Article by Angela MacRitchie
Angela MacRitchie tells Fab After Fifty about her remarkable health journey which inspired a whole new career. She studied at CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine).
I was a county gymnast but at the age of 19 my knee swelled up and I could only walk with the help of crutches. Over the next twenty years I had six operations, took heavy pain-killers and was often bed-ridden with the pain.
After the sixth operation my consultant said ‘No more operations, I’m referring you to the Rheumatology clinic’. I was prescribed a cocktail of powerful anti-inflammatory drugs, which, despite making me feel very unwell for the first three months, ultimately brought down the swelling dramatically and meant that I could dispense with the crutches, though I was still in pain.
‘No chance’ of my doing a triathlon.
I was told that I was likely to have to take the anti-inflammatory drugs for life, but I began to investigate other, natural methods. When on a subsequent appointment I told the Rheumatologist that I was no longer taking drugs, but I was detoxing, which herbs I was taking and what other changes I was making to my diet and lifestyle, he was unimpressed. I told him that I had challenged myself to do a triathlon in two years’ time, to which he replied that there was ‘No chance’.
It felt like my body increasingly began to wake up again and to respond to all the changes I had made. I found Open Water swimming in cold water to be extremely helpful to me and I still do it regularly. Two years later, aged 46, I successfully completed my first triathlon.
Approaching my 50th birthday
As I approach my 50th birthday, it’s been five years since I’ve taken any kind of medication and my knee is fine. I’m pain free, and enjoy more mobility than I’ve had since I was a teenager. The only reason I didn’t do another triathlon until this August was because I’ve been so busy! I studied for three Diplomas at CNM, the College of Naturopathic Medicine. I wanted to learn everything I could about Nutrition, Naturopathy, and Herbal Medicine. It was a tough call studying for three Diplomas and working full time too, but I was determined to do it.
Having done so much investigating on my personal health journey I not only wanted to help myself with all the information I would be learning, but to swap careers to do something meaningful and help other people improve their own health.
The body is always trying to return to balance.
I learnt such amazing facts at CNM, which really helped my own health. When I think back to my 19 year old self, I think that my immune system was in overdrive and everything was running hay-wire, which certainly could have contributed to my knee problem. As a qualified Naturopath, I know that the body is always trying to return to balance, and the importance of giving it the help it needs for healing.
Now, as a busy practitioner it’s wonderful to have a career where I am able to inspire people to make positive changes. The joy I find from my job, helping people of all ages to improve their wellness, and the recovery of my own good health, gives me a tremendous sense of purpose and optimism as I enter my 50s. Life doesn’t have to start ‘shutting down’. I’m planning a 10k run to celebrate my imminent 50th birthday.
Angela MacRitchie graduated in Naturopathic Nutrition, Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine from CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine). CNM is the UK’s leading training provider in a range of natural therapies, with colleges across the UK and Ireland. To find out more about CNM courses, visit www.naturopathy-uk.com