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Volunteering as a Naturopath

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Last Updated Mar 08, 2022

Volunteering as a Naturopath

As a naturopath it's great to be able to lead people on the path towards optimal health so that they can find their innate sense of wellbeing. If you are interested in sharing your knowledge with as many people as possible and are keen to give back to your community, there are many charity programs and nonprofits that offer volunteer programs that you can join to provide naturopathic care to marginalised groups.

As well as licensed naturopaths, many students in their final year of naturopathic education choose to volunteer with naturopathic physicians, community health workers, or other health professionals to support their beneficiaries. In doing so, they also offer themselves a stepping stone to a successful career in naturopathic medicine. 

What are the Benefits of Volunteering to Provide Naturopathic Care?

Naturopathy is a complementary therapy that supports the body's natural healing mechanisms by targeting the underlying causes of a wide range of health issues. Naturopathic doctors and students are adept at a wide range of complementary medicines. In addition to homeopathic medicines, they have also received extensive training in massage therapy, nutritional counselling, herbal medicine, flower essences, hydrotherapy, kinesiology and conventional medicine.

Naturopathic physicians are no different to medical doctors, except that the former's scope of practice is more extensive as it covers natural medicine in addition to standard medical practice. When they are treating a patient, conventional medical services, including medications, surgery and other treatments are never their first option. As part of the naturopathic practice, a naturopath employs evidence-based medicine and natural treatments to promote the body's self-healing capacity rather than simply treating symptoms. Below are some of the benefits of providing free naturopathic services. 

Access to Quality Care

Volunteers from the naturopathic profession can help with a number of health complaints, from chronic pain and allergies to digestive problems and autoimmune diseases, while sparing people from dire financial consequences. Setting up community health camps in far-flung areas will enable residents there to receive naturopathic treatment and care without spending on doctor fees or transportation to and from a medical clinic. 

Education for Health Promotion

There is more to naturopathic treatment than simply treating the symptoms of disease. Naturopathic doctors would volunteer their time to educate residents and healthcare providers at rural and remote health centres about the importance of proper nutrition, nutritional supplements, botanical medicine, and having a source of clean filtered water for maintaining community health.

Build Healthy Communities

If you're among Australia's certified naturopathic practitioners, volunteering your skills will bring a myriad health benefits to the people who use your services that go beyond the physical. Also, volunteering builds strong and healthy communities as it gives both the volunteer and the person on the receiving end of the service a sense of worth and purpose. Research has shown that people's sense of belonging and worth grow when they are given the chance to make a difference to the health and vitality of their communities. And the people you treat will also feel that sense of belonging and worth.

Finding Volunteer Naturopath Positions

Several naturopathic practitioners in Australia work as volunteers in integrative clinics or other health facilities. Some of them have signed up to volunteer at a naturopathic clinic or a medical clinic. You have unlimited options!

To find an organisation that may need a volunteer naturopath, check out the websites of the peak bodies for volunteering in each state. They will have plenty of information and resources about what you can do.

To be a volunteer naturopath you will need up-to-date professional qualifications, insurance and first aid training. Note that most organisations usually need experienced practitioners. They will be very supportive and will equip you with the appropriate knowledge about your clients' situations.

All not-for-profit organisations in Australia are bound by national standards for volunteers, which means as a volunteer naturopath, you will have the same rights and responsibilities as paid workers so you can be assured your health and safety are paramount.

Originally published on Feb 26, 2011

FAQs About Volunteering as a Naturopath

Is naturopathy a good career choice?

Yes, absolutely! Those inclined towards natural medicine will find naturopathy an enjoyable career. Earning your qualification in this field is like preparing for the medical profession. There is a lot of study involved in becoming a naturopath, but the job outlook for the field is positive.

Is there a demand for naturopathic doctors?

Yes, naturopaths are in high demand. The naturopathic industry is constantly growing. Currently, Australia has over 4,000 naturalists, which will surpass 4,600 by 2022.

Are naturopathic doctors real doctors?

Both medical doctors and naturopathic doctors are primary care providers. In addition to having studied the same course content as the former, they also passed a standardised licensing exam.

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