Essentially, clinical naturopathy is founded on the concept that every patient is an individual and that every patient will need a different treatment plan.
As an example, many patients have a medical diagnosis of “reflux”.
One patient presents with reflux, but their other health history is a recent heart attack, chronic weight management, history of helicobacter pylori infection, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, bowel cancer surgery history, episodes of severe psoriasis, stress, a history of moderate alcohol consumption, and a diet high in processed and fatty foods. The patient is on medications Lipitor, Plavix, Cartia.
This patient needs to be treated accordingly.
Another patient with reflux is a small build, with anxiety, OCD, stress, diarrhea, “butterfly nausea” and the reflux presents more in a stressed, anxious and nervous style of reflux. There is also a history of endometriosis, insomnia, allergies and hay fever, asthma, IBS, the patient is on depression medication SSRI citalopram, on the oral contraceptive pill, ventolin and prednisone when asthma becomes severe and OTC claryntyne when suffering from hay fever/allergies.
This patient needs to be treated accordingly.
A “one diagnosis one treatment” prescription of reflux with a pharmaceutical proton pump inhibitor such as Omeprazole or Nexium results in significant drug interactions, potentially fatal, for both patients.
A “one diagnosis one treatment” prescription in natural medicine with a reflux product bought from a health food shop also can result in drug interactions, and interactions with co-existing disease states. For one of these patients, even something so simple as apple cider vinegar would make the reflux worst.
A successful “naturopathic treatment plan” can be designed for both patients. But it takes time.
Treatment plans factor in all considerations, all signs and symptoms, all history, all factors influencing health, and by looking at the body and health in more of a lucid ebb and flow state, we begin to see patterns in the patient, specific nutritional deficiencies, we can see the signs of organs that are not functioning correctly, we can see which symptoms are explained as known side effects from medications, not actual disease states, and then the connections and clinical presentation of the individual’s symptoms begin to make sense. Successful and safe treatments can then be designed.
Clinical naturopathy is also about a timeline in medical care.
We believe clinical naturopaths should be utilised as the first point of care in a health care system. We don’t really want to be seeing the above cases. We want to be used earlier in the health system to prevent this situation from occurring.
Start with treatments based on diet, water, rest, short term herbal medicine at scripted and time appropriate doses, short term nutrients and vitamins at scripted and time framed doses, exercise and lifestyle changes, as a first option of treatment interventions. This is often enough to resolve the mild to moderate cases of health and disease and to improve overall health and general wellbeing.
These strategies are the true meaning of “prevention is better than cure”. Prevention is not the continuous use of medication for one symptom or one disease diagnosis that has side effects resulting in other symptoms and complications in other areas of the body.
By using clinical naturopaths as a first step in health care, it can help to relieve the pressure off the GPs so that the GPs can have the time for the critically ill and urgent cases of health.
It also can help to reduce the spiralling cost of Medicare. Bulk billing is not free. Your pathology tests are not free. Medications are not just $35 a month. The real price is billions of dollars a year in taxes.
Clinical naturopathy is not opposed to medication. It is not opposed to surgery.
Medications and surgery are vital, necessary and successful for many patients and conditions.
We simply believe in a timeline of intervention and in a timeline of treatment protocols.
Clinical naturopaths can help in the struggle of strain resistance infections to antibiotics. A mild case of an upper respiratory tract infection can easily be resolved. Acne can easily be improved without a 3-month script of antibiotics. We can help urinary tract infections, and we can help prevent UTIs from reoccurring. We can help to save antibiotics for the use in severe life threatening cases.
Use clinical naturopaths before statin drugs like Lipitor for mildly elevated cholesterol.
Use clinical naturopaths in ADHD. Start with diet, nutrition, herbs, meditation, exercise, water; look to improve the living conditions and consider a counselling referral for possible relationship problems in the home for an ADHD child, before the use of Ritalin or Adderal, an amphetamine class of drug with significant side effects.
Use clinical naturopaths in mild to moderate mental health cases of anxiety, or depression, before the use of drug classes of MAOI, SSRIs, benzodiazepines, anti psychotics, which have side effects in numerous other areas of health, and drug interactions that make it dangerous for a patient to even go and take codeine pain medications, alcohol, cough medicine, cold and flu tablets, and some classes of antibiotics (there are hundreds of drug and disease interactions). Start with herbs at scripted time appropriate doses, nutrients at scripted and time appropriate doses, diet, exercise, lifestyle adjustments and logistical options to help remove sources of stress. Medications do not need to be the first protocol.
Use clinical naturopaths in fertility before IVF. Start with clinical naturopathic treatments focused on diet changes, exercise, education of a basic fertility cycle, weight loss, stress, thyroid support, heavy metal support, liver, adrenals, immune, addressing and treating reproductive conditions naturally with herbal and nutritional treatment for a few months to see if we can achieve a natural conception and question if there ever was a need for an IVF referral.
Use clinical naturopaths, diet changes, herbs and lifestyle changes before the surgical removal of a gallbladder.
Use clinical naturopaths before the surgical removal of the bowel for ulcerative colitis, polyps and stage 1 bowel cancer. We can help in these chronic conditions.
The removal of an organ is the last resort. It is not a first treatment option.
Clinical naturopaths advocate a more functioning and integrative system of medicine for an individual patient, that has the positive spiralling potential to improve the whole health care system.
What does a clinical naturopathic patient look like?
You can be a baby, a retiree, corporate banker, a housewife, a tradie, military background, a school teacher, a lawyer, a doctor, a singer.
You can be a vegetarian or someone that loves meat.
You can be a person that doesn’t like to use Panadol if you have a headache.
You can be a person who takes 2 Panadol at the slightest hint of a headache and be on several medications.
You can be someone that only sees naturopaths and has only used natural medicine your whole life.
You can be someone that has only seen Drs and only used pharmaceuticals your whole life.
You can be someone that drinks too much alcohol, with addiction problems, and likes to party until 4am.
You can be someone that only eats organic food, likes to do yoga and read books, and bed by 9pm.
Patients come from all walks of life. But we need full disclosure of your walk of life.
Without full disclosure the role of either your clinical naturopath or doctor is limited.