Becoming a Naturopath
Most naturopaths will be self-employed. Some may work from a dedicated room in their home while others may rent rooms in a clinic or natural healthcare centre. In order to practice professionally, naturopaths must hold professional insurance, maintain strict client confidentiality and comply with the data protection legislation.
A Naturopath works in Natural Healthcare and on a one-to-one basis with their clients - all advice is tailored specifically for that person health issues. An initial consultation typically lasts between 1 and 2 hours, depending on the techniques used, and during this the naturopath will:
1. Identify the main issues that the client wants to address.
2. Take a full medical history, plus details of diet, lifestyle, and emotional factors such as stress or anxiety.
3. Take details of family medical history, to give a full picture of any possible genetic traits or familial patterns.
4. Make observations of the client’s skin, hair and nails.
5. Use any other diagnostic techniques they are trained in, such as tongue diagnosis, iridology or kinesiology.
6. If required, pathology tests like blood tests or stool analysis, may be recommended to gain further information.
If the naturopath feels they are not the best person to help the client, they may refer the client on to another practitioner. The naturopath may also write to the client’s GP to explain the treatment being offered. This is often the case if a client is on medication and needs a GP approval before following some of the Naturopath’s advice.
Some advice may be given to a client on the spot, but is usually followed up with an email or letter outlining their recommendations. This will include specific advice on diet, exercise, rest and relaxation as well as particular herbal or homoeopathic remedies that the naturopath thinks would benefit the client. The naturopath must consider how easy or difficult it will be for the client to make changes, and tailor their advice to be achievable for that particular person.
A follow-up consultation is usually recommended a few weeks later, to check for any changes to the symptoms and adjust the treatment plan if necessary. This is also a good time to find out how much of the advice the patient has managed to follow, and provide additional motivation where necessary.
Naturopathic treatment is about long-term changes to encourage optimal health, so it is common for a patient to return for a number of consultations over a period of months or even years, adjusting the treatment plan little by little until the body is back in a state of balance.