More and more Australians are seeking preventative healthcare and natural options for managing disease. There is still a lot of confusion surrounding the complementary healthcare industry however, and the role of the Naturopathic practitioner. These are some of the common myths that I often hear regarding my role as a Naturopath.
1. All Naturopaths are anti-pharmaceutical and anti-vaxxers
I am not anti-drug or anti-vax. A large part of my education was spent studying pharmaceutical medicines, their pathways, interactions with natural medicines and side effects. As a Naturopath I respect the role of conventional medicine and work with my patients GP and other healthcare practitioners to get the best health outcome for the patient. With the use of natural medicines I am often able to reduce my patients need for certain medications and lessen the side effects of others. And most certainly by working to prevent the onset of illness and promote wellness in my patients I am able to decrease the need for pharmaceutical interventions in the future. The combination of natural and conventional medicine is a powerful one.
2. Natural always means safe
Natural medicines including herbal and nutritional supplements can be powerful products which may have side effects, interactions and contraindications. It is essential that you consult with a registered practitioner to ensure the safety and efficacy of these products. Not only may you be taking a treatment that could be harmful but you may also be consuming products that are inappropriate and a waste of money. Practitioner only products that are available to registered Naturopaths are superior quality and based on both traditional use and scientific research. A registered Naturopathic Practitioner will ensure the safety and efficacy of your treatment.
3. All Naturopaths are qualified
Unfortunately in Australia you don't need to be qualified to call yourself a Naturopath. When choosing a Naturopath it is so important that you check that they have formal qualifications and registration with an appropriate body such as the Australian Natural Therapists Association. Qualified Naturopaths have undertaken rigorous, accredited education and are equipped with the knowledge and experience to safely and effectively guide your health.
4. Naturopathic medicine is not based on evidence or science
This is really common. Yes, a part of natural medicine is not based on scientific research. This is the part that recognises thousands of years of traditional use of certain herbs. But for the most part, Naturopathic Medicine is evidence-based. As a Naturopath my treatment plans are formulated from nutritional supplements, herbal medicines and nutritional and lifestyle recommendations, the efficacy of which have been proven in clinical trials. It is an exciting field to be in as each day research further supports the importance of Naturopathic medicine in treating and preventing disease. The emerging understanding of the importance of the Microbiome to obesity, mental health and immune health is a prime example of this.
I hope this provides you with further understanding about the role of a Naturopath in your healthcare team.