I’m Eric Bakker, N.D., a naturopathic physician from New Zealand. Although I’ve retired from clinical practice in 2019, I remain passionate about helping people improve their lives. You’ll find I’m active online with a focus on natural health and wellbeing education through my Facebook page and YouTube channel, including this website.
In the old pre-Google days, I’ve published articles in different health magazines, and more recently, online during my 34 years of clinical naturopathic practice. My YouTube channels contain many videos on different health-related topics. In addition, I’ve written many blog posts across various websites over the past twenty years.
My writing reflects my philosophy, from a common-sense point of view, with a focus on giving people the tools and ability to enable them to change their body at the cellular level, without, most times, having to resort to pharmaceutical drugs. The human body can heal itself, providing the conditions are right.
It’s amazing to be part of a profession that helps others to improve their health and wellbeing. I consider myself very fortunate to be a part of someone’s recovery or illness they may have endured, sometimes for years. It’s pretty cool to get an email from a patient about their recovery, sometimes even many years later.
Over the years, our clinic has seen many chronic cases improve with personalised diet and specific lifestyle advice. Many such patients after being told: “I’m sorry, but there is nothing more we can do”. This prompted me to conduct clinical research and study complex gut-related health conditions over a period of over twenty years, involving many patients, countless tests, countless hours of work.
With making treating recommendations, I found the protocols suggested to me for specific diseases in books or by various companies were lacking individuality; stereotyped and just cookie cutter protocols. Many natural medicine practitioners I knew were getting average results with these treatment methods.
I had to come up with a different approach if I wanted my clinic to be thriving and highly successful, cookie cutters and farinaceous foods never were my thing. I was looking more for a patient-centered approach to naturopathy, and not a disease-focused one. These efforts and introspection eventually culminated in the research and development of specialised lifestyle, diet & nutrition health programmes, including our one-of-a-kind nutritional and herbal products to support the patient.
I’m 62 yrs old and still going strong, and hope to be at it for many years to come. To inspire and motivate. To be part of somebody’s recovery from poor or average to radiant health. I couldn’t care how much money you’ve got, you won’t need much if you want amazing health. You’ll benefit from a few “qualifications”, though, like common sense, rolling up your sleeves and the motivation to succeed.
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About Eric The Naturopath
As a professionally registered and qualified naturopath, I’ve always been involved with integrative medicine, a healthcare paradigm that integrates evidence-based traditional and complementary treatments with the finest of modern evidence-based western medical methods, and emphasises customised personal patient care.
I’ve always practiced with medical doctors and have worked in medical clinics in both Australia and New Zealand. Before retirement in 2019, patients with chronic and complex disease would travel far and wide to receive treatment recommendations at our clinic in a small village called Havelock North on the North Island, New Zealand.
Patients would catch-up for regular monthly consultations on the telephone, FaceTime, or Skype. I’ve worked with a wide of variety of diets, lifestyles, and patient’s spiritual beliefs, and many kinds of natural medicines. Over many years, our clinic developed most clinically effective programmes based on our own and other’s collective experiences.
I’ve enjoyed clinical naturopathic practice for many years, and since retirement have focused my attention on online natural health and wellbeing education. I’m not a medical doctor, but a naturopath. In New Zealand and Australia, degree-qualified chiropractors are the only natural health care professionals considered professionally to be doctors of natural medicine.
Before discussing my qualifications and my career in natural medicine, let’s take a quick look at the difference between a naturopath and a medical doctor.
One of the main tenants of Naturopathy is well-being, which relates to maintaining wellness and preventing ill health where ever possible, not just on treatment of the symptoms of disease. Symptoms are a manifestation of the body’s attempt to heal and repair itself. Our philosophy is to do no harm as taught by Hippocrates, the Greek physician who was the very first to create the holistic view of medicine and the concept of “the healing power of nature”. The healing power of nature refers to the body’s innate ability to heal itself. When illness or imbalance occurs, your body naturally wants to correct this to maintain health and wellness. A healthy lifestyle and diet are critical in facilitating the optimisation of health and wellbeing.
Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are professionally registered, licensed and qualified in the same fundamental health and biological sciences as Medical Doctors (MDs). In both MD and ND programme, they devote the first two years of medical school to biological science, clinical sciences, and diagnostics. Naturopaths and medical doctors study almost similar fundamental and core clinical sciences, including anatomy and physiology, pathology, biochemistry, clinical physical diagnosis, genetics, pharmacology, microbiology, and other areas covered in the many hours of training for both NDs and MDs.
Introduction to naturopathic modalities such as homoeopathy, nutrition, diet and nutrition, psychology, biochemistry, and plant therapy are included in the early years of naturopathic medical school.
