How I went from living in pain to thriving fit

Studying naturopathy helped me turn my health around

Emily Schlecht, CNM Dublin Director of Studies

CNM’s Director of Studies in Dublin, Emily Schlecht, explains how she went from living in pain to thriving fit. Studying naturopathy provided the answers she needed to help resolve her health issues naturally. Emily also discusses her role at CNM, what she loves most about her job and her advice to anyone thinking about studying natural medicine.

What did you do before studying to become a Naturopath?

I was in the Navy, working very long hours as a surveyor.

Why did you decide to study natural medicine?

Living on a ship 24/7 meant I had no control over the foods available to me and I had to eat what I was given. Being a vegetarian limited my choices further. After years of shift work, long hours and an unhealthy lifestyle, I became sick with an autoimmune condition and had constant chest infections. The allopathic medical model provided little relief for my symptoms and I began a perpetual cycle of taking pharmaceutical medications. I knew this wasn’t how I wanted to live, so I started visiting health food stores and speaking to naturopaths who helped me greatly. It also made me want to learn more about natural medicine.

On one occasion, I visited my local health store and the naturopath sales assistant recommended I take some zinc and vitamin C for my chest infection. Taking the supplements worked and my chest infection cleared up; I couldn’t believe it. She also suggested I study naturopathy to learn more about nutrition and ways to heal the body naturally; this was the starting point in my journey in natural medicine.

By changing my diet, working on stress levels, healing my gut and taking herbal medicine, I was able to come off pharmaceutical medication and my health started to improve.

How has studying natural medicine changed your life?

Studying naturopathy completely changed my life. I now have work-life balance and my relationship with food has also improved. Learning about food, how to cook and trying out different recipes has been amazing. I’ve also changed my mindset and I now see food as medicine that nourishes the body. Being able to help family members and friends with health conditions has also been rewarding.

I’ve been working in the natural medicine industry for eight years now, doing a variety of roles, including clinical practice and working for a nutraceutical company. My current role is the Director of Studies (DOS) at CNM’s Dublin college.

Tell us about your role at CNM

My role as the DOS for Dublin is varied and interesting. I do all sorts, from providing pastoral care to students to liaising with lecturers who are experts in their field; each day is different. I assist students with assignments, help them create study plans, fill timetables, find speakers for events and also work on marketing and B2B partnerships.

What do you love most about your job?

The thing I love most about being the DOS for CNM Dublin is the regular contact with students and lecturers. I’m passionate about the natural medicine industry so being able to educate and inspire others on the topic is very rewarding. Being part of the students’ journey and helping them receive their diploma is an absolute pleasure.

What makes CNM unique?

If you have a calling to help others and you’re interested in natural medicine, CNM is a great place to study. They offer flexible study options, both on-campus and through online courses. It’s something you can chip away at part-time on the weekends, and before you know it, you can swap your unsatisfying job to a rewarding career as a nutritional therapist, herbalist or acupuncturist. Natural medicine is a growing industry and there are many opportunities, both within Ireland and abroad, including private practice and consulting, education, research and product development.

What advice can you give to those thinking about studying nutrition?

My advice to anyone thinking about studying nutrition or naturopathy is to go for it. It’s impossible to study natural medicine and regret it. From day one, you go home with practical tips and important information that you can start implementing straight away. If you have a yearning to educate, create change and help others, then natural medicine would be a great fit. It changed my life and I went from living in pain to thriving fit.

Tell us about CNM Dublin

The college is in a prime location in the heart of the city and easy to access by car and public transport. It’s walking distance from the bus and train stops, and close to a number of multilevel car parks. The college building is modern with many spacious rooms; it also has a large range of herbal medicines within the dispensary. There is a mix of students from diverse backgrounds and all walks of life.

Do you have any graduate success stories you can share?

We hear many success stories from CNM graduates. For example, we have one nutrition graduate who is now a successful social media influencer and clinician with a thriving practice. We have a herbal medicine graduate who now lectures for CNM, and another graduate who has established a successful organic skincare range. The sky really is the limit in terms of opportunities. CNM provides you with all you need to make your entrepreneurial dreams come true.

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