What conditions do Nutritionists and Naturopaths treat?
Updated: Oct 9, 2021
A lot of people like the idea of using 'natural medicine' to treat their various illnesses. They like the idea that they are avoiding chemicals, drugs and side effects that may effect their quality of life. But when it comes to knowing when to see a Nutritionist or a Naturopath, most people I come across are confused. What does a nutritionist or a Naturopath actually treat? Below I've given a basic summary of what a Nutritionist and a Naturopath is, and the main conditions that they treat.
What is a Nutritionist?
A nutritionist is someone who has undergone a professional qualification to earn that title. For example, a Diploma of Health Science in nutritional medicine, nutritional and dietetic medicine or clinical nutrition. Ideally, however, they have completed a Bachelor of Health Science, majoring in Nutrition. Additionally, a dietician has conducted further study (a masters degree), and their service is subsidized in Australia by Medicare, making them a little cheaper. The downside is that they are trained according to the Australian Government's Dietary Guidelines, which are often unfortunately influenced by industries rather than an evidence-base. Nutritionists use food as medicine to treat common diseases as well as aid in weight loss or weight gain, depending on the individuals needs and health goals.
What conditions do Nutritionists treat?
Nutritionists use only food as medicine, vitamins and minerals, where as naturopaths use food as medicine, vitamins and minerals as well as herbal extracts and other treatments. That is why Naturopaths are able to treat a broader range of conditions. Nevertheless, Nutritional medicine can assist in treatment of all of the following:
What is a Naturopath?
If you google 'Naturopathy', the Wikipedia definition is as follows:
"Naturopathy or Naturopathic medicine is a form of alternative medicine that employs an array of pseudoscientific practices branded as "natural", "non-invasive", or promoting "self-healing". The ideology and methods of naturopathy are based on vitalism and folk medicine, rather than evidence-based medicine (EBM)"
However, this does not all reflect the reality by which Naturopaths practice here in Australia. In Australia, Naturopaths must undergo at least 4 years of tertiary study, carrying out a Bachelor of Health Science in Naturopathy. Alternatively, they may complete a Naturopathy masters degree. These degrees include disciplines of anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, herbal medicine, evidence-based research and nutritional medicine as well as hundreds of hours of clinical placement. Naturopaths use natural medicines including vitamins, minerals, herbal extracts, nutraceuticals and other natural therapies to treat diseases naturally. Modern naturopaths have a comprehensive understanding of the pathophysiology of most common diseases. For more info about the history of naturopathy and herbal medicine, click here for my blog, "Is herbal medicine a thing of the past?"
Naturopaths follow 6 key principles in their practice:
1. First, do no harm
2. The healing power of nature
3. Identify and treat the causes
4. The physician as teacher
5. Treat the whole person
6. Prevention is the best cure
This is very different to conventional medicine, which does not seek to empower and educate the patient but rather to prescribe. In addition, many conventional treatment protocols do not seek to find the root cause of the issue, but rather deal with the symptoms with a band-aid solution. Unfortunately, often the band-aid solution is a drug that comes with side effects of its own.
What conditions do Naturopaths treat?
The following conditions can all be treated by a Naturopath, whether solely or in conjunction with conventional medicine. Essentially, a Naturopath is like a GP who only uses natural treatments, finds the root cause and treats you holistically.
If you would like treatment for any of these conditions, come see me in clinic! Details about where I am practicing currently are on the home page.