By Matthew Burrell

Matthew Burrell N.D.
Naturopath and Neuromuscular Therapist

As a 12-year-old, although I was getting plenty of sleep, I was always feeling tired and struggled to get out of bed. Like many kids, I was very active, playing football during the winter and cricket during the summer. When I wasn’t training or playing sport, I was in the backyard with my twin brother kicking balls, practicing bowling, hitting balls suspended from the rafters and riding bikes. I never liked to sit still for too long. I just loved being outside and active. 

In 2001, as a Year 7 student, I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue by my Doctor. I felt tired all the time, would wake up unrefreshed, felt lethargic and often experienced muscle tension. I was beginning to miss school and although I still attempted to stay active, however, the duration was reduced and my recovery time lengthened.

My Doctor completed blood tests, stool tests and many other assessments and they would come up “all clear”.  I was then referred to a Paediatrician who conducted further testing but was unable to provide me with options for recovery. It was suggested that I may have been suffering from post-viral fatigue and would have to wait it out.

With no solution provided, I was directed to see Naturopath, Robert Claridge. After a thorough assessment I was assured that there was something I could do (other than just hope and wait) and with his support my health improved. Along with feeling better, my curiosity and enthusiasm for natural health was sparked. I became eager to learn more about the power of nutritional and herbal medicine. I was hooked!

By understanding what was occurring in my body, I was able to recognise the factors that were causing my symptoms. This shifted my way of thinking about health. By optimising digestive processes, improving the assimilation of nutrients and enhancing the elimination of waste, I was well on my way to regaining my strength and vitality. 

I continued to seek the support of Rob during my teenage years and the synchronicities between our lifestyles and interests were quite astounding. These interactions further inspired me to explore Naturopathy and Neuromuscular Therapy as a career path.

Off the back of feeling unwell and being directed to visit a Naturopath, I found my purpose and passion for naturopathic medicine. Beginning my naturopathy studies directly after VCE, I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do. However, being a teenager without life experience was daunting given the gravity of all that I was learning, so I decided to gain some life wisdom first and temporarily defer my studies. I completed an apprenticeship in building and construction before returning to complete my studies in naturopathy and remedial massage.

Experiencing chronic fatigue showed me that feeling average doesn’t have to be your normal. It helped to me understand health as a continuum, where there’s always something that can be done. 

If my journey resonates with you, I would love to connect and help you with your health.