• Meet Dr. Lance Carroll, Optimum Health Enterprises’ Holistic Medical Practitioner


    Optimum Health Enterprises (OHE) is a third-party vendor who offers colon hydrotherapy services at OHI San Diego and OHI Austin. In Texas, prescriptions are required to receive a colonic, therefore OHE provides practice management for a licensed medical doctor, Dr. Lance Carroll, to supervise colonic services at OHI Austin.

     Get to know Dr. Lance Carroll with our quick Q&A…

    Q. Give our guests a little background on yourself.

    A. I grew up in New Mexico. In college, I studied the medicine of Native Americans and Eastern thought.  I got my undergraduate degree from New Mexico State University.  I was a research assistant at Harvard Medical School, where we studied circadian rhythms in astronauts on night shuttle launches in conjunction with NASA.  I received my medical degree from Loyola University of Chicago/Stritch School of Medicine.  As part of my medical education, I studied infectious disease, surgery and obstetrics at The University of Cartagena School of Medicine, Cartagena, Colombia.  I did my Residency in Austin, TX, where I was Chief Resident.  I currently practice Family Medicine with an emphasis in psychiatry and internal medicine.  For my private clients, I provide a holistic medical approach to their conditions, with the focus on functional medicine or Ayurvedic medicine.  Part of Ayurvedic medicine is to cleanse the body, and to restore balance to the body, mind, and spirit.  I also practice medicine in several specialized facilities.  I work as a consultant at the Shalom Center, a center for those of faith from all over the world.  In addition, I work in hospitals and treatment centers for those with moderate to severe mental illness and addiction issues.


    Q. Why did you join Optimum Health Enterprises (OHE)?

    A. I met Rev Russell Nees in 1998 at a rotary club meeting in Smithville, TX. He shared his vision of health with me, and we spoke at length about melding our fields.  From my first visit to OHI, I was immediately taken with the place.  I feel it’s the missing piece of the medical puzzle to long-lasting good health.  Russell and I went on to become great friends.  I was asked to join the staff of OHE to oversee the colon hydrotherapy department at OHI Austin.  I’ve been there for over 15 years.  Many on the staff at OHI Austin have been working together for decades, so we are truly a family.  Each week, the guests that come through those doors become part of our family.  It’s quite a remarkable place to work.


    Q. What’s changed at OHI Austin since you first joined the staff in 2005?

    A. The only thing that’s changed is they now have Wi-Fi. (laughs)  Seriously, when a program is this remarkable, you shouldn’t change a thing.  People come to OHI Austin for a variety of reasons, and many of them have health opportunities they want to focus on.  Our team always puts the guest’s safety first, so we assess a guest’s health to see if they are a good candidate for colon hydrotherapy.  Overall, guests come to OHI Austin looking for healing.  Once they experience the program, they keep coming back…and coming back…and coming back.  It is literally a transformative experience for those that choose to embrace the program.  How can you argue with a complete body/mind/spirit transformation?


    Q. How do you interact with OHI guests?

    A. Guests at the Austin campus who are interested in receiving colon hydrotherapy start with the initial screening, and then I meet with them to learn more about their goals for their time at OHI. I want to assess whether our colon hydrotherapy services will add real value to their experience.  At OHI, the focus is on the body/mind/spirit connection, and in my opinion colon hydrotherapy is a way for some to reconnect with their own body.  Contraindications include conditions that affect the kidneys, gastrointestinal, cardiac, and brain.  Those who are underweight, have an eating disorder, or dementia are not candidates for colon hydrotherapy.  It is my goal to always ensure colonics are given in a healthy and safe manner.


    Q. What does colon hydrotherapy do for the body?

    A. Colon hydrotherapy assists in hydrating the body.


    Q. Any final thoughts as you join the OHI team?

    A. The body/mind/spirit detox at OHI is the transformational experience of a lifetime. Words don’t do it justice.  Commit to the 3-week program, and you will truly understand.  It is a great way for individuals to reconnect with themselves, and enrich the lives of the people around them.


    Thank you for all you do, Dr. Carroll.  We are so grateful to have you as a long-time member of our staff.

    Although colon hydrotherapy services are not required or an essential part of our holistic healing program, they are readily available to you if you choose to add them and enhance your experience. These services are delivered by professionals on-site for your convenience and many of our patients find that they really heighten the benefits of the program. While colonic services are available daily, it is best to schedule appointments in advance, as sessions fill up quickly.

    Call OHI at (800) 588-0809 or visit www.OptimumHealth.org today for more information.

  • Celebrate!!

    By definition, a celebration is the act of engaging in a happy activity that marks the pleasure of an important occasion.

    In other words, celebrations are joyful, happy events! They’re also one of our most natural impulses.

    Think about some of the things you’ve celebrated in your life.

    Perhaps you’ve celebrated a “first” — a baby’s first steps or the first day of school.  Perhaps you’ve celebrated a “milestone” — a high school graduation or a wedding anniversary.  Or, perhaps you’ve celebrated an “achievement” — earning a driver’s license or a spouse’s job promotion.

    In fact, you’ve probably celebrated all three types of occasions throughout your life.

    So if celebrations are joyous, happy occasions…why don’t we bring “celebration” into our daily life more regularly? Would there be any genuine benefit to celebrating EVERYTHING?

