Practitioner Highlight: Rachel Thomas
Almost two decades ago I left my native Brooklyn to live in the rainforest of Costa Rica. I have been lucky enough to study with some amazing elders down there, who have managed to carry the wisdom of their ancestors into this new century.
My passion is discovering the cultural traditions that have kept the people of Latin America and the Caribbean healthy through the centuries. These wellness traditions are rooted in Indigenous, African, European and Asian practices that include herbalism, spiritual, emotional and energetic healing, massage, movement, music, food medicine, community support, reproductive health, being in balance with nature and its elements (earth, fire, water, air/spirit), and so much more.
My formal education includes a degree from Brown University and a Health Counseling certificate from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I currently run my own wellness center and ethnobotanical sanctuary, Hidden Garden, in the beautiful Caribbean village of Puerto Viejo de Limon. The center provides a physical space for visitors to explore the healing powers of over 200 medicinal plants, as well a space for the amazing elders I have learned from to be able to teach others. Come visit!
*Modalities: Although my technical training is in health counseling and herbalism, the modality I prefer to work with is known as a platica. This practice allows the client to express their full condition through discussion and then I am able to offer the most appropriate modalities. Even follow-up sessions begin with a conversation to guide the wellness session. As a Traditional Latino Medicine practitioner, I offer counseling, individualized nutritional and herbal education, spiritual medicine, and many other traditional therapies. Sessions usually last for one hour and can often be done on the phone.
*Aha moment: When I was in my late 20’s I turned down surgery to heal my ovarian cysts with the help of Rosita Arvigo and a few other wellness magicians. I learned so much, and after a year and a half the doctors could not find the cysts. That was when I knew my path was to discover the healing secrets of Latin America.
*Credo for 2017: Let the way of the heart shine through.
*Dream Destination: I would love to go to Surinam, where there are communities of African descendants who are still using African words, agricultural practices, and herbal medicine more than in most other parts of the African-American Diaspora.
*Power Colors/Scents/Flavors: I love the magic power of aromatherapy. My favorite daily smell is Jasmine, but I love Vetiver for grounding and Rose for love and light.
*Theme Song: I have been studying Lakota spiritual songs – they are ancient songs that are medicine both to sing and to listen to.
*What Brings You Most Fully Alive: I love to spend time with my daughter, especially watching her learn the power of the plants in the garden and empowering her to be a tool of her own healing.