Naturopathy invites us to take a more holistic view of our wellbeing. While it may not be the answer to all that ails you, you may learn a little self-care along the way.
There's no clear-cut definition of naturopathy. It encompasses a broad universe of natural therapies—from changing your diet and daily routine, to massage, meditation, acupuncture, herbal teas, even healing crystals (if you believe in the power of geology).
Essentially, naturopathy offers alternative ideas to overcome ailments outside of prescription drugs like antibiotics and antivirals, based on the idea that our bodies are naturally healthy without the aid of synthetic chemicals.
Naturopathy is considered a pseudoscience, and many of the ideas, practices, and remedies are outside of evidence-based medicine. So while it may not be the cure-all to our most serious health concerns, a naturopath may reveal some more intuitive ideas that could guide you to optimal health in your day-to-day.
We asked naturopath and founder of Balanced by Nature herbal teas, Jade Anstey to explain her approach to naturopathy, as well as a few of the ailments she works with, and what to expect on your first visit to a naturopath.
OK, so what exactly is a naturopath?
As a tertiary qualified naturopath, my core aim is to effectively assist people with improving their overall health. With the use of dietary advice, herbal medicine, and nutritional medicine alongside lifestyle changes, we can help to bring the whole body back into a balanced state or find its equilibrium.
What attracted you to naturopathy?
[During university] I was diagnosed with a multinodular goitre of the thyroid and to my surprise at the time— there was nothing that needed to be done, just wait and see if it grows! This made me question everything and where I truly turned to my studies. Learning to understand how the body works, that a disease state is the result not the cause of ill health and embracing full heartedly a balanced preventative approach made perfect sense.
What are some of the illnesses and stresses a naturopath can help me with?
A naturopath works on the underlying causes rather than just treating the symptoms, so we can assist with many different health concerns. A good naturopath will work alongside allied health professionals and know their limitations and when to refer.
A naturopath can offer support with:
- Digestive complaints: diarrhoea, constipation, IBS, and bloating
- Sleep disturbances
- Energy production
- Stress support
- Immune function
- Thyroid disorders
- Infertility, preconception, pregnancy
- Hormonal Imbalances: PMT, PCOS, endometriosis, and menopause
- Skin conditions: acne, psoriasis, and eczema
- Inflammatory conditions: arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout
- Food intolerances
- Obesity, weight management, and metabolic syndrome
- Cardiovascular disease
Why is it worth trying holistic healing?
I like to think of myself as an educational health facilitator and once you understand how your whole body works and the messages it is trying to tell you, the power then lies with you in the healing process. You are a whole person not a disease. Healing takes a team around you and all aspects of your health need to be considered for optimal recovery and prevention.
The importance of your health is priceless; knowing how to support and prevent certain conditions will provide you with a wealth of health in the future. It’s always worth trying; it may just give you the answers you’re looking for.
What should we expect on our first visit to a naturopath?
Initial appointments with a naturopath can vary from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on the naturopath. It can also be split over two consultations (the first case taking and the second testing).
The first 30 minutes usually involves taking a thorough case history where the naturopath is aiming to identify the underlying cause of your concerns. You will be asked questions about your lifestyle, energy levels, sleep, diet, bowel habits, stress and past medical and family history.
The second 30 minutes often involves any functional testing that the practitioner is trained in (live blood analysis, bio-impedance analysis, tongue diagnosis, etc.).
The information gained in this consultation helps put all of the pieces of your health puzzle together and aid the practitioner in giving you an effective treatment plan.
Therapeutic herbal medicine and or nutritional medicine may be given to help restore whole body balance again. Lifestyle, environmental, and dietary changes may also be advised to prevent the underlying triggers of your concern. A good naturopath will explain and educate you clearly on any treatment plan given and what you can expect from that plan in the future.