    Absolutely!  A celebration, no matter how small, is a formal invitation to take a break from the daily grind, and feel positive about the moment you’re in.  That positive thinking brings an immediate reduction in stress.  The scientific benefits of stress reduction are well-documented, and include improved cognitive performance, better physical health, and reduced burnout.  Research has shown that a positive attitude and a genuine feeling of gratitude can improve overall well-being, increase resilience, strengthen social relationships, and reduce stress and depression.  (1, 2)

    So how exactly do celebrations impact the brain?  When you feel happy, the parts of the brain that are activated are the ones responsible for personality expression, decision making, moderating social behavior, and abstract reasoning.  They “light up” with feelings of reward (the reward when stress is removed), interpersonal bonding, and positive social interactions.  The happiness you feel with celebration also causes an increase in important neurochemicals.  There is a surge of feel-good chemicals including dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins.  Dopamine is your own personal motivation machine.  It is the secret to getting pumped and hitting goals.  Serotonin regulates mood.  Healthy levels of serotonin keep you feeling happy.  Low levels of serotonin are linked to depression.  Endorphins are the chemicals searing through your body when you finish a run, giving you the feeling of being on top of the world.  Dopamine can be triggered by reward, serotonin by community, and endorphins by laughter.  Celebrations are a medley of all three triggers, and all three neurotransmitters combined contribute to the feelings of closeness, connection, and happiness that come with celebrations large and small. (3,4)

    Research shows the brain changes with experience, so the more that daily celebrations are practiced, the more the brain learns to tune in to the positives in the world.  Humans have a negativity bias to notice threats in the environment.  That has kept human beings alive as a species but hasn’t done much to foster happiness.  Our brains will always notice dangers to keep us safe, but we also need to make sure our brains notice positive things to nurture our overall happiness and emotional well-being.  To do that, you need to teach your brain to notice positives and celebrate them. (4)

    Holding (focusing on) an experience for 20 seconds is long enough to create positive structural changes in the brain.  The “Three Good Things” practice, developed in a 2005

    study led by Martin Seligman, founder of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, found that those who spent 5-10 minutes at the end of each day writing in detail about three things to celebrate, large or small, and also reflecting on WHY they were worth celebrating, reported increased levels of happiness that persisted for six months.  This practice is effective because it not only helps you remember and appreciate moments worth celebrating, but it also helps you savor the moment and remember it more vividly later.  By reflecting on the sources of these celebratory moments, the idea is that you start to see a broader ecosystem of goodness around you rather than assuming that the universe is conspiring against you. (5)

    But daily celebrations don’t all have to be about what you accomplish.  A special moment to celebrate is when you take the time to give back.  Many studies have demonstrated that helping others kindles happiness, just as celebrations do.  When researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness in a large group of American adults, they found the more people volunteered, the happier they were, according to a study in Social Science and Medicine.  Compared with people who never volunteered, the odds of being “very happy” rose 7% among those who volunteered monthly and 12% for people who volunteered every 2-4 weeks.  Among weekly volunteers, 16% felt “very happy,” and that happiness was long lasting. (6)

    Volunteering not only makes you feel happier, but also healthier.  Volunteering helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety.  Working with animals has also been shown to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety.  Volunteering increases self-confidence, provides a sense of purpose and helps you stay physically healthy.  Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not.  Older volunteers tend to walk more, find it easier to cope with everyday tasks, are less likely to develop high blood pressure, and have better thinking skills.  Volunteering can also lessen symptoms of chronic pain and reduce the risk of heart disease. (6)

    Being generous can also have the same healthy benefits as volunteering.  According to a 2010 study, it was found that the less money people gave away the higher their cortisol levels. (6)  Studies demonstrate elevated cortisol levels can impact the immune system, fertility, and bone health.  It can also lead to insulin resistance, Type 2 Diabetes, abdominal weight gain, and loss of verbal declarative memory (words, names, and numbers).  (7)

    “People who engage in kind acts become happier over time,” said Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside.  Lyubomirsky, who has studied happiness for over 20 years, found that performing positive acts once a week led to the most happiness.  (8)

    So to come full circle on the topic of celebrations, should you incorporate daily celebrations into your life?  Unequivocally!  Anything that lowers our stress levels, triggers endorphins, and teaches our brain to notice the positives in life is worth the effort.  Should you work volunteering into your schedule?  Sure!  It’s a win-win when you can feel happier and healthier while your community benefits from your generosity.  And if volunteering isn’t an easy fit into your life right now, would performing a few random acts of kindness or donating money to a worthy cause make a difference?  Completely!  So pass it on, and celebrate the good in the world every day!

    At the Optimum Health Institute, program attendees will experience many firsts, milestones, and moments of achievement throughout their time with us. Along the way, we’ll celebrate these accomplishments as part of our daily wellness routine. Come to learn more about why it’s important to incorporate daily celebrations into your everyday life while experiencing the holistic healing program at either our San Diego or Austin campus. Call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

    (1)  Duckworth, Steen, & Seligman, 2005;  Watkins, Cruz, Holben, & Kilts, 2008;   Watkins, Uhder, & Pinchinevskiy, 2014;  Wood, Joseph, & Maltby, 2009
    (2)  Brightening the Mind:  The Impact of Practicing Gratitude on Focus and Resilience in Learning, by Jane Taylor Wilson, Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching ad Learning, Vol. 16, No. 4, August 2016, pp. 1-13. Doi: 10.14434/josotl.vl6i4.19998
    (3) Michael Hyatt magazine, michaelhyatt.com, “The Science of Celebration — 5 Reasons Organizations Should Do It More Often,” by Erin Wildermuth
    (4)  Hey Sigmund, heysigmund.com, “The Science of Gratitude — How it Changes People, Relationships (and Brains!) and How to Make it Work For You,” posted by Karen Young
    (5)  Greater Good Magazine, greatergood.berkeley.edu, “Four Great Gratitude Strategies” by Juliana Breines, Ph.D., June 30, 2015
    (6) HelpingGuide.org, “Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits — How Giving to Others Makes You Healthier and Happier”
    (7)  Diagnose-me.com, “Elevated Cortisol Levels”
    (8)  Goodnet.org, “7 Scientific Facts About the Benefit of Doing Good”

  • Be Thankful for the Good Things

    The Greek philosopher Plato once said: “ A grateful mind is a great mind which eventually attracts to itself great things.”   By being thankful for the good things you have, you’ll automatically attract more good things into your life.

