Newcastle, Lake Macquarie & Hunter Region Naturopaths

ATUNE Health Centres provide naturopath and medical herbalist services throughout Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter.  
What is Naturopathy?


Naturopathy is a holistic system of medicine that improves and optimises the health of the whole person. Naturopaths strive to find the cause of disease and resolve symptoms by addressing whole body function. Assessment involves in-depth clinical histories and use of functional pathology and other common physical tests. Naturopaths promote healthy, clean living through the use of researched herbal medicines, supplements, and nutritional and lifestyle modifications tailored specifically to the individual.

Naturopaths will seek to restore the bodies’ optimal environment to stimulate proper function and healing. Symptoms are used as a clue to discern the underlying causes of disease or dysfunction.

Simple lifestyle measures may be used to promote healing such as adequate hydration, rest, exercise, optimal nutrition and fresh air. A treatment plan will almost always involve some sort of lifestyle prescription. Specific supplements or individualised herbal formulas may be prescribed to assist with healing or correct any deficiencies. Naturopaths have access to a very high quality of supplements that are far superior to those that you can get off the shelves at your local supermarket or chemist. These practitioner ranges are subject to a high standard of quality control regarding potency and purity. All supplements and herbal medicines that are used have been subject to the latest research and testing.

What is a Medical Herbalist?


A Medical Herbalist uses plant material in the form of food, tinctures, tablets, powders and capsules for medicine and health promotion. One advantage of using plant medicines instead of pharmaceutical drugs is that the former relies on the synergistic action of a plant’s many constituents. This results in fewer side effects compared with isolated chemical ingredients. Hence, herbs work physiologically to restore balance rather than simply targeting a particular symptom.

Some fundamental principles of herbalism include an appreciation of the body's innate ability to heal itself, a holistic approach in treating individuals within their emotional, social, economic, spiritual and cultural aspects, and the concept of "do no harm" by using non-toxic medicines.

What is a Naturopathic Nutritionist?


A Naturopathic Nutritionist integrates both scientific nutrition and the principles of natural medicine. Core values include a respect for the traditional and empirical approach to nutritional knowledge, the importance of food as medicine and an understanding that whole foods are greater than the sum of their parts.

Naturopathic nutrition focuses on the correction of deficiencies and avoidance of problematic foods. It upholds a diet based on whole, natural foods, with emphasis on quality, fresh, organic and local produce. Attention to variability in the nutritional status of different individuals (eg genetic, age gender, environmental and emotional influences) is also recognised. The practice of Naturopathic nutrition may include: behavioural and lifestyle counselling, diet therapy, detoxification and fasting strategies and nutritional supplementation.

What should I expect from a consultation with the Naturopath or Medical Herbalist?


Initial consultation

At your initial naturopathic consultation, you will be asked to arrive 10 minutes early to fill out a comprehensive health assessment questionnaire. When you are called in to see the Naturopath you will be asked to share the main reason for your visit as you would at a doctor's clinic. The Naturopath will document your symptoms as well as take a detailed history of the issue. Additional questions will be asked regarding the various answers you marked on your questionnaire. These may be to do with general lifestyle habits such as how much exercise you do or how much water you drink, how much sleep you get at night and what are your stress levels like. Medications that you may be taking will be documented (both pharmaceutical and supplements) and a nutritional overview will also be taken.

A segment of your initial consultation will entail various physical assessments such as body pH (urine or saliva), blood pressure, weight and height as well as assessment of fingernails, ears, eyes, tongue and skin to detect any nutritional deficiencies or other reasons for disease. Other more specialised tests such as blood glucose, zinc levels, food sensitivity profiles or stool analysis may be done in the clinic or a referral written for their collection at a later date.

