Today many of us are interested in our health and implement positive food choices, additional supplements and lifestyle adjustments to take care of ourselves. This is a fantastic thing and shows how often simple changes, that are right for you, can greatly improve health, vitality and happiness.
There is a plethora of health information available to us via friends, print media and online. Discerning fact from fiction and fad from cutting edge scientific breakthrough is a daunting task.
Consultation with a qualified Naturopath is an opportunity to review your health goals, discuss your medical conditions and symptoms and to analyse and evaluate your whole health picture.
It is an opportunity to draw on a wealth of modern health science and traditional natural medicine knowledge.
A Naturopath has the time to listen and explain and support you that Doctors and specialists often don’t.
As part of the overall health care system in Australia a Naturopath offers:
Support – by listening, hearing and encouraging you on your healthy living or journey to health for those with present symptoms or medical conditions.
Information – a thorough understanding of the human body, how it works and what it needs.
Naturopath training in Australia
Today Naturopaths study modern Health Science; human anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and pathophysiology, alongside herbalism, nutrition and Traditional Western Medicine philosophy.
Evidence based medicine (EBM), verified with clinical trials and scientific studies provide a sound foundation to safely and effectively employ natural medicines as a complement to conventional health care. Natuorpaths are required to keep up to date with medical knowledge and EBM findings.
Naturopaths provide nutritional analysis, diet plans, promote and support healthy eating and lifestyle practices that your GP would approve of.
Each Naturopath has other therapies and modalities that they train in and can offer to assist you. In my case I also provide Usui Reiki and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) for stress relief, emotional balance and relaxation. I personally avoid homeopathy and am in favour of most Immunisations. I am a fan of science and the knowledge base that it provides. Marketing misinformation and profit driven purposes are a disturbing factor in the health and wellness industry, which are mitigated by seeing qualified professionals that have your best interests and health at heart.
With a Bachelor of Health Sceince Complementary Medicine - Naturopathy and as a member of a Professional Association - the Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS), I am a fully qualified Naturopath.
You can read the full outline of minimum education standards for Australian Naturopaths here: www.atms.com.au/modalities/naturopathy/
Australian Naturopaths are considered Health Professionals and are covered by the The National Code of Conduct for Health Care Workers (Queensland) which you can access here: www.health.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/444101/national-code-conduct-health-workers.pdf
The scientific evidence of the safety, mechanism of action and effectiveness of natural medicines available today gives a vast array of proven means to provide real health care benefits.
What does a Naturopath do?
A naturopath has the time to look at all of your body systems, past health issues, current signs symptoms and medical diagnoses to create a clear and holistic picture of your overall health.
With the inclusion of dietary analysis, iridology, blood pressure, blood glucose monitoring and urinalysis, a thorough and personalised health assessment is possible.
A unique treatment plan can then be defined for your individual needs. This treatment plan is based on a broad foundation of anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, pathology, traditional nature cure knowledge, holistic thinking and current scientific research.
Any modifications to diet, lifestyle or prescribed therapeutic products are then gradually introduced into your daily routine in a simple yet effective way.
Benefits of Naturopathy
Real fixes for everyday problems such as:
Herbs that: prevent menstrual pain, wind, indigestion, bloating, calm the nerves, assist sleep, heal and manage skin conditions.
Nutrients for increased energy, skin, mood and whole-body health.
Pain relieving herbs and nutrients.
Prevention: diagnostics pinpoint areas of weakness in the body where systems are under pressure, strain or inflammation. These areas can be addressed to provide relief and potentially prevent further issues.
Medical information about current health conditions. Learn about the disease and then you have the power to take control of your health through diet, lifestyle and natural medicines that complement your conventional medical care.
More Benefits of Consulting a Naturopath
This is perhaps the defining role of a Naturopath as GPs and Specialists often have very limited time to discuss in detail our health concerns or to explain in detail how our body is functioning and what is happening. This understanding gives a purpose for lifestyle and dietary changes or regularly taking therapeutic supplements , herbs or pharmaceutical medication and empowers us in managing our health conditions and maintaining our vitality. Thereby giving a reason for taking care of ourselves in our daily lives.
Possible discovery of underlying health conditions, allergies, sensitivities and avenues of further exploration to find undiagnosed conditions.
Naturopaths are unable to provide diagnosis yet may be able to identify areas that need to be further explored by your General Practitioner Doctor.
