ALTHOUGH COMMON IN THE UNITED STATES, FUNCTIONAL AND INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE IS STILL A RELATIVELY NEW CONCEPT IN AUSTRALIA, WITH MANY PEOPLE COMMITTED TO THEIR SIDE OF MEDICAL OR NATURAL MEDICINE.
James Jensen of the Australian Nutrition Centre, one of only a few of its kind in Australia, has combined his knowledge of pharmaceutical and natural medicines to focus on treating the root cause of health issues, rather than just the symptoms.
Challengers label it as “pseudoscientific silliness” and “quackery”, and James is the first to admit that as a trained pharmacist with a post graduate degree in diabetes education, he was originally dismissive of natural medicine.
James started to learn more about natural health when he found himself feeling unwell and run down all the time. A naturopath he was working with at the time recommended some products.
“I would use medicines to try and fix myself and then soon realised that it wasn’t working,” James recalls. “I gave some of the natural stuff a go and to my pleasant surprise I started to get better. It really piqued my interest and I thought, this is a place we really need to explore and do more with.”
James explains that most medicines originated from natural sources, so nature has already provided us all the tools that we need.
“What we find in the pharmaceutical industry is that they’ve just grabbed bits of nature that have worked really well, refined it and made it their own, and thrown a few patents in there,” he says.
“When I work with natural medicine, it’s actually quite similar. We just use different terminology to describe the things and how they work.”
The Australian Nutrition Centre (ANC) started out as a health food store, and has evolved in response to customer demand and James’ ongoing research.
“We were getting asked lots of questions on basic health care stuff from a natural point of view,” James says. “Being a pharmacist, I had some good information to offer but there weren’t really any places or the right products that I felt comfortable with sharing with clients, so we decided to do it ourselves and combine the pharmacy side with natural health.”
James began offering consultations due to the number of customers seeking his advice to discuss their health issues in detail.
“I’m a registered health professional and I have done all my clinical studies with natural medicines,” James says. “Combining the two has been a fun process, to put the little bits and pieces of information together from the natural world with the pharmaceutical background.”
“Whenever I provide advice, it is always from a clinical setting or a place of research.”
Many clients come to James in desperation, having tried traditional medical treatments to no avail.
“One of the things people always say to me is ‘it’s great to be listened to and fixed instead of having a Band-Aid put on,’” he says.
“Traditional medical medicine is all about putting a Band-Aid on, so what they’re doing is treating the symptoms, not the actual cause of disease.
“Here we get the opportunity to actually treat the underlying reason why someone might be unwell.”
It’s finding the ‘why’ and treating the cause that makes the ANC six-week ketogenic diet under James’ guidance so successful, with clients dropping between 6 – 12 kilograms and improving their overall well being.
“What we find with a lot of our clients is that there is a handbrake in the way,” he explains. “It might be due to their stress hormones or their sex hormones. For instance, it could be due to menopause, and what the diet does is it breaks through all those handbrakes.”
His business has thrived on referrals, and James regularly posts videos and success stories to social media in an informative, and sometimes tongue in cheek way, that resonates with his followers and generates high engagement and new client enquiries. James has identified there is potential for significant growth, but there is a common misconception that ANC is for ‘gym junkies’.
“Branding is a big issue for us,” James admits. “People still don’t understand what we do, and we’re working to overcome that.”