A Message From Our Founder
Hi there! I’m Ava Rockwell
To be honest, I don’t really talk about myself much and I prefer keep the focus on the school.
It was time for me though to put myself out there —to acknowledge and realize my value and contribution to this industry.
And that’s just what I want you to do. We all reach a point in our lives where we finally understand our worth and value. We’re all at different stages of the journey.
Some of us are afraid to come out to our friends and families as ‘healers’, ‘holistic health practitioners’, ‘life coaches’, and ‘patient advocates’. Sometimes we worry we might be called ‘weird’ or feel misunderstood. It happens.
There are a million reasons, including the feeling that we’re being impractical, but I assure you, there is a demand for you and your knowledge.
It is a very, very big world out there with lots and lots of people. It’s safe to say that a fair share of those people need you —they just don’t know it yet.
While some of us confidently embrace our path, others of us question it. I for one am not the same scared younger woman that fearfully and trepidatiously started this school in 2015. I grew. I am still growing everyday. And so will you.
I assure you, we are not all meant to go a conventional route. The School of Holistic Medicine represents alternative, adult education, as a form of unschooling or self-directed learning. It means to study what you love —nothing more, nothing less.
People are building practices based on their expertise, no matter how seemingly insignificant!
You have your experiences for a reason. If you are called to health and wellness, then your story is your calling card, —the stranger and more unique, the better.
The School of Holistic Medicine was born out of my sincere desire to make this type of education credible, affordable, and accessible.
I wanted to encourage responsible practice above all else and provide better transparency and educational standards in these career fields.
I hope to enable our students with the type of challenging, yet realistic educational foundation for which they can use as a springboard to manifesting their full potential as holistic health practitioners.
I hope to give them skill sets they need to practice safely, responsibly, confidently and effectively.
I want to provide the kind of education that our graduates can trust, respect, and revere, in themselves and one another.
Most of all, I wanted to provide my students with the tools to begin their own self-healing journey.
I will say the journey never ends, but does level off and get easier with time!
Here’s a bit about me and my personal life. You know, how I got here and all that.
As crazy as it might sound, I began learning about roots and herbs when I was just 5 years old.
My dad would take me ginseng hunting, or digging, with him ‘in the bush’ or ‘the woods’ as he calls it. People would often say I’m going to go ginseng hunting, even though they are digging it!
He showed me how to identify it from the age of 5 —and very carefully remove it from the ground, unscathed, with the least amount of damage possible!
We naturally achieved this with considerable skill acquired from years of practice and by using a pickaxe, or a ‘ginseng digger’. Of course, once in awhile, a ginseng root could get damaged while procuring it. My father is ever so careful in this process
He would very gently wash the rich, dark, dirt off the hard, wrinkled root with delicate tendrils. Then he would lay it on newspapers covering every flat surface in the house in season —which was mid-August. Now ‘in season’ is September, due to endangerment. Season lasts about a month or 30-days.
He learned about ginseng from his father. He taught me about conservation of this incredible ‘man root’ (because it resembles a human) or ‘seng’ as it was often called. He taught me how to identify it and plant it from seed!
The seeds were always laying around the house with the root, and as terrible as it sounds, I used to play with them. I remember their rubbery texture between my fingertips. I would often crush the red, fleshy pulp and smell the bitterness.
What I remember most though, is the smell. The smell of the ginseng, and the bitter taste of the tea and root. And the weird, earthy smell of the seeds I would roll between my thumb and fingertip, and crush as a child.
Of course, my dad told me to be gentle with these seeds. I mentioned this to him, and asked if he remembered me doing that, and he said yes, but I was just 6 or 7 he said.
Ginseng needs a minimum of 10-12 years to be decent sized, but ideally, if the root can mature for 20-30 years it can grow quite huge. We would replant the smaller roots so they could mature in a safe place because it had become ‘sport’ and was vanishing from the wild.
I was very fortunate to grow up with the energetic influence of this sacred root immersing me year after year throughout my childhood —to have unending access to it anytime I wanted.
There was always a piece of dried ginseng laying around somewhere, hard as a rock.
The only equivalent that comes to mind is if someone grew up near iodine mines or amongst frankincense trees —two other sacred elements / plants!
In fact, my father forced me to drink raw ginseng tea all throughout my childhood if I caught a cold! This, along with crushed garlic and honey, was his remedy!
I experimented with the tea made from roots and leaves for a period when I was 19. It gave me profound endurance and stamina.
It’s difficult for me to drink ginseng tea from the store. It is not the same at all.
We also had blood root and yellow root always drying around the house, but in less quantity.
I can still see the alarming bright red of blood root in my minds eye as a child, curiouser and curiouser.
My father was always foraging wild edibles, too.
I didn’t really drink cokes or have candy much.
