Last updated on September 8, 2021.
As the concept of holistic healthcare is better understood in modern society, it is no surprise that naturopathy is becoming increasingly mainstream with its “natural”, “non-invasive” treatment approach.
Here is your comprehensive, independent guide with all the essential details!
Methodology: This guide does not aim to be exhaustive. It is informative only and based on our independent research. No practitioner or clinic paid any fees or rendered any services in exchange for inclusion in this article.
What is Naturopathy?
Naturopathy is a type of alternative care, a blend of traditional and modern treatment, and a form of holistic healthcare to work with the body on an entirely natural level. The idea that “the body should be inherently capable of self-healing” forms the basis of naturopathic medicine or naturopathy. By offering harmless treatments that recognize all aspects of health, individuality and self care, naturopathy aims to educate patients on their long-term well-being and to empower lifestyle changes with emphasis on diet, exercise and stress management.
With the growing partnership between medical doctors and registered naturopaths in modern medical practice, it is common for naturopathic methods to be used to support conventional treatments and surgeries to promote recovery.
What is the current regulation and registration situation in Hong Kong?
It is becoming more and more common for clinics in Hong Kong to offer a broader range of services including allied health practitioners who use Functional Medicine techniques such as Naturopaths.
In Hong Kong, naturopathy is not regulated and does not require registration. However, due to the rising number of incoming naturopaths and demand for naturopathic therapies, the Integrated Association of Naturopaths has been established as a non-profit association where you can find licensed, trained practitioners and doctors in the field.
There are a total of 13 naturopaths in Hong Kong associated with the organization. While current members have been trained in the US, Canada and Australia, candidates looking to be accepted must have a 4-year full-time degree in related health sciences and medicine. Furthermore, those practicing under this organization are licensed and qualified members of the World Naturopathic Federation which represents over 50 naturopathic organizations from across the globe.
Check out the article on Regulation & Registration of Healthcare Professionals in Hong Kong: How to Know if You are in Safe Hands for more information on regulated professions.
How does Naturopathy work?
Covering areas from skincare to hormones to mental health, naturopathy personalizes treatment based on individual needs and health conditions. Though the treatment plans may vary, most of them include nutrition and adhere to a similar principle: instead of suppressing illness symptoms, the primary goal of care is to identify and cure underlying causes of the condition, hence supporting the body, mind and spirit to heal and stay healthy in the long-run.
The general practice in naturopathy is that practitioners follow a therapeutic order which begins with minimal interventions and proceeds to higher-level interventions as necessary to restore health. Firstly, the order develops a health-conscious diet and lifestyle to reestablish health conditions. Next, it may stimulate the body’s natural healing mechanisms through techniques such as hydrotherapy which increases the circulation of blood and lymph. Thirdly, it supports the recovery of weakened or damaged systems with help of homeopathy, botanical medicines, or exercises like yoga. Fourthly, it corrects and builds structural health typically through physical medicine techniques such as massage, acupressure and homeopathy. The fifth step focuses on addressing pathology with specific natural substances and dietary supplements, before proceeding to pharmaceutical or synthetic substances in the sixth step. Surgical intervention is normally reserved for the final therapeutic step.
In short, Naturopathy refers to an inherent, self-organizing healing process that establishes, maintains, and restores health.
What conditions does naturopathy treat?
Naturopathy is not most people’s first source of healthcare, they seek naturopathic remedies when traditional treatments are not effective. Most common reasons to see a naturopath are:
- Emotional problems: depression, anxiety, insomnia and stress-related issues
- Skin problems: rashes, eczema, acne and blemishes
- Digestive issues: irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bloating, pain and constipation
- Poor immunity: frequent infections, viruses, colds, cough, flu, migraine and headaches
- Poor sleep, insomnia, fatigue including chronic fatigue associated with infection
- Hormonal imbalances, irregular periods, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopause
- Sinus problems: sinusitis or hay-fever
- Infertility and subfertility
A 2019 review of studies also showed that naturopathic methods may be effective in relieving cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal pain, type 2 diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Who can benefit from naturopathy?
