Improve Your Wellness With Immersive Retreats

What do you get when you combine two of my favorite things, travel and wellness? If you’re Jessica Van Antwerp, you get wellness guidance, retreats, and education to learn how to unlock your body’s natural healing capacity while connecting with others.

As the owner and CEO of Integral Travel, Jessica invites travelers into the world of transformational travel and its regenerative potential, with incredible results.

A Life in Motion

Jessica has been traveling since she was a child, flying multiple times a year, even as a baby. At 11 years old, she took her first international trip, and from there, her passion for travel continued to grow.

A few decades of international travel exposed her to different cultures and ways of living around the world, including developing countries. As the child of divorced parents with joint custody, Jessica and her brother went back and forth between their parents’ houses every two weeks.

Feeling like she was constantly in motion, she developed a need for movement and change in her life, leading her down various career paths. A stint as a bartender gave her a taste of lending a listening ear as she chatted with bar patrons. As the manager of a wellness center, she ironically found herself working 90-hour weeks and fueling up with nonstop coffee and cigarettes—and ultimately, she had a nervous breakdown.

A new world unfolded when Jessica entered massage therapy school, where she found her passion for health and wellness. Through the lense of Chinese medicine and shiatsu massage, Jessica explored the connection between body, spirit, and mind, and how our emotions can manifest in our bodies as aches and pains.

Jessica furthered her wellness education in yoga and qigong. With a newfound desire to travel and teach, she ultimately came across an opportunity to purchase an existing business, and Integral Travel was born.

Travel Afar to Find Yourself

Initially focused on massage education, Integral Travel became a way to help people learn how to care for their bodies and increase their own sense of vitality. Through immersive retreats ranging in duration from a few days to a couple of weeks, travelers incorporate daily health and wellness practices and discover the healing power of nature.

Integral travel retreats incorporate yoga, qigong, meditation, massage, journaling, time in nature, and plenty of free time. The experience allows participants to step away from their daily routine and gain new perspectives in a completely different environment.

Once they return home, they have tools to continue their wellness journey on a daily basis—tools that go beyond typical surface-level, “calories in, calories out” health models. Participants learn to manage not only exercise and nutrition but also stress and sleep habits, while also unlocking their body’s natural healing capacities.

To learn more about Integral Travel retreats, go to and check out their online classes, free meditations, and other media. Also, be sure to sign up for your free seven-day fresh start healthy eating plan at

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The Root Cause of PANDAS

PANDAS is a rare and serious adverse immune condition. It may take numerous consultations with doctors and specialists and undergoing multiple tests to achieve the proper diagnosis.

I recently sat down with Elizabeth Harris on my podcast Rock Bottom Wellness to discuss her and her son’s long and difficult experience with this disorder. As her son’s physical symptoms were replaced by psychiatric symptoms, Elizabeth knew she had to use her two decades of experience in the field of wellness to save their lives.

What is PANDAS?

PANDAS stands for ‘Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections”. Quite the mouthful!

It is typically a children’s disorder where the streptococcal bacteria attack the cells in the brain and turn their immune system into overdrive. Because the cells are attacking the brain, neurological issues emerge.

What are the signs and symptoms?

The initial infection is a streptococcal infection. For Elizabeth’s son, it was a strep throat infection.

The onset of accompanying psychological symptoms is rather sudden, which include:

· Obsessive-compulsive behaviors

In the case of Elizabeth’s son, he would button and unbutton a shirt repeatedly, or he would ask to have his clothes dried or his toothbrush boiled multiple times.

· Increased behavioral issues

Your child may suddenly become hyperactive or have trouble paying attention, similar to ADHD.

They may also experience increased mood changes, temper tantrums, or emotional outbursts. You may see an increase in bullying behaviors, and they may have more issues at school.

· Sensory issues

Auditory or visual hallucinations may also happen. With Elizabeth’s son, he thought people were watching him through the windows, or that spiders were crawling on him that weren’t there.

How can you alleviate the symptoms?

To alleviate the symptoms and get on the path to wellness, you need to address two areas:

· Tackling the infection

With any strep infection, the first line of traditional treatment is antibiotics. Steroids may also be prescribed to treat the inflammatory responses in your child’s body.

The issue that arises with the mycoplasma pneumonia bacteria is that it is extremely resistant to traditional antibiotics like penicillin. Your child may need a longer term of antibiotics.

Depending on the severity of the infection, you may also consider more extreme treatments such as IVIG or Plasmapheresis to attempt to reset your child’s immune system.

One thing that Elizabeth discovered in her research was that if you were to eliminate simple sugars from your diet, you can kill these bacteria out. But this would be a very long process, and realistically may be difficult for people to not ingest any sugars ever.

