Naturopathy is a complementary health modality that takes into account all systems of the body, within the framework of assisting the whole person. This health care modality originated in the 16th and 17th centuries and was the forerunner to modern medicine.
Today New Zealand offers degree qualifications in Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine, which means that your Naturopath will often be a trained Medical Herbalist, utilising herbal formulas, in addition to dietary and lifestyle changes, vitamins and supplements and referrals.
Your Registered Naturopath will be educated to the best standards of education and continues to educate themselves in their areas of interest of specialisation. Professional development includes activities such as attending webinars, seminars and conferences, keeping up to date with research and completing additional courses to further their knowledge.
Some Naturopaths work solely in clinic seeing clients, others may work in a natural health store, or for natural health companies, others may formulate and manufacture their own line of natural health care products, or offer community-based courses or talks.
What can you expect during a consult?
Naturopaths are trained to assist clients holistically, which means assessing the person as a whole, taking into account their mind, body and emotions.
Typically, you would expect to see a Naturopath for an initial consult, then follow up appointments. Some Naturopaths however, may offer shorter consults focussed on an acute health issues, such as colds or flu. Some stores offer a brief consulting servuce with an in-store Naturopath who can advise you on products to purchase.
Your initial consult will usually take 60 to 90 minutes and involves comprehensive questioning to fully understand your health concern and medical history. They may perform a variety of physical assessments, such as taking your blood pressure or pulse, or recording your weight. This will depend on how they practise and what is relevant to your case. You may walk away from this appointment with some nutritional or lifestyle goals, you may be referred for further medical tests, recommended supplements or a herbal formula. Alternatively, you may discuss your naturopathic care plan with your practitioner at your first follow up appointment.
Follow up appointments vary in time, usually ranging from 30 to 60 minutes. These appointments are used to monitor how you are getting on with the naturopathic care plan, whether any changes need to be made to your plan and to support and educate you throughout your journey to health.
Naturopaths offer their clients advice, education and support to improve their health. They work with clients to provide a plan that works for them. Naturopaths may strongly recommend or advise a particular course of action, but ultimately, are there to educate and empower clients to make dietary and lifestyle changes that will provide a positive impact on their health.