What is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner?
I’m a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, that’s what the NTP after my name stands for. I began my education at the Nutritional Therapy Association in the fall of 2012, only a few months after launching Empowered Sustenance, and graduated in the spring of 2013.
Recently, I returned to the NTA classroom to become a Group Leader. As a group leader, I was able to once again immerse myself in the material, absorbing even more information, while assisting the new students in the classroom.
A highlight was meeting three of the students who said they decided to take the program because I had recommended it on my blog. These three women were articulate and passionate about the power of nutrition.
I felt joyful that I played a part in guiding these women to become NTPs. I know that, since graduation, they are working to share A New Story of Health.
We need many, many more voices in the world sharing this story. If you have ever considered working in holistic nutrition, please read the rest of this post.
Why I signed up to be an NTP
Five years ago, I enrolled in the Nutritional Therapy program at a point when my life was, rather, upside-down.
In the previous six months, I had just left college due to my illness, I had discovered a nutrition protocol that allowed me to avoid invasive surgery, and I had just created a little baby blog called Empowered Sustenance.
I prioritized my finances, my energy, my time and I signed up. I didn’t know what to expect from the program, but I felt in my bones that I was in the right place and time to complete this training.
NTA was the right place for me, because it put me on the path to fulfill two of my soul-deep goals: to further my own healing, and to share the power of nutrition with others.
NTA provided me the nutritional knowledge to grow Empowered Sustenance into what it is today. I received a foundational education in of the how the body works, how nutrition and supplements work with the body, and how to clinically assess a body to determine unique nutritional needs.
If you dedicate yourself to the program, as I did, NTA will put you on your unique path to create a career in holistic nutrition as it did for me.
What a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner does:
- Identify nutrient deficiencies using palpation, clinical assessment tools, inspection, inquiry, and the Nutri-Q software (described below)
NTA equips students with a wide range of health investigation tools. The most valuable and unique aspect, I believe, is the Functional Evaluation, which I describe below. Students also receive tailored forms, consultation protocols and health interview training to effectively support clients.
- Perform a Functional Evaluation to communicate with the innate intelligence of the client’s body
The Functional Evaluation is, I believe, the most brilliant and extraordinary tool given to NTA students. It is a system of palpations and clinical assessment tools used to determine nutritional requirements.
With training and practice in the Function Evaluation, an NTP can gather an immense amount of information in under 50 minutes about a client’s health needs. This is how I look at it: the client’s body is ready to tell the practitioner where it is experiencing distress and what it needs to be in balance. The Functional Evaluation allows the client’s body to convey these needs to the practitioner.
- Prioritize and identify dysfunction with the Nutri-Q Platform
Nutritional therapy practitioners receive comprehensive instruction in utilizing the Nutri-Q program. Through this unique software, clients fill out a thorough but straightforward health questionnaire and the platform generates information about the client. This platform also provides practitioner resources and client handouts.
- Perform Lingual-Neuro Testing
The Lingual-Neuro testing goes hand-in-hand with the functional evaluation. It seems like a miraculous way of determining what supplements and food is beneficial for a client, but it’s not a miracle… it’s a carefully tuned scientific method.
In Lingual-Neuro testing, a supplement/nutrient/food is placed on the client’s tongue and then a corresponding organ point is palpated. If the supplement is beneficial, the point in question immediately changes in sensation. This is not kinesiology, it is based on the proven phenomenon of how the tastebuds communicate instantly with the brain.
- Create a tailored supplement protocol for clients
Students learn to synthesize information from the health interviews, paperwork, NAQ, Functional Evaluation and Lingual-Neuro Testing. This provides the detailed, individualized information required to create a tailored supplement protocol.
- Choose to specialize in an area of health support, such as preconception nutrition or sports nutrition
Nutritional therapy practitioners often choose to focus in a specific area, such as nutrition for fertility or performance nutrition for athletes.
- Move forward in complimentary trainings and programs
I believe the solid physiology and nutrition foundation I received through NTA gave me a valuable foundation for other trainings in holistic health. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m planning to get an herbalist certificate this year and I know it will synthesize well with my nutritional therapy foundation.
This year, I’m also looking forward to doing a training offered to nutritional therapists called Inneractive Healing Systems. This program teaches advanced skills in muscle testing (kinesiology) and palpation techniques to create effective client protocols.
What a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner doesn’t do:
- Make claims to diagnose/treat/cure disease or replace a primary care physician. A nutritional therapy practitioner is not a doctor and cannot make claims to diagnose, treat or cure. We have clients, not patients. A nutritional therapy practitioner is not intended to replace your doctor or naturopathic doctor.
- Offer therapeutic touch without licensure. The Functional Evaluation uses palpation to determine dysfunction in the body. It is not a form of therapeutic touch or visceral manipulation. Only a nutritional therapist who is also a licensed massage therapist or licensed body worker can offer therapeutic touch.
- Call themselves a dietician. The legalities around terminology vary from state to state. In some states, it is illegal to give individualized nutrition counseling unless licensed as a dietician. Other states are much more lenient around practicing nutrition counseling. Look at the State Laws at Nutrition Advocacy to learn more.
Why I chose the Nutritional Therapy program
There are many educational programs available to become a nutrition consultant. So why did I choose NTA?
- It offers a hybrid of hands-on, classroom learning and online work. The Nutritional Therapy Practitioner course includes three three-or-four day seminars along with conference calls and online curriculum. I looked at many other online nutrition programs before jumping into NTA. Solely online programs do not offer the clinical training, a hallmark of NTA. Because you have classroom time, you learn the art of palpation for the Functional Evaluation, the technique of lingual-neuro testing, and can practice the entire consultation process.
- It focuses on a nutrient-dense, traditional foods approach to wellness. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price is required reading. Need I say more?
- Their marketing and website aren’t polished, but their instruction is. I’ll be blunt with you, since I’ve been blunt with NTA. Their website isn’t very sexy, and it didn’t give me a detailed perception of the program. As a matter of fact, I didn’t really know what to expect when beginning the class because the website was so vague and rather difficult to navigate. That was one of the goals of this post – to clarify for you what I learned, and how the learning process works. UPDATE: NTA now has a beautiful new website. I’m very pleased about that. 🙂
- NTA explains how to effectively support clients from an individual perspective. Other nutrition programs discuss popular diets, but NTA explains how to create a tailored protocol for clients. That is invaluable. It’s all about the tailoring supplements and nutrition to a clients’ individuality, not matching a client to the correct cookie-cutter diet.
What to do next
The NTP courses begin in September, so you meed to register before the end of August. Here are the steps to take:
- Read my post, What Is A Nutritional Therapy Practitioner? I wrote this because it is the resource I wish I had, before I signed up for the program.
- Watch my video Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming an NTP.
- Call an admissions officer at Nutritional Therapy Association to discuss any other you have.
- Register before August 31st to ensure a spot in the Fall classes. View class locations here.
- When you register, tell them Lauren sent you!
Have you considered becoming a nutritional therapy practitioner? Are you interested in a career in nutrition?