Supporting the Whole Person
A naturopath is a health care practitioner who takes a whole-person view of your health and wellness. She believes that your body has an innate ability to heal itself, and supports the healing process using natural and holistic means. She uses some form of bodywork, nutrition, herbal therapy, homeopathy, and other approaches to help you achieve a better state of health. In this form of wellness care, client and naturopath work together as a team, addressing the client’s whole person. A naturopath places a heavy focus on prevention and on identifying the root cause of a problem, rather than treating symptoms alone. Consequently, visits may be lengthy and wellness plans may follow a seemingly circuitous route to resolve your primary complaint. Most naturopaths believe in empowering clients, rather than just treating them.
Most naturopaths will not offer drugs or surgery, and reputable naturopaths will refer a client to a medical doctor when those services are clearly required. A naturopath will often recommend herbal teas or tinctures, homeopathy, as well as nutritional and lifestyle counseling. Depending on the client’s need, the naturopath may also devise an exercise program, intended to build strength and well-being.
Qualifications and certifications of naturopaths vary widely – regulations vary from state to state in the US, from province to province in Canada, and from country to country around the world. As a general rule, a naturopath offers complementary care, rather than primary care, and a naturopath may choose to refer a client to another practitioner to address certain conditions. In some states/provinces, a naturopath may be a board-licensed physician with a focus on natural remedies, belonging to a trade association which monitors practicing naturopaths. In other states/provinces, a naturopath may be an unlicensed alternative care provider. Clients who are interested in seeing a naturopath should research regulations in their area and should ask practitioners about training and experience.