Nutritional therapists seek to ensure you are well nourished by your diet, and that you are fully absorbing and utilising the nutrients it provides. The therapy involves an assessment of your current state of health, and how changes in your diet and perhaps also adding in food supplements might contribute to greater well being. The approach tends to be holistic, looking to treat the whole person instead of just individual symptoms. It is common to focus on making sure your body has the nutrients, energy and environmental conditions it needs to keep itself healthy and well and carry out any necessary detoxification and repair processes. So a nutritional approach may aim to address factors such as hydration, pH balance, support for the digestive system, mitochondrial activity, electrolyte balance, hormonal support, and various aspects of immune function, including the balance of gut bacteria.
During the first visit your nutritional therapist will usually take a detailed case history and also ask about your current diet and lifestyle. You may receive recommendations for diet straight away (and perhaps also supplements and/or naturopathic techniques or lifestyle advice), or you may be sent a report after the consultation. Your nutritional therapist should be able to explain why (s)he is giving you those particular recommendations. You may be asked to sign a consent form. You may benefit from regular appointments so your therapist can assess how you are responding and make changes accordingly. Most people also need to adjust their programme in different seasons and also as their health picture changes.
Your nutritional therapist may offer tests (e.g. hair, urine or blood analysis) that provide clues to nutritional status. Such tests, if used, need to be combined with a full case history to build up an intelligent assessment of the situation. If a particular mineral or vitamin seems low, for example, it may be due to poor absorption, or because the body is depositing it elsewhere, and so simply adding a supplement may not be helpful. A good nutritional programme might therefore include advice to help you absorb and use nutrients more effectively. A number of nutritional therapists also offer naturopathic support aimed at preventing stagnation and supporting the body’s routes of elimination. Some therapeutic approaches are essentially nutritional, for example Gerson Therapy, the Budwig Diet, or Plaskett Therapy. These are particular regimes not generally offered by nutritional therapists and often practised at specialised clinics. Over time, each of these will have their own separate Directory entry.
We have been using food to stay healthy and alive since the dawn of time. Ancient traditions such as Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda have been studying its effects for many hundreds of years, while fasting, for example, is a key feature of religious practices throughout the world. In the 18th and 19th centuries, naturopathy evolved in the west as a more natural approach to orthodox medicine, and nutrition became a key element alongside hydrotherapy and other cleansing techniques.
Over the last century, individual nutrients have been researched more thoroughly in laboratory and clinical studies, and we now have a wealth of knowledge that is specific to diet and nutrition. Scientists continue to update this knowledge base as new methods and funding become more available. The way this knowledge is applied varies according to different schools and philosophies, which is why nutritional therapists work in different ways to dieticians and indeed to each other.
Nutritional Therapy is considered a safe and non-invasive complementary therapy for people with cancer when used alongside usual treatments and practised by a qualified Nutritional Therapist.
£50-£200. Price per consultation.