Detoxification – is it necessary?

Posted by | Balm Blog, Detox, Detoxification, Diet, Digestion, Fat, Health, hormones, IBS, IBS, Naturopathy, Weight Gain, Weight Loss | No Comments

Our bodies are busily detoxifying all the time, so is it really necessary to do a detox? The answer is yes due to the dramatic changes we’ve seen over the last 100 years. Historically our detoxification processes were generally completely adequate for our needs. These days, the speed at which toxins enter our body has increased dramatically while our bodies ability to deal with these toxins is generally compromised by our modern day diet and lifestyle.

Imagine a bucket being filled with water from a tap while water escapes through a hole in the bottom of the bucket. If the tap is turned up and the hole is slightly blocked the bucket will soon fill.

Now imagine the bucket is your body and the tap represents toxins entering your body (via the mouth, your skin and your lungs). The hole in the bucket represents your body’s detoxification processes. Just as the bucket fills, your body soon becomes overwhelmed with a build up of toxins. This can be expressed as fatigue, headaches, body aches and pains, poor immunity, digestive issues, mood disorders and hormone balance issues.

A good detox program aims to not only unblock the hole in the bucket, but to also turn down the tap.

Just some of the benefits of a good periodic detox include:

  • It can reset your appetite, decreasing sugar cravings and assist weight loss
  • Happy, healthier, glowing skin
  • Lots more energy
  • Better sleep
  • Better moods
  • Less colds and flues
  • Better concentration and motivation
  • Better digestive processes (less bloating, discomfort, nausea

Balm offers a number of detoxification programs and packages, including the program offered through Metagencis.

Click the links below to check out the various detox packages available from Balm.

2 Visit Personalized Detoxification Program

4 Week Detox Kits

The Human Naturopath

Posted by | Balm Blog, Blog, Diet, Health, Naturopathy, Sugar | No Comments

What type of naturopath would you prefer to see? One who’s just like you who has a few vices and enjoys their life (but knows when and what to rein it in to keep healthy)? Or one who is a purist and never relaxes their high level expectations, looking down at you from their conceitedly perfect existence? I’m sure a lot of people resist going to see a naturopath because they think they won’t be able to live up to their perceived expectations of what they’ll need to do. They may think “I don’t want to have to buy everything organic” or “I like my wine and chocolate too much and don’t want to be told I can never have it again” or “I don’t like goats milk, carob, or kale and I’m sure I’ll be told to have these instead of the foods I love”.

The beauty of naturopathy is that it is tailored to the individual. It is in my best interest to create a treatment plan that will not only be effective for you, but also feels realistic and achievable for you. What is the use of a perfect treatment plan if it is just too hard to follow. A person who is completely daunted is more likely to do nothing at all. On the other hand, if the instructions are not scary and feel achievable, they are more likely to follow them and will get far better results.

As a real, non-purist naturopath I come from a place of non-judgement and acceptance. How can I relate to my clients and their health struggles if I’m perfect! I like a wine and some chocolate often, I love a really good licorice all-sort and why on earth would I say no to a piece of my friends birthday cake. I don’t live an organic, macrobiotic, gluten free, dairy free, vegan lifestyle so why would I expect you to. Life is about moderation and balance and being healthy most of the time but knowing when to enjoy yourself and take the pressure off. Besides, it promotes relaxation, connection with family and friends and happiness and all that “good” far outweighs the occasional “bad”.

We are all on our own health journey, some of us are just at the beginning and other may be well advanced. The benefit of seeing a naturopath is that we work with you and your lifestyle and where you are at on your health journey. This ensures you obtain results that are realistic and achievable for you.

I’m sure most people would prefer to go to a naturopath who’s not a purist living the perfect existence. What about you?

