CNM (The College of Naturopathic Medicine) are long-serving writers for Positive Life, and we love what they do! We were especially excited to read this article by Ciara Roberts, which appeared in our Winter 2019/20 issue. She described what her studies with CNM meant to her, both in terms of her personal healing journey, and how she now works with clients. Read on to learn all about it!
The course that sang out to me
by Ciara Roberts, CNM Naturopathic Nutrition Graduate and Author
CNM is a combination of hopeful endeavour and academic excellence, which makes it a very worthwhile experience. I loved my three years of training in Naturopathic Nutrition. I loved the lecturers – whose calibre was excellent – and meeting new, like-minded people, some of whom became very good friends. The content of the course and feeling fully equipped to practice after graduation, was a very helpful antidote to my very busy, stressful banking career. I came to really enjoy studying at the weekends.
I was already aware of nutrition, having been raised by a mother very interested in natural health, and having worked with a South African doctor who planted powerful seeds of healthy living within me. I considered retraining in medicine, but felt that I would not be able to handle medical bureaucracy. I then considered a Master’s degree in Nutrition. It was through that process that I ‘happened’ upon the CNM course, and it immediately sang out to me. I literally felt like the course had been designed just for me.
I suffered from strep throat at age 4 – unusually localised to my kidneys – precipitating a rare form of glomerular nephritis. At the age of 14, I went into renal failure, and from the ages of 14 to 21, I had to rely on thrice weekly hospital dialysis treatments. At the age of 21, I had the gift of a kidney transplant, but when I was 39, the transplant kidney function failed. I am currently listed for a second kidney, and I do peritoneal dialysis at home.
As a child, I was seen in Dublin by a paediatric nephrologist. This was during the early 1980s in Dublin, where no nutritional or lifestyle advice was available. We were referred by a Dublin hospital to an amazing doctor in South Africa. He advised whole foods, good hydration and limited sugars. Because of this, I flourished. I was a very healthy child, in spite of my diagnosis.
I was working full-time in private banking credit risk in Canary Wharf when I started at CNM. However, I knew in my heart that there was so much more I had to offer in this lifetime. I resigned from banking in 2013, having been supported by an amazing Global Head to reduce my work to part-time for a year prior to my resignation – highly unusual in my type of role. When you believe you are supported, this becomes the reality.
I also qualified as a yoga teacher and set up my own business, Wholly Aligned, in 2012. Wholly Aligned draws upon the wisdom of nutrition and yoga to help people reconnect with their minds, bodies and souls, ultimately awakening their inner physician.
I currently support my health with both conventional medicine and natural treatments. I undergo nightly 8-hour dialysis, having lost my transplant kidney function 3 years ago. That was a big spiritual awakening for me, as I nearly died. Dialysis comes with all kinds of potential complications, but I see this as a part of my self-care routine. I have the intuition, knowledge, strength and self-love to look after myself very well.
I have personally experienced how healing happens in many forms. We don’t need to ‘become’ a diagnosis. We can heal deeply on an emotional and mental level to support the physical. We can create the life we love, despite our challenges, and share ourselves from that place of quiet joy.
The CNM course enriched my knowledge and, most importantly, helped me to understand more deeply the intricate nature of therapeutic rapport, and how it is key to build trust and confidence with your clients. By working through my frustration with the very linear medical system, and turning that frustration around, I can use my resulting wisdom to help. Together, we can make a change: this is what an integrated health system is.
I am engaged with social prescribing, and work with King’s Hospital and local GP practices. I have been featured in The Mail on Sunday, Yoga Magazine, Journal of Kidney Care, Top Santé, OM Yoga and Elephant Journal. I love helping people to make links between their habits and their health and understand where they might be limiting themselves.
My first book ‘Wholly Aligned, Wholly Alive’ – launched in June 2019 – details my journey and discusses the tools of nutrition and yoga, and how they have helped me.
CNM has a superb 22-year record of training successful practitioners in natural therapies, in class and online. Speak to a helpful Course Consultant or book to attend CNM’s next free Open Event to find out about training in Nutrition, Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture, Homeopathy and Natural Chef.
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