All posts by Tom Greenfield

Research and the Naturopathic Profession

Research and the Naturopathic Profession

Addressing the question, “To what degree is naturopathy supported by research.”

The World Naturopathic Federation (WNF) recognises the importance of naturopathic research, and has created a WNF Research Committee, which is comprised of naturopathic researchers from around the world.

 The Committee holds the premise that there is a substantial body of research, both traditional and modern, that supports the practice of naturopathic medicine directly and indirectly. The WNF Research Committee has taken on two tasks. The first task is to identify the degree to which naturopathy is supported by research. This is a hefty task, and one that will utilize the work of many different naturopathic organizations and research centres globally.  The second task is to assist in the growth and development of naturopathic research globally.

The following are the steps that will help the WNF Research Committee accomplish their goals.

Continue reading Research and the Naturopathic Profession

ICNM 2017 in London


The 4th International Congress on Naturopathic Medicine ICNM 2017 will take place in London, between 30th June and 2nd July,2017, at the prestigious Millennium Gloucester Hotel in the heart of the city.

The global Annual Conference gathering over 600+ world experts is organised in collaboration with the British Naturopathic Association BNA and the GCRN. The Congress will have a strong focus on the future of Natural Healthcare in the wake of increase consumer demand for access to Natural Medicine.

ICNM 2017 is the world’s major annual Natural Medicine congress attended by over 600+ influential and inspiring healthcare experts who are dedicated to improving patient care. Attendees have the opportunity to network with the finest Naturopathic practitioners coming from more than 55 countries and update their knowledge and skills learning from 30 internationally recognised Keynotes & Speakers.

Book your place now


A Celebration of the life of Janine Leach ND, DO

A MEMORIAL Service to celebrate the life of Janine Leach, a former President of the British Naturopathic Association (BNA), who has died at the age of 68, was held at St Dunstan’s Parish Church, Ashurst Wood, Sussex, on Friday, July 1, 2016.

Janine, a Naturopath and Osteopath, graduated from the College of Osteopathy, in London, in 1989, after studying there for five years.

The church was packed with more than 100 people to hear Tributes from her husband Martin, and daughters Rebecca and Francesca.

There was indeed a lot to celebrate, as Janine was involved with a wide variety of local and national organisations, holding office in many of them, as well as running her own private practice, in which she helped numerous patients, many with chronic and complex symptoms. ‘Jan’, who was born in Walls End on Tyne in 1947, excelled in all her school subjects as well as being a games captain, being proficient at hockey and tennis.

She went on to read Physics at Birmingham University, which in itself was unusual for a female student in those days, but topped it by becoming the first woman to graduate there with a 1st Class Honours Degree in Physics.

After teaching science at several schools, she returned to Birmingham to study for a PhD in the medical applications of nuclear physics – and it was here that she met Martin, her future husband.

After gaining her PhD Jan decided to move into epidemiological research and secured a post at the Institute of Cancer at Sutton, in Surrey. It was at this time that she also began her studies in Naturopathy and Osteopathy.

Jan, who became President of the BNA in 2004, taking over from Michael Spenceley, was also an active member of many other professional and scientific organisations. She was an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health, Secretary of the International Cranial Association, and council member of the College of Medicine. She contributed to the regulation of, or improvements in regulation of osteopaths, naturopaths, acupuncturists and complementary therapies. She has also been a trustee of the Research Council for Complementary Medicines and a working group member for the British Society of Integrative Oncology. In addition, she was Senior Research Fellow in Osteopathy at the University of Brighton, and has contributed to teaching and examining at a number of universities, including Brighton, Westminster and Thames Valley.

It was a special interest of hers that complementary health should have a regulatory framework equivalent to other health professions.

She focussed on improving the standing of complementary health professions, and advancing research and evidence base, particularly in relation to cancer, where she put much effort into developing a project to investigate the potential of mushroom therapy in reducing the adverse effects of cancer treatment.

As well as all this, and having a family to look after, Jan enjoyed singing with local choirs, developing her expression in art with art groups and artists and exploring her family history. She also continued to explore the spiritual side of life.

Cancer cells were detected in the fluid surrounding her heart early in 2015, and the prognosis was said to be serious, her cancer specialists giving her only a few months to live. She adopted both conventional and complementary approaches to the disease.

Martin said: “She was inspirational throughout, maintaining a sense of balance and humour, finding things to look forward to and helping her family to achieve their goals. We will all miss her terribly, but have been so lucky to have known someone so special.”


The above photograph was taken at a BNA conference, and features from left to right: Roger Newman Turner, Joe Goodman, Edzard Ernst, Janine Leach and David Potterton.

