Interview with Fernando Aparicio, Director of IEN El Vergel
- July 27, 2020
The Institute of Natural Studies, IEN El Vergel, was born from the hand of the Supermercado Ecológico El Vergel in 2010. Jerónimo Calvo Yagüe, director of El Vergel, was clear that his company had to be much more than an organic supermarket and a vegetarian restaurant, committed to developing a global project linked to health and wellbeing. So it was that the IEN El Vergel was set up in the centre of Madrid’s Calle Mayor by its director Fernando Aparicio.
With the aim of integrating different therapeutic methods and transmitting a deep respect for people, nature and the traditional therapeutic methods of different cultures, IEN El Vergel has been training professionals in alternative therapies for five years now. Fernando Aparicio, naturopath, iridologist, flower therapist, homeopath and graduate in social communication skills focusing on teaching and lectures, is its director and has given us a very interesting interview, in which he will reveal the essence and objectives of this school for which the most important thing is its students, their needs and their learning.
El Vergel: How did the idea of creating the Institute of Natural Studies, IEN El Vergel, come about?
Fernando Aparicio: It came about for different reasons. On the one hand we found it difficult to find well qualified personnel to work in our supermarkets, with sufficient knowledge and security for the technical advice we needed. On the other hand, we felt the need to share the knowledge we have about the naturist world and what better way than to do it in a professional way.
El Vergel: What is the team of teachers that make up the IEN like?
F. Aparicio: It is a very varied team, generally young, close, with a great desire to offer resources to students, with both personal and professional experiences and, above all, passionate about these disciplines.
El Vergel: What are your specialities?
F. Aparicio: Fundamentally Naturopathy, Chinese Medicine, Holistic Kinesiology, Herbodietetics and Reflexology. Although every year we continue to expand our offerings.
El Vergel: What differentiates IEN from other schools and training centres?
F. Aparicio: Possibly it is the respect for the originality of natural medicine, the quality of the teaching staff and a new and close academic environment.
El Vergel: Currently, what is most in demand in alternative therapies?
F. Aparicio: There is a great increase in everything related to personal growth, also the environment of Ayurvedic medicine and yoga. Naturopathy continues to be the discipline that offers the most resources.
El Vergel: What kind of certification do your students receive upon completion of the courses? Is it an official certification?
F. Aparicio: At the end they get a certificate and diploma accrediting the course which is supported by APENB, the Spanish Professional Association of Naturopathy and Biotherapy. This qualification has professional validity, that is, you can work legitimately with this title, however, it is not official, because at the moment in Spain the training in natural therapy is not regulated. It is one of our struggles to achieve such regulation.
El Vergel: Is there, then, an objective professional outlet for alternative therapies?
F. Aparicio: Many. There is a great professional demand in society, one only has to contact herbalists, dietetic centres, clinics, laboratories, etc. and see the great need they have for qualified personnel. In addition, the population is increasingly demanding other resources than those offered by conventional medicine.
El Vergel: Since the opening of the school, how have you seen the evolution of alternative therapies? Is there in Spain a greater knowledge and sensitivity towards a natural treatment that respects the vital force of each person?
F. Aparicio: In all this time we have made a great effort to communicate the true principles of alternative therapies. The sector continues to grow, and the knowledge on the part of the citizens is greater. Now everyone has heard about or attended an acupuncturist, naturopath, kinesiologist or homeopath. What is certain is that although the number of techniques has increased, we still miss the fact that they are being deepened and are not becoming a mere commercial product.
El Vergel: Is there much difference between us and the rest of Europe?
F. Aparicio: More and more. Countries such as Italy, Portugal and Great Britain are close to achieving regulation of studies in natural medicine, a fundamental step in guaranteeing quality in training and gaining professional benefits. Germany has had its own regulation for years and has been a reference in European natural medicine. However, Spain is one of the countries with the largest number of professionals in this sector and we can be proud of the training and quality of many of them.
El Vergel: How does the 2015-2016 season look in the IEN?
F. Aparicio: With great strength and enthusiasm, we are offering more training in the morning shift to meet the needs of many people who can only attend at that time. We have also extended some courses such as Herbodiettics, Kinesiology or Foot Reflexology. In addition, we are working with the team of teachers on methodology and practices. So we hope to revive the success of previous years.