Medical Herbalism & Naturopathy: A Holistic Approach to Health


Healthcare systems worldwide have shifted their focus from symptom-based treatment to a more holistic approach, which considers the root cause of diseases and the individual’s whole being. Three of the most popular holistic healthcare practitioners are medical herbalists, naturopaths, and shiatsu practitioners. These healthcare professionals are experts in their respective fields and use natural methods to promote health and well-being. This article aims to provide an overview of each profession, their training, techniques, and how they work towards restoring balance in the body and mind.

Medical Herbalism


A medical herbalist is a healthcare practitioner who uses plants and plant-based products to prevent and treat various illnesses. Herbal remedies have been used for thousands of years, and medical herbalists have specialized knowledge of the therapeutic properties of herbs.


To study herbalism and become a medical herbalist, one needs to complete a degree or diploma program in herbal medicine. During their training, herbalists learn about the medicinal properties of plants and how to prepare herbal remedies. Additionally, they are trained to recognize potential side effects, interactions, and contraindications of herbs.


Herbalism uses various techniques, including herbal teas, tinctures, capsules, and creams, to address different health concerns. They typically take a detailed medical history and examine the patient to develop a customized treatment plan. The treatment plan may include recommendations for lifestyle changes, dietary modifications, and herbal remedies.

Medical Herbalism - Herbal Tea

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Naturopathy is a system of medicine that focuses on treating the root cause of diseases, promoting self-healing, and preventing illness. Naturopaths believe in the body’s innate ability to heal itself and use natural methods to support this process.


To become a naturopath, one needs to complete a degree or diploma program in naturopathy. During their training, naturopaths learn about the human body’s physiology, and pathology, and how natural remedies can support healing. Additionally, they are trained in various techniques such as nutrition, hydrotherapy, and herbal medicine.


Naturopaths use various techniques, including dietary modifications, exercise, hydrotherapy, and herbal medicine, to address different health concerns. They take a comprehensive medical history, and physical exam, and may order lab tests to develop a customized treatment plan. Naturopaths often emphasize the importance of preventive care and lifestyle changes to maintain long-term health.

Naturopathy and Herbal Remedies

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Shiatsu Practitioner


Shiatsu is a form of Japanese massage therapy that uses finger pressure, stretching, and other techniques to restore balance in the body’s energy flow. Shiatsu practitioners believe that imbalances in the body’s energy can lead to physical and emotional stress.


To become a shiatsu practitioner, one needs to complete a training program in shiatsu therapy. During their training, shiatsu practitioners learn about the meridian system, anatomy, and techniques for stimulating acupressure points. Additionally, they are trained to recognize energy imbalances in the body.


Shiatsu practitioners use various techniques, including finger pressure, stretching, and joint mobilization, to restore balance in the body’s energy flow. They typically take a detailed medical history and perform a physical exam to develop a customized treatment plan. Shiatsu therapy can be performed while the patient is fully clothed and may involve the use of props such as cushions and mats.

Shiatsu - Japanese Massage


Medical herbalists, naturopaths, and shiatsu practitioners are experts in their respective fields and use natural methods to promote health and well-being. While each profession has its unique techniques, they share a common goal of restoring balance and addressing the root cause of health problems. By taking a holistic approach, these healthcare professionals aim to improve the patient’s overall well-being and quality of life.

In summary, if you’re looking for a more natural approach to healthcare, medical herbalism, naturopathy, or shiatsu massage may be an excellent option for you. These practitioners use natural methods to support the body’s natural healing process, and their focus on holistic health may help address the root cause of health problems. By working with one of these healthcare professionals, you may be able to achieve better health and a greater sense of well-being.


  1. Are natural remedies safe to use? While natural remedies can be effective, it’s essential to use them safely. A medical herbalist, naturopath, or shiatsu practitioner can guide you on the appropriate use of natural remedies.
  2. Do I need to stop taking my medications if I see a natural healthcare practitioner? No. Natural healthcare practitioners work in conjunction with conventional medicine. It’s important to inform your healthcare provider of any natural remedies you’re taking.
  3. Are natural healthcare practitioners licensed? Yes, medical herbalists and naturopaths are licensed in many countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom. Shiatsu practitioners may also be licensed, depending on the jurisdiction.
  4. Can natural healthcare practitioners help with mental health conditions? Yes, natural healthcare practitioners can work with patients to manage stress and anxiety through techniques such as meditation, acupuncture, and herbal remedies.
  5. Will my insurance cover visits to a natural healthcare practitioner? It depends on your insurance policy. Some policies may cover visits to natural healthcare practitioners, while others may not. It’s important to check with your insurance provider to determine coverage.

This article was originally published on TNZ Web Solutions

Featured Image Credits

Autumn Falk Naturopath Medical Herbalist and Shiatsu Practitioner

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