Frequently asked Questions
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- Can Naturopaths treat things that regular medicine does not treat – eg: viruses?
- Do naturopaths treat difficult problems such as autoimmune diseases, allergies and cancers?
- What makes a Naturopath different from a GP?
- Does taking vitamin/mineral supplements actually help?
- Are vitamin/mineral supplements safe?
- Can’t I just buy my supplements from the supermarket?
- Don’t you have to be crazy to go see a psychologist?
- Does relaxation massage actually make you healthier?
All health systems treat virtually all things. However there are some types of health conditions for which naturopathic treatment is especially effective. Firstly, this includes what are referred to as “functional” conditions. That is where the client knows they are sick, for example with chronic headaches, but the doctor can find nothing wrong. The approach of promoting health adopted by naturopaths often yields results in these conditions that are impossible with modern medicine.
Secondly, allergies, auto-immune diseases and chronic degenerative conditions of the body such as osteoarthritis respond very well to the naturopathic approach. Whilst the medical profession has scoffed at such claims, scientific evidence is mounting for the efficacy of the natural approach.
Thirdly, specifically with respect to viruses, there are many powerful herbs which have been shown in well conducted laboratory tests, and in clinical trials to stimulate the activity of one or more of the classes of white blood cells. By way of explanation, not all white cells are the same. Some are the generals of the army, others are foot soldiers. They perform different tasks, and are readily identifiable in the lab as being different to each other. Further, some herbs actively attack viruses. I’m thinking of a herb which attacks a particular class of virus that “hides” from the immune system by coating itself with a layer of fatty acids. The herb concerned dissolves this coat, allowing the immune system to “see” it and deal with it. This medicine is very useful for such complaints as cold sores & genital herpes, chicken pox & shingles, and glandular fever and cytomegalovirus (like glandular fever but a different bug). And there are other natural agents that attack viruses, or inhibit their reproduction, or make it harder for them invade tissues and so on. This by the way, is only a brief answer to the question!
The answer is an unqualified yes! Both allergies and autoimmune diseases are due to an imbalance or dysregulation (faulty regulation) of the immune system, in which our defence against foreign and dangerous invaders goes awry and an attack is launched, either against “self”, as in autoimmune disease, or against some foreign substance which poses no immediate danger, in which case the immune attack upon it is an overreaction. Similarly in cancer, the problem is also faulty immune system action, but in this case it is an under reaction rather than an over reaction. In the case of cancer, the immune system, for whatever reason has failed to recognise the cancer cells as faulty cells destined for destruction and has mistakenly allowed them to multiply.
The first part of the approach of naturopathy is to provide all that is needed nutritionally to assist the body to balance its physiology, including the immune system, without the need to intervene with powerful drugs. Sometimes nutritional supplements or herbs are required to gently encourage the body towards normal operation.
Secondly a toxic system makes regulation of any part of the body’s physiology more difficult, so a program of whole body and particularly bowel detoxification may be in order. In fact there is increasing research based evidence that the bowel is intimately and intricately involved in immune system regulation. If that is not corrected all other treatment for the allergiy, autoimmune disease or cancer will be in vain.
Overall, the naturopathic approach is really to assist the body to heal itself. When such self-healing occurs, many medical practitioners rather sneeringly refer to such a positive health outcome as nothing more than a “spontaneous remission”. But in all honesty, at Davies Natural Therapies, we don’t mind being accused of producing “spontaneous remissions”. In fact, that is the whole aim of the naturopathic approach! That is precisely what we aim at! When we achieve it, we are overjoyed, rather than being upset by medical mockery.
The way naturopaths look at health and disease is entirely different to the approach taken by medical practitioners. In general, doctors make the attempt to directly treat or control a disease. And naturopaths do have powerful natural medicines which can do the same thing. In fact in some situations they have now been proven by clinical trial to be more potent than prescription medicines. But naturopaths have another string to their bow. They can work with the body to promote health and restore & amplify the body’s self healing capacity. That opens up avenues of therapy not really available in the conventional medical approach. Finally, naturopaths use medicines from nature that are generally far safer than prescription drugs, even though they may act quite powerfully. You can obtain further information on this question in two places on this website. Firstly, see the “Diagnosis” page and read the sections on naturopathic diagnosis, and secondly read the article on the Davies Natural Therapies approach to Health & Wellness, accessible by clicking on one of the links at the centre of the bottom of the “Home” page.