The initial consultation is mainly for gathering history and allowing the naturopath to make an assessment of your condition. Some information may be given at the completion of the initial consultation particularly for acute conditions, but more likely you will be given some “homework” such as taking a food diary or working on a few basic lifestyle changes associated with your concern. Supplements and/or herbal formulas may be given at an initial consultation. The herbal tinctures are made from specific herbs individually formulated for clients from the dispensary at ATUNE. The role of the herbalist/naturopath is to ensure the supplements prescribed are safe and have no interactions with any prescribed medicines. These high-quality “practitioner only” products are TGA approved and produced under Good Manufacturing Practice.

Follow up consultations

Follow up consultations are half the time of initial consultations and allow you to report back to the naturopath on any changes you have noticed or made. Your first follow-up consultation is also the time when you will receive your lifestyle plan from the naturopath based on what was shared at the initial consultation. Further follow-up consultations will enable your progress to be tracked, give you that accountability that is so often needed when making changes to your health, allows you to ask questions as well as providing opportunity for the Naturopath to tweak your treatment protocol or start working on other body systems that may need treatment to really see you achieve your health goals.   

What conditions can we help with?


The use of optimal lifestyle practices and various plant medicines have been used for thousands of years to treat a wide variety of diseases. From acute infections to chronic diseases, we can help with conditions such as:

  • Digestive disorders: IBS, Food allergy/intolerances, reflux
  • Nervous system disorders: insomnia, anxiety, depression, headaches/migraines
  • Female reproductive imbalances: menopause, premenstrual syndrome, painful periods
  • Male reproductive disorders: Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, andropause
  • Endocrine: Thyroid disorders, diabetes, weight loss
  • Liver disease
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Paediatrics: colic, teething, constipation, warts, autism, ADHD
  • Musculoskeletal: fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, RA
  • Skin diseases: eczema, psoriasis, acne, hives
  • Cardiovascular: hypertension, CVD, high cholesterol
  • Fertility: preconception care, pregnancy, labour, breastfeeding
  • Support during conventional cancer treatment
What training does a Naturopath have?


An accredited Naturopath in practice in Australia is trained in basic medical sciences, studying subjects such as anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, symptomatology, pathology and pharmacology. The specific naturopathy modalities to complete your training include subjects such as herbal medicine, nutrition, homeopathy, massage, basics in counseling and many more. When studied in conjunction with a Bachelor of Health Science the course is completed over 4 years (full time). As an Advanced Diploma the course is 3 years (full time). Additional postgraduate courses are always available to Naturopaths in areas such as aromatherapy, personal training and anything else that they have a personal interest in that will be of benefit to their clients.

What is the difference between a Naturopath and a Medical Herbalist?


The courses are very similar with some differences in the subjects that are studied. The course duration is also 3 years full-time for an Advanced Diploma or 4 years full-time for a Bachelor Degree.  The same basic medical science subjects are studied but the differences come in the additional modalities specific to herbal medicine. The subjects studied in detail include herbal medicine and nutrition. Additional subjects covered in Naturopathy courses are offered as optional subjects and may be completed.

How can I tell if a practitioner is qualified?


A qualified Naturopath or Medical Herbalist in practice must be an accredited member of a professional body such as the Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS) or Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA) in order to be recognized as an accredited provider and to offer health fund rebates. These bodies set academic standards for members and hold investigative powers. Members will only be accepted after completing their training at approved universities or colleges as well as maintaining ongoing education requiring them to complete a certain number of CPE points every year. A valid first aid certificate and current professional indemnity and public liability insurance are vital requirements to maintain membership and continue to offer health fund rebates.

Consultation fees


Initial Consultation

Fee: $90, Duration: 60 minutes

It is recommended that you arrive 10 minutes before your appointment to allow some time to fill in your health questionnaire.

Initial consultations usually take about 50 minutes.

The final 10 minutes will be allocated to discuss your health plan, prepare any herbal medicines and review any prescriptions or literature that you have been given.

Subsequent Consultations

Fee: $70, Duration: 30 minutes

Review of your health progress and an opportunity to ask any questions.

At this stage, your Naturopath may adjust your prescriptions or health plan to ensure your continued progress toward health. This may include recommending new supplements, modifications to diet and lifestyle.

Your Naturopath will discuss any future consultations with you.