I’ve been a naturopath for the past 13 years now, a graduate of the department of Naturopathy at the Reidman school (IL) for alternative medicine, a 4 years study.
Usually when I tell people I’m a naturopath their immediate response is…"diets and nutrition right?!"
And my answer is always "yes but not just…cause otherwise I would have just been a nutritionist, wouldn’t I?"
As I see it, a naturopath is a therapist that takes the person, as a whole, with all of his imbalances which might have created an illness or an emotional disturbance and helps him bring balance and recovery back into his life using different methods. One of the methods is also right nutrition, yes but not just…during my studies apart from nutrition we also learned about western medicinal herbs, touch therapy, first-aid homeopathy, aromatherapy, vitamins and minerals, psychotherapy, chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, anatomy, physiology and much more…all the knowledge that would allow us to better address the person and his symptoms or illnesses and therefore give him the right treatment.
We were also taught how to read Lab results and send for more needed tests…understand and know how to address the conventional medicines that our patient takes along with their side-effects and what we can and can’t combine them with.
As a naturopath I always question my patients about the reason for which they came to me for therapy and the emotional state in which they find themselves lately, also, about their family’s medical history.
When I treat every person as a whole (meaning body, mind and spirit) I treat everything that is a part of him or surrounds him… everything that has a direct impact on his life is important.
I believe that the body can cure itself if and when it is presented with the right tools to do so…my job as a naturopath is to help the body do just that and not continue suppressing its symptoms. I help shape a better, healthier and more supportive way of life with all the tools I possess and treat the medical, physical and mental state of my patient in order to lower his level of suffering and enhance his quality of life.
It is also true that in some cases I may not be able to lead my patients into full recovery, no matter how hard I’ll try, and I will try! But sometimes all I can do is create relief and improve the overall situation in order for my patients to have a better quality of life… you can’t always cure completely but you can always improve and facilitate the patient’s state.
In Israel, like the rest of the western world, naturopathy studies last for 4 years, sometimes 5 like in the U.S.A…these studies include a lot of subjects from the western medicine as well as a lot of subjects from the complementary or alternative medicine. Schools around the world make their best trying to combine between the knowledge taken from the conventional medicine and the knowledge taken from complementary or alternative medicine.
The goal behind this combination is to allow us naturopaths to have enough knowledge in order to treat the patients coming to us with medical observations from conventional institutions (hospitals, clinics etc.) as well as obtain enough tools and therapy options in order to support, assist and cure our patients.
The term Naturopathy was first embedded in 1895 by Dr. John Scheel from New-York, mainly deriving from the word NATURE. Naturopathy grew from within the streams of alternative medicine in the 18th, 19th century but its philosophy goes even further back to the ancient Greek medicine school of Hippocrates, who is considered to be the “father of medicine” (today, still, doctors and nurses swear the Hippocrates swear when they finish their studies). Hippocrates believed that the healing and cure exist in nature itself and that we should look there for solutions and ways of relieving pain. He used the phrase “the healing power of nature” which insinuated the capability of the body to heal itself and is further developed in his saying: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food”.