One of the questions I’m often asked is: “What does a Naturopath do?”
The profession of Naturopathy is broad. There are core modalities such as nutrition and herbal medicine, but many practitioners also have training in other areas, including aromatherapy, homoeopathy, massage etc. Every Naturopath is also a little different in their philosophical approach. Some may be more to the evidence-based side, others may be more traditional, and some may straddle both. You might find you resonate more with some styles rather than others.
I would describe myself as a Naturopath who combines traditional knowledge with current scientific research to optimise my client’s health. I’m a bit of a research nerd but also have a profound respect for the deep wisdom of nature.
Here’s how I approach my clinical practice.
Takes the time to listen
A key point of difference between Naturopaths and some other health care practitioners is that the consults are longer. My initial consult lasts 75-minutes. To successfully support your wellbeing, I need to know about your health, your lifestyle, what food you like to eat, how you relax, what your capacity is to make changes and what your end goal is.
Looks at the big picture of your health
Sydney Barker said: “If you’re sitting on a tack, the solution is to find and remove the tack not just treat the pain.”
Putting the pieces of your health picture together allows us to get to the underlying cause and correct imbalances on a level deeper than merely symptom management.
Provides you with the knowledge to make sustainable changes
I’m passionate about sharing my health knowledge, so you know the why and the how of things. You’ll get practical, implementable, fad-free nutrition and lifestyle advice to become increasingly self-sufficient in managing your health. My long-term plan is for you not to need me!
Support on your wellness journey
For clients who have upcoming consultations booked, I offer free email support between appointments.
I also regularly blog and send out a monthly newsletter packed full of healthy tips, news and nutritious recipes.
Judicious prescription of nutrient and herbs
In most cases, herbs and nutritional supplements are short to medium term “helping hands” for your health. When treating the root cause of an illness, it should stay resolved after treatment ends. The aim of Naturopathy is not to create dependency on long-term use of herbal medicines and nutritional supplements.
What happens in the first appointment?
In the first appointment, I’ll be getting to know you and your health.
Part 1- Case taking
- Your current health concerns in detail (what, when, how long, what have you already tried)
- Review any existing testing
- Your health history
- Your family health history
- Explore areas of health-related to your presenting concern. For example: If you’re a woman who wants help with acne we’ll also explore: digestive health, period health, sleep and stress. These are all key areas which may be the underlying cause.
- Get a brief idea of your diet – a day on a plate, what foods you eat and those you avoid.
Part 2 – Physical examination
- Standard examinations include blood pressure and heart rate plus any related to your presenting complaint, e.g., thyroid, abdominal, neurological
- Naturopathic observations: tongue, nail, pulse, and iris
Part 3 – Discussion
- Discuss what might be the underlying drivers. For complex cases, I may need more information from testing or to do more research.
- Set your goals
- Provide a rough estimate of the timeframe of treatment
- Recommend any testing. I tend to be conservative when it comes to ordering tests and will only recommend these if I think it will change how we would approach treatment.
- Prescribe herbal medicines or nutritional support if appropriate.
- Provide initial diet and lifestyle recommendations
What happens in review consultations?
Review consultations are between 30-40 minutes. In this consultation, we’ll evaluate how things have gone. What is working and what else needs doing.
The first follow up will also often include:
- Presentation of a detailed treatment plan (especially if your case is more complex)
- Review of diet diary and specialised recommendations
- Education around your health issue
- Review and dispensing of any herbal medicines or nutritional supplements
Your feedback is essential to ensure we are on the right path to success. Of course, it’s always great to hear you’ve had improvements, but if not, it’s essential to let me know that too. It will help you get the best result and ultimately helps me be a better Naturopath!
It’s also vital to check-in that you are comfortable with the pace of change. Creating new healthy habits does take time and mental energy. It can be easy to fall into a pit of overwhelm. I don’t want you to think that because you haven’t been able to achieve something that you are a failure. You are not. There are always other options. My goal is to find what works for you.
How many appointments will I need?
This is difficult to answer, as every case is unique. Treating the underlying cause of a health condition usually involves changes to diet and lifestyle. Each person will have a different capacity to implement these recommendations depending on their circumstances.
Your progress is important to me, and we will review this at each consultation to ensure we are moving forward.
3 tips for choosing a Naturopath
1. Are they qualified? Unfortunately, the title of “Naturopath” is not currently protected by law. Anyone can call themselves a Naturopath. This can be very confusing for the general public. Qualified Naturopaths will have an Advanced Diploma or Bachelor of Health Science and should have their qualifications displayed in their clinic room.
2. Check they are a current member of a professional association. I am a member of the Australian Naturopathic Practitioners Association. Membership of an association means your Naturopath holds a qualification and is insured.
3. Do you resonate with their style of practice? Check their website and social media to get an idea of how they practice. Most Naturopaths are also happy to have a quick chat with you to help you make a decision.
Need help with your health?
Norelle Hentschel is an experienced naturopath with a clinic in Crows Nest, Sydney, who enjoys supporting her clients to reach their health goals.
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