By: Verne Maree
Brit Lisa McConnell is one of three highly qualified holistic health practitioners at Balanced Living. This “centre of wellness” offers services ranging from health consultations, weight loss and detox programmes to yoga, meditation and functional sports nutrition – even a health food outlet, called The Living Café.
What attracted you and your colleagues to this field?
Our founder, Dana Heather, and I came from corporate backgrounds, whereas Menka Gupta is a medical doctor who has adopted a more holistic approach. Each of us knows from personal experience that juggling long working hours, studying and family can lead to your own health being compromised. Happily, we three are living proof that it’s possible to turn things around and to achieve vibrant health – and our aim is to help others do the same.
How would you describe your approach to health?
Very client-centred, very personalised. It’s based on Functional Medicine, a holistic yet scientifically grounded approach to health and wellbeing. As we’re trained to understand how nutrients and other food components influence the functions of the body, protect against disease and restore health, we’re able to work with any health condition.
What would a nutritional consultation involve?
It would start with a thorough investigation of your health history, as well as family history. Funnily, many people find this part tricky: they forget that they were often sick as a child and were given a lot of antibiotics; or they have to ask relatives whether they had a natural birth, and if they were breast-fed.
We’re also aware that traumatic events can trigger life-long stress in both mind and body. In fact, when looking for triggers we take into consideration your whole environment, your spirituality, family and social connections and more.
Once you’ve identified a source of nutritional imbalance, say, how do you advise a client?
We work with the client to rebalance his or her diet, and possibly recommend supplements for further support. That said, treatment is highly individualised, so no two patients are likely to receive the same advice.
If it appears from your history that your hormones are being disrupted by xenoestrogens – and this is far more common than one might think – you might benefit from detoxification, perhaps through fasting.
For someone with post-traumatic stress disorder, we could offer referral for counselling; we could suggest yoga or meditation therapy; and we’d also want to support the adrenal glands, for example with a mixture of B vitamins and adaptogenic herbs.
Is it true that some people find it easier than others to change their diet?
Being client-centred means we work on the basis of what you are currently able and willing to do for your own and your family’s health. For example, if you’ve only recently arrived in Singapore and are still settling in, we’ll understand that you may not yet be prepared to make huge changes to your diet or the family routine. But even small changes can do a lot of good.
This story first appeared in Expat Living’s May 2015 issue.