When seeking expert advice, it is important to remember that you are choosing a physician for yourself as an individual.
You then take on the responsibility of identifying your idea of health and your goals to wellbeing. The best practitioner for you will share your beliefs and ideas and help guide you with recommendations on how you want to treat your body. Take a moment and reflect on how you view health and ask yourself what it truly means to you. Where would you like to see yourself as a ‘healthier you’? What do you seek to experience on an emotional, physical and spiritual level?
In recent years, medicine has come a long way and as patients we seek to treat ourselves holistically. We understand that the key to health begins by addressing underlying causes. As a Naturopathic practitioner, this is where my passion lies. I seek to address the patient as a whole, including all aspects of self; emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing. Any experience of illness or a symptom drives me to assess the patient’s lifestyle, stressors, relationships, purpose, diet and environment. In other words, I consider the totality of one’s life. Research continues to show us that the greatest healing involves assessing lifestyle choices, which reinstates the need for holistic health. You now have the opportunity to work with your practitioner on a more personal level, correcting imbalances and taking the necessary steps to restore the right balance of your health.
One of the most important and integral part of my practice is keeping up-to-date. Naturopaths pride themselves on evidence based medicine. This includes researching the latest studies and treatments in medicine. Both on an integrative level as well as mind-body medicine. It is highly unacceptable for a practitioner to base their treatments on practices learned 30 years ago because the information is simply outdated and in some cases, utterly and outrageously wrong. There are new studies emerging on a daily basis which shape the way we look at our health. For instance, the standard testing for identifying healthy parameters of cholesterol and blood sugar is no longer one method for all. Research is continually concluding the need for individualised care and treatment which leads to why I find myself working in this field. I understand that everyone is different, and no disease is the same for everyone. The cause of each ‘same disease’, for example ‘the flu’ is completely different from one person to the next, and therefore alters the treatment every time. This makes for a successful outcome and is a higher standard of prevention and restoring health. Making the same recommendations to everyone is in the past, and we give thanks to research and observation. We shift from being ‘just another number’ in the patient line, to a real and individual patient with a real story of life experience.
Another integral part of practice is the right certification and training. Fully accredited Naturopaths are degree qualified health practitioners. They are part of recognised associations that are fully integrated in the primary healthcare system of Australia. As you may be aware, the naturopathic industry has been fighting since 1990 for national registration as valued health professionals, offering effective treatment and strategies in holistic health. This means that our industry would be part of the healthcare system similar to your General practitioner, and would offer Medicare rebates by making our services more accessible and affordable to the public. It would also ensure that our industry is protected from illegal distribution of services and products that claim to ‘cure illness’ without the right accreditation and training. Do not be afraid to ask your practitioner about their credentials and experience and support the move towards a better health care system that acknowledges and supports holistic health and wellbeing by allied health professionals.
Be vigilant in your choice of who is taking care of your health. There is no practitioner that can claim to know every single answer and treatment to every single symptom. It is merely impossible. A respectable health practitioner will either research what they do not know in order to ensure the best possible treatment for you, or refer you to a specialist. An educated professional will always have your best interest at heart by offering you the right care for you at every point during practice. As a naturopath, I pride myself on keeping honest about my methods and the current level of knowledge I have. A real practitioner is constantly educating themselves, from experience and attending regular seminars, as well as staying up-do-date on evidence based research. I am a first year practitioner, and I am aware that I do not know everything. I find it completely dishonest and a terrible work ethic, especially in the health industry, to make a patient feel that they are asking the wrong questions or delivering the wrong information. What’s worse, is that we see these sorts of injustice happen every day. I am sure, as a patient you would appreciate my honesty if I do not know an answer to a specific question, rather than suggesting you are inferior to me and do not deserve to know. It is perfectly normal and encouraged by a Naturopath to ask as many questions and you can about health. We see ourselves as educators because we would prefer you to feel accounted for and involved in your health journey.
Above all, as I’ve discussed, an expertise of medical knowledge is highly important however, a compassion for patients is a major part of the health recipe. Ancient Greek physicians would practice by emphasising the importance of knowledge, but if you do not reach the heart of the patient with love and compassion, you would not be able to treat the illness properly. It takes a passionate individual with utmost respect and love for man-kind to achieve true healing. As a Naturopath, I find looking at the patient holistically encourages me to communicate treatment strategies with kindness and heartedness. This enables me to deliver a level of care that resonates on a deeper level that runs true to the patient, therefore creating the basis of a trusting and safe environment that ensures a positive and successful health outcome.
Here is a list of the type of practitioners to avoid when choosing:
- Do not listen to your ideas about what is happening with your wellbeing
- Do not educate you on how the treatment will work for you
- Do not fully explain your diagnosis
- Are not researching things they don’t know about
- Are not enthusiastic about asking opinions from other doctors
Your decision on who you allow to take care of your health should be one that will share a positive relationship with you consistently. The best place to look for the right doctor are those that are affiliated with accredited associations. Do not risk putting your health in the hands of unregulated Naturopaths. Another reliable source is word of mouth. Some practitioners may not be on any professional lists or websites but they still have the qualifications. If your health provider does not offer cover for these physicians, it may be worth seeing them periodically and paying cash, which may only be a few check-ups throughout the year and cost-effective in the long run. I expect that someday (and very soon) our health care will be part of the insurance system so that holistic health is easily accessible everywhere.
Become the leader of your health by taking the initiative to investigate the right health practitioners that will ensure the best possible treatment for you. As a practitioner, I also enjoy educating the public by writing in several health magazines. I feel it is important for others to enjoy and understand the works of health without having to pay and arm and leg for it. It is still very important to seek the advice of your practitioner to make your treatment individualised. If you are interested in taking that overdue leap into finally taking control of your health, then I encourage you to contact me (or anyone you have an interest to see) for a Naturopathic appointment. You can contact me on +60 400 348 384 (text preferred) or email to [email protected]
I hope this article has motivated you and restored your confidence in holistic health. May you always be in good health.
Level 4/178 Collins St,
Anastasia Panourakis is a Naturopathic practitioner and author. She currently consults from the Melbourne Natural Wellness Clinic nestled in the boutique streets of Melbourne. Anastasia provides Naturopathic and Wellness consultations to individuals as well as mind-body medicine. She is a contributing writer of several health magazines discussing alternative medicine and spiritual well being. She also offers one-on-one mentoring consultations.
To make an enquiry or to book an appointment, please email or call. Phone: (03) 9662 1311 Email: [email protected]
Consultation times are limited and advance bookings are highly recommended. Specialties: Holistic health, Herbal Medicine, Food as medicine, Organic food, Complementary medicine, Wellness, Health enhancement, Spiritual healing, Flower essences, Iridology, Kinesiology and Counselling.