Please note: my intention with this post is to support others on their healing journey and for those seeking their purpose in the holistic health fields. There are so many opportunities and ways to practice medicine or the healing arts. What one chooses and their mindset within that is of great consideration. There are degrees, master's programs, licenses, certifications, mentorships, etc. that can be obtained to be in the field of medicine and healing–all of varying specifications and credentials.
I’ve simply chosen an alternative route that has allowed me to explore and learn a wide variety of healing modalities that spoke to me. Some of these include: functional nutrition, herbalism, reiki, yoga, touch for health (muscle testing), ayurvedic aromatherapy, skincare formulation…and I continue to grow this list to this day. I’m not a licensed practitioner by the State of California (currently, there is no state licensing for herbalists other than LAc or nutritionist) and I’m 100% ok with that. My hope is that one day “alternative” or, shall we say, holistic modalities will get the credit they deserve on a national level. Many of the holistic practices fill in the holes of missing elements in the medical field, and they empower an affordable and sustainable way for people to establish and maintain good health. We’re already seeing a shift in this direction with doctors prescribing herbs and hiring health coaches. It’s happening slowly but change takes time!
I receive a lot of questions about the work that I do in nutrition and herbalism so I decided to write some of it down and share my perspective. I’m not up for debating or negative commentary. There is no one way. Just take what you want and leave the rest.
Why I Became a Functional Nutrition Practitioner & Herbalist
For anyone that’s ever battled chronic health conditions, it can be a heart-breaking experience. There’s no doubt the physical symptoms are frustrating but also the emotional rollercoaster of healing, the debilitating feeling of being unwell, and not to forget all the time and money that go into it.
There’s a lot of conflicting information out there in regards to health and even more so on who to see and how to heal.
During the height of my health issues, several years ago, I saw a number of different practitioners including a nutritionist, acupuncturists, herbalist, medical intuitives, naturopaths and western doctors (functional ones included). Though some of them were very helpful in my journey, ultimately I felt helpless, lost and frustrated. I had gone through: parasite cleansing, heavy metal chelation, dental work (to remove metal fillings), lab testing, consumed loads of supplements, maintained a very healthy but restrictive diet, and spent a ton of money that I didn’t have. Yet I was still dealing with a damaged gut, skin issues, anxiety, adrenal dysfunction and hormone imbalances. I really wanted to get to the root of these issues and go beyond the surface of test results and supplementation…the WHY. It was time for me to feel empowered with my body and my choices, NOT a victim to them.
Starting to connect the dots…
This is what led me to get certified as a Functional Nutrition Practitioner followed by 18 months of school in herbalism. Long before this, I was certified as a holistic health coach and bridged the practices of ancient modalities like TCM and Ayurveda into my own life. However, I knew that I had only scratched the surface. I was still walking around with a hyper reactive immune system with the symptoms and inflamed skin to prove it. Add in my obsessive curiosity for self-awareness and understanding the body, then off I went down the rabbit hole of holistic healing modalities in more depth…beginning with functional nutrition.
What is functional nutrition?
Functional nutrition uses functional lab tests to investigate the immune, digestive, hormonal and detoxification systems in order to find the root cause or imbalances that are creating the symptoms and conditions. Natural protocols such as whole foods, stress reduction, lifestyle choices, self-care practices, supplementation... and I also include herbal medicine and connection to nature. Individualized protocols are utilized to promote healthy function and bring the body back into balance. As health improves and functions are restored, the body can heal itself and resolve symptoms and conditions.
“Functional” has become a buzz word in the world of medicine and for a good reason. It’s an essential part of an assessment. Lab testing provides insight and clues on how to support the body more precisely rather than random trouble shooting based off symptoms or isolated body systems, both of which are rather complex.
It’s still not the full picture.
Other things I take into consideration are: mindset, lifestyle, genetic makeup, constitution and environment to develop a broader analysis to work from. I must add it’s not always the physical and natural remedies that facilitate all the healing. More often than not, there’s an underlying mental-emotional piece that needs to be revealed and healed. In fact, having the support of holistic practitioners was an essential part of exploring this and healing. I don’t recommend going at it alone!
After getting certified in functional nutrition, I did 2 programs in Western Herbalism to learn the medicinal aspects and clinical use of herbal medicine. Herbs–mostly Chinese herbs–had been a significant part of my healing from very early on. I could not deny the pull into herbalism. The more I learned about the body, the more curious I became about nature’s very own medicine kit to heal it. Exploring herbalism is truly one of my greatest pleasures!
Functional nutrition coupled with herbal medicine and a wide lens of holistic perspectives connected the dots to how my own health had unraveled and how to create a new foundation of well-being. It has proven to be the most beneficial and essential for me in establishing and maintaining good health, and given me the privilege of guiding and empowering others on their path to healing.
If you would like to explore your own health using this approach, you can set up a free consult with me here.
Suggestions for finding YOUR way
Find what resonates with you and explore that. There are so many directions to go in and it’s impossible to learn all there is to know! There is no “right” or “wrong” route. You'll get where you need to be. Just get started and do your research in finding the programs that resonate with you.
When I began my education in functional nutrition there were literally only a couple of options back then. Now, there are a ton of options so ask around and dig deep into what and why you want to study a specific area. If you really want a degree or license, and prefer that validation then lean in that direction. Now there are functional medicine programs for doctors, nurses and other licensed practitioners to extend there knowledge into integrative or functional models. There really is something for everyone. For herbalism, I recommend reading these two resources here and here, so you’re aware of your options. And I’m bias but CSHS is one of the best out there in my opinion. Keep following whatever lights you up and listen to your intuition. It will steer you in the right direction.