The week of December 16 – 22, 2012 my wife Lori and I
completed the third and final week of courses offered at
the Optimum Health Institute. Each experience at OHI is
better than the previous. This article is a summary of our
experiences in the three-week course. Even though we
have completed all the classes offered we plan to keep attending
OHI as often as possible.
When I moved from Sylvania, Ohio, to Southern California
14 years ago, I met a marvelous lady name Dorothy
Dunn. Dorothy eventually ended up being my neighbor
in San Clemente. Being a holistic healer, she often
shared her experiences of attending the Optimum
Health Institute (OHI).
She mentioned ideas like juice fasting, colonics and
drinking large volumes of wheat grass juice. I wondered
why anyone would put himself or herself through such
maltreatment, and I remember emphatically stating, “I
would never do that.”
After experiencing a few health issues and with the
encouragement of Lori, my significant other and now
wife, we jumped far out of our comfort zones and attended
OHI in December of 2007. We attended again
in December 2010, and we just completed week three
of the program on December 23, 2012.
Experiencing the Optimum Health Institute has
changed both of our lives forever. Now, I understand
the accelerating affects of eating live raw foods, drinking
wheat grass juice, juice fasting and colon cleansing.
What is OHI?
OHI is a three-week program designed to cleanse your
body, quiet your mind and renew your spirit. Located in
Lemon Grove, CA, a suburb of San Diego, OHI is dedicated
to providing all natural, non–medical, holistic
healing. OHI opened in 1976 by Rachel Solomon. She
had experienced holistic healing after becoming seriously
ill as a result of hard living and cigarette smoking.
Her and her colleague believed in God-centered mental
techniques for healing the whole person.
In the first five years of existence, OHI employees were
not paid. OHI doesn’t advertise or market it’s services
and is a non-profit organization. Word of mouth seems
to keep the census flowing through the program. The
San Diego facility has approximately 180 beds, however
they usually have around 100 people as maximizing
the census would diminish the quality of the services.
OHI has a second location in Austin, TX, which usually
facilitates 25-30 people. Over 200,000 people — many
of whom attend on a regular basis — have attended
OHI in the 34 years of its existence. It is a 24/7 operation
and has never been closed a day since it’s inception.
As we entered the gate at OHI, we immediately noticed
the beautiful organic garden on the left. Flowers, plants
and beautiful trees were plentiful. It’s a peaceful, serene
I chuckled the first time I attended when I saw the AA
Alanon club directly across the street of the property.
AAer’s call that a “God shot.”
There are no TVs, radios or ovens on the property, although
the classrooms are equipped with modern
technology for teaching aids. If you noticed I said no
ovens; only cold, raw food is ever served on the premises.
No cell phones or computers are allowed outside
the rooms. No smoking is permitted anywhere on the
grounds. It is suggested that attendees refrain from
contact with the outside world. This is a place for serious
OHI is the second largest grower of wheat grass juice
in the USA. Besides providing tons of nutrition, wheat
grass juice has an alkaline level of 7.4 (same as human
blood). Alkaline balances the affect of damaging acidic
levels in the body.
I never met a person at OHI I didn’t like. Although from
many different backgrounds, the attendees at OHI are
there for holistic self-improvement.
People attend OHI for many reasons. Many attend because
of “health opportunities,” which is usually code
for cancer. Since the entire focus is on healing, it is rare
that people discuss their diseases at length. Many others
attend simply to improve their overall health and
well-being. OHI is not a weight loss clinic. However, every
person I have spoken with that went through the
program has lost a significant amount of weight.
The staff and the attendees at OHI have come from
all over the world. The ages of attendees range from
late teens to the nineties. This visit there was a young
11-year-old attending with her mother. People are regularly
seen smiling in this friendly and loving place. It is
obvious that the rules in place are intended to enhance
the health and safety of all who attend.
Holistic Healing = BODY, MIND and SPIRIT
Nutrition — It takes most of us awhile to adjust to what
OHI suggests that we put in our bodies. All foods are
natural, organic and fresh. Rejuvelac (a fermented liquid
pro-biotic) and wheat grass juice is consumed often.
It’s also strongly suggested that every day you drink at
least half your body weight in ounces of “good ole H2O.”
