Here at the Centre we have a team of 14 practitioners offering a range of therapies. Although you may see one or two of us coming and going when you’re waiting for your appointment, only a few know us all. So we thought we’d introduce you through a series of interviews.
Homeopath Vicki Trudgen was kind enough to be our first interviewee. Vicki has been with the team since February 2018. She used to come to the Centre to see homeopath and transformative coach, Therese Boyle. After she graduated from her Diploma in Homeopathy (with distinction), Vicki knew she wanted to come and work with us. And I am delighted that she did. She’s slotted in beautifully with the rest of our team.
Tell us a little about yourself
I am a mother of 4 wonderful grown-up children and one beautiful 3 month old grandson. Family is very important to me.
I love being in nature – gardening, tramping, swimming and sailing. I live in Eastbourne but originally came from Taupo to Wellington when I was 17 to study occupational therapy. I left after the first year because I felt I needed more life experience to bring to the job.
I then did a secretarial course, which eventually led to me teaching secretarial students at Petone Polytech. I worked and travelled overseas for about 3 years with my now husband and I still love travelling. In my late twenties we bought a house in Eastbourne (where we still are now) and decided it was time to have a family. My third pregnancy was twins, which was when I first came across homeopathy.
That leads nicely into my next question…Why did you choose homeopathy?
It was because of my family’s positive response to it. It was gentle, effective and reduced the need for antibiotics and other allopathic medicine. That was what sold me on homeopathy.
I believed in keeping them well. They would go to the homeopath for physical complaints but the remedy prescribed would address both their physical and emotional needs. So rather than just being an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff homeopathy was a great health maintenance programme - a bit like getting your car serviced.
I sometimes use homeopathy alongside conventional medicine. For example, if I am going overseas I will get a vaccination when needed but I will also take homeopathic support to reduce the chance of a negative reaction to the vaccination.
So you used homeopathy for you and your family and then decided to study and become a homeopath yourself. Where did you study?
I studied at the College of Natural Health and Homeopathy, Auckland. I spent four years studying to gain a Diploma in Homeopathy, which is equivalent to an undergraduate degree. With homeopathy you never stop learning and ongoing study is a requirement and important for my professional development. I love that I can continue to learn and get the opportunity to attend seminars run by the masters of homeopathy.
What’s your most memorable experience of a homeopathy remedy?
When I was pregnant with the twins I developed a hernia and my midwife suggested homeopathy, as the doctors were telling me I would have to be in hospital one month before the birth. With a hernia you get a little tear in your gut that is usually sewn back up again with a small operation, but they obviously couldn’t do that until after the babies were born.
So I went to see the homeopath having no understanding of it at all. I had my eldest Nichola with me, she was 3 years old and very clingy due to an earache. The homeopath prescribed Pulsatilla for my daughter, which is a common childhood remedy made from a flower and the ear pain eased straightaway. For me she prescribed a remedy that enabled me to stay out of hospital, carry my children to full term and - guess what? - the hernia went away.
Are a lot of homeopathic remedies made from plants?
Yes, there are a lot of homeopathic remedies made from plants, they are also made from minerals, animal, disease products and other substances. There are over 4,000 remedies and they are being added to all the time. Most commonly people take the remedy in a small pill form.
Homeopathy is an energetic medicine. The art is finding the remedy that matches the personality and presenting picture of that person.
Why do you think people choose or don’t choose homeopathy?
I think they choose it because they want a natural safe medicine, and it is often recommended to them by friends and family that have had a positive response to homeopathy. Also, sometimes they choose it because nothing else has worked.
There is currently a lot of homeopathic research being done. For those that are interested in knowing more about homeopathy there are some links below.
If you’d like to get in touch with Vicki you can email her firstname.lastname@example.org
On Being the Safe Place to Land
To recognise the importance of Mental Helath Awareness week, our blog this week is presented by Una, our iRest Meditation Teacher.
Today is the start of Mental Health Awareness Week here in NZ. And it seems, on the whole, that we are becoming more attuned to the increase of anxiety and depression so many of us are now experiencing, either first-hand or as a friend or family member. In fact, as I write this, I can immediately think of at least two people who recently found the struggle too much to bear: Anthony Bourdain and Greg Boyed. And I am both sad and grateful to them. In death they have brought more attention to this issue. They make us pause and consider our own lives and what we might do differently to support those in such severe distress that taking their own life seems the only way out from under.