    Gratitude isn’t just a warm feeling – it’s considered the parent of all the spiritual virtues in Judeo-Christian tradition.  Both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are filled with verses encouraging the faithful to have grateful hearts, and express gratitude for their many blessings.

    It’s also a key component of Native American spirituality.  When the Wampanoag Indians at the First Thanksgiving presented the pilgrims with cornucopias of vegetables, they were illustrating the Law of Gratitude.  They believed when people on earth thanked the Great Spirit for their blessings, even before those blessings materialized, they were creating the sacred space for those blessings to come to them.  The pointed tip of the woven cornucopia represented the place where the Great Spirit dwelled.  By expressing their gratitude to their Creator, the Indians felt they created an energetic cone that extended from the Great Spirit down to them on Earth, and showered them with abundance, as evidenced by the “horn of plenty” brimming with food.

    Gratitude does more than nurture the spirit – it has mental, emotional, and even physical benefits.

    Scientific studies have shown that grateful people are happier and more satisfied in both their personal and professional lives, have more positive relationships, and are quicker to forgive.  They’re less stressed, jealous, depressed, and anxious, and more likely to “not sweat the little things.”

    Those who choose to feel and express gratitude in general experience greater psychological well-being over those who focus on the negative.  This gives grateful people better ways of coping with challenges, and more ability to learn and grow from these experiences.  They tend to have more self-respect and a greater sense of purpose in their lives, which fosters a more positive attitude.

    The body also benefits from a conscious attitude of gratitude.  Those who are more optimistic and grateful experience fewer sleep disorders, better immune function and even a healthier heart rate – all measurable side benefits of thankfulness.

    If you want to turn your life into a happier, healthier, more loving adventure, try this trick. Every night before bed, A quick, daily exercise guaranteed to help you turn your life into a happier, healthier, more loving adventure is to think of the three most wonderful things that happened to you that day.

    That’s it.

    When you lock in even a few minutes each night to review the best moments of your day, you automatically begin to cultivate a constant “attitude of gratitude.”  Instead of waking up thinking, “What can go wrong today?” you’re already focusing on what’s going to go right. It’s the positive things you’re consciously choosing to dwell on and remember – in fact, you’ll be actively looking for them for the next 12+ hours.  Sure, other more challenging things will happen in the day, but those won’t be the moments you’ll keep churning around in your mind.  Instead, you’ll be anticipating, and then experiencing, a steady flow of things to feel grateful about – day after happy day.

    Prove it to yourself, and tonight, review the three things for which you felt the most gratitude today. You’ll probably immediately experience a deeper, more restful sleep tonight, and eagerly start your day tomorrow on the lookout for still more positive things to reflect on tomorrow night.

    It’s just another way to confirm that when your body, mind, and spirit are aligned, you can achieve good health. If you are looking for a holistic healing program, visit  Optimum Health Institute in San Diego or Austin, TX. We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health. Call OHI at (800) 588-0809 or visit www.OptimumHealth.org today for more information.

  • Unplugging for a Weekend

    What if I told you there was something you do every day that can have a serious impact on your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being? It can lead to issues like eyestrain, poor sleep, and difficulty concentrating on tasks. It can also lead to depression, anxiety, and feelings of isolation.

    What if I also told you there was a cure…and it was free? You’d want to know what to do, wouldn’t you?

    The issue is technology overload. The cure is simply unplugging.

    As simple as that sounds, for most people, literally going off the grid for a weekend by turning off electronic devices and focusing on real people and nature seems like too big a challenge to tackle.  But here’s why you should.

    Stop unhealthy conditioning!   Pavlov used a bell – your cell phone uses a notification tone or vibration.  Both, however, cause the same response.  You’ve conditioned yourself to stop focusing on whatever you were doing and jump to answer the text or a call.  Pure and simple, you’re constantly interrupting your life for the instant gratification of being acknowledged by someone – even when that someone could just be a mass-distributed ad from your grocery store.

    You’ll be more focused and mindful. Despite the apparent panache of being able to “multitask,” technically, you can’t.  The human brain cannot process more than a single thing at a time, according to a study at the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.  When you’re talking on your cell phone while you’re driving, or chopping onions, or finishing a report, you’re not doing either activity as well as you could.

    You’ll sleep more deeply and peacefully.  Dr. Andrew Weil, founder, professor, and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, refers to the importance of “sleep hygiene.”  Doing a sweep of the bedroom to get rid of electronic devices, from TVs to cell phones to iPads, will effectively “clean” the room of artificial and LED lights that interfere with the quality of your sleep.  Watching TV or checking the internet before you try to fall asleep causes your brain to fire off an arsenal of electrical activity and triggers the body’s cortisol production for a “fight or flight” response to stimulus.  Artificial light from screens can also suppress the release of melatonin, which helps us get deep, restorative sleep.

    You’ll improve your social skills. Despite the fact we have more access to information than ever before, we can be woefully unprepared to carry on a pleasant conversation, in person, with an actual person.  The late Dr. Candace Pert, an American neuroscientist who discovered the opiate receptor and medically proved the concept of “chakras,” reported that people are hard-wired for human companionship.  We can’t substitute cyber connections for essential face-to-face interactions.  Mindfully sharing space and spending time with one, several or many others nourishes our emotions, mind, and spirit in a way a technological link-up never will.

