Usually when people ask me what I do for a living and I say ‘I’m a naturopath’, I know that there is usually one of two responses – they either glaze over and say ‘What the hell is that?’ or they get very excited and tell me what a pile of bollocks it is or that there is no proof that homeopathy actually works. I then point out to them that naturopathy and homeopathy are two different things. I have also had doctors question why I am seeing them because that makes me a hypocrite!

So I am going to clear a few things up about what I believe naturopathy is and what it is not and then how I practice naturopathy. 

Knowledge that food, exercise, rest, clean air and water are important aspects of good health has been around for over 2000 years+. Hippocrates, although considered the father of modern medicine is in my view also the father of naturopathic medicine. He is famous for his aphorisms of which ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’ is probably the most famous. 

Naturopathy has its roots in Traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine and also celtic and pagan medicine. It has been around for over 125 years and the name itself was first used back in 1885 (although there are lots of stories about where the name came from). Benedict Lust bought the name so he could finally have a term to describe a group of doctors who were practicing eclectic medicine or nature care. At the time naturopathy consisted of nutrition, herbal medicine, water therapy, homeopathy, exercise, massage and osteopathy as well as psychological and spiritual counselling.  The first ever school of naturopathy opened in New York with its first ever graduates leaving in 1902. 

Philosophies and Principles.

The foundation of naturopathy is based on 2 philosophies and 7 principles. 

The 1st philosophy is vitalism – that we have an innate, intelligent energy within us that is responsible for giving us our oomph, for helping us to get well, and ensures that our heart pumps, lungs respire, bones grow and nerves fire etc. The other philosophy is wholism– that we are not made up of mechanistic parts we are made up of many aspects – physical, chemical, energetic, spiritual, emotional, mental that all work together and influence our health and wellbeing and are influenced by our diet, lifestyle and thoughts. That to me makes total sense!

The 7 Naturopathic Principles: 

The Power of Nature – that nature supports the body’s vitalism to heal whether that is sitting in the sun, eating plant-based whole foods, drinking fresh water, breathing in clean air, surrounding ourselves with natural scents and materials, and using herbs as medicine. We are nature, so why wouldn’t we get well when we are in nature and using nature. That too me doesn’t automatically rule out pharmaceuticals or other medical interventions. It’s just that nature should be the first resort (not the last). 

Identify and treat the cause – if you ONLY treat symptoms then you won’t really get well. It is crucial to identify the root cause and the triggers and drivers of an illness or a symptom and then treat that. I believe that many symptoms come from emotional, mental and spiritual roots; they just manifest as physical (I know that sounds bonkers but I don’t care. I have seen it so many times I’m not going to pretend that this isn’t an issue).

First do no harm – clearly killing a client is not a good idea, so it is always important that you do the simple things first (address diet and mindset and take gentle herbs), try and avoid herbs that have nasty side effects (vomiting or diarrhoea) or in this day and age would interact with medicines.

Doctor as teacher – this for me is HUGE. It is imperative that knowledge about our bodies and health care choices is given back to us, self responsibility is key. The power should not be left in the hand of the health practitioner. I am all about self-empowerment and growth.

Treat the whole person – this means that we should be at the centre of care and that all aspects of what makes us human needs to be taken into account. This is why for me MINDSET and spirituality are key aspects in everything I do because they are the aspects that are usually ignored. We also have to take into account other aspects such as the environment we live in, our social and cultural context and our financial health. 

Prevention – 95% of chronic disease is preventable and usually associated with poor lifestyle and dietary choices, This is nuts, we are killing ourselves with food and lifestyle and it shouldn’t be this way. 

Wellbeing  –  health has been defined as ‘the absence of disease’ whilst the World Heath Organisation defines it ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. I love the term ‘wellbeing’-  to me it covers all those aspects of being human.  When all those aspects are covered then we can have a kickass life, and this is my passion. I have my own definition of wellbeing and 12 aspects that I think are key which I will discuss in the next blog. 

What Naturopathy is NOT

To me naturopathy is NOT being anti- medicine. I think that’s just silly.  I don’t consider it pseudo-scientific or bullshit. Some naturopaths can be but not naturopathy (if that makes sense).  Many naturopaths practice other therapies, such as life coaching (which I do) or reiki or crystal healing.  This not necessarily naturopathy. 

How I practice

Modern naturopathy is big on ‘evidence- based practice’ and anatomy, physiology, chemistry, biochemistry, pathophysiology and clinical assessment and practice. For me the inclusion of spirituality and mindset, just as in traditional naturopathy, is also extremely important. 

I am a spiritual being, my son calls me a ‘tree hugging hippy’, others have lovingly called me a ’witch’. I don’t give a shit – I am all of the above. I am coming out of the closet now and fully admit to being very eccentric – I use crystals, I talk to spirit guides, fairies, angels and plants!!!  I pray and I meditate, I believe in chakras and I can feel and see stuff that I know would have had me burned at the stake or put in an asylum a while ago. This is not naturopathy. This is just me and this is the first time I have ever admitted to it publicly. So my way of practicing includes naturopathy but is not necessarily solely naturopathy (that is why I studied coaching). 

I am telling you this because I want you to know who I am and what I believe in. All of my courses and coaching will include aspects of mindset and occasionally spirituality. Just so you know…I want you to reach YOUR goals YOUR way. I don’t have an agenda, I just want you to live the best life and feel fantastic…because that’s my goal too. To reach for the stars and dance amongst them.