What is Naturopathy?
Naturopathy is a traditional healing modality that uses a holistic approach to wellness and aims to resolve underlying causes of imbalance or disharmony. Via strengthening the tone and integrity of body tissues and body systems Naturopaths strive to stimulate the vital force (aka chi, prana, life force) to encourage the body to heal itself.
Naturopathic philosophy includes a strong emphasis on the role of “doctor as teacher” and the therapeutic relationship centers around patient empowerment and collaboration. Modern Naturopathic practice combines current scientific evidence with traditional remedies and incorporates a number of treatment strategies including:
- Diet and lifestyle advice
- Basic counseling
- Nutritional Analysis and Clinical Nutritional Medicines
- Herbal Medicines
- Flower Essences
Naturopathic care adheres to a philosophy known as the therapeutic order where by minimal therapeutic intervention is taken as an initial approach, and removal of any predisposing, perpetuating or contributing factors including diet, lifestyle, environmental and chemical influences that may have led to the imbalance or “dis-ease” in the first place are addressed. In this way Naturopaths avoid suppression of symptoms to ensure a holistic systems based approach. Naturopathy treats the person as a whole. As everyone is unique 2 people with the same disease state may receive 2 different treatments depending on their individual presentation and circumstances.
Because deep change is often needed in chronic disease there is no magic bullet or overnight cure. The Naturopath will guide you at a pace that is suitable to you and your circumstances to make the lasting changes that your body, mind and spirit require to heal.
As Naturopathy is not currently a registered profession in Australia, it is important to note when choosing a practitioner that they are suitably qualified and adhere to a standard of practice and code of ethics as set out by a professional association.
Jean obtained the Bachelor of Health and Science degree majoring in Naturopathy from Endeavour College of Natural Health in Sydney and is a registered member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS).
With a strong passion for complementary and integrative medicines Jean refers to and works alongside multiple modalities including general medical practitioners, psychologists, osteopaths, massage therapists and chiropractors.
Traditional herbal medicine has been practiced for thousands of years before the invent of modern science and traditional healing knowledge passed down through the generations. Herbal medicines like whole foods have many phyto-chemical plant active constituents that work synergistically together in the body to do specific actions. For example a commonly used herb and well known herb Matricaria recutita (Chamomile) has anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer and wound healing properties with an affinity for gastrointestinal tissues while at the same time acts as calming relaxant or mild sedative to the nervous system.
As herbal medicines have multiple actions in different body systems in addition to their primary actions a herbalist will design a herbal medicine formula that is uniquely specific to the person. It is common that patients present with multiple symptoms affecting different body systems or tissues for example in IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) both the gastrointestinal system and the brain tend to be implicated with symptoms of either constipation and or diarrhoea and anxiety.
The art of the practice as a herbalist is to apply Naturopathic principles and the therapeutic order to not only relieve symptoms but to address the underlying drivers of imbalance and tonify relevant body tissues to improve both the structure and function and thus support systems that are not working optimally.
Herbal medicines can and do interact in both beneficial and adverse ways with pharmaceutical medications and are best prescribed under the care of a practitioner with a clear treatment plan and treatment goals. Using herbal medicines for the medicinal actions without an understanding of the physiological processes that paved the way to the imbalance may result in symptom relief only and delay or even worsen the underlying condition if left unattended to.
Jean is an experienced and trained herbalist with a passion for healing and sharing the knowledge she has gleaned throughout her studies and practice.
“I believe in today’s society with so much exposure to environmental pollutants and chemicals in the foods we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe, that most people can adapt better as we evolve using herbal medicines in daily life”.
The main principle of Nutritional Medicine is the concept of “Food as Medicine”. As many of the soils are depleted in today’s agricultural world the food we eat now doesn’t hold quite the same nutritional value as it once did. When there is “dis-ease” or imbalance in the body there is an increased nutritional requirement as the body needs more healing minerals and vitamins to do its repair work. Often when we are in this state of dis-ease our ability to absorb nutrients may be impaired leaving us with an increased need and a short supply. Therefore sometimes particularly in disease states or deficiency states where the diet has been inadequate for some time, a supplemental mineral or vitamin may be required at a specific therapeutic dose with specific other nutrient co-factors for a short period of time to correct the deficiency and restore balance.
First we must understand why there was a deficiency in the first place? Is it due to a poor dietary intake of the nutrient? Is there a gastrointestinal condition interfering with the uptake of nutrients such as celiac disease or intestinal hyper-permeability aka Leaky Gut? Or maybe you have been through a period of intense stress and this has depleted your nutrient stores?
Although there are situations where you need to supplement with a supplemental vitamin or mineral, a nutritionist will for the most part focus on food as medicine, and for good reason. Whole foods have a combination of many phyto-chemicals (plant chemicals), bioflavonoids, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that work in unison together creating a synergy that is difficult to replicate synthetically. Synthetic forms of nutrients are not recognised as easily by the body as natural sources and the body must work harder to use and metabolise them.
By working with a clinical nutritionist you can tailor your diet specifically to meet your individual needs and feel the difference this makes to your overall health with enhanced energy and glowing skin.