My Journey to Naturopathy and Herbalism
It's been a bumpy ride, but my journey to Naturopathy and Herbalism has empowered me with the knowledge and life skills to improve my clinic and services as a practitioner. Here is the journey so far.
From a very young age, it became apparent that I was pretty sensitive to all sorts of things: animals, foods, people, loud noises, you name it.
Throughout childhood, my health was mediocre. I was never really thriving, but I was never hospitalised either. I noticed that I had difficulty with many things that other kids could do easily – like run and play. My frequent visits to the GP, for course, after course of antibiotics wasn’t ever considered to be unusual; it was just ‘the way I was’.
But as a child, I was often struggling. I struggled to breathe, I struggled to keep up with the other kids, and, in all honesty, I struggled to fit in and find my place in the world.
My interest in health and nutrition started at a very young age, and from about twelve or thirteen, I started preparing many of my meals. It was the turning point where my passion for whole foods plant-based nutrition began to flourish.
It wasn’t until my young adult years, after dabbling with some different nutrition styles, that I began to notice some significant changes in my health. As I studied more about health and nutrition, I began to see a connection between how I felt physically and emotionally and what I was eating. It was a transformational time, where my self-awareness around my food sensitivity became more apparent.
I went on to study massage therapy, started working in a health food store and began my formal training in Naturopathy and Western Herbal Medicine. I was able to apply much of my textbook learning immediately in my work. Helping people while I was working in the health food store accelerated a deeper understanding of my studies. I was in my element.
In my first year of Naturopathy, I picked up an elective in Ayurvedic Medicine and the next thing I knew, I was studying both Western and Eastern (Ayurvedic ) medicine concurrently. This pushed out my studies for an extra couple of years and allowed me to understand better and apply Eastern and Western healing philosophies.
I loved the contrast and overlaps of Western naturopathy and Ayurvedic medicine. While it was a stretch to complete both modalities, I understood that learning the foundations of Ayurvedic medicine would help me to better interpret and understand my client’s specific needs in my clinic.
Even after all of this formal training, my health was never incredible. I didn’t have any diagnosable health condition, but I was never entirely ‘right’. I had managed to work my way into an abusive relationship. As I was watching my partner at the time self-destruct, I was doing everything in my power to help him. I thought, surely, with all of this knowledge, I could help him. But I couldn’t.
During this relationship, I had put most of myself on hold. Yes, I was functioning in society, I seemed to be doing everyday things, but I was being eaten away by anxiety, sadness, and anger on the inside. I struggled with this relationship for many more years, hoping that I could salvage what was left. When I realised how much of myself I had lost in this relationship, I decided it was time to move on.
Releasing myself from this destructive relationship felt like pulling a plug on a bath full of dirty water. As I felt the weight of this relationship wash away, it left me with greater clarity and understanding of how emotions, communication and relationships can affect your wellbeing.
I began reading about counselling, relationships, and communication. I reconnected with my studies in flower essences and vibrational remedies and launched into a period of emotional self-healing.
There was a significant shift in my energy and a massive change in my clinic too. I became more aware of how the wellbeing of my clients was enmeshed with their lifestyle, relationships, and internal monologue.
My passion for working with people on a deeper, more intimate level of healing activated a realisation that my sensitivity, even from a very young age, had a purpose in helping the wellbeing of others. Whilst years of formal training and textbook knowledge form the foundation of my skills as a practitioner, my struggles with health, relationships, and wellbeing are those that keep my clinical skills honest, sincere and empathic.
Finally, understanding where I fit in, working through my struggles and connecting deeply with my sensitivities allows me to work as an experienced practitioner and guide to help others reach their health goals. My physical, emotional and spiritual health is still a work in progress, and as I learn more, I become better and more passionate about my work.