“I love to do the research and figure out the remedies to people’s health problems.”
Laying the groundwork to become an ND
Dr. Raynette Ilg’s career started in office work, but her spirituality and family roots in botanical medicine led her to pursue a career in naturopathic medicine. Dr. “Ray” fondly recalls picking healing herbs from her grandmother’s garden, a practice that foreshadowed her professional calling as a naturopathic doctor.
NUHS as a springboard
Dr. Ray pursued her bachelors of science in biological medicine at the age of 40 while raising her children who were in junior high at that time. “Since I was an older student it was extremely important to me to be able to maintain a family relationship and go to school for my passion.” National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) offered the proximity and rigorous naturopathic education she needed to complete both goals. She valued the hands on courses and resourceful faculty that taught her an integrative approach to working with all kinds of other medical professionals in a team setting.
“Living the dream” after graduation
Following graduation in 2011, Dr. Ray launched Olive Branch Wellness Center in South Elgin, Illinois. She loves the flexibility that entrepreneurship has offered her and her family. Furthermore, she is proud of the office and team she has built. Each of her employees are hand-picked.
In addition to being a naturopathic doctor, Dr. Ray is also the author of Livin’ LaVida Grande: Why You Can’t Lose Weight and has been featured speaker on major networks such as ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and The CW.
Finding fulfillment as an ND
From her start picking healing herbs in her grandmother’s garden to her established career in naturopathic medicine, Dr. Ray says, “It is a dream come true to be able to help people and not be so invasive! To see people who were told that nothing was wrong with them, even though they were not feeling well, come up to a new height of health and energy is amazing.” Another aspect Dr. Ray enjoys about naturopathic medicine is the patient-doctor relationship where she has the opportunity to teach her patients. The doctor as a teacher approach puts the patient in control of their well-being with the tools they need to heal.
Advice for aspiring NDs
Dr. Ray encourages prospective students to study hard and take advantage of opportunities to develop a sense of what you want your practice to look like. Seek out other professionals as mentors to help guide you on your path. “Naturopathic doctors are known for their work ethic and for going the extra mile. If you can’t do that, naturopathic may not be your path in life; but if you can,” Dr. Ray exclaims, “Oh, the places you will go!”
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