What is Naturopathy?

Naturopathy is a holistic system of health care that is both an art and a science. Today, Naturopaths are taught using evidence based practice as the core of their studies as well as traditional evidence. In order for me to graduate, I completed a four year Bachelor degree of Applied Science, majoring in Naturopathy at Endeavour College Brisbane.

There are six foundational principles that underpin all Naturopathic care

  1. The healing power of nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae),
  2. Identify and treat the cause (tolle causum)
  3. First do no harm (primum non nocere)
  4. Doctor as teacher (docere)
  5. Treat the whole person
  6. Prevention

Naturopaths are prevention medicine specialists that use these six principles to develop treatment plans for long term well being.

How can Naturopathy help?

Naturopathic case-taking often uncovers dis-ease long before it has become a diagnosable pathology. We are able to treat both acute and chronic conditions and is well suited to anyone at any age. Naturopaths have many answers for common conditions, we use various modalities in practice, such as herbal medicine, nutritional medicine, homeopathy, dietary and lifestyle advice, massage therapy or other therapies.

Below is a brief overview of some health conditions that Naturopathy can effectively treat and manage.

Digestive Complaints

The gastrointestinal tract is integral to the function of every other organ and system in the body, as its purpose is to metabolise, absorb and assimilate vital nutrients. Without it, the body would no longer function.

Therefore, healthy digestion begins in the mouth and ends in the colon and any suboptimal functioning that happens along the way can cause a flow on effect, developing into symptoms or conditions such as:

  • Reflux
  • Flatulence
  • Burping
  • Bloating
  • Pain
  • Cramping
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Nasuea
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
  • Food intolerances

When consulting with a client, especially one with chronic health concerns, a naturopath will always ask about digestive function to gauge its level of involvement within the presenting complaint. Often, initial treatment is focused at least partly on the gut.

Fatigue and Stress

The term stress is defined by any demand placed on the body, be it positive or negative. In modern society it is distress that is experienced often and refers to a situation or event that challenges a person’s ability to cope or adjust. This ongoing distress changes the way the body adapts to its internal and external environment making it hard for the body to return to its normal homeostasis; in turn causing the bodies systems and organs to work harder.

Many people who are stressed are unable to identify exactly what is causing them stress and it is often a combination of events that build up on top of each other. Typically clients will present with symptoms such as:

  • Insomnia or interrupted sleep
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Digestive concerns
  • Irritability or mood swings
  • Frequent crying

Reproductive Health

Disorders of female and male reproduction are commonly seen in Naturopathic clinics as we have numerous tools that have been shown to improve reproductive health and reduce symptoms. Commonly seen conditions and symptoms are:

  • Endometriosis
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  • Amenorrhoea
  • Painful and/or heavy periods
  • Conception concerns
  • Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
  • Prostatitis
  • Erectile dysfunction

Skin Conditions

Traditionally naturopaths interpreted chronic skin conditions as representation of inner disharmony where the body is struggling to clear a build-up of toxins. Whilst this is still an element addressed by many modern naturopaths we now understand that there is a wide range of pathophysiological processes and causes linked to skin problems such as immune dysregulation, gut dysfunction, stress and inflammation. Some conditions that are successfully treated are:

  • Acne
  • Eczema or dermatitis
  • Psorasis
  • Skin infections
  • Skin ulcers
  • Itchy skin

Musculoskeletal Health

This term refers to the integration of the skeletal and muscular systems of the body which with the assistance of the nervous system maintains body posture and enables a range of body movements and functions. Naturopaths recognise that the wellbeing of this system is important for good health and quality of life and often work in conjunction with manual therapists such as remedial massage therapists, osteopaths and chiropractors to ensure optimal health.

Some conditions and symptoms that Naturopaths can assist with are:

  • Osteoarthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Gout
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Inflammation
  • Pain