Please ensure to read the following information about working together.
- I've never worked with a Naturopath - what should I expect?
- How are consultations structured?
- What information do I need to provide as part of working together?
- How long will it take for me to feel better?
- How many appointments will I need?
- How much will it cost?
- What type of tests are ordered?
- What stool testing and breath testing is used?
- What other tests do you use?
- How can I get the most out of us working together?
- Email communication
- Can I access more support between consultations?
I've never worked with a Naturopath - what should I expect?
Firstly, it's fantastic you are considering working with a Naturopath. We work differently to medical doctors in a number of ways:
- we typically spend more time working with our clients to gain a deep understanding of their health challenges and how they came about
- our goal is to determine the drivers of your health challenge - sometimes called "root causes" - because if we identify those, the treatment can be tailored to you and is more effective in the long term
- our treatments are designed to not cause further harm to you
- we aim to use treatments that support your body's return to health using its own self-healing abilities
- we trust that our clients have wisdom about their own health that the practitioner seeks to understand and utilise as part of treatment
- we work in a collaborative fashion so that you are heard and we work together to find the solutions
- because we work in a more intensive way than medical professionals, we typically spend more time and offer more support to you - we are with you every step of the way
How are consultations structured?
The way I work is to conduct an Initial Consultation first, followed by a 3-consultation-package over 2-3 months, and then single sessions.
The package model works incredibly well for clients like you because it keeps the momentum going, provides you with structure and a high level of support, with some short email time in between Zoom calls to help keep you on the right path. You will know exactly where we are going with treatment and how we will get you there. Getting the foundations right is so important at this initial stage. I am highly invested in all my clients, so I only work with people who are similarly committed to staying the course and want to develop a healthy, positive working relationship.
After the package, I encourage you to continue your work with me via single session follow ups. Most people work with me for a minimum of one year and many clients work with me longer term on different health goals at different life stages - for example, they may initially see me for digestive issues and then continue working with me on fertility or perimenopause for example. Or, once your condition has significantly improved, you can have a check-in every 6 months. If you have a chronic condition, you will make progress with 2 or 3 appointments but most people require a year or more for their health to significantly improve.
What information do I need to provide as part of working together?
New clients complete these key pieces of information:
- Intake form - this contains standard information I require about you and your health
- Diet diary - this gives me a 3 day snapshot of how you're currently eating so I can assess any areas for optimisation
- Health History/Timeline - this is a timeline of events that helps both you and I to understand that various factors that have contributed over time to your current health challenges
- Client Agreement - this is a legal document outlining the terms of our work together to ensure a healthy working relationship
- Pathology - test results no more than 12 months old can be provided by email for me to review prior to your initial consultation (and for follow ups where relevant)
The forms are provided to you when you make the booking for your initial consultation.
How long will it take for me to feel better?
Most of my clients start feeling better within the first month. Most people who have chronic health challenges have factors contributing that have been bubbling away under the surface for many years, even decades.
As most of my clients have chronic health challenges, it's important to understand that your progress comes in stages - recovering health is a journey, so developing strategies to improve mental resilience is essential. This could mean working with a psychologist/therapist or investigating approaches other than talk therapy, and even spending time in regular reflection.
Developing a healthy working relationship for the long term is essential. Healthy respect goes both ways. My clients who get good results are the ones willing to make a long term commitment and who trust me.
Most people work with me for a minimum of one year and many clients work with me longer term on different health goals at different life stages - for example, they may initially see me for digestive issues and then continue working with me on fertility or perimenopause for example. Or, once your condition has significantly improved, you can have a check-in every 3 to 6 months. If you have a chronic condition, you will make progress with 2 or 3 appointments but most people require a minimum of a year for their health to significantly improve.
How many appointments will I need?
All of my clients need appointments pretty close together when we start. This is primarily to establish the foundations of good health and to maintain momentum. That's why the consultations in the 3 consultation package - after the Initial consultation - all happen within 2-3 months.
After the package, appointments can be spread out further as appropriate - if you have a chronic condition it is best to have an appointment once a month, sometimes more frequently.
Your treatment plan will always include the recommended timeframe for the next consultation and a booking link. You are in control of changing the date of the consultation if required as long as you understand it may impact your progress if you delay too long. You can also bring your next consultation forward or book a shorter consultation between the longer ones if needed - just let me know. You are in the driver’s seat!
How much will it cost?
Pathology fees and supplement costs are separate to the consultation fees. Most clients will spend an average of $200/month on supplements (less as time goes on). In terms of pathology I am very conscious of the costs, so I will rely on a clinical diagnosis (based on history and symptoms) rather than order testing if finances are limited.
