Last Updated on February 1, 2023


Along with our other Health & Healing therapies, naturopathy has an important role in Windana’s holistic approach to wellbeing and recovery. For Part 2 of our story on naturopathy, Health & Healing Acting Coordinator Erika sheds light on how naturopathy supports clients and residents across our Residential Withdrawal, Residential Rehabilitation and Community Clinic services.

Windana currently has three staff naturopaths (including Erika) who work across different programs. Their practice is complemented by the invaluable work of volunteers who treat community clients, assist at Maryknoll and Grampians (Ballarat) TCs and work in the dispensary in St Kilda.

The dispensary is integral in allowing Windana to provide consistent treatment, and means we can create treatments specifically designed for the needs of AOD recovery. We also fill prescriptions written by our naturopaths for Community Clinic clients.

“The dispensary is our home turf,” says Erika.

“As well as using prepared supplements we also buy separate herbs and mix them up ourselves, creating herbal mixes that we know are effective at treating particular symptoms and health concerns that our clients experience. They then get used across Windana’s locations.”

An anti-anxiety herbal liquid and a withdrawal mix for cannabis are examples of products created in the dispensary and prescribed in different programs. The need for supplements varies between individuals and their stages of recovery.

In our youth and adult withdrawal programs, naturopathic treatment aids sleep, settles nausea, reduces muscle pain and cramping, balances moods and promotes appetite. The naturopaths provide relief and peace of mind by reassuring clients they will be supported holistically. Through herbal medicine and compassion – naturopathy can make a huge difference for clients during challenging times.

When clients in withdrawal are ready, Erika and the other naturopaths share advice on ways to feel as well as possible, such as eating nutrient-dense foods.

“We’ll talk to clients about foods they could eat during withdrawal when they’re not hungry, or feeling sick, and show them that eating little bits of food throughout the day is beneficial for their health and how they’re feeling.

“I always say to clients in withdrawal that our aim is to help them get through their program with as much physical and emotional support as possible.”

In residential rehabilitation, naturopathic treatment is different. Residents often still need help with sleep (particularly when they’re new to the TC), but a long-term TC program opens the door to work on health more broadly.

“At the TCs we start to get to other issues like long-term digestive health, as that can be quite a challenge during periods of AOD use.

“We can also address undiagnosed musculoskeletal injuries that a resident might have overlooked from years before. Use of alcohol and other drugs can mask pain for a lot of people, so at the TCs we can address pain and inflammation.”

Naturopaths at our TCs can also work with residents to provide support for immunity, energy levels, hormonal balance and other health concerns that residents wish to raise.

In our Community Clinic at 88 Alma Road St Kilda (currently under renovations), naturopath sessions are available for fees that are more affordable than many commercial alternatives. Everybody from the wider community is welcome as a client, including people who have been through Windana’s programs. For past withdrawal clients and rehabilitation residents, Erika says that being a part of the naturopathic ‘community’ through the Clinic is important. Community Clinic appointments are available over the phone or via video call during the renovations, but Erika looks forward to welcoming people back to the Clinic soon.

It’s important to note that naturopathy at Windana integrates with other types of healthcare, including conventional medicine and pharmaceuticals. Our holistic philosophy acknowledges the positive effects that different approaches can bring and uses them responsibly.

When asked what is most rewarding about being a naturopath at Windana, Erika says it’s giving people knowledge that empowers them to pursue recovery from illness and improve overall health. Working with clients and residents on-site can be just the start of a person’s journey to improved health.

“I love the education part of naturopathy.

“We have an opportunity to explain to a client or resident there’s so much they can do to look after themselves.


Useful resources:

Herbal Medicine Week
The campaign’s official website features online events, downloadable resources and information on the Naturopaths & Herbalists Association of Australia.

Windana Health & Healing
Page on our website describing Windana’s Health & Healing therapies (naturopathy, osteopathy, acupuncture, yoga and massage). Includes timetable and information on how to book a session.

Food as Medicine at Windana
A story on Windana’s Food as Medicine program that goes hand-in-hand with naturopathy in promoting health and ongoing recovery through learning about, cooking and enjoying healthy foods.