Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Integral Healing Retreat: Health House in Action

This weekend we had our first Integral Healing Retreat and it in no uncertain terms showed me the incredible potential of working together toward a greater experiential understanding of health. This was an experiment in the theory of integral medicine and in focusing on healing rather than on disease. A group of five participants and four leaders made up the retreat. We had two healing practitioners: myself (M.D., Functional Medicine and Osteopathy) and a woman who practices energy medicine. We also had a chef present for the entire retreat, well versed in raw, vegan and vegetarian cooking with a focus on healing foods, and one full-time support person. We also had a special group on stress management Saturday morning, conducted by an alternative M.D. associate of mine who specializes in mind-body medicine. Overall, we spent the entire weekend together, from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon -- and it was full-on, and fantastic!

I will be writing about this retreat over the next several weeks. It is taking me time to process all that happened because how deep we worked together and how much happened individually for each of us, including leaders. 

To recap from a previous blog [see the previous post about the plans for the retreat] integral is the foundation of what I do. Integral means whole, complete. If you google “integral” one of the definitions isconstituting the undiminished entirety; lacking nothing essential especially not damaged.” Our bodies are whole and there is something to be said for a doctor knowing the heart or liver or kidney really well but I believe that knowing that in isolation of the whole body doesn’t do justice for what we need to do to heal. If we don’t approach healing from the whole person, we cannot really find the potential that is available to all of us and is in its own way the mystery of life itself. And no matter what health issues we are dealing with, we are whole. Maybe we’ve lost an arm or have lost the use of a leg due to injury or stroke, or have an extreme sensitivity to food and need a special diet; or maybe we are dealing with an extreme amount of stress; but whatever we are dealing with, our bodies (which I include to be body, mind and spirit) are working to heal and take us to our maximum potential at that moment. There is a lot that we understand about how our bodies work. But there is a lot that we don’t understand, that doesn’t capture the mystery of how we survive and even thrive under pressure and with severe injury and disease. 

This is what I am interested in and this is what we explored during this retreat. More details to come....


  1. interesting! look forward to hearing some of the new principles that come out of your exploration.
    thank you,

  2. Very interesting. Jem and I both look forward to hearing more!

  3. Hi Michelle, I really like the reminder that "our bodies are whole.....we are whole". It is amazing that we know so much about the workings of the human body - from DNA to cellular energy production, but true health and healing is almost as much of a mystery as it ever was. As an ER nurse, I feel more and more that it is a spiritual dearth that ails our patients, ourselves; medications and ER visits just ain't doing it! Look forward to hearing more. Margaret