We were lucky to spend some time with Sarah Bennett at a cottage this past weekend. Sprawled on a double bed in a panelled room, we questioned her about life as a Naturopathic doctor, the road that brought her to this career, and the keys to health and happiness.
Bennett graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and is currently practicing at the Summerhill Health Centre. Naturopathic Medicine is slowly becoming more mainstream, and can complement a conventional general health practice. Using a guided and systematic approach to understanding yourself and your body, naturopathic doctors improve health and support the body by using the healing forces of nature and the organs of elimination. This practice focuses on treating the root causes of disease and developing preventative regimes. Bennett blends current evidence-based natural medicines along with traditional healing practices. Addressing aspects of health including endocrinology, fertility, cardiovascular health, diabetes, dermatology, weight loss and clinical nutrition as a Family Practitioner, she specializes in digestion issues (a complaint most women we know suffer from and that general practitioners remedy with unsustainable quick fixes).
Before pursuing medicine, Bennett began post secondary in the arts at the New Brunswick Craft College and NSCAD with a focus on sculpture and installation. Medicine and Art are not as different as they may seem: each require an interest in investigation (asking questions and discovering truths) and making connections "putting things together". Her artistic background has assisted her naturopathic practice by channeling the mind towards the holistic, the abstract, the spiritual and the non-linear. By identifying both as a doctor and an artist she is able to see a bigger picture than a practitioner with strictly analytical techniques.
We asked Bennett for some tips on better living. The answers are simple but often hard to follow: Sleep better, excercise, hydrate, eat whole foods, lower stress and let go of some personal expectations. She stressed the importance of the mind/body connection and the powerful influence that thoughts can have on our health. If issues of the mind are not dealt with they will translate into problems for the body. We commisserated with Bennet over general practitioners not addressing the mind/body connection or acknowledging personalized medicine. We are all individuals and require support on all levels, nurturing the body physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. She reminded us that we live in a fast paced time where we have not yet evolved to deal with our technologies. Let's cut ourselves some slack.