    You’ll feel more grounded.  The relatively new science of Green Therapy has proven that spending even a few minutes outside daily will reduce symptoms of ADHD, stress, and depression.  Hospital patients with just a glimpse of a tree outside their window need less pain medication, heal more quickly, and are discharged earlier than those without a visual connection to nature.  Imagine the sense of well-being and groundedness you could achieve with a weekend of digging your toes in the grass or sand!

    You’ll rediscover yourself.  Without any technological distractions for an entire weekend, you’ll have the opportunity to plug back into the magnificent being that is YOU.  Listen to the music you love.  Get together with friends and family you haven’t seen for a while.  Read that book you’ve been hearing about.  Watch a sunrise or sunset from the porch, or the beach, or the mountaintop. Meditate, and feel your heart and soul expand as you journey inward.

    Do a complete “technological cleanse’ at the Optimum Health Institute in San Diego or Austin, Texas.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health, and give you practical tips to use when you get back home. Call OHI at (800) 588-0809 or visit www.OptimumHealth.org today for more information.

  • Missionary Spotlight: Get to Know OHI Missionary, Jane Jones

    Jane Jones is matriarch to a BIG family.  “I’m a mom of three grown children, seven adult step-children, twenty grandkids, three dogs, and six chickens,” said Jane.  “We moved a lot for my husband’s job as an insurance executive, so I’ve lived on both coasts, in the Rocky Mountains, in the Midwest, and in London.  I received a culinary degree from le Cordon Bleu, I’m certified in sports therapy, and I am currently finishing a sociology degree.  I am an empty nester for the first time since I was 21 years old!”

    Jane has visited the San Diego campus eight times over the course of her life.  “My acupuncturist told me about OHI twenty years ago,” said Jane.  “The first time I visited, I only stayed a week because my kids were young.  I thought I was there to lose a bit of baby weight, but after a few days I felt so happy and peaceful I realized I was really there for my spiritual and emotional well-being.  Each time I stay I discover something new about myself as a flawed human committed to improvement.”

    It took almost two decades before Jane felt ready to be part of OHI’s missionary program.  “I had always been interested in the missionary program,” said Jane, “but the 3-month stay didn’t work with managing a large family.  I booked a two-week stay a year ago after being diagnosed with Lyme disease.  I met Tamara, who was serving as a missionary at the time.  She also had young adult children, and I talked with her about the worries I had about being away from my kids for three months.  The next day, Tamara found me and said, ‘I’ve been thinking about our conversation, and I want you to know that one of the reasons I decided to become a missionary was for my children.  I need them to know that it’s okay to put your health and well-being first.’  That really struck a chord with me.  If I wasn’t at my best, I couldn’t give my family my best.  OHI is a place where I am not someone’s mom or wife.  I am just me.  I get time to reconnect with myself.”

    During Jane’s time as a missionary, she balanced working with guests with some intensive work on herself.  “I really wanted to work on overcoming some personal flaws,” said Jane.  “I spent time reading books by experts, and praying for guidance.  What I came away with is self-compassion.  I’m not always going to get it right in life, but I am doing my best.  Forgiving myself and self-love are the most profound spiritual exercises in my life now.  Also, my missionary buddies love me, and helped me to see the good in myself.  For that, I will always be grateful.”

    When Jane was a guest, she made it a point to go to as many classes as possible.  As a missionary, she encouraged all guests to do the same.  “I have two ‘favorite classes’ at OHI,” said Jane.  “I love the Vocal Toning class.  Sometimes I have so much energy after the class I feel like I could levitate!  I also love the Focus class.  I’m not a naturally organized person, and this class really gives you tools for living successfully.”

    Whether she’s at home or at OHI, Jane makes her diet a priority.  “Our bodies hold our spirits” she said.  “When we feed our bodies nutrient dense foods, we feel better.  When I eat well, I’m more in tune spiritually.  I eat more raw food than I used to, and I eat out less.  A restaurant just can’t compare to what you can make at home with organic produce.  Also, I always have homegrown sprouts in the fridge.  They’re so easy to sprout yourself.”

    In addition to her food choices, Jane keeps her daily celebrations simple yet meaningful.  “I meditate every morning,” she said.  “I read scriptures, and spend time in prayer.  I also have affirmations, and a positive mantra I repeat during stressful times.  I also spend time in nature as often as possible to help myself heal.  I’ve been mostly sedentary the last couple of years battling Lyme Disease and Epstein-Barr.  After my 3-month stay at OHI, I’m back to mountaineering.  This week I climbed two 14,000ft peaks in Colorado.  I am amazed at how well I’m doing!”

    While serving as a missionary, Jane shared a simple piece of advice with guests.  “Make time for quiet daily,” she said.  “The world is so noisy, and we often buy into the rush — that somehow our lives have more meaning if our days are overflowing with tasks.  Time in meditation and prayer opens our hearts to inspiration.  If there’s too much noise in our lives, we can’t hear the quiet whisperings that are there to guide us.”

    Optimum Health Institute is here for you! We will motivate you to stick with your commitment to health and discover new ways to empower yourself. Explore the holistic healing program offered at OHI. This program offers three week-long sessions, where you will learn to cleanse the body, quiet the mind and awaken the spirit. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Communication Best Practices for a Happy Family

    Everyone wants their families to feel bonded.  While every family is different, there is a single commonality every happy family relies on…

    Open communication.

    While it seems obvious, the reality is that productive open communication is anything but easy.  It takes commitment and practice from every member of the family, but the results speak for themselves.  Let’s take a deep dive into communication best practices for a happy family.

