in Perth

Naturopath Vs Doctor: What's The Difference?

You might be wondering what’s the difference between seeing your doctor and seeing a naturopath (sometimes mis-spelt natropath). When patients visit our Perth Naturopath Clinic, they are often pleasantly surprised to find that a consultation is much longer that one with a GP and incorporates a detailed combination of modalities.

Most importantly, an average consultation is 60 minutes, which gives time to listen to each patient and understand the bigger picture behind the wellness of the individual patient. If we take more time to listen to a patient and their presenting symptoms, it makes a more personalised treatment plan.

Naturopathy and orthodox medicine are separated mainly by their philosophies. Whilst naturopathy is designed to improve and aid overall health in a holistic way, orthodox medicine is primarily used to treat the patient’s obvious symptoms, rather than finding a total cure for underlying and interacting health conditions.

By focusing on the symptoms and only prescribing drugs, conventional medicine often allows people to ‚Äėget on‚Äô with their condition with reduced discomfort. It might be helpful for the short-term, but it is not addressing the underlying cause.

The aim of naturopathy, however, is to treat the cause, to empower the patient with knowledge and to promote overall well-being and prevention. Functional medicine testing, dietary planning, addressing stress and tailoring a individual plan is the key to naturopathy.

This is not to say that orthodox medicine is not useful; in emergency cases, for example, conventional drugs can be life-saving. However, due to the difference in philosophical approach, this means that whilst orthodox medicine may be best in some situations, there are also situations where a naturopath may be the most beneficial option

How Can A Naturopath Help You?

Naturopathy can help with a whole range of different conditions and health complaints. For example, digestive problems are commonly seen. Conventional drug treatments for digestive conditions often work by numbing pain or stopping cramps with pharmaceutical medications, yet this does nothing to heal the root cause of the condition. However, by treating these conditions with diet and nutrition, the naturopath can often naturally stop the cause of digestive pain by eliminating aggravating foods, and gives the body a chance to start healing itself.

Other conditions which respond well to naturopathic treatment include chronic fatigue, weight problems, anxiety and depression, viruses, muscle or joint pain, hormonal conditions, and even long term conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. There is also evidence which suggests that a naturopathic approach can help to prevent some forms of cancer, and can also help aid recovery in cancer patients.


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How Does a Naturopathic Practitioner Improve Your Health?

Here at our clinic in Perth, we use a number of investigative methods to find out what’s really going on in the body. These include hair mineral analysis, iridology, allergy and sensitivity tests, and many more.

We use herbal medicine; the most ancient form of medicine and at long last science is finally catching up with discovering the many benefits of the plants and herbal medicine available to us. Not only do we use herbs, but we also teach our patients about the power of nutrition, helping to put them in the driving seat of their own health and well-being.

Clinical naturopathy is a term with growing usage. It combines the best of naturopathy with conventional or orthodox medicine. It uses empirical knowledge verified by evidence-based medicine, research as well as pathology tests to assess the level of wellness.

Naturopathy treatments are empirical and hard to analyse with scientific methodology. It has worked for centuries based on knowledge, documentation and experience passed down from the ages. By combining scientific methods to strengthen the methods of diagnosis and standardise traditional herbal medicines and nutritional medicines, we can offer patients truly exceptional wellness support. This is clinical naturopathy.

Traditional Natural Medicine

The word ‚Äúnaturopathy‚ÄĚ is a broad term used to describe a natural medicine practitioner trained in the areas of herbal medicine and natural therapies. The practice of naturopathy is also known as alternative medicine, integrative¬†medicine or natural therapies in Australia. The method includes a multimodality approach, incorporating nutrition (which includes diet and lifestyle modification and vitamin and mineral therapy), herbal medicine, homeopathy and iridology. Physical therapies may also be employed, including therapeutic massage and remedial massage.

A naturopath should be eclectic, using a mixture of these therapies, or specialise in one or more. The key is to tailor the consultation and treatment to the individual patient.

For a practitioner, there is only one healing force in existence and that is nature herself. As the philosopher Hippocrates once said, ‚ÄúNatural forces within us are the true healers of disease.‚ÄĚ The philosophy of alternative medicine believes that the human body has an inherent intelligence that strives at all times to maintain health, to overcome disease and to restore health, given the right opportunity. Any therapy that attempts to assist this healing force must work with nature, not against her. This is basically the philosophy of naturopathy and how integrative medicine works.

The symptoms expressed by an individual in a state of disease are produced by the body in an attempt to heal.  The naturopath’s first task is to identify any factors in the patient’s diet, lifestyle or environment that may be contributing to the problem and to assist in removing them.  If any therapy is given, it should aid what the body is trying to do to assist the body to balance again into a state of health.  The naturopathic approach aims where possible not just to remove the symptoms but also to remove the reason for the symptoms.
Naturopaths base their practice on several key principles founded on medical tradition and scientific evidence.

  • First, do no harm. Naturopathic practitioners follow this important precept to ensure the patient is safe. The patient should experience a gentle shift towards health without dramatic flare ups or exacerbation of illness. A practitioner will use low-risk procedures and healing compounds‚ÄĒsuch as dietary supplements, herbal remedies and/or homeopathy to ensure this principle can be achieved successfully.
  • Let nature heal.¬†Our bodies have such a powerful, innate instinct for self-healing. By finding and removing the barriers to this self-healing‚ÄĒsuch as poor diet or unhealthy habits‚ÄĒnaturopaths can nurture this process.
  • Identify and treat causes. Naturopaths understand that symptoms will only return unless the root illness is addressed. Rather than cover up symptoms, they seek to find and treat the cause of these symptoms
  • Allow the body to self-heal. One example of this is the body may develop a fever in reaction to a bacterial infection. Fever initiates the immune system response while also creating an inhospitable environment for the harmful bacteria. Of course, the naturopath would not allow the fever to get dangerously high
  • Patients are individuals. We all heal in different ways¬†and the naturopaths respect our differences. Practitioners tailor an individual plan for every patient to suit that individual.
  • Educate patients.¬†Naturopathic philosophy believes that the practitioners must be educators, as well as¬†physicians. That‚Äôs why naturopaths teach their patients how to eat, exercise, manage their stress and nurture themselves physically and emotionally. They also encourage self-responsibility to ensure they can understand how to keep healthy by themselves.
  • Treat the whole person.¬†We each have a unique physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, sexual and spiritual makeup. A naturopath knows that all these factors affect our health and that‚Äôs why he or she addresses the whole body, from head to toe!
  • Preventative medicine.¬†‚ÄúAn ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure‚ÄĚ has never been truer. Proactive medicine saves money, pain, misery and lives. That‚Äôs why practitioners evaluate risk factors, heredity and vulnerability to disease. By getting treatment for greater wellness, we‚Äôre less likely to need treatment for future illness.

For further information or to speak with us and get in touch.

 Care should be taken when choosing a naturopath because regulation in Australia is not complete. At present absolutely anyone can call themselves a naturopath and practice, giving health advice to unsuspecting patients. The best way is to check quality associations to ensure the practitioner is registered.Furthermore the practitioner can only get a private health provider number if they have insurance to protect the patients. If the practitioner does not have private health cover for patients, they are most likely not registered with a respectable natural therapy association.

My preferred association is ARONAH (Australian Register of Naturopaths and Herbalists) ‚Ä
Also check NHAA (National Herbalist Association of Australia) ‚Ä

A Perth Naturopathic View

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