A naturopath uses a variety of natural therapies and treatments to kick-start and assist the body's innate ability to heal itself.
Naturopathy is a holistic approach to healthcare which incorporates a variety of natural treatments and therapies. The word 'naturopathy' literally translates as 'nature cures' and is an alternative therapy that focuses on patients as individuals whose bodies react differently to various stimuli – emotional, nutritional, social or cultural. A naturopath will assess the patient and discuss all areas of their life before prescribing the appropriate treatment. They use a range of natural treatments including homeopathy (link to Homeopath job description), acupuncture (link to acupuncturist job description) or herbal medicine as well as providing advice on nutrition and other modern treatments such as bioresonance, ozone-therapy, and colon hydrotherapy.
Typically a patient will have an initial consultation where the naturopath will ask questions about a client's medical history, diet and general well-being. The naturopath may also conduct a physical examination, which could include anything from iridology (looking at the iris), to a diagnosis of the tongue, a candida test, urine test, faecal matter analysis or even a blood test.
Typical duties include:
- taking a full medical history and asking questions about all areas of the patient's lifestyle
- carrying out a physical examination
- taking blood samples and carrying out other non-invasive tests
- making a diagnosis based on the consultation and test results
- designing an individual treatment plan for the patient
- advising on diet and lifestyle
- keeping detailed patient notes and monitoring progress.
Personal Qualities and Skills
Key skills for a naturopath
- excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- a calm bedside manner
- the ability to gain the trust of a patient
- a tactful approach
- the ability to use intuition and analytical information to plan a course of treatment
- self-motivation to build up a client list
- the ability and confidence to promote and run your own practice
- business administration skills
Pay And Opportunities
Typical employers of naturopaths
A naturopath is usually self-employed but they might work in:
- Health care centres
- Alternative medicine centres
Over time a naturopath might choose to specialise in infertility, skin problems, sports, children, or geriatrics.
Qualifications and training required
As most naturopaths are self-employed, reputation is key, so it's important to gain a qualification from an accredited organisation, such as the General Council and Register of Naturopaths(http://gcrn.org.uk) or the General Naturopathic Council. It would also be beneficial to register with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (http://www.cnhc.org.uk/) – set up by the government. All practitioners registered with the CNHC have to meet certain standards to get onto the register, and once on it, all registrants agree to be conform to the highest standards of conduct and are fully trained and insured to practise.
To get onto an appropriate course you'll usually need at least 3 GCSEs (A* to C) and 3 A levels (usually including 2 science subjects), or equivalent. Some course providers will also take into consideration your knowledge of biology, chemistry and conventional medical treatments.