Referral to GPS when needed and other therapists such as counsellors, psychologists, chiropractic, massage, cranio-sacral therapy, EFT, and many other health modalities.
Access to naturopathic diagnostics such as nail and tongue analysis and Iridology as well as hair analysis and allergy testing.
Treatment for signs and symptoms of conditions that remain undiagnosed and illusive.
Simple and safe remedies for common ailments and symptoms.
Complementing medical treatment and pharmaceuticals with herbs, nutrients and therapeutics
Providing alternatives to harsh pharmaceuticals in instances when such will not put the patient in a life threatening situation or prove detrimental to long term health.
Often drugs are used first and to treat symptoms that are easily and often cheaply alleviated with natural medicines. An example of this is Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) for indigestion and heartburn or in some cases meadowsweet herb. This symptom can be due to low stomach acid which ferments and froths causing symptoms. This is alleviated by ACV and the stomach is then able to carry out its function of breaking down proteins and food particles for absorption in the small intestine. These economical and safe remedies can replace the often prescribed proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as Somac that affect the activity of numerous cells in the body outside of the stomach and acid production, interfering with vital processes that need not be disturbed. Proton pumps are sodium-potassium pumps embedded in the walls of cells that actively transport these ions into and out of the cell allowing correct cellular function and in some cells an energy gradient that provides the electrical impulses of nerve conduction. These pumps maintain body fluid levels, pH balance and form part of the bodies physical information communication highways. Inhibition of these for extended periods will upset the delicate homeostasis or balance of the body causing malfunction in multiple areas.
I am not anti modern medicine I simply believe that natural remedies should be used whenever possible and that herbs, nutrition, exercise, diet and lifestyle changes, and other natural therapies are very viable options.
A Naturopath views you as an individual and a whole being and aims to support you in gaining and maintaining health. Utilizing the combination of assisting the vitalism of your body, providing knowledge, treating the cause, viewing the body as a whole and doing no harm are the foundational principles of Naturopathy and allows Empowerment of individuals to retain Autonomy and enjoy health, vitality and happiness wherever possible.
In my clinic I Focus on providing professional personal Naturopathic consults with herbal medicine, food as medicine, dietary, nutritional and lifestyle support, flower essences and Usui and Tibetan Reiki energy healing treatments. Herbal formulas and nutritional supplements are ordered as and if required. I have access to practitioner only products which may be beneficial in acute situations and for managing specific conditions.
Diet and lifestyle are the health factors that we have ultimate individual control over.
It is us whom decides. We can choose consciously and profoundly transform our health.
A healthy body allows a healthy mind and in turn a healthy spirit.
The term Naturopathy was first coined by Dr John Scheel of New York in 1895.
Its body of knowledge derives from the rich heritage of writings and practices from western and non western nature doctors since Hippocrates c.400BC.
Hippocrates looked for the cause of diseases, in the patients' relationships with air, water and food, not just at the disease effect (Micozzi, 2011).
Conventional medicine cites Hippocrates as the father of modern medicine, although rejects his belief in vitalism and instead focuses on the assertion that doctors should 'take the art of healing out of natures hands'. Whilst this is essential when a life threatening disease, illness or traumatic injury has occurred, in more every day or ongoing circumstances the natural healing mechanisms of the body may be encouraged by assisting them to return to their most healthful homeostasis.
A cut or wound will heal itself naturally over time and science documents the extraordinary mechanisms of the body that exist in cells, structures and physiology that it relies on to maintain its own life. This vital action, vitalism or vital life force within the body is recognised by Naturopathy and endeavours are made to assist the body to heal itself by nurturing natural structure and function processes.
In a moment of inspiration recently I wrote on the subject of vitalism that...
“Vitalism doesn’t describe something other than what is. It describes the synergy of action within a living organism. It is the very function of the organism as a whole. The activity of interrelated systems, that combines to animate matter. It is another word for Life, the life force, the positive balance of energy that is used and produced when cells are alive. Life = vitality and vitality = life. In fact Vitality is vital to life“ (Shairin,2015).
So assisting the vital force of the body, as is done by Naturopaths, is the very act of working with the cells and whole system to propagate, nurture and maintain the positive energy balance that ensures the continuation of life and the vitality of the body.
Benedict Lust Purchased the name Naturopathy, also known as Nature Cure, in 1902. He described it as
“both a way of life and a concept of healing that used various natural means selected from various systems and disciplines of treating human infirmities and disease states” (Micozzi, 2011).
