Nature Cure Retreat, an Rx for Natural Medicine Education

NCNM student Node Smith (right) with noted English naturopath and educator Stewart Mitchell at the ICNM conference.

Student Node Smith, now in his fourth year of naturopathic medicine study at NCNM, was honored as the only student to present a paper at the ICNM conference. (See Summer Conference Roundup.) Smith’s presentation, “The Revitalization Retreat: Bridging the Gap Between Didactic Instruction and Experiential Education Within Naturopathic Curriculums,” highlighted the need for more experiential education like the Revitalization Retreat offers.

The retreat, first launched as a small nature cure retreat in 2008 by Drs. Sussanna Czeranko and Glen Nagel (’93) at Dr. Ed Alstat’s (’81) 40-acre Eclectic Farm in Sandy, Oregon, was re-created in 2012 as a student-run event by Smith and other naturopathic students, including Dr. Hunter Peterson (’13). The third annual retreat was held again this year in mid-September.

The experiential hands-on retreat provides students an opportunity to gather with their fellow students, faculty and naturopathic medicine elders to learn about the medicine in an outdoor setting. The retreat, a combination of escape to the woods (no electricity, cell phones are discouraged) and a learning experience, centers on nature cure modalities, Smith said.

His ICNM presentation “was well received; it was very different than all of the other presentations at the ICNM,” said Smith.

He added, “It was very enlightening having the opportunity to hear what naturopathic medicine is in other countries. I was especially excited to hear about how it is practiced in India, with nothing taken by mouth— wonderful! It was also great to hear that the governments of some of the countries represented at the Congress were extremely supportive of the cultivation of their own traditional and cultural medicines (Zambia).”