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Pharmacies: the New Hub for Healthcare? with Julie Seamer

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Pharmacies: the New Hub for Healthcare? with Julie Seamer

These days we can walk right into a supermarket or pharmacy and get herbs and supplements off the shelves without a prescription from a doctor or natural health practitioner. But with so many people taking multiple drugs and supplements, how do we ensure what they are taking is safe?

Pharmacists have the benefit of having a patient’s medications and possible interactions right at their fingertips, but could they do more? What if the pharmacy became the new hub for healthcare? Naturopath Julie Seamer believes not only is it possible to create a new model of health care where pharmacists, doctors and natural health practitioners can co-manage patients together, but that it will result in the best possible outcomes for our patients.

Listen in as she shares some insights from her time working as a naturopath in a pharmacy, as well as how to empower patients to invest in their own health by listening to the ‘whispers’ of their body - before those whispers turn into screams. Julie also discusses her special interest in treating mental health conditions and the importance of destigmatizing mental health and creating strong community support to help those who are struggling.


[00:56] Welcoming Julie Seamer
[01:48] Insights from working in a pharmacy
[04:23] Balancing time with patients
[05:57] Fostering a co-management model between pharmacists and natural health practitioners
[10:12] Training pharmacy staff for knowledge of interactions with herbs and supplements
[14:02] Empowering patients to invest in their health
[17:49] Handling referrals in a pharmacy setting
[20:49] Mental health and society
[23:41] Encouraging clients to get additional support for mental health issues 
[25:13] Helping clients through grief
[27:55] The importance of community 
[32:20] Your Body Knows Best
[33:53] Thanking Julie and closing remarks


Note: This episode discusses mental health and suicide. If you are struggling, please know you are not alone. Click here for resources where you can get help.

Andrew: This is FX Medicine. I'm Andrew Whitfield-Cook. Joining us on the line today is Julie Seamer, a naturopath and herbalist who has an extensive career working in both practitioner-only and retail spaces as a trainer, educator, and writer. She firmly believes in a collaborative approach to patient care involving multiple modalities. 

Julie recently published her first book, Your Body is Your Teacher: It Whispers Until it has to Scream, which explores the concept of illness as an opportunity and not 'shooting the messenger’ as a default. Julie is a passionate advocate for the de-stigmatisation of mental illness as one touched closely by suicide and is a staunch supporter of our profession. 

Julie, welcome to FX Medicine. How are you?

Julie: I'm well, Andrew. Thank you so much for having me.

Andrew: What are the kinds of insights that you've gained from working in the pharmacy space as a naturopath and on a day-to-day basis?

Julie: Well, I've really realised as a clinician, and I have had my own clinic in various parts of Australia for over 18 years. But I think the most revealing to me has been practising and training U Pharmacy because you realise that that is the hub of the town. Even in your local suburban area, everybody's going in there for scripts for their elderly parents, or asthma pumps for their children, various things. And it really is where it's all happening. 

And now, particularly today, where those spaces are also equally filled up to the rafters almost with supplements, you really understand why people are self-prescribing. Pharmacists are struggling with the co-management because there's just such a great demand for them to be quick, to be fast. They even have robots dispensing the scripts to keep up with the pace. So, it really does just give you a greater perspective of what's happening with the lay person, the general person out there who can't afford to come into our clinics.

Andrew: I want to investigate that relationship with pharmacists and their customers, their patients, if you like. But before we do, I just want to ask you, do you find a vast difference between the types of conditions you see when you're in clinic, to the types of conditions that you'd help to co-manage with a pharmacist while working in a pharmacy?

Julie: I guess it would depend on what you specialise in your clinic. In my clinic, I do see all sorts of things, and I specialise in various topics over the past, whether it's fat loss, pre and postnatal. And now my great passion is mental health and well being and the physiological effects of grief. So my clients are a bit more specialised in that area with mental health issues mainly. Of course, you get to see everybody. 

