By Dr Andrew Macfarlane (DO,DC, MCOCA ,MACA)
I loved school, I found it intellectually stimulating and rewarding, but my last years of high school were also incredibly challenging…not mentally, but physically.
Like many people, especially those in their late teens, I struggled with the crippling pain of migraines. So bad was my affliction that the pain not only forced me to miss school but affected my ability to function properly.
My mother spent months (and large sums of money!) taking me to one medical specialist after another to try and discover the cause of the problem. Specialist after specialist simply scratched their heads. Not even drugs helped. It seemed that I was beyond help.
Then one day, my mother made a last ditch decision that would change my life immediately and for years to come.
She booked a session with a small acupuncturist clinic in Sydney. This was radical thinking in the 1970’s. “What the heck is an acupuncturist?”
Within 30 minutes of lying down in that funny little Sydney suburban practice, my pain was gone. But not satisfied, the acupuncturist sent me to a chiropractor to check structural issues with my neck. This helped as well.
It was my epiphany, a life changing moment. I realized that this was my future. At the best I wanted to cure my patient’s pain, or at the very least help them cope. (By the way, my migraines were finally diagnosed as a milk allergy!)
I knew what I wanted to do, but how would I achieve my dream? This is where my father’s wisdom came to the fore. In the 1970’s, there were no formal training centres for Alternative Health Care practitioners in Australia. My Dad’s advice was to “Get an education and treat it like an apprenticeship”. It was great advice and so I started working for practitioners, doing anything and everything I could to learn, for just $10 a day – I would have worked for free, I loved it so much!
I was like a sponge – I learnt everything that I could – especially the type of practice that I wanted: a holistic practice that would answer the full spectrum of patients needs. Because of those years I now offer Osteopathy to deal with the mechanics of the body, Acupuncture to deal with the regulation of the body and mind and finally Naturopathy to help the chemistry of the body.
That’s when my second great ‘life moment’ arrived. I began working and studying with one of the greatest practitioners I have or will ever meet. For privacy reasons I’ll simply refer to him as RJ. I worked with him for 10 years before he retired.
Over those years he taught me so much that to this day, I still refer to a ‘post-it’ note he gave me with tips for dealing with patients. Both RJ and patients have taught me about health and about life in general. Invaluable lessons.
It’s amazing what you can learn from dealing with 100 plus patients a week.
I have learnt that everyone has an interest in health, everyone has an opinion about health and everyone wants to know more about their own health.
Understanding that, I now see it as my calling to teach people, in plain, easy language, everything they have a right to know about their bodies.
But I would like to take that thought one step further.
I think it is important to be proactive about people’s health, not just treating it, but helping to prevent problems before they arrive.
That was the drive behind me spending 10 years creating and publishing a range of Health Education booklets, distributed to over 10,000 doctors in Australia. These booklets helped doctors educate their patients about health and lifestyle issues.
‘The Health Essentials’ booklets were embraced by every National Health Body in Australia and also sold throughout New Zealand.
My inquisitive and ‘can’t leave well enough alone’ brain, never rests. (Did I mention that my first invention in 1987, the Macsac, designed to stop Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), won second place in an International inventors competition in Geneva).
This continual search for something better pushed me to invent and refine Pillows Made to Measure™. This and the other associated products in the Sleep Made to Measure™ range are the results of my ongoing quest to help people cure or alleviate their pain. And by using 100% Certified Organic Latex the range also helps protect the planet for not just our children, but their children as well.
My journey started as a young lad struggling with migraines and unable to carry on at school, it continues today with a burning commitment to help people around the world live better, pain free lives.