Q&A with Naturopath Siobhán Carroll
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Siobhán. I love potatoes, like a good Irishwoman, and avocados, like a good vegan. I love plants and can often be found hugging trees. My favourite herb is Calendula, so much so that my friends from my Naturopathy school and my Herbal Medicine Internship all call me Shivandula. I’m a big fan of Disney, fantasy and everything magical. My favourite film is Stardust, and probably all of the Lord of The Rings Trilogy, and my favourite books for the last 20 years have been the Harry Potter series. If I was a Disney princess I’d be Belle, if I was a vegetable I’d be an aubergine and if I could have anyone over for dinner it’d be JK Rowling and Louise Hay. My favourite yoga pose (for posing for yoga photos) is dancer pose but my favourite pose to practice is savasana! I also practice mindfulness and Vipassana meditation and like to think of myself as a Jedi in training.
2. You describe yourself as being a nerdy naturopath, when did you get so nerdy about this area?
It was while doing my second yoga teacher training in India in 2012 when I first heard about Naturopathy. An Australian yogi in my class was studying Naturopathy back home and as soon as I heard about it I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do next! I came home and started learning everything I could about Naturopathy and then signed up for a 4-year course in Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine at the College of Naturopathic Medicine Dublin. It was the summer of 2014 when the idea for the Nerdy Naturopath first came to me. I was at a 10-day silent meditation course in France and had a light bulb moment. After France, I was heading to a Harry Potter fan convention in Florida and I decided I would begin to share my love of herbs and naturopathy while I was there. I began teaching people about the real-life applications of the plants used in Herbology and Potions Class in Harry Potter. I now share information on any naturopathic practices and medicines that I find popping up in popular culture and share it among my fellow nerds. I love learning everything there is to know about naturopathy and wellness and am passionate about sharing what I discover with as many people as possible. My hope with the Nerdy Naturopath is that I can spread the message of Naturopathy to a new audience, getting as many people on the wellbeing bandwagon as I possibly can!
3. What is a naturopath for our followers who don’t know?
A Naturopath is a health and wellness practitioner who harnesses the healing power of nature to bring about change in their client’s health. A Naturopath is a teacher and guide, the real healing is done by the clients themselves. Naturopathy is for people who are ready to take control of their wellbeing and are willing to do the work to make changes that will benefit their health now and into the future. It’s a medicine of empowerment and of self-healing. Working with plant medicine, nutrition, sleep hygiene, lifestyle medicine, detoxification principles, Ayurveda, Bach flower essences, homoeopathic tissue salts and more I conduct 1:1 health consultations with clients of all ages. I work with clients with digestive complaints, hormonal imbalances, chronic illnesses, and much more. The gentle and safe naturopathic treatments are also safe for pregnant women and children of all ages. Regardless of the condition of your health, naturopathy can be an excellent step toward wellness. My focus is never simply to just help you feel “better”, I go one step further, helping you to reach optimum health and wellbeing, allowing you to truly thrive in all areas of your life.
4. What can someone expect from their first consultation with you?
The first consultation usually takes an hour and a half. It is an in-depth journey into your health and whatever ailments you may be experiencing. We will look at each body system and talk about your diet, your sleep patterns, your mental health and stress levels and much more. We will gain an overall understanding of the underlying causes of whatever is keeping you from optimum health and wellbeing. And then we will begin to devise a plan to address these underlying causes. Our treatment plan will usually incorporate some dietary modifications and lifestyle advice. A personalised herbal tincture, tea blend or flower essence formula may also be offered. You will generally be invited back for a follow-up consultation 2-3 weeks later which takes around 45 minutes. As many follow-ups as necessary can be booked, depending on how much support you need going forward. A naturopath is a guide and teacher as mentioned above but I am also your support and ongoing advisor for as long as you need after our initial consultation.
5. Tell us something we never know about naturopathy?
Naturopathy still isn’t very well known in Ireland, but it is much more popular in other countries such as the US, Canada and Australia. What many people in Ireland don’t realise is that in these countries Naturopaths are licensed as Doctors and legally have the same medical standing as a medical doctor. Because this modality of healing is less well known in Ireland it is often considered “alternative medicine”. However, it is more accurately holistic medicine and was THE medicine for most of history until the pharmaceutical industry took over and pushed Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine to the periphery with dubious legislation such as the Flexner report of 1910 which shut down all medical schools that refused to use pharmaceuticals as their main form of treatment. But the good news is we are making a come back with natural medicine becoming more and more important as the pharmaceutical medical system begins to come up against antibiotic resistance and continues to fail to heal chronic diseases.
Naturopathy is true health care, as opposed to sick care or disease management. It is a way to bring about real healing and true wellness rather than just suppressing symptoms. Naturopathy encompasses Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda and other energetic systems of medicines. These healing modalities should not be seen as “alternative medicine” if anything the pharmaceutical model that has emerged in the last century is the real “alternative”. That being said Naturopathy can work very well alongside these pharmaceutical treatments. It is more of a complementary medicine than an alternative. I am highly trained in herb-drug interactions and how to incorporate lifestyle medicine into a client’s existing pharmaceutical treatment plan. They work very well together. And I am passionate about making more people aware of what Naturopathy is so it can be the first port of call for people when they are feeling unwell in future.
6. What inspires you?
Everyday magic is what really inspires me. Small acts of love and kindness are the real magic within our world. It is what drives and guides us to truly thrive and be the best versions of ourselves. The simple beauty of a city sunset or the child-like excitement of a midnight movie release or discovering a new flavour of kombucha! Finding the little bits of magic that surround us all the time gives me the most inspiration. It is the biggest thing I have learned from my meditation and mindfulness practice, the ability to acknowledge and appreciate the simple things. But I mean you also can’t beat a good Tony Robbins motivational YouTube video! So inspirational!
7. Words to live by?
“Happiness can always be found, even in the darkest times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – Albus Dumbledore
Happiness, health and wellbeing are all within our reach, and ultimately as Dumbledore says, we all have the ability within us to turn on the light once we are willing to make changes and allow the shift to happen. I am really excited to be working at the elbowroom and look forward to meeting many of you in the clinic in weeks to come!