By Amanda Banks, who studied Acupuncture and Naturopathy at CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine).
So many women are choosing to change career midlife. Amanda shares her career reinvention story, retraining as an acupuncturist once her family were grown up.
“After bringing up my family I wanted a career”
I enrolled to study Acupuncture when I was in my 40s, after a conversation whilst helping my daughter choose her GCSE options. “What would you do if you had your time again, Mummy?” “Become an acupuncturist!”, was my immediate response, as acupuncture had helped my health problems. As I had told my children they could do anything they wanted to with hard work and determination, they persuaded me in turn to pursue my new career. Graduating in acupuncture and naturopathy was both hard work and great fun, and it enabled me to set up a really successful clinic, making people feel better. Now, as I hit 50, I have a truly rewarding career, both personally and financially, which is going to carry me through to retirement.
So how had acupuncture helped me? I had suffered persistent bouts of painful Interstitial Cystitis along with gut problems for years. Western medicine was unable to give me any answers, despite extensive testing.
In a quest to resolve my health issues I tried many different things, including sporadic sessions of acupuncture, which I’d found really helpful but I felt it could do more. I instinctively knew there was another piece to the jigsaw. My own research eventually led to an improvement in my gut health, though at one stage my weight plummeted as my diet became so limited that I was eating only 6 foods. I desperately needed to learn more as the Western medicine I was being offered was not helping.
Training in acupuncture and naturopathic medicine
My research led me to CNM the College of Naturopathic Medicine, where I could train as an Acupuncturist and a Naturopath combined, the extra piece of the jigsaw I was looking for.
The naturopathic approach combines a number of other therapies which alongside acupuncture can help to resolve long-standing issues. I gained important knowledge and tools, which as a practitioner I use to re-educate patients on diet and lifestyle choices. My aim is to uncover and address the root cause of health issues, treating the whole person mind, body and spirit. Acupuncturists believe that we all have meridians or channels within the body and disease or illness occurs when these meridians are out of kilter. Inserting the acupuncture needles at appropriate points along these meridians brings them back into balance and hence stimulates the body’s natural healing process.
My CNM training was a huge turning point both personally and physically. The course pushed me way out of my comfort zone, with essays to be written and exams to be passed, but the knowledge I was gaining allowed me to improve my own health. We had a very close study group and under the guided supervision of the lecturers we treated each other; in turn we started to notice changes/improvements as we began to understand more about our individual cases. The course requires hundreds of hours of clinical practice, and a very busy student clinic facilitated a huge amount of hands-on experience with a wide range of health issues.
Setting up a clinic
Having graduated I set up clinic and within the first 6 months I was seeing about 20 clients a week and a year later, approximately 35 clients a week. The combination of Naturopathy and Acupuncture has proved to be an excellent selling point for me and enabled me to build a good reputation, particularly in the area of supporting people with Interstitial Cystitis.
I made what I am sure will be lifelong friends on the course. I work closely with a CNM Nutrition Graduate doing workshop days educating patients on the benefits of acupuncture and nutrition. We cross-refer to each other and both enjoy the benefits of being part of the larger CNM naturopathic community.
I am convinced that the results I see in clinic are due to the excellent teaching staff at CNM and the fact that with naturopathy you can educate your patients on diet and lifestyle to help them improve their own conditions/diseases outside the clinic.
All in all, a good return on the investment I made to study; a wonderful career, the flexibility of being my own boss, job satisfaction, and it’s financially beneficial. I have no regrets, and what’s more, my now grown-up children are impressed!
Amanda practices in Essex, having graduated in Acupuncture and Naturopathy at the UK’s largest training provider in natural therapies, CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine). To find out about CNM training visit www.naturopathy-uk.com