Think you know what your health problem is?

As we all go about our busy lives, we often forget to put our health and wellbeing on top of the priority list and it’s only when illness forces us to stop that we’re reminded of just how essential our health is in keeping all the balls in the air.

First published on October 2016.

Ongoing health issues can be particularly difficult to overcome. And while conventional medicine will treat the symptoms of illness when they flair up, it doesn’t necessarily treat the cause. This is why seeking out the advice of complementary health practitioners like qualified naturopaths can be so beneficial.

Naturopaths take a more holistic approach to health care by looking beyond the ‘effects’ of a health problem and exploring and treating the root cause. They use the healing power of nature and non-invasive therapeutic techniques to treat and diagnose ailments and maintain health and wellbeing.

Meet the Naturopath

Cassandra Robinson from Salus Southern Highlands in Bowral, NSW is an experienced and qualified naturopath and she says when she first started practising naturopathy many years ago she was surprised by how many of her clients accepted their poor health as ‘normal’.

Cassandra Robinson naturopath

Cassandra Robinson BHSc (Nat), Adv Dip Nat, Grad Cert ClinSc / Source: Supplied

“Chronic symptoms or conditions can be so restrictive,” she explains. “Poor health can affect relationships, employment opportunities and overall life satisfaction and often it surprised me what point someone’s health would reach before they decided to have further testing or make changes to their diet and lifestyle.

“It clarified to me that the role of helping people be healthier is a valuable service that can make a real difference to the way they experience their lives.”

She says her clients present a vast array of health concerns but that some are more common than others.

“Stress and anxiety related health issues are a very common presentation in my clinic as a result of our busy, modern lives,” she explains. “So many of us are pushing our nervous systems to the limit and if left unsupported, these health issues can lead to fatigue, hormonal imbalances, weight gain, frequent migraines and sleeping issues.

“A lot of patients also come to me with digestive disturbances that cause them daily distress, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), food intolerances and digestive system infections.”

Cassandra says a lot of her clients are staggered by what they discover as a result of the naturopathic approach. “I see a trend of women surprised to find out they have low iron levels, with many accepting their experience of daily fatigue as a normal part of life,” she says.

“I also see a lot of subclinical thyroid dysfunction, which often helps people understand why they have been feeling the way they have in terms of energy, anxiety or low metabolism.”

She says her recommendation for clients to do digestive tests often results in surprising results. “People are often surprised to find out just what infections or overgrowths they are sharing their digestive tract with and what impact this could be having on their overall health.”

Healthy treatment

Cassandra prescribes treatments to her clients based not only on their symptoms but also the source of their health concern and to maintain a high level of health and wellbeing.

“A purified Omega-3 supplementation, such as fish oil or cod liver oil, is a great addition for most people because often dietary requirements are not met through an average diet, and the issue of oceanic pollution and seafood farming is making it increasingly difficult to source clean dietary sources of this essential fatty acid,” she says.

She also commonly prescribes a high-quality multivitamin and mineral tablet in times of demand or stress to provide nutrients for nervous system support. “I prefer to recommend an iron-free tablet, as iron blood levels and stores should be checked via blood tests before supplementation to assess individual requirements … more iron is not always a good thing,” she says.

A high quality daily probiotic for enhanced digestion and immunity is also a frequent recommendation she makes to her clients. “Our modern lives and diet tend to need support from a daily dose of good bacteria,” she says. “Supplements should always reflect your current health goals and priorities, so make sure any you take reflect your main concerns by reviewing them often.”

Get proactive about your health

Cassandra says we should not be complacent with our health and strive to proactively improve and maintain it. “Small changes over a long period of time can change the course of your health and life,” she says.

“I’m always saying to clients in my clinic to practice listening to their bodies so they have a greater chance of recognising when something has changed. And to always feel confident to have discussions with health care professional about further testing if concerned.

“Professional advice regarding your health is invaluable, for both the safety and effectiveness of your treatments.”

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