It’s recommended that no strong cosmetics or perfumes
be used because as people detoxify, their sense
of smell heightens. Even soaps, shampoos and conditioners
are natural. OHI reminds us that anything we
put on our skin will make it into the bloodstream very
The first two days, Sunday and Monday, I found the food
tasteless and was amazed that those sitting around me
ate it without complaining. No drinks are offered with
meals and besides the only liquids available were water,
wheat grass juice and rejuvelac.
Tuesday started a three-day juice fast. The people that
were attending more than one week at a time stayed
with the raw food diet. Only the first week people and
returning folks went on the fast.
On this third visit, the food started taking on new meaning
and actually started to be satisfying to my pallet.
The next three days we would get a glass of vegetable
juice for every meal. The concoction consisted of
sprouts, kale, cucumber, beet and any other practically
sugarless bland vegetable out there. Each glass held
125 calories equaling 375 per day. Hypoglycemic diets
didn’t get the beets in the juice.
Amazingly, I did not get hungry. The wheat grass juice
and the no salt, unsweetened veggie drink provided
massive amounts of nutrients and proteins, so my body
was getting what it required and therefore it didn’t trigger
the craving for food.
The staff at OHI recognizes some people have extreme
problems with this and work with people on a “one-onone”
basis to keep the process safe and not too uncomfortable.
Cleansing and Elimination — Practiced for many centuries
around the world, detoxification is the process of
cleansing the body to promote healing and longevity.
To help your body cleanse and restore itself, OHI provides:
• Wheatgrass juice to cleanse cells and purify blood •
Enemas and wheatgrass implants to cleanse the colon •
Gentle exercise to cleanse the lymphatic system
On site, many services are offered, including massage,
energy work, sea-salt scrubs and colonics. I recognize
that many doctors do not recommend colonics, including
the wonderful TV personality, Dr. Oz. However, my
personal experience with colonics is absolutely incredible.
It just makes sense to me that if I am cleansing my
cells and organs, and all the toxins are getting dumped
into my colon via the liver and the lymphatic system, I
want to eliminate them before they have a chance to
re-circulate back into my body. Colonics simply flushes
Was I nervous before my first one? Heck yes, however my
fears quickly dissipated once I met the colon therapist.
Also, I quickly got over the embarrassment of talking
about the subject. Colonics and enemas provide great
comedy material for those who partake. I felt wonderful
after every colonic appointment and am convinced
that done in this type of setting, they are very beneficial
to my health. I wonder if the people who claim that colonics
are not helpful have ever had one?
Exercise — OHI offered daily exercise and stretching
classes. What I loved most about these classes is that
I could easily adjust my efforts to how I was feeling at
the time. The instructors were simply amazing. Walking
briskly around the grounds in a group provided a wonderful
opportunity to meet and talk with other people.
I made many new and lasting friends.
To counter stress, OHI helps you learn how to relax your
body using alpha state meditation techniques to:
• Release tension and pain • Tap into your sub-consciousness
• Practice mindfulness • Visualize what you
want to achieve • Stimulate creativity and inspiration •
Increase your awareness of God
At OHI you will learn how to cultivate healing using the
• Purpose to achieve a natural balance and reconnection
to the Divine • Positive mental attitude that supports
the healing process • Persistence in following the
holistic disciplines of the OHI program • Patience with
yourself as you allow your body, mind and spirit to
heal • Prayer to a higher source who will share the load
people from all religious traditions are able to nourish
their spirit through reflection, prayer and meditation.
In my personal recovery from addiction, I experienced a
spiritual awakening as a result of my 12-step program.
On my first visit at OHI, I was able to spiritually process
the recent deaths of both of my parents. The second experience
was even more intense.
The three years since attending OHI in 2007 have been
very stressful. Family conflicts, financial fears, issues
within the airline and the union, and the pressures of
publishing a book had taken a toll on my serenity. I had
gained weight and had been experiencing many minor
health issues. Frankly, I had lost some of my positive energy
and was on the verge of becoming a grouchy old
The first spiritual and emotional release occurred during
the “release ceremony” on Wednesday. I had written
down on a paper the things I have been holding on to
that were no longer serving me. Just before we joined
hands in the circle I realize that I had not written down
my most pressing and painful issue. I quickly jotted it
down and the group formed a circle around the can
that we were about to burn our papers in.
