They say that the eyes are the window into a person’s soul. For Susan Young, a certified iridologist, the eyes are also a window into your health and well-being.
Young has been trained to look into your eyes, and based on the markings and colour of that eye, she can understand the imbalances of your body and make suggestions on how to improve your health.
“I’m looking at the iris, which is the coloured part of the eye,” she explained, sitting in her office which she shares with St. Jacobs Naturopathic Clinic. “From that, you have thousands of nerve endings that go from the back of the eye up to our brain and nervous system, down your spine, and into all the organs of your body.”
When a part of the body is unbalanced, or not operating the way it should, the nerve endings attached to the eye pull back and leave a unique marking on your eye, she said. And it is from those markings that she can uncover areas of concern within the body and how to sort the problem out.
Young has two locations for her company Eye Talk, in Stratford and Listowel. She is at her Stratford office one day per month, and works out of her Listowel home on Monday to Thursday evenings. As of this week, she also shares Dr. Raza Shah’s office in St. Jacobs on the second Tuesday of every month.
“I do have a lot of clients that travel from Elmira, Guelph, and Cambridge up to Listowel, so it just made more sense for me to be here once a month and it’s just easier for people to see me while they’re working.”
Young points to a diagram of the human eye, which is subdivided into dozens of different sections with each division representing a different part of the body, from the colon to the brain. She also picks up several photographs of her customers eyes, and begins pointing to the various lines, squiggles, and hazy patches.
“You see these rings that are going through the eye there,” she said, pointing to a series of dark rings surrounding the pupil, “those are what you call nerve rings, and that tells me this person worries a lot, the body feels like it’s under stress, and they’re a really uptight person.”
She points to another photo of an eye, and points to a hazy blue ring around the outside of the pupil. “When you get a blue haze around the eye, it’s an indicator of iron being really low.”
Iridology may seem unorthodox, and many people in Canada have probably never even heard of it. That’s because the government of Canada and many health care professionals such as doctors and optometrists do not recognize iridology the way they do more traditional forms of medicine, and so Young is very limited on the services she can provide her clients.
She can suggest changes in their diet, suggest they take certain vitamin or mineral supplements, or refer them to another doctor, but that is about it.
“Basically, I’m not allowed to diagnose. I can’t say ‘you have a heart problem,’ but I can tell them that with their symptoms and the concern within the eye, they should go get it checked out, but through my practice I’m not allowed to say ‘this is what you have’ because we’re not acknowledged.”
And that is frustrating for Young, who spent years studying human anatomy and the practice of iridology to get where she is today. She has been a certified iridologist for about two years now, and has attended night classes, written exams and spent time working with other certified iridologists in order to get her accreditation.
“When someone is trained to be a doctor, they’re trained a particular way. For example if I come to them and say my head hurts, they’re going to give me something so my head doesn’t hurt. That’s how they were trained, to fix that pain and discomfort that you have.”
Yet the emphasis for iridology is on preventative care, and finding the root cause of pain or discomfort, not simply masking it with pills.
“For me, it’s more like ‘OK, you’re getting headaches? What are you eating? What’s going on? Are you grinding your teeth at night?’ I just like to check a little bit closer to figure that out, to me that just makes sense. But that’s how I was taught.”
Young’s experience with iridology came, ironically enough, when traditional medicine failed her. After years of suffering terrible headaches, and when traditional doctors couldn’t pinpoint the cause, about 10 years ago a friend told her to visit an iridologist in Kitchener.
After her visit, she finally had her answer.
Not everyone is as open-minded about the health benefits of alternative medicine. She has had some cases where clients come in and ask for something to make them feel better, but don’t want to correct the root cause of their illness such as their diet.
“Sometimes you never hear from them again, and other times it’s so rewarding because you get the call back, ‘I feel so much better,’” she said with a laugh.
The iridology appointments can take anywhere from an hour to an hour-and-a-half, and the price can vary as well.
She sits down with clients and has a one-on-one consultation with a printed photo of their eye, pointing out the various trouble spots and ways to help fix those problems, be it with herbal supplements, dietary changes, or referral to a doctor. She said most of her clients visit two or three times a year, depending on the plan that she has laid out to improve their health.