About Nutritional Therapy
So, what exactly is 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 practitioners 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 to support or 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 or health coaching 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. Please go to the BANT website to find out more...
How is Nutritional Therapy Regulated?
Very Important: Before consulting a nutritional therapist you should ensure that they have full membership with the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and are registered with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).
BANT is the professional body for Nutritional Therapists. Its primary function is to assist its members in attaining the highest standards of integrity, knowledge, competence and professional practice, in order to protect the client’s interests, nutritional therapy and the nutritional therapist.
My details can be found here on the BANT website.
The CNHC is the UK regulator for complementary healthcare practitioners. Sponsored by the Department of Health, the CNHC’s key role is to enhance public protection by setting standards for registration and ensuring that all registered practitioners meet the relevant National Occupational Standards. In November 2009 the Department of Health stated: “CNHC is the only voluntary regulatory body for complementary healthcare which has official government backing. No other organisation has the same exacting criteria or focus on safety and quality.” Nutritional Therapists must meet the CNHC’s standards and maintain their professional skills through an ongoing programme of Continuing Professional Development in order to display the CNHC quality mark.
My practice details can be found here on the CNHC website.
What is the difference between a Nutritional Therapist and a Nutritionist?
There is no doubt that professional titles can be confusing. The main difference between a nutritionist and a nutritional therapist is that a practitioner does not require any specific qualifications in order to call themselves a nutritionist, while a registered nutritional therapist will have undergone at least three years of rigorous training in Nutritional Therapy and be registered with a professional body, such as BANT or CNHC.
Many people can and do set themselves up as nutritionists without any formal training or knowledge, so it is very important to always undertake a thorough background and accreditation check when seeking advice from a 'nutritionist practitioner'. The term 'registered nutritionist' indicates that a practitioner has attained a suitable level of knowledge and has been accredited by a professional body. I am a qualified and accredited nutrition therapist, but occasionally refer to myself as a 'nutritionist' when I am not working on a one-to-one basis, or for making this website visible to people who are unsure which term they should search for.
What is the difference between a Nutritional Therapist and a Dietitian?
A dietician works with diagnosed patients under the direction of a GP in a hospital, practice or the community. Dieticians base their advice on the Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) of nutrients. RNI guidelines are based on the amount of a nutrient required to avoid diseases of deficiency. They do not take into account biochemical individuality i.e. the fact that each person is unique and therefore has unique needs.
In contrast, a nutritional therapist typically works in private practice and consults with individuals on a one-to-one basis, sometimes receiving NHS referrals. A nutritional therapist may work with healthy individuals in order to prevent disease, and those that are ill to ease and minimise symptoms of a developed disease.
A nutritional therapist takes into account the unique dietary needs of each individual through in-depth information gathering and functional testing (where appropriate), and aims to promote optimal health with personalised die, lifestyle & therapeutic supplementation recommendations.
What is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine is an evidence-based, personalised approach to health care that recognises the interconnected nature of the body's systems and a person’s biological uniqueness. It aims to address the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms by identifying root causes of symptoms rather than symptom suppression.
In functional medicine, the client and practitioner engage in a therapeutic partnership to explore the interaction between genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that may influence health and complex, chronic disease. The client is empowered, educated and encouraged to play an active role in the healing process. Functional medicine is...
Preventative: promoting health as a positive vitality rather than simply the absence of disease. Tests and treatments are designed to promote optimal function, prevent poor health and improve quality of life.
Integrative: combines the best of both traditional Western medical practices using the latest laboratory testing and what is sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” medicine, creating a focus on prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise.
Investigative: practitioners take time with their clients to understand the complex web of interactions in their history, physiology, and lifestyle that can lead to illness. Symptoms are addressed by looking for any underlying causes of the problem, which leads to more profound and longer-lasting results.
Holistic: treats the body as an interconnected whole, and recognises the importance of these connections in health and disease.
Safe: programs have mild or no side effects, and other unrelated complaints often improve spontaneously.
Participatory: the client is respected, empowered, educated and encouraged to play an active role in the healing process.