Balance in life is much like balance on a beam. It takes practice to feel comfortable and the minute you relax, you find yourself on the floor scratching your head (and it often happens on the easiest of skills, like a half turn!).
In my last year attending the University of Western Ontario I had no clue what I wanted to do. Well, that’s not completely true. I had a general idea of the field that I wanted to be in, but I wasn’t sure which path to take: Western Medicine? Physiotherapy? Massage? Acupuncture? Osteopathy? The first time Naturopathic Medicine was introduced to me was by my best friend who new someone in the program. I immediately said, “No, I don’t believe in that Crystal/ Energy stuff”. As with some things that I am unfamiliar with, my first instinct was to rebel and conform with some of the negative stereotyping. Boy was I wrong, and my ignorance had a severe butt-kicking when I started CCNM (the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine).
I took the first 6 month after getting my Bachelors in Biology to volunteer and travel in Tanzania, East Africa (Read about my experience here). When I got back home I worked as a personal trainer (thanks to Jon) and started looking into Naturopathic Medicine again. I had a few influences from family and friends over that year, which spiked my interest in the various physical therapies; Acupuncture (Western style), manipulation, massage, nutrition, and lifestyle counselling. When I started CCNM, I soon discovered how medical and research based Naturopathic Medicine was. I was taking courses such as; Biochemistry, Microbiology, Physiology, Anatomy, Research, Pathology, Diagnoses and Laboratory Testing, Nutrition, Radiology, Physical Medicine, Health Psychology, Embryology, Immunology, ect. Each semester I was taking 12 courses that included lectures, assignments and exams in almost each subject. Not only was the content intense, but the load was enough to make you cry (and I did many of times). During my first year at CCNM I never missed class, did all I could to get 80’s, and worked part-time as a personal trainer. This was a short-sighted mistake because I was working so hard without a clear idea of my end goals. What I forgot was to prioritize and maintaining balance, and what I got was ‘burnt out’.
Over the course of my 4 years at CCNM my interests have definitely evolved, especially having completed most of the science-based courses. I find myself gravitating towards the more energetic practices of homeopathy, acupuncture (Traditional Chinese Medicine), reiki, auricular medicine, practice of intention, meditation, and therapeutic touch. I still have difficulties with fully embracing myself in some of these modalities because their mechanisms of actions are not easily conceptualized. However, just because I don’t have the language to explain these concepts doesn’t mean that they don’t work. In fact, I know they work because I have experienced them myself and have seen them work in others. It’s so easy to disregard something that you don’t understand or have never experienced. First impressions, while important, are not the whole story. I live this lesson everyday and am continually surprised at the things I learn when I let go of my judgements and really listen to others, myself, and the ‘universe’. Just as my first impressions of Naturopathic Medicine were inaccurate, I am learning to approach life with a balance of curiosity and fun instead of resistance.
If anything that I’ve posted has grabbed your interest, I suggest coming to CCNM’c clinic (The Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic– RSNC) to see a student intern and learn about Naturopathic Medicine. If you are more inclined to Bio-Energetic Therapies I highly recommend seeing a Naturopath at the Trinity Health Clinic in Toronto.