• A Joyful Spirit is Key for Optimum Health

    Little Beka from Tennessee was a bubbly, active 5-year-old, dancing through each day with laughter, spunk, and curiosity . When she woke one morning feeling lethargic, her parents kept her home from school so she could beat the “bug.” By the next morning, she was starting to lose feeling in her feet and legs. Her parents rushed her to the emergency room.

    The girl was diagnosed with a rare virus, part of the polio family of viruses, and only recently discovered. Nearly 100 children from 34 states became afflicted. As doctors worked to find the best way to treat the disease, Beka’s family sprang into action. Her mom, a Reiki healer, set up camp in Beka’s hospital room. Her dad and two older sisters were constant visitors, too. While the entire family was frightened and concerned, they realized that being frantic and distraught wasn’t going to help anything.

    Instead, they worked together to create an atmosphere of optimism, family closeness and laughter. They knew choosing to keep the whole family in the mindset of being positive, and celebrating with gratitude for each tiny improvement, was the best hope for Beka.

    Her older sister, a fledgling actress in local productions, entertained her with dramatic readings of funny children’s books. Her other sister, a prankster, kept Beka giggling with corny jokes and silly movies. Even with limited movement in her arms for several weeks, Beka was able to keep pushing the “play” button on her iPod so she could keep listening to upbeat meditations for children her mom found for her.

    After 31 days in the children’s hospital – 11 on a respirator – her doctors finally sent Beka home. Her family’s continued faith, optimism, joyful nature, and perseverance have resulted in a nearly complete recovery for the girl, who is back dancing, laughing, and loving her life.

    By cultivating that supportive atmosphere of hope, optimism, and joyful fun, Beka’s family provided a healing environment for the girl. While Beka had a positive outcome from the debilitating illness, many other youngsters haven’t been so lucky.

    It’s a medical fact that an optimistic and joyful attitude can do wonders for a person’s health. Empirical evidence from 16 studies spanning 30 years recently proved the power of positive thinking in healing the body is hard science. When we believe good things will happen, and focus on achieving positive results, we have a much greater chance of obtaining the goal we desire. Having a supportive tribe of family, friends or caregivers around us is also a big plus.

    Learn more about the mind-body connection, and the healing power of joyful celebration, with a stay at the Optimum Health Institute healing missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas. Come help us celebrate 40 Years of Holistic Healing. Our caring team will give you the tools, encouragement, and inspiration to detoxify your body, quiet your mind and rejuvenate your spirit while you are surrounded in serene beauty. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

  • Push Yourself for an Optimum Life

    For the past 35 years, Salt Lake City marathon runner and healing coach Kathie Utley has been a regular guest at Optimum Health Institute (OHI) San Diego . At the time of her first visit, Kathie was preparing to run the legendary Avenue of the Giants marathon, a grueling 26-mile course winding through the Humboldt Redwoods State Park in Humboldt County, California. A friend of hers had just experienced OHI’s healing lifestyle program and raved about its benefits. Kathie decided to try it herself.

    From the first day, she was hooked. Although she considered herself a healthy athlete, she eagerly absorbed all the new information that put her in better touch with her body. Detoxifying her system, the importance of food combining, cleansing the lymphatic system – through all the classes and the exclusively live, raw, organic vegan meals, Kathie gained a complete new understanding of her body and how it worked. She learned how to nourish her physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs for optimum results. Feeling more fully alive and with energy to spare, she pushed herself to take up ultrarunning, and did the Wasatch Mountain 100-mile run in Utah.

    When she’s not training for or running ultramarathons, Kathie utilizes applied kinesiology, energy work and strong motivation to train others to do long runs. Every six months, schedule permitting, she returns for another week or two at OHI.

    Through the decades, Kathie has seen subtle but very positive tweaks to the OHI program. “I love that the diet is more creative,” Kathie said. “Tacos, pizzas, seasonings, a wide variety of delicious salad dressings – it’s great!” She’s had the pleasure of meeting the late Bob Nees. Sr. and Raychel Solomon, two of OHI’s founders. Each time she also looks forward to seeing Garden Manager and Sr. Facilitator Dan Strobhar, who’s been at OHI since she first started visiting. “Dan sincerely cares about each person, and is eager to help everyone. I’ve seen him just sit down with someone and take the time to explain the entire program to them.”