During the first two years of study, naturopaths establish a more complete understanding of health and illness based in Western medical disciplines. They may use this information to improve abilities in diagnosis, illness prevention, and wellness enhancement. A naturopathic education must include clinical experience of patient care, they can spend 1500 hours or more in a clinical internship working with patients as part of completing their education. I completed three separate clinical internships, for homeopathy, herbal medicine and naturopathy, almost 5,000 internship hours.
“To study the phenomena of disease without books is to sail an uncharted sea, while to study books without patients is not to go to sea at all.”
Nutrition, Diet and Healthy Lifestyle
In various respects, naturopathic medical programmes differ from standard medical schools throughout the third and fourth years of study. Non-pharmaceutical/non-surgical techniques to addressing patient diseases, including as lifestyle counselling, clinical nutrition, herbal medicine, and other health promotion therapies, take up a large portion of ND curriculum. Most naturopaths I know have a strong interest in diet, nutrition and wellbeing, long before they even studied.
Naturopathic medicine students, like MD students, learn to treat all elements of family health and wellbeing, but in addition learn and research holistic and non-pharmaceutical drug ways to treat acute and chronic illness, focusing strongly on illness prevention and wellbeing optimisation. Like MDs, naturopaths also operate in clinics and treat patients for acute and chronic illnesses. The distinction is in how they do it and how much time they spend with their patient.
“The patient will never care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
The Medical Doctor
Medical doctors are health care professionals who work in hospitals, specialised medical facilities, or private rooms, are known as medical doctors (MDs) or general practitioners (GPs). Medical doctors spend a great deal more time treating the symptoms of acute and chronic diseases. The focus of the medical clinical practice is symptom treatment, and while such treatments are necessary, they spend not much time on health and wellness education, nor prevention of any disease. In the various medical centres I’ve worked in, treatment focus was on the patient’s prescribed drugs and test results. To diagnose and treat patients, medical physicians conduct diagnostic tests and prescribe pharmaceutical medications using “the drug book” as their guide. The last book (doctor’s drug guide) I was using in my naturopathic clinic contained over 1,300 drugs. Such drug guides were necessary before the internet to research the patient’s drugs and associated side effects.
Medical physicians do not discuss diet and nutrition, rather, they treat symptoms. A 2018 study mentions that most doctors lack adequate training to give informed diet advice. This is alarming, considering your health is very much dependent on the quality of food you place in your mouth. Can you now understand why integrative medicine is so important?
Symptom Treatment and Drug Therapy
I have developed friendships with medical doctors from different countries, and still count many as my friends today. Medical doctors always strive to do their best and have considerable stress to deal with. Excessive paperwork and administration constrain doctors, not to mention too many clinic hours, health reforms, bureaucratic interference, a stressful public practice, and compromised family life. Many doctors like chemists are suffering from burn-out.
These are some reasons I decided not to become a medical practitioner myself. I hold the greatest respect for doctors of evidence-based Western medicine, but preferred to qualify and practice as a naturopath, to use a different approach for patient care. Naturopathic appointments are longer (30 up to 90 minutes or more), the patient can discuss all of their problems, we make the time to listen. Studies have found a lack of time is concerning as 90 percent of patients said they felt a solid patient-physician relationship was the most essential element of a quality health care system.
“The first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine.”
There are many specialised medical practitioners, some specialities include for example general practitioners, gynaecology (ladies), dermatology (skin), gastroenterology (gut), paediatric medicine (children), orthopaedics (musculoskeletal), urology (genitourinary) and more. I’ve noticed that because of the high level of medical specialisation, the patient-doctor interaction can have a distinct tendency to be quite brief, shallow, and focused on just one or two symptoms. The patients would often tell me ‘I was in-and-out in less than ten minutes with a rather large bill”.
What Are Your Qualifications?
I hold a Bachelor Degree of Science majoring in Complementary Health Care, as well as separate diploma and degree qualifications in Naturopathy, Herbal Medicine and Homeopathy. Before retirement in 2019, I was the clinical director of a New Zealand naturopathic clinic called The Naturopaths, and practiced in Australia for ten years before moving to NZ in 1998. When I qualified in the 80s in Australia, Bachelor degrees were not available in naturopathy.
I’ve completed almost 10 years of study and gained over 30 years of clinical experience in natural and integrative forms of medicine, besides having pursued post-graduate study in Australia, America, India and New Zealand. I’m past Vice President of the NZ Natural Medicine Association. I’ve written many articles for health magazines (before Google), and published two books online that have gone on to sell thousands of copies, including Candida Crusher and The Psoriasis Program. I’ve also formulated more than 15 unique dietary supplement formulations, many have become best-selling products.
“The good physician treats the disease; The great physician treats the patient who has the disease.”
