervention may still be necessary and that’s ok too, that’s what’s involved when we refer to integrative medicine. There is always something that can be done from a naturopathic perspective, however big or small and even where medical intervention is required. It may be advice on dietary support, or supportive lifestyle practices like exercise or meditation and where appropriate nutrients or herbal medicines to support the body back to health.
While a lot of people will see a naturopath as a ‘last resort’ when nothing else has worked, there is also a strong focus on preventative health. So, what if you aren’t given a particular diagnosis, but need direction on how to feel your best? Well, the truth is most people don’t know how good they can actually feel. With an individually tailored diet, the right kind of exercise, emotional support, the right kind of overall self-care – it all makes a huge difference in elevating you from feeling ‘pretty good’ to your absolute best! So, don’t ever feel like you shouldn’t pay your naturopath a visit just because there’s nothing particularly wrong with you – that’s the very premise of preventative health care! Your naturopath will love you for it.