In pharmacy, I feel like we are in an ageing society, so you're seeing a lot more people coming in who are on a long list of scripts. But they are not the people we see in our clinics, they don't have the time to be unwell. So they are getting their scripts, soldiering on, dealing with life's demands, and unable to, unlike our clients, sit and go, "You know what, I need to invest in my health, I'm listening to my body, it's starting to whisper, I don't want it to begin screaming at me. I think I'm going to see a practitioner." And we are in an ageing society. So that's where I think most people are.

Andrew: And indeed, this is one of the hallmarks of, or one of the reasons why patients say they find benefit. And that is because they feel that they're listened to by a natural health practitioner. 

There just isn't the time in the modern orthodox medicine system to be able to actually listen for longer than 8 to 10 minutes. It speaks volumes about that thing of time. There's always, of course, that economic issue of ‘time is money.’ So how do you work that in where you're giving good quality time to patients, while still being able to keep the doors open of the pharmacy that you're working in?

Julie: Yeah, absolutely. And you're right, we all know that. And I mentioned in my book that sense of extra healing when you have a nurse that really looks after you in hospital versus one that has a bad bedside manner. And we do say the doctors don't have the time. 

In pharmacy you do see some pharmacists that really stop and listen to their customer, they know where they're living, they know that their dog's died, they know all this sort of stuff. But you're right, they are limited by the time and I just see that it would be such an opportunity for us to be in that space more somehow, and be able to fix that area in between because we do have the time. 

And maybe those people can't afford to come and spend an hour with us. But they could spend maybe 20 minutes or 15 minutes in our herbal dispensary that is part of the pharmacy. That would be my ideal situation.

Andrew: Absolutely. And I think also there's this, maybe a preconception that there's just a selling of the supplements by the naturopaths. But you've still got to act within your responsible scope of practice, which includes relevant patient case history taking, and relevant note keeping. I think, as long as that's done properly, it actually fosters a great co-management model.

Julie: Absolutely. And looking at the good pharmacies where they do have a clinic there where the pharmacists are very open to supplements, and they have a great range of practitioner-only products behind the counter, that does happen because the pharmacist, she may just be working and naturopath or nutritionist who may just be working on the floor, she has access to those records. 

So she's in the best position where she can minimise adverse reactions to their scripts, she can optimise those scripts with their supplements. And I say to pharmacists, "You've got two hands, one should be for the script, and one should be for the supplement, whatever that is." Because you want win-wins, you want them walking out feeling better, and to optimise that script so they get the best out of their medication.

Andrew: Yeah, in a responsible, judicious manner. This is one of the things that I love about - I'm going to call it a text, let's call that a reference material - and it's by Yvonne Coleman, a dietitian. 

And she has this great online reference now where it's particularly useful with multiple medications, where you can look at nutrient interactions or common nutrient interactions between the medications, where you might see, let's take for instance, B6 might be not just interacted with on one medication, but on several medications. 

And lo and behold, the patient might be exhibiting a symptom of a possible deficiency of B6. And it really hones in your judicial supplementation to a relevant and evidence-based manner, which I love. I just love it.

Julie: It sounds wonderful. And just to have that information, because when I'm sitting in my clinic, I'm often thinking, "Okay, they've told me what their doctor's name is and what they believe they're taking." 

But to have that conversation with their pharmacist and understand, okay, there are some adverse reactions here. We started off with one medication, and now she's on three, or four, or five, hang on a minute. And then they'll give another, they may have to give another supplement script to co-manage that other script. 

So, as practitioners, we also must be aware of removing scripts, because if we do, one of those may be in there to manage an adverse reaction of one of the other ones. So it's almost like a building block, you can't just take one out, because it may all crumble. And that's why these conversations are so important.

Andrew: Yes. And likewise, with poly-supplementation, I've seen that as well, where one person goes to several different venues and procures the same or similar supplement. Do you see that as a common area, when you're working in pharmacy, that people come in with a bag of supplements, and you need to go, "Whoa" back there?

