Clinical trial investigates group naturopathic program for endometriosis

Published 18 February 2022
A woman with others in a group session

For the one in nine women suffering endometriosis in Australia, access to specialised care is not always readily available. Those managing the symptoms of endometriosis now have an opportunity to participate in a new pilot study being conducted through the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine at Southern Cross University.

The clinical trial is open to participants nationally through online sessions. In-person sessions are available for those living in the Gold Coast and Brisbane.

Naturopath, doctoral student and research assistant at the NCNM, Sophia Gerontakos, is leading this study under the supervision of Professor Jon Wardle, the Centre's Director, to investigate how accessibility to naturopathic care can be improved.

“As well as seeing patients in clinical practice, I’ve had my own journey with endometriosis. I understand first-hand the impacts and costs of this condition, so it’s an area I care deeply about,” said Sophia.

“However, my predominant interest right now is in issues of equity regarding access to healthcare and I saw an opportunity to address both of those areas within this research, which I’m really excited about.”

The study is focused on examining the effectiveness of group delivered naturopathic care, based on a group medical visit model. Research shows group medical visits are effective for management of various chronic diseases and give patients an important sense of connection, peer support and empowerment.

“I have been investigating ways that we as naturopaths, both in clinical practice and in research, can reach more members of our community and make naturopathy accessible to all. I noticed in clinical practice that we were seeing a fairly narrow demographic of patients and that continuity of care was not possible for some people, despite the potential benefits,” said Sophia.

“I think the barriers could be a combination of financial, social and cultural, but largely financial. My search for solutions to this accessibility issue began with me trialling a free naturopathic community clinic in Brisbane - and has evolved into this area of research through my PhD at Southern Cross University.

“Through this program, we are investigating and designing a naturopathic group consultation structure and program, to test the feasibility of this model as an alternative to the traditional one-on-one consultation model. Once we have tested the program in a pilot study, I hope to publish the manual as a ‘how-to’ for naturopaths who would like to run group consultations and programs.”

This clinical trial has approval from the Southern Cross University Human Research Ethics Committee, SCU HREC number: 2021/117.

Clinical trial details
Those who have medically diagnosed endometriosis and are 18 years or older may be eligible to participate.

The program will run for 12 weeks, comprised of six-fortnightly sessions for up to ten participants in each group.

Each session will be run by an endometriosis-specialised Naturopath alongside a trained group facilitator and cover educational topics around endometriosis and naturopathic management of the condition. Individual care plans will also be developed for each participant.

This study is open to participants nationally:

  • two online groups are available
  • in-person sessions are running on the Gold Coast and Brisbane

For more information and to register, click on this link.

The
 National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine at Southern Cross University is an internationally recognised centre of excellence and innovation in naturopathic medicine and health education, research and practice. We create, promote and advocate a strong culture of incorporating evidence-based science into healthcare education and clinical practice. 

Media contact: Caitlin Zillman, NCNM Marketing and Communications Manager +61 424 632 177 or caitlin.zillman@scu.edu.au