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What is Naturopathy? How to Become a Naturopath in Australia
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What is a naturopath?
Naturopaths treat health concerns and promote long-term wellbeing. They combine natural treatments and science to treat the whole person, rather than individual symptoms.
The practice of naturopathy is based on the principle of supporting the body’s own healing processes.
They take a holistic approach to health, looking at many aspects of your life.
Naturopaths work in both primary care and preventative health. They will often recommend a combination of therapies. These might include lifestyle changes, herbal medicine, massage, counselling and nutrition.
- Assess and diagnose health problems
- Draw up treatment plans
- Evaluate and document the patient’s progress
- Refer patients to other health professionals
- Apply physical treatments to patients, such as massage & acupuncture
- Provide counselling and lifestyle advice
- Keep up to date with industry knowledge and natural health research
How to become a naturopath
Get your checks
Arrange a working with children check, and a first-aid certificate.
Register yourself with the Australian Register of Naturopaths and Herbalists (ARONAH).
Naturopath Salary & Job Growth
Median F/T Salary
$67k is the median F/T salary for a naturopath with 5 years experience, in Sydney $52k – $88k salary range.
There’s a higher than usual part-time working arrangements in this job. This can allow for a flexible schedule and work-life balance.
Naturopathy industry on the rise
Natural, alternative and complementary therapies are gaining acceptance in the health world.
Though the status of some natural therapies is still in dispute, other practices have actually influenced mainstream Western medicine.
“Some other long-standing concepts that have been a part of naturopathic treatment for a long time are also gaining validity.
For example, regulating insulin levels was recommended as a standard treatment in naturopathic texts in women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome long before it became convention.
And naturopaths were observing the link between Vitamin D and intestinal health in immunity before it became widely accepted in scientific circles.”
5 Careers in Natural Therapies
Natural therapies encompass a broad range of disciplines. Here are a few of the more popular ones for you to consider.
Where do naturopaths work in Australia?
Orange = more naturopaths.
Hover or tap the interactive map to see how many naturopaths work there.
Source: Job Outlook.
So… what is naturopathy?
Naturopathy is a complete health care system. It uses a range of therapies to prevent and treat internal health issues. It is based on a set of principles rather than one particular technique or set of tools.
Some naturopaths, known as “naturopathic physicians,” have medical training as well as naturopathic knowledge. They use an evidence-based approach when possible. They may combine naturopathy with a medical practice.
Others practice less mainstream, alternative medicines. Example are homoeopathy, Ayurveda and iridology. These practices often draw on traditional knowledge.
Good naturopaths practice natural medicine to complement Western medicine. This approach is known as complementary medicine.
This means it’s quite possible to see a GP and a naturopath at the same time, depending on the nature of your concern.
The basic concepts behind naturopathy
Doctor as a teacher
A practitioner should not only treat their patients, they should also teach them. They aim to empower people to proactively manage their own health.
Healing power of nature
The human body has a natural capacity for self-healing. It will eventually return to balance, if nothing it stopping it. The physician’s purpose is to help this.
Find and treat the cause
Look for the underlying reasons for disease, rather than trying to treat the symptoms themselves. Symptoms are just that: evidence of a deeper problem that must be treated.
First do no harm
Symptoms are a part of the healing process. Treatment should work with the natural healing process, not eliminate symptoms while leaving the causes untreated.
Treat the whole person
Living beings are complex. We are made up of genetic, social, emotional, spiritual, environmental and mental aspects. Wellbeing requires that these aspects all work together in harmony. So, naturopaths take a personalised and comprehensive approach.
Rather than waiting for a disease to happen, naturopaths take steps to prevent problems in the future. Rather than curing disease, the focus is on building health.
What kinds of concerns does naturopathy address?
- Gut health
- Skin conditions
- Mental health
- Menstrual problems
- Energy levels and sleep
- Joint and muscle issues
An typical appointment with a naturopath
- Clinical and laboratory diagnostic testing
- Clinical nutrition
- Herbal medicine
- Nutritional supplements
- Prevention and lifestyle counselling
- Physical medicine / manipulative therapy
- Hygiene Clinical nutrition
- Public health
- Natural childbirth
- Prescription medication
- Traditional Chinese medicine
- Nature cure
- Hydrotherapy Iridology
What techniques and modalities does naturopathy include?
