When I was 12 tartan was in.  Like, really in.  And I rode that tartan wave as far as it could go, arguably beyond where it should go…I had a tartan bowtie I wore. 🙄 I knew it was on trend because I saw it flashed across magazine covers (we never bought them so I couldn’t tell you what was inside!), my pop icons wore it and many of my fellow grad sixers had various tartan clothing items and accessories. It was a real overload for the eyes when we congregated together as a group of girls, on the town in our tartan, I am sure. All I can say is, thank goodness, we didn’t have the internet and socials. Why? Because it would have been far worse. Because now we have constant comparison to others, an acute awareness of daily dizzying escalation of things ‘trending’ and ultimately, in spite of these aesthetics perhaps originating from something original- ultimately perpetuating a loss of originality and distinction across those that ‘follow’ and ‘watch’ and ‘aspire’. I would have been a true follower and done worse than even my bowtie.

I feel so privileged to be a mentor to the next gen of naturopaths, nutritionists and herbalists and I worry about how this aspect is impacting them, their sense of themselves, the sense of who clients ‘want’ or ‘expect’ them to be and present.

Are you seeing what I’m seeing?  When I look at websites of many early-career practitioners I’m struck by their ‘sameness’.  Lots of white space background offsetting particular on-trend fonts, extraordinary high quality ‘visual food porn’ (there I said it!)  and of course lots of smiling, beautiful, young women often wearing linen (hardly a man in sight btw… hmmmmmm).  It’s me and the tartan all over again.  But at least I wasn’t trying to run a business that is based on communicating that I and the service I offer is accessible, relatable and inclusive, to any potential patients that happen to have found their way to my website! Older women, men, LGBTQIA+ individuals, people of different cultural backgrounds, or those with a disability.  Let alone, just people with minimal or zero interest, confidence or competency in cooking!  That includes me. When I look at some of these pages I instantly go, ‘No, not interested’, because it appears the path to health with this practitioner necessitates making vegan miso brownies decorated with rose petals and, you know what, I choose to spend my time doing other things! Brutal, but honest. We also need to remember that if we are reducing ourselves to pretty pictures and creators of healthy food we may distance ourselves further from other modalities and we may also limit people’s (patients and practitioners) understanding of how we work and what we offer. Now, of course, there will be plenty of patients to whom these same aesthetics appeal greatly.

But I have 3 questions we should all ask ourselves semi-regularly about our online presence:
1. Does this appeal to a large enough group of individuals to sustain a business?
2. Are the same individuals who ‘like’ & ‘follow’ your Insta stories also likely to pay to engage in a therapeutic relationship? Or are they there for the free *Insta Inspa* (aka inspiration)?
3. What are we communicating to potential and existing patients about what it takes to be healthy? An abundance of time, good genes, looks & money for all those ingredients & gorgeous clothes?

With Erica Mcintyre and colleagues survey mapping patterns of engagement with nats & herbalists, from the largest to date nationally representative sample of the Australian population, revealing that men and women were equally likely to have seen a naturopath or herbalist in the past 12mo and that,  approx only 1/4 of our patients come for ‘wellness’, without any chronic health condition, while a striking 16% present with 5 or more chronic health diagnoses, I wonder if we all need to rethink who we want & need to appeal and ‘speak’ to. Having had a wonderful conversation with Gill Stannard Naturopath & Mentor in preparation for my mentoring of New Grads this year, bouncing this and many more topics between us, I feel there is a need for us all to regularly reflect on our ‘messaging’, no matter what the medium,  not just as individual practitioners and business owners but as a bigger professional group.  I’m going to start campaigning to ‘bring back the tartan’, who’s with me? 

The MasterCourse in Comprehensive Diagnostics I is finally here as a self-paced learning program you can undertake yourself.  We know you’ll get as much out of it as those who attended live:

“I thought my pathology skills were pretty up there until I did Rachel’s Diagnostic MasterCourse! Nothing like being knocked off my perch by a literal avalanche of new information, especially when it comes from the most commonly tests that we all use so often. The course has been a fantastic learning opportunity for me, and has since helped me pick out many intricacies in cases that have previously been missed.”
– Rohan Smith | Clinical Nutritionist

MasterCourse 1: Comprehensive Diagnostics is a self-paced online program
Gives you access to 24+ hours of streamed video presentations2 x Bonus Update in Under 30 episodes (The Calcium Conspiracy & Using Urea to Creatinine Values for Protein Adequacy) PLUS resources, a template and pdfs of all presentations. This package includes $200 worth of bonus material and remains forever in your online account. You will also receive access to any future updates of resources and our template. More information can be found here.

Please note completion of MC I is a pre-requisite for MasterCourse II that will be delivered live in the second half of 2021.