Kiara Norwood is an Alternative Wellness Therapist, Certified Coach, and Certified Trauma Specialist. She is also a Certified Holistic Herbalist and Certified Level 3 Reiki Therapist. Additionally, Kiara has a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a bachelor’s degree in Allied Health Science with a minor in Psychology. Her mission is to help women of color holistically heal trauma using ancestral remedies and alternative wellness therapies. She accomplishes this through service offerings of Coaching, Reiki, and Herbalism. Her passion to help women of color holistically heal was ignited from her experiences with her own wellness journey. After becoming seriously ill and being hospitalized, she sought ancestral and alternative wellness remedies for holistic wellness and found success. After successfully navigating her own journey, she pursued a career pivot to help other women of color do the same.
Kiara Norwood, M.A., Alternative Wellness Therapist
Tell us more about your background. Where are you from?
I am originally from Chicago, Illinois in the United States. I was born and raised there and have lived on all sides of the city. Upon graduating from high school, I moved to West Michigan to complete my bachelor’s degree, and then to Northwest Indiana to complete my master’s degree. I currently reside in the Midwest region of the United States. My professional background includes working as a clinical mental health therapist, as well as owning and operating a mental health private practice. I owned and operated that business for three years before making a career transition to an alternative wellness therapist and opening the holistic wellness practice I currently own and operate.
What are alternative wellness therapies and ancestral remedies?
Alternative wellness therapies are therapies that would be considered separate or complementary to traditional or conventional medicines. They typically are not considered typical “medical model” treatments for concerns being experienced. Ancestral remedies are methods of healing that are passed down culturally or have been historically used in our lineages to achieve wellness.
What does it mean to be holistically well/healthy?
I would define holistic wellness as achieving a personal balance between mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. We are holistic and inner-connected beings. Therefore, wellness cannot be fully achieved unless it is balanced in all aspects of our being.
Tell us more about your wellness journey. What happened that got you to this point?
I had a very tumultuous and traumatic childhood and early young adulthood. It was filled with various forms of abuse and lack. When we come from certain backgrounds, we sometimes unintentionally recreate the struggles we experienced earlier in our lives to heal. So unfortunately, a lot of my childhood patterns began to be mirrored in my young adult life. I began participating in clinical therapy at age 20 to try to heal. It was beneficial initially, but my concerns eventually stopped feeling helped with traditional therapy. Upon opening my first business, I recognized the same pattern occurring in my clients. Because of this awareness, I started researching and seeking ancestral knowledge regarding healing practices. I was led in the direction of recognizing that trauma gets stored in the body and our African and Indigenous ancestors innately knew these things. When I started integrating more elements of holistic wellness as opposed to just focusing on the cognitive aspects of wellness in practice, my clients showed more improvement. So, I began seeking further information about other forms of alternative wellness therapies. My searches became even more beneficial to me when I became ill myself. While I was aiming to grow and maintain my own mental and emotional wellness, I began experiencing physical health concerns. My concerns were consistently ignored by doctors and led to me getting two infections, one of which that spread to other organs in my body. I was able to heal and maintain wellness by switching to a vegan and gluten free diet, finding herbal remedies to treat my ailments, getting Reiki treatments, and finding coaching services that emphasized mind-body-spirit wellness. After some soul searching and professional experiences that further encouraged me to move in this direction, I decided to pursue a career change and have been practicing alternative wellness therapy ever since.
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
I did not (laughs). Prior to graduate school, I was focused on “getting a good job.” However, I ended up opening my first successful business at the age of 24. When you come from humble beginnings, it can be difficult to think bigger and not operate in a scarcity mindset. I am glad that The Creator and my Ancestors saw, and continue to see, bigger for me and help me to see myself in that way too.
What started your entrepreneurship journey?
In graduate school, I had begun creating a fluid business plan to enact a few years down the line. I graduated from school with what seemed to be a good job and was excited. However, that job did not work out due to inconsistent expectations from both parties and I found myself job hunting again. That experience led to me gaining three additional positions. However, I was still struggling to pay my bills and living off credit cards due to the disparaging pay afforded to associate clinical therapists. Out of necessity, I started seeking other options. After much work and communication with other professionals, I downsized my business plan and opened my private therapy practice. That journey led to the creation of what is now my holistic wellness practice.
You specialize in working with women of color, with emphasis on helping women of color that identify as Black and Queer. What makes you gravitate towards that population?
Being a woman with those identities myself, I recognize how we are often ignored or overlooked in conversations regarding wellness. Most typical treatment models are not designed with Black women in mind, and the voices of the creators of treatment methods that do center us, are often silenced, or not amplified. So essentially, I see an issue and want to be part of the solution.
What advice do you have for someone just embarking on their wellness journey?
It gets better, I promise. If you continue to diligently show up for yourself, your body will begin to heal itself and achieve its own version of optimal wellness. The experiences you have had do not have to be the end or center of your story. You can write your own story. You can choose your own path. You have the power to create the life and wellness you want. Ase’.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to pursue ancestral remedies or alternative wellness therapies but is feeling hesitant?
I would encourage you to explore what is at the root of your hesitation. If it is fear of the unknown, find a trusted practitioner and ask the questions for which you seek answers. I would also encourage you to confer with yourself and the spiritual guidance you confer with (Divine, Universe, Ancestors, Elders, etc.) to determine if this is something you want to and need to pursue at this time. Also, ask yourself and your Divine guidance for help with finding a practitioner or mentor to help you on that journey. Lastly, vet the person you are seeking services from. Ask them how the methodologies they are using have personally helped them on their own journey. Also, ask them about the work they have done and are doing to progress in their own wellness journeys.
Lastly, are you currently taking on new clients? How do we get in contact with you?
Yes, I am currently taking on new clients. I want to highlight my group coaching program that has openings! The new cohort program begins April 11, 2023. It is called From Drain to Gain: Leaving Toxic Religion and Finding Spiritual Grounding. It is a program that is near to my heart due to my own experiences healing from toxic religious experiences and trauma. I wanted to create a space for women of color to build community, process and heal their experiences, and learn of spiritual practices that they feel are beneficial to their journeys. It is for female identifying persons aged 22-40 and is open and affirming to queer identities. It is for women of color from any religious background and open to experiences from all denominations and sects. It is a safe and inclusive space for women of color to communicate, bond, and learn from each other. We will be discussing red flags for if a practice or organization is harmful, healthy ways to explore spirituality, ways to heal from harmful experiences, and ways to tap into spiritual gifts.
If you are interested in pursuing my services or learning more about me, I can be reached on my social medias (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok) at: @knorwoodwellness. I can also be reached here.