A Week At the Optimum Health Institute – OHI

When I moved from Sylvania, Ohio to Southern California over a decade ago I met a wonderful 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 would anyone put themselves 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, we jumped far out of our comfort zones and attended OHI in December of 2007.

The experience changed both of our lives forever. We just attended week two at OHI and have decided to share my experience with this wonderful program.

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 a lady named Raychel 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 150 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 has 25-30 people on premise. Over 150,000 people have attended OHI in the 34 years of its existence. . Many people attend on a regular basis. It is a 24/7 operation and has never been closed a day since it’s inception.

As I entered the gate at OHI, the first thing I noticed was the beautiful organic garden on the left. Flowers, plants and beautiful trees were plentiful. It’s a peaceful, serene setting.

I chuckled the first time I attended when I saw the AA Alano 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.

OHI is the third largest grower of wheat grass juice in the USA.

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 healing.

Never met a person at OHI I didn’t like.

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 people at OHI have come from every continent and state. The ages of attendees range from late teens to the nineties. 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 what 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 “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 quickly.

The first two days, Sunday and Monday, I found the food tasteless and was amazed at 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.

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 on one” 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, they provide:

• 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 to include: 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 them out.

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 all 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 5 P’s:

• 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 with you.

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, 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 man.

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 and body parts. OK, honestly I had not thought this type of healing would ever help me. It didn’t make scientific sense so I doubted the validity of this type of work.

As this process started I wasn’t feeling anything unusual in the lower two chakra starts 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. When the process got to my chest I could fill 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 complete.

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 lasting bond.

My final spiritual experience occurred on the massage table. After a nice massage by wonderful lady name 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 was uneventful.

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 of it.”

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 chest and it has not returned yet.

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 mind-bending 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 ever day 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.

I am not being paid by OHI and will not profit in anyway by this article or my discussions of them on my radio show. There are many avenues available to the holistic approach to life. I invite you to investigate what may work to improve your quality of life.

I hope you found this article interesting and informing, as always I request your feedback. Thank you for reading.