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Natural Health Heroes: How a partnership in student clinic evolved into a holistic business venture

Written by Endeavour College of Natural Health | Tuesday, 29 June 2021

natural health heroes

Belinda Felstead and Vera Lukic came to the study of naturopathy from different careers. Paired together to support each other in Endeavour’s student clinic, they realised they had the makings of a successful business partnership.

“I have worked for 13 years as a remedial massage therapist. I wanted to expand how I was helping my clients improve their quality of life. They often talked with me about more than their sore muscles or stiff shoulders. Naturopathy seemed the most holistic way to help them,” Belinda said.

Vera is a clinical nurse specialist and has worked for many years at one of Australia’s busiest hospitals. “I was curious about how I could use integrative medicine to help my patients,” Vera said. “I wanted to find out what else I could do – whether it was nutrition, lifestyle or herbs – to improve their wellbeing.”

Both mature-age students, Belinda and Vera started their studies at Endeavour full-time while working full-time. Finding the load was too much, they both switched to part-time studies. “It is a complex degree,” Vera said. “I’m a science brain, but when I looked at the level of detail in biochemistry, I was out of my element. That was also reassuring because the knowledge you get gives you confidence in advising others. Even though I already had a clinical background, I learnt so much at Endeavour that improved my nursing. It has helped me empower other nurses too.”

“Naturopathy is fascinating, and it opens up so many other avenues to study. That can be frustrating too because you can’t learn it all,” Vera said. “Thankfully, the supervisors taught us how to use resources well. We can still email them, and they’re happy to help. Half of our inspiration as students came from the lecturers and supervisors. They are amazing people.”

In Belinda’s last semester, Vera and Belinda worked together in the student clinic. “We are different practitioners, yin and yang, but we worked so well together,” Belinda said. “We learnt from one another and helped each other fill any gaps. It was in the student clinic that we got the idea to establish a business together.”

In 2020, Vera and Belinda launched The Integrative Hub in St Kilda, where they both live. They draw on Belinda’s small business experience, Vera’s medical industry experience, and the mentorship of one of Endeavour’s clinical supervisors. “It still doesn’t feel real,” Belinda said. “It’s incredible to be in business. We’re not yet settled into a routine, but that allows us to explore all options.”

With COVID-19 and lockdowns, most of their naturopathic consulting has been online. Later this year, Belinda and Vera plan to open a joint clinic space and eventually make it a multi-modality clinic. Right now, they’re working on a corporate workshop series about sustainability in daily life.

Endeavour College of Natural Health

Endeavour College of Natural Health is Australia's largest Higher Education provider of natural medicine courses.

The College is known as the centre of excellence for natural medicine and is respected for its internationally recognised academic teams and high calibre graduates. Endeavour offers Bachelor of Health Science degrees in Naturopathy, Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine, Acupuncture Therapies and Chinese Medicine, Undergraduate Certificates, a Diploma of Health Science and massage courses.

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