Natural therapy lessons

Green Lifestyle online

We chat with expert Sally Joy about teaching natural therapies, science, and New Year resolutions.


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One of the best ways to be genuinely healthy is to take a holistic approach to wellbeing. The Southern School of Natural Therapies is part of the THINK Education group, which includes eight colleges that teach therapies that look beyond single issues to encompass the health of the whole person. We spoke with Sally Joy, the Victorian State Director for THINK Education.

What is one of the biggest challenges to teaching people about natural therapies?
One of the biggest challenges for us is that many students do not realise that all therapies are based on a solid understanding of scientific practices and that those without a science background often need to attend extra classes to ensure that they understand scientific methodology and basic chemistry.

How do you see the connection between modern and complementary or alternative medicines?
Much of modern medicine is based on what has in the past been called ‘alternative’ therapies. Many of these therapies have survived for hundreds of years because they are effective ways of improving the wellness of the client. While some old remedies have been discovered to be based on superstition and false assumptions about the world many have been seen to have a strong scientific basis. Modern medicine sometimes focusses on a single factor while natural therapies tend to take a more holistic approach to treating the person. I believe that as we have built our understanding of the interactions between mind and body and different parts of the body, we have come to a greater appreciation of the need to look beyond treatment of a single part of the body. Across the world we are now starting to realise that therapeutic practices need to include recognition of a wide range of approaches to solving health and wellness problems.

Many of us take good health for granted but as the population ages many of our clients are becoming increasingly interested in improving their health, so that they can continue to enjoy the lives they choose. A healthy body is not something that happens by accident – the choices we make have consequences for our health and knowing what the right choices are can be informed by the expertise of a natural therapist.

How do you think teaching natural therapies is different to teaching about any other topic?
Teaching natural therapies is different from teaching other topics because all aspects of the student are involved in their study – students focus on gaining skills which will enable them to practice successfully and these include providing treatments and assessments of therapeutic conditions managing a wide range of different clients in a clinical setting. Each student brings their own interests and abilities and we aim to produce graduates of a very high standard, while recognising the strengths of the individual.

Do you have a New Year resolution? What advice would you give to our readers to help them achieve their resolution this year?
My New Year resolution is to be better informed about what I can do to improve my own health and to act now to improve my health. One way to start this is to keep a simple diary of how long you sleep and the quality of your sleep, what exercise you get, what you eat and how you feel. The simple act recording what you do means that you are more likely to be conscious of the impact of the choices that you make, and able to reflect on them. It will also provide a valuable data set if you visit a natural therapist, because they will have more accurate information about what you do. Without a comprehensive understanding of how you manage your daily life it is too easy to overlook the impact of the daily decisions that you make.