The International Congress on Naturopathic Medicine is coming to London!

Save the date June 30th – July 1st 2017, The ICNM will be in London. The theme will be Global Patient Care; Restoring Health Naturally. This event is being held in collaboration with us, the BNA and GCRN! Please see the report below to find out about the recent ICNM in Barcelona, to inspire you to book your early bird ticket for next year as soon as they are released. We will keep you up to date as soon as these are available from next month.

ICNM 2016

Left to Right: GCRN Council member Kirsten Hartvig, GCRN member Desmond Henley, Richenda Powers, GCRN member Aliyyaa Spring, Honorary BNA Fellow Roger Newman Turner, GCRN Vice President Clare Badrick, GCRN members Olivier Léost and Katerina Vasileiadou, Joanna Thomson.

The ICNM, Barcelona, 2016.
What were you doing on the first weekend of July? I, and a group of fellow UK Naturopaths, spent it in Barcelona at the 3rd International Congress on Naturopathic Medicine. What a fabulous weekend we had! First and foremost, what was most important to me was to see firsthand that I am part of a global Naturopathic community. Sometimes, in practice it can feel as if I am the only Naturopath on the planet (I am sure you must know that feeling), but here I was with 500 other Naturopaths from 50 other countries! It was almost unbelievable to see Naturopaths from Japan, China, India, and all over Europe in one room together. Even Naturopaths from countries I had no idea had even heard of Naturopathy!

Then there were the presentations, 30 in all, on subjects as diverse as the use of medicinal mushrooms, skin disorders, mind-body medicine, sleep, anxiety, the therapeutic relationship, toxins, EMF pollution, autoimmune disease, iris diagnosis and the role of essential oils, plus many more!
Then there were the networking opportunities. I met movers and shakers from the global Naturopathic family who I could talk to on personal level and make friends with, but also who could be good professional contacts for us in the GCRN and for us to continue to develop our profession in the UK.

There were also exhibitors of all kinds, who were selling, demonstrating or showing products and services to help us in our work as 21st century Naturopaths. Really advanced products to scan or screen the patient, herbal, nutritional or mycological products to assist in healing, products to protect from EMF pollution, to name a but a few.

Then of course, there was seeing Barcelona which is a beautiful and vibrant city. Just not quite enough time to explore as the program was so packed, although many delegates had extended their trip to fit in sight seeing time – very sensible!

Overall, the congress offered us inspiration to carry on with our good work, in what can sometimes be a lonely profession. It offered support from those with more experience in certain areas, it gave masses of information on some very diverse subjects and many opportunities for friendship. I will be President of the GCRN when the ICNM comes to London, so I really hope to see you all there.

Clare Badrick
GCRN Vice-President

Obituary: Jan de Vries


Jan de Vries was born in Holland in 1937 and grew up during the Second World War. He said on many occasions that it was these difficult years of his childhood that instilled in him a strong desire to dedicate his life to helping other people. He graduated in the field of pharmacy in 1958 and two years later met the famous Swiss naturopath, Alfred Vogel.

In 1960, Jan married a Scottish girl and together they had four daughters. In the same year, together with Alfred Vogel, he started the very first naturopathic clinic in Holland along with the company Biohorma. Both of these ventures expanded rapidly and helped thousands of people.However Jan’s desire to study and learn more of his field led him to travel to many parts of the world. During these travels he came in contact with many practitioners of complementary and traditional medicines. Jan truly became an expert in his field and this enabled him to help the many people who sought his care and advice. 

In 1971, Jan moved his family to the UK to set up a clinic in the seaside town of Troon on the west coast of Scotland. The clinic flourished and he soon had to move to larger premises, Auchenkyle, where he continued his work. Jan opened a number of other clinics as well as health food stores across Britain and Ireland, all of which he visited regularly to consult with patients. 

Throughout his life Jan put a great deal of work into several projects which brought alternative and orthodox medicine together. He believed that a combination of these two, known as ‘complementary medicine’, was the correct approach for many people suffering ill health.

His great love for people and passion for complementary medicine drove him to accomplish some amazing achievements throughout his life. He helped develop natural medicine in India, Canada, Australia, America and Scandinavia, and was also involved in research work.

Jan began broadcasting in 1982 on Gloria Hunniford’s Radio 2 programme and remained a regular guest for 10 years. He moved to television in the 1990s and was a contributor to The Good Morning Show with Richard and Judy, and RTE1’s  Afternoon Show. He was also a well-known voice on a variety of radio stations throughout the UK. 

