December 1, 2015
She’s a Natural
Jodi Chapman is changing people’s lives for the better every day through natural medicine. Based on her own history of chronic illness, the now super healthy mother of two is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others so they too can live life to the fullest.
As I sit down for an early morning chat with Jodi Chapman, she and I reflect on how her life story reads a bit like the script from the 1998 movie Sliding Doors, exploring the nature of fate and self-determination. If it were not for a chance meeting with a somewhat unorthodox healer at the age of 23, her life would be completely different to the glowing success story it is today.
Find out what’s right for you, investigate your body, learn about your body. Everybody is different.”
To fully understand the gravity of that meeting, and how it was the catalyst for a lifelong journey towards healing herself and then others through natural medicine, let me take you back to where it all began for this passionate naturopath.
The middle child of three, born and raised in a typical Australian family in the western suburbs of Sydney, life changed almost overnight for Jodi, who at the age of seven began to suffer unbearable migraines. The constant and intense pain would plague her throughout her teenage and adolescent years, ruling her life and crippling the once straight-A-grade student’s schooling in Years 11 and 12.
“I remember the migraines were so bad, just touching my face was extremely painful. I couldn’t even bear having a hat on my head because of the pressure,” says Jodi reflectively.
Forced to rely on a number of painkillers each day just to manage her pain, Jodi became increasingly depressed and disillusioned with traditional medicine.
“I was raised in a very orthodox family that followed traditional Western medicine, I saw the same doctor my whole life,” says Jodi. “Each time I saw another specialist, I would come away with more medication.
They simply didn’t have any answers for me.”
Things went from bad to worse when Jodi lost her mother suddenly at the age of 20 and within a week of her passing, developed psoriasis – an autoimmune condition and ulcerative colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease. The overwhelming stress on her body led to her being hospitalised for weeks.
If you can find the manual on how you function, you can function at your optimum for the rest of your life.”
But it was during this tumultuous time in Jodi’s life when things took a remarkable turn for the better that would see her life take a very different course.
“I had just come out of hospital and I was on very high doses of medication and cortisone to control the migraines and bowel disease,” says Jodi. “It really was my lowest point.”
But as fate would have it, Jodi was introduced to a holistic practitioner who was practising deep tissue massage to help people with arthritis and inflammation.
“He was not formally trained and he actually started working with greyhounds and horses and progressed to deep tissue massage on humans to break down toxins in the body using a metal tool to get right down into the organs to break up obstructions,” says Jodi.
“He believed that you could break down the build up of things that clog the body such as extra calcification around the bones that cause arthritis.”
With nothing to lose, Jodi put her faith in his unconventional treatment and within the first couple of visits, despite some bruising from the deep massage, she began to see a drastic improvement in her health.
“The first thing he did was break down the buildup of toxins in my head,” says Jodi. “I had been full of sinus congestion for 23 years.”
But as Jodi would later discover, that was just part of the reason behind her relentless headaches.
There are layer upon layer of things that can impact your body. The human body and brain is genius.”
“He also worked on my gut. I had to come off all the medications that were controlling my disease and he gave me a book on food combining. I came off all dairy and wheat, and although I didn’t know it at the time, dairy was a major problem for me. By following a non-processed diet, no sugars, just fruit, veg, meat and little grains, it worked. I was blown away, my life changed incredibly.”
With a new zest for life and inspired by her holistic practitioner to study natural therapies, Jodi took a leap of faith and enrolled in a Bachelor of Health Science at university. Once again the universe stepped in and on the day of her orientation a naturopathy major was being introduced to the course for the first time, guiding her towards the life she was meant to live.
“Coming from a time in my life when I had no control over how my body was responding to everything I touched, to becoming well again drove my passion,” says Jodi. “Every time I found something new, I was very excited by that. Your passion comes from your experiences in life, that’s why everyone has different passions.”
However, as is often the case with success stories, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Jodi and, during the next few years life became a balancing act as she and her then husband juggled the rigours of work, part-time study and two young daughters. In search of a change of pace from the frantic Sydney lifestyle, the couple packed their bags and moved their family to the Sunshine Coast where Jodi completed her degree and opened her business Advanced Wellness & Behavioural Centre in Buderim.
The next few years would see Jodi’s business boom, the increasing number of staff requiring her to relocate her business not once but three times. It’s testament to her sheer hard work and passion for helping others through her own health experiences.
“My main problem turned out to be a couple of common food allergens,” says Jodi. “The majority of my work includes changing my patient’s diet. Bacteria is another. Bacteria are controlled by the type of diet you eat. It’s all linked. If you are eating a poor diet you are promoting the bad bacteria and they grow and multiply and become destructive to the good bacteria in your gut.