    Strong families have open lines of communication

    “Open lines of communication” boils down to the idea that all family members feel heard and respected.  So while every member gets an ample opportunity to speak, conversely, it also means that every member needs to actively LISTEN to that person speak.  Until we truly hear each other, we cannot build strong relationships.

    First, practice ACTIVE listening:

    Give the person your full attention:  Turn off the TV, set aside your phone, and put down what you are doing.

    Focus on what the person is telling you rather than thinking about your reaction or response to what is being said.  (There will be time for that.)

    Listen for how the other person is feeling and relay back what you think they are saying and how they are feeling: “I hear you saying that you don’t like your sister.  You look pretty mad.  Did something happen?”

    Resist giving advice or your reaction until you are certain that you have fully understood what the person is saying to you.

    Second, use “I” messages rather than “You” messages when talking:

    “I” messages require us to be clear about our own thoughts and feelings.  This technique increases the chance that our message will be heard and decreases the chance that a fight will begin.  “I don’t like all this fighting.  It upsets me to see the two of you not getting along.” is more productive than “What’s wrong with the two of you?  You’re making e crazy!  Can’t you ever get along?”

    Teach everyone in your family to speak with “I” messages as much as possible.  For example: “I feel (upset) when I see you (playing video games before you finish your homework).”  “You” messages should be discouraged because they often lead to bad feelings and increased fighting.  “You” messages seldom resolve the problem.

    Third, encourage all family members to share their thoughts and feelings:

    Productive communication within a family allows all family members — no matter how young — to share their thoughts and feelings.  While you may disagree with another person’s thoughts, their feelings are valid and everyone should be respectful of the thoughts and feelings that are shared.

    In productive communication, family members are held accountable to express themselves with “I” messages.  When people feel heard and respected, they feel validated and come to trust those they are sharing with.  Sharing private thoughts and feelings can leave a person feeling very exposed and vulnerable, so it’s imperative that they completely trust those they are sharing with.  When family members feel heard and validated, they are more likely to allow others to express themselves freely and be more open to solving problems cooperatively.  Working together to resolve simmering issues is the goal of productive communication.

    OHI gets guests talking via their COMMUNICATION class2017

    Productive communication is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced.  OHI’s Communication class starts by defining the difference between the three different communication styles:

    1. 1. Aggressive Style. A person who communicates with this style is demanding, openly or subtly angry, insensitive to others’ needs, puts others down, is judgmental, and sees others as inferior.
    2. 2. Submissive Style. A person who communicates with this style does not express their own needs, thoughts, or feelings, harbors resentment towards self and others, has poor boundaries, turns anger inward, and sees others as superior.
    3. 3. Assertive Style. A person who communicates with this style understands their own needs, expresses needs/wants/desires clearly, respects others’ needs/wants/desires, accepts responsibility, meets own needs, and sees others as equal.

    In this class, guests practice reflective listening by giving feedback on what they are hearing said in a conversation, and giving the speaker room to clarify.  They learn to use silence to gently nudge the speaker to think and reflect on their own words, and then comfortably proceed at their own pace.  Guests also learn to avoid giving advice.  Basically, advice is a backward form of criticism, and sends the message, “You don’t know how to handle your life, but I do.”  To avoid giving advice, check your use of the word “should”.  It usually precedes advice, as in “You should do…”.

    Overall, the more you practice productive communication with your family, the stronger the bond will grow.  Just try to listen more than you speak, and when you do speak, do so with clarity and kindness.  Productive communication is the true foundation for generational happiness.

    At OHI, we believe the benefits of healthy communication. Our caring staff members are eager to give you all the unconditional support, inspiration, and transformational tools you need to bring your body, mind, and spirit into healthy balance in a serene, peaceful setting. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Scholarship Recipient, Jan Hemming Finds Transformation through OHI

    Born in Los Angeles and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jan Hemming had a vibrant career in journalism, political consulting, and public relations.  She launched her own boutique PR firm, and after 15 successful years she retired and turned to non-profit and community work.  An avid gardener in her spare time, Jan was leading a very full life…and then came her “health opportunities.”

    “In 2017, I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Jan.  “I underwent intensive hypo-fractionated radiation and surgery.  I also dealt with pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and kidney stones.  In 2019, I was in a very serious car accident that broke my sternum and fractured my ribs.  And in 2020, I had three parathyroids removed in an attempt to regulate my calcium.  So when I say my body has been through the wringer over the course of the last 4 years, I’m not kidding.”

    Jan had tried many conventional diet and lifestyle approaches to improve her health, but all of them failed.  Her neighbor was a missionary at OHI, and explained how the program had made such a huge difference in her own health.  “Being retired on a fixed income, I was uncertain if I could cobble together the resources to attend OHI,” said Jan.  “When my scholarship application was approved, it was an answer to my prayers.  I stayed at OHI San Diego for two weeks, and in that time my body and my health completely changed for the better.  My blood pressure lowered, and my heart rate improved.  I lost 11 pounds, and my blood sugar went from the 130s to the 80’s.  It was remarkable!  Now two months after leaving OHI and making a determined effort to stick with the program, my weight has continued to drop, and my vitals are even better.  I’ve always felt my body was a temple, and now OHI has taught me the right way to eat to match that belief.  I am so grateful to those who made this scholarship possible.  I firmly believe that OHI is transformational.  I now regard my life as the time before OHI and after OHI.”

    Please consider contributing to the OHI Scholarship Fund to help those in need experience the benefits of the OHI program. Over the course of our 45 years, OHI has provided scholarships to individuals who could not afford to otherwise attend. In most years, we have been able to fulfill all requests for assistance through the generosity of our community. OHI invites you to join with us in celebrating our healing mission with a tax-deductible gift. Your contribution will help to make our community stronger, healthier, and more vibrant.

