Katie Ruane - The Family Naturopath
Having a Naturopath to help you with your family can be a wonderful addition along-side accessing the GP when needed. But I can hear you say, ‘What is a Naturopath?’.
A Naturopath is different to other types of complementary therapists as we are defined by a set of principles followed, rather than the therapies we are trained in. The principles include do no harm, educate, treat the cause not the symptoms (a great example of this is that most skin conditions are down to the digestive system being unhappy) and given the right conditions the body should begin to get back into balance. This means that Naturopath’s will have a varied skillset and toolbox of therapies as they will train in the therapies that were either offered by the places where they studied, or by what appeals to them.
For example, I was trained at the University of Westminster where I spent 4 years learning the science of the body, the therapies I use and the impact they have on the body at a biochemical level. Whilst at University, I was taught Nutrition, Essential Oils, Hydrotherapy (water therapy), Manual Lymphatic Drainage, Therapeutic Massage and other bodywork techniques, Bach Flower Remedies, Reflexology and more.
Since graduating and deciding which direction I wanted to go with my work, I decided that I wanted to focus on the family with a special interest in mother and baby. Because of this, I have done more training (yes, I love to learn!) and have a diploma in baby massage, I’m nearly finished with case studies to get a degree level accreditation in pre and post-natal reflexology, I’ve trained in baby and toddler reflexology and I’m also trained in sleep support. When you combine all of these with everything I learnt at University, I’m basically a one stop shop to help mother, father and baby from pregnancy and beyond!
So to put it into words in how I as a Naturopath can help mother and baby, it all depends on what’s going on with you both. In pregnancy, I use nutrition, safe supplements, reflexology and safe herbs and essential oils to support you both during the different trimesters and the variety of pregnancy symptoms that appear.
For example, I give tips on how to ease constipation, how to support your back, sleep tips, safe essential oils and herbal teas to help with nausea and more. I’ve also recently helped a mother manage her gestational diabetes with nutrition changes, meal ideas and different snack options. Reflexology is my go to therapy in pregnancy as it is amazing at helping reduce stress and anxiety and increase wellbeing and feeling good. It can also help ease pain, constipation and increase sleep. I’m also safe to treat from day one of pregnancy if that’s what you want, or we can wait until after the first scan. And the best thing about it is that your baby also gets benefits from the treatment too!
After the baby arrives, I can teach you massage and reflexology to support them as they grow and develop. These techniques are really useful for digestive system problems like constipation, colic and reflux; as well as helping the immune system with specific reflexology points to help with blocked sinuses, ears and sore throats. When they are new-born, having this one-to-one touch time with your baby also helps with your bonding, reducing post-natal depression as well as your baby’s speech and language development. It really is so much more than just massage and reflexology. As they get a bit older, massage and reflexology are also really great at helping them sleep!
Then from 6 months, I can help you with sleep support by looking at your routine, sleep environment and more. I then create a plan just for you to make changes to help. If you need help before they are 6 months, I can also do that, but it’s more around helping explain why they aren’t sleeping and small routine changes to help you with the day, rather than getting them to sleep!
It’s not just babies that I can help with. I also help toddlers and children with the ‘full Naturopathic approach’. This is a series of consultations where I spend the first session just information gathering to find out more about your child and what’s going on with their health. I then go away and create a plan just for them. The plan will contain nutrition support alongside some of the above therapies mentioned, and in the follow up sessions we go through the plan implementing change. I will also recommend supplements when relevant and the option to get private testing done to delve deeper into what’s going on. As they are an additional cost, I don’t force or insist on them, but they can be very useful. When there has been a lot of antibiotic use, a stool test can be invaluable to show which bacteria has been depleted and which has become more abundant so I can recommend the best foods and probiotics to specifically target what’s going on in your child’s digestive system.
The feedback I have had from those that I have helped through pregnancy and beyond, is the thing that they love about me the most is that I’m down to earth, and realistic. I’m also very calm and adaptable when it comes to babies! I also have knowledge and a skillset that you can’t get from the GP, practice nurse or midwife, so by using me and my services alongside the Medical Health Care Professionals, you really do get 360 degree healthcare support for you and your family.