She beat cancer three times. She overcame a divorce. She’s raised two children while running a successful business. A superhero in disguise, attacking life and its obstacles with a holistic approach, is ACC Natural Healing and Wellness owner, Karen Kraft. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle has been a passion of Kraft’s since her college years when she studied nutrition at Jackson Community College and taught aerobics. “I was the happiest I had ever been, because I felt so good,” she said. “I was eating right and exercising often. The better shape that you’re in the more energy you have, and you just live well.” For Kraft being a healthy person and leading a life with energy goes beyond the physical state. Her practice aims to enhance the emotional and mental wellbeing of a person while getting their pain under control simultaneously. Kraft’s treatment at ACC Natural Healing and Wellness is an alternative to medicine. “There are so many benefits of natural care,” she said. “There are no side effects and you’re not putting a foreign substance into your body. Often I see people will be taking a medicine to correct a problem and they end up taking another medicine because of that. I am treating the causes and not just treating the symptoms.” Kraft’s holistic approach comes from reaching to the core of the problem. She believes that illness, pain or poor health in general is caused from an emotional response to life’s impacts. From her personal experience, this claim is true. Not even a year after Kraft’s divorce she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “I was in a major state of grief. This was a catalyst that infested into illness,” she said. “I felt so much pain in my heart and I was carrying the grief with me, it literally translated into illness.” After four bouts of chemotherapy, radiation and a stem cell transplant over the course of three separate occasions, Kraft has now been cancer-free for two years. When Kraft was first diagnosed she admits that she was not in a good mindset. “I remember sitting in the doctor’s office thinking, ‘thank God.’ I was just so mentally exhausted,” she said. “I was grateful to just sit down and do nothing.” But once she got her emotional state right and began the process of moving on, she was in positive spirits. When she went in for her stem-cell transplant she decided this was her chance to make a positive change to be healthier again. “I went to the University of Michigan for treatment and my doctors and nurses would refer to me as their star patient,” she smiled. “I realized that putting in negative energy would yield negative outputs. I told myself my healing is my attitude. We create our world.” Kraft finished her transplant a week early. Her own healing process has been reflected into the work she does with clients. She has realized that healing herself enables her to better heal the people she is helping. “Based on my personal experience I feel like I am able to connect to my clients better,” she said. “Most of my clients become friends of mine. I try to actively listen to them and what they need.” Her next big life change is moving her business from downtown Lansing to Haslett. At her new location Kraft hopes to offer free health seminars so people will get a better understanding at the components of her practice. “I was a skeptic at first, but I’ve seen so many successful results,” she said.
Katelyn Sweet is a senior at Central Michigan University studying Integrative Public Relations and Journalism.