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Insights from a Naturopath: A focus on Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome)

The Australian Traditional-Medicine Society (ATMS) recently interviewed one of our amazing practitioners who is hosting a Natural Medicine Week event in 2019. Check out the Q and A from Gabi Giacomin who provides her naturopathic insights. 

Introducing our practitioner 

Gabi Giacomin is the Founder and Director of The Conscious Pod, a Naturopath and mother of a child with Trisomy 21. She began consulting as a Naturopath in 2000 and has worked at two natural medicine clinics and an integrative medical practice. Gabi specialises in treating people with Trisomy 21 (T21). Gabi received a Highly Commended Award from ATMS + Nature & Health Magazine for Practitioner of the Year in 2018.  

 

How did you get into natural medicine and why? 

Like many practitioners, I was trying to fix my own health issues and was raised in a family that weren’t particularly health conscious. As I got older, I became more interested in finding out about health and it inspired me to learn more.  

 

What do you specialise in?  

I specialise in treating people with Trisomy 21 (T21) or Down SyndromeAs a naturopath, I focus on diet and nutrition, and herbal medicine to support the biochemistry of a person with T21. Until recently, T21 was considered a syndrome – that is, it was a set of symptoms with an unknown aetiology and people thought a syndrome couldn’t be changed. Since the mapping of the human genome in 2000, we now understand every chromosome, including chromosome 21 and its associated genes. Some of these genes are now well characterised, that means we know how they work in the body. So, I don’t think we can say T21 is a syndrome anymore. We know what causes the characteristics associated with having an extra 21st chromosome and we know how to support the body to cope with having an extra chromosome.  

 

Why are you passionate about Trisomy 21? 

I decided to specialise in this area as it was really divine intervention. I was just finishing a Masters in Natural Medicine when I became pregnant with my daughter that has T21. It was only natural for me to throw myself into it and try to understand everything about T21 that I possibly could. I understand the stress that comes with having a child with special needs and I love seeing the children thrive and their parents manage their child’s diagnosis as well as they can.  

 

Do you have any tips for what to ask or expect when visiting a practitioner? 

Your practitioner needs to understand there is complex biochemistry causing the symptoms of a person with T21. Their body doesn’t work the same way as a typical person. It’s much more sensitive to supplements and diet. There are many great bodyworkers treating T21, and if you are looking to work with one, I would look for someone who has worked with people with T21 before, and I would ask if they’ve had good results. When looking for a Chiropractor or Osteopath, you just want someone who is fun with children and sensitive to their needs.  

 

What types of health issues, ailments or illnesses do people come to you for help with? 

There is a wide spectrum of pathologies that come with T21 ranging from heart holes, pulmonary hypertension, seizures, sleep apnea, autism, regression, failure to thrive, poor immunity, anemia and much more.   

 

What types of therapy would you recommend or administer to improve the patients’ health, reduce discomfort or prevent further issues? 

I’m a naturopath, so my treatment is holistic and the main therapies that I use are nutrition and herbal medicine.  For example, in some cases, I help people improve their diet and support their immune system. In more serious cases I test neurotransmitters, methylation, dysbiosis, heavy metals and mineral imbalances. 

 

Is your approach preventative, pain management or to complement another treatment or all three? 

My approach is preventative in the sense that I am trying to make the body healthier and stronger, to avoid many of the pathologies listed above. I also work with sufferers by helping them get onto a healthy diet, by taking supplements to help support the extra chromosome, to promote a healthy and strong body.  

 

What are the benefits or outcomes to the client? 

I work with a couple of colleagues in the United States who have been treating people with T21 for many years using nutrition and herbs. There are various case studies of children becoming stronger and healthier using supplements and herbs to support their health development. Essentially, if a person with T21 is on a healthy diet, taking supplements to support the expression of the extra chromosome, testing for other imbalances and supporting the body in health as much as possiblecan resolve many health issues. 

 

How long did it take for these results to take place? 

Working with people with T21 can take anywhere from 1 consultation to a lifetime of treatment depending on the severity of their condition. 

 

Tell us about your Natural Medicine Week event. 

I am hosting a webinar during Natural Medicine Week, focusing on an Optimum Diet for people with T21. Even when using various nutrients such as supplements and herbs to support your health, diet always comes first. I will present easy dietary strategies that parents can implement immediately to support the health and development of their children. 

 

Please see below for more information on Gabi’s webinar:  

Optimum Diet for Down Syndrome on Monday 20 May at 7:30pm – Register here! 
 

For more information, visit Gabi’s website: www.theconsciouspod.com  

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