Naturopathy at Windana, Part 1

Naturopathy is an important natural therapy used across Windana. For National Herbal Medicine Week, we caught up with Erika – Windana’s Health & Healing program Acting Coordinator and Senior Naturopath – to explore naturopathy and how it helps clients.

Erika in the dispensary holding supplement packs. Quote alongside reads: “By making small changes, everyone can improve their health.“ Text below reads: "Part 1 of a story with Erika, our Health & Healing Acting Coordinator around naturopathy and its importance at Windana."

“Naturopathy is like art and science put together!” says Erika.

Today’s naturopaths work across many areas – offering lifestyle advice, herbal medicine and nutrition support (at Windana this includes supplements and our Food as Medicine program).

A lot of the work naturopaths do is about encouraging bodily systems to work as well as they possibly can – to support treatment of diagnosed diseases, prevent illness and promote general health. This integrates with other treatments.

“Part of the naturopath’s job is to prescribe herbs or nutritional supplements when we know there’s no chance they’ll interact with the client’s pharmaceutical medication,” Erika says.

“Their GP is the primary practitioner, and we work around them.”

Treatment can include providing relief for the side effects of certain medications. Often pharmaceuticals will work effectively for the reason they’re prescribed but deplete certain nutrients in the process. Naturopaths can help replenish the body and restore balance.

The minimum four-years’ education to qualify as a naturopath involves intense study of chemistry, anatomy, physiology and herbal and nutritional medicine – equipping naturopaths with the knowledge needed to practice safely. Erika complements this technical expertise with passion and a lifelong interest in natural therapies. When needed, the naturopath will measure blood pressure and refer to or request specific pathology tests. With sufficient information about a client’s health and goals, the naturopath might then design dietary guidelines to maximise nutrition, give lifestyle advice around sleep hygiene and prescribe supplements and herbal medicines in liquid, or capsule form. It all depends on what the client wants, which doesn’t have to include supplements and herbs. Erika also believes the best results come when naturopathy is explored in conjunction with other natural therapies available through Windana Health & Healing, like acupuncture and osteopathy.

For those interested in trying naturopathy, Erika recommends booking in for a session rather than pursuing herbal medicine and supplements without professional advice. People will benefit from a personal consultation, and the experience is very client focused.

“The first thing we do is ask why you’re there. If it’s for general health we ask questions about all of the main systems in the body to learn how everything’s coming together,” says Erika.

“If you’ve come for a specific health concern, we’ll focus on that issue but also ask a lot of questions around other health factors.

“By making small changes, everyone can improve their health.”

In Part 2 of this story on Naturopathy at Windana, we’ll explore the role of Naturopathy across Windana’s services – including Residential Withdrawal, Residential Rehabilitation and our St Kilda Community Clinic.

Useful resources:

Herbal Medicine Week
The campaign’s official website features online events, downloadable resources and information on the Naturopaths & Herbalists Association of Australia.

Windana Health & Healing
Page on our website describing Windana’s Health & Healing therapies (naturopathy, osteopathy, acupuncture, yoga and massage). Includes timetable and information on how to book a session.

Food as Medicine at Windana
A story on Windana’s Food as Medicine program that goes hand-in-hand with naturopathy in promoting health and ongoing recovery through learning about, cooking and enjoying healthy foods.