Naturopathy FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions – Naturopathy

What is Naturopathy?

Naturopathy is a system of medicine that emphasises the use of tools to support the body’s health. Naturopathy views the body holistically, aiming to identify and treat the underlying cause of illness rather than simply focusing on one system or certain symptoms. Naturopathy works on the premise that the body is completely capable of restoring balanced health when given the right environment, conditions, and opportunities to flourish

One of the core principles of naturopathic medicine is to support the body’s natural ability to repair itself and restore good health. To achieve this, a naturopath may use herbal medicines or nutritional medicines to facilitate a shift in the body’s underlying physiological processes. They may also work with you to make dietary or lifestyle changes that will ultimately provide the optimal resources and environment for the body to thrive.

 

What is the process for new clients?

An initial consultation is 75 minutes for children under the age of 12 and 90 minutes for children over the age of 12 and adults. This allows time for discussion between you and the naturopath about the current presenting health complaint and relevant health history, and for any required clinical assessments to be completed. Depending on the nature and complexity of the presenting health concern, treatment options may be discussed at the end of the initial consultation, or your naturopath may decide further research or assessment is required before formulating a treatment plan.

A follow-up appointment of 45 minutes is made for 1-2 weeks after your initial assessment appointment to discuss the full treatment plan and commence therapy.

 

Can adults book an appointment too?

Absolutely, our naturopath is a family friendly clinician who enjoys working with all family members from the kids to Mum and Dad and other adults.

 

What should I expect from a Naturopathic consultation?

A naturopathic consultation is a long-form health appointment of between 30 minutes to 90 minutes, depending on the nature of your health concern. Your initial appointment will usually be longer than any subsequent appointments to allow enough time to cover the entire health picture and history.

A naturopath, particularly in your initial appointment, will ask many questions spanning across all body systems and the health history. As the nature of individual health care is complex and highly personalised, it is necessary to understanding the full story of each person so that treatment is specific to the presentation of each individual and is accurately targeted towards addressing the underlying cause.

In addition to this discussion, your naturopath will ask you about your diet and lifestyle and may perform a series of physical examinations to deepen to their understanding. This might include measuring vital signs (blood pressure, temperature, pulse, respiratory rate), examination of the nails, tongue, or iris, or examinations specific to certain presentations, for example, a respiratory examination in cases of acute respiratory infections, or an abdominal examination in cases of digestive complaints.

Follow-up consultations are typically shorter in duration, usually between 30-45 minutes, and will include a review of your health and your treatment plan, an evaluation of any test results you may have received since your previous appointment, and a discussion on further ways to improve your health.

 

What will the initial consultation include?

The initial consultation will include time for discussion between you, your child, and your naturopath about the current health complaint, lifestyle and diet, review of any relevant tests or reports from other professionals, and to perform any physical examinations that may be relevant to the case. You naturopath may discuss with you some options for additional testing, as appropriate.

After the completion of your initial appointment, depending on the nature of the presenting complaint, your naturopath discuss treatment options and prescribe some medicines for you to purchase and take home with you.

In acute cases, for example, a cold or a skin rash, it is likely that something would be prescribed at the time of your consultation to assist immediately. In more complex cases, your naturopath may need to formulate a comprehensive understanding of the full health picture by reflecting on and researching the most appropriate treatment plan. To add, the results of further testing may be required before determining the best course of action.

 

What is a treatment plan?

After your initial assessment appointments, your naturopath will draw together an understanding of your or your child’s health and compose a treatment plan. This plan will outline short-term and long-term goals for restoration of the body’s health (goals that are determined by your personal health goals and presenting physical health), details about any nutritional or herbal medicine that have been prescribed and instructions about how to take them, along with diet and lifestyle strategies that your naturopath will help you work on implementing.

 

Will I need other appointments? How many appointments will I need altogether? 

Most adults and children require multiple appointments to address their health concerns and to reach their health goals. Typically, in the beginning, appointments occur frequently, such as once every two weeks, so that progress can be monitored closely and any changes to the treatment plan can be made.

It is very difficult to predict how many appointments will be needed. This depends entirely upon the presenting symptoms and the complexity of the full picture. As health improves, the appointments may not need to be as frequent or as long and may reduce to monthly or once every two months.

The nature of appointment duration and frequency is highly individualised and is something that you should speak to your naturopath about directly.

 

What type of treatments might my naturopath prescribe?

Naturopaths may use a variety of medicines to help your health improve. Our naturopath draws primarily upon the following tools:

  • Herbal medicines – this may be in the form of a tablet or capsule, a dried herb tea, or as a liquid extract (using either ethanol or glycerine as the solvent)
  • Nutritional medicine – this may be in the form of a tablet or capsule, a liquid, or a powder
  • Dietary strategies – this could include adding things to the daily diet, as well as removing them, or in some circumstances could mean following a specific ‘diet’ to remove irritants or allergens, or to facilitate a therapeutic effect by using food as medicine
  • Lifestyle strategies – this may mean looking at modifying factors such as activity levels, sleep habits, exposure to certain substances, elements of the daily routine or the different environments your child spends time in (kinder, child care, school, home)

 

Do I need to bring anything to my initial appointment?

