The Natural Health & Wellness Apprentice


Cathleen W., swanson vitamins apprenticeMy name is Cathleen W., and I'm the web content supervisor at My team is responsible for all of the words on the website, including our health supplement guides. Although I've been with the company for over 5 years, I am hardly an expert at all things natural health. But I keep an open mind about alternative health and integrative medicine, and I'm always willing to learn about the benefits of health and nutrition products. 

I've been trying to become more aware about my impact on the environment as a consumer, so I'm especially interested in eco-friendly, green living. I'm almost a member of the sandwich generation, so I try and stay in tune with the latest health tips and news for my parents and grandparents as well as for my teenager. If anyone has any tips on how to get kids or young adults excited about natural health and nutrition products, please share them with me!

5 Top Reasons I Love Working at Swanson Health Products

Wednesday, February 8, 2012 by Cathleen W
CathleenI've been with Swanson Health Products for almost 8 years and time has just zipped by. I've learned so much about natural products from coworkers and customers.  My job on the Web team helps me stay focused on my own health & wellness.  Find out how in my Top 5 reasons  below:

1) Products! The best vitamins & supplements ever! Working on the website, I'm able to see all of the new products that are getting ready to show up online for purchase.  I make a list of all the items I'd like to try and rotate them for my weekly employee orders. I have a routine for my regular items as well, I especially like our Lutein & Bilberry, Super EPA fish oil and Super Stress B Complex.

2) Best Customers ever! I worked in the Call Center for my first two years at SHP. I worked the early shift--as in 5am early--and talked with several customers on a regular basis. I learned why people were taking certain products and how they discovered us.  I learned so much about the benefits of natural health products--and good conversation-- from just talking with these good folks.

3) Ratings & reviews! As part of the Web team these days, I'm involved in product ratings and reviews written by our best customers. The postive and negative feedback we get is incredibly helpful with product development, quality control and customer service. It's one way I'm able to stay connected to our customers. (The other way is our Facebook fan page, of course!)

Gym4) No need for suits & heels!  We have a very casual working environment and the dress code is pretty laid back. I like wearing jeans and comfortable shoes at work. The cold climate and wintery weather tends to lend itself to practical shoes and layers. So for a non-fashionista like myself, this is an outsanding perk. 

5) Our Gym & Wellness Program! Our wellness program motivated me to get more active and our onsite fitness center helps me do just that. Because we have free personal training as part of this program, I really don't have any excuses for not being more phyiscally fit. I'm making a real effort to go and do more weight-bearing exercises and cardio each week. I don't necessarily love exercise, but I do love the fact that I can do this at work.

Swanson Reviewers Tell Us Why They Love Us

Monday, December 12, 2011 by Cathleen W
Swanson Expo Fargo Marathon

I love customer reviews. I've been working with Swanson customer reviews since we launched them on our site with Bazaarvoice in 2007. The information we can glean from both positive and negative reviews helps us determine ways to improve our products and service. I especially enjoy reading the answer to one specific question about our company overall.

When you submit a product review on our site, we ask you one last question: On a scale of zero to ten, would you recommend Swanson Vitamins to a friend?  Zero indicates would not recommend and 10 means would highly recommend. Here's what some recent reviewers said about why Swanson Health Products is a top rated vitamins and supplements company:

"Over the years I have come to trust the quality and reasonable prices offered by your company. I have NEVER been disappointed"  ~  RayFrom29, Twentynine Palms, California

"They are not trying to rip you off and we are very thankful for that these days; they do what they say they do. I think you guys care over other companies about the people and it shows. Thank God I feel so much better. Thank you guys so very much. Keep up the good work. Blessing to you all." ~ flowers, Signal Hill, California

"Sponsor Fargo marathon and provide free samples, initially; good value on products now that I researched the company." ~ storky

"You offer good quality products at the best prices. Best of all, you offer a 12 month guarantee for returns. You stand by your products. That speaks volumes! Also, Swanson's name brand is of great quality, equal to or better than other name brands. Keep up the good work! I have recommended you to many friends and family members all over the United States, who in turn, have recommended you to their friends and family. We love to shop Swanson!" ~TMRM, U.S.A.

"I love Swanson. Great products. Great prices. Exceptional customer service!" ~ SweetP, Oklahoma

"I am fairly new to you, but I can find some of the products I like and trust at better prices. You answer my questions satisfactorily and I believe you carry quality products or you wouldn't have survived this long. Keep up the great traditions and fair business practices and we will all prosper!" ~gotdaddysear, Northern California

These are just a few of the hundreds of comments we receive via product reviews each week! We also read the comments posted on the blog, our Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as customer comments via our call center staff.  We truly appreciate all of your feedback, both positive and negative!

