Nutritional Therapy is a unique process of evaluating a client's nutritional status through a variety of measures, and a systematic approach to alleviating symptoms through diet and (possibly) supplements.
Evaluations by a Nutritional Therapist consist of 3 phases:
1) A nutritional questionnaire: The Nutritional Assessment Questionnaire (NAQ) is a tool used to quantify a client's unique symptoms and habits that may help point to underlying nutritional issues. The client reports the severity or frequency of particular symptoms. Those scores are then mapped to a graph which groups the symptoms into categories that relate to particular nutritional foundations such as mineral balance, hydration, and digestion. The peaks and valleys on this graph give an indication of which nutritional areas need the most focus.
2) A Functional Assessment (FA): This is where nutritional therapy as taught by the Nutritional Therapy Association really separates itself from the other types of nutritional evaluations. A functional assessment involves the assessment of the body of the client. Tender areas on the human body may develop as a result of nutritional deficiencies or toxicities that can be addressed by nutritional therapy. In the functional assessment, a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (FNTP) presses particular points on the client's body to determine tenderness. The client rates the tenderness level for each point. The scores from these measurements are used to determine what supplements and diet may be most helpful. These scores can be obtained on successive visits, so the client can determine if nutritional strategies are helping.
3) Lingual-neuro testing (LNT): If tender points on the body are found during a functional assessment it indicates that there may be an underlying nutritional deficiency or toxicity. At this point in the functional assessment, an extra step can be taken to determine if a particular nutrient can address that deficiency. This step is "lingual-neuro testing," or "LNT." This testing takes advantage of a feedback loop between the tongue, the brain, and the organ(s) associated with the particular point. There is a decision made reflexively, automatically, by the central nervous system upon tasting a nutrient- whether it be food or a supplement. A determination of the nutrient is made- this is helpful or this is not. One expression of a helpful nutrient is a reduction in the tenderness of a particular point. An unhelpful nutrient results in no change in the tenderness rating. Different nutrients can be tested in this fashion, to determine a unique protocol for the client- a protocol that is dictated by the body's reactions. During the LNT, the practioner is getting information directly from the client's body, providing extremely valuable and measurable information that can be used over time to hone in on nutrients that can reduce a client's symptoms.
What is the origin of the points used in the functional assessment?
The points on the body that are pressed during a functional assessment to get the tenderness ratings were discovered by various doctors. One such doctor was Dr. Frank Chapman. In the 1920's, Dr. Chapman found changes in the texture of tissue in different points on the body. The points were often the intersection of lymph vessels and nerves, so they were called "neuro lymphatic" points. Interestingly, they also associated a particular organ or group of organs with the pathways to the brain, in a type of feedback loop. Though he wasn't sure exactly how they worked, he was able to consistently link these points to dysfunction in organs or organ systems.
Dr. Terrence Bennett added his own sets of points to the mix, back in the 1930's. These points were conjunctions of nerves and the circulatory system. These "neurovascular" reflex points could be stimulated to increase bloodflow to the organs that were linked to these points by the nerves and arteries.
Dr. Robert Riddler systematically tested points on the body in conjunction with nutrients. He determined that a tenderness rating could go down when the client took a particular nutrient. He mapped the points and linked them to specific nutrients.
The Nutritional Therapy Association uses these points to assess each individual. Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioners are taught not only to assess the tenderness of these points, but to also use lingual-neuro testing to evaluate what supplements might be helpful to support organs and organ systems that might be in distress due to nutritional deficiencies or toxicities.