Nutritional Therapy is the practice of changing one’s diet to obtain health benefits. It uses a functional medicine approach meaning it seeks to uncover underlying causes rather than just treating the symptom. Manipulation of diet, nutrients and sometimes supplements are used to help the client achieve their specific health goals. Some of the conditions nutrition is useful in helping include; weight loss, IBS, bloating, low mood, hormonal imbalances, acne, PMS, PCOS, perimenopause, fertility issues, thyroid problems, fatigue, detoxification, bone health, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease…
What is involved in a nutritional therapy session?
Before the first consultation the client will receive a questionnaire to fill out stating their long term health goals and what they would like to achieve, a brief medical history and a 3 day food diary. The initial consultation itself will focus on these goals with more detailed questions around the clients current and past diet, lifestyle, family history, medication, supplements, and physical activity. This establishes a clear picture of why the client has reached their current state of health. The initial consultation usually lasts between 60 to 90 minutes.
Follow ups are normally 30 to 45 minutes and can be scheduled 1 to 4 weeks after the initial consultation depending on the level of support the client may need to implement the lifestyle changes.
What is the difference between a nutritional therapist and dietitian?
Dietitians are the only nutrition professionals who can work within the HSE and this is primarily their role. Dietitians use nutrition and science to devise healthy eating plans for patients to treat specific medical conditions. These eating plans are usually based on patient’s diagnosis, age and gender but they are not personally tailored to each individual.
Nutritional Therapy is a very personal carefully considered set of dietary and lifestyle recommendations which are specific to individual needs of each client. The aim is to support the client in achieving their personal goals while also aiming for optimum health and well being. The client gets a thorough understanding of healthy eating with meal ideas, recipes and increased confidence within themselves to make positive changes to their diet.
Properly qualified nutritional therapists are subject to regulations by bodies such as IANT (Irish Association of Nutritional Therapists) or NTOI (Nutritional Therapists of Ireland.) Minimum membership to these bodies require at least a diploma in nutritional therapy with 200 hours of clinical training plus 30 hours continual practitioner development with each renewal. Choosing a therapist who is a member of one of these bodies can give you confidence in their qualifications and training.