You’ve heard of nutrition, you’ve heard of massage, anatomy and probably acupuncture too. But have you the foggiest what a naturopath or naturopathy is?
Spilling the beans (the organic adzuki variety of course)
Naturopathy, also called naturopathic medicine, is a system of natural treatments and healthcare that boost the body’s efforts to heal itself through structural, biochemical and emotional means. It’s a holistic system which promotes long-term good health and “staying well”, favouring prevention over cure and often meaning patients are able to steer clear of surgery and a dependency on traditional medication.
Beyond a foundation of learning in anatomy, physiology, and biomedicine, a naturopath would be trained to assess and advise in further therapeutic areas or “modalities”. These are often nutrition, lifestyle, herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, exercise and other techniques to effectively manage our physiological systems.
Do people think naturopathy is snake oil?
Far too often and it’s simply not. Having said that, I’m a huge fan of naturopathy but not a believer in every single modality or area of practice that it covers. Take Homeopathy. There is not yet any scientific backing to prove its success plus we also know that 40 % of any treatment’s benefits can be attributed to a placebo effect. There are also cases where some naturopaths will use ozone therapy (a treatment to oxygenate the body) but there are also still question marks on its validity and safety.
Holistic is not a dirty word (though people use it too much)
I fully support the increasing importance of naturopathy’s role in today’s world and the best part of the modalities it covers. We’re in an era when a majority, especially here in London, are time-poor, technologically-deluged, environmentally polluted and still eating a poor chemically-laden diet. With 35% of all work-related cases of ill health in the UK in 2014/15 down to stress, we need to turn more and more to how we are running our whole lifestyle, not only siloed health concerns.
We all know GPs and the NHS will have less and less time and provision for their patients, so it’s going to be more important to get to a naturopath, who gives at least 60 minutes to each patient. That, plus their crucial and powerful capacity to apply a truly personal approach to all-round health, means their work is becoming more and more in demand to support that of a GP’s.
Introducing a real life naturopath
I spoke to Kate Brontë-Stewart, Founder of Brontë naturopathy+yoga, who runs clinics in London and Brighton. She gives us an insight into the world of naturopathy. Kate has also just added another string to her bow and launched a range of dairy-free cheeses made from nuts, at her wonderful little caf, Nutkin, in Peckham. Go and see her for some sanctuary, scrumptiousness and a frothy coffee.