I know that comparing my insides to other women’s outsides isn’t helpful. But I would hear my friends, looking all balanced and happy, raving on about the amazing advice their naturopath just gave them. How their naturopath prescribed them some sustainable, eco-friendly, natural remedy that stopped perimenopause symptoms in their tracks and changed their lives. How their naturopath really listened to them. Heard them. Supported them. And my envy, coupled with my despair, got me thinking that maybe I needed to re-evaluate my dismissive attitude to naturopaths.
Normally, at this point, I’d ask around, get a referral, make an appointment, and hope for the best. However, I had some anti-naturopath feelings to get over.
This time I’m living in a world of high-stakes desperation. Balancing “I-really-need-help-and-maybe-a-naturopath-is-the-answer” vs “ear candling-meant-longer-time-in- pain-but-I-deserved-it-because-I-should-have-known-better-and-I-had-to-shuffle-into-my-doctor-anyway-to-get-a-proper-prescription-so-don’t-waste-your-time”.
After some dithering, I dove in. I did my homework. I read up on naturopathy. On what exactly is a naturopath. On what credentials and training are needed to be a naturopath. And I learned that the term “naturopath” can mean many different things.
The big news is that you can visit a naturopath who is a highly specialised, educated, and regulated health-care provider able to write prescriptions if needed.
The other big news is that you can visit a naturopath who has no training. No expertise. No qualifications. No oversight. Nothing. Maybe they have taken some courses (probably not from accredited schools) in areas that interest them. But maybe not.
Because anyone – you, me, the bus driver – can call themselves a naturopath. And hang out a sign. And charge you for their advice. Yikes.
I started out wanting to see a naturopath. But now I know that I want to see a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) or a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (NMD). One who is licensed to practice healthcare in my area. One who is regulated, so I have some confidence that they actually know how to do what they say they can do. And who understands that herbal medicine and naturopathic remedies can be the answer…but maybe they won’t be and if that’s the case I will need more and not only is that ok, it’s good – because the goal here is to help me manage my symptoms in a way that lets me live my life again.
I don’t know what the outcome will be. But I can’t believe it will be worse that what I am currently receiving in terms of care for my menopausal transition symptoms – being ignored, belittled, gaslit, and scolded. For, you know, having the outrageous expectation that I should receive care and support during this challenging life stage.
Naturopathy is an absolutely appropriate direction to take, especially if your other attempts to get help have ended in tears. But just remember – like everything else in life, buyer beware – make sure you are getting the quality healthcare you deserve!