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Helping people to be healthier.

NATUROPATHY is a complementary or alternative medicine. Here, SUE KELBRICK finds out what a career as a naturopath involves.

Naturopathy is based on the belief that the human body seeks "balance" and can heal itself.

Factors such as stress or poor diet can upset the body's natural balance and cause health problems.

As a naturopath, you would aim to improve a patient's health by using naturopathic principles and healing techniques.

Typical work would involve discussing your patient's symptoms and their lifestyle, carrying out a physical examination, taking blood and carrying out other tests.

You would make a diagnosis based on the consultation and test results, and design an individual treatment plan for the patient.

The work would also involve advising on diet and lifestyle, keeping detailed patient notes and seeing patients for follow-up appointments.

What skills are needed? To be a naturopath, you should have an interest in complementary and alternative therapies, good listening and communication skills, understanding and sensitivity, a non-judgmental attitude and the ability to build trust and rapport with patients.

Also helpful is analytical thinking as well as intuition, to help you diagnose and choose treatments, motivational skills to encourage people to change their lifestyle, accurate record keeping skills, some knowledge of biology, chemistry and conventional medical treatments, and practical business skills to run your own business.

What training do you need? To prepare for work as a naturopath, it will help if you take a qualification that is recognised by one of the professional organisations for naturopathy and work towards membership of a professional body, and register with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council.

When considering a course, discuss exactly what the training provider is offering and check what experience and qualifications they hold.

You should also check how the course is delivered and how much of the course is given over to clinical placements. Once you have completed a course, you will be expected to keep your skills and knowledge up to date throughout your career.

Membership of a professional body would give you access to a range of development opportunities, networking events and professional indemnity insurance.

You could also choose to register with an association for mixed complementary therapies, such as the Institute for Complementary and Natural Medicine (which runs the British Register of Complementary Practitioners), or the Complementary Medical Association.

What are the opportunities for career progression? With experience, you could move into teaching or become involved in research.

What is the salary? As a self-employed naturopath, income depends on the hours you work and the number of clients you see. You would typically charge an hourly rate of between PS40 and PS100.

You only get paid per session. So, if you're just starting out, you might earn less than PS6000 per year.


ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE Naturopaths discuss both symptoms and lifestyle with patients before designing treatment programmes

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 28, 2014
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