Julie: Absolutely. And we have to remember that they're grabbing things off the shelf while they're walking along with their shopping trolley at the supermarket. So they might just grab some extra glucosamine, or buy vitamin B6. And basically, it's a classic example. 

Because I had a client who has been seeing me for several years, and she was actually taking B6 for all of those years without telling me at a really high dose, like three times a day. And we've only now, after maybe six months being able to identify that it was this very, very high dose of B6 that she'd been self-dispensing. 

And you're right, then they may have seen the osteopath or the chiropractor that's offered something or they walk into their health food shop to get some flax-seed oil, or what have you, but then grab another supplement. So suddenly we are dealing with a lot there. 

And in the pharmacy environment, it really does happen because they're saturated, their walls are saturated with options. And it's quite overwhelming for the poor staff, let alone the pharmacist who's trained a bit more in medication management.

Andrew: We talk about training, and naturopaths and nutritionists, herbalists are very well trained in Australia. There is this propensity though for non-trained, even staff, and I will say it in pharmacy, to recommend a supplement where there may not be an adequate knowledge of interactions with medications or indeed other nutrients. What do you say to that about the call for appropriately trained people to be managing these sorts of supplements?

Julie: Absolutely. I think it is so important. And unfortunately, we're dealing with economic factors where they are young staff, a lot of them are Uni students. They're on high rotation, they come and go. And as a trainer myself, I find that really hard. Because I'm trying to arm them with the knowledge and help them work with the pharmacist and their customers. But then two weeks later, it's a new staff member. So there is that as an initial issue. 

In some pharmacies, you certainly see the lovely, older retail managers who have been there for ages, and they know everything, and they really do work with the pharmacist.

Andrew: Yeah. That, right.

Julie: So you do get that. But even pharmacists have said to me, and they lament even simply the physical distance of the supplements to their dispensary, because if they don't have any practitioner-only brands there, it’s even an effort to have to go and walk down the shelves, they don't have the time to try and work out what supplement to give them. 

So we're dealing with a lot of challenges in that environment. But it is such a place of opportunity as well to really optimise and give people those win-wins that they really need.

Andrew: Yeah, I just wanted to give equivalence to that supplement recommendation by non-suitably educated people.

Julie: Absolutely. Yeah.

Andrew: And Gerald Quigley very commonly reminds me that every year, he goes into a supermarket, just to test out the hypothesis that he can kill himself with paracetamol. And he buys packets and packets, way beyond the toxic amount. And he just sees if anybody will pull him up, and to date, nobody has. 

And yet, that's the legislative choice of the Australian Government to allow that medication to be able to be freely available in supermarkets, which to me is a little bit of a query. We haven't, at least I haven't seen any news headlines that have detailed a suicide. But I wonder what's happened out there in the communities.

Julie: It is really concerning. And Gerald wrote a beautiful review for my book, which I've got on my back cover. Yeah. And he talks about just the fact that people aren't empowered. 

I'm trying to quote him here. But, he says that, "Sometimes there's hope," because he talks about the misconception that once you are in the illness system, there's no escape, the diagnosis and treatment is accepted with a feeling of resignation. 

Sometimes there's hope, but Australians are living longer chronic diseases, being heavily treated with drugs, and little encouragement, and offered to become self-empowered. 

Now we've got that case of self-prescribing versus not being self-empowered and just going and getting that quick fix rather than exploring what the body is actually telling them.

Andrew: Yeah. Would you call it self-prescribing or guided prescribing?

Julie: You're right. We are influenced very heavily, aren't we? By marketing and all the various outside influences, both in the pharmaceutical realm and in the supplement realm. And then, luckily, as practitioners ourselves, we're educated, and we have the influence of the practitioner-only brands influencing our choices as well. 

So, it's not as simple as, "Okay, you make the choice for yourself," you don't actually realise that you're being influenced a lot of the time.

