Nutritional therapists advise about and treat a wide range of medical conditions by assessing patients’ requirements for food, vitamins and minerals while taking general health, well-being and lifestyle into consideration to provide holistic treatments.
This includes recommendations to restore nutritional balance, which may include guidance on avoiding certain toxins and allergens, detoxification and the use of supplementary nutrients such as high-dose vitamins.
Nutritional therapy is classed as an unconventional, ‘complementary’ medicine and is intended for people with chronic health conditions or those who want to improve their general health and lifestyle.
Employers of nutritional therapists
- Private practices
- Specialist clinics
- Complementary healthcare clinics
- carry out initial consultations on a one-to-one basis with patients to conduct an assessment of their health and get a detailed case history from them
- recommend and analyze laboratory tests, which give indications of nutritional imbalances, the functioning of the liver and the digestive system
- explain the physiological impact of complex biochemical imbalances and nutritional deficiencies to help your client and answer any questions they may have
- agree on a personalized nutrition and lifestyle plan, which will include dietary recommendations, and may also include a nutritional-supplement plan
- conduct shorter follow-up review meetings to monitor and evaluate patient progress
- refer clients to other health practitioners, as appropriate
- keep comprehensive notes and records for each client
- provide advice and promote nutritional therapy to community groups and charities.
There are no specific entry requirements to become a nutritional therapist and entry without a degree is common.
A degree in a relevant subject (for example chemistry, biology, medicine, nursing, nutrition, dietetics, health studies, food science and technology) can be beneficial. It is also advantageous to possess a strong science background.
- the ability to communicate with a range of clients and build rapport
- listening skills and the ability to empathize without becoming emotionally involved
- a confident and professional approach to work
- time management skills
- problem-solving and analytical skills
- a logical approach to work
- report-writing skills
- self-motivation and the ability to work on your own and develop new skills
- business skills such as administration, marketing and finance.