·  Addressing the psychological and neurological symptoms

Anti-depressants or anti-inflammatories may also be prescribed to address the psychological and neurological symptoms, as well as to try and calm the immune system.

Therapy treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can also help your child change their way of thinking to lessen their behavioral outbursts.

As with anything, take the time to learn, be aware, and know when you need to advocate for you and your child’s health.

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Your Last Weight-Loss Program?

In a recent episode of Rock Bottom Wellness, I welcomed two guests to the show: Liz Dickinson and Shannon Shearn. Together, they offer a program called Relish Life that’s touted as the last weight-loss program the world will ever need.

If that sounds like a tall order, you’re right — but this powerhouse pair delivers on their promise. Rather than treat symptoms, the program aims to resolve the root cause of weight-loss issues once and for all.

The Weight-Loss Struggle Is Real

Liz is no stranger to the struggles that come with trying to lose weight. With each of her pregnancies, she gained stubborn weight that overstayed its welcome well beyond the baby’s due date.

After her third child, says Liz, she had gotten up to 210 pounds and could not shed the weight, even with rigid calorie counting. Her regular doctor was no help; she offered no solutions beyond tracking caloric intake.

Intuitively, Liz knew there was something more going on. She came to that conclusion despite having previously invented two different technology devices — both aimed at calculating calorie expenditure.

In sheer frustration, Liz entered a walk-in clinic and by “pure accident” met a doctor who was well-versed in medical weight loss and holistic health.

The Negative Self-Talk Piece

Meanwhile, Shannon, a critically acclaimed circus, acrobat, and elite athlete, did whatever it took to maintain the weight and look the part. That path included disordered eating and a loud inner critic who constantly told her she was never thin enough, never small enough, and never quite good enough.

When Shannon became a mother, she, too, struggled with bouncing back. After her second child, in the throes of postpartum depression, Shannon had a moment of clarity when she realized how horribly her own inner critic spoke to herself. At this point, shifted her focus to finding joy in every moment, eating to feel good, and moving her body in ways she loved.

The weight started coming off. That was Shannon’s “a-ha” moment when she saw an opportunity to transform the way she coached her personal training clients, including other moms, through mindfulness and lifestyle coaching.

Together, Shannon and Liz united on a mission to bring a powerful, proven, and lasting solution to the weight-loss industry, and Relish Life was born.

Letting Go of the Old Self

With motherhood and any other big event or traumatic incident, there are both physical and mental changes that occur. We become a new version of ourselves with different needs and priorities.

With Relish, the program challenges participants to let go of that old self and the need to reclaim a certain appearance or way of eating. The question becomes: What if I start looking forward and honor the person I am now?

The goal is to discover ways to add to your life and personal health rather than simply take away calories. It’s not about beating yourself up in the gym; it’s about caring for yourself holistically and shedding the emotional weight that’s weighing you down mentally.

Through this process, weight loss tends to follow. The Relish Life program addresses the whole person, combining group therapy, health coaching, medical treatment, and lifestyle intervention to achieve and maintain your ideal weight.

Ditch the Guilt

Willpower. Self-control. These are words you might hear often in weight-loss circles and even through your primary care physician, but not in the Relish Life program. Relish eliminates the guilt and shame of weight loss and replaces it with community support, positivity, fun, and healing of past trauma.

The Relish Life doctors take the time to listen to patients and hear, perhaps for the first time, the story around when and why they gained weight. With that kind of empathy, patients experience life-changing and sustainable results.

To learn more about the program, head over to For more insights and wisdom on root-cause nutrition and thyroid health, sign up for your free seven-day fresh start healthy eating plan at

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The Link Between Thyroid Cancer and Breast Cancer

Did you know that there’s a link between thyroid cancer and breast cancer? Sounds scary, right? With the rise of cancer cases worldwide, you’d be interested in understanding this relationship. Read on to understand how these cancers are interrelated and how you can protect yourself.

Thyroid Cancer Can Spread to Lymph Nodes

Breast cancer has a high sensitivity to estrogen. Likewise, thyroid cancer has estrogen-like effects.

Overactive thyroids have a high chance of causing breast cancer. Radioactive iodine that medics use to manage thyroid cancer can also have some risk factors for breast cancer.

Likewise, some radiations medics use to manage breast cancer can trigger thyroid cancer. And, poor dieting, failure to exercise, and exposure to many radiations predispose you to both cancers.

Surveillance bias and Germline mutations explain the relationship between thyroid and breast cancer. Women with thyroid cancer have a higher risk of subs.

They can have subsequent breast cancers. Again, women with breast cancer have a high risk of thyroid malignancy.