Benedict published a monthly journal and promoted a new way of thinking of health care. In the editorial of the first journal, titled The Naturopathic and Herald of Health, he wrote:
“We believe in strong pure beautiful bodies … of radiating health. We want every man woman and child in this great land to know and embody and feel the truths of right living that mean conscious mastery” (Micozzi, 2011).
Micozzi, M. (2011). Fundamentals of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Missouri: Suanders Elsevier
vitamin and mineral Supplements, Prescriptions and practitioner only medicines - a balanced perspective
Vitamins and Minerals are found in foods and many of them we get enough of when we eat a balanced and varied diet.
They are not optional they are ESSENTIAL for Human biological function because the body cannot make them within itself. They act as structural elements, cofactors and coenzymes in many molecules and biochemical reactions.
The reason we eat is because we need these molecules to live.
A balanced and varied diet is the right amounts of Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats (the Macronutrients), Water and the Micronutrients – Vitamins and Minerals gained from eating all different kinds of foods daily.
These days we have a huge range of vitamin and mineral products that we can choose to supplement our diet with. They aren’t the same as getting nutrients from your food, they are processed products. Not meant to replace foods but as a supplement to your diet (daily food intake) when your body is not getting enough or when it needs more. That is why they often have that on the label and why some people scoff at the very notion of taking supplements.
The balanced perspective is that Vitamins and Minerals are essential to human life and deficiencies or low levels (status) reduce the body’s ability to perform biochemical functions that require those molecules. Yet consuming amounts over the scientifically determined Upper Limit (UL) causes another set of problems related to how the body uses, stores, transports and excretes the vitamin or mineral. At best your body will release the excess in urine as is the case with most water-soluble vitamins (the Bs and C) thus causing the much-emphasised expensive neon wee.
At worst overconsumption of Vitamins and Minerals can cause a severe adverse reaction and the ultimate demise of the life that one was trying to maintain the health of. [Aside: the authors avid HHGttG reader status shining through here.]
When buying yourself supplements stick to the dose on the label.
The risk of adverse reactions from vitamin and mineral supplements is deemed as low by the Therapeutic Goods Authority of Australia (TGA) [and equivalent regulatory bodies across the globe] if taken within the recommended guidelines and Authorised label instructions. This is why these products are listed as Aust L medicines or Food Products whereas pharmaceutical drugs and some over the counter medicines are Aust R (regulated because the risk of harm is greater).
Prescription and Practitioner Only Medicines
You’ll notice that prescription medicines don’t have a dose on the packet as the Doctor makes a clinical decision on the dose right for you. Similarly 'Practitioner Only Products’ prescribed by Natural Health Practitioners also don’t have a dose or instructions on the label because similarly these are required to be tailored to the individual and must have an affixed label with patient name, credentials and dosage instructions, as required by law via the Therapeutic Goods Act and overseen by the Therapeutic Goods Authority.
When they say Always read the Label and Follow Directions they are not kidding. Products are tested to work and be safe within the use outlined on the product or in the dose and period of use prescribed by your Health Professional. Going outside of these directions puts you at risk
Your Health Professional will prescribe your dose based on many different factors including your health status, age, weight, requirement, the clinically proven therapeutic dose, the upper limit including food sources and taking into account the other medical conditions you have and any pharmaceutical, herbal or nutritional medicines that you are taking.
If you are taking any prescription or over the counter medicine it is essential that you read the Consumer Medicines Information (CMI). It used to come as a leaflet with the medicine and now is available online: https://www.tga.gov.au/consumer-medicines-information-cmi
Supplement Safety Resources
Some other Websites to check for suitabiltiy of your medication with Nutritional Medicines:
NPS MedicineWise has searchable CMI's which list things to avoid while taking your medication
Better is the Medscape drug interaction checker which will cross reference supplemental herbs and nutrients with medications:
During your Naturopathic Consultation I will note all your medications and am able to prescribe Herbs, vitamins and Minerals that are safe to take with them. Often Foods can be a great and delicious way to increase nutrient intake and avoid any risk of interaction. Contact me, Book your session or Purchase and complete a totally online Supplement Safety Review form which will provide you with a report of current supplements to avoid or explore for optimal health.
Shairin is a Naturopath and Usui Reiki Master/Teacher with a Bachelor of Health Science in (Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Medical Systems).