Dr Andrea Robertson
I am an Osteopath from Adelaide, Australia, and also a student (nearly qualified) of Nutrition and Naturopathy. Having grown up on a farm in country Victoria, my interest in health and nutrition began at a young age due to parents who raised my brother and I on ‘rabbit food and bird seed’. We were not overly impressed with this at the time, however we are both extremely grateful to our parents now for our healthy upbringing.
I own and run Southside Clinic, a busy osteopathy clinic that treats over 400 patients per week, plus offers classes in Pilates, Yoga and Xtend Barre. I have undertaken extensive post-graduate studies in Nutrition, Biodynamic Cranial Osteopathy and Visceral Manipulation. I am also an ex-professional dancer. Classically trained, I danced professionally for many years at the Moulin Rouge in Paris, at Son Amar in Spain, on a cruise ship in the Caribbean, and in various TV, sporting and corporate events in Australia. I am a qualified Pilates instructor through Dance Medicine Australia, a qualified yoga teacher through Byron Yoga School, and am also an International Teacher Trainer for the Xtend Barre Workout. Through my love of dance and Pilates, I also own and runs two Xtend Barre Studios in Adelaide, Xtend Barre Southside, and Xtend Barre Eastside. I developed, wrote and now run, the Xtend Barre 60 Day Challenge for Xtend Barre studios in Australia, New Zealand and the USA.
I studied to become a Health Coach via the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York, and I am also currently finishing my studies in Nutritional Medicine and Naturopathy. I was announced a Finalist in the South Australian 2014 Telstra Business Women of the Year Awards. I am passionate about nutrition, health and food as medicine!
In 2007, I found myself in hospital with a seizure. I had been living a life I thought I was happy with. I did lots of exercise, I ate relatively well, I worked in two professions that I loved as an Osteopath and as a professional dancer, I didn’t carry any excess weight, and l had a great social life full of friends, parties and nights out at least 5 times a week.
So, why, on this particular day, did my body shut down? I was treating a patient, sitting down on my chair working on her neck, and my vision blacked out. I couldn’t open my mouth as my jaw had locked up, and my right shoulder was in severe muscle convulsions. I left the treatment room, my receptionist called a friend who took me straight to hospital Emergency. Many hours and medical tests later, I was left with a diagnosis of ‘migraine without a headache’. Further testing over the following few weeks, with brain MRI’s, blood tests and other scans, revealed nothing.
So, back to work I went, treating my 80 patients per week, dancing 5 nights per week and still leading a very active social life. I was told there was ‘nothing wrong with me’, but my symptoms kept getting worse. I didn’t have any other seizures, but my vision was still severely effected with daily intermittent fuzzy moments that could last minutes a time, I put on 10kg (which is A LOT for someone who has never put on weight), I was crying often and I felt very strong feelings of sadness which was very unusual for me. I was totally stressed about the weight gain, so I was getting up every morning at 5am to go for a run before I started work. I started relying on coffee to get me going for the day, and as someone who had NEVER drunk coffee before, this was a major change for me. My bowels locked up, and I often didn’t do number two’s for two to three days in a row. Even though I was given the ‘all clear’ from the doctor, I knew inherently that something wasn’t right. My rings wouldn’t fit on my fingers, and at the end of the day, my shoes and socks left marks on my feet, therefore I knew my body was retaining fluid, yet I didn’t know what to do about it. A friend recommended that I see a Naturopath, and thank goodness, from there I started my road to recovery.
To start with, guided by my wonderful Naturopath, my diet was centred around naturopathic and nutritional supplements and eating a sugar, dairy and gluten free diet. From this, I felt that I was eighty percent of the way back to health, but unfortunately I was still left with HORRIBLE PMT every three to four months. In fact it was so bad that some days I just couldn’t stop crying. When it was really bad, I had to cancel my list of patients, and just lay in bed for a day or two until the PMT emotions passed.
By 2012, my health was mostly managed through regular exercise, and through my sugar free, dairy free and gluten free diet without having to take too many supplements. I was even able to occasionally eat some sugar and diary, though if I had too much, the PMT would be bad at the end of that month. However, by 2013, once I had written this program and lead my clients through it twice a year, participating with them each time, my health reached a whole new level. I thought I was healthy before, but this program has really helped me, as well as countless others, really do the detective work on our own personal health and wellness. I can definitely say that I am more healthy, and living an even better life than I did ever before.