Natural Bath & Body Products Review: Natural Soap, Shampoo and Body Wash Prove Their Worth During a Dry Winter

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 by Cathleen W
One of the many fun and exciting benefits of working at Swanson Health Products is our ability to try some of the newest products on the market. Not only does this include our cutting-edge Swanson brand items but also products from our national brand partners. Because I'm always on the lookout for new health products on our website, I jumped at the chance to try skin and hair health products from Tom's of MaineKirk's Natural and Aubrey Organics.

Tom's of Maine Natural Beauty BarIt's still winter up here in the northern Great Plains and my skin is beyond parched. To further fight my battle with dry skin, I checked out Tom's of Maine's Natural Daily Moisture Beauty Bar. I had some doubts about this product because of my past experience with various bar soaps. They seemed to make my skin even drier.  But with awesome ingredients including olive oil, vitamin E and jojoba oil, this bar soap is totally unlike the others I've tried on my face. It lathers up nicely without SLS or parabens and has helped replenish my skin. Sounds good, but what does it smell like? Smells like freshly picked olives from the Mediterranean--just like the picture on the box.  Another plus: Tom's of Maine does not test on animals. This is something I look for on all skin and hair health products before I buy them. I also watch for the source of specific ingredients. Check out Tom's of Maine's list of skin care ingredients.Kirk's Coco Castile Body Wash

Kirk's Natural, another U.S. company that does not believe in animal testing, has taken their old school castile soap formulation into the 21st Century with their new body wash and  shower gel formulas.  I tried their  Original Coco Castile Grapefruit Ginger Body Wash and I really like its light tropical scent. Some body wash and shower gel formulas have an overpowering fragrance, but this one is really mild. Kirk's packaging states their products "leave no drying residue," and I noticed a difference after I used this body wash. My skin seemed much softer. This coconut-derived soap is called "castile" soap, which means it is made without any animal fat. Who wants animal fat in body wash anyway?

Chamomile ShampooLastly, I tried Aubrey Organics' Chamomile Luxurious Shampoo. We have carried other hair, skin and nail health products from Aubrey Organics for a while, but we added this item a few months ago. (Check out this customer review for natural shampoo.) I have to say this: you must like chamomile to appreciate this product. I do, so I enjoyed the smell. This volumizing formula is also free of parabens and SLS. Aubrey Organics provides authentic natural alternatives to many of the mass-produced shampoos available. Like Kirk's Natural and Tom's of Maine, they do not test on animals.

As winter hums along I'll keep using these new products to deal with the dry air and its effects on my skin and hair. Do you have issues with dry skin or hair? Which products have helped you win the battle?

Natural Stress Relief: Help Others & Do Your Body Some Good

Friday, February 11, 2011 by Cathleen W

Relieve stress and pain, boost your immune system and your "happy hormones," fight depression and live longer--the all-natural way! Sounds like an infomercial intro for the latest feel-good-magic pill available for a limited time only, doesn't it? Surprisingly, it accurately describes the natural health benefits of volunteering. Yes, scientific studies continue to prove that helping others not only helps your heart and the spirit, but also your body.

Here's how it works: helping others elevates oxytocin, also known as the "compassion hormone." Volunteering also kick starts endorphins and dopamine, the body's natural opiates or "happy hormones," which decreases stress levels and keeps the body healthy. Plus, by focusing on others, volunteers literally stop focusing on their own aches and pains. They also acquire a sense of belonging and well-being, as well as the aforementioned natural health benefits.

According to UnitedHealthcare and VolunteerMatch, a survey of over 4,000 adults revealed that 68% felt better physically since they started volunteering. Just under 30% stated that volunteering was helping them manage a chronic condition. In fact, adults 65 and older who volunteer over 100 hours a year benefit the most both physically and emotionally. It also helps reduce the likelihood of social isolation and improves the volunteer's sense of his or her own competence. Unfortunately, not everyone benefits from this so-called "helper's high." However, the odds increase significantly if you are interested  in and enjoy your volunteer work. Positive feedback and a sense of purpose also help lead to a feeling of self-worth and appreciation.
Meanwhile, scientists continue to study the natural health benefits associated with compassion and generosity. Stephen Post, author of Why Good Things Happen to Good People and director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics at Stony Brook University, says that despite this new science "one of the best ways to get your mind off your aches and pains is to get your mind onto somebody else." 

Source: U.S. News & World Report  November 2010