FODMAPs – A simple solution for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Posted by | Balm Blog, Blog, Diet, Digestion, Health, IBS, IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Naturopathy, Sugar | No Comments

Last blog I spoke about small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) as one of the main causes of IBS. I briefly mentioned that one of the main treatments which brings relief to 90% of IBS sufferers is to follow a low FODMAP diet. So what is a FODMAP?

It’s a bit of a mouthful but FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and ployols. Essentially, it is an indigestible sugar that ferments in the gut and provides fast food for bowel bacteria, allowing them to produce excessive amounts of gas.

Two of the biggest culprits within these categories are fructose (a monosaccharide mostly in fruits) and lactose (a disaccharide mostly found in diary food). Two foods which seem to be the most problematic for people with FODMAP issues are (unfortunately) onion and garlic and these should always be eliminated when attempting a low FODMAP diet.

The important thing is the amount of bacterial gas produced, and the way our bowel does or does not cope with it. This is what produces the common symptoms of IBS, namely abdominal pain and discomfort, bloating, flatulence and diarrhoea or constipation. Generally your system can cope with a little of your problematic food, or a little of a few foods from within your problematic FODMAP category. However, once a certain threshold of the FODMAP sugars is reached, that is when symptoms are triggered. This is why it can be so difficult to work out which foods are problematic for you because sometimes you can eat them with no problems and other times you can’t.

The great news is that once you work out which foods or FODMAP categories are a problem for you, cutting them out of your diet temporarily seems to greatly alleviate, if not completely resolve the symptoms for around 90% of IBS sufferers. The even better news is that after only 1-3 weeks most people can begin to reintroduce their problem foods and usually find that after having given their system that short break, they no longer experience the same issues from eating that food.

Monash University has developed an app you can purchase for around $10 which contains information, recipes and a traffic light system for hundreds of foods, products and condiments. It lets you know which category any particular food falls into so you can soon work out if you have an issue with just one of the FODMAP categories or several. It has the ability to create shopping lists, personal notes on particular foods, and has a 7 day trial you can follow to assess your body’s response to a low FODMAP diet.

Balm Naturopathy can assist you with working out which foods may be causing you a problem. Or, if you believe you have already tried eliminating FODMAP foods and are still experiencing symptoms, Balm can help explore alternative causes and devise a treatment plan to address those causes and bring you welcome relief.

Image by Carlos Porto at

Am I Toxic?

Posted by | Balm Blog, Detox, Detoxification, Naturopathy | No Comments

In just the last 2-4 generations, the number and concentration of toxins we are exposed to everyday has exploded exponentially, however, our inbuilt detoxification processes have hardly evolved at all in this same time period. When our bodies struggle to keep up with this increased load, we can be left feeling fatigued, run down, anxious, and foggy. We may experience poor skin quality and eczema like rashes, hormone disruption and thyroid or reproductive dysfunction, recurrent infections, digestive issues, food sensitivities, weight struggles, hair loss and unexplained aches and pains or tingling sensations.

One of the big culprits is mercury toxicity due to fish consumption or old dental fillings. Mercury fillings release inorganic mercury in liquid and gas form which is then inhaled and swallowed. One of the ways it is excreted from the body is via the kidneys and so urine testing is one of the best tests to detect your level of exposure to inorganic mercury. Methyl mercury is a highly absorbable form of mercury obtained from eating fish and is easily diffused into the circulation where itcan cause many problems. It can take up to 60 days for the mercury from 2 tins of tuna to get out of your blood. Hair testing is one of the best ways to assess methyl mercury exposure. Blood tests can also be performed for further details of toxin exposure, but all these tests can become very expensive. However, there are also comprehensive questionnaires you can do which are free and can give you a very good indication of your general toxin exposure and how it may be affecting you.

Here at Balm Natural Health we can arrange these questionnaires for you as part of your initial consultation. We then assess your results and can formulate a naturopathic detoxification program tailored specifically to you.


Image courtesy of Suat Eman at


What the MTHFR!

