Hi Katie! Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what drew you to Naturopathy?
My first degree was History of Art that I read at Edinburgh, so a little bit different to Naturopathy! It was actually Naturopathy that found me. I was miserable in a job that I hated, in an industry that I didn’t care about. I was a PA for a designer as I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and ended up having a ‘quarter life crisis’.
I thought about what I really cared about and nutrition came to mind. When I was little, I had a nasty mother who didn’t allow us to have Coco Pops or McDonalds other than as a rare treat (I am now so incredibly grateful for that!) so good nutrition has always been a part of my life without realising it. I also like helping people – my younger brother often says to me that he already has a mother, and doesn’t need me to fill that role too!
Nutritional therapy seemed like an obvious route to go down. Someone told me about the University of Westminster and the really good science degrees they do in complementary therapies. I’m an academic snob, and think that whatever you do you should do it to the highest level possible. So a science degree seemed to be the best route to go down.
I looked at the University of Westminster website and saw ‘Naturopathy’ and thought what the hell is that?!? I read the course description and just knew that’s what I wanted to do. The philosophy of treating the cause not the symptom just rang true to me. Also, not only did I have nutrition as part of my training, but also approximately 15 other therapies/skills including manual treatments such as massage and reflexology.
For those who don’t know, can you explain a little about exactly what naturopathy is?
Naturopathy is actually quite brilliant because you are defined by a set of principles you follow rather than therapies, so I can train in any therapy, and being a Naturopath covers them all!
Because of my science degree, I can actually call myself a Naturopathic Physician, so I say I’m a bit like a natural doctor.
The principles I follow are so important as they are:
The above basically means that I do everything for you on an individual basis to resolve the cause of symptoms. A GP prescribes medications to suppress symptoms, whilst I try and work out what’s causing the symptoms and address that.
A really good example is that eczema is normally linked to digestive health, so I would look at diet and gut function rather than just hand out creams to apply to the skin.
I also recommend things to do at home, as my aim is to get rid of clients as quickly as possible! Between 6-8 sessions seems to be enough depending on what’s going on, and how much is done from home.
My first consultation is an hour of information gathering to help me work out what’s going on, really get to know the client, and to check I’m safe to look after them. I will tell a client to go to the GP if I think it’s necessary, and I will never take anyone off their medication.
I view myself as integrative – alongside and as well as your usual doctor – not instead of.
How would you describe an average day?
It all depends on the day! On a Monday and Tuesday I have an afternoon clinic and on a Wednesday I have a lunchtime one. So, time-depending, I might be at Work.Life London Fields before I head off to those. Thursday – Sunday are my admin/marketing/research days, and I visit my pregnant clients and teach baby massage on Thursday, Friday or Saturday. I also co-run some monthly networking meetings, so depending on how close it is to those, I’m also organising around 60 women. Oh and I look after my 2 year old niece for a full day 2 or 3 times a month, so I might be with her.
Alongside physically seeing my patients, I spent a lot of time researching and reading research papers to make sure the therapies, foods, herbs and essential oils I use are safe. I check that there won’t be an interaction with any medications or supplements my clients are taking, and I also look for clinical research to show they will help or look like they will. You’d be amazed at how much scientific research there is out there! Even though I’m a therapist, my science degree very much has my feet grounded in research to validate what I’m doing.
Due to this I don’t really have a normal day. Some days are more hectic than others though!
What tips would you give to the average office-worker to help them make some simple changes towards healthy living?
Eat breakfast soon after waking up- don’t wait until you are in the office! If you don’t eat it, start to. It’s so important, as it re-fuels you after sleep and gives you energy for the morning. And most importantly, it gets your digestive system working which is responsible for so much of your health.
Try to also have a good source of protein (100% nut butters are great for this) with it to stop the mid morning crash that often happens if you have a very carby breakfast. I also encourage the switch from high sugar foods (most cereals) to things like home made porridge and muesli, smoothies etc
Switch white to brown with bread, pasta and rice. White is basically void of nutrition.
Try and get up and walk around regularly during the day – sitting at the computer for long periods of time isn’t good for you, your eyes, or your posture.
Get outside at lunchtime. It sounds really corny but connecting with nature is so important. I’m not saying go and hug a tree (you can if you want!) but do try to find some green or some flowers and notice them. Take photos of them. Engage with them. It will make you feel better.
Drink lots of water (it also encourages you to get to up and leave your desk when you go and pee!). Your urine should be pale straw coloured by mid-morning and for every tea or coffee you have (I’m not going to tell you to stop drinking it) drink 2-3 glass of water to re-hydrate.
Turn your phone off when you go to sleep. No excuses. You can buy an alarm clock from Tesco for £5.
What drew you to Work.Life & how have you found your time with us? We’re looking forward to getting massages from you later this month!
I had a really nice chat with David on the phone and I just really liked the ethos of it all. In my own way I’m quite creative. Even though I’m not necessarily in a profession that you would think of as creative, I like engaging with others who have a similar mindset.
Those who work for themselves are different to employees, and I needed to spend more time with those that work for themselves.
I’m looking forward to giving the massages! It will be either some neck and shoulder work, or reflexology. (In my mind, reflexology is actually a better treatment).
How can people find out more about what you do and book a consultation?
You are very welcome to come and find me when I’m in Work.Life, I’m always happy to have a chat! Or you can look at and ‘like’ my Facebook page, follow me on Instagram, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My website has information about how I work, my therapies and the consultations www.harleystreetnaturopath.co.uk.
To book a consultation/massage/reflexology session it’s best to email me.