The Basis of Nutritional Therapy
Nutritional Therapy is the application of nutrition science in the promotion of health, peak performance and individual care. Nutritional therapy practitioners use a wide range of tools to assess and identify potential nutritional imbalances and understand how these may contribute to an individual’s symptoms and health concerns. This approach allows them to work with individuals to address nutritional balance and help support the body towards maintaining health. Nutritional therapy is recognised as a complementary medicine and is relevant for individuals with chronic conditions as well as those looking for support to enhance their health and wellbeing.
Practitioners consider each individual to be unique and recommend personalised nutrition and lifestyle programmes rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Practitioners never recommend nutritional therapy as a replacement for medical advice and always refer any client with ‘red flag’ signs or symptoms to their medical professional. They will also frequently work alongside a medical professional and will communicate with other healthcare professionals involved in the client’s care to explain any nutritional therapy programme that has been provided.
Why use Nutritional Therapy?
Some people simply want to check that they are on the right track with regard to healthy eating. Others may want to lose weight or get help with their symptoms. Nutritional Therapists recognise that each person is an individual with unique requirements and take time to define personalised nutrition plan rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Nutrition and lifestyle approaches to healthcare have been shown to support the health of all the major systems of the body including:
Support optimisation of digestion – Balance the endocrine or hormonal systems – Optimise cardiovascular health – Support adaptation to life pressures – Promote balance of the immune system – Promote healthy respiratory function – Optimise performance of the reproductive system – Maximise sports performance
What a nutritional therapy session typically involves?
Before the first consultation, the practitioner usually provides a health and nutrition questionnaire for the client to complete. An initial consultation typically lasts around 60 minutes, and in this time the practitioner asks detailed questions about current health concerns, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, medical history, family history, lifestyle, levels of physical activity, use of medication and supplements and diet. The practitioner then evaluates individual needs and uses the extensive evidence base for nutritional science to develop a personalised, safe and effective nutrition and lifestyle programme.
Follow-up consultations are held generally after four weeks in order to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments. Follow-ups are 30-45 minutes depending on your needs. Further follow-ups may be required depending on each individual situation.
Choosing a practitioner
It is important to choose a qualified nutritional therapist who has undertaken all the necessary training to understand the theory and practice of nutritional therapy.
By choosing nutritional therapists registered with the Complementary and Natural Health Council (CNHC) you can be confident that they are properly trained, qualified and insured.
By choosing a Nutritional Therapist who is a member of BANT you can be confident that they follow the strict BANT Code of Professional Practice, have professional indemnity insurance for clinical practice and also meets the membership entry criteria.