My father caught fish for from our neighborhood lake. My aunt also had a fully stocked lake he would fish in. I grew up eating various wild game.
I remember him once informing me when I was probably in first or second grade that the box of lemon heads I chose contained yellow #5 in them, —and he seemed to somehow imply that it could not be good. Kind of like, ‘don’t you know any better’?
I don’t recall my response, other than I never forgot it. Of course, in retrospect, I laugh at this memory and believe he must have been anxious letting me eat it because he knew what it was, even if I didn’t.
Henceforth, I consumed them with a new awareness on the rare occasion I had a dime to buy a box.
He was a really patient father and taught me to regard nature, to say hello to the birds and hug the trees. He took me fishing with him in a little boat sometimes, too, and taught me how to bait a hook.
All of my aunts and uncles were extremely health conscious and holistic, as well.
One aunt gave me my first aromatherapy kit at the age of 11, and wow did that change my life! I remember organic gardening with my grandmother from early grade school. She particularly loved the wild mustard that grew in her garden.
She would often take a sprig of it and put it in a little Navajo Indian vase on her old, round oak table we would all gather at for breakfast. She would say, if ye only have the faith of a mustard seed…
I would help her hang her cotton sheets out to dry on the clothesline in summer. She had a beautiful, aromatic tree that wasn’t native to the area called the balm of gilead.
Perhaps most important of all, she was against bothering and shaming children. She wanted to let them play and explore and to stop bothering them so much.
Maybe she was an unknown, early advent for conscious parenting. She always had healthy snacks for me and my cousin, like grapes and carrots or apple juice.
She made me feel so special, but without spoiling me in any way. She loved the color green and made wonderful pies, strawberry-rhubarb having been my very favorite. She taught me how to make apple sauce, apple pies, strawberry jam, and even Hungarian cabbage rolls.
Going to apple orchards and pumpkin patches were regular things. Camping, learning how to churn butter and make apple cider were all a part of my childhood. Those are my roots.
I did remedies for myself and my friends through high school helping one pass a marijuana screening, curing my own yeast infection —of which I haven’t had one since, and a bout of round worm, which left me with a temporary scar from the walnut hull remedy I used, —all without medical interference and good experiential success, I must say.
I continued to study holistic medicine and herbalism throughout my 20’s and 30’s independently.
Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve been using echinacea since I was 21!
I founded the Rockwell Naturopath & Herbalist School in 2015 based on my personal desire to go see a holistic practitioner who knew all about the 4 pillars of holistic medicine that make up our core 4 programs; traditional naturopathy, clinical herbalism, advanced holistic nutrition, and spiritual medicine!
I just wasn’t comfortable seeing a practitioner who knew less than I did, or less than what we teach, unless they were a one-off, stand alone specialist.
I wanted to see someone who had ‘the full picture’ and knew all the nooks and crannies of the subject without missing too many beats.
Later, I changed the name to the School of Holistic Medicine after we added our Spiritual Medicine program, and realized our programs encompass so much more than just naturopathy and herbalism.
Our logo evolved from an evergreen to a star, or seal, based on Polaris and . These are essentially two versions of the north star that span historically across cultures of indigenous peoples that represents a sort of guiding light.
I chose the star because I want the School of Holistic Medicine to be the north star, or guiding light, of independently educated holistic health practitioners like yourself.
If you are not in a position to continue a formal collegiate education in natural medicine, whether that is due to location, finances, time constraints, or simple desire, then this is the place for you.
We offer a great, affordable, apprenticeship like programs that will have you ready to practice in no time. Of course, you have to do put the footwork in, but a willing heart goes a very long way!
Later, you can go back to regular college, or any other school, to gain more knowledge, but this is a lovely place to start.
In the future, I personally dream of finishing my bachelor of arts in alternative medicine and getting a masters in public health.
This for me would be in the hopes of working with the government and city planning to begin to create ideal hospitals and emergency care services which utilize the principles contained in our programs like natural childbirth, medical ozone, pH medicine, phage therapy, food sensitivity testing, naturopathic oncology, subliminal distant influentially (SDI)—short for remote healing, vibrational medicine (flower essences), iodine therapy, and more.
I would love to see nutritional psychiatry in combination with the principles of non-violent communication, the practice of radical honesty, and working with the awareness of the concepts of human design play a common role by all practitioners, licensed and otherwise.
For now though, I am very happy to be going through each of the program lessons in each individual module. I will be learning and re-learning right along with you. Follow us on social media to see me go through the lessons and talk about them.
What about you? What is your big dream?
Are you ready to start the journey? I put so many things off in my own life, but its true sometimes procrastination can be a form of intuition, according to Danielle LaPorte.
However, if I could tell my younger self anything, it would be, don’t delay —.
Until we meet again, and with encouragement for all that you do,