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Creative Health Institute, Detox and Rebuild

By Robyn Openshaw, MSW | Sep 09, 2011

These are just a few of my new friends who participated in the 10-day Detox and Rebuild program. I’m telling you their motives for traveling to CHI, and their comments about the experience.

1. Donna. She quoted my book in her lecture, not knowing I was in the class. So Madeleine had some fun with that, asking her, “Have you ever met GreenSmoothieGirl?” and building it up. Everybody laughed, and Donna and I did this video afterward, telling her story.   HER EMAIL IS ACTUALLY DLCAPPON@YAHOO.COM.

Note: From my studies thus far, I think that many natural treatments using nutrition and specific supplements help “manage” cancer much like diabetics manage their disease. That is, it doesn’t go away, but it doesn’t spread or take other forms or ruin your life. (Of course, some non-toxic protocols also have some great “cure” case studies—if 20 years of being cancer-free can be called a “cure.”)

2. Bhante, in his 60’s, a New York monk who came for two months, from the monastery, seeking help for a 34-year-long sinus headache. He taught us concrete steps, using meditation, towards feeling expansive love and concern for even our “enemies.”

3. Peggy and Ed. Ed is a GSG reader who went vegan 8 years ago and resolved his cardiac issues. He wants to help his wife, who has suffered with ulcerative colitis for 14 years and was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and does not want chemo. Ed serves people constantly, even going to Home Depot with staff and solving a plumbing problem, and helping me with film/camera work since my filmmaker was not able to come. Peggy is patient and kind.

4. Kendra is a young mother and minister’s wife who has an eye infection she has been told will make her blind. She brought her sister Melinda, a smoker, and her mother, Esther, who suffers with chronic constipation and other health issues. Kendra has been to other inpatient alternative-health clinics and said, “This is a place very conducive to healing.”

5. Elsa, in her 50’s, recently diagnosed with anal and vaginal cancer, came with her friend Anne who had been to CHI before. Elsa knew nothing of alternative health but was plotting suicide during her grueling rounds of chemo and radiation. She lost her sister to cancer just a year ago and wants to regain good health and was a model patient.

She said, “My mind is blown. Two weeks ago, I would never have believed food could be part of my healing. It seemed too lightweight.”

Later, as I filmed her, she said: “I can die of the medications they want me to be on. I can die of suicide, which is what I plotted during chemotherapy. Or I can choose to live. I am here choosing life.”

6. Harley-riding Chris, 53, and his born-again mother, Mary, 76, had been at CHI for a month when I arrived.

Chris worked around industrial chemicals his entire career though he is a non-smoker, and was close to 500 lbs. until recently when he lost 100 lbs. He was very compliant with the detox diet, though he asked for blueberries to be blended into his Energy Soup.  Mary kept telling me, “I never even knew about raw foods. How did I get to be this age and not know ANY of this stuff?” She was heavily dependent on a cane when she came, but after a month of detoxing, she had lost over 30 lbs. and was walking outside without a cane.

7. Tina, my age, an inner-city, single African-American mom of a teenager, a professional engineer, with many health complaints doctors cannot seem to diagnose. “I just don’t feel good,” she announced, introducing herself. She was overwhelmed by all the information and the first three days’ diet, because she said, “I can’t do this at home.” She was a changed woman by the time I left—actively seeking a support group in Columbus, OH. Tina’s only close friend died a year ago. This friend was a healthy weight and ate a high-nutrition diet, but her arm had swelled up. A doctor told her, despite a clean mammogram, that it was a rare form of breast cancer. He told her to show up the next day for chemo, and “don’t go on the internet.” Just months later Tina’s formerly vibrant, healthy friend died of the chemotherapy’s massive toxicity. Tina has not recovered from the blow. I spent some very emotional time with Tina, whose detox symptoms were severe, but her feeling of wellbeing afterwards was significant, too.

8. Priscilla and Gordon. Gordon beat testicular cancer 4 years ago and manages it with a raw diet. Priscilla has some health challenges including massive inflammation in her foot due to a surgery when she was a toddler. She has been to a few other detox clinics and says, “This is the best one I’ve been to. They made me wheat grass juice foot baths for my condition and I tried to tip the employees–they wouldn’t accept it! The became my personal friends. They’re more free with the wheat grass here than other places, and the people are nicer here, more nurturing.”

Nutritionist and former CHI director Joyce Oliveto taught us a guest lecture on nutrition. She said it takes 120 – 150 days for cells in our bloodstream to be replaced. Eighty percent of the cells in your body will be replaced in the next 12 months. As cells change, cravings decline. Your cells begin to recognize, accept, and even love and crave living plant foods. If you’re overwhelmed at first, as Tina was, remember, as she shared with us later—life is constant change. You can change for the better, or for the worse: it is entirely your choice.

What does that mean for cancer? Chemo damages every single cell in the body, alters DNA, dangerously damages liver function. I have been studying and talking to docs all over the world who are treating cancer successfully, using only methods that support the immune system for long-term survival. A wise idea for anyone with the means to leave for 5 or 10 days and spend a little money (THIS is the rainy day you’ve been saving for, if you are ill, OR if you’re healthy and would like to stay that way!) is to plan and attend a detox & rebuild.

Go with an open heart and mind and a big notebook. It’s part revival (you’ll say grace together and do all kinds of rituals), part spa, and part holistic health treatment. Prepare to be reborn.


Posted in: Detox, Mind/Body Connection, Research, Robyn Recommends

11 thoughts on “Creative Health Institute, Detox and Rebuild”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I am wondering if there is an alternative or something similar to wheatgrass for those of us with Celiacs or Gluten Sensitivity. I can’t wait to make the rejuvelac with quinoa.

  2. Anonymous says:

    i wish there was one of those Wheat Grass places like CHI around here (Reno). I would love to be able to get a large volume of Wheatgrass for preventative measures. It would be great to own a business like that helping so many people! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I came across a fascinating article from Discover magazine about so-called “spontaneous” cancer remissions. I don’t agree with everything in the article. There are a number of limitations in this article, for example they totally ignore the role of food in the first recovery example, they don’t look into any of the many cases from places like the Gerson Institute or CHI, and they focus solely on meditation, prayer, and positive thinking as “