Naturopathy aims to help people of all ages by focusing on preventative techniques, health improvement and chronic health problems.
With the effectiveness of naturopathy remaining disputable, it is highly recommended for you to consult a doctor before changing to or adding naturopathic treatments, since some therapies may interfere with existing medical treatments.
How much does naturopathy cost in Hong Kong?
In Hong Kong and as with all other health practitioners, the cost of a naturopathy session varies, depending mostly on the techniques involved. Our research shows that an initial session on Hong Kong Island can range from about HK$1,200 to $1,950 for one hour. The cost of a subsequent session sometimes can be cheaper and subject to the duration of each session. Packages may be offered by some clinics.
Naturopath vs. Naturopathic Doctor
Many people have the wrong idea that they are the same. In fact, the qualifications of a naturopath, also known as Traditional Naturopathic Practitioner (TNP) or a Certified Traditional Naturopath (CTN), differs from a Naturopathic Physician or Doctor (ND).
Generally, a naturopathic physician or doctor attends a four-year, graduate-level naturopathic medical school (by then they have completed a pre-med Bachelor’s degree), which entails many hours of clinical experience with patients. Besides a standard medical curriculum, the naturopathic physician also studies clinical nutrition, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, psychology, and counseling to familiarize themselves with holistic and non-toxic therapy approaches for disease prevention and health optimization. A naturopathic doctor takes rigorous professional board exams in order to be licensed by a jurisdiction as a primary care general practice physician.
On the other hand, a naturopathic practitioner or traditional naturopath does not practice medicine, diagnose or treat disease but instead focuses on prevention and education. They may complete their education through online courses or distance learning in herbology, iridology, energy techniques, mind-body medicine, hands-on therapies including massage, reflexology, acupressure and homeopathy, to name a few. Despite sharing a similar philosophy with the naturopathic doctor, they have a limited scope of practice.
List of Naturopaths in Hong Kong
So far there is no naturopath practicing in the public healthcare sector. To make it easier for you, here is a list of some naturopaths and clinics providing naturopathic care in Hong Kong’s private sector:
- Dr. Ardyce Yik ND
- Dr. Benita Perch
- Dr. Brian Leung DC ND
- Mr. Graeme Bradshaw
- Dr. Ji Woon Min ND
- Dr. Joëlle Bradford ND
- Mr. Lawrence Tredrea
- Dr. Melissa Lee
- Ms. Sara Jefferson
- Mr. Tej Bg
- Mr. Philip Watkins
Address: 13/F & 17/F Kailey Tower, 16 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong
Phone: 2523 7121
Dr. Kenneth Chu ND
Address: 2705, 27/F, Universal Trade Centre, 3-5 Arbuthnot Road, Central, Hong Kong
Phone: 2530 3315
Lynn Lian Wei Lim
Address: Unit 0402-03, 4F, Lucky Building, 39 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong.
Phone: 6994 4145
Dr. Susan Jamieson
Address: 13/F, Asia Standard Tower, 59-65 Queen’s Road Central
Phone: 2523 8044
What treatments are used in naturopathy?
Naturopathy has a series of different treatment approaches, examples include:
- Dietary recommendations
- Stress reduction
- Herbal remedies, nutritional medicine, high-potency dietary supplements
- Manipulative therapies, e.g. osteopathy, massage and acupressure.
- Exercise and behavioral change
- Psychotherapy or counseling
What training do naturopaths have?
Naturopaths are trained in herbology, iridology, energy techniques, mind-body medicine, hands-on therapies such as massage, & acupressure and homeopathy, etc.
Is Naturopathy regulated in Hong Kong
No. Currently, naturopathy is not regulated and does not require registration in Hong Kong. However, the Integrated Association of Naturopaths serves as a non-profit association where you can find licensed, educated practitioners and doctors in the field.