Andrew: Let's discuss your book, Your Body is Your Teacher, a little bit. A couple of the chapters. You mentioned Gerald Quigley spoke about empowering. What do you find is, A, the major stance of patients in your clinic versus patients that you see in pharmacy, with regards to their feeling of empowerment? And how do you tackle that?

Julie: Yeah, and I will be mentioning my presentation, my book launch. My clients are such an inspiration because they have taken that time to invest in themselves. And that understanding that there is a mind-body connection, that whole story of Psychosomatic medicine, where we do tune into our thoughts, and they're influenced by our mental patterning just as our physiological functioning, and the other way around. 

So, yeah, there's this sense of illness and overwhelm with most people. They feel overwhelmed by illness, and they want to stop it, versus the people that we see in our clinics who understand this is an opportunity and that I should hone in my illness recovery abilities, because it actually makes me healthier. And from that, you don't need to be sick to get better, there is always better. 

And I have a chapter on a lovely older lady who came in saying, "Oh, there's not much wrong." And we've managed to improve her well-being and optimise her longevity in so many ways that it was phenomenal and it was unexpected to her. And as practitioners we're lucky because we see that a lot. But in pharmacy, you're dealing with the very other end, where they're just trying to cope.

Andrew: Yeah, that's right. But you also, I read in your bio, the opportunity of not ‘shooting the messenger.’ What do you mean by that?

Julie: Absolutely. Not shutting our bodies down, and also not making them wrong. And that is probably the key message that my clients teach me is that they learn not to make their bodies wrong. They understand, "Oh, these are my symptoms, my body's telling me something, here's an opportunity to check in, listen, re-calibrate, grow.” 

And some of those stories aren't happy stories, it might be an acute issue that becomes a chronic disease that becomes cancer, and they're really struggling. I do include a chapter on oncology because it is not always the happily ever after. Some people really battle with illness, but it's how they rise to that occasion and how they manage themselves during that that really makes a difference.

Andrew: And this, I guess, what you're talking about there is something that we really need to be thinking about, an investment in health. And talking about affordability for those people that can't afford regular visits to their naturopathic clinic. What about a co-management model between the naturopathic clinic, a visit every now and again, to the naturopath working in the pharmacy, looking after the symptoms, talking with the pharmacist, dialoguing with the doctor. I mean, that, to me, is the perfect healthcare system.

Julie: How wonderful. And it is unfortunate because I would love, like many of us, to be in a pharmacy environment where we can make a bigger difference, but we're not going to get paid enough. We may get $25 an hour and we're professionals. So, to be able to bridge that gap. And yeah, you're right. 

So, say, "Okay, now, Tammy at the local pharmacist you're seeing, she'll manage you until you see me in six months." And you have that dialogue together. Now, what a great thing because a lot of practitioners struggle with the co-management with doctors because they're very closed, they don't have the time, it's a rare treat when we are able to actively co-manage. So, that's a great idea.

Andrew: I was happy as a registered nurse to handle remedial situations. But once it got into a complex situation, I had my favourites, my favourite naturopaths that I had confidence in their aptitude to recommend regularly. And they were dotted around Brisbane, depending on where the patient was from. 

What do you say about that sort of the responsibility of referral when even though you know, in a retail situation, that you can handle that, but you might not be able to handle it in the most professional way possible.

Julie: Yeah, they are really stuck, aren't they? And I keep thinking about here in Melbourne in Melton. We have a brilliant pharmacy, a compounding pharmacy and a great naturopath has set up her clinic there. And she's got other allied therapists there. And so they're able to kind of bridge all those gaps because they work really well together. 

It's so uncommon, sadly, because the dispensary would be the ideal environment, where people can come in, and like we said, we've got all their case history. So we are managing them very safely. But they only need 10 minutes, 5 minutes, 15 minutes to quickly make up a liquid herbal or a compounding thing or something that's going to address their needs quickly. It's low cost for them because there's no appointment cost. I wish we'd see more of those. 