    Besides helping her push her physical self into peak form, Kathie credits OHI with giving her the tools to achieve optimum performance on every level. She’s had challenges – her daughter is autistic, her husband died of bone cancer – but she chooses to remain optimistic. “My philosophy,” Kathie says, “is everyone has only so much time in this life – how they live it depends on their social skills, eating habits and belief system. I don’t want to get up every day and not be happy. OHI has given me the knowledge to hold it together, and help me do the best I can. They teach you how to live each hour to the fullest.”

    Find the compassionate push you need to make the healthiest choices for your body, mind and spirit at the Optimum Health Institute missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas. Come help us celebrate 40 Years of Holistic Healing. Our caring team will give you the tools, encouragement and inspiration to kick destructive old lifestyle habits to the curb, and adopt beneficial and healing new ones. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

  • Embracing Your Anger

    There’s a T-shirt that reads, “Depression is Anger without the Enthusiasm.” That’s very funny, and also very, very true.

    At the Optimum Health Institute (OHI), we teach guests that there are just two core emotions – positive, or love based, and negative, or fear based. This fear is frequently expressed as anger.

    Somewhere along the line, many of us, and most women, got the message that it just wasn’t OK or “ladylike” to feel or express anger. “Nice” people never got angry – instead they would just swallow their emotions, compromising their desires, beliefs and goals, to keep everyone else happy and maintain a semblance of peace.

    After decades of getting this message that “anger is wrong,” and trying to stifle this very honest and real emotion, what happens? Yep – the T-shirt is right. Depression sets in because it really is anger without the enthusiasm.

    Depression isn’t the only potential fallout from unexpressed anger. A recent study at Columbia University Medical Center shows unexpressed rage can also literally harm the heart. Our feelings of anger set off our “flight-fight response,” which drives up heart and respiration rates and tightly squeezes blood vessels as our body gets ready to react decisively. If we try to suppress that emotion, the body never gets the “release” of appropriately expressed anger, and our risk for heart disease is escalated.

    Explosive, undirected spurts of anger can take the same toll on the heart as suppressing rage, so it’s important to learn to express your anger in appropriate ways.

    Confronting the situation or person that triggered your anger is key, as is being able to have a discussion – even a rather heated one – about the issue in question. Healthy resolution is not about fixing blame – it’s about getting back to that core emotion, and verbalizing what need of yours you fear is not being met. This moderate expression of anger, research shows, can be both constructive and heart healthy.

    Dr. Candace Pert, the pharmacologist and researcher who’s rewritten the medical books by proving every cell of our body has a separate consciousness, has seen other positive results from occasionally letting that anger inside of us explode.

    She’s seen cancer patients who do not meekly accept their diagnosis, but rage against the disease attacking their body. The same way a fever kills invading germs, she’s seen this expression of fury result in an almost immediate remission, as if the anger somehow burned out the cancer cells.

    We need to understand it’s not the emotion of anger itself that’s wrong, but any inappropriate behavior that anger and fear might trigger.

    When you feel your anger level start to creep upwards, instead of just swallowing it, try these steps:

    1. B-R-E-A-T-H-E! Consciously taking a few deep breaths helps you stop and take a quick inventory of the situation.
    2. Ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?”
    3. Know that your FEELINGS are neither right nor wrong. It’s the BEHAVIOR you choose to do as a result of your feelings that can be unproductive.
    4. At the core of all anger is a need you have that is not being fulfilled. Identify that need, and you can constructively express exactly what you want – whether it’s being listened to, getting rewarded for your contribution, being respected or just having your own space.

    In our Emotional Detox class at OHI, we share the idea that “Holding anger and resentment towards another person is like me taking poison and hoping that someone else dies.” It’s a funny thought with a lot of truth – and it’s also a great reminder to first own your anger, and then release it in an appropriate and constructive way.

    To learn more about OHI, visit our website at www.OptimumHealth.org.

    To make your reservation, please call us at (800) 993-4325 .