These Frequently Asked Questions contain general information only and do not take into account your personal health, fitness or wellbeing circumstances, needs or objectives. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement by Avaana and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare, fitness or wellbeing professional. All site users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their health, fitness and wellbeing questions.
What questions could I ask a naturopath before booking?
- What naturopathic credentials or certifications do you have?
- Are you registered with the Australian Naturopathic Practitioners Association?
- How many years have you been practicing naturopathy?
- What other training and education do you have in naturopathy?
- What typically happens in your initial consultation?
- What areas of treatment do you specialise in?
- Do you follow up with your clients after they take their remedies? How do you monitor progress?
- Have you had experience treating someone with similar symptoms to my case before?
- What types of treatments or services do you offer?
What should I expect in my first naturopathic consultation?
The goal of the first consultation with your naturopath is to get a good idea of your medical history and current health complaints. Your Melbourne naturopath will also discuss any goals and expectations you may have regarding your naturopathic treatment. A short physical exam may also be performed. As a result, the first consultation may be a lengthier than other appointments. The first consultation can range from one to two hours.
You can expect to answer detailed questions during your first visit. These questions are primarily focused on your immediate symptoms, general wellbeing, and medical history. They may include a discussion of:
- Your current health concerns, including when your symptoms originated, how they have progressed, and what tends to agitate or alleviate them.
- Your previous lab or medical test results from you conventional medical health practitioner.
- Your overall health of all of your bodily systems, including your respiratory, musculoskeletal and digestive systems.
- Your medical history and family health history.
- Your energy levels, quality of sleep, and emotional wellbeing.
Since these questions have a significant influence on your treatment, we recommend being as open possible when answering them.
Naturopaths often use laboratory tests and other objective data in combination with the interview to design your treatment plan. You will have a chance at the end of the visit to discuss your treatment path.
The doctor will make any recommendations for the beginning stages of your treatment. This regime will be specific to you and will aim to support your body’s natural healing processes. Sometimes, comprehensive treatment regimens may depend on additional lab test results. If this is the case, your practitioner will usually get you started on part of a treatment regime and will schedule a follow up appointment for further instruction.
How should I prepare for my first Naturoapthy consultation?
We recommend that you arrive early for your first Melbourne naturopathic consultation. Give yourself enough travel time so you can relax in the waiting room before your first appointment.
You may be asked to fill out intake and consent forms, and to complete a health questionnaire before your first appointment.
If you are uncertain about your full medical history, it would be a good idea to spend a little time jotting down your previous and current health problems, and the order in which your respective symptoms occurred. Feel free to bring any important medical records with you to the session, along with a list of your current medications.
What is naturopathy recommended for?
You don’t have to be sick to visit a naturopath. Naturopathy can be used as a preventative medicine to boost overall health in the already healthy.
Naturopathic medicine is most often used for gastrointestinal disorders and nutritional concerns. The practice is, however, also used for a range of acute and chronic medical conditions. These include allergies, fatigue, digestive problems, headaches, chronic pain or fibromyalgia, anxiety, weight loss or weight management, and hormonal imbalances. Naturopathy is often an option for individuals who have not been able to find relief for their chronic illness through conventional medical practices.
Is naturopathy covered by private healthcare insurance?
Naturopathy is currently not covered by private healthcare in Australia. From 1 April 2019, 17 reviewed natural therapies, including naturopathy, were excluded from the definition of private health insurance general treatment by the Australian government. As a consequence, naturopathic services no longer receive private health insurance rebates as part of a general treatment policy. You are, however, still able to access naturopathic therapies outside the private health insurance system.
What sorts of qualifications should a naturopath have?
In Australia there is currently no law governing who can use the description ‘naturopath’ which means that some people may claim to be a naturopath even if they have no qualifications or training. Your naturopath should be registered with the Australian Register of Naturopaths and Herbalists (ARONAH).
Some naturopaths in Australia may also have memberships to other professional bodies, such as the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA), the Australian Naturopathic Practitioners Association (ANPA), and the Association of Massage Therapists in Australia (AMTA). These associations will only accept members from approved colleges or courses.
We recommend that your naturopath has completed a Bachelor’s degree in naturopathy.
Is naturopathy the same thing as homeopathy?
No, homeopathy and naturopathic medicine are different practices. Naturopathy is a broad-spectrum practice which utilises a range of natural therapies such as exercise, nutrition, acupuncture, massage and herbal remedies whereas homeopathy is solely focused on the use of remedies. Homeopathy is therefore often used in naturopathy.
Does naturopathy have any side effects?
Side effects in naturopathy are rare but may depend on the type of treatment you receive. It is important that all therapies are prescribed and performed by a trained and licenced professional.