And I was very blessed to work in a pharmacy in Horsham where Des Lardner, a compounding pharmacist and homeopath, he enabled that. And he was the hub of the village more so than the doctors. He was it, and he knew everyone, but he was very smart, enabling to create this village atmosphere. And it does take a village for us to get well. But he had that village in his space. Very clever. Yeah. And it's a win-win.

Andrew: Yes. And I think you really are talking about the term that rolls off the tongue but really needs to be thought about, the community pharmacist. And I've spoken with Jacqui Hagidimitriou in Brisbane, and she runs these community health programs. There's Amanda Bryce, and Anna Natusi, and Dr. Sally Price over in Western Australia who run these community programs. And it's a whole, as we've just been discussing, a co-management here between pharmacist, naturopath, GP, and nurse, I should add in there.

Julie: Wonderful.

Andrew: Yeah. So it can happen, and it does happen. We just wish it would happen more.

Julie: Yeah. I know and as a rep for praccie-only brands and seeing a lot of naturopaths and some of them practising from home or in their clinic, and they are struggling to see people. And of course, we've got many of us are successful and busy, but then there are the quiet times and you think, "Gosh, if only I could use my time more effectively." 
Now to tap into a community pharmacy, where you can bring your skills and knowledge and really help bridge that gap. This is what we need more of.

Andrew: Absolutely. We know that you're a passionate advocate for mental health. Indeed, you've been touched closely by suicide. Tell us a little bit about that, and the reasonings behind writing your book and including chapters in mental health in there.

Julie: Absolutely, yes. So, my partner committed suicide when I was pregnant with our boy. And I really noticed with him, and a very capable sort of type A personality person, a beautiful man who had a pride issue with his mental health and wasn't really being very open about it. And of course, gladly, we're seeing more people talk about it. And people in the media and people with high profiles are able to open up that they're bipolar, or they have some mental health issues. 

But there's still that sense where symptoms wear you down, and you're stopped by illness and there's illness and overwhelm and my partner did suffer from many health conditions treating tolerances, he had chronic back pain. And pain, of course, is one that is very difficult to live with. 

So I really wanted to explore that in a chapter in my book. And, of course, it really inspires me in my clinic. And now I do deal with a lot of my clients who are in the same shoes, or they've lost a son to suicide, or a daughter or... So mental health is a real passion of mine. And it was really something important to explore in the book.

Andrew: What do you have to say about the support systems in Australia for mental health, or for those suffering from mood or mental health issues?

Julie: I think it's certainly improving, and we're getting into a better space, but there's still that thing of making our bodies wrong. And it's always… and I talk about the psycho-social aspect of illness too, and sickness and in society and illness as an anthropological matter. 

Because if you're suffering from, I don't know, a headache, or, a sore knee, people will be a little bit more sympathetic to you, than say, for instance, you're suffering from addiction, or bipolar disorder, or psychosis. And I think there's a few people in the media that are now openly talking about their own personal problems with this. But we certainly have a lot of work to go, too. 

And it's interesting how in my clinic, I actually find co-management and with more referrals with counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists, more so than doctors, because they understand the mind-body thing, because they see it every day in their clinic, they see that these people are having various mental health challenges, but there is this physiological aspect that needs to be joined together for them to actually recover.

Andrew: What about the initiation of that conversation though? The difficult conversation where you suspect something's wrong, but you don't know, and they're not opening up about it. 

And I guess from then you go to what about responsible referral? Do you tend to refer out just to make sure that they're checked out by the appropriate health professional? How do you manage that?

Julie: Yeah. I always say to them, I can work with the physiological parts of your body, the nuts and bolts, but it does take a village for you, as you understand, for your children, it takes a village, it takes a village for you. And you may see a therapist or a hypnotherapist for a while, and then you may see someone else. 

But for me to really get the best benefits of their health and well being from various testing and supplements and support that I give them, I really do encourage it. So not all of them take that up. But at least there's the conversation and they start to understand, wow. 