A keen author, Jan wrote 40 books on a host of health problems and was a feature writer in many magazines and newspapers such as Belfast Telegraph, Sunday Post and Ayrshire Post

He was a man who loved to share his knowledge and teach others, and was in constant demand as a popular and insightful lecturer. In 2002 Jan de Vries was appointed Honorary Professor of Complementary Medicine at Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret University College.  

His work throughout the world has been greatly appreciated and recognition of his efforts came in the form of many accolades, including The Dag Hammarskjold Award from the United Nations, as well as several honours from his own profession.

Jan was a man full of love, passion and an unrelenting need to help others. There are many whose lives were enhanced by his positive and uplifting spirit. Helping people to get better, and renewing their hope and enjoyment of life, he had a profound influence and will be greatly missed. 

Jan was a long-time member of the BNA /GCRN. His legacy will live on in all that he taught and wrote.

Is it time for Naturopaths to join the Mitochondrial Revolution?

Editorial By David Potterton ND

What do we really know about the mitochondria? Well, most of us, not being cell biologists, probably know that they are the powerhouses of the cell. They are tiny bodies, generally termed organelles, that have the ability to convert oxygen and various nutrients into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is used in the body to store and release energy as required.

Strange intercellular structures were visualised as long ago as the 1840s. Then in 1894 Richard Altmann identified them as organelles, which he called ‘bioblasts’. The term mitochondria was coined by
Carl Benda in 1898, while today’s popular “powerhouse of the cell” description was introduced by Philip Siekevitz in 1957. Today it’s beginning to sound like a science fiction story when we learn that
the mitochondria are descendants of a once separate life form – a bacterium with its own genome that somehow became absorbed into what was to become the human cell which also has its own genome.


Vital functions

According to the New Scientist (see “The Micromanagers”, by Garry Hamilton, September 20, 2014), the latest thinking seems to be that the mitochondria are not just powerhouses, but might influence vital bodily functions from memory and ageing to combatting stress and disease.

As Gilian Crowther explains in this BNJ Supplement, Cell Symbiosis Therapy (CST) sees the mitochondria as the ultimate orchestrators of our cellular health.

The mitochondria play an importat part in apoptosis and thus mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked with an increased risk of cancer. Mitochondria require oxygen to produce ATP whereas cancer cells can thrive in a low oxygen or anaerobic environment. Instead of utilising oxygen, cancer cells derive their energy from the breakdown of glucose.

It was Nobel prize winner Dr Otto Warburg who sugggested that cancer is associated with a lack of oxygen at the cellular level. Coenzyme CoQ10, one of the nutrients involved in mitochondrial production of ATP, has also been linked with improving cognitive function.

Mitochondrial toxicity, which can arise as a result of drug treatment – in HIV, for example – is associated with intense fatigue, whereas nutritional therapy using nutrients that improve mitochondrial activity have been shown to improve patients’ quality of life.
Many conditions presented by patients seen by Naturopaths, including obesity, diabetes and atherosclerosis, have mitochondrial connections, and thus perhaps education in this field should be seen as a desirable activity.

BNJ Original Article

Introduction to Cell Symbiosis Therapy: Mitochondria as the ultimate drivers of health and disease

 Britsh Naturopathic Journal, Vol. 30, No. 3, 2014

Cell Symbiosis Therapy (CST) sees the mitochondria as the ultimate orchestrators of our cellular health. It is based on a unique understanding of the evolutionary origin of our cells, including their hybrid nature stemming from a dual genome. The therapy is targeted at restoring full mitochondrial function, and prides itself in always striving to be both verifiable and replicable.

Download the complete article (login required,  members only).

Research Notes

The BNJ publishes research notes. If any member would like to submit an article on research notes, please ask an editor for author privileges on this site. If any non-member would like to submit an article or link, please send it to the editorial board. The BNJ does not guarantee to publish all submissions, or they may be edited for content, grammar and spelling.

Podcasts and Videocasts

The BNJ publishes podcasts, or episodic series of audio files which are downloadable from the site. Videocasts may also be embedded in the BNJ site from a streaming site. Podcasts can be transferred from a computer to a portable media player. If any member would like to submit a podcast or videocast, please ask an editor for author privileges on this site and for details of how to upload your podcast or videocast. If any non-member would like to submit a podcast or videocast, please send details to the editorial board. The BNJ does not guarantee to publish all podcast or videocast submissions, or they may be returned for editing by the contributor.


The BNJ publishes obituaries of GCRN members and of other naturopaths. If any member would like to submit an obituary, please ask an editor for author privileges on this site. If any non-member would like to submit an article or link, please send it to the editorial board. The BNJ does not guarantee to publish all submissions, or they may be edited for content, grammar and spelling.