Recently I sat down with naturopathic doctor Candida Schwartz. She told me about how she strikes a balance between offering traditional nature cure, running labs, and working with blocks to consciousness through energy work for her patients. Here is what she had to say.
Sarah: Tell me about your journey to becoming a healer.
Candida: I did my undergrad on the east coast and graduated with a psychology degree. I started working in an outpatient clinic. I came home and cried every single day. I had really bad boundaries. I was so young and it was overwhelming to see the grief that was coming from these patients and how out of their bodies and lost they were. It was just too hard for me.
So I moved to the west coast, went back to waiting tables and decided to go to culinary school. I worked as a chef for many years until I developed an ulcer. I didn’t have insurance or money. My naturopath came into my life then and treated me out of her house for $20. In that time period I decided to stop being a chef and ran away to South America for a few months. When I came home, I started waiting tables again.
I worked with a now well known intuitive in town while she was building her practice. While we were talking, she looked at me one day and said, “You’re an out of control healer, and you should come and see me and start working with me.” So I did. That moment changed my life and I am so beyond grateful for her.
Sarah: What does that mean–an out of control healer?
Candida: You’re a healer. You feel. You have intuition. You don’t have good boundaries. You don’t know what to do with the information coming in. You don’t know the difference between what’s yours and what’s others’. You don’t know what to do with it. It can be debilitating.
Sarah: Tell me more about your experience with your teacher.
Candida: She helped me learn more about energy, boundaries, what I was sensing and intuiting. She also taught me what to do with it. I started meditating. In my meditation, my grandmother–who passed away when I was about two years old–came to me and said, “You need to go to this school [naturopathic school].” She was a medicine woman in our hometown in Italy, and her message was really clear. I was really confused by it. I had never been a great student. It was never anything I’d thought I could do. But I proceeded to start my pre-med pre-reqs. And nine years later I was a naturopath.
Sarah: So how did you go from feeling that confusion to starting medical school?
Candida: It really was a leap of faith. Actually the front page of the Oregonian at that time said NCNM is closing their doors. They’re going bankrupt. And I still was like, Just listen to your Nonna. Listen to your grandmother. I’m so connected to her. She was a great cook. She fed everyone in the neighborhood. She never ate dinner with my mom and her family because she was always getting sent out to do healings. She did bodywork to get rid of parasites in the belly. She set bones. She helped with babies being born, colds and flus. She used garlic. She used coals. That’s as much as I can find out from whoever would tell me anything. My family is a lot older than I am and in Italy.
So that’s the story of how I decided to do the work that I’m doing. And then to integrate all of it–the psychology background was a really nice foundation for me. I feel like all of our illness is mental and emotional. So much stress and anxiety in our world.
Sarah: And working with food and nutrition is a big part of your practice.
Candida: I’ve always loved to cook. I remember being 13 and asking my mom if I could make dinner. I ended up making Coq a Vin for my family on Sunday. I was always cooking for my friends late nights at parties. Food has always been such a big part of my life.
I have a blog. It’s called “I CAN’T EAT WHAT!!!” It’s on my website. I’ve created allergen free, friendly, healthy alternative recipes using whole grains and healthy fats. I focus on refined sugar free and egg free, dairy free and gluten free. It’s attempting to allow food to be something that’s healthy, that nourishes you and that you can still enjoy with your family and friends.
I used to be a pastry chef. I tell my friends, “I’ll make you whatever you want. I’ll make you creme brule. I’ll make you a souffle. I’ll make you whatever you want.” And they say, “I just want your vegan cheesecake. Will you just make me your vegan chocolate cake?” It can be something that you can have a little bit of control with the ingredients.
It’s a really important piece of the work that we do. We tell people to avoid X, Y, and Z. But what do you do with that? You can go online. You can spend all this money on expensive ingredients. But then, what if it’s crappy? You’ve wasted all that money. So, it’s nice to have something that’s tested, tried and true.
I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance in 2001 by a medical doctor. And I’ll never forget it. I was doing laundry. I got the phone call at five o’clock. And they said, “Well, it’s a bummer, because gluten’s in everything. And it’s after 5, so good luck.” And I’d just gone to the store. I owned a bakery at the time. It was really shocking for me.
So that’s just a really nice piece of the puzzle that I offer to my patients. And I don’t charge for recipes. A lot of people charge for recipes and cookbooks. But I feel like it’s part of the gift that I’m offering to my patients.
Sarah: Tell me more about what you offer to your patients.
Candida: I will run labs. I like using nutraceuticals. I use homeopathy. I use hydrotherapy. I do a lot of nature cure, foundational, just basic healthy living. Finding what that means for you. What resonates with your body? What resonates with your heart? What makes you happy? Finding that balance. Energy work is an important part of what I’m offering my patients, because with all of the energy medicine, I’m helping people identify what is that miracle for them.
Sarah: So tell me more about the energy medicine that you do.
Candida: The energy medicine is intuitive energy work. I do cranial sacral therapy also. While I’m doing that I’m giving people an energetic reading. I’m clearing what no longer serves. And how that looks could be anything. It could be an attachment. It could be you carrying something that isn’t yours. It could be a past life story that we need to work on and clear.
