Interview with naturopath Emma Withers
I liken being around Emma Withers to walking into a bright, thriving garden with an ecosystem buzzing with life and complexity all around me. Her excited insights on nature and its value to humans come flying at me faster than I can open my exercise book and record them. Her raw energy makes me want to tap into what drives the passion to guide people toward the healing power of their natural world.
I instantly find out that Emma is driven by a strong physical and emotional connection she felt with the earth before she can even remember. It is this powerful connection that continues to inspire her to share her impressive knowledge in this increasingly disconnected world.
This natural connection also led a 12-year-old Emma to find out what the word ‘Naturopath’ meant, as she read it in a career article in Dolly magazine, (of all places) in 1989. It instantly made complete sense to her that this was what she was born to be.
Fast forward 20 years and Emma starts to fulfil that dream by being one of only seven people chosen in Australia for a scholarship to study at the Endeavour College of Natural Health where she completed a Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy).
Emma took nine and a half years to complete this degree. Over this time, she chose to start working in the Health and Wellness industry with some of the best natural practitioners in Australia. She humbly contributes her expertise to being able to study and simultaneously, see first-hand, experienced naturopaths at work. She was able to make on-the-job, real life connections to her theoretical studies which further cemented her skills and knowledge.
I wanted to know even more about what inspires Emma and where the passion for nature came from that colours her whole life. Emma shares some childhood stories that help me understand how deep these issues run in her.
She vividly remembers being aware of the moon and seasons from a young age and memorising the complete moon cycles and watching for each phase every night on her hometown property. This memory imprinted her life deeply as her understanding grew of how human health and behaviour are affected by the moon.
She was also acutely aware of food and its effect on her. (I can tell this is true today as she thoughtfully blends me the best smoothie I’ve ever had filled with berries, nuts, some dairy free milk and a number of other superfoods). Emma tells me of asking her mum for a Lebanese roll from the health food shop with tahini and sunflower seeds while her brother enjoyed a fast food cheeseburger meal as their Friday take-out treat. She recalls that she didn’t even really like tahini much but knew how good it felt when she ate it. She tries to explain to me how food like chips in packets, yellow square cheese and white bread just never made sense as food to her.
A young and definite Emma would explain her eating habits to others as her ‘Jesus’ diet! Simple food from nature the way it was a long time ago. Jesus must have been the only figure head she could think of before the industrial revolution!
I would explain Emma as a rare asset to the world but for her, being this way was not always easy. She felt different to those around her. Her peers did not understand her passion for good, unprocessed natural food and the burning need to physically connect with nature. Fiercely uncompromising in her beliefs, she was an enigma to her friends and family. She equally found it hard to believe other people just didn’t get it! It confused her and she would often sink into anxiety and sadness when she saw the damage we were doing to the earth and ourselves.
Some of her drive to find natural answers also stems from a string of sickness she experienced from ages 13-21 including glandular fever leading to chronic fatigue and a reoccurring case of tonsillitis. She knew there must be a better way and felt constantly let down by the orthodox medical health system with their constant prescription of antibiotics that were doing more harm to her body than good.
In her early 20s, Emma began piecing together her experiences and innate natural knowledge to realise how the moon, nature, food and health were all connected. She then realised this understanding did not come naturally to most people. So grew her compassion for people who were disconnected from nature and searching for guidance to find their way back. She decided to dedicate her life to teaching those people how to start healing in unison with nature.
I asked Emma if she could give us some tips on how we can start to improve our own health straight away. Her advice was simple.
- Invest in a quality water filter that cleans and alkalises your drinking water, reduces fluoride and chlorine and other impurities such as lead. Check out this statement by enHealth referring to lead found in Australian drinking water through plumbing parts.
- Make sure you have some exposure to sunshine every day (of course while being sun smart). Sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of serotonin which is associated with boosting mood and helping you feel calm and focused.
- Eat certified organic food where possible. To help, Emma refers to the Dirty Dozen, foods we should be sourcing organically. Related to this, she advises washing your fruit and veggies with this FDA recommended Veggie Wash you can make yourself. You just don’t know what and who has touched your fruit and veg before you get them!
- Lastly and my personal favourite: Take the time to ground yourself in nature every day. Tend to a garden, walk in a park or the bush with bare feet, stop and listen to the birds or get into the ocean for a splash swim or float. Those negative ions are great for relaxation, reducing stress and anxiety plus other great benefits.
Emma goes on to explain that spending time each day in nature not only improves our health in countless ways but also builds an appreciation of its healing power. We must be motivated to look after it’s resources, understand it and love it because the human race depends on it. How better to do that than to spend quality time with nature?
I could really grasp this connection when Emma described people as living reflections of the earth. She believes our pain and sickness is the earth’s pain and sickness. We breathe its air, eat its produce, drink its water and use it to protect us from the elements. The exciting part is that with some collective knowledge and action we actually have the opportunity to heal the earth and in turn, heal ourselves.
If we all figure out how to love and respect the earth it will provide all that we need…..naturally.
Bio: Emma Withers was born in 1977 in Kalgoorlie and now lives in Perth Western Australia. Emma is a close family friend who also advised us in the formulation stage of our deodorant blends. She is now a regular user of our Pure Deodorant blend.
Emma currently works at the Perth Naturopathy Herbal Clinic with some of the best Naturopaths in Perth. Her most valued part of naturopathy is the use of botanical medicines and witnessing how they improve people’s lives on a wholistic level.
Emma’s dream is to open a clinic that provides subsidised naturopathic therapies to indigenous Australians in line with their culture and pre western dietary influences.
You can reach Emma through the Perth Naturopathic and Herbal Clinic and head to the contact page.
We thank Emma for her time and generous spirit and feel honoured to be allowed to share her story with others.