The stats certainly do shed light on the staggering reality of our mental health issue - (and I say “our” because it’s not just a matter of telling those struggling to deal with it, but a question of how we all come together to meet this issue.) In NZ, there is an alarming increase in the number of suicides, with 660 people killing themselves in 2016/17. And this number is on a steady yearly rise. To put these stats into perspective - the Ministry of Health reports that, amongst Maori men, only heart attacks and lung cancer caused more death than suicide. For non-Maori men, suicide is only superseded by heart attack as the leading cause of death.
Seriously, there are more men taking their own lives because of psychological distress than dying from stroke, car accidents and diabetes. And although women may not suicide as often as men, they are more likely to experience, and therefore be living with, anxiety and depression than their male counterparts. The Mental Health Foundation reports that, “These disorders [not a word I would choose] are in fact the leading cause of health loss amongst women in NZ.”
But the real question here is, what do we, as a community, do about all this? How do we actually meet those people that we share our living rooms and offices with? Those people feeling desperately overwhelmed that we share a classroom with? Our own children, friends and partners?
Many people, through no fault of their own, (maybe even the majority of people) simply do not know how to help and really be there for those feeling overwhelmed in life. If we’re honest, we might realise we don’t necessarily know how to be there for our own selves, how to meet our own thoughts and emotions. So if this is you, you are not alone. Maybe it makes us uncomfortable and we just want all this to go away, or for that friend to get over it. Or maybe we just don’t know what to say, so we offer solutions like “You have so much to be grateful for.” Or, “Go outside and get some fresh air. That will make you feel better.” Not having experienced such states of distress, we may not have an understanding that approaches the life experience of those who do. And as human beings, we generally want what seems bad, negative, or uncomfortable to go away. This is human nature in action. But we can learn to respond in a more compassionately powerful way.
I regularly see people in iRest meditation sessions that are dealing with acute or chronic stress. This is what I know from both my mindfulness-based work with anxiety and depression, and my personal experience living with them: trying to push away the uncomfortable only serves to make it grow into a stronger presence in your life, just like adding fuel to the proverbial fire. And that fuel is emotionally expensive for all involved. It’s exhausting to pretend nothing is wrong, or to live in a state of war with ourselves.
Trying to hide from, refuse, bury, or paint a positive picture over what you are experiencing is psychologically and emotionally costly. Anxiety and depression (and the beliefs behind them) need to be seen, heard and connected to, just like the people in our lives who deal with them do.
So here are some real-life ways to become the safe landing place for the people in your life who may be in pain, and the emotions and beliefs that you yourself might be feeling outdone by:
Mental health is everyone’s responsibility - not just the ones who are suffering. The way we speak to ourselves and others, the way we fully meet (or fail to meet) what, in this present moment, is making itself known, is the difference between thriving and suffering. Let’s stop aspiring to just being happy every moment of our lives and realise that happiness is only really possible because of the pain that exists in contrast to it. Life is not always black or white, there is an awful lot of grey in the mix too. And that’s not just normal, this is how we live in harmony with life itself. There is pure perfection in all our imperfections as well.
iRest Meditation Teacher
When we had our son the Centre had been going for just under a year. I was already connected with fellow acupuncturists and through my work I knew osteopaths, massage therapists and homeopaths that I trusted.
Thinking about health, looking after myself and others was a part of my life already.... and it was surprise to me how stressful it could be to look after this new little being, make the right choices for him and for me. It took me a while to realise it's not about always trying to find the “right choices”, it's about making the choices that felt right to me. That might just sound like semantics, but for me it was a bit of an epiphany.
Seven and a bit years into being a mum and it is easier. I've learnt a lot about myself and my family. A decent night's sleep and a bit of alone time is a good solution for most things. Sometimes I feel like I've 'got it' and then there are the times when it feels overwhelming....and that's when I look around for a little guidance.
My current 'go tos' are very different to when we had a baby. Back then it was more about the practicalities for keeping him alive. My copy of the La Leche book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is very well worn as a result of many late night readings whilst breastfeeding. The Space programe run by Playcentre was a life changer. I met two of my closest friends in this parenting journey there, as well as learning a lot about how my baby was going to grow and change. These days I turn to Nurturing Little Souls blog written by local mum Julie Louisson and Growth Mindset information and resources by Big Life Journal.
If you'd interested to find out a bit about how we work with new families here at the Centre, check out our Support for new families page.
And if you are a mum or dad reading this, know that you are doing a great job!
love, Claire xx
Mum, acupuncturist and business owner