Posted by | Balm Blog, Blog, Cardiovascular disease, Detox, Detoxification, Diet, Health, Naturopathy, Supplements | No Comments

Ever heard of MTHFR?  It’s a somewhat suggestive acronym for an important enzyme in the body used to convert folic acid into a useable form. It’s been getting a lot of press lately because about 50% of the population has a mutation in the genes that produce this enzyme, potentially leading to a whole host of common symptoms and health complaints. This enzyme (called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase or MTHFR for short) is extremely important for a process called methylation. Methylation takes place in the body over a billion times a second and is required to:

  • process and eliminate toxins;Folic Acid graphic
  • produce cellular energy;
  • create neurotransmitters (which can affect mood and memory);
  • produce internal antioxidants important to protect the body;
  • build and maintain DNA, cell membranes and myelin (which coats our nerves so they function properly); and
  • promote effective immune function.

Methylation is also needed to reduce the level of homocysteine in the body. Increased homocysteine is a known cardiovascular risk factor. Another very important thing impacted by this mutation is pregnancy. We know it is important to take folic acid to prevent neural tube defects, however, if you have this mutation, folic acid may not be as effectively utilized by the body. It is now thought that this un-metabolised folic acid could accumulate to toxic levels in genetically susceptible people, increasing the risk of miscarriage and other birth defects.

Poor functioning of MTHFR is associated with around 60 different health conditions, including diabetes, infertility, anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, cancer, cardiovascular disease, insomnia, allergy, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and dementia.

There is a simple, inexpensive test you can take to see if you have this genetic mutation which naturopaths can order.

The good news is there is much you can do to lower the impact of this gene mutation. The most important thing you can do is to eat your greens!  They provide you with naturally occurring folates which are more easily utilized in the body than the cheaply produced, synthetic folic acid form used in so many supplements. This is the safest way to ensure you are providing your body with useable forms of these important vitamins as overdoing supplements containing activated or methylated forms can potentially lead to other health problems. Therefore it is important to see your naturopath who can prescribe the correct forms at the correct dose according to your needs and genetic make up. They can also directly assist your detoxification processes and improve your general health and vitality which in turn reduces the expression of any detrimental gene mutations such as MTHFR.

Winter programs at Balm

Posted by | Balm Blog, Blog, Detox, Detoxification, Free health checks, Naturopathy | No Comments

This winter Balm has a couple of new programs, in addition to general naturopathic consultations. Free health checks and a 2 visit detoxification program.

Free Naturopathic Health Check

During Friday’s at Knoxfield this winter, come in for your free half hour naturopathic health check. Bring in your latest blood tests to see if they fall within the “optimal range”. Find out your body fat percentage, hydration level, muscle mass percentage, assess your diet and lifestyle and find out your level of disease risk. Learn some simple tips you can use to improve your health and energy levels and lower your risk for major health complaints before they develop.

2 Visit Detox Program

Sliced capsicums

The number and concentration of toxins we are exposed to everyday has exploded exponentially over the last 2-4 generations, however, our bodies detoxification processes have hardly evolved at all during this time and struggle to keep up with this increased demand on our system.

Detoxification needs to be individualised, targeted, gentle and thorough. You don’t want all your good work wasted by recycling toxins straight back into your system so they can settle back where they started.

Our Naturopath Rebecca has a new “2 Visit Detoxification Program” which offers exactly this. See the Detoxification Program page for more information. This program is available at both Knoxfield and Wantirna. Call 0414 957 555 or click the book now button on the home page to arrange a time for visit 1.

Image courtesy of Lobster20 at

Recent Successes at Balm

Posted by | Balm Blog, Blog, Blood tests, Colds and flu, Diet, Health, hormones, Naturopathy, Supplements | No Comments

Here at Balm Naturopathy we believe in celebrating our successes. Below are a couple of success stories that have emerged from the last month.

Rising PSA Levels

Prostrate problems are of concern to all men. Two of the main issues are benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which occurs in 90% of men over the age of 70, and prostate cancer which kills thousands of men every year.