Thyroid Cancer Symptoms and Effects

Medics conduct a TSH test to determine if you have thyroid cancer. And, while there are no significant physical symptoms that you have thyroid cancer, you can tell you have thyroid cancer with some of these symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular sleep patterns
  • Mood swings
  • Unexplainable weight gain
  • Stomach pains
  • Nausea
  • Lumping mice

Unfortunately, if medics do not treat your thyroid cancer early enough, it can spread to your Olympia. The physicians have to take you into surgery to remove these malignant lymph nodes when this happens.

This surgery can eliminate cancer cells. Although, some new cancerous cells can also develop in a cancer recurrence.

Regardless of being under medication, iodine, or radioactive treatments, this can happen. Medics may also give you Thyrogen as a diagnostic treatment for thyroid cancer.

Pet scans and ultrasounds also help medics identify thyroid cancer. Thyroid medication helps to suppress the thyroid numbers and keep off-tumor markers. Yet, this affects the palpitations.

Overcoming Thyroid and Breast Cancers

Dieting, exercising, and keeping away from toxins can help you overcome these cancers. Other strategies you can use include:

Collagen Can Keep Your Skin Glowing

Both thyroid and breast cancer can take a toll on your appearance. But, with collagen, you can maintain your glow.

Whole Body collagen has three pounded colleges and peptides. Using it enhances collagen production, improves your joint health, and enhances your bone strength.

Collagen consumption can also improve your skin elasticity and integrity. You can incorporate whole body colleges into your smoothies, beverages, and shakes.

Thyroid cancer has some environmental elements. When you reduce the chemicals and toxins in your environment, you reduce your risk of getting thyroid cancer.

Couple this with eating healthy foods. Avoid processed and out-of-package foods.

This also helps you reduce the number of toxins you’re consuming. Also, have some time in the sun to absorb enough natural vitamin D.

Not to mention, quality sleep can also help you fight thyroid cancer. Thyroid and breast cancers sprout from hormonal imbalances. So, you should take some hormonal balancing medications to remove excess estrogen from your body.

While there is no direct relationship between thyroid and breast cancers, their hormonal effects explain their interrelatedness. But, with exercise, healthy food, and appropriate medications, you can overcome these cancers.

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The Downfall of Western Medicine: What your doctor is missing with thyroid, metabolism, and weight loss issues

When you’re faced with an impossible diagnosis, you can be left feeling depressed, exhausted, and anxious. I sat down with Scott Summer, an award-winning practitioner who treats patients globally with unique techniques, combining his Western and Eastern medicine knowledge.

Food in Medicine

Growing up with epilepsy, Scott struggled with depression. He prayed and promised that after he healed, he would help other people.

Amazingly enough, Scott grew up on a farm with his father, who taught him about food and fitness. It just so happens that a kenogenic diet is a cure for epilepsy. For Scott, he got off lucky. Doctors told him he just had epilepsy and that there was nothing he could do about it. Even when he was feeling better, they just sent him on home.

In Asian medicine, food is one of the first things discussed. In Western medicine, diets, calorie intake, and the like are not discussed in the medical field as much.

There is a difference in the food we eat now and how the food industry has changed things. There are a ridiculous amount of diseases that people are struggling with, and as we grow older, we expect to be full of disease. Nutrition and food supply are huge factors in that.

Not to mention the increased chemicals in our food. People want to use chemicals in our food to preserve it, dye it, flavor it, make it taste better, etc. Scott mentioned that while he was studying nutritional science, they would use 200-400 compounds just to make something taste like a strawberry.

The Worst Foods For Your Metabolism

Thyroid disease, metabolism, and weight loss issues all seem like the same thing, but they are all different. However, if you have one of those issues, it is likely to have the others, as well.

For most people, their metabolisms are perfectly fine in high school and college. It is not until their thirties or after children that issues arise. There are several factors that can contribute to this. For one, there are scars from operations such as c-sections and hysterectomies. Another is from the worst foods that really disrupt our metabolism.


Conventional dairy products just have so many chemicals and hormones in them nowadays. Cows are made to produce more milk by pumping them full of hormones and antibiotics.


Chickens aren’t just bred. They are grown. They’re the fastest-growing animal, and they’re pumped full of hormones. If you are trying to lose weight, avoid chicken.

Weight Loss

Your doctor is probably telling you just to eat healthily and exercise enough to lose weight, right? It’s probable that they are missing out on what goes on in the food industry and not considering how healthy that chicken Caesar salad really is. What they don’t tell you is to rotate your foods.

Additionally, you should also eat what is in season and eat local, organic food.

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