Some herbal remedies may cause side effects and may negatively interact with conventional pharmaceutical drugs. Before buying or taking a complementary medicine, check the label for an ‘AUST L’ (listed) or ‘AUST R’ (registered) code to ensure that it was prepared according to the strict guidelines set out by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). This means they meet Australian safety standards designed to protect your health. These can usually be taken in conjunction with pharmaceutical medications as they are less likely to be harmful.
Some remedies may not be registered with the TGA. Products from other countries that are sold over the Internet or brought into Australia from overseas are not subject to the same laws or regulations as those sold in Australia. Therefore, no assurance can be given regarding their quality, safety, or effectiveness.
Naturopathy can also be considered dangerous if a person completely replaces conventional medical treatment with naturopathic treatments for serious diseases or infections without professional consultation.
It is always best to tell your doctor about any complementary health practices you would like to try, are already using, or are thinking of combining with your conventional medical treatment. Likewise, it is important to disclose any conventional medical treatments with your homeopath.
Do I need a doctor’s referral to see a naturopath?
No referral from your doctor is needed to see a naturopath. It is important to tell all your health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use, including homeopathy. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.
How long does a naturopathy session typically last?
The first visit with your naturopath is typically longer in duration than subsequent visits and can sometimes be up to two hours long. Follow up visits range from 20 to 60 minutes in length, depending on your condition and your naturopathic practitioner.
How often should I see a naturopath?
The frequency of follow up consultations is unique to each individual and is dependent on your condition, the severity of your symptoms, outstanding discussions of lab results, and the therapies you’ve been prescribed. On average, visits are typically two weeks apart. Acute health conditions may require visits once or twice a week, while chronic diseases often require visits every four weeks.
Can naturopathic practitioners perform lab tests?
Yes, registered naturopathic doctors are qualified to perform and interpret naturopathic and conventional laboratory tests.
Naturopathic doctors often refer clients to conventional health practitioners or specialists for any routine pathology testing. However, in some instances this is not possible. In this case naturopaths may sometimes perform a wide variety of laboratory tests themselves, such as blood work, stool, urine, and saliva testing.
Can you see a naturopath while you’re pregnant?
Given the wide range of treatments that are utilised in naturopathy, some may be more appropriate than others during pregnancy and breast feeding.
Although reported side effects of homeopathic medicines are rare, and some remedies are regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), their appropriateness during pregnancy is currently under debate.
Pregnant women are advised not take any herbal medicines without first consulting their conventional doctor. Herbal remedies, more generally, can contain a number of raw or processed ingredients, some of which may not be fully disclosed to the consumer. A number of herbal remedies, such as black cohosh, feverfew and chamomile, have reported the potential to lead to miscarriage.
Other treatments commonly used in naturopathy may also not be appropriate for pregnant mothers. For example:
- Some yoga poses and other strenuous exercises are not appropriate during pregnancy.
- Massage is generally safe, if done with caution. Some experts advise no massage during the first trimester of pregnancy and only gentle massage in later trimesters.
- Some aromatherapy oils (such as sage and calamus)
- Concentrated formulations of substances (such as Cinchona, Ginseng, Juniper, and kava kava).
If you’re pregnant or nursing, it is important to consult your (or your child’s) conventional health care provider to discuss the use of any naturopathic treatments since some therapies may not be suitable for you. Also, be sure to disclose your pregnancy to your naturopathic health practitioner.
What therapies do naturopaths use?
Because naturopathy is a broad-spectrum practice, it makes use of a number of natural therapies. Practitioners are also likely to prescribe multiple medicines and treatments.
These treatments may include:
- Clinical nutrition, including dietary changes and nutritional supplements
- Botanical/herbal medicine, including herbs and teas
- Homeopathic medicine
- Spinal manipulation, including chiropractic therapy
- Traditional Chinese medicine/ acupuncture
- Detoxification therapies
- Physical medicine, including massage, hydrotherapy, ultrasound and exercise
- Prevention and lifestyle counselling to minimize stress
What could a homeopathic treatment plan involve?
Your naturopath will consider all of your symptoms (physical, mental or emotional) and consult all necessary laboratory tests to create a tailored treatment plan for you. You may be advised to remove underlying causes of stress in the body, implement dietary and lifestyle changes, or take homeopathic supplements.
Treatments may require a trial and error approach, along with patience, and good communication. The type of treatment plan will vary depending upon the expertise of your naturopath and may include herbal medicines, homeopathy, acupuncture, nutritional medicine, reflexology, applied kinesiology, traditional Chinese medicine, ozone therapy, colour therapy, counselling, meditation, hair analysis, chelation therapy, and massage therapy.
Follow-up visits are commonly used to track your progress and to make any necessary changes to your prescriptions.