What is Naturopathy?
Naturopathy is a field of health care that works with, and not against standard allopathic health care providers, such as medical doctors. The philosophy of Naturopathy is to work with the body, to assist it in its natural ability to heal and maintain health. Treatments are natural and non-invasive and include herbal remedies, lifestyle changes, dietary modifications and in some cases other complementary techniques including massage, accupuncture or aromatherapy. If you have an interest in working with people, assisting and enabling them to improve, maintain or regain their health and wellbeing, and doing so in a personal, gentle manner, Naturopathy could well be the career for you!
What does a Naturopath do?
A career in complementary medicine is more than just a 9-5 job. As a Naturopath you can expect to deal with a varied clientele, from pregnant women to their children, those with chronic health complaints and those who need assistance with acute conditions, people suffering from the constant high stress associated with many careers or for whom all allopathic options have failed. The ultimate goal of the Naturopath is to gradually and gently improve a patients health, enabling and motivating them to make lifestyle changes that they can maintain long term. Treatment is aimed at the illness causing symptoms, not at masking the individual symptoms themselves. The body is treated as a whole, the physical, emotional and mental aspects are all catered for. Naturopaths are often a key member of a complementary medicine clinic, some may find employment as a consultant in a Doctors Office and some may branch out into their own business.
What skills and knowledge do I need?
Complementary medicine has often been frowned upon by western medical practioners. However, gone are the days where anyone could open up shop with limited knowledge and expect a successful and lucrative business. While most countries around the world still dont have formal recognition in place for Naturopaths, the industry itself has established professional bodies in many countries. This enables a form of self-regulation, with memberships limited to those who have completed sufficient courses of study. In this way, the industry ensures its own credibility by refusing to acknowledge those who seek to enter the field with insufficient training.
Naturopathy deals with the body as a whole. As such, naturopaths must have studied the human biological sciences from anatomy and physiology to cell and molecular biology as well as chemistry. They must also have up to date knowledge of pathophysiology and symptomology, medicinal herbs, and a comprehensive understanding of nutrition, nutrients and digestive anatomy and physiology. Not a quick or easy program of study, but an interesting, challenging and rewarding one!
How do I get started?
First of all, you need to find a suitable course! The Advanced Diploma in Naturopathy offered by ACS Distance Eduation and Health Schools Australia is ideal. The course has industry body recognition as well as being delivered by two schools who between them are recognised by the Australian Government, the UK Government and the International Accreditation and Recognition Council. The course is ideal if you do have the time to take up full time study, if you are unable to attend face-to-face lectures at set times or if you need to continue working in your current career until you receive your qualification. Not only can you complete your course work in the comfortof your own home, but you can sit exams in your local area and we will assist you in finding a local Naturopath to complete work experience with! All with unlimited tutor access, with all tutors having either natural health of medical science qualifications and experience.
How long will it take and what do I have to do?
It depends on the course of study you undertake and the delivery method! With ACS Distance Education you can undertake an advanced diploma of 4180hrs. This is broken up into 3540hrs of home study, 400hrs of seminar attendance and 240hrs of clinical placement. You can enrol at any time of year and can complete the course at your own pace. If you are studying full time, you can expect to spend about 3 to 3.5 years completing the course.
Clinical practise and seminar attendance can seem daunting to many people. However it is actually a very positive and rewarding experience. Attending relevant conferences, seminars or workshops (and we can help you find opportunities in your local area to avoid or at least minimise travel) not only allows you to gain new insights, but also allows you to network with health and science professionals and can open doors to employment. Clinical practise can also be done for most people in their local area. This allows you to interact with patients, put your theory into practise and understand how the patient/naturopath relationship works. All this with hands on guidance and advice and another potential employment opportunity and networking experience! These two practical components of the course really allow you experience your future career and build your confidence.
What if I am unsure or want a shorter course of study?
If you have a general interest in complementary and alternative medicine and health why not complete a Foundation Diploma in Natural Health? This covers all the core modules of all ACS/HSA Advanced Diplomas in Complementary Medicine offered by ACS Distance Education. On completion you have a solid qualification to seek employment in areas such as Nutritional Counselling, Health Food/Supplementary Advisory Positions in Health Food Stores and Pharmacies and other Health/Nutrition positions. If you want to continue with a Complementary Medicine professional stream, such as Naturopathy you can then upgrade to the Advanced Diploma with full credit!
You might also consider taking one or two of the modules of the Foundation Diploma to test the waters and makesure this is the career path for you, before outlaying larger sums of money and amounts of time on the higher qualifications. Feel free to contact one of our health sciences tutors for free guidance and advise on your study options for an exciting new
career in Naturopathy today!