Diet and Creativity to Help Heal from Cancer and Emotional Wounds
Hey, Friend! 😊🙏
A couple of weeks ago I interviewed Dr. Rhonda Larson, a naturopathic doctor who was trained in the Gerson Therapy and the Kelley Metabolic Program, two of my favorites! 😊 She is also a cancer survivor!! One of the things that was most impactful from Dr. Larson's personal cancer healing journey, which also plays a large role in her practice as a doctor, is the emotional aspect of healing. When she was 35 she practiced everything that she preached as a naturopathic physician with regards to the physical aspects of healing, such as diet and supplements. But her cancer diagnosis made her take a deeper look at what was going on inside, at the emotional level. Dr. Larson peeled back the layers of her emotions, learning techniques to heal things that had hurt her as a child that she carried with her into adulthood. The great news is that she healed, she's doing wonderfully now and she's acting as a sherpa-doctor, helping others find healing as well!! 😊
Dr. Larson advocates for creative outlets such as journaling, cooking, walking in nature or doing anything else that sparks inspiration. Being creative is inspiring and invigorates us with life - not just the physical, but the spiritual as well! It can also help with anxiety, depression and fatigue, according to a review article evaluating art therapy in women with breast cancer called Art therapy for anxiety, depression, and fatigue in females with breast cancer: A systematic review. Creative outlets can help with reducing stress, which plays a major role in cancer development and treatment. It's hard to heal and be stressed at the same time, since long-term stress suppresses the immune system. Another meta-analysis (an analysis or review of several other studies) showed that stress was significantly reduced through using art, music, dance/movement, and/or drama therapy in 81.1% of the studies analyzed.
Enjoy the interview with Dr. Rhonda Larson, and don't hesitate to reach out to her if you think she might be able to help you or a loved one! She works out of Pennsylvania and does house calls, but she also does remote consultations. 😊 Below my signature are the loose transcripts from my interview with Dr. Larson.
Have a beautiful day! I'm praying for you.
Christmas Day by Chris Tomlin ft. We The Kingdom Isaiah 9:2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.
Rhonda Larson, has been in the holistic health field for 20 years. She sought natural medicine after working in the nursing field for over 10 years. She felt very disappointed with the medical mindset and the treatment of just the symptoms of a patient. The whole person (body, mind, and spirit) was not acknowledged and finding the root of an illness was never addressed.
She started her initial journey into holistic wellness as a Certified Herbalist and Consultant from Tree of Light Institute in 2000 and then became a Naturopath in 2004 from Clayton College of Natural Health.
After graduating from Clayton College with her Naturopathic degree, she became very interested in studying alternative therapies for cancer patients and individuals suffering with chronic diseases. She traveled to San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico in 2004 to become certified in the Practitioner’s Program for the Gerson therapy created by Dr. Max Gerson. She also attended another training series in 2006, created by Dr. William Donald Kelley, who was another pioneer in alternative cancer therapies.
In 2019, she furthered her education by becoming a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner from Functional Medicine University and an advanced Pranic Healing Practitioner from Golden Light Pranic Healing Center. Pranic healing is a comprehensive and treatment specific form of energy medicine.
She has attended many holistic lectures and trainings over the last 20 years and has become educated and certified in several modalities of specific therapies, including muscle testing, emotional release, and stress management techniques.
She has and currently specializes in functional medicine lab testing, gastrointestinal health and rebuilding, healing food sensitivities, nutritional counseling, female reproductive health and hormone balance, detoxification management, nutrition for chronic disease and autoimmune processes, harmonizing our emotional health and well-being, stress management techniques, and energy balance and healing. Acknowledging all of the person, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and energetically is her special way of creating a complete system of healing for each individual and their unique health issues.
Her mission is to bring about a positive impact and healing into the lives of others by restoring physical health, spiritual wholeness, and emotional well-being. Her passion is to empower her clients with hope that healing and vitality is possible and to encourage them that their ashes of pain and illness can lead to hope, resilience, and beauty.
She is a caring and dedicated Naturopath and desires to continue in her journey of educating, empowering, and assisting individuals in the healing, restoration, and maintenance of their physical and emotional health and harmonic balance.
She is married to David, and together they have a blended family of 6 children. She loves spending time with her loved ones, making herbal medicinals, taking walks in nature, painting, reading, playing the piano, traveling, creating new recipes in the kitchen, and inspiring others to make life beautiful.
4:45 Q Dr. Larson, you have a history of melanoma. Can you share your experience with cancer?
A) At 35 was already a naturopath and already doing most of what she's doing today except for the emotional part.
Had a mole on her R foot for a couple of years and finally went to have it looked at and removed. The initial shock was scary to hear. Worried that it happened to her because she was a Gerson practitioner and doing everything she should
Emotional healing had not entered into her path yet. Knew it was a part of healing and was taught it somewhat in naturopathic training but it was never gone into deeply how to do it or why it was so important. The spirit, soul and heart is so important for healing. Most or all cancer and most things that we deal with in life have emotional, spiritual roots. Things we suppress, swallow, get swept under the rug. Can come back and show up as a diagnosis.
At the time she was going through a divorce.
Thankfully it was an early caught melanoma
For 18 months she did what she teaches others to do
Took pancreatic enzymes faithfully and stepped up her game
Started bringing in the emotional/spiritual aspects, and started incorporating it into her practice.
Cancer is trying to wake us up and help us identify what needs to be changed or healed in our life to fulfill our purpose.
Cleaning up the body but healing the heart and soul.
8:55 Q) What was that change like for you?
A) She was brought up in the church and has a strong relationship with the Lord (her dad was a preacher).
Her faith was the most important part of her healing
Just realized some things that she hadn't dealt with as a child
There are always things in everyone's life
She was a very sensitive child and things hurt her very deeply, more than others who aren't empathic
Went back to those times and healed from some of those wounds
She's still on the journey, things come up sometimes
It's like an onion, you peel one layer off and another shows up, until you get to the person who God made you to be.
For the emotional part she does emotion Code for people and herself, releasing emotions through muscle testing. She tries to make it as individualized as possible for trauma, crisis or pain
Also does Theta healing, changing people's beliefs or programs that they believed to be true growing up or through trauma. May be preventing them from moving forward in their life. Releasing those programs and bringing in God's truth.
Been doing a lot of those release techniques. Giving people different techniques to do at home and in between sessions.
One of the most important things is forgiveness. Unforgiveness and resentment hold such a strong charge in the body. Being able to go back to a time in your life when you went through a trauma or crisis. She gives people exercises to go back to those times and doing a forgiveness process with those people and yourself. Forgiveness is a big tool in our healing as well.
13:42 What are some results you've seen in these processes?
A) Amazing results. :)
When someone starts to understands more of their specific healing, and they're not a diagnosis, they're a person with a story which led them to have that diagnosis. We need to find out the puzzle pieces and make them understand their story. Once they understand that the pieces fall into place and they receive healing just by being aware of some of the links and connections that have gone along with illness and finally getting well. More peace, resilience, vitality and freedom. We're carrying all this emotional, spiritual baggage that's weighing us down. Letting it go, we can become much freer and be who we're meant to be.
15:42 Do people start working with a therapist after starting to work with you?
A) Some people do when they feel they need more emotional support. A lot of times they feel that the exercises she gives them to do at home are very powerful and they can do them themselves. Others are more than welcome to seek out extra help outside of what they're doing. She's not a psychotherapist or psychologist. She's just there to learn their story and help them through their healing journey.
17:00 How much do you focus on the mental/emotional/spiritual side of healing compared to the physical?
A) Not everyone is ready to work on the spiritual part but that's ok and she meets them where they are. They usually start with the physical component. At each visit she'll mention something that they can work on emotionally. If she feels they're ready then they'll work on it more the next time. Most people who hear of her know that they'll do emotional work. They always start with diet, do detox, enzymes, etc. She has a program which is individualized for each person. Usually they get started on that portion and then she'll bring in the emotional, spiritual portion. Can do one appointment just doing that. She'll give them exercises to work on at home in between.
The more that we clean up our diet and body physically, we do start to want more of that cleaning up our emotions. Our energy starts to change and we start to become more aware when we start to change our terrain. Sometimes we need to work on the physical to get ready for the spiritual.
20:22 What is the structure that you start with?
A) Starts with an anti-inflammatory diet, typically vegetarian. Some do the metabolic typing from Dr. Kelley's program to see if they're a protein type, carbohydrate type. Some who are a protein type have some animal protein.
Lots of produce - steamed or raw. Healthy fats. Gerson minded but more variety than just flax oil. It's different for everyone. Some people need more fat and/or salt, which is restricted
Is their sodium or potassium low on their blood work? How are they feeling? If fatigued then they need something. Could be due to coffee enemas also.
Encourages people to get a sauna because sweating is beneficial
Get the lymph moving
Juicing: sticks with the green and carrot juices, has added fresh ginger (great for circulation) and turmeric, up to 2 quarts per day, if they're doing enemas and sauna because they're losing electrolytes.
Gerson: cancer is a nutritional deficiency and toxicity
24:05 Q) How does she do metabolic typing?
A) She does a questionnaire. It takes about half an hour to fill out.
25:00 Q) Have you ever found the diet to change?
A) Yes, if someone has been on it for a couple of months and they start to feel tired, then they'll do the test again. She usually has them take the test again in 3 months, because they usually change. They don't stay the same type during their treatment. Many times they will go back to their birth type after they've healed.
26:00 Pamela McDougal in Idaho was one of Dr. Kelley's students.
In 2006 she went to one of her trainings. Not sure if she still does the trainings. *Her phone number is (208) 424-7600; she does not have a website.
27:30 Q) Do you do any micronutrient, heavy metal, hormone testing, etc?
A) Yes, heavy metals and organic acid test to see what acids they may be deficient in.
28:10 Q) How does functional medicine play a role in your practice?
A) She'll use certain lab values that are functional tests. Some people do really well on the paleo diet, some do not. Someone who comes in eating fast food all the time, they'll do better on a paleo diet than what they're currently eating. It could be a good place to start but it's not the best for everyone. Someone who is dealing with cancer, their program will be different depending on their test result, compared to someone who doesn't have cancer.
30:40 Q) You work remotely, correct?
A) Yes, I have an office and I make house calls in the Lancaster, PA area. She also does consultations. BeautifulHealingJourney.com. firstname.lastname@example.org is the best way to reach her. She sends paperwork to schedule with her.
31:30 Q) Anything else to encourage someone on their cancer healing journey?
A) Everyone should do something creative because it's a big part of our healing too. Painting, cooking, wood working… God made us all creative. He would not not put a spark in any of His creation/children, He is the most beautiful Creator. If we set goals we will do better. Having goals 5-10 years down the road greatly increases our life span. Our body listens to what we're thinking and feeling.
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. She teaches you how to become more creative. When you first wake up in the morning, write pages of whatever comes to mind. Get the busyness out of your mind to help you become more creative. It really complements your healing. You can just talk a walk in nature, it's very inspiring and taking a walk in general helps our creativity, to get ideas. There are so many things we can do to inspire creativity inside of us.
Bailey: It reminds me of Dr. Kelly Turner's work, including having strong reasons for living. Creativity creates excitement for the future, same with positive emotions.
Dr. Larson: Yes!
36:55 Q) Any way to increase TSH with bugleweed and lemon balm? How much to take? Her TSH is very low. Was recently diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, Graves disease.
