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A unified voice for naturopathy

12 December 2016

Australian naturopaths have the opportunity to speak with a united voice on a global stage for the first time in history, following the establishment of a world first international representative organisation the World Naturopathic Federation (WNF) in 2015.

Not only has Australia been involved with WNF since its creation, it is also the only country along with Canada with members in each of the major categories – full membership (which involves a federation of practitioner associations), associate membership (limited to organisations focused on naturopathy) and educational membership.

Co-Secretary General of WNF Jon Wardle said the organisation was developed to help naturopathy advance on a global scale through providing a unified approach to better leverage opportunities available to the profession.

“The lack of a formal representative organisation up to this point often
meant naturopaths weren’t included in conversations about international initiatives that affect the profession, and the big decisions were often being made by people and organisations that may not fully understand the unique needs of naturopathy,” said Jon.

“Our key mission is to give naturopathic medicine a strong voice in international discussions, not just on matters that already directly affect the profession such as education and policy, but also to advocate for greater inclusion of naturopathic medicine in addressing global health priorities.

“For the first time ever, the naturopathic profession has the structure it needs to grow globally, with practitioners from all countries now able to be an active part of that process.”

Jon said the WNF was in the process of developing formal relations with the World Health Organisation (WHO) which would have great benefit to the naturopathy industry.

“We’ve heard from numerous stakeholders in the Australian government, business and non-government organisation sectors that believe having Australian representatives of a global naturopathic organisation recognised by WHO will help legitimise the naturopathic profession in Australia,” Jon said.

Representative of the Australian Full Member of WNF the Australian Naturopathic Federation (ANF) and President of the National Herbalists Association of Australia (NHAA) Natalie Cook said the ANF was formed as a vehicle to allow Australian naturopaths to be represented with one voice.

“This is a significant milestone as it provides a framework to build shared values and allows associations to work together more effectively for the benefit of the naturopathic profession in Australia,” Natalie said.

“It also means we can draw on best practice internationally and ensure our voice is heard clearly and consistently on the domestic front.”

Natalie also recognised the extensive
work of Australia’s oldest complementary medicine association the NHAA, who were instrumental in the development of the Terms of Reference for the ANF and act as the representative body for Australia in the WNF.

The NHAA is currently the sole member of the ANF, with the Complementary Medicine Association (CMA) and the Australian Naturopathic Practitioners Association (ANPA) in the process of joining the group.

Educational Member for WNF Endeavour College of Natural Health Representative Carolyn Barker AM said being part of WNF meant Endeavour had a say at the global naturopathic table.

“We now have the ability to present the Australian approach to naturopathy education to the international naturopathic community. It will also help us better understand the international trends in naturopathic medicine by linking these insights back to our curriculum,” said Carolyn.

“We believe this affords our graduates a far greater world view of the opportunities for contemporary naturopathic practice and the possibilities for the profession they are entering.”

Representative for the WNF Associate Member the Australian Register of Naturopaths and Herbalists (ARONAH) Dr Amie Steel said the organisation was focused on helping the WNF identify the supports and barriers impacting on the global advancement of naturopathy.

“We’ve been able to learn from the experiences of naturopaths in other countries, many of which have faced – and beaten – similar challenges to the naturopathic profession as we face here in Australia,” said Amie.

Who are the Australian members of WNF?

Full Member:

Australian Naturopathic Federation

Associate Members:

Australian Register of Naturopaths and Herbalists (ARONAH)
Australian Naturopathic Practitioners Association (ANPA)*
Complementary Medicine Association (CMA)* 


*In process

Educational Member:


Endeavour College of Natural Health

Fast Naturopathy Facts

  • There are 100,000 naturopathy practitioners worldwide working on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Naturopathic practices centre on the belief of the healing power of nature, which supports the body’s own natural processes for health.
  • WNF conducted the world’s most comprehensive survey of naturopathic medicine, which revealed the profession globally has far more in common as far as its practices and philosophies than previously thought.