If you have any recent test results of any kind, for example, blood tests, functional testing, or urinalysis, etc., please bring copies of these to your initial appointment. Please bring these documents with you at the time of your initial appointment.

 

What are the fees?

 

Can I use private health?

Unfortunately, as of April 1st 2019, all private health funds removed naturopathy from their included extras meaning that no more private health rebates are available for naturopathy at this stage. This occurred due to a government reform last year regarding federal contributions to the private health funds for complementary medicine modalities. Since the government removed their contributions for these therapies, the private health funds have chosen not to continue offering these extras to their customers.

 

Are there any Medicare rebates?

Unfortunately, there are no items available under the Medicare benefit scheme for Naturopathy.

 

Should I bring my child to the initial appointment?

If the appointment is regarding your child’s health, then yes, definitely. Melbourne Child Development is a collaborative and inclusive paediatric health clinic that strives to provide a fun, friendly, and welcoming environment for every child. To add, your naturopath will want to talk to your child to understand their own unique perspective on their health and body. It is also best practice for your naturopath to be able to make a visual and physical assessment of your child for a thorough understanding of the overall picture. Finally, one of the core philosophies of naturopathic medicine is to empower others with knowledge of their body and health so that they can become self-sufficient in the future, so it is best if your child is with you at all appointments

If the appointment is for you, then it is not necessary for you to bring your child or children, however, you are absolutely more than welcome to. There are lots of toys and books available to keep your kids occupied while you take some time out for yourself.

 

Am I able to get a repeat on my product without a consultation?

This will depend on the nature of the case and what stage of healing the body has reached. Your naturopath may discuss the possibility of writing a repeat and keeping in on file so that you can easily return to pick up another product when it is required. Some conditions may require close monitoring and repeat products will not be possible in these cases. Speak to your naturopath about the need for a repeat and they will assist you in whatever way they can.

 

Can I have my consultation over the phone or via Skype?

Yes, however, all initial appointments must take place at our practice rooms at Box Hill South. Your initial appointment must be face to face so that your naturopath can ensure the best care by evaluating all possible signs and symptoms in person. This is in line with best practice for naturopaths.

Subsequent follow-up appointments can be conducted over the phone or Skype or something similar, provided your naturopath thinks that it will be suitable for the nature of the treatment plan.

Private health rebates may vary depending on whether your consult is face to face or via phone/Skype. Clarify what is included in your policy with your health fund provider.

 

Can I return my products?

If you change your mind on a product, unfortunately you are unable to return it for a refund, even if you have not used it or the product is unopened. To ensure that good dispensing practices are maintained, once a product has been sold to a client, it will unable to be returned.

If you believe that there is a problem with one of your prescribed supplements, please contact the Practice on 03 9890 1062 to speak with our client services staff within 7 days of receipt of your order.

If you believe that you have had an adverse reaction to a prescribed medicine, please contact the Practice as soon as possible 03 9890 1062 and our staff will assist you with.

 

Are Natural Medicines safe?

Most natural medicines have an excellent safety profile and very low incidence of adverse reactions or undesirable side effects. They are still, however, medicines which have significant effects on the way the body works and should be respected accordingly. Your naturopath will prescribe medicines at a specific dose, frequency, and with clear instructions on how and when to take them to ensure the utmost safety of all products. These instructions should be followed exactly. The more accurate the information you provide to your naturopath about your body and health, the better they can adjust the prescription to ensure safety.

Natural medicines and supplements, while safe, also have the potential to interact with pharmaceutical medications – both those prescribed by a physician and those purchased over the counter. Your naturopath will ask you about whether you or your child are taking any medications, but please be sure to let them know if you have started taking anything new. This includes things like Panadol, Neurofen, and oral contraceptives.

 

Do I have to buy products? Is there any other way to improve my health?

You do not have to buy any products or medicines at all. Your naturopath may or may not prescribe you a product in the first place, but whether it is your personal preference not to take any internal medicines or it you have budgetary considerations, there are alternative therapeutic options to purchasing and taking products.

Dietary and lifestyle strategies can go a long way in providing the body with the support it needs to heal, and these approaches would be part of any treatment plan regardless. Ultimately, the goal of naturopathic care is to help the body reach a point where it is self-sufficient and its optimal health can be maintained by the food and environment with which it is provided, so diet and lifestyle changes can impart huge healing potential for the body. This is something that you can discuss with your naturopath further at any point during your consultations.

 

What if I have an adverse reaction to a product that I am prescribed?

If you believe that you are experiencing an adverse reaction to a prescribed product or treatment, please contact the Practice on 03 9890 1062 immediately to speak with your naturopath. Please document your symptoms as closely as possible so that we can best assist you in investigating and addressing the issue. You can take photos or videos of any symptoms, for example, take photos of skin rashes or take a video of a coughing or wheezing. You can take notes about when and where it happened, how often it happened, and whether it was mild or more serious. If the Practice is closed, please seek medical help from your doctor and contact us as soon as possible the next day. The Practice is open Monday – Friday 8.00am – 6.30pm, and every second Saturday 8.00am – 3.30pm.