    Provide the Gift of Healing today by supporting the OHI Scholarship Fund with a tax-deductible:
    • One-Time Donation, or
    • Sustainable Monthly Contribution

    Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, or call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your contribution.

    Thank you for your generosity!

    Optimum Health Institute is a non-profit, religious organization. Your donation is tax deductible.

  • How to Build a Strong Family & Community

    As we breeze into fall and find the holidays on the horizon, now would be a good time to talk about what makes a healthy family, and look at how we can leverage holiday rituals and traditions to bring that healthy family closer together.

    What is a “family”?

    Family includes people we love, and those who love us — parents, children, grandparents, and siblings.  “Family” can also include close bonds with friends and neighbors.  No matter who you consider “family,” it all boils down to those we feel connected to through a shared history and experience.

    Why is a strong family important?

    Our family teaches us how to function in the world.  Children learn manners and appropriate socialization skills from their family.  They learn how to communicate, how to cooperate, and how to problem-solve.  They learn empathy and trust, find meaning in shared values, and take on responsibility.  At its best, family members provide unconditional love and support to each other.

    What are the characteristics of a healthy family with strong bonds?

    Researchers from the University of Nebraska conducted a study on the characteristics of strong families, and they recognize six major qualities that all contribute to family happiness and strength:

    Commitment: They make their relationships a high priority.  Put the welfare of other family members before yourself.  If everyone chooses a path of selflessness, the family as a whole benefits.  When you hold yourself responsible for valuing another person’s feelings and needs over your own, that empathy grows to become the foundation for a strong family bond.

    Appreciation:  They let other family know, daily, they are appreciated.  Use appreciative language and gestures with each other.  Greet everyone warmly as they walk in the door.  Ask them about their day.  Thank whoever cooked dinner.  Go out of your way to be kind.

    Communication:  They talk to each other about issues both big and small.  Keep your communication positive, listen to all opinions, and don’t forget to lighten the mood with laughter when tensions are running high.

    Time Together:  They are deliberate about planning activities.  It’s the small daily family rituals that are often the most meaningful.  Eat dinner together.  Watch a movie on Friday nights.  Walk the dog together.

    Spiritual wellness:  They believe in a greater power and have shared beliefs.  Model acceptance and tolerance.  Share your views about your beliefs, and why they are important to you, but also be open to learning more about the beliefs and values that your loved ones hold dear.

    Crisis and stress:  They are able to cope with difficulties and crises because they are resilient together.  Everyone processes stress differently.  Give everyone room to vent and work through their stress in their own way.  Just be available to provide support as needed.

    How do we develop and cultivate the traits of healthy families?

    Here are seven simple keys to growing healthy families:

    The power of modeling.  What kids see you do as they grow up is what you’ll likely see them do when they’ve grown up.

    Giving the gift of time.  Set aside special time for individual family members.  Take an interest in their passions, and introduce them to your hobbies.  Be curious and open to new ideas.

    The power of nourishing love.  Cherishing and nourishing your family are two very different things.  Cherishing means to value and care about it.  But do you express it?  Nourishing is the action that expresses that love, and reinvigorates the relationship.

    Cultivating an encouraging environment.  An encouraging environment is one in which you spend more time building and encouraging your loved ones than you do scolding and correcting them.

    The gift of healthy anger.  When a person understands anger and learns how to express it in healthy ways, it can be an ally and actually lead to increased trust, greater intimacy, and stronger relationships.  While we may have minimal control over when we experience anger, we have total control over how we choose to express that anger.

    Nurturing quality communication.  Good communication doesn’t just happen.  Healthy families set aside a regular time for focused communication, where individuals really listen to what others are sharing, and show sensitivity to each other’s feelings.  Quality communication also recognizes the importance of nonverbal aspects of communication — hugs, laughter, tears, etc.

    Conflict — a pathway to intimacy.  Most of us haven’t learned the value of conflict, and interpret it as an attack.  When we avoid healthy conflict, we avoid growth.  Instead, make your primary goal of conflict to understand the other person.  Take a few minutes to acknowledge, discuss, and define the conflict, and then LISTEN.  Ask yourself “What is MY contribution to this problem?”  And finally, commit yourself to understand what the issue looks like through the other person’s eyes.  It is through this journey of empathy that you will be able to resolve conflict.

    How do rituals bring a family closer?

    It is important to actively find ways to bring your family emotionally closer.  In his book, “The Intentional Family,” family therapist William Doherty focuses on the idea that the way we enact our family relationships through rituals is just as important as how family members speak to each other.

    So what exactly is a ritual?  Doherty defines a family ritual as an activity that has meaning, has coordinated activities that are significant to the family, and is repeated.  Not all family rituals necessarily involve the whole family.  Some rituals involve just two members (ie: a grandparent/grandchild playing a game together), some involve the larger extended family, others include close friends of the family, and still others connect the family with a larger community such as a church or synagogue.  Family rituals give us:

    Predictability:  A ritual brings a sense of order to family life, and that brings calm to the environment.  If there is no predictability to a ritual (ie: reading a bedtime story EVERY night), then the ritual loses its power.

    Connection:  When a family feels connected to each other through rituals, it’s because they have built trust within a shared experience.  (ie: the bedtime ritual is often the primary one-on-one time between parent and child)

    Identity:  Rituals provide a sense of belonging and defines what is “special” about the family.  Maybe your grandmother once knit matching sweaters for everyone, and now your family has taken the tradition to a new level by all wearing ugly Christmas sweaters at the holiday.

    Values:  Values demonstrate what we believe and hold dear, and religious rituals are a good example of the way rituals enact values for a family.

