A natural therapist is a healthcare practitioner who uses different techniques to heal a person's mind or body or to prevent illness. A person in this profession might act as a primary care provider or in conjunction with a medical doctor or other primary care provider. In certain cases, a doctor, chiropractor or other healthcare specialist might refer a patient to a natural therapist. This type of provider might use techniques that are very different from those used by traditional doctors.
The first thing that a natural therapist might do is to evaluate his or her patient's lifestyle. If a patient is, for example, overweight, a smoker and sedentary, lifestyle changes might be recommended before any other treatments are prescribed. A natural health professional might prescribe a healthy diet consisting of whole, fresh foods; an exercise plan; a plan to quit smoking; and other types of lifestyle modifications. In general, the goal is to get the patient to live a more natural, organically healthy lifestyle.
After a patient is committed to making any lifestyle changes that are necessary, the natural therapist might recommend vitamin supplements. Depending on whether the patient is looking to improve his or her general health or hoping to reduce or eliminate the need for prescription medications for specific health issues, a multivitamin or particular nutritional supplements might be appropriate. The natural therapist should have a good understanding of which herbs, vitamins and other supplements are appropriate for which conditions.
A natural therapist works under the premise that a person's physical health is affected by his or her mental and spiritual health, so the therapist might recommend yoga, meditation or other methods of relieving stress. The therapist might provide or recommend mental health counseling if warranted. He or she also might give patients tips for getting better sleep, which can improve health.
Natural therapies can differ quite a bit from conventional medication. Some therapies might be complementary, which means that they can be used along with traditional treatments, but others are far removed from what a medical doctor might prescribe. Still others might be recommended only to a certain point in an illness, after which traditional surgery or drugs might be used as a last resort. Often, the goal is to help a patient achieve good health that does not depend on drugs or other traditional therapies, while at the same time not putting him or her at risk from an improperly managed illness.