From Naturopath To Specialist Dietary Supplement Formulator
In the early 80s, I studied natural medicine principles initially through correspondence and self-directed courses, and then attended herbal manufacturing weekend workshops in 1985. I grew many medicinal herbs and manufactured herbal medicines and tinctures in the early 1980s before studying natural medicine formally and finally qualifying as a naturopath in the late 80s. I gradually became a specialist dietary and herbal supplement formulator over a period of many years of clinical practice, study, and eventually, through research and clinical experience. I studied post-graduate in homeopathic therapeutics and herbal medicine compounding in 1994 in Calcutta, India.
After moving to New Zealand in 1998, I established a naturopathic clinic and in 1999 started working as a technical manager for a start-up called FX Med, which has now (22 years later) become New Zealand’s leading wholesale suppliers of practitioner-only ranges of dietary supplements. My role as a technical and clinical services consultant for 25 years in the AUS/NZ natural medicine industry has facilitated my evolution and ongoing success in natural medicine.
Naturopaths Own Formulations
In 2006, I became the technical and clinical services director and founder of another NZ start-up, a nutritional company called Nutrisearch, offering an exclusive range of practitioner-only nutritional supplements. While at Nutrisearch, I developed a leading range of practitioner products called Naturopaths Own, a small and highly researched supplement range produced to my exacting standards. These several products include a Vitamin C powder (Daily-C), magnesium product, joint formula, several probiotic formulations, a green juice powder, and one of NZ’s highest quality multivitamins. These products have gone on over the years become best-sellers in the AUS/NZ practitioner-grade dietary supplement market industry.
In addition, I formulated various liquid herbal medicines for many common conditions, as well as several specialty formulations, including a supplement for patients with hypothyroid conditions.
After publishing my first significant book (Candida Crusher) in 2013, I created a range of the world’s first broad spectrum anti-fungal, anti-parasitic and anti-bacterial range of dietary supplements called CanXida. These formulations have received amazing reviews. My LinkedIn profile explains inabout my background in dietary supplement formulating.
Professional Ongoing Education
I’ve attended the latest national and international natural and integrative medicine conferences and health expos for many years in New Zealand, Australia, Europe and in America annually to keep up with the latest science and trends in natural medicine. Some of my dietary supplement formulating mentors over the years have been some of the most respected and successful people in our industry.
I like to follow the innovative in natural medicine, and every year (Covid-19 depending) have attended the natural medicine manufacturing and raw materials expo and the world’s largest health-food expo, Expo West, held in the United States. It is important to keep on top of the latest research in natural medicine if you want to create the very best products. You get to know the raw material suppliers and product manufacturers you can trust, as well as those you can’t.
Writer and Natural Health Researcher
In 2007, I created a website www.naturopath.co.nz as a resource of information for those who are looking for a safer yet effective alternative to conventional medical treatments of many chronic diseases. This website contained several hundred health and wellness articles about different medical conditions and natural medicine treatment recommendations, home remedies, and so much more. This site has now developed into ericbakker.com, where you will find many recipes, and several printable resources (like shopping lists, home treatments and more), all FREE!
“It’s more important to know what sort of patient has a disease than what sort of disease a patient has.”
I’ve lectured regularly to the public and to various medical and natural associations, such as the Australasian Integrated Medical Association (AIMA), with my popular seminars series including topics In addition, I’ve presented on many specific disease topics at natural medicine colleges throughout Australia and NZ.
Much of my professional work includes research on diet & nutrition and health and wellness, as well as researching and writing for journals, various websites and health magazines. I’ve collected books all my life, and have a considerable library of medical and natural medicine books, including quite a few rare and old books on herbal medicine. Pre-Google, it was books and journals, but more recently it has been the Internet.
How Can I Trust Someone Like You?
I would like to think you could, and it would be sad to be thought of as a scammer, fraudulent, or a “fake” person. Our clinic has treated more than a few patients with many health conditions spanning over thirty years. People have trusted our clinic for a long time and our reviews have always been very good. Never scam, sham or spam!
I have written the articles you will find on this website from a clinician’s perspective. You’ll find them different from most blog sites about health and wellness. There are many unique hints and tips, but you won’t find highly exaggerated claims or wild statements. Although some content may almost read like “science-fiction” (the truth can be stranger than fiction), you’ll read the facts, and common sense backed with plenty of scientific evidence. You’ll discover links in the many articles pointing to studies, just click on them to read further if you are interested.
Gardener and Beekeeper
There is a new side to this website currently under development. This site is not only about diseases and natural treatment, you will soon also read information and watch videos regarding the cultivation of many fruits and vegetables, cooking fresh foods, food preserving and even beekeeping. These are all important for the health and wellbeing of my family, and I think that given half a chance, I’ll be able to convince you to at least attempt to grow one cauliflower. I’ll need some time to load up content. I’m a busy man, as you can tell. Why not subscribe and learn a lot of useful information, and be sure to leave a comment!
Here’s wishing you and your family the very best of health, naturally.