Zoe Hunt is passionate about natural health and alleviating the impact that health imbalances may have on everyday family life. As a qualified and knowledgeable naturopathic practitioner, nutritionist, certified Havening Techniques® practitioner & pharmacist, she uses herbal medicine, supportive nutritional supplements and lifestyle changes to bring balance back to your health and your life. She is a firm believer that every unique health concern requires an equally unique and personalised approach, which is exactly what she offers through Sage & Well. They provide naturopathic-based, personalised health care on a range of health conditions, with a special focus on supporting families with asthma, eczema & other skin conditions, allergies, digestive issues, fatigue & sleep problems, stress, anxiety & depression, pain and immune system issues. Here, Zoe talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the inspiration behind her business, using the power of natural medicine to clear up her son’s eczema and her desire to inspire and support families to take control of their health, naturally.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
Coming from a background as a community Pharmacist, I was seeing many patients being treated for health conditions that were in some part preventable. People would be taking 5 or 10 medications, sometimes up to 15, with some of these being used to treat the side-effects of the other medications. It became so busy in the pharmacy that there was very little time to provide detailed education on diet and lifestyle modifications, and I know this is mostly the case with GP visits as well. I consider nutrition and lifestyle to play such important roles in health and wellbeing with regard to prevention of ailments, and also treatment. From this, I began studying a Bachelor of Natural Medicine.
When I had my children, I was working weekends at the emergency Pharmacy. Here I was seeing the same families back every weekend with children with eczema that wouldn’t resolve. It was that never-ending cycle of the eczema flaring up, so steroids were prescribed to clear the eczema, then it comes back, so more steroids are prescribed and so on. In the mix of this was skin infections and prescriptions for antibiotics.
During this time, I had my youngest son who funnily enough developed eczema himself. It was so hard having a baby with eczema. I felt so helpless and at the mercy of only having what was available from the doctors, which wasn’t getting rid of it. I went through the cyclic process myself for some time, then I decided enough was enough and there had to be another way to treat this and treat it so that it stayed away.
At this stage, I was partway through my Bachelor of Natural Medicine so I applied a lot of my leanings from this to my son’s eczema, especially around the role of gut health and treating from the inside out. His eczema had improved significantly but it was still there.
Once I had completed my qualification, I began further study and training through Professor Michael Tirant of the Psoriasis and Eczema clinic in Australia. Professor Tirant is a medical professor in dermatology, but his approach is different to conventional medicine in that it follows the principles of naturopathic medicine by getting to the underlying root causes (primary and secondary triggers). Using natural oral and topical treatments, I was able to clear my son’s eczema in just 4 weeks.
From this, Sage & Well was born. Sage & Well comes from my passion of wanting individuals and families to live healthy, happy lives, and also wanting to provide what I believe is missing from the current healthcare system, especially when it comes to natural treatments that work for eczema.
During the final year of my degree, I also realised the importance of the mind-body connection: the impact that our thoughts, emotions and previous traumas have on our physical health. I became a Certified Havening Techniques practitioner because of this, and Havening also makes up a large part of my practice, with a special focus on birth trauma.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I launched Sage & Well via an evening workshop on nutrition for those living with asthma with Asthma New Zealand. Asthma, eczema and hay fever are all linked, so this was a great opportunity for me to present on conditions close to my heart. It also took me out of my comfort zone and got me used to public speaking, which I was previously scared trashed of!!