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Why you should incorporate hair analysis into your clinical practice

Written by Adelaide Poschelk | Wednesday, 17 May 2023

hair analysis naturopathy

Hair analysis is a quantitative test that measures the mineral composition of hair. Think of it as a blueprint to your body over the last couple of months. Each test provides you with a reading of important nutritional elements (e.g., iron, magnesium, calcium, copper, zinc, sulphur and so on).

Additionally, you also receive a reading of your toxic elements. These are heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and aluminium. Often people don’t believe they could possibly be exposed to heavy metals, however it is important to know that each and every one of us is, whether it be from occupational, environmental, dietary and lifestyle sources. Some common ways we’re exposed to heavy metals are poor quality cookware, arsenic in rice and chicken (yes, it’s important to thoroughly rinse rice!), deodorants and so on.

How do you test?

A small hair sample is required, ideally from the root of the scalp however if needed pubic hair can be supplied. It is important to never mix a sample, just do one or the other. You need enough to cover approximately a 20 cent coin and the hair needs to be clean and undyed. Simply package up in the supplied envelope and send to the lab to be tested. Around two weeks later, you receive the results. Easy, safe and non-invasive.

Why is it beneficial in a clinical setting?

I was first introduced to the HTMA Hair Analysis test by Interclinical Labs in my final clinic block at Endeavour and, looking back, I couldn’t be more grateful.

This test is by far my favourite. Firstly, it is affordable in comparison to some other tests. The price is $210 and, with each test, you receive a free 30 minute call with Interclinical Laboratories for support in interpreting the results. They are always so helpful and supportive – highly recommend.

Secondly, the information you receive about a client from this test is incredible. As I mentioned before, it identifies the levels of key nutritional elements and toxic elements. From there, you are able to ascertain the significant ratios and what this means for your client. A great example is the nutritional elements related to hormones is copper (oestrogen) and zinc (progesterone) or the adrenals relating to the relationship between sodium and magnesium. You are very quickly able to see a systemic picture of your client, supporting you in your clinical understanding.

A very interesting case I had recently was a client who had recurring acne. She had been on and off Roaccutane and was looking for a more natural alternative. Undertaking a hair analysis identified that her digestive system was operating too alkaline, impairing her nutrient absorption. She also had elevated levels of lithium. Researching further, lithium is in Roaccutane and has also been shown to trigger acne in some individuals. This information was so valuable in her individualised treatment and prescription.

How has hair analysis testing helped with prescribing in clinic?

This is probably one of the most valuable learnings from hair analysis testing. The more tests you do, the more you understand the relationships each nutritional element has with one another. Some elements work synergistically, and some antagonise each other. Some elements are energising and some sedatives. If your client is presenting with fatigue, the last thing you want to do is sedate them further. Hair analysis has, without a doubt, completely changed the way I prescribe nutritional elements in clinic and I highly recommend beginning the journey while you’re at Endeavour’s clinic so that you have supervisor support.

Additionally, having physical test results that you can give to your client is so helpful for their compliance and motivation. Yes, we can always share our clinical analysis verbally, however some people (most), love to see something physical. It’s a great way for clients to have a reading of their current health status in the early stages of treatment and allows you to have something to compare to post treatment. I’ve never met a client who hasn’t absolutely loved the information they receive in this test.

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Adelaide Poschelk

Adelaide is a Clinical Naturopath (BHSc) with a holistic approach to restoring balance within the body. She combines a passion for women's health, skin issues, digestive complaints and detoxification with scientific evidence and traditional knowledge.

Adelaide practices out of Goodkind Wellness Studio with her naturopathy business, IME (pronounced I'm) — which stands for In My Experience. Encompassing the naturopathic principle of treating the whole person with an understanding that no two people are the same and each individual will have a different experience.

Although she's based on the Gold Coast, you don't need to be a local to book an appointment! Adelaide believes that natural health treatments should be accessible to everyone, and has a variety of clients ranging from local to interstate and international. She is currently offering consultations in person and online, which you can book right here.

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