“Empathy and a trusting relationship are two very significant factors in a client’s overall journey and success” clients with digestive concerns and auto-immune conditions. Perhaps it is thanks to increased awareness from the media? I don’t go a day without seeing new headlines about the gut microbiome and its significance on our health! I also see a wide variety of auto-immune sufferers who are turning to the power of positive nutrition to help manage their symptoms. This includes those suffering with multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis and vitiligo. I also work very closely with those who suffer with eczema, PCOS, thyroid issues and adrenal fatigue.
NAME: Clarissa Lenherr. WEBSITE: www.clarissalenherr.com. QUALIFICATIONS: DIP-NT, BA (Hons), mBANT, mCNHC, mANT. TRAINING: DIP-NT from The College of Natural Medicine.
How long did it take for you to qualify? Three years.
Where do you practise? Charterhouse Clinic in Marylebone, London and I also work with clients in their workplaces and on Skype.
What’s your main therapy/ modality and why?
Nutritional Therapy. I truly believe in the power of food and nutrients as medicine. As they say, we are what we eat (and digest!). One of the principles of nutritional therapy that really resonates with me is the idea that we must look at the body as a whole interconnected web of systems, organs and cells, rather than focusing on one part as an isolated entity. Often, the root cause of what clients come to see me for is multifactorial, which requires investigating someone’s entire health holistically.
Why did you decide to become a practitioner? My fascination with health and nutrition came from my own personal journey of struggling for years with digestive issues. Once I learned how to heal myself through food, I knew I had to do something armed with this knowledge and passion. I choose to go back and study (I had a BA in history) to equip me with the skills and knowledge to 44
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What do you find the easiest to work with?
help others who suffer like I had for many years before.
How long have you been in practice?
Three years. I started my practice the day I qualified and have never looked back. I had been waiting for three years, so when the time came, I quit my job in marketing and dove into the deep end!
Who or what has been the main influence/inspiration on your practice? Dr Mark Hyman and Amelia Freer are two of my absolute inspirations. Mark Hyman,
because I really appreciate how accessible he makes nutrition concepts. I fully support his practice of getting to the root cause of illnesses through functional medicine. I love Amelia’s work: her recipes, her books and her principle of positive nutrition. She was my inspiration to become a nutritional therapist.
What conditions or types of client do you see most?
I have found that over my career this has varied enormously. For a while it was weight loss, but currently I see a great deal of
I think I find digestive issues the “easiest” to work with, as for many years as a young adult, I suffered with digestive symptoms. So I understand what my clients are going through, both physically and mentally. I really believe that empathy and a trusting relationship are two very significant factors in a client’s overall journey and success.
What is your favourite type of client? Anyone who is willing to take a leap of faith and truly believe in the power of nutrition.
What one thing is absolutely essential to you in your practice?
Functional testing – bloods, stool, saliva and even genetics. For the kind of concerns I am helping clients with, it is often vital to do further investigating. This allows me to have an absolute picture of their health.
Do you enhance your business with any projects outside of your clinic? Absolutely! I frequently contribute and write for different publications on new and emerging health trends/ news and I often comment for online publications such as Red magazine, Metro, StyleNest, Sheerluxe and others. I have my own blog, but I don’t write as often as I would like to. I love getting in the kitchen and experimenting with new ingredients and recipes, which I often share on my Instagram feed when I can’t get around to posting on my blog. Last year, I launched a workplace wellness company, Nutrigx (http://nutrigx.com), with another CNM nutritional therapist (whom I met while studying) and have thoroughly enjoyed working on this side of my business. It is also great to have a partner to work with whom you can bounce off ideas, especially nutrition-related ones! We work together to offer workshops and seminars to workplaces to help them boost their productivity, health and
happiness. My favourite is our sleep health workshop, as it is something I think is incredibly crucial and often overlooked. I also work for a personalised supplement and blood testing company, advising their clients on nutrition. I am constantly presented with new parameters and client results (these are often complicated) and this pushes me to continually keep up to date with the science.
Which CAM book has helped or inspired you most, so far in your career? All of Mark Hyman’s books have been very inspirational. He takes dietary fads and throws them out of the window and provides you with evidence-based, nutrition and lifestyle guidance for optimal health. My favorite so far has been Food, What the Heck Should I Eat? I have also thoroughly enjoyed reading Dr Giles Yeo’s Gene
Eating which goes deep into the science of obesity and strips back the nonsense around fad diets. I have taken a huge amount from reading his work, and this has opened my eyes to the world of genetic variances and shaped my practice significantly. I now have a real passion for using genetic testing in my clinic. Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep has been a personal gamechanger and really highlighted my interest in sleep. It is now a topic that I actively invest hours into researching. I even offer workplaces a talk dedicated to the importance of sleep, and I love teaching my clients how vital sleep is for their mental and physical health.