The symptoms of BPH and prostate cancer include frequent, difficult or painful urination, slow, interrupted flow and blood in urine or semen. Ignoring these symptoms can be dangerous and Balm always recommends a visit to your doctor to have such symptoms explored medically. The good news is there is much that can be done naturally to improve prostate health and lower cancer risk.

Recently a 76 year old male presented to Balm Natural Health with rising PSA levels after having had a prostatectomy a few years ago. This was the last thing he expected after such a procedure. The client wanted to ensure he was doing everything he needed to decrease his cancer risk and increase his general health and wellbeing.

After 2 months of treatment focusing on diet and supplements to increase antioxidant intake, improve prostate health and an increase in exercise, his next PSA reading had reduced from 0.11 to 0.06.

The client is very pleased and is continuing to follow the recommendations and supplements prescribed and will continue with ongoing monitoring of PSA levels to ensure he remains on the right track.

Frequent colds, sinusitis and antibiotic use

So many people find they get every cold and flu going around and can’t seem to get through a single season without having to resort to antibiotics at lease 2 or 3 times. Antibiotics have a very detrimental effect on the microbiome oThumbs up man - picturef the gut and this can actually have a lasting negative effect on the body’s immunity. Much of our immunity originates in the gut and when gut health is suboptimal, this opens the body up to all sorts of immune issues such as infection, allergy and autoimmune issues. Last year, a 40 year old male with a history of frequent colds, sinusitis and antibiotic treatment presented to Balm Natural Health. On average he was receiving antibiotic treatment every 1-2 months. After 8 months of treatment involving supplements to regulate his immunity, particularly via gut health, adjusting his diet, and addressing stress, he is now feeling better than ever and has not had a single cold or need for antibiotics for over 4 months.

This client has now adopted some permanent changes in his diet and lifestyle and has moved to exploring other health goals such as maximising his already raised vitality and boosting fertility with the hope of soon adding another member to his family.

Do you know someone who is constantly unwell and seems to fall victim to every cold and virus going around? Or do you know someone concerned about rising PSA levels, or anyone who has any other sort of health complaint who might need the help of Balm Naturopathy? If so, please send them the link to this blog and encourage them to book in online for a consultation.

Image courtesy of artur84 at
Published with consent from the clients involved.

Naturopathy’s sweet spot in healthcare

Posted by | Balm Blog, Blog, Naturopathy | No Comments

Have you ever felt “not quite right” or suffered vague, non-specific symptoms, but been told by your doctor they can’t find anything wrong? Until doctors can name your illness, they can’t give you their matching treatment.  However, in the meantime your body may be busily heading in the direction of an illness. Wouldn’t it be better to stop that process in its track now before it becomes such a big problem that it can be medically ‘named’?

When your doctor orders blood tests, they are generally only interested when your test results fall outside of their reference ranges.


Reference ranges graphic


Optimal health is actually represented by a much narrower area within these reference ranges. Lets refer to this as the ‘gold zone’.  Often this is in the centre, although depending on what is being tested, this may fall towards the top or bottom end of the reference range. This ‘gold zone’ also varies from individual to individual according to things such as your gender, age and genetics. Your Naturopath can advise you where the optimal ‘gold zone’ should fall for you.

When your results are in the red zone, well outside of the reference range, this is when your doctor is fantastic at identifying a disease process and giving you potentially life saving treatment.

The in between, blue zone, which is still within the reference range but not indicating optimal health, is where your Naturopath can work their magic. It is the zone where you don’t feel yourself and know something is not quite right. This is generally your body’s way of letting you know that something is either lacking or out of balance and now is the time to right that before it progresses into something more serious.

So next time you get the all clear from the doctor but you still feel that something is not quite right, take your results to a Naturopath and find out what it feels like to get back into the ‘gold zone’ of optimal health.