I want to discuss a specific direction of Complementary Medicine/ Therapy. In order to do so, I need first to look in to what exactly Complementary Medicine and Therapies are, why they are such an important topic to consider and finally I need to look at the topic in question: Naturopathy.
What is it?
These are treatments and therapies that are used as well as conventional medicinal treatments. Sometimes referred to as Alternative Medicine, but these words need to be closely considered.
Typical forms of these therapies include but are not restricted to:
Acupuncture, Acupressure, Remedial Massage, Reflexology, Traditional Chinese medicine, Herbalists, Nutritionists, Naturopathy, Aromatherapy, Reiki, Meditation, Naturopathy
Complementary refers to the application of something to add benefit to, or to work alongside.
Alternative refers to the replacement of, or use instead of, another option.
It is an important difference you must make for yourself. I have many friends, and am aware of many more people, who chose Alternative Therapies. To me this appears to be largely a dangerous and unwise approach to health. I DO believe in the power and benefits of many long standing Complementary Therapies, but I also am willing to place my trust in the conventional medical system. This may be because of the nature of my health, yet this may also be the simple fact that I have successfully learned how to navigate that system to ensure I am receiving the optimum treatments.
I understand that different people have different reactions to medications and some illnesses are so complex in their nature that even the best treatments in the world will to attend to the root issue in a realistic way that can be maintained long-term. I respect that and would hate to think that anyone thinks less of me for my opinion, as I would never think less of anyone for their own life choices.
I personally have been through dozens of Complementary and Alternative Therapeutic specialists since my early childhood. The number has more than tripled since my middle adolescent years and my health has entered hyper-drive. One of the more regularly visited fields are Naturopaths. I’ve been to some doozies and some better ones. I’ve looked into the exact process a bit more for you here.
What is it?
A holistic approach to wellness based on the principle that the body has the inherent ability to heal itself. Using the healing power of nature and gentle therapeutic techniques, the body, mind and emotions are supported during the healing process.
Based on Hippocrates principle to treat the whole body and source of the disease and not the symptoms, Naturopathy uses supplements, plant extracts and nutritional variations to the diet to gently alter the way the body functions, building up stores of necessary nutrients, proteins and other vital elements and minimising or balancing the suspected causes of discomfort.
What to look for?
Ordinarily this is a strange segment to include. And you may be rightly asking why am I including this? Like I say, I’ve been to some doozies. But as pointed out to me recently, the regulation of this particular practice in Australia is sadly lacking. I can confirm this definitely given that I once saw a man that never actually asked anything about me or why I was there, the proceeded to tell me what was wrong by looking in my eyes for ten seconds.
What you should consider for a safe and trustworthy experience is the following:
- Membership into Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA)
- Membership into Complementary Association
- Each practitioner should be trained and qualified from an Australian or Internationally recognised University with a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science or Naturopathy or Biochemistry
- It could be also desired for there to be a University trained and Qualified Nutritionist on staff
Why is this important?
In the United States of America and the United Kingdom there are strict laws, regulations and guidelines over who can practice, what training they must have had to prove their authenticity and to protect the consumer.
Only recently in Australia was the consideration for regulation brought to a head. Following inquiries and reports in 2005 and 2009 consecutively and decision was made. Now there is the The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA), this complements the requirements for membership with Complementary Medicine Association. Regardless, in 2010 further research by ABC’s The Drum indicated that 1 in 10 Australians utilise the services of a Naturopathy and yet the practices are still severely unregulated. It is scary.
Doctor’s spend years training in many different environments, seeing many different people and reading many different texts. They undergo and understand research and spend time working under professionals who have specialised in particular areas of their chosen profession globally. They are versed in poisons and chemicals, they know where these originated in nature and what effects they could have on the body. There are some parts of the body that are still not wholly understood and that is where the vagueness can sometimes lie with doctors. Yes some are better than others, but then the same can be said of any human being.
Regardless of all the other reservations you have about doctors, you cannot deny that they have at least earned more right to look at your body and recommend the medicines and treatments you put into your body. I’m talking here in comparison to those uneducated and unregulated individuals. And believe me I don’t think that the only education worth it’s value is a university one, but I do think this is the case for things that concern the human body. And yes, many universities globally do offer these qualifications.
Taking something that some person that hasn’t been confirmed as a trained specialist, a knowledgeable professional in this field, is dangerous, unsafe, unwise.
For more information and for references to what is mentioned above.