If treating SIBO, the main treatment phase is around $400/month in supplements, depending on exactly what you need. Typical treatment for SIBO is 2-3 months. If rifaxamin is affordable for you (depending on your location and insurance), it may work out cheaper to combine rifxamin/xifaxin with naturopathic treatment - rifaxamin is very safe and has microbiome benefits, so I am supportive of this option.
If I refer you to a specialist in a different field - for example a hypnotherapist for IBS - you can enquire with them about their fees.
There are many effective recommendations I make that are free or low cost. Health shouldn't be more expensive than necessary. I will never suggest unnecessary superfoods or organic foods for example.
I understand what it's like to not be able to afford tests or put them off for a while. A good naturopathic clinician can often forgo the expensive tests and use investigative skills to make a diagnosis.
What type of tests are ordered?
I use a combination of standard pathology tests (eg. the ones your doctor can order) and functional testing such as Microba or Biomesight stool tests, SIBO breath tests and organic acids testing. Please note that many doctors won't order tests if the request comes from a naturopath, so they may need to be paid for privately. Regarding standard pathology tests, there is an incredible amount of useful information that can be derived from those even if your doctor tells you your results are "normal". Doctors aren't nutritionists so they aren't looking for the nuances in a lot of the tests.
What stool testing and breath testing is used?
I currently use Microba or Biomesight for stool testing.
For SIBO breath tests, I use either SIBOtest.com, Gastrolab, Invivo, SIBOlab.de or Aero Diagnostics.
For SIBO tests, I always recommend testing both lactulose and fructose based on information from Jason Hawrelak's clinic. Many people who test with lactulose only end up with a false negative diagnosis, simply because not all of the bacteria found in SIBO can consume lactulose and produce the gases being measured.
What other tests do you use?
I occasionally order organic acids testing from Genova and DUTCH tests for hormones.
How can I get the most out of us working together?
I work in partnership with clients like you to get the best results. This requires good communication and appropriate boundaries. As a healthcare practitioner, I am a guide and facilitator and work on the basis that you will do your best to follow the recommendations I provide. We are all responsible for our own health.
Sometimes you might experience challenges with your treatment plan for various reasons - I welcome open communication since only you live in your body and experience your life. Each of my clients has different needs, knowledge levels and abilities, so I rely on you to tell me what specific support you may need at various points. For example, some of my clients are highly diet-literate so know exactly what to do if I suggest something like a gluten-free diet. Other people may need more guidance and resources because it’s new to them or their cooking abilities are different. I have lots of resources available to help you - just let me know during a consultation what you need or what problems you are having.
Trust between healthcare practitioner and client is something that develops over time, however you do need to sometimes “take a leap of faith” and not overthink recommendations. All of us can fall into a habit of overthinking that can get in the way of making progress. I welcome questions and also suggestions of things you’d like to try as long as you give my recommendations an honest shot. Don’t let your mind get in the way of making good decisions! Having someone objectively looking at your health - along with the wisdom you have about your own health - is an opportunity to make meaningful progress with your health.
Finding a balance between being open minded and discerning
My firm belief is that being open minded is one of the best things anyone can do for their health. You don't need to choose between using pharmaceuticals or naturopathic treatments - they work well together as long as your keep your practitioners updated on everything you are taking.
The flipside of being open minded is a lack of discernment. The online healthcare space is very noisy and it's easy to get sidetracked by "shiny object" syndrome - this means you might spend a ton of time researching your condition and want to try anything and everything to get well. This may lead to additional stress, confusion and an inability to commit to something. So, we all need to find the balance between being open minded and being discerning for ourselves.
Emails between consultations are reserved for clarification of details, providing requested information (eg. test results) or for administrative questions. These emails should only require a very short response from me otherwise I won’t have time for client consultations.
Here are some examples:
- clarifying dosing information
- unsure of which consultation to book
- checking details of recommended pathology testing
Please note that if you want to use a different supplement or a different pathology test, that may take me time to check it is appropriate and may require email consultation (see next section). Please do your best to use the recommended supplements and/or tests because they have been chosen for good reason.
If you want to ask me something that falls into the points below, it will need to be discussed in the next consultation or as part of the email consultation service (see next section):
- Not a simple question or request
- New information not provided previously
- Information that requires a change in your treatment plan
If you have test results to share with me - either previously unshared results or new results - these will only be reviewed as part of your next consultation with me.
Can I access more support between consultations?
If you feel you need extra support between consultations, I offer an email consultation service.
This means you can ask more in-depth questions that can’t wait, or request more support/troubleshooting help.
For example, if you have IBS-M or a very sensitive gut prone to flare-ups or supplement reactions, this service is perfect for you. This can really help you maintain momentum especially in the early stages of treatment. This is also a good option if you experience brain fog or chronic fatigue and find Zoom consultations difficult.