Have you ever wondered what a naturopath does or what it’s like to see a naturopath?
You may have already had a naturopathic consultation and have an idea but let Natalie McGrath, an experienced naturopath based in Perth, shed some light on what’s going on in a naturopath’s mind when they’re doing their thing.
Natalie thinks the best way to do this is to explain the principles that are the foundation of naturopathic practice, which are inspired by this quote below -
Thomas Edison once said,
"The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest patients in the maintenance of the human frame, in diet, and in the prevention of disease."
Naturopaths believe in the healing power of nature: The body has an amazing and inherent ability to maintain and restore health. We help this healing process by removing obstacles that prevent good health and identify treatments to enhance healing. Your body knows how to heal itself so let us help support it.
Naturopaths identify and treat the cause: We treat the underlying causes of illness rather than just the symptoms of disease. Symptoms are the result of an imbalance due to any combination of physical, mental, or emotional causes. If you don’t feel right, we want to know the WHY. If someone is getting headaches we want to know WHY? If someone is having bad period pain, we want to know WHY? If someone is exhausted, we want to know WHY? You get the idea. We don’t band aid the symptoms with medication, we want to sort out what the underlying drivers are.
First do no harm: A naturopathic treatment plan uses therapies that are gentle, scientifically based, non-invasive, effective, and have minimal side effects. After the naturopath gathers all the information they will tailor a treatment plan designed for your needs. This may involve lifestyle and dietary changes. You may need to take herbal, nutritional or other naturopathic medicine to balance out any issues that may be going on.
Be a teacher: I feel that this is the most important role that the naturopath can be. Someone that educates, empowers, and motivates patients to have more responsibility for their health by adopting a healthy attitude, lifestyle, and diet.
Treat the whole person: Naturopathic practitioners identify specific weaknesses or dysfunctions in their patients and tailor treatment based upon the patient's individual presentation. We are interested in the whole picture. One thing that you’ll notice with a Naturopath compared to other health practitioners is that they will spend the time with you to find out what is going on. I spend at least an hour in an initial naturopathic consultation as this allows me the time to really listen and get a good understanding on what issues are at play. For us to get a full and rounded perspective we need to spend the time delving deep in to how a person ticks.
A naturopath will ask you heaps of questions about your diet, lifestyle, all your body systems from respiratory to your gastrointestinal system. Getting as much information needed to get a clear picture on what’s going on.
From there your naturopath may want further information by using investigative tests, such as blood and saliva tests. The more information your naturopath is armed with the clearer it is on what your underlying causes are and how to formulate an effective treatment plan.
Prevention: It is far easier and cheaper to prevent a disease than to treat a disease. Naturopaths can look for issues that might arise in the future and take a proactive approach in maintaining great health. Naturopaths can discuss specific lifestyle strategies or nutritional supplementation as a means for disease prevention.
You may experience great results quite quickly or it can take time. If your issues have been going on for years it can take some time to rebalance the body. But have faith that the process of healing has started. Your naturopath is there for ongoing support and guidance throughout your wellness journey.
Blog contributed by Natalie McGrath.
Natalie McGrath is a highly qualified naturopath with a Bachelor of Health Science in Naturopathy and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology. She has over 13 years in clinic experience and works in a busy Perth based practise. She is also a Lecturer at the Endeavour Naturopathic College. She is a specialist in treating female health and thyroid issues and her mission is to inspire wellness by tapping into people’s innate healing force by using the latest naturopathic medicine.