An extended (45min-1hr) introductory consultation, where they ask you detailed questions about your health, mental state and lifestyle, and any problems or symptoms.
They work with you to formulate a treatment plan to improve your overall health and eliminate the root cause of any problems.
Schedule a check-up in the near future to evaluate your progress and make adjustments if necessary.
Naturopath Success Stories
What's the best thing about working in naturopathy?
Amongst the many wonderful things naturopathy provides, the one that stands out to me on a daily basis, is helping patients navigate their health from a holistic perspective. The recognition that the body is an intricate puzzle. We recognise the influence the physical, hormonal, nutritional, mental and emotional health have on ones overall wellness.
We also respect the body’s inherent capacity to find its way back to good health using natural medicines, herbs, diet and lifestyle modification. I help women and their families uncover their best health using a combination of both western and naturopathic considerations, frequently referring to local GPs for further investigation and complimentary management.
We also provide the opportunity for people to be heard and validated in how they feel.
What advice would you give someone considering studying naturopathy?
Firstly, be prepared to study hard. The 4 year degree is not an easy undertaking. The first 2 years are predominantly Biochemistry, biology, human anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and nutritional medicine providing a solid platform for your case direction and differential diagnoses.
Essential qualities include being compassionate with a desire to help people. I also wish we were given more guidance with regards to running a business as helping people us wonderful, but they must find their way to you first! Consider additional study in small business (I completed a 6 month course in small business once I finished my degree and it put me in great stead).
Recognise that you are always learning and that research emerges and changes, be prepared to commit to ongoing education professional development.
Most of all, a genuine love and appreciation for Mother Nature is something I continually recognise.
QUALIFIED NATUROPATH, NUTRITIONIST, MEDICAL HERBALIST PERTH, WA
What's the best thing about working in naturopathy?
Every day I get to go to “work” and help people overcome health issues they had either lost hope on or have been struggling with for years. I get to educate my patients on how to live their best and healthiest life without having to rely on medication or even supplements for the rest of their life.
Being a naturopath is the most rewarding job I can imagine doing and I thank my lucky stars for finding Endeavour College and making the decision to study naturopathy. I know I have found my calling.
What advice would you give someone considering studying naturopathy?
Following your passion is the best thing you can do! There are so many opportunities out there in this field waiting for you. If you immerse yourself in the field, find a mentor and give your studies everything you’ve got then you can take this qualification wherever your heart desires.
Why I love being a naturopath in Australia
I began studying for an Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy, Nutrition and Western Herbal Medicine in 1999 before taking a long hiatus to have my children. Facing the real risk of losing my existing qualifications if I did not continue, the fire within me was reignited and I decided to go back to study part-time via correspondence whilst working full time in an extremely large and very busy Pharmacy.
Working as a Pharmacy Assistant in charge of the natural health care department gave me wonderful practical experience whilst studying. I learnt what the most common prescription medications that the pharmacy dispensed were used for, what nutritional supplements were complementary for that particular health condition and what were the contraindications. I thrived on interacting with the patients, listening to their general health concerns and then making some alternative and complementary therapy recommendations. I was essentially gaining work experience conducting 1 on 1 consultations – which I loved!
I graduated in 2014 and consider this to be one of my greatest achievements that I am most proud of personally. I immediately opened my own Clinic and naively believed that the clients would just start lining up at my door. This was my biggest lesson that if I could give any advice to new graduates would be – all good things take time! Don’t be a general Practitioner, find your niche by learning what areas are your strengths and weaknesses and specialise in whatever lights YOU up! It takes a while to build up your client database but just keep going.
If you love what you are doing it is an extremely rewarding and fulfilling career path – helping clients transform their health through your healthy diet and lifestyle recommendations with the addition of practitioner only medicines (which are extremely high quality in Australia) is an amazing feeling.
I am absolutely passionate about natural health care and I know it is such a cliché to say that being a naturopath is not what I do, it’s who I am, but I feel it is my true calling. Being my own boss also has its challenges but the positives of working in a career that I love far outweigh any negatives!
What skills do you need to be a good naturopath?
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration O*NET
Loving the idea of a holistic approach to health? Does the idea of helping people make meaningful changes to their quality of life energise you?
Don’t wait to make your next move. See what naturopathy courses are on offer now!
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