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Naturopaths use naturopathy to prescribe dietary, lifestyle, nutritional supplements, herbal medicine and homeopathic remedies to address the cause of disease.
The origins of naturopathy trace back to ancient Greece when Hippocrates, the “Father of Modern Medicine”. Hippocratic therapy focused on easing this natural process by encouraging "rest and immobilisation”. He emphasised keeping the patient clean and sterile and prescribing clean water and nourishing food. The primary objective was and still is (ironically) as stated in the Hippocratic oath taken by doctors, to do no harm. The Johns Hopkins study suggests medical errors are third-leading cause of death in U.S.
The role of the naturopathic is to facilitate this process through educating our patients and prescribing a range of natural medicines. The study of naturopathy includes herbal medicine, diet and nutrition, flower essences, mineral therapy and nutritional supplementation. Naturopathic diagnostic techniques include conducting a full-length consultation and iris analysis. Tests may be ordered if deemed necessary.
Naturopathic study includes biological sciences in order to understand the human body and its functions. Importance is also placed on social sciences including psychology and counselling, nutrition and dietary planning, botany and herbal medicine studies, diagnostic techniques, clinical skills and extensive clinical practice
Not all Naturopathic courses are equal
In Australia a naturopathic degree is a degree in herbal medicine and nutrition. Naturopathy is not pseudo science. The problem with the industry is not the lack of evidence for herbal medicine and supplements, but the lack of regulation in both the education sector and the industry, resulting in the difference in qualifications of your homeopath, acupuncturist, naturopath or nutritionist. In order to successfully integrate Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) into main-stream healthcare the basis of training of CAM practitioners needs to be equivalent to university degree programmes offered currently to mainstream health professionals. Australian naturopaths study an internationally recognised transferable level 8 (EQF/AQF/NFQ/Level 6 Ofqual recognised by NARIC Ireland/UK ) honours science degree. The naturopathy degree I completed, indeed the 3 degrees I completed, were all 4 year full-time Bachelor of Health science degrees with contact hours equalling 24 hours per week or 96 hours per month. Some naturopathy courses are 3 year part-time courses equating to 14 contact hours per month only. These course are not internationally recognised. An naturopath with a science degree as a firm understanding of medical pathology, pharmacology. Being trained in pharmacology and drug nutrient drug/herb interactions, Australian naturopaths work in every pharmacy and health food store to advise pharmacists of drug/nutrient and drug/herb safety to protect Public Health.
Australia is at the forefront of natural medicine training, having offered degree programmes for 20 years. The industry is well-regulated and moving towards registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) the national registration body that develops a nationally consistent approach to auditing health practitioners including doctors, nurses, acupuncturists and allied health professionals. I was, while living in Australia, a registered acupuncturist. Common registration standards include criminal history checks, ensure English language skills are met and ensures all it's members meet continuing professional development requirements. Registration standards are regularly reviewed. This National registration body will, soon cover Naturopathy as a discipline in Australia meaning only naturopaths with a degree will be legally allowed to practice and anyone breaking the law will be taken to court.
Naturopathy comprises Western Herbal Medicine and Nutrition
Herbal medicine is not pseudoscience!
The use of bioactive natural products as herbal drug preparations dates back hundreds, even thousands, of years ago. Their application as isolated and characterised compounds to modern drug discovery and development however, started only in the 19th century. Before this time (male) doctors used herbs. But the fear of the curative powers that herbalists, healers and midwives possessed caused their skills to be demonised and herbalists were vilified and murdered in The Burning Times. Now herbalists and naturopaths are metaphorically burned.
Until recently, plants were an important source of pharmacologically active compounds with many drugs being derived directly or indirectly from plants. Despite the current preoccupation with synthetic chemistry as a vehicle to discover and manufacture drugs, the contribution of plants to disease treatment and prevention is still enormous. Even at the dawn of 21st century, 11% of the 252 drugs considered as basic and essential by the WHO were exclusively of flowering plant origin.
According to the British Journal of an increasing body of evidence is now emerging from systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomised clinical trials. These suggest that some stand alone herbal medicines are efficacious. E Ernst, Herbal medicines: where is the evidence? Editorials BMJ 2000.
The integration of herbal medicine into evidence-based clinical practice and research however, rests on the acceptance of its scientific evidence by the conventional medical profession, including medical practitioners, pharmacists, nurses, and other health care workers. And the medical fraternity have a current strong-hold on the system. You only have to scratch the surface however to realise how many GPS are now using acupuncture or prescribing supplements and even herbal medicine to their patients. I am not a naturopath not because I couldn't be a doctor. I am a naturopath because I believe in the efficacy of herbal medicine, nutritional supplements and dietary and lifestyle advice to address the underlying causes and treat disease. I am a naturopath because I wanted to treat people without causing any harm. As a naturopath I believe you don't need drugs to be healthy.
Not all herbal medicines are created equal
The herbs I prescribe are organic biodynamic or wild crafted where humanly possible. I also prescribe 1:1 tinctures where possible. These are known as Herbal Extracts. These are the highest strength herbal tinctures available therefore more efficacious. These are superior to herbal tinctures. Other herbalist commonly dont mention the strength of their herbs but use tincture that are 1:3 or even 1:5 meaning 1part herb to 3 parts or 5 parts liquid respectively. This means my herbs are 3 – 5 times stronger. You can taste, see and experience the difference.