Why do you do what you do?
Learning about nutrition and being my own guinea-pig literally transformed my life. I have been in that position where you feel utterly hopeless – where you start believing your symptoms and the way you feel must not be real, and when no allopathic practitioner or medicine has helped find the cause or alleviate the symptoms that you feel every day. Over time and through studying, experimenting, a few stumbles and tough times, I managed to get to the root cause of my digestive ailments, and AUGUST 2019 I ihcan-mag.com
inpractice Case study
“Bloating” and gut troubles
fixed myself through nutrition and lifestyle changes. Knowing that I can do that for other people is what makes me happy and what gets me out of bed on my bad days… and my good days.
If money, time and effort were no object, what one thing would you change about your practice or complementary and alternative medicine in general?
The golden question! I think for complementary medicine as a whole, I would love to raise awareness of the benefits and the results that you can achieve if you invest and believe in alternative medicine. I have seen a massive shift over the past couple of years, but I think there is still a long way to go. It would be fantastic if more people out there realised what you can do through nutritional therapy, acupuncture, herbal medicine etc. The opportunities are endless. For my own practice, I would love to go back and study again. I am really keen to do my Masters in Clinical Nutrition.
What piece of advice would you give to newly qualified practitioners who are just setting up a business?
Stick with it. It can be quite disheartening when your plans don’t always play out the way
you want them to. For a long time, I found the inconsistency of client inquiries very difficult, and would find it really impacted my confidence. Over time, I realised that there were other things I could do as a nutritional therapist when business was calmer. I started offering workplace workshops and now spread my time between this arm of my business and clinic, which gives me more stability.
What is the biggest challenge you face as a practitioner?
At the beginning, my biggest challenge was getting clients. But over time as this ramped up and I found my feet, I have found one of my principle challenges is finding enough “me-time”. Because I love what I do, it doesn’t always feel like work to me. Hours and days can drift before I realise I haven’t had some time off or invested in myself, and I think that is so incredibly important.
My client Samantha came to see me after half a decade of suffering with bloating, low immunity and what she termed “food intolerances”. She had reached the point where she could no longer pinpoint which foods triggered her symptoms, her energy was depleted and her mood was low. Samantha made a huge effort to eat healthily, but she felt that everything she ate, no matter if it was healthy or not, triggered her symptoms. She had been taking a probiotic, but found this made her feel no better. When I investigated her health history with her, we found out that she had spent a few months travelling around East Asia and had suffered with some form of “food poisoning” which she had been hospitalised for. Since then, she had also noticed that she suffered with low immunity and often caught bugs/colds/flu. I decided to run a parasitology test to check parasites, protozoa and opportunistic bacteria levels. The parasitology test revealed a Blastocystis hominis infection and high levels of multiple opportunistic bacteria. I also sent her for a blood test to check for any nutrient deficiencies, which showed low levels of B12 and iron. This made total sense, as her comprised digestive system was impacting her ability to absorb nutrients from her food, which in turn would be impacting her energy
We often tell people to de-stress and take time for themselves, but one of the hardest things is actually taking our own advice! I now schedule a non-negotiable two hours a week to invest in rest and do something for me. That can
levels and mood. To help Samantha with this infection, I used a number of different herbs including oil of oregano and berberine, digestive enzymes and dietary changes. I asked her to reduce her consumption of gluten grains and dairy for four weeks, to also consider if these were triggering her symptoms, and provided her with a food diary to complete so we could monitor her symptoms. She focused on anti-inflammatory foods and herbs to help heal her gut and nutrient-rich meals to help with her nutritional deficiencies – meals filled with colourful fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
Outcome After six weeks, Samantha came back to see me in with a new lease of life. She had increased energy, less bloating and, as an unintentional side-effect, her skin had a new glow. I am still working with her on the next stages of her protocol, where we reintroduce foods and reinoculate her gut with friendly and good bacteria and get her re-introducing foods that she can tolerate. She is also keen to start a family, so once her digestive symptoms are fully repaired, I will be working with her to ensure she reaches optimal health and is prepared to support her body through pregnancy.
be having a massage, a long bath, cooking, colouring-in or watching a film. Although I would like to commit to more than two hours in the future, for now this is what I can give to myself, and like most things, it is a work in progress. IHCAN
We know our practitioners are quietly getting on with changing people’s lives, every day – and we want to celebrate and share the inspiration. In Practice is coordinated by regular contributor Rebecca Smith, who runs a successful practice of her own, established 20 years ago. Contact her direct to be part of the feature: firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Twitter: @NCHealthClinic.
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