Picture this – it was the day before I was due to go on a family beach holiday and I’m laying face down, on an acupuncturist bed while she dry drags my skin with a spoon in a practice called Gua Sha. It was really uncomfortable and not a pleasant feeling for me. When she had finished, my back looked like a thousand love bites and I felt like I was going to combust, I was seriously hot. I paid my money, said it was great, gave her a tip (to prove how great it was) and ran to the hills!
I had gone to her because I was desperate for some relief. I had been suffering for years with blocked sinuses and recurrent infections. To others, I think it just sounded like a mild inconvenience but it was seriously impacting the quality of my life. I constantly needed tissues – I was either catching a drip, sneezing or clearing my throat – which didn’t make me feel particularly attractive or professional during business lunches! I had lost about 60% of my taste sensation and nearly all of my sense of smell. My sleep was severely disrupted and my oral hygiene was a concern as I was constantly mouth breathing or grinding my teeth. I had been to the doctors countless times, tried steroid sprays, tablets, antibiotics but nothing fixed me!
My low point was when I had a condition called vertigo which followed from another ear and sinus infection. My world was literally spinning and this lasted for a week – can you imagine how scary this was?! I was told it wasn’t safe for me to hold my son (who was 4 years old) or travel to London for work. The doctor asked if I would like to be signed off work for stress and I just broke down and cried, which was embarrassing for both of us.
That night I had yet another rubbish nights sleep. I woke four times choking from a really dry mouth, every time I turned over my world spun. I decided enough was enough and I needed to take matters in my own hands.
So, I did a ton of researching and started experimenting with every healing method I could find (hence the Gua Sha). Some gave temporary relief others did nothing for me, which made me feel like a complete failure.
My breakthrough came when I joined a chat group with other vertigo sufferers, and a person had symptom relief by changing her diet. It sounds crazy to me now, but It hadn’t occurred to me that what I was eating and drinking could be contributing to my condition.
I made some pretty simple changes and to cut a long story short I started to see lasting results and for the first time in years, I started to feel better! However, something more amazing happened in the process, I gained a new passion. I became obsessed with learning about the human body and the innate wisdom it has to heal. What started as curiosity progressed into a real passion, much to the surprise of my friends and family.
A few years later, I left a really fulfilling job in the city to look after my son and I wanted to embrace a new chapter in my life. At the age of 40, I was ready for a new challenge. One morning (having read an advert in a magazine) I found myself at The College of Naturopathic Medicine in London enrolling in a 3-year course in Biochemistry and Naturopathic Nutrition. After my first lecture, I knew this was 100% where I wanted to be, I haven’t looked back since.
I have learnt some seriously cool, mind-blowing things and met a group of people that inspire me every day. I have seen that you can have a clinical practice that supports people with empathy and puts them in control of their own health, without having to resort to extremes. I learnt that engaging in healthcare can be a rewarding, beautiful process when the client knows they are truly being heard. I learnt there is only so much you can achieve in one day and then you start again the next. I learnt that being healthy is so much bigger than just ‘me’, it is my connection to my environment, my family and the whole world in which I live.
I look back and laugh at the memory of me in a bikini on holiday all those years ago covered in blood bruises and the embarrassment I felt, now I would carry them with pride!
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