Supervisor spotlight - Christine Barnes
Updated: Jul 9, 2019
This month we were delighted to see one of our affiliated practitioners on national television! Christine Barnes of Noosa, QLD, was featured on the 'Medicine or Myth?' show on SBS discussing the use of Sage tea for relief of menopausal symptoms. Sage is well-known among herbalists for this purpose, and it was great to see Christine getting the word out there.
If you missed the show, you can still watch the episode online at SBS on Demand for a limited time. The whole program is worth a watch, but if you want to fast forward to the best bit, skip through to 31:15.
Christine is exceptionally well qualified. As well as holding 4 Advanced Diplomas (Naturopathy, Nutrition, Western Herbal Medicine and Homoeopathy), she also has a Masters of Wellness from RMIT, and yoga qualifications from Sweden, India, and Australia. This month we interviewed Christine for a feature in our first newsletter.
Tell us a bit about your practice and experience
I am currently in clinical practice as a Naturopath and Wellness expert in Noosa Heads overlooking the beautiful surrounds of the Noosa National Park. From my Noosa Clinic I treat patients Australia-wide, New Zealand, UK, Europe and Asia. Awarded Naturopath of the Year in 2010 by Australian College of Natural Therapies, I had previously developed my interest and expertise in natural health and wellness from childhood – so, I had 40 years plus worth of experience prior to starting formal education. This early experience included traveling to different parts of the world to study advanced yoga and meditation techniques, and becoming an initiate/graduate in the Scandinavian School of Yoga and Meditation. I had the great pleasure of being a guest speaker for the Scandinavian School of Yoga and Meditation speaking to the yoga teachers about food as medicine in health cases such as cancer.
It sounds amazing. What first got you interested in a career in natural therapies?
I remember as a child investigating and trying out the various “healthy” diets, exploring specialist health philosophies such as macrobiotics, vegetarianism, cooking up “healthy” foods and experimenting with vegetable juicing, making fermented foods etc. This was at a time when meat and 3 veg was the norm, and the world of European and Oriental foods, the foods we now take for granted, was unthinkable. These explorations were considered quite unusual in my rural community. Certainly it was my interest in nutrition and cooking, and my curiosity about the world and the connection between chronic diseases, diet and lifestyle that led to my interest in health as a career. To this day, I retain that curiosity about how things work and, for me, this is an essential part of being a naturopath and staying on the cutting edge of new developments in our dynamic industry.
Do you specialise in any particular area?
These days I specialize in so-called “hard to treat” resistant cases. I rarely see patients who have not already seen several different practitioners – including naturopaths. I am also accustomed to receiving volumes of test results which need re-interpreting prior to an initial appointment – these days this seems par for the course. Sometimes I dream of someone in good health who just wants to reach the next level. But I do love the complexity and challenge of chronic diseases.
Sounds as though you enjoy a challenge. Can you tell us about some of the more rewarding experiences you've had?
Some of my most rewarding experiences have been working with patients over a number of years and sharing in their progress and improvements – a young Muscular Dystrophy Duchennes patient now able to do back flips at the age of 7 after 4 years of treatment is very satisfying. Seeing the toxic metal mercury finally start to reduce from a young woman with life long skin issues and the joy it has given her. Many of my patients present with mood issues and this work is particularly satisfying in watching their motivation return as well as noticing reductions in their debilitating psychological symptoms thus allowing them to return to work and study to live full happy lives. Working with the parents of autistic children to achieve better outcomes has been a wonderful experience. Although challenging at times, I daily enjoy the rewards of even minor improvements in all my patients and consider myself their health champion.
And of course you help students and practitioners as well...
Yes. Nowadays I’m increasingly involved in mentoring new practitioners as a way of passing on my knowledge and helping the next generation of naturopaths become successful in their chosen industry.
What would you say to anyone (thinking about) embarking on their studies?
Value traditional knowledge but at the same time, be curious about modern developments. Do not accept without questioning. Our world is constantly being re-examined and we need to be open to new understandings throughout our professional life. And most of all, know that you can make a difference. It’s an exciting time to be in Natural Medicine.
It sure is! Probably always has been and always will! Christine, thank you so much for your time, and your continued efforts helping students, clients, and practitioners in living happier and healthier lives.
Want to learn more about Natural Medicine?
Switch on Health has a number of qualifications that you may love from
Diploma of Nutrition, Western Herbal Medicine, Naturopathy and Homeopathy accredited courses. https://www.switchonhealth.com.au/advanced-diplomas