While doing that, I’m also having the person identify what that miracle is for them.
Sarah: What do you mean by miracle?
Candida: If you have asthma, then it’s a miracle for you to be able to take an un-labored breath. If you have IBS, it’s really hard to know Am I going to be bloated today? Am I going to have a bowel movement today? Whatever it is for you, it’s going to be a struggle. Recovery is going to feel like a miracle. Whereas to someone else, it’s not a big deal. If you have chronic anxiety, the miracle is feeling peaceful and calm, grounded and centered in your body, inspired and in a place of faith, trusting the world around you as well as the world within you. That feels like a miracle. Healing from grief is a miracle to some people. They can’t see their way out of it. They can’t see their way to that place of healing and freedom and next step and what that healthy next-step in body, mind and spirit is going to be like. What they’ll offer the world, and what the world will offer to them. Or if you have a chronic low thyroid, you don’t understand what supple skin feels like, and energy, and healthy bowel movements every day.
Sarah: So once your patient has identified what their miracle would be, how do you work with them?
Candida: So, we work on it together. We identify what the blocks are in their body and what layers they’re in and what chakras they’re associated with. And then I use various clearing modalities and visualizations. They’re given those tools also in the therapy. It’s all shown to them on an energy level. So then they’re given homework.
And of course I do use supplements and herbs and homeopathy and flower essences. I will run labs accordingly. But the foundation is somebody connecting with what those blocks are and how it will feel to move through them.
We need compliance with the work that we do. So if someone hates tea, you wouldn’t give them tea. If someone can’t swallow pills, you use a tincture. They need to identify what they’re going to be compliant with. What pieces of their diet they’re willing to work with. They need to acknowledge what pieces they need in order to heal and why they’re not healing. Why they’re sabotaging themselves or sort of stuck in it. And then we clear it.
Sarah: When you say clear it, what’s the “it” there?
Candida: Any block. Anything that’s stuck. That could be a past life. That could be an energetic cord to another. That could be an old partner that you just can’t get past. You know, when we’re intimate with people, energies kind of intertwine on some level. You need to see you. You need to feel you in order to access what that next step is.
Sarah: What does a first visit with you look like?
Candida: A patient will come in and I’ll do a typical intake. It’s many, many questions. If we have time, I will get the person on the table to get some clearing and energy work. But while I’m going through I’m just trying to identify the different parts of the anatomy that might be showing as blocks or different chakras that might be blocked. So if someone comes in with IBS, I’m asking if this is more energetic, more physical, or more mental. While I’m doing that, I’m trying to figure out whether I think they need labs, or a stool test, or a SIBO test. Is this mechanical? Or are they really not living the life they want to be living? The third chakra is all about rest and digest. There’s a lot heat in the bowels to rest, digest and assimilate your nutrients while eliminating the toxins that you don’t need. While that’s happening, you also need that heat because those are your first breaths right at that umbilical cord. So that’s birthright energy. That’s focus. That’s confidence. That’s will. That’s momentum. That’s determination. So I’m also thinking is this someone who perhaps has a low thyroid? Is this someone whose nervous system is really out-of-whack? Or is this someone who is not living the life they want to live? I ask them questions like What do you do for a living? What do you do for fun? Are you in a relationship? How do you feel in a relationship? Are you happy being a mom or a dad? So, I’m kind of assessing all of that and I’m always treating the person as one person. I’m always telling my patients, Your nose bone is connected to your toe bone. So I kind of have to address all of it.
And I ask the patient How will you be most compliant? Do you like tinctures? Do you like supplements? And then I’ll ask them how they feel about receiving energy work. I might have a little chat with them about that if we have time, or put them on the table. I always start at the feet and then we just start with a series of visualizations. I start showing people tools they can use at home to access the stuck pieces and what to do with them.
Sarah: Can you give an example of a visualization?
Candida: My teacher taught me to do a waterfall. That’s how I start. I tell people to open up Niagara Falls from their crown all the way to the tip of their tailbone and just release anything that they’re holding in their energy field. In their body. In their mind. In their spirit. If people take the amount of energy that they put toward being stressed in a day–all that valuable energy that’s put toward being, say, stressed–they could write the next great novel with that. They could be president of the United States with that energy. And that’s just one thing. That’s not even talking about anxiety or depression or fatigue or sorrow. That’s not even talking about all the other emotions.
So I ask them to connect to that waterfall, letting go of all their valuable energy that goes to all these negative emotions. And invite that waterfall to connect deep into the earth’s crust, deep into that mama earth energy of unconditional love. We all know what a great recycler she is. And then we ask mama earth to take all of their valuable energy and recycle it back up through the balls of the feet and the point at the root chakra. So if it’s a female, I ask them to do some kegels. Then all of their valuable energy can come back up through the root chakra to serve them as peace, and calm, self-love, clarity, wisdom, ease, effortlessness and joy.
