More and more people are opting to treat a range of chronic illnesses with natural medicine. Naturopath Annaliese Jones spoke to Karina Abadia about the impact minor changes can make to people's lives.
Becoming a naturopath did not feel like a choice for Annaliese Jones.
It was something she was drawn to naturally, although it took her a while to get there.
Rather than follow in her mother's footsteps and become a naturopath to begin with, she wanted to explore other options. She studied nutrition for a year and then baked gluten-free products for health stores before enrolling at Ellerslie's South Pacific College of Natural Medicine.
She studied a bachelor of health science (complementary medicine), an advanced diploma in naturopathy and an advanced diploma in herbal medicine.
When she graduated in 2004 she worked for a supplement company giving mini-consultations in health stores and pharmacies.
A few years later she started her own practice. She now works exclusively from her Mt Eden home.
Most of the 32-year-old's clients find her through word-of-mouth and with a 1-year-old son, her three-day practice keeps her as busy as she needs to be.
She typically sees between five to eight clients per day with initial consultations lasting an hour and follow-up sessions 45 minutes.
The idea is to treat the person holistically and dietary adjustments are often the foundation, she says.
At the initial consultation Ms Jones will administer a live blood analysis. She analyses a drop of blood under the microscope, enabling her to pinpoint such things as nutritional deficiences, inflammation, allergies and dehydration.
People will usually leave with a dietary plan, a type of vitamin and mineral therapy and perhaps some herbal medicine.
Three weeks later she does a second blood analysis to track progress. Then she may see the person once more, although some patients require further treatment.
"The nice thing is it isn't just one size fits all. People are often amazed how effective herbal medicine can be. Each formula is specific to individual requirements."
Many clients come to her for help with losing weight as well as hormonal issues related to polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, infertility and menopause.
Mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, insomnia and depression are other common ailments.
She loves working with children and is a regular contributor to The Natural Parent magazine.
"Treating children is so rewarding because they tend to respond really quickly and the results can be huge."
Although there is more awareness of naturopathy these days, Ms Jones still comes across people who haven't heard of the profession. But that is slowly changing, she says.
There are plenty of misconceptions out there, the most common being that naturopathy is not research-based, she says.
"There is so much research into the herbal medicines we use and most of it is independent. It's quite different to how drug companies research conventional medicine."
The most rewarding part of her job is seeing people who take responsibility for their wellbeing and give up their unhealthy habits.
"People are often amazed by the fact that small changes can have really profound effects on their health."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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