Alumni Highlight: Jennifer Agger | achs.edu

    Written by: Gillian Turner /
    Feb 18, 2020 12:30:00 PM

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    Jennifer Agger completed her Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition from ACHS in 2019 and completed her Graduate Certificate in Complementary Alternative Medicine in 2020. Jennifer is a Reiki Master with a personal training certification, and she has a background in homeopathy. She’s also a disabled veteran and a gold-star wife.

    jennifer aggerFinding Holistic Health

    Until her husband got pancreatic cancer, he and Jennifer lived like typical Americans who didn’t think too much about what they ate. 

    "He went through four months of extremely aggressive chemotherapy and at the end of it all, they had accomplished nothing and sent him home to die," says Jennifer. Around that time, she began watching Food, Inc. and other similar documentaries.  "I started to understand the corruption of our food and medical industry and from there we just went full tilt. We cut out all the processed foods. I started soaking grains. I found a naturopath out in Portland who treats cancer patients so we started undergoing that therapy. It was supremely intensive," she says.

    The program set out by the naturopath was successful and her husband's health improved. "His numbers started going in a good direction. He started to regain his vitality," Jennifer says. Unfortunately, around the same time, Jennifer’s father was also diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and she and her husband had to move back to the midwest. They fell out of the health routine that the naturopath had put in place. Eventually, her husband’s health had declined to a degree that it was too late for him to get back on the naturopath’s routine. He passed away in 2011.

    Today, Jennifer and her daughter, who was 3 at the time that her husband died, both still lead healthy lifestyles. 

    What makes a person change?

    We talked about how people only make healthy changes with their backs against the wall, and Jennifer says her situation was no different. She says that living a healthy lifestyle in America can have a negative perception at times. "People just think it's trendy, and they need to get past that before they can understand it," she says.

    “People a lot of times think that I’m doing some new trendy Hollywood diet, but I’m not! This is the food that our great grandparents ate. Once you get people past that and they understand that it’s about the sourcing [of the food], more than necessarily what you’re eating, that helps," Jennifer says.

    She says that awareness is an important first step in encouraging people to lead healthier lifestyles.

    Understanding her clients

    Jennifer recently sold the small farm that she and her daughter had been living on because it become too difficult to manage it as a single mother. She says that while waiting for the farm to sell, she is living in an apartment and finds the lack of space difficult in comparison. But, Jennifer says that it has also given her the ability to better understand the difficulties faced by her clients who live in apartments, so it’s really a blessing because she can then help them better.

    Jennifer says that the biggest issue standing in peoples' way of living healthier lifestyles is lack of time and difficulty fitting healthy activities into their lifestyles. She says that the remedy to this is to make being healthy simpler and explain it to clients in a simple way.

    Christian Reiki Master

    Jennifer describes herself as a holistic health consultant, although she is also a Reiki master. 

    She explains that Reiki is a technique, healing modality, and energy therapy. As the International Center for Reiki Training explains, "It is administered by 'laying on hands' and is based on the idea that an unseen 'life force energy' flows through us and is what causes us to be alive" [1].  She says that although she can’t make claims about it, people have experienced pain relief and more from it. According to Jennifer, Reiki is becoming more medically accepted.

    Jennifer explains that since she is Christian, instead of “calling in spirit guides or angels” as is common in Reiki, she prays to God.  She would like to someday educate people or write a book about being a Christian Reiki Master, since it is a unique position to be in. She says that theologians don’t know what Reiki is and they aren’t experts, and that on the other side of things, people who practice Reiki claim that it is not spiritual even though it involves "calling in angels".

    A memorable client

    I asked her about an impactful experience with changing someone’s health for the better. "There was a gentleman who was addicted to opioids. He had been electrocuted in a coal mine about a decade ago and his muscles seized up. It was a myofascial injury," Jennifer says. Instead of recommending myofascial release, his doctor prescribed him pain pills that he became addicted to after over a decade of use.

    "When we started working together I recommended myofascial release. I didn’t do it myself, but it was part of the strategy we put together. I helped him with his nutrition and we started to make progress. We tried everything and high dose CBD oil had the most impact. He noticed that his cravings went away and it got him about 90% there,” Jennifer says. Then, she helped the man get his medical marijuana card, and finally his cravings were gone. "His addictions, his cravings, all of it. It just took care of all of it. The last time I had seen him he was six months clean and didn’t have any desire to go back. It was incredible," Jennifer says.

    "It’s remarkable that we were able to accomplish that in the span of less than a year when conventional medicine failed him and let this go on for over a decade,” she says.

    Experience at ACHS

    Jennifer says she enjoys taking online classes. “I'm a single mother. I wouldn’t be able to do this if I didn’t have an online option," she says.  It requires discipline and time management, but she prefers it to taking classes at a physical campus.

    Are you interested in being interviewed for the blog?

    We would love to highlight more ACHS students and graduates. An article on our blog is a great way to share your holistic health story, show off what you've accomplished, or spread the news about your new wellness practice. Please fill out this form and our Social Media Coordinator, Gillian Wilson, will be in touch with you to schedule a phone interview. 

    References:

    [1] What is Reiki? (2019, September 10). Retrieved from https://www.reiki.org/faqs/what-reiki

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    Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the Social Media Coordinator of the American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

    This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine. 

    About American College of Healthcare Sciences

    ACHS-Building-ExteriorFounded in 1978, ACHS.edu is a Portland, Ore.-based, accredited college offering online, on-campus, and study abroad integrative health education. With undergraduate and graduate degrees, diplomas, certificates, and continuing education units in integrative health, ACHS makes holistic health and wellness education accessible to a diverse community, including healthcare professionals, military students, stay-at-home parents, and lifelong learners. Specializations include aromatherapy, herbal medicine, holistic nutrition, and integrative health. ACHS is a Certified B Corporation® and was named two of 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon 2017 by Oregon Business magazine. ACHS is also accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). In response to our commitment to service members, veterans and military spouses, ACHS has been designated as one of the top 16% of military-friendly institutions in the U.S. for nine years in a row. For more information visit achs.edu.

    Authored by Gillian Turner

    Gillian joined ACHS after graduating from Linfield College with a BA in Mass Communication and a minor in visual studies. She grew up off the grid in rural southern Oregon and spent time exploring the forest surrounding her house and teaching gardening classes to other children in her garden. While at Linfield, Gillian gained valuable experience in public relations, social media management, and digital art. She was awarded a strategic communication scholarship and inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha, a national college honor society “that recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship in journalism and mass communication.” When not at work, Gillian can most often be found making art, enjoying nature or drinking coffee with her husband, Preston. Her interests include sustainability, mental wellness, and trying to stay connected to nature while living in the city. She studied abroad at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and has traveled to over ten different countries. Her favorite place that she has visited is the Scottish Highlands, and she hopes to visit many more countries in the future.

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