Guest: Nathan Cheong
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Nathan Cheong is the Managing Director of BioCeuticals. Prior to taking on the role of Managing Director, Nathan was the General Manager of Herbs of Gold a subsidiary of public listed company Vita Life Science. Nathan is a qualified Naturopath and Herbalist and holds degrees in Health Science, Science and Social Work. He currently sits on the Complementary Health Care Councils Complaints resolution panel and is a member of the Australian Institute of management.
Segment overview: Nathan Cheong, Managing Director of BioCeuticals and a qualified Naturopath and Herbalist, talks about his approach to health and the importance of practitioner advice alongside therapeutic supplements.
Health Professional Radio – Practitioner Advice
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. Thank you for joining us on the program today, I’m your host Neal Howard. Our guest in studio today is Mr. Nathan Cheong, Nathan has more than 13 years of experience in the complimentary medicine industry as Managing Director of BioCeuticals, the largest physician only complimentary medicine manufacturer and distributor in Australia. And he’s here today to discuss with us his approach to health and the importance of practitioner advice along with therapeutic supplements. Welcome to Health Professional Radio Nathan Cheong.
Nathan Cheong: Thanks for having me Neal.
N: Thank you. You’ve got a lot of years of experience in the complimentary medicine industry. Were you always in the complimentary medicine industry?
C: Well I’ve been in the complimentary medicine industry for well probably it’s more like 20 years now, I think 13 years as a Managing Director and General Manager. Prior to that I was a practitioner for around 7-8 years, so have I always been in the complimentary medicine? Not necessarily the complimentary medicine industry, I have got a background in psychology and social work and worked in the hospital system here in Australia as a social worker and psychologist and prior to that though my approach to health has been, I guess has always been as holistic as it should have been and well my, I have my parents to thank for introducing me to naturopathy and introducing me to naturopathic practitioners while I was growing up and then for the Australians who are listening they would have, they would remember Dorothy Hall and Dorothy Hall was my mother’s, she was the mother of naturopathic medicine in Australia. She was my mom’s practitioner and she took me to see her as well, so I’ve been exposed to it, I’ve been I guess reengage with naturopathic medicine as I was getting around my mid-20s, late-20s and it really opened my eyes to what could be possible with naturopathic intervention and holistic approach to people’s health. And so I’ve been and that’s really what’s…my interest and I started studying a little bit and got deeper and deeper involved and really it kind of, it sucked me in to the point where I completed my studies in naturopathic medicine. In Australia we’re advanced to…of naturopathy and then you can convert that into a degree to a bachelor of health science and that’s what I did. And so that has sort of got me into my clinical practice and I practiced in the clinic, I also had a health food store which I’ve had started and then I moved into the corporate space of complementary medicine where I felt that I can make an even more, not too much on more of it, more of a different but certainly a different approach to the complementary medicine industry.
N: Are the differences between a naturopath and an herbalist small differences or are there huge differences in the two?
C: No, they’re very, very small. In fact naturopaths will study herbal medicine through their training and so they will get a three years with the herbal medicine training. An herbalist might also do an extra couple of years of herbal medicine, so they might go on into advanced herbal medicine or they might go into a masters in herbal medicine. The differences really between herbalists and naturopaths in Australia is with regards to herbalists don’t study nutrition. So within their training, they are predominantly focused on the symptomology, diagnosis and pathology, they do herbal medicine, they do anatomy and physiology. So they do all the hard sciences and then they complement that with herbal medicine and then naturopathy we also supplement with nutrition and nutritional studies as well. We touch a little bit of homeopathy and body work.
N: Now do you subscribe to an integrative approach as far as traditional pharmaceuticals and these natural remedies?
C: Yeah, I think it’s really important to know it that the allopathic medicine, GPs, physicians have a very important part to play in people health’s and wellness and therefore a lot of our customers, a lot of our health care professionals who are customers of BioCeuticals treat very much in an integrative way. So they have a traditional approach to their patients but they then subjugate that with I guess a philosophy of holism and understanding that we aren’t just treating the symptom but we need to go to the core. We need to understand the root cause and then support that person on their health journey through naturopathic medicine and herbal medicine and other modalities that they may practice. So an integrative approach for my self is taking up a combination of areas and expertise in that for health care professional toolbox and applying those appropriately. It also might mean that they work with other specialists in their areas that they might work with a cardiologist or urologist and but at the same time they have a very healthy relationship with those other modalities and specialties that they’re working with to ensure that they pass that information backwards and forwards. So always at the center of the care is the patient, so the patient isn’t just the condition, the patient is a person first and foremost and that our job as health care professionals is to ensure that we align the best modalities to ensure that that person’s health and wellness is at peace at the center of what they’re trying to do, which is really what I consider to be personalized medicine and the practice of personalized medicine.
N: You worked in a hospital setting with traditional practitioners, what type of reception did you receive when dealing with the importance of advice from practitioners who may not be naturopaths or herbalists who as it here in the United States not getting a lot of training or any training at all in nutrition much as an herbalist. Being on staff there in a hospital in the traditional sense, what type of reception or interaction in your experience occurred?
C: Well it’s little to no interaction in… so whilst I was also finishing my training as a naturopath I had the opportunity to work in a mental health setting. So this was a chronic mental health institution where patients were experiencing acute mental health episodes. They were hospitalized for short periods of time, they have their treatment stabilized and then they were put back out in the community, that was kind of…and then there was a medium term sort of care and then some long term care and the most important thing for me was that the nutritional status that the individuals who have suffered from acute mental health episodes, chronic mental health episodes, in and out of hospital settings, were just the nutrition of these patients unfortunately were really, really poor and so bringing up for my perspective whenever I was in a setting where we would talk about the month’s case and I would bring out the person’s diet, their lifestyle and potentially other interventions around vitamin therapy. I guess it was always received courteously but definitely there wasn’t a willingness to look at this in any serious light. So whilst that was my experience in that particular hospital, I can’t necessarily draw any conclusions across the rest of the traditional hospital network but I do know that there are really good work, there’s really good work being done in pockets around Australia in hospital settings that are treating people with cancer and so they’re recognizing the importance of nutritional health and wellness interventions around meditation, mindfulness, herbal medicine, nutritional therapies, ensuring that was incredibly healthy and they’re really in my opinion this is where we need to be looking and we need to be holding these… as trailblazers and these guys who are being credibly plagued by tackling these are really getting some really good benefit for their patients and the if the proof will always gonna be in the pudding and it’s these…patents who expect quality of life through treatment their outcomes start to improve and there are a lot of different clinical trials and research that’s being done in institutions that are demonstrating the benefits of a holistic approach to a patient’s care and I keep coming back to that holistic terminology and what I mean by that is that the patient is not the disease, we’re not talking about someone with “John with cancer” we’re talking about “John who happens to suffer from a cancer” but we are most interested in John as a person and how we can actually get him well and optimize his health.
N: And not just worrying about John as the disease. I get that.
C: Absolutely, yeah. That’s right.
N: Well thank you for coming in with us today Nathan, it’s been a pleasure. I’m hoping that you’ll come back and speak with us in some other segments.
C: Yeah, that’ll be great.
N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. In studio today with Mr. Nathan Cheong, Managing Director of BioCeuticals and he’s been in studio with us talking about his approach to health care and the importance of practitioner advice alongside therapeutic supplements. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm and you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.