The Truth About Naturopathy In New Zealand That Will Surprise You
If you are interested in herbal medicine, you are probably also interested in naturopathy. Perhaps you have one, or perhaps you want to find one! But before you do, there are some really important things to know when it comes to naturopathy in New Zealand. The best thing you can do for your own personal safety is do your research.
What Is Naturopathy?
Naturopathy is a health care system that practices holistic medicine. It considers all the systems of your body when looking for the underlying causes of an illness. Practitioners will look at your diet, lifestyle, presenting symptoms and your health history. Natural health consultations are generally longer than your conventional medical appointments which allows for a full case take.
Naturopathy covers a wide range of modalities, some naturopaths may include massage, others may use more energetic healing approaches like Bach flowers (Rescue Remedy), while others may focus on supplementation, herbal medicine and nutrition. There is a variety of approaches, and it is important you find the one that suits you best.
Anyone Can Call Themselves A Naturopath
Anyone can claim to be a naturopath in New Zealand and that's because there's no law to stop them. Membership with a society is a recommendation but not a requirement. There are a variety of ways naturopaths work so it is important to do your research, check the relevant organisation such as Naturopaths & Medical Herbalists of NZ Inc (NMHNZ) or the New Zealand Association of Medical Herbalists (NZAMH) to see if they are listed, also see if you can have a free discovery call with them to see if you and the practitioner ‘fit’ with each other.
Make Sure Your Naturopath Is Registered
While naturopathy in New Zealand isn’t regulated there are ways you can ensure you own safety. Naturopaths & Medical Herbalists of NZ Inc (NMHNZ) is an organisation that only accepts members who meet stringent educational standards and who continue professional education on a yearly basis.
This means you are assured of a highly qualified health care professional for your safety and well-being. They have been lobbying the government to make naturopathy regulated (like other health professionals) and will continue to work towards this in the future.
How Does Someone Become A Naturopath?
To study naturopathy in New Zealand there are three different options. To become a registered naturopath you need one of the following:
- Advanced Diploma in Health Sciences – Naturopathy and Nutrition (Level 7) (2 years)
- Bachelor of Natural Medicine (3 years)
- Bachelor of Naturopathic and Herbal Medicine (3 years)
What To Be Aware Of
Please be aware that as naturopaths are not medical doctors they cannot diagnose you with a disease, it is always wise to be cautious of grand claims that say they can ‘cure’ you as this may not be true and is in fact illegal to claim.
Some naturopaths may also prescribe a large number of supplements. It is always a good idea to focus on your initial compliant and have a small number of supplements or herbs to see if they are making a difference before jumping into a massive protocol that could be costly and hard to sustain. This should be discussed with your practitioner as well.
Also – if you feel uncomfortable or have a complaint about a practitioner’s conduct you can complain to the organisation, they are a part of (as there are strict code of ethics) as well as the Health and Disability Commissioner if you feel your rights have been breached.
Naturopathy Is Complementary Medicine
Modern medicine is amazing. We are in awe (now more than ever) of how far it has progressed over hundreds of years, even within decades. But naturopathy in New Zealand also plays an important role in your well-being. We want to emphasise that it is a complementary, not alternative medicine. Using natural alternatives doesn't mean you have to stop seeing your GP. Both naturopathy and medicine have important strengths in supporting your health as a whole.
Our Naturopath Skye
Skye Macfarlane is our registered naturopath and medical herbalist and she is at the helm of our product formulation. She holds a Bachelor of Natural Medicine from South Pacific college, and completed Post Graduate studies in Public Health at the University of Otago.
Skye is also on the board of the Naturopaths and Medical Herbalists of NZ and has just be appointed it’s research convener as well as being a member of NZAMH. She has worked in health education for the last seven years. She is our chief formulator and educator.