Pictured (left to right) Dorene Petersen, ACHS Founder & President, and ACHS Alumna Nona Kindsvater
Nona Kindsvater was homeless during one-third of her time studying at ACHS. Despite this, she still graduated with honors. Nona graduated in 2016 with an AAS in Complementary Alternative Medicine with aroma and herbal specializations and Diploma in Holistic Health Practice and Diploma in Herbal Studies and she is now the owner of a thriving wellness business.
Looking back, Nona’s journey to get to where she is today was anything but easy. “We all do things out of passion. Those who struggle the most often achieve the resilience to accomplish a greater level through sheer fortitude and determination,” Nona says.
Nona has an autoimmune disease. She knew that something was wrong but doctors said otherwise. She says, "Through allopathic medicine, nothing showed up on tests and it looked like everything was fine.” But Nona knew that everything was not fine and so she searched for answers on her own.
The process proved to be difficult. Nona says that because doctors did not see anything wrong on her tests, the effects of the autoimmune disease became her fault. “They decided that I needed to be institutionalized and medicated, and that was not acceptable,” she says.
Despite the lack of answers that she was getting from doctors, Nona didn't give up. “I knew there was something catastrophically wrong. That it wasn’t that I’m just crazy. And that I wasn’t imagining it.” As Nona did research on her own and began to feel better, she was able to enroll at ACHS.
Studying at ACHS
During the long and difficult journey to complete her program, Nona says that ACHS was phenomenal. “They have memories of me sitting in my car homeless saying ‘I don’t know how I’m going to do this’ or ‘I don’t remember enough to take exams,’” Nona says.
Nona says that she enjoyed that as an online school, ACHS is cost-effective and allowed her to work at her own pace. She says that in the future she will require her core staff at her business, Health Thyme, to take courses at ACHS to get a foundation of knowledge. “I am immensely grateful for the support and knowledge and education. What Dorene has put together is amazing,” Nona says.
Nona has some valuable advice for students who are having a difficult time:
“For students who are struggling, I really have to sympathize with them and say ‘some days you may not know how you’re going to get through this class, you may not think that you can. But every day just keep putting one foot forward and doing the best you can. Don’t give up. Because you never know where this is going to lead or who this is going to help.”
The business of helping others
Health Thyme LLC focuses on three main areas: autoimmune, cancer, and diabetes. Nona says that her program is for those who are feeling hopeless and helpless after not finding answers and feeling like they have no options left.
At first, she didn’t expect her business, based in a remote area of Wyoming, to succeed. “I started my business in a very remote area and thought it would be a waste of my degree, and nothing could be further from the truth. We literally cannot keep up and we are hiring our third clinician and working on building a 100,000 square foot facility to house us,” Nona says.
Nona says that even though Health Thyme doesn’t do any advertising, the business is still doing very well. Because autoimmune diseases can be inherited, she often treats whole families, and in that way, one client can bring in as many as 12 more who are related.
At Health Thyme, Nona “bridges ancient wisdom with scientific studies.” She says that everything they do is science-based and that Health Thyme aligns itself with medical teaching institutions and physicians because it offers them efficacy and protection. Nona supports a blend of holistic health and allopathic medicine and does not promote using only holistic methods to treat autoimmune diseases.
Although Nona's journey was difficult, it resulted in a thriving business that will be able to help many other people. As Nona said, "Blessings come from the most unexpected places.”
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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
Founded 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.