For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to obtain some kind of holistic health care degree or certification. I’ve spent my entire adult life passionately pursuing all sorts of avenues of health, healing, nutrition, herbs and so on. I never quite knew what path to take and never quite seemed to find the right time or the money to make it happen. Until the summer of 2011, that was when everything aligned perfectly for me and I took a leap of faith and entered the Nutritional Therapy program through the Nutritional Therapy Association based out of Olympia, Washington. If you are at all interested in this program, I highly recommend signing up to listen to the Introduction to the program, it is VERY thorough and informative.
I was so excited to receive my materials and order my books. Most of the books on the reading list were books I wanted to read or had read already. The dietary principles taught are based on the studies of Weston A. Price and the properly prepared nutrient diet he discovered for optimal health, in his book, ‘Nutrition & Physical Degeneration’. In addition to the course reading, there were DVDs, recordings/lectures and regular conference calls to educate us further. A student reference disk took us through all the modules in a systematic fashion, building layer upon layer as we learned the foundational systems and priorities to lead a healthy life. The beauty of this program was that it built incrementally yet thoroughly upon the foundation of diet and how it impacts our body as a whole and how to address health issues through understanding the foundations of good health. This helped me to approach my own health in a more orderly and direct fashion with obvious results.
Another aspect of the program, as it is a distance program, is to attend 3-weekend workshops to learn the functional evaluation aspect of what a Nutritional Therapist would use in their practice. The functional aspect takes healing to a whole new level in my opinion. Based on a series palpations, the functional evaluation is a form of kinesiology to help assess the status of each individual’s deeper health concerns and ultimately used to then use the practice of lingual neuro testing. Lingual-Neuro Testing (LNT) is a valuable biofeedback tool that enables the health care provider to determine the usefulness of a nutritional supplement before it is dispensed to the patient. LNT accesses the body’s innate ability to discriminate between what it needs, and what it does not need, in order to correct a specific problem–a weak organ or a nutritional deficiency, for example. This simple and effective technique makes the difference between a generic nutritional therapy plan and a personalized one.
The phenomenon that is observed with LNT represents:
- The existence of physiologic indicators, like the heart rate, that reflect specific body functions and their relative health.
- The powerful connection between the sensory function of the mouth and the brain, or central nervous system (CNS).
- The ability of the CNS to recognize the value of what is in the mouth (i.e. a nutritional supplement)
- The tendency of the CNS to immediately change a physiologic indicator in response and proportional to the recognized value of a particular nutrient.
This additional aspect just adds to the already in-depth assessments that a practitioner would take with a client. It is a useful tool in helping to determine where the body is taking the biggest hit health wise and further assessing how to help a client. It has personally helped me immensely and I am grateful to have learned how to functionally evaluate the body. It is fascinating to me that the body can give us clues to our overall health without always having to rely on inconclusive medical testing. Not to say that this form of testing is conclusive, but that it is non-invasive and simple to perform to give us clues as to what the body may need.
If you’ve ever read the book, ‘Adrenal Fatigue’ by James Watson, you will know that he uses a series of questionnaire’s, as well as offers several functional tests you can do to help you assess the state of your adrenals. This is the exact kind of thing that is taught by the Nutritional Therapy Association. The functional evaluation is not necessary, it is meant as a tool to further assess the health issues of a client. There are also many basic tests that can be taught to the client to perform on their own in helping assess things like an overall allergic tension in the body to an allergic tension to a specific food.
I enjoyed the weekend classes immensely and was able to meet some amazing people through my classmates. The workshops were extensive, yet very informative. I enjoyed the lectures and side discussions, as well as the bonding with like-minded folks. I am grateful for the connections I’ve made through my classmates as they all were amazing and will be a great networking resource. Additionally, there are further ways to remain connected and learning through an online group you can join once the course has been completed. This is a great resource as well. I am still learning as I go along and this means is a great way to continue to do so.
Supplements are heavily focused on as well, a factor I was very grateful for. Though using supplements is not the first and foremost priority for overall health, they are a very useful tool in therapy as many people are so compromised in their health anymore. The foundations of digestion and blood sugar handling are clearly two of the top priorities in straightening out overall health. Blood sugar was something I learned about in depth through Nora Gedgaudas and her book; ‘Primal Body – Primal Mind’. Nora Gedgaudas was how I found the program in the first place. Here is what she shared about the program;
I did finally discover a nutritional certification program that I was able to trust to provide me with a basic, scientifically sound,physiologically-based education, training and credentialing, as well as an underlying foundation that drew from the work of many great nutritional pioneers…among them, Weston A. Price, Royal Lee, and Francis Pottenger. I knew I’d be in good company here. The Nutritional Therapy Association (NTA) teaches sound, foundational, principle based nutritional coursework, in addition to functionally-based techniques that can be used to assess nutritional status and progress on an individual basis. Caveat: The basic NTA coursework is extremely rudimentary in nature and admittedly lacks the sort of minutiae that adds to a more sophisticated knowledge of physiological systems. That said, the Nutritional Therapy certification beneficially allows one to move to far more advanced levels through access to healthcare practitioner-level continuing education elsewhere. The NTA program can be a useful foundational stepping stone to higher learning, in this regard, and can be your first step into a much clearer and more exciting grasp of the sophisticated machine we all inhabit and how the way we eat influences us.
Want a better feel for what ‘Nutritional Therapy’ is? Read more here: What is Nutritional Therapy.
My hope is that in sharing my experience and overview of the training I received through NTA, I can provide a good understanding of the program and encourage others seeking to get further nutrition education to apply. I’ve had numerous people write me to inquire further about the program and felt it would be helpful to share in further detail.
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