The Dilemma.

After years of Study and finally graduating to open up business as a naturopath, I had a dilemma: I want people to feel amazing after seeing me! Imagine.. You have certain symptoms that you’ve been trying to cope with for quite some time. The Drs you’ve seen haven’t been able to give you the answers you’re looking for so you finally decide to see a Natural Health Practitioner to treat the root cause of the problem. There you are, sitting inside a clinical room and being asked a million questions about bowel habits and food consumption. Comfortable? You then walk away with a bag of supplements, herbal tinctures, dietary restrictions… and a hefty bill. Do you feel good? Perhaps there is hope and inspiration, however healing takes time.

“…Perhaps there is hope and inspiration,
however healing takes time.”

The Reality.

You return to your house or workplace: the exact same environment you were before you embarked on your new health journey. You open the same pantry of food, and see the same stressors you experience day in, day out. Are these supplements really going to work? After a week or so with no instant results, doubt kicks in. You lose hope of your goals. Gradually those restricted foods enter the scene. Oh no… you forgot to take your breakfast supplement or lunch time herbal shot. The dread of telling this to your naturopath for fear of disappointment at the next follow-up consult forces you to cancel. On to the next healing modality or current food trend to try and fix your problems. This was my problem. I want to help people feel better, but I understand there’s more to it than prescribing a few supplements and herbal tinctures.  

This was my problem.
I want to help people feel better…”

The Confession.

Before Natural Medicine, my background was in the hospitality industry. Taking care of people, from a difference perspective. Making them happy in an external setting, with copious amounts of good food and wine. Serving people. Providing them with what they need, before they even knew they needed it. 

In a clinic, I wasn’t able to do this. The client would leave my office and enter the unknown. Their environment and actions were now out of my control. I started to question if I was in the right profession at all!

Shortly after confessing my concerns to my husband, the opportunity to become a resident health practitioner on a private island resort in Fiji came about. As a new role to the resort there wasn’t an already established clinic set up or full-range dispensary like I was use to. I felt useless. What am I suppose to work with here?

The Solution.

The first month of being on the 140-acre Private Island was spent exploring the wild, subtropical vegetation. To my pleasant surprise there was a plethora of medicinal herbs growing wildly throughout. I hit the jackpot when I noticed Turnera diffusa (Damiana) popping up throughout the landscape. Then there was an abundant amount of Morinda citrifolia (Noni) fruits dropping to the floor, left to decompose.. waiting for a purpose. Waiting for me. Calophyllum inophyllum (Tamanu – or Dilo in Fijian) was the next exciting discovery. So exciting that I impatiently had a cold-press oil extractor shipped over from Australia so I can start harvesting the skin-healing oil from these medicinal tamanu nuts. 

The Result.

My non-existent dispensary slowly began to flourish. Dried papaya fruit, leaf and seeds; passionflower, damiana, gotu kola, lemon balm, vitex, wild ginger, lemongrass.. the list goes on. I was able to create an individual tea blend specific for the guest’s health concerns. Whether it be jet lag, anxiety, digestive complaints or hormonal imbalance, there were herbs for every cause. 

Although I consumed copious amounts of herbal tea at home, back in the Sydney clinic I would reach for that brown bottle of manufactured herbal tincture. The potency would mean more action and quicker results. However, how many times did I see a patient who “forgot” or “just couldn’t swallow the taste” – precious herbs (and money) poured down the drain.

“…Whether it be jet lag, anxiety, digestive complaints or hormonal imbalance, there were herbs for every cause.

The Difference.

Let’s admit, tea alone could not treat any chronic condition over a short period of time. However, a mild headache or poor sleep – sip your troubles away. My perspective of treatment aims shifted from chronic long-term goals, to acute symptomatic aims. But doesn’t naturopathy aim to treat the cause and not the symptoms? Yes, but with a bit of education on their health, a few tips and advise to take home with them, perhaps a week or two sipping herbal tea, practicing yoga and meditation, having regular massage treatments and enjoying nutritionally designed meals is enough to make them notice a difference. Inspire them to make those changes when they return home. To understand what healthy living should feel like.

“..To understand what
healthy living should feel like.

However valuable it is see the guest each day over breakfast, or strolling through the luscious garden, and receiving feedback on how great they’re feeling.. the jackpot was hearing it from the local Fijians. I would have staff members approach me asking for more of “that herbal medicine” I placed in the lunch canteen to help with reflux. Or perhaps the sleep tea I provided over dinner actually helped them sleep. This makes me love what I’m doing. This reconfirms the passion I always had for natural medicine.

Gratitude.

Now, not everyone can quit their day job in the city and escape to a subtropical island surrounded by pristine water and a medicinal jungle. No. The point is to think outside the square. Create the job you desire. I wouldn’t be here pressing tamanu oil or juicing nonis if it wasn’t for my husband who landed the gig as Executive Chef and got us here in the first place! However, seizing the opportunity to try a different approach and get back to the roots of natural medicine (quite literally) has made me reconnect with my purpose and the love of healing with plants!

Constantly ask yourself: are you satisfied? Is what you’re doing fulfilling? What can you do to change that? Make it happen. Strive to be happy. Reconnect with you.

“Reconnect with you”

To learn more about what’s on offer from a Naturopath living on a subtropical island, click here

Photo by Magdalena Domska on Unsplash