And one of the very interesting chapters in my book was on a beautiful client who had lost their sense of taste and smell from grief, and how grief really impacts our body. And then they're just managing to help their body parts by whatever way and not realising, "Oh, there's this underlying emotional, spiritual aspect that I need to work on." So, of course, if we can work on that while we're working on the bodily parts, it's perfect, we'll get the best outcomes for that person.

Andrew: We're all going to experience grief of some sort during our life, and most of us will handle that reasonably well. So how do you help patients suffering from grief, not experiencing it, but suffering from grief, to then open up a bud, a leaf, to then journey on to recovering from grief.

Julie: It's so important. And I do facilitate a grief support group in my clinic. So it's a free group. And I just think of that visual because on our group page, I've got this picture of concrete, and there's just a little green bud coming through and the concrete is all cracked. And we do talk about that those cracks in our heart or in our… those cracks that we feel, those spaces where the light can shine through. 

And the group is really important I feel, because a lot of us aren't part of a church, or part of a… and AA does it really well, where they have ongoing support and mentors. But most of us don't have that unless we're part of a religious group. And we all experience grief, you're right, every one of us in various ways. And it may even be not a loss that you've had recently or a long time ago, it may be that your child is disabled, and you are grieving the loss of your own life, your ability to have a career or what have you.

Andrew: Yeah, totally.

Julie: Yeah. So grief looks in many different ways. And it's normal, let's make this normal, let's talk about it, let's not make our bodies wrong. Disease and grief and anything that happens to us is always an initiation into personal leadership. 

So, with the group, it's interesting, because some people will talk openly and share, others may cry, others may just benefit from listening and understanding and getting that perspective, "Well, I'm not alone, everybody has grief, everybody's carrying something." And those conversations are so important in our clinics, in our blogs, in our marketing material, client-to-client relationships, the programs that we run, the books that we write. 

And I feel so honoured to be in our industry, because we do this. And let's keep doing it more because it normalises it. It makes people understand that when you have a mental health issue, and I spoke about this in my webinar, for Your Health, Your Choice, I did a webinar on Natural Approaches to Your Best Mental Health. And because the public were listening to that, I spoke a lot about, it's interesting how when we have a physical problem, ailment, it's okay to talk about. But when it's a mental health issue, we're less likely to. And it’s okay.

Andrew: Oh, Absolutely.

Julie: It could just be a nutritional deficiency that we're dealing with, and we can work it out. So I think we can play a really big role in this and continue to.

Andrew: I think I asked before about the initiation of the conversation, and I guess that's particularly relevant with… and I will say men, but I'm not just talking about men, because women go through this as well, obviously. Nobody wants to be the Eeyore of the group. Nobody wants to be the sad sack. "How are you going Mary? How are you going John?" "Oh, I'm actually crap." The ingrained answer for that question is, "Great, thanks." "Good. Thanks." 

It takes, we've mentioned it before, the community or a caring friend. Now whether that be 1, 2, 5, 20 people. You mentioned church before, and there's a function for that community to look after their clan, to say, "No, you're not. There's something going on, are you okay, mate? Like what's really going on?” But that's a brave step for the person for the friend to initiate that. Because then you can open up a whole bag of worms. 

So, let me bring that back to what we were talking about at the beginning. You're a naturopath working in a pharmacy. How would you initiate that sort of conversation where it can lead to a whole bag of worms that you may really have to quickly involve some other practitioners in there?

Julie: We do have that responsibility. And the perfect example I was working in the Horsham Clinic and I was very new to naturopathy, I had experienced partial paralysis. I'd had Guillain-Barre syndrome, I'd just finished studying and I was working in this very busy compounding pharmacy with a clinic in it. 

And it was during a long period of drought, 12 years of drought out in the Wimmera, the Wheat Belt in Victoria, the west. And most of the clients who were coming in were big burley farmers who were suffering mental health issues and risk of suicide, because of the pure fact of their financial burden. And there were maybe third generation farmers who were just beside themselves having to put down their animals. 

