I didn’t realise it at the time, but one of the reasons I became a nutritional therapist and a doctor of integrative medicine was because visiting regular medical doctors always felt so scary.
I remember as a little girl I had tonsillitis quite often. During one of my frequent visits to the doctor, he told my parents that if I got it again, I’d have to have my tonsils out. Needless to say, I never complained of having a sore throat again!
Of course, I was passionate about using food as medicine, and the power of the body’s wisdom and innate healing intelligence, and I still am. This is something that continues to inspire me every day, and I find the body’s inner-knowing ability to find balance, humbling.
However, a few key events in my life really highlighted the fear that lay beneath my passion, both in my own health and those dearest to me. Through these experiences, I realised that this fear was essentially a belief that I was powerless and that ill health and disease are something that happens to us.
I am extremely appreciative of the wisdom teachings within traditional medicines and healing practices that have a holistic view of the body, rather than the reductionist view typical in western medicine. Understanding the relationship between the spirit, mind and body, relative to both the creation of disease and healing, opened a window of opportunity for me to challenge my own belief and fears.
Reframed, I started to understand that all health challenges are an invitation to become more aware of ourselves and to make more nourishing choices. Whether they be related to nutrition and exercise, our mental and emotional health, work and relationships, or even our belief systems need to be re-examined and new choices made in order to reclaim a state of balance that paves the way for health and wellbeing.
The more I worked with people, the more I realised that most of us have a significant amount of fear around health, often exacerbated by TV commercials with warnings about the likelihood of getting cancer! I always change the channel, but COVID took this to a whole new level that was nearly unavoidable.
I think so many of us felt vulnerable and scared, especially at the beginning of COVID. Even those of us who understand the power of the immune system, and have spent years shovelling superfoods into our smoothies, certainly had our beliefs challenged!
One of the best parts of my work is seeing people make the transition from feeling powerless and scared about their health to understanding their body is working with them, and not against them. Not to mention the many tools and techniques available to us, including our own mind, to create and maintain health.
During COVID, the need to support people in becoming aware of the body’s incredible capacity to protect, nourish and heal went through the roof! And don’t forget that fear compromises the immune system, which just compounded the situation.
Empowering people to take charge of their wellbeing is something I became even more passionate about during COVID because the need for people to find relief from fear was beyond the measure of any statistics!
I love how my own journey, working through fear and challenging my beliefs, has helped me to connect with people I work with to tackle the root causes of their health issues and find meaningful ways for them to regain their sense of empowerment, strength and robustness.
The work isn’t to ‘avoid’ anything, it’s being free from fear and confident in their ability to restore balance and heal, whatever the situation.
For me, this is freedom, and if you think about it, health and well-being are beautiful expressions of being free, on all levels. This is something I’m continually working on within myself and inspires my work with everyone that comes to me for help.
Whether I’m working with people on a one-to-one basis, or within my businesses, my priority is to improve access to positive information and tools that are supportive in the creation and maintenance of health and wellbeing, for everyone, mindful of the need for wellbeing equality.
Individually and collectively, the more empowered we feel the healthier we will become!
Dr of Integrative Medicine, Nutritionist
And partner of social enterprise www.vennernutrition.uk