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by Mary Melling.
I have been presented with lots of clients sitting before me saying: I feel awful. “I’m exhausted, I’m nauseous at times, I can’t face doing anything, I’ve got continuous aches and pains and I’ve seen my doctor, they’ve done lots of tests and they can’t find anything wrong with me. It makes me feel as though I’m making it all up and the final suggestion is to take some anti depressives.”
Now obviously not all difficult cases present with all these symptoms but the concern is that some people do feel pretty wretched and have reached the end of the line when they consult our clinic.
However there is a lot we can do as naturopaths to help these clients. We ask that they bring in their test results as from a naturopathic aspect we may find some readings although considered in the normal range, may in fact be very much on the low side. An example of this is the thyroid function. This part of the endocrine system is responsible for the metabolic activity of the whole body. If it is functioning just a little bit slowly, but not measuring as a disease state, it can still cause fatigue, weight gain, hair loss etc.
Another example is Vitamin D. A low Vitamin D reading can also impact fertility, the immune system, and the mood of the person to name but a few potential problems. The client in front of us may not have had this checked or may have been told their levels were okay when we can see they are definitely on the low side.
When you consult a naturopath they are not only concerned with your specific symptoms you present with but want to find out how the whole body is working. This includes your digestion, bowel movements, nail, skin and hair quality. If you are a female do you have regular pain-free periods? Do you suffer from premenstrual symptoms? I often joke with clients that we generally have more concern for domestic animals and whether they are showing healthy signs than ourselves. For example: Does your dog have a wet shiny nose, does your dog’s fur look healthy, is his tail wagging and do his eyes sparkle? Sometimes it amazes me how little notice clients take of their general health signs. Do they get hungry? Do their bowels move easily and at a regular daily time? Are their nails strong with no ridges? Do they (if they are female) have regular periods? Have they got a sparkle in their eyes? We really want to check out the whole health of the individual.
I often liken the naturopath’s work as being a detective. An individual presents with sometimes one, sometimes multiple problems and it’s our duty to look deeply into the person’s health and see what’s driving these problems. A starting point is often the gut. Individuals may not realise that moving the bowels only twice a week is not normal, or they may accept the continuous bloating as just something everyone puts up with. Looking at gut health has always been a primary consideration for a naturopath and improving this can have amazing benefits to the immune, especially autoimmune problems, energy levels, mood and sleep, to name just a few.
Some people need to have testing done to see if in fact they have intolerances to certain food. This is not the same as an allergy, which is often easier to pick up as people respond, mostly, immediately to foods they have an allergy to. An intolerance can be to a food they eat regularly but really their immune and gut health is reacting to it. Removing irritating foods may be necessary but also soothing and repairing the gut can be essential to the individual’s whole health.
An important area of health that Paddington Clinic works on is fertility and although we can never promise the outcome of a healthy baby at the end, we can promise that we will do everything we can to try and make it happen. Many people consult us after rounds of IVF with no success and it is our job to find some missing pieces to this puzzle and work at correcting it. This may include improving the health of the sperm and/or egg. It may involve extra blood tests to look at both potential parents’ processing of folic acid. It may involve working on the energy of the individual and improving the function of each cell in their body. The individual may be having trouble detoxifying the body and need some guidance on that.
So, in a nutshell, there is so much we can do for you at Paddington Clinic when you have a complex or difficult to diagnose problem, especially when you have given up hope of ever being well again. The detective work is essential and with years of experience it is often easier for us to get to the root of the problem. We can then help people get better through diet advice, detoxification if needed, additional supplements and the wonderful herbal remedies we are so fortunate to have in Australia.