A Naturopath to the general public may seem to be a general term, similar to the term "Natural Therapist". I do understand if someone is unclear what specifically a Naturopath is or does. This confusion is created by the many different natural therapy modalities or categories a practitioner is practicing.
However the training and philosophy behind a Bachelor Degree of Naturopathy is very specific.
Training can be obtained from Universities and Private Colleges. Courses offered by private colleges generally offer a Diploma of Naturopathy although some offer recognised Bachelor level degrees.
Qualified accredited naturopathic practitioners do offer private health fund rebates.
To find a NATUROPATH in your State or City - click > Naturopathy
What is Naturopathy all about?
It is really very simple, all Naturopaths work with the same natural principles, but they may differ by their personal approach and the natural therapy modalities they use.
Naturopaths aim to restore optimal health by natural means, free of side-effects, and obviously free of drugs and their side-efects and free of harm of any kind.
Naturopaths aim to provide an environment of health and balance in which the natural laws and functions of the body can be re-established to a state of total health.
Total health is more than the mere absence of symptoms, it is the state where you feel absolutely good, in body, mind and spirit.
A Naturopath is practising active prevention, this is teaching scientific backed lifestyle modification to prevent diseases.
Medical Practitioners need to wait for a disease to manifest before they can treat it.
A Naturopathic Consultation will last about 1 hour, the first consultation will concentrate on examination - health history - natural diagnosis and educating the patient about lifestyle matters. In fact the term Doctor, although not often used for Naturopaths, means to educate.
Naturopath adhere to the Hippocratic Oath - by example;
"I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice".
The many accusation against natural therapy you may have read in the media are a distortion of the truth, or relating to scrupulous people taking advantage of the desperate sick.
Naturopaths are as appalled about fraudulent practices or products as medical Doctors are.
A distinction has to be made between a trained naturopaths or natural therapists and someone out to harm or seek un-justified profit from exploiting the sick.
Naturopaths have to undergo extensive training and have to be members of a recognised Natural Medicine Association.
Prospective patients should make sure that their practitioner of choice has proper Diplomas and Membership Certificates.
Private Health Insurances will only refund for registered practitioners.
Disease is a state of dis-balance, a state where the natural defensive effort of the body can't cope anymore. This has nothing to do with quack medicines, it is based on simple facts, a body under stress is more likely to get sick than someone fit and healthy.
It is also a signal for attention, or to reduce or compensate for adverse conditions.
Therefore, disease is not a morbid or negative function to be suppressed and combated, you are not in war with your own body.
Rather, it is an attempt by your body to alarm you that something has gone wrong, and you have to take steps to get back into balance to produce health.
The severe chronic manifestations of disease are the result of combating and suppressing acute symptoms of lesser diseases in the past, and obviously to a number of genetics.
Germs, viruses and bacteria are Nature's scavengers.
They are always and everywhere present, in every cell, held in their rightful place by balance and health.
Upset the balance, however, by inharmonious habits, be it; mental, emotional, lifestyle, bad nutrition, drugs, poisons, overindulgence, stress and the resulting low vitality and resistance will provide an environment for their proliferation.
Germs of all sorts are really agents, no the causes, of disease.
Bad hygiene, externally and internally, mentally and physically allows them to break the order of life.
Disease gives way to normal functions or health when there is no more reason for its existence - and this is what the main aim of Naturopathy and Natural Healing is.
How is this achieved?
By a total logical and biological approach, that of supporting health. Build up the general resistance and immunity, cleanse the system, produce better attitudes and the correction of mental factors, by education in nutrition, exercise and natural therapeutic measures such as detoxification, massage, stress reduction, diet and nutritional advice, nutritional supplements, herbal and homeopathic medicines, acupuncture or osteopathic and chiropractic treatment to eliminate both the cause and the symptoms.
(Note: Those are only some of the modalities used)
It is an individual and creative process, requiring a lot of co-operation and understanding between the patient and the therapist.
There are no miraculous or instant cures, no magic pill. Naturopaths don't really cure disease at all - they simply treat the whole person, support health and healthy body functions to help the body to go back to a state of health.
How does a natural therapist diagnose?
That would depend upon their training, but the basics are the same for all Naturopaths and similar to GP's:
Medical history taking and a physical examination, by symptoms, which may be followed up if need be with; X-rays, blood tests, etc.
And specific natural type diagnosis:
Pulse diagnosis in the case of acupuncture, or iris diagnosis, specific ways of looking at the body, tongue, nails, face, feet, connective tissues, muscle testing, reflex testing.
Each technique is particularly suited to a specific modality or patient.
It is important to remember that naturopathic diagnosis is not like ordinary diagnosis -
it is not done to ascertain the name of a disease, but to discover the organic and functional weaknesses that need attention or correction.
A Naturopath is trained in differential diagnostics, and will refer patients to a Holistic Medical Doctor for further tests if need be.
Personally, I recommend for everyone at least 1 week each year, to go through a mild Detoxification Program, including prevention techniques and re-establishing intestinal flora.
Naturopaths are very concerned about the ever increasing number of people suffering from food and airborne particle hypersensitiveness.. see >> Allergy Support .. , as well as the forever increasing number of people afflicted with chronic diseases and cancers, despite the advances in medical science.
Naturopaths attribute this rise to lifestyle problems, food, water and air contamination, as well as the side effects from maintenance drug therapy, drug overuse and resultingin drug or antibiotic resistance, which has become a worldwide concern.
Antibiotic resistance needs to be recognised as man made problem instigated by misinterpreting science.
Some Skeptics seem to be overly concerned with what they call "pseudo science", by attacking natural therapy modalities. It has to be recognised that more harm is done by the over prescribtion of medical drugs than by over prescribtion of vitamins or a good diet.
Naturopaths certainly are not against science, more the opposite, particular as more and more natural advice and treatment has been now scientifically proven. No one today would dispute that diet is an important factor of health, or that smoking or drinking is harmful. Many natural substances haven been scientifically accepted.
Science is often "black or white", whereas life is in "Colour", lets not forget that.
I always welcome if skeptics find evidence of fraudulent practice or products, but individual cases must not be used to generalise.
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Article provided by ...
the editor of Use Nature, Dieter L.
Gold Coast Naturopath