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Practitioner of the Year 2022 Winner Q&A

By Jayne Sharpham
from Jayne Sharpham Naturopathics

What is your chosen accredited natural medicine practice?

Jayne Sharpham, Naturopathics. We are a naturopathic and nutritional medicine clinic.

What drew you to focus on this type of natural medicine?

I was always interested in nutrition as a child and loved making potions from leaves in the backyard. When I was in my teens my mother suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome and I saw how she battled to find support and get better, and this drew me into this field as it offered her support and healing. I was offered work in my local health food store as a late teen and this grew my love for this industry.

Has this always been your focus, or did you originally focus on another area of natural medicine / work in a different industry?

I studied naturopathy after my HSC. I knew this is what I wanted to do. I have grown to love the pathology side of health and putting more complex cases together. I have enjoyed learning about nutrigenomics also.

What is your motivation to deliver this type of care for your clients?

I want people to feel heard. I want them to know that there is hope for them when they are battling complex chronic health issues, especially when they have been provided no solutions elsewhere. I love being able to find answers for clients and help them improve the quality of their lives. I am also passionate about providing naturopathy to clients in a rural area; people here deserve quality health care just as much as those living in the city.

How does your type of natural medicine support your clients in reaching their health goals?

It helps them reach their health goals by looking at the big picture about the possible driving factors of a health issue. Fixing the client’s diet, helping them with their gut health, reducing their stress, working on lifestyle factors, supporting their hormones etc are all ways in which health goals are improved and are part of the prevention of health issues.

How is the perception of natural medicine changing in Australia?

I think it is becoming more widely accepted as a way to help prevent disease. I have certainly seen in my time more acceptance of a naturopathic philosophy becoming more mainstream, such as the gut being the root of illness. We are seeing more acceptance of the importance of the gut microbiome and its impact on mental health, and other health issues. As auto-immune disease rates increase, mental health issues increase, and as our population ages, I think we are seeing more people look to natural medicine to help manage, maintain or prevent health issues, often alongside mainstream medicine to assist their health. I think the recent pandemic has made people reach out for more ways they can support their immune systems, mental health and manage post viral symptoms.

Why are you passionate about your type of natural medicine? 

Because I can see how it improves quality of life for my clients! I can see how clients battle to find answers or to be heard and I love how naturopathy can assist them. I love that we can support a wide variety of age groups.

What are some of the ways you advocate for the natural therapies industry?

 Consistency working with clients and working alongside local GPs and specialists where possible, participating in community talks, writing articles for a local magazine, winning a local business award for customer service in health, promoting natural medicine and providing information on social media and via blog posts on my website, and finally helping naturopathy students with clinical hours.

What does the future of natural medicine look like to you?

I hope to see wider acceptance of naturopaths with mainstream medicine. I can see gut microbiome science becoming widely accepted and natural medicine flourishing in this area. I want to keep providing the services we provide to our local community and continue to grow the practice.

What does it mean to you to have won this award?

 It was a lovely surprise! It’s lovely to be recognised amongst my peers and industry leaders, especially after 18 years in the industry. It is wonderful the work we are doing in Zambia is acknowledged – but not for my own reward – so there is awareness of the need of these people. As a practitioner in a rural area, it has been isolating and difficult over the years and this award encourages me to keep going!

More about the author

Jayne Sharpham - Practitioner of the Year 2022
Jayne Sharpham
– Jayne Sharpham Naturopathics

Jayne Sharpham is the owner of Jayne Sharpham Naturopathics. She has a passion for natural health and loves to help clients achieve a greater sense of wellbeing. Jayne has worked in the natural health field for over 19 years as a naturopath and in health food management roles as well as pharmacy. She holds a Bachelor of Health Science, an Advanced Diploma in Western Herbal Medicine and Nutritional Medicine.