WHAT IS NATUROPATHY?
Naturopathy or naturopathic medicine blends the tradition & science of natural therapies. It combines the wisdom of centuries-old natural, non-toxic therapies & the latest science of modern research in the study of human health.
Most importantly naturopathic medicine concentrates on whole person wellness & is uniquely tailored to the individual person, not just for treatment of the current health issue but it also focuses on prevention.
Naturopathic medicine seeks to identify the underlying cause of the your health condition rather than focusing solely on symptomatic treatment. Naturopathic clinicians are trained as experts in science-based natural medicine and cooperate with all other branches of medical science, referring patients to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate.
Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
The Healing Power of Nature: Vis medicatrix naturae
The body has the inherent ability to establish, maintain, & restore health. The physician's role is to facilitate and augment this process, to identify and remove obstacles to health & to support the creation of a healthy internal & external environment.
Identify and Treat the Cause: Tolle causam
Illness does not occur without cause. Underlying causes of disease must be discovered & removed before a person can recover completely from illness. Symptoms are expressions of the body's attempt to heal, but are not the cause of disease. Naturopathic clinicians seek to identify & support the underlying cause of illness, rather than merely suppress symptoms.
First Do No Harm: Primum no nocere
Naturopathic medicine follows three principles to avoid harming the patient:
- utilise methods & medicinal substances which minimise the risk of harmful side-effects;
- avoid, when possible, the harmful suppression of symptoms;
- acknowledge & respect the individual’s healing process, using the least force necessary to diagnose & treat illness.
Treat the Whole Person
The multi-factorial nature of health & disease requires a personalised comprehensive approach to diagnosis & treatment. Naturopathic clinicians treat the whole person -body, mind, emotion, genetic, environment, social & spiritual - taking into account all aspects of their internal & external environment.
The Physician as Teacher: Docere
Beyond an accurate diagnosis & appropriate prescription, the physician must work to create a healthy, sensitive interpersonal relationship with the patient. A cooperative doctor-patient relationship has inherent therapeutic value. The physician's major role is to educate & encourage the patient to take responsibility for their own health. The physician is a catalyst for healthful change, empowering and motivating the patient to assume responsibility.
Prevention: The best "cure"
The ultimate goal of any health care system should be prevention. This is accomplished through education & promotion of life-habits that create good health. The clinician assesses risk factors & hereditary susceptibility to disease and makes appropriate interventions to avoid further harm and risk to the patient. The emphasis is on building health rather than on conquering disease.
What type of education & training does a Naturopath receive?
Australian Naturopaths must attend a recognised educational program at a nationally certified training school. Typically this is a minimum of a 4 year program & includes an outpatient apprenticeship (first hand experience in treating patients). The program includes medical sciences (anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology etc), plus clinical sciences (herbal medicine, vitamin & mineral therapies, nutrition & diet therapy, lifestyle counselling). Ongoing professional development is required as part of national licensing as a Naturopath & you must submit proof of hours to your licensing association.