    According to Doherty, the idea of the Intentional Family is to create rituals that reflect your family’s own unique values, histories, religions, and cultures, and to leverage those rituals to consciously plan your life together.

    What are the different types of family rituals?

    Let’s examine the five different types of rituals identified by Doherty:

    Family rituals:  Not all family rituals involve the whole family.  Some rituals involve just two members — a married couple going out to dinner or a grandparent reading to a child.  Successful intentional families learn to ritualize everything from pairs to large community families (church group or volunteer group).

    Connection rituals:  These offer everyday opportunities for family bonding, such as family meals, morning and bedtime routines, or family outings.

    Love rituals:  These focus on developing one-to-one intimacy, and make individual family members feel special.  They can be divided into couple rituals and special-person rituals.  Examples of couple love rituals are anniversary celebrations or date nights.  Special-person rituals generally center around birthday celebrations, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, etc.

    Community rituals:  These have a more public dimension than connection and love rituals.  They include major family events such as weddings and funerals that link families to their communities, as well as religious activities in churches, synagogues, or mosques.  In addition, community rituals include conscious efforts to connect with a wider social network than the family, to both give and gain support.  The healthiest families give to their communities and receive support back in good measure.

    Holiday rituals:  Thanksgiving and Christmas have evolved into a special category of family ritual, involving three functions of rituals — connection, love, and community.  There are the grand rituals of the calendar year for the majority of families, Christian and non-Christian alike.

    So while we still have a few months before Thanksgiving and Christmas, why not take the time to assess the rituals your family keeps, and create or change them in response to the way your family has grown and changed over time.  Multi-generational families are a gift, and it is a delicate art to balance the weight of tradition with the desire to incorporate fresh rituals as new members join the family with their own values and opinions.  Major transition times in family life are good opportunities to review your rituals.  Focus on the needs of the group, and the values you want to promote.  Building and maintaining a strong family bond is a process.  Enjoy the journey together.

    At OHI, our caring staff members are eager to give you all the unconditional support, inspiration, and transformational tools you need to bring your body, mind, and spirit into healthy balance in a serene, peaceful setting. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.


    “The Intentional Family” by William J. Doherty, Ph.D.

    “7 Keys to Building Strong Families”, Dr. Gary Oliver, iMom.com

    “What makes a family strong?, Gail Innis, Michigan State University Extension, December 2, 2016, canr.msu.edu

  • Meet Dr. James Novak, Optimum Health Enterprises’ Holistic Medical Practitioner

    Optimum Health Enterprises (OHE) is a third-party vendor who offers colon hydrotherapy services at OHI San Diego and OHI Austin. In Texas, prescriptions are required to receive a colonic, therefore OHE provides practice management for a licensed medical doctor to supervise colonic services at OHI Austin. California does not require a medical doctor for supervision; however, we recently identified a local holistic medical practitioner in San Diego, Dr. James Novak, to provide supervision of colon hydrotherapy services for OHI San Diego community members.

    Get to know Dr. James Novak with our quick Q&A…

    Q. Why did you join Optimum Health Enterprises (OHE)?

    A. Many of OHI’s staff and guests have been my patients over the years, so I was well-acquainted with their program. I knew they had always offered guests colon hydrotherapy service via a certified colonics therapist (either a licensed vocational nurse or a registered nurse) using state-of-the-art hydrotherapy equipment.  During the pandemic, there were times when OHE had to put a pause on their colonic hydrotherapy services because it was not overseen by a medical practitioner, and therefore it was not considered an “essential” business.  To make sure guests are never inconvenienced by a pause in services in the future, I joined OHE as the medical specialist overseeing the colon hydrotherapy practice in San Diego.  I have been so impressed with OHI’s immersive body-mind-spirit detox program over the years that I was inspired to join their team.

    Q. Give our guests a little background on yourself.

    A. I earned my undergraduate degree from Northwestern University, and I received my medical degree from Rush Medical College in Chicago in 1980. I was an NHS Corp physician for three years, working predominantly on Native American reservations.  I started an Integrative Medicine private practice in 1985 in Pacific Beach, CA., and as of this month have been a licensed, practicing family physician for 40 years.

    Q. Why did you start practicing holistic medicine in conjunction with Western medicine?

    A. I had patients who felt they had reached a dead end in allopathic medicine. Those with chronic health conditions like auto-immune diseases or Lyme disease were seeing practitioners who were treating their symptoms as opposed to finding the root source of their problem.  I approach a new patient by trying to find the upstream causes of the current problem, and look to the foundations of good health to activate self-healing — a nutritionally dense diet, adequate sleep, challenging exercise, exposure to natural sunlight and clean oxygen, and a strong mind-body connection.  I want to improve the bio terrain of the body — strong gut health, clean blood, a solid detox of the liver, lymph, and kidneys, and a reservoir of healthy fats in the body.  That restores the physiologic processes that have been interrupted, and optimizes the innate healing power of the body.

    Q. How will you interact with OHI guests?

    A. Guests at the San Diego campus who are interested in receiving colon hydrotherapy will meet with me to take a medical history, and get a brief exam. I evaluate whether it is safe for a guest to do a colonic.  Those who have intestinal or rectal issues like anal fissures, active hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, colitis, or are taking blood thinners are really not appropriate candidates for colonics.  I refer guests who are good colon hydrotherapy candidates to our colon therapists.  It is my goal as an experienced holistic practitioner to always ensure colonics are given in a healthy and safe manner.

    Q. What does colon hydrotherapy do for the body?

    A. Colon hydrotherapy assists in detoxing the body by cleaning out the colon. When the intestinal tract is empty and clean, it sends a signal to the liver.  The liver cleans your blood and breaks down old or damaged blood cells, as well as plays a central role in all metabolic processes in the body by breaking down fats.  The cleansed intestinal tract lets the liver know it is ready to process more waste.  Colon hydrotherapy accelerates this detox process.

