I believe it is important to share how I got started on the journey to becoming a holistic wellness facilitator. In 1997, I was in my last semester at Florida State University, when I went out for a mountain bike ride while visiting my Mom in Sarasota (just for the record there are no mountains but plenty of off road bike trails). To provide some history, I had been an avid rider for years, riding with my college roommates who raced professionally. Fortunately, that background taught me how important proper safety gear is so I was wearing a helmet. While riding intensely through the woods, alone and on a trail I had not previously been on, I came up to go over a hill into a ditch and my front tire caught a root. I flipped over the handle bars and landed on my head. I lost consciousness for what seemed a moment, awoke in agonizing pain and tried to get up. I couldn’t. I started to realize what had happened and began yelling for help. No one came. No one knew exactly where I was, and this was before everyone carried a cell phone. I was scared and not sure what to do. I knew I had to get myself out of there somehow. I tried to stand up. I couldn’t. So I got in the only position I could, a crawling squat on my hands and knees and began to crawl towards the only thing I could see which was the pitch of a rooftop in the distance.
For what seemed an eternity, I finally approached someone’s backyard. What joyous noise to hear their dog bark. A little boy came running out into the backyard and said, “What’s the matter?” I said, “I fell off my bike and need help”. The ambulance came and I was in shock. I spent 5 days in the hospital. I was informed my back was broken, I would have to wear a body cast for 3 months and would never be able to snow ski or participate in extreme sports. The doctors told me I was millimeters away from being paralyzed and that I would need metal rods in my back in the near future. I refused to accept that. I went home and immediately started researching alternative options.
First I had a yoga instructor design a program for me to do with a broken back. This was the beginning of my healing process. I then proceeded to follow the guidance of the books I was reading. The book which had the greatest impact on me at the time was “Spontaneous Healing” by Andrew Weil, M.D. I immediately started incorporating what I was learning into my daily regimen. It made a difference…all the difference.
I am extremely happy to say that I still ride my bike, however not as intensely as I once did; I am a bit wiser these days. I also go snow skiing every year, among the myriad of other physical activities I engage in. I have so much gratitude, and give thanks daily for my continued health and wellness.
It was my own experience of the healing powers of foods, herbs, creative visualization and yoga, which compelled me to continue on the path towards studying complementary and alternative modalities.
Heather holds a Bachelor of Science from Florida State University (FSU). For 10 years she was the Executive Director of a non-profit, educational research organization. She ran a Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) project for 3 years during this time. Heather then went on to become a graduate of the American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) with a Master of Science in Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM). She now practices at Thrive in Sarasota, Florida, as a Holistic Wellness Facilitator.
Heather is currently a member of the American Herbalists Guild, a highly respected association of professional herbalists. She is a member of United Plant Savers, a non-profit education organization dedicated to preserving native medicinal plants. She is also a member of The Weston A. Price Foundation, a non-profit educational organization which researches nutrient-dense foods as well as explores “the scientific validation of dietary, agricultural and medical traditions throughout the world”.
Recent conferences and workshops attended include:
- 2011 & 2012 Annual National Symposium for The American Herbalists Guild
- 2013 Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA) Conference and Wellness Expo
- 2013 Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference
- 2013 Margi Flint on Herbalism workshop
- 2014 Botanica: International Plant Medicine in Ireland
- 2014 National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA)
- 2014 Reading the Body with Margi Flint
- 2014 The Energetics of Essential Oils with Peter Holmes
- 2015 Great Lakes Herb Faire
- 2015 Annual National Symposium for the American Herbalists Guild