If you take a supplement you don’t need, you will merely develop expensive urine. But there are many health disorders which are either caused by certain nutrient deficiencies, or themselves actually cause nutrient deficiencies as a result of the disease process. Further, people under severe stress, or who have a heavy workload, or athletes in training & competition generally have a higher need for micronutrients than other people. And of course, there is a good argument for the idea that our foods may be quite deficient in micronutrients, especially minerals. Modern agricultural methods gradually deplete soils of minerals. I have seen figures showing mineral content of soils to have dropped to half of the levels in the mid 1900s and trace element levels to have reduced by five to ten fold. For all the above reasons, supplements not only help, but they are often essential for people living in the modern world.
It is true that some vitamins can be toxic if used in the wrong dose, for example vitamin A. The fatal dose is 2 million international units (IU). In an attempt to avoid starvation, some antarctic explorers actually died of vitamin A poisoning as a result of eating their dogs, including their livers, which are startlingly richer in vitamin A than lamb’s fry or calves liver, which are perfectly safe as far as vitamin A goes. But most tablets or capsules you can buy only provide about 2000 IU.
Further, it is possible to induce deficiencies of some micronutrients by taking supplements too rich in others. That however is relatively rare. The real truth is that micronutrient supplements are a great deal safer than drugs. If you mistakenly take ten times the recommended dose of a micronutrient, you may induce a short term problem that will resolve as soon as you cease taking it. Compare that with prescription medicines. Take ten fold the dose of most of them and you’ll have a quick and one way trip to the morgue.
Overall it is wisest to consult with a properly qualified alternative therapist to receive proper advice as to what if any supplements you need.
Yes, you can. And a simple multivitamin or well formulated B-complex tablet may be very helpful just to keep you on top of things. But there are very good reasons for seeking professional advice, especially if you have an actual health problem. Firstly, a well trained professional is either aware of already, or can look up professional information as to the most appropriate supplements and the dose required for your particular problem. Secondly, professional supplements available only through practitioners are often of higher potency, and are likely to be formulated based on the very latest research and clinical data. When you’re sick, don’t try to treat yourself. The average well educated lay person, even one who makes it their business to keep “up to date” with natural health matters, still has relatively little knowledge compared to a professional.
Well, the short answer is no. Some people with serious mental health issues do consult with psychologists. If there is a need for strong prescription medication however, it is more likely they will consult with a psychiatrist. But many people struggle with one or more issues in their life. That doesn’t make them crazy. And if they elect to seek help from a psychologist, who is a professional with the skills to help them talk it through until they reach a solution with which they are satisfied, that isn’t crazy either. In fact, it’s most likely one of the sanest things they can do!
There is a lot of evidence that massage from a well qualified therapist provides health benefits. Firstly, many health disorders are related to stress, and on those grounds alone massage is of benefit in almost every health disorder. Further, massage moves lymphatic fluid through the lymphatic circulation, which assists the immune system of the body to do its job. Finally, these days there are quite a few research papers that make claims based on careful study, that massage is of benefit. To cite just a few, massage is of benefit for:
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis – Journal of Pediatric Psychology 22(5) pp. 607-617, 1997
- Fibromyalgia – Journal of Clinical Rheumatology. 8(2):72-76, April 2002.
- Hospitalised patients – In a trial conducted in the city of Denver in the USA, one research paper had this to say: “The most frequently identified outcomes were increased relaxation (98%), a sense of well-being (93%), and positive mood change (88%).” – Altern Ther Health Med. 1999 Jul;5(4):64-71.
If you want more evidence, go to Google, click on Google scholar, and do an advanced search linking massage with health & benefits. You will find many research papers backing the benefits of massage. And in addition, it is a very enjoyable experience!
Davies Natural Therapies provides the services of skilled professionals: Paul Davies who practises as a naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist, homoeopath, and remedial massage therapist and Helen Davies who practises as a psychologist & counsellor. We service Greater Brisbane – especially the northern side of Brisbane, firstly starting at Petrie (where we are located), but also including but not limited to other northern suburbs listed alphabetically for your convenience:
Albany Creek, Albany Hills, Bray Park, Bridgeman Downs, Brisbane, Bunya, Burpengary, Caboolture, Chermside, Dakabin, Eatons Hill, Everton Hills, Everton Park, Ferny Grove, Ferny Hills, Fortitude Valley, Kallangur, Lawnton, Mango Hill, Morayfield, Murrumba Downs, Narangba, North Lakes, Petrie, Samford, Samsonvale, Spring Hill, Stafford, Strathpine, Warner, and north up to and including the Sunshine Coast. Sorry if we haven’t listed you and you’re on the north side of Brisbane! Give us a call!