    Q. Are there any other new healing modalities that you’ve had success within your practice that would dovetail with OHI’s detox program?

    A. Yes! I have had great success with a variety of oxidative therapies over the last few decades that I hope to incorporate into the OHI detox program.  In particular, I feel ozone therapy would be a great addition to the program.  At its most basic level, ozone stimulates an adaptive response in the body that increases mitochondrial energy production, increases white blood cell immunoregulatory function, stimulates improved blood circulation, and improves hormone balance in the thyroid and adrenal glands.  It also down regulates inflammation throughout the body.  Through these processes, it helps to remove microbes and toxins that don’t belong in the body.  I think it would be a great addition to the current detoxification aspects of the OHI program.

    Q. Any final thoughts as you join the OHI team?

    A. Quite frankly, I think the body-mind-spirit teachings at OHI are the most important aspect of their overall program. The effects of psycho emotional healing are absolutely vital to good health.  I’m proud to be a part of this life-changing program.

    Welcome Dr. Novak!  We are so happy to have you!

    Although colon hydrotherapy services are not required or an essential part of our holistic healing program, they are readily available to you if you choose to add them and enhance your experience. These services are delivered by professionals on-site for your convenience and many of our patients find that they really heighten the benefits of the program. While colonic services are available daily, it is best to schedule appointments in advance, as sessions fill up quickly.

    Call OHI at (800) 588-0809 or visit www.OptimumHealth.org today for more information.

  • Guest Spotlight: Meet Nila Sinha, an annual guest at OHI Austin!

    Nila Sinha first learned about OHI Austin 15 years ago, but it took a big life change to springboard her into booking a visit.  “I heard about OHI from my family’s NAET practitioner in South Florida,” said Nila.  “She had been a regular at OHI San Diego for over a decade, and raved about it.  At the time it was early in my career when I was traveling a great deal, and feeling very stressed and burned out.  The detox sounded like a great way to get my body back on track in order to better handle my work stress, but I just couldn’t take a whole week off, let alone three weeks.  I vowed to visit OHI ‘someday’.”

    That “someday” eventually came for Nila in July 2018.  “Basically, my whole life fell apart in the span of two weeks,” said Nila.  “My 19-year career with a company abruptly ended at the same time that my marriage ended.  I was in an emotional free fall!  I tried to flip my perspective, and see these big life changes as an opportunity and not a loss.  I pulled together a list of things I had always wanted to do if I had the time, and a visit to OHI was at the top of the list.  I was long overdue for some self-care.”

    Nila arrived at OHI looking for help.  “Physically, I was experiencing sleep apnea, the lethargy and discomfort from 60 pounds of excess weight, and lots of inflammation in my joints,” said Nila.  “Emotionally, I was feeling completely adrift.  I committed to a three-week stay at OHI Austin, so I could completely detox and give my body the rest it so desperately needed.  After the first week, I could feel the fog in my brain lifting, and began to feel at home in my body.  My inflammation was markedly reduced, and I was amazed that I could sit cross-legged on the floor without discomfort.  I hadn’t been able to do that for years!  After three weeks, I returned to home with a life plan for healthy eating, as well as the mental and emotional confidence to tackle a new career.  I soon launched my own consulting business, and being my best healthy self is essential to the coaching and leadership development side of my business.  I couldn’t have done it without the energy I’ve gained from detoxing at OHI!”

    The pandemic turned everyone’s lives upside down, but Nila still found time for a visit to OHI Austin.  “I have returned to OHI Austin at least once a year since July 2018.  I try to spend at least two weeks on campus for a total body/mind/spirit reset.  I used to come in July, but after the challenges that 2020 brought all of us, I ended up spending two weeks at OHI Austin right before New Year’s.  It was such a rewarding way to start 2021!  I was already on a renewed path to better mental and physical health, and not just making resolutions about it.”

    Nila used the 5 P’s to optimum health (purpose, positive mental attitude, persistence, patience, and prayer) to help her heal. “The 5 P’s allow me to live with intention so that I don’t lose my way again,” said Nila. “Purpose, patience, and persistence have particularly helped on my healing journey. I continue to focus on a foundation theme or intention (purpose), kindness to myself (patience), and a mentality to just breathe and jump in knowing I have to trust that I can handle whatever comes my way (persistence).  I have let go of self-criticism, which I had somehow thought was part of my search for excellence.  OHI has taught me to take a more loving approach towards myself, and to trust my inner wisdom.  I focus more on finding the small gifts in every day life, and being grateful for those things has helped me feel joy.”

    Each time she returns to OHI, Nila feels a rush of comfort and familiarity.  “As I drive onto the OHI campus, I feel an immediate relaxation of my shoulders, and a feeling of hope and safety.  I look forward to that feeling of restoration that I know will come within just a couple of days.  OHI is the place I can always come back to if I need help finding my footing on my path in life.  And when I’m not on campus, they’ve taught me how to take responsibility for my own good health.  For me, a juice fast helps reset my body/mind/spirit in times of stress.  I try to do a juice fast at least once a week to give my body a rest.  If guests learn just one thing at OHI, it’s how to listen to their body, and give it the healing it needs.”

    Come to OHI and learn the 5 Ps to optimum health. We will motivate you to stick with your commitment to health and discover new ways to empower yourself. Explore the holistic healing program offered at OHI. This program offers three week-long sessions, where you will learn to cleanse the body, quiet the mind and awaken the spirit.

    Call OHI at (800) 588-0809 or visit www.OptimumHealth.org today for more information.