Nutritional medicine encompasses a holistic and individualised approach to health. Taking into account physical, psychological, social, economic and cultural aspects it seeks to create a balance that promotes optimal health as well as preventing disease. It may include;
- Supplementation of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
- Rotational or exclusion diets.
- Removal of certain foods from diet.
- Removal of certain chemicals from living environment.
Naturopaths are qualified healthcare professionals that specialise in Nutritional Medicine.
What is naturopathy?
The human body is amazing, it has the innate ability to heal itself, restore balance and overcome illness. Naturopathic practitioners identify underlying problems that may restrict this ability, they seek the cause rather then the cure, helping the body to function properly rather than suppressing problems with medication.
Correct diet combined with supplementation of vitamins, minerals and herbal medicines supports the body’s healing process. Naturopathy seeks to share lifestyle tools that empower individuals to make changes and achieve optimal health.
Why visit a Naturopathic Practitioner and what is their role?
Naturopathic practitioners look for the root cause of illness. By interpreting different signs and symptoms they can identify barriers to the body’s innate healing process. Doing so corrects imbalances, restores health and creates increased resistance to infection and illness.
Taking into account all aspects of an individuals life nurtures a holistic approach to wellbeing. This less invasive and more natural health system has great potential to empower and change peoples lives.
What is involved in a naturopathic consultation?
Consultations are quite in depth, the naturopath will interview the patient about their current health concerns and many aspects of their life, which may include;
- diet – meals each day/snacks
- stress levels
- current physical condition
- amount of daily exercise
- alcohol consumption
- tobacco use
- sleep patterns
- Examinations as well as diagnostic and screening tests may also be utilised.
The naturopathic practitioner well then draw up a personalised plan specific to the patients illness and lifestyle factors. Referral to other healthcare professionals for additional advice may be recommended in certain situations. A naturopathic treatment plan may include the following;
- Herbal medicine
- Vitamin, mineral and antioxidant supplements
- Dietary plan
- Exclusion of certain foods
- Exercise management plan
- Bach flowers
- Counselling and education
Why food alone is not enough!
In todays society diets are often lacking in nutrients. There is high consumption of processed, synthetic and junk food. Intensive agricultural systems designed to mass produce food have depleted the soil of nutrients and introduced chemical herbicides and pesticides to our diet.
Due to large urban populations the organic process of growing food is much removed from everyday life. Food is often frozen, stored for long periods of time and picked green then artificial ripened to allow for transportation and year round demand. All these factors result in depleted nutritional value.
The body’s innate ability to heal is greatly challenged by the lack of nutrients in our diet. Without the correct building blocks we are unable to heal, repair and regenerate.
What are the benefits from nutritional supplements?
Without a balanced and healthy diet full of nutritional value there is a risk of developing vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The affect of these imbalances can greatly impact personal health. Nutritional supplements give insurance to people who are unable with diet alone to consume the required daily amount of nutrients.
How do supplements work in the body?
Vitamins and minerals are essential elements in the function and formation of our body. They participate in important biochemical reactions like the conversion of food into useable energy.
Oxidation reactions in the body caused by metabolic processes and environmental factors (pollution, sunlight, alcohol, strenuous exercise) create free radicals. These can start a chain reaction leading to damaged cells. Beta-carotene( vitamin A precursor), vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium act as vital antioxidants that prevent free radicals harming cell tissue.
A balanced nutritional diet combined with quality supplements insurer the body has the right tools to function at optimum levels.
Why visit a naturopath when I can get supplements over the counter at most retail outlets and supermarkets?
Consultation with a qualified nutritional medicine professional such as a naturopath will allow you to get the most out of your supplements. There can be potentially harmful interactions between medication, herbs and supplements which can be avoided with professional advice. Consulting a naturopath will also ensure that you have an individualised approach to nurturing your health including having comprehensive assessment, lifestyle education to empower your choices, taking the correct dosage and ongoing support.
Practitioner or professional only products are of guaranteed quality. They are backed by scientific research, successful clinical trials, made from quality raw materials and are designed to treat specific conditions using the optimum dose and potency for desired affects.
Over the counter products, although sometimes cheaper, may not live up to these standards. In some cases the use of inferior raw materials and harmful additives does occur.
When our bodies have the right tools they are able to operate at optimum levels. They possess the innate ability to heal and regenerate, allowing us to live healthier more natural lives. Naturopaths and other nutritional medicine professionals are experts in balancing and nurturing a healthy body. They identify barriers to the natural healing process and coach patients in better lifestyle choices empowering them to take responsibility of the own health journey.
The Medical Sanctuary
5 September 2011