Naturopathic principles acknowledge that the human body has its own mechanisms of recovery and self-regulation. Put a bit more simply, the body always wants to go back into balance (homeostasis) but sometimes in life there may be obstacles to this. This might include too much stress at work, emotional upset, a bad home environment, poor food choices, too many late nights and generally not having the time or belief that you should look after yourself properly. Sometimes we all need to be reminded how important it is to look after our health, and a naturopath can be there to guide and encourage you. A good naturopath will establish a personal programme or treatment plan that is achievable and realistic for you and your lifestyle.
In practice, naturopaths have various tools they use to work with the body and help you get back into balance. Treatments are always holistic as all aspects of a person are considered. Treatment may involve:
Naturopathic dietary therapy – Naturopaths believe that a person’s health can be greatly influenced by the condition that the digestive system is in. They are trained in nutrition and will analyse a person’s diet and might suggest alternatives or changes that may be affecting their health. For example, they may advise a patient with an inflammatory condition, such as arthritis, on foods that reduce inflammation. In cases of digestive conditions such as IBS, a naturopath may prescribe probiotics and advise on which foods are integral to maintaining good bacteria in the gut (these are called prebiotic foods). They are also trained to work with food elimination diets to establish any food intolerances.
Naturopathic Hydrotherapy - this really should be called thermotherapy, as it is the use of water to apply a hot or cold stimulus to the body. Hydrotherapy has a wide range of benefits and can help with pain relief, reducing inflammation, improving circulation and stimulating the immune system. Various aspects of this treatment can be taught to the patients to use at home themselves, making it an affordable therapeutic tool for anyone.
What to expect from a Session
The first session with a naturopath will be up to 1 ½ hours. This is because a full case history will be taken. This will include a full medical history, current medical complaint, detailed information about your diet and lifestyle together with what your goals with regard to your health might be and what you want to achieve from your sessions. Ongoing sessions will be up to 1 hour and might include lifestyle advice, dietary advice, a hydrotherapy treatment or a bodywork treatment such as massage.
Why would you see a naturopath?
You could use it if you feel you need to improve your health and lifestyle generally, or if you have a specific condition that you would like to try and improve using diet and naturopathic treatments. You can use it alongside conventional treatment for your medical condition. Naturopathy can help to reduce symptoms and improve feelings of wellbeing. It can also be a good way to increase your vitality after a long-term illness or drug therapy.