As my time came to approach the can, an immense
wave of emotion came over me and the tears started
flowing. By the time I got back to the circle I was crying.
Immediately the two people beside me started rubbing
my back. I continued to cry as the smoke rose from the
can burning my obstacles.
My second spiritual experience was during the Thursday
night Toning Exercise. The purpose of toning is to
clear the flow of energy through the body and to eliminate
any blockage. Toning is a process of listening to
tones, focusing on chakras (energy points within the
body), visualizing an associated color, and making a
sound for each energy point.
Chakras are the energy points in the body associated
with different types of emotions. Chakras start at the
base of the spine and run up the spinal chord to the
crown of the head. Each chakra has an associated color,
sound with a different key. An example is the 4th chakra
is the heart chakra and the color is green. The sound associated
with the heart chakra is AH in the key of F and
As this process started, I wasn’t feeling anything unusual
in the lower two chakras, just below and above
the belly. Nevertheless, I was very aware of the beautiful
music and sounds of the fifty-some voices together
singing the one syllable sound over and over. It reminded
me of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Good health requires paying attention to your needs
and translating your awareness into action.
At OHI, you will receive an OHI Planner designed by the
Franklin Covey Company to help you stay focused on
your highest priorities and experience greater success
in achieving what you desire. OHI’s focus classes will
also help you identify your core values and goals.
OHI’s philosophy is that when you awaken the spirit
within, you can better cope with pain, disappointment
and loss. In the safe and sacred environment of OHI,
When the process got to my chest I could feel the vibration
within, plus a wave of energy came over me. As
soon as the process came to my neck (the chakra that
deals with our voice and communications) the tears
started flowing and did not stop until the process was
The tears were not the result of sadness or grief; they
were tears of releasing the negative energy that had
been building in my body overtime. When the process
ended I spotted my new friend Jim, and he had felt a
similar experience. We hugged, laughed and created a
My final spiritual experience occurred on the massage
table. After a nice massage by wonderful lady named
Evangeline, we started the energy work. I laid quietly
on the table as she lightly touched me with one hand
and held her other hand just above places on my head,
neck and chest. The experience over my head and neck
Then Evangeline started on my chest area, a place she
already had known was the origin of my energy block.
This was the same location in my body that I experienced
a blockage during the Toning Class. She stood
over me for what seemed like hours.
I became restless and my face began itching in many
places. My legs were twitching, my butt was squirming
and Evangeline never moved an inch. I couldn’t take it
any long so I broke the silence and said, “Must be really
blocked there,” hoping she would give up. She smiled
and replied, “It will be gone soon, and I am getting rid
When the massage and energy work ended, I felt terrific.
Evangeline and I exchanged numbers. We plan to do
some future volunteer work together with a group of
ex-prisoners that she works with. About one hour later,
I could physically feel a weight being removed from my
These three spiritual experiences along with a host of
“ah-ha moments” made a believer out of me as to the
power of Body, Mind and Spiritual healing.
I am aware that many people do not believe in energy
work or the benefits of detoxifying. I’m not trying to sell
OHI or holistic health, I am simply expressing positive
experiences I have encountered since becoming honest
with myself about myself, and being open and willing
to new healing concepts and ideas. They are certainly
working better than my old ways.
I used to experience detoxification through mindbending
hangovers from alcohol and drugs. Those
toxins accumulate quickly in the body and took a long
time to get rid of.
Being very active and juggling several of my passions
such as aviation, recovery and family, creates many
stresses that cannot go unchecked. Also, in everyday
life I accumulate toxins from our environment, food
and self imposed worrying.
I choose to use what I learned from OHI and Alcoholics
Anonymous to deal with life’s physical and emotional
challenges. I prefer my new method of healing, forgiving
and loving in lieu of my previous belief system
based on fear and resentments.
On Friday evenings, OHI has a talent show. Attendees
provide the talent and on this third occasion, I was summoned
to be the Host. We started with everyone singing
and whistling Bobby McFerrin’s 80’s hit “Don’t Worry
Be Happy.” The singing, poetry reading and comedy
skits were a blast. This evening wrapped up a wonderful
week of peace, love and understanding. It’s hard to
express what is gained by this truly holistic experience,
however I will keep attending and with each visit I make
significant strides in achieving, health and happiness