Leading practitioners, academics, industry professionals and experts in the field of naturopathic and Western Herbal Medicine from Australia and around the world will come together in Melbourne on 27 and 28 May for the Naturopathic Symposium 2023, hosted by the NHAA (Naturopaths & Herbalists Association of Australia). The theme is On Firm Ground: Grounded in Science – Grounded in Tradition – Grounded in Practice.
Dr Greg Connolly (PhD), Associate Professor in Naturopathy, from our Melbourne campus, will convene the panel ‘Naturopathy for supportive care of cancer patients’.
Expert panel on Naturopathy for cancer patients
Joining Assoc. Professor Connolly on the panel will be Dr Janet Schloss, Clinical Research Fellow at the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, and Tanya Wells. Tanya is a qualified naturopath who has worked in clinical practice for over 20 years and is the founder and lead clinician for the Melbourne Integrative Oncology Group.
‘We'll be discussing the different aspects of how naturopaths can work with cancer patients and how these natural health practitioners can liaise with the medical specialists and the hospitals to take an integrated approach to cancer care,’ Assoc. Professor Connolly explains.
Talking about naturopaths’ role caring in for cancer patients, he says, ‘Cancer is a multiplicity of diseases and natural health practitioners need to understand the many different types. They need to determine:
- What effect is the cancer having on the patient?
- How aggressive is it?
- And what are the medical treatments for it?
Then the naturopath and other practitioners can safely and effectively dovetail their treatments into the medical treatment.
‘I think naturopaths are very good at supporting patients through nausea, pain, rashes, inflammation, mouth ulcers, and all those things that crop up during cancer care, and they can offer patients a lot of relief.’
Training Naturopathy students in cancer care and support
‘In their clinical training,’ Says Assoc. Professor Connolly, ‘We teach our Naturopathy students here at Torrens that they must always liaise with the medical practitioners to make sure the herbal or the nutrition medicines they prescribe won't have any adverse interactions with the medical prescriptions that the patient is on. The students take subjects such as Integrative Pharmacology, where they learn about medical drugs and how they might interact with herbal medicines.’
Associate Professor Greg Connolly mentoring students
Greg has been associated with Torrens University since 1984, when he enrolled at the Southern School of Natural Therapies, as it was then called. After graduating in 1988, he worked as a naturopathic clinical practitioner for 22 years, specialising in Integrative Oncology, and taught part-time at Torrens University. He went on to complete his PhD in 2010 and in 2016, Greg returned to Torrens. Today, he is a lecturer in Naturopathy and the chair of our Health and Education Department.
‘Something I'm passionate about is mentoring Naturopathy students. I'm encouraging fourth-year students to publish their essays in professional, peer-reviewed scientific journals because they write really useful material on herbal medicine and many other topics.
‘Two of my students will be giving poster presentations at the NHAA symposium on their fourth-year research projects.’
These students are naturopath Gabby Pavlovic, who will present her poster on the topic: ‘Forest Bathing: A critical review grounded in science, tradition, and practice’, prepared with Assoc. Professor Connolly. And Amy Sartorel, a recent graduate in Naturopathy from Torrens University in Sydney and a committee member for the SydHerbs chapter of the NHAA. Amy’s poster presentation will be on the topic: ‘The Efficacy of Vitex Agnus-Castus (VAC) Extract in the Treatment of Mild to Moderate PMS’.
Why attend the Naturopathic Symposium 2023
‘It's great to attend these symposiums,’ says Assoc. Professor Connolly, ‘because you get to hear about all the latest research in naturopathy and herbal medicine. Also, it's really good for students to actually meet the researchers and lecturers and their fellow students from around Australia. I think it's a fantastic opportunity for them to network. It's a creative and exciting space – you can attend a panel session and then straight after it, you can mingle over a cup of herbal tea and talk with others about what's going on and what you have just learnt. So, it's quite inspiring.’
Find out more about the Naturopathic Symposium 2023 here.