“There are layer upon layer of things that can impact your body. The human body and brain is genius. One little thing can cause a bit of an issue but the body learns to deal with it. It’s when you have one thing on top of the other, the body can’t deal with the level of pressure and your brain will drop in function – oxygen levels will drop, your nutrient levels will drop and your serotonin and other neuro transmitters will drop in production and then you don’t have anything to keep your brain alert and functioning at a high level. People will often complain of foggy brain, lack of concentration, trouble sleeping, poor memory and then depression and anxiety can come along and high levels of stress because they are not coping.”
Jodi says all new patients are screened for the risk of allergy and other diseases, then simple blood tests are taken, which gives her a good indication of where to start with their treatment. “The tests do pick up a huge range of responses to anything that will inflame the gut wall. It’s a very simple blood test and we have the results in a week. You can start making changes to your diet based on the results straight away and often people are feeling much better within a few days,” she says.
“When you realise they have gone 40 years with the same symptoms you suffered for the first 20 years of your life and then being able to change that in a very short space of time drives that passion even further.
“I still get goose bumps every day. It might be someone who is only four weeks into their treatment and they come in saying they feel so much better – I think yes!,” says Jodi, fistpumping the air!
Not surprisingly, Jodi says the results from the tests show a direct correlation between the number of allergens detected to the patient’s diet growing up.
“When I test those who are 60 and over, their allergy levels are typically fairly low. Even though they had a staple diet of bread and potatoes, their breads were made clean without chemicals and preservatives so there was nothing for the body to react to. They also had a high vegetable and meat diet. When you eat meat with carbs the protein protects you from the insulin the carbs produce.
“Then you have those sitting between age 35 to 60 and their number of allergens are three times the amount of the previous generation. It makes sense because food was beginning to be processed around the ‘70s, we started to add chemicals and flavourings and foods like margarine were introduced.
“The children of that generation have between 70 to 100 food allergens on average and the only reason for that is because their diet is laced with chemicals and preservatives.”
While there are those who are still sceptical of a more holistic approach to health, choosing the traditional route every time, Jodi says there are many different styles of naturopathy these days, it’s just a matter of finding one that suits your needs.
“Naturopaths have changed a lot over the years. That’s not to say there are not some great old-school traditional naturopaths out there who have the most incredible information and natural ways of dealing with things.
However, there are different styles of practitioners, such as myself with a more integrated approach to medicine, combining medical and comprehensive diagnostic pathology with natural methods of treatment for disease.
Choose to be healthy. Choose to be happy. Choose to have an abundant life.”
“I will look at the pathology just the same as the doctor, however, I will treat using natural medicine rather than using medications. Medications all have side effects and they will have an impact on the liver, not to mention the gut bacteria. A lot of drugs came from copies or synthetic versions of what natural products can do as well. Some herbs were replicated synthetically by pharmaceutical companies because they affect the cardiovascular system in a positive way.
“Of course, there are always going to be some people who have a condition that can’t be treated through natural means and in those cases we work with medical doctors to support that.”
With the New Year just around the corner, I ask Jodi what advice she has for those seeking a more well rounded approach to their health in 2016.
“Find out what’s right for you, investigate your body, learn about your body. Everybody is different. I have very common food allergens but if I was to assume I had the same allergens as other people, I’m not going to get any answers and I’m still going to feel terrible every single day.
“Learn how to run the machine you own. If you can find the manual on how you function you can function at your optimum for the rest of your life. The goal is to be able to take advantage of this amazing thing you have which is your body and your brain and if your brain is working at its optimum you can have the most abundant happiness and energy.
“Without that optimum health function you are living a mediocre life and there is no need to do that. You have a choice. Choose to be healthy. Choose to be happy. Choose to have an abundant life. Choose to live the best life you can.”
And what of that 23-year-old chronically-ill girl back in Sydney? Where would she be now had she not listened to her body and taken a chance on alternate therapies?
“I know exactly who I would be,” says Jodi without hesitation. “I have seen patients who are there. I would be 20 kilos overweight. I would still be in severe pain. I would have severe depression. The level of medication I would have to take would not have allowed me to have children. I would never have been able to concentrate to study to complete a degree, my life would be so different. It would have been a parallel life and it all changed from meeting one person and being open enough to try something different.”
Well said Jodi. There’s a lesson in that for all of us.
Jodi’s top tips for a healthier you in 2016
• Always consider yourself; care for yourself as much as you do your loved ones, you then have the energy to pour into loving them.
• Don’t burn the candle at both ends; give yourself downtime, balance is the key to happiness.
• Be aware of your own mental and physical capacity, don’t overdo it.
• Know what food/diet suits you and stick to it, you’ll be surprised by how amazing life is when you feel your best in every way.
• HAVE work/play balance. Always have a goal to work towards, but not at the expense of happiness.