Then you feel what shifts have already happened just from stopping and resetting to your own healing vibration. The waterfall was taught to me by my original teacher, Reverend Liliana Barzola Read. She’s just such a gift. Since teaching me, she’s taught so many people these wonderful tools–to know how to be a healer, to have healthy boundaries, to know the difference between you and other. That’s the beginning. The settling in. Next, I start reading the energy. I am communicating with their spirit and we proceed with the reading while do cranio sacral therapy. They work great together.
If you take that energy and look at it from a scientific perspective, when you’re looking at autoimmune diseases or allergies or inflammation, the body is seeing something that’s you as other and attacking it. Or, you have other, you have toxins in your body.
So these tools that Liliana has taught many people are just a really beautiful and important part of healing. There needs to be a place where you listen to your body, look at the blocks, find out the message–and then have the permission to let it go and bring in a higher vibration. That’s the foundation for all of our medicines from Ayurvedic to Chinese to Naturopathic. That’s that vis or qi–however you see it–that’s coursing through your body and sometimes just needs to be realigned.
Sarah: And you offer classes in this?
Candida: That’s why I offer the Intuitive Health classes. I try to do one a month. The first half is all about accessing the blocks. We go through all the chakras and access the blocks. And then we work on clearing them. The second half of it is all about calling in that higher vibration–that sense of balance and integration and wellness–that our bodies want to reset at. That’s the norm. That’s what naturally wants to happen. Gosh, our cells and our bodies are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. I think we get lost and disconnected from them.
Sarah: Tell me about your work with stones.
Candida: I’m not a very grounded person. While I was in school I got really connected to stones. I always wore stones when I was taking exams. I always had my power ring. These stones help. They all have beautiful medicinal powers. I created a line of therapy jewelry when I graduated from school. I started to just feel the metals and play with the stones. I always salted my stones and put them under the full moon to cleanse and rejuvenate them. The therapy jewelry is medicine. I use a lot of stones and essences of different plants and flower essences in sessions. Different things come in and align with my angels and god, or divine, or universe, or earth, or Mary, or gaia, or whomever you connect with. I’m working with all of them in addition to a person’s divine spirit, and sometimes stones come in. They can be really healing and nice reminders of the work you’re doing with all of your practitioners.
Sarah: How are stones reminders?
Candida: You have them on you, so they’re physical reminders. As long as they’re touching you, your skin is actually remembering, your eyes are remembering, and then the vibration of the stones are clearing and centering and grounding. The amethysts are really beautiful when people are stuck in the lower chakras with perhaps constipation and problems with their menses. Maybe they have problems with money, feeling stuck in their home–the house feels heavy. Amethyst can be really good for clearing that and reminding the body, “Hey the upper part of your body is here too. You’re not just in the lower part.” Or vice versa. Somebody might be really out there and floaty, can’t stay in their body and don’t feel the earth. They always have cold feet. Those sorts of things. Black tourmaline or red carnelian would be helpful. The stones can be really centering. And they’re pretty.
I also use a lot of essential oils. I do nature cure with everyone. That’s the foundation.
Sarah: What’s nature cure?
Candida: Nature cure is the foundation of naturopathic medicine. I use hydrotherapy, dry lymph brushing, castor oil packs. Everyone’s different. One person might do great with castor oil packs and another might not. You have to pick and choose those different modalities. But I always try to incorporate home remedies, unless the person says, “I will never do that”. Then we make it simple. A lot of people’s blocks are that they won’t self care. So we just slowly work with that. Or we quickly work with that, depending on what their pace is and what they agree to let go of for their healing.
Sarah: How do you take care of yourself in all this?
Candida: In between patients, I’m always washing my hands. While I’m washing my hands, I’m also cleansing anything out of my body mind and spirit that I had permission to move for somebody through my body. Sometimes I do that. I wouldn’t advise everyone to do that. But I’m good at doing it. So anything that’s left over I’m washing out for them. And I’m releasing them back to their angels and back to their higher power, because they’re going to take care of the patients better than I could if I stayed connected to them.
It’s really important to understand that everyone needs to have their stuff. If I take on your stuff, then you’re like a carpenter wanting to build a desk but I’ve got your wood, your nails and your hammer. So even if you feel like it’s mean or you’re scared to give back their stuff to a loved one, you’re actually doing them a favor in sending them off to their angels and to their higher power to hold them, heal them and help them shift and change from the work that we just did. You’re actually doing them a big favor.
I’m doing waterfalls during my work with people. So if I sense that someone needs me to move something, I’ll move it for them. I feel really comfortable with it. I can feel really tired after doing the work, after six or seven hours of no food and no water. So I try really hard to self-care and drink water and take little breaks. But I typically feel great after I work with people. Boundaries with friends, and family, and loved ones–those are things I’m still working on just like everyone else.
I love my patients. I love the work that I do. I feel really honored that people are sharing and letting me be a part of their healing and their soul’s work. They are ultimately becoming better, brighter versions of themselves and doing what they were meant to do on the planet. In my opinion, this individual work will inspire others to do theirs. We are all one heart beat and we are all reflecting to each other. When one person starts healing, another will see it and be inspired. This will help heal our planet and create a better world.