What is Naturopathy?
Written by Alana Mulhall - BHSc Naturopath
If you are new to Naturopathy or don't completely understand what it is about you may have an idea in your head that it is a very weird alternative "witchcraft" type medicine or means you will have to do a full life overhaul! This is a far cry from the truth. Naturopathy is a type of complementary research backed medicine, which focuses on a holistic approach to health. Your individualised needs are always the highest priority which allows Naturopaths to support bringing YOU back to feeling your best!
Naturopathic practices use a variety of treatments including dietary and lifestyle modifications, herbal medicine, and nutritional supplementation. Naturopathy is built on six underlying principles:
1. The healing power of nature (vis medicatrix naturae)
2. First, do no harm (primum non nocere)
3. Identify and treat the cause, not only the symptoms (tolle causam)
4. Treat the whole person (tolle totum)
5. Doctor as Teacher (docere)
6. Prevention (preventare)
Naturopaths are specialists in preventative medicine and place emphasis on daily health practices to prevent disease. During a consultation with a Naturopath they will look at multiple body systems and understand that the body works as a whole and when there is disease in one system others may also be impacted.
An example of this relative to mothers is low iron. Clinical research suggests that low iron is closely linked to postpartum conditions such as postpartum Depression!
What is Herbal Medicine?
Herbal Medicine refers to the use of plants for the purpose of medicinal properties or therapeutic benefits. The fruit, bark, seeds, leaves or flowers of certain plants contain complex chemical structures, which have been shown to have therapeutic effects.
Herbal medicine is continuously being validated by growing scientific evidence. Herbal medicine dates back thousands of years and has been used traditionally in many cultures throughout history.
Naturopaths use both up-to-date scientific evidence, alongside traditional knowledge.
What is Nutritional Medicine?
Nutritional Medicine refers to the supplementation of specific nutrients (on their own or in combination) to address certain nutrient deficiencies. Nutrient deficiencies can occur for several different reasons such as:
- Poor dietary intake
- Food processing, additives or chemicals
- Poor digestive function
- Disrupted nutrient absorption (IBS, IBD, microbial overgrowth, allergies)
Each individual requires and utilises nutrients differently therefore supplementation requirements will be different for each individual.
At times, nutritional supplementation may be required to support symptom reduction, correct deficiencies, and support health while you are on the way to making dietary changes.
What is Clinical Nutrition?
More and more evidence is proving that nutrition plays a key role in health. Unfortunately, supplementation does not provide the same outcomes as a balanced diet. Our food provides us with nutrient and non-nutrient constituents, these constituents have been shown to support our immune, gut, reproductive and mental health. Therefore, while supplementation can be utilised, balanced and healthy food choices are also a priority to supporting your long term health. Just like nutrient supplementation, each individual will require unique foods to support their health.
We hope this gives you a greater understanding and appreciation for Naturopathy and it's powerful benefits but please reach out if you have any questions xx