Nutritional Therapy is not just about healthy eating. It is a form of complementary medicine in which a practitioner will work with a patient or client, helping their body rid itself of stressful substances, providing raw materials, and improving the assimilation of food in order to aid physical repair. In a recent survey of 300 people treated by a nutritional therapist, it was found that 85% of headache/migraine sufferers, 82% of people with digestive problems, 70% of people with hormone-related problems, 55% of chronic fatigue sufferers and 54% of people with skin problems reported a definite, lasting improvement, usually within two months(1).
How well we feel depends on the efficiency with which our body produces hormones, enzymes, prostaglandins, blood cells, antibodies and countless other substances. All these substances are made from food, but many people cannot assimilate their food properly, perhaps because of poor digestion or chronic irritation of the digestive system. They may also have a toxic overload - a build-up of unwanted waste substances that get in the way of efficient functioning. Food allergies or intolerances can also cause a lot of unpleasant symptoms, which may be delayed or chronic, and difficult to relate to a specific food.
People who have used a lot of antibiotics in the past can also be prone to dysbiosis. This is the excessive growth of undesirable bacteria and yeasts, including candida albicans (which you may have heard of) in the intestine. Dysbiosis irritates the digestive tract and this irritation may impair digestion and absorption of nutrients. Many undesirable bacteria and yeasts also produce toxic waste products which get absorbed into our bloodstream and make us feel tired or unwell.
Nutritional therapists aim to improve your body's efficiency by identifying and then dealing with these problems using a number of different types of diets, herbs and dietary supplements, according to individual need. An efficiently functioning body finds it easier to repair itself and heal itself, but if you have a serious illness much will depend on your body's powers of recuperation and on other factors such as stress.
These days you can find many different books around on the subject of diets. Many of these have been written by people who have overcome their own problems with various types of diet. However, we are all different in our inheritance, our life experiences, our diets (past and present) and our combination of health problems. Therefore, what works for one will not necessarily work for someone else with a similar problem. It is for this reason that naturopathic practitioners see each person as an individual with their own set of circumstances. These circumstances may include features in common with people troubled by similar complaints but in addition there may be factors particular to you. It is discovering these additional factors that is often the key to successful treatment.
(1) Source: Society for the Promotion of Nutritional Therapy (SPNT)
BCM Box SPNT, London, WC1N 3XX
To subscribe, simply enter your email address below: