by Camisha Jones
A sign sits at the front desk of Optimum Health Natural Healthcare Center that reads, stuff rx “We help your body heal itself. If you want to treat your diseases, check please see a physician.” Tianya Clark, Janice Bonner, Sabrina Walters, and Angela Baker live that motto. The services they offer are not without critics but each woman has seen the evidence that what they do works – both in their personal lives and within the lives of their customers. These are the stories of four Richmonders who offer natural health alternatives to help others manage their overall wellness.
When Tianya Clark first became aware of aqua detoxification, she thought, “Oh my goodness, if [this] is legit, this would actually be an answer to a prayer!” That day she learned how aqua detoxification draws out toxins in the body through the pores of the feet. She tried it for herself and recalls being able to run with her kids afterward. A Certified Natural Health Professional and owner of Optimum Health Natural Healthcare Center, Clark still marvels at how that first experience shifted her relationship with her kids from one in which they said “Mom, come watch me do this” to one where they now say “Mom, come do this with me.” Aqua detoxification was added to the initial assessment services at Optimum Health four years ago. In the detoxification process, clients put their feet in what looks like a foot bath. The water then changes color and/or consistency based on the toxins that are drawn out. Those changes as well as the information gathered through an iridology reading (a reading of the eyes), a nutritional assessment and a hair analysis guide the staff at Optimum Health in suggesting life changes and services to help their clients’ bodies heal. Some of Optimum Health’s success stories include clients with fibromyalgia reporting having little to no pain after their first visit and clients experiencing renal failure who have been told by their physicians they no longer need dialysis.
As a little girl, Janice Bonner was more interested in why her grandfather, an herbalist, was boiling dandelions than she was in playing outside or with dolls. Her passion for helping others came from watching him mix tonics for family and friends with ailments like arthritis or the common cold. Bonner is the owner of Main Street Spa and Wellness Center which offers a variety of services including massages, nail care, skin care, body care and nutritional services – all of which cleanse and detoxify the body’s largest organ (the skin) in some way. Two of the spa’s most popular services are colon hydrotherapy and body wraps for weight loss. Bonner who was once a size 20/22 has personally lost inches by way of weight loss body wrap. The wraps use an herbal solution that pulls toxins from the body. For maximum results, clients purchase a series of wraps and commit to lifestyle changes such as eating a healthier diet and exercising regularly. Bonner describes colon hydrotherapy (or “colonics”) as an “internal cleansing” that “helps to flush the fecal matter and food that attaches itself to the colon.” Colonics help her customers in many ways. She recalls one client reporting to have overcome persistent body odor after a series of colonics. Bonner believes herself to have “a ministry of spa” and enjoys seeing clients experience “breakthrough” of the mind, body and spirit.
“I’ve gone from taking sinus medicines every day to taking it once or twice a month because I’m constantly drinking [green] tea… I also can’t remember the last time I’ve had a sinus infection,” says Sabrina Walters about the helpfulness of drinking tea. Walters is the owner of Umami Gourmet Coffee and Exotic Tea Shop. Once an avid coffee drinker, Walters began drinking tea in response to the weekly caffeine headaches she experienced. Switching from coffee to tea sparked a passion that has lasted 10 years and led to the opening of Umami a year and a half ago. Umami offers over 130 different variations of teas – most blended personally by Walters. ‘Tea is packed with lots of antioxidants,” states Walters. Tea can also be formulated in ways that are believed to specifically address various health challenges. Some of these blends offered at Umami include a fasting tea to promote balance and strength, a tea to reduce cholesterol and regulate blood sugar, a total relaxation tea, a digestion tea, a diet tea and a tea to aid in the relief of the common cold and flu. “Tea is also really good because it’s something that you can enjoy as a ritual. When you think about it, if you stop for about 5 or 10 minutes in your day and just enjoy a pot of tea, it allows you to calm down. It allows you to relax,” says Walters. Umami offers tea tastings every Wednesday from 3pm until 7pm and every Saturday from 1pm until 4pm to give people an opportunity to taste their many teas for themselves.
Tea is the main component of the Goddess Body Detox System created for women by Angela E. Baker, a Certified Holistic Health Consultant, Advanced Natural Wellness Practitioner, Biologist and Herbalist. The system consists of 3 daily teas; a daily salt flush; a raw diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, light grains, nuts and seeds; and regular exercise. The teas include ingredients understood to offer benefits like more resilient skin and complexion, weight (waste) reduction from 5-401bs, enhanced energy levels, clearer thinking, enhanced immunity, more normalized and regulated body functions like blood pressure, cholesterol and breathing, improved and enhanced circulation, and improved and enhanced libido. While the system comes in 7 and 14 day regimens, Baker’s customers who’ve reported the best results used the 21 day package. Having struggled with health issues like fibroid tumors, ovarian cysts and kidney issues until she adopted a vegan lifestyle and began depending on natural plant remedies, Baker passionately believes that “Vital nutrition comes from the earth, and that is what you need to allow your body to live, regenerate, and function at its optimal capabilities.”