And as a new practitioner, I was like, "Whoa, okay. This is so important, what we do, and what I do from here." You know, it could be life or death for someone. I'm not overdramatising it. But we have a responsibility.

So, of course, I did speak to the pharmacist who spoke to the doctor, local doctor, and it creates that ripple effect where “You're okay, we're holding you.” But of course it does take those tough conversations of, "Hey, mate, this is not good, you need help." 

And I feel maybe a little bit blessed in that after I'd lost my partner, I was carried for six months from my local community. And it was difficult to take help and accept help, and people want to help. Kevin Hines, who is quite a famous American who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, he's now made a...

Andrew: And survived.

Julie: Yeah, survived. He's got a documentary about suicide. But he talks about that, because he walked up and down that bridge for 45 minutes just hoping and hearing voices in his head, he was suffering psychosis. And he was just hoping for someone just to pat him on the shoulder and say, "Are you okay, mate?" 

And I don't think we have to try and have the answers. We just have to be human and say, "Are you okay? Do you need a hand?" Or just anything that just connects people and makes them feel that somebody else is there.

Andrew: And certainly somebody else is there. You mentioned a couple of words there. Are you okay? And I just wanted to do a call out for anybody listening or anybody who might have patients they need help with. In Australia, we have this brilliant initiative called R U OK? ruok.org.au. Please, use that resource there for people. There's others as well, isn't there, Julie?

Julie: Yes, that's right, of course, Lifeline, and I think Headspace is really good for younger people. So we certainly have got those numbers, I think they're 24/7, a lot of them that you can call and have somebody talk you through things.

Andrew: You mentioned farmers and I want to do another call out to another segment of our community, that's builders, they're in the building industry, Mates in Construction

We’re losing about 30 people in the building industry per month, I think the latest stats are, which is a sad and sorry state of affairs in Australia. There is help there. So, please, access these resources. 

Julie, is part of the dilemma that we're seeing, that we're just now failing to listen to our bodies?

Julie: I would have to agree entirely. My chapter in the Healthy Body book is called Your Body Knows Best. And perhaps we have become so disconnected with ourselves, and this does happen in the mental health area as well as the physical area, where we're just shutting things down. We need an antidepressant, we need a painkiller to numb things to function. 

Behind every symptom, there does lie a purpose. And I quote Ed Kahan in my book, he says, "Interestingly, in the course of the 50 year lifespan, the average adult suffers one life threatening illness, 20 serious illnesses, and around 200 fairly serious illnesses."

So, considering those statistics, it's interesting because are we avoiding the inevitable? Why are we not allowing our body to show any signs of sickness? And of course, back in the day, when a child was unwell, childhood illness was always quite serious infectious illness. And if the child survived, or when the child survived, it helped them strengthen and emerge as a stronger, whole human being. And, of course, any kind of conflict gives us greater maturity and growth. 

So maybe trying to approach our bodies with that reverence, and saying, "Wow, it's telling me something,” instead of quickly racing off to the pharmacy to get that quick fix, and to soldier on. There comes a time when the body will start to scream. And that's the time when we really need to address our discord.

Andrew: Julie, such wise words. I love how you said “with reverence,” and I really do think we need to give more reverence to, A, what our bodies are telling us, but B, also the natural medicines available to help. Whether it be an agile or an alternative in a responsible system. 

I love how you've worked that into both a retail space, but also a practitioner clinic space. And you're engaging this dialogue for a far better health care approach than what's been previously shown. Well done to you. Good work.

Julie: Thank you, Andrew. And of course, as any practitioner, you know, I've done this because I've had my own health crises too. And none of us like being sick. So, as a praccies, we're often inspired by our own discord as well. So it's a great conversation to have and I just feel very blessed to share with you today.

Andrew: This is FX Medicine. I'm Andrew Whitfield-Cook.


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