As Carina Rockland can testify, good health is something to never take for granted. At the tender age of twenty, she was so debilitated by painful Crohn’s disease that she felt trapped in the body of a ninety-year old. A 2012 graduate of the Health Coach Training Program and resident of Montague, Massachusetts, Carina has since taken control of her health and is now achieving incredible new academic and professional accomplishments.
Taking advantage of Integrative Nutrition’s partnership with Goddard College, she is currently completing the senior year of her Bachelor’s degree, has enrolled in a massage therapy program, and is writing a book about integrative approaches to Crohn’s disease. Her perseverance and commitment to improving the lives of others who struggle with chronic pain is an inspiration!
What were you doing prior to enrolling at IIN?
I had recently been diagnosed with Crohn's disease after years of struggling with its symptoms and misdiagnoses. In the three years prior to enrolling at IIN, I underwent a devastating six-week hospitalization and five surgeries, which almost took my life and two years of being completely homebound. I was dangerously underweight, so malnourished that large clumps of my hair began to fall out, and was experiencing relentlessly acute abdominal pain and intestinal bleeding. I was twenty years old, but I felt like I was trapped in a ninety year-old’s body.
How did your life change after enrolling?
I decided to take control of my own health. I had already tried almost every diet, medication and system of medicine that is available, each to no avail. I grew increasingly more devastated and ill as I tried one after another treatment protocol that was promised by one of my many health practitioners to “cure” me.
Slowly, I regained my physical health back. I eventually found that a combination of a very strict self-constructed diet with supplements, medication, acupuncture, bodywork and exercise became essential to maintaining my health.
What are you doing now?
I recently transferred to Goddard College and am finishing my senior year. I was ecstatic to find out about IIN’s new partnership with Goddard, as my time at IIN translated into a semester worth of additional Goddard credits.
I am currently immersed in my senior study at Goddard. I am writing a book that explores integrative approaches to the treatment of Crohn’s Disease. Additionally, I am enrolled in a massage therapy licensure program. By this summer of 2013, I will have graduated from Goddard College with a BA in Health Arts and Sciences with a comprehensive book manuscript about the integrative treatment of Crohn’s Disease in hand and be fully licensed as a massage therapist.
I am looking forward to sharing my book and my skills as a Health Coach and massage therapist to better the lives of those struggling with chronic disease and pain.
Which topics and modules were most beneficial for you?
The concept of bio-individuality, or in other words, “one man’s food is another man’s poison,” really hit close to home for me. I came to the stark realization that no one could cure me. Instead, IIN gave me the tools that I needed to heal myself. Additionally, the concept of primary foods had a major impact on me. I began to put less emphasis on relying on my diet and treatment plan to gain my health back again because I realized that I needed to nourish and heal my soul, too. I focused on the good that my disease has brought me, like my unbreakable bond with my husband and the strength and compassion that living with a debilitating chronic disease has given me.
Dr. Andrew Weil’s and Dr. Deepak Chopra’s teachings and commitment to integrative medicine unquestionably resonated with me the most. I feel unbelievably fortunate to have had the opportunity to study under both of them.
How has your illness shaped you as a developing Health Coach?
As a person living with a chronic disease, I intimately understand how devastating it is to be paralyzed in the face of illness. As a future health practitioner, I will bring an immense gentleness and compassion to my clients. Furthermore, I strongly value an integrative approach and believe that medicine will be most successful in the long run if the seemingly divergent worlds of Western and Eastern medicine are united and bridged.
Is there a need for Health Coaches where you live?
Yes, absolutely! Although the pioneer valley in western Massachusetts is teaming with esteemed complimentary health practitioners, it is missing the wealth that Health Coaches bring, which is the blend of self-healing and tools to improve and ignite passion in all areas of life reinforced with a large knowledge base of holistic nutrition, health coaching, and preventative healthcare.
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