A) She doesn't know her specific case but always asks people if there has been a trigger lately or trauma. Supplements are important and sometimes medications help with that too, but she gest to hear someone's story first. Are you working with someone to help increase it [the TSH]? (Yes, just started working with someone. But would like to stay off of medications.)
Sometimes food sensitivities are part of it. She also always thinks about the voice. Is there something you're having a hard time voicing? A truth? It's our truth and creativity center. Singing, talking, voicing yourself are really important when we have a thyroid issue.
Cheryl: I'm a breast cancer survivor too.
Dr. Larson: Breast cancer is always about the nest. Our loved ones, partner, parent, child… there's usually a disruption in our nest area. There's more depth to that but a lot of times she'll see someone diagnosed with breast cancer, and which side it's on… there's something within that group of people.
Cheryl: Everything seems to be left-sided with me.
Dr. Larson: Are you left or right-handed?
Dr. Larson: The left side is usually female related. A daughter, mother, sister, friend. Is there any unresolved trauma? Anything with anyone close to you? Those are the things that she usually talks about. If something is not resolved in our body, then our body will keep talking to us. It's trying to say, "I'm here." Our bodies are speaking to us all the time. It's not meant to hurt us, it's just trying to wake us up to what we need to do to heal.
42:15 I just had a tumor removed for breast cancer and I don't want to do chemo, is there an alternate treatment I can follow?
A) I would need to know a little bit more. She does mostly the Kelley program, some of the Gerson, the pancreatic enzymes, all of those things can help. If they want to go somewhere they can go to Hope4Cancer or the Gerson Clinic. There are many things you can do holistically and many routes you can go. It's not like the cancer has just appeared, it usually takes years to develop. You have time to make a decision that feels good to you. Most of the time it's not life or death that you have to make a decision immediately. If that means doing conventional, whatever gives you peace. Take some time to breathe and figure out what's best for you that gives you peace and don't feel pressured to do anything that doesn't feel right for you. But there are many clinics that help people who are dealing with cancer. What she does is mixing the Kelley and Gerson program. [They are in the UK.] She can work remotely with them.
45:08 To sign up for newsletters - beautifulhealingjourney.com, at the bottom of each page.
She also has an Etsy shop. She has a garden and a lot of medicinal herbs, makes a lot of medicinal salves and different things for healing.
Bailey: It's a great gift idea for the holidays.
Dr. Larson: Yes. It's one of her creative outlets. She loves to do a lot of things creatively but this is one of her fun things.
Bailey: Recipes for cooking also seems to be something you enjoy being creative with!
Dr. Larson: Yes! I love making new recipes, trying new things, making food interesting. Bailey: Which can be a struggle on the Gerson Therapy.
Dr. Larson: Yes, it can be a struggle. I find that if you can make your food as attractive as you can it makes it more palatable and make you want to eat it more. There are many ways you can dress up your food. When you're on the diet, you're in the kitchen.
Bailey: On the Gerson Therapy I felt that I always was either in the kitchen or the bathroom.
Dr. Larson: Yes! Lol.
47:58 Q) Are the recipes on your website friendly to different metabolic types?
A) There are a bunch of different ones. Most of her patients can have most of the recipes. They're dairy, gluten free and very food allergen friendly. If someone is a carbohydrate type they won't have as many of the protein meals, but most of those are very easy to digest. There's a Thai recipe on there, there are different recipes that have some meat, but most can be eaten by a vegetarian type because the meats are lighter, not pork or beef, but chicken or fish.
49:30 Cottage cheese and Budwig diet?
A) I really value that and believe it's very useful. The way the fats and protein come together could be very valuable to some people. It may not be for everyone but for many of the people she sees it has agreed with many of them. Even with Gerson you can have the flax oil and some cottage cheese, the low-fat version. It's approved by them.
50:50 Q) How can we pray for you?
A) It's been on her heart to start a support group in her area for people who are dealing with cancer. She's been praying about it. It's really needed everywhere, including near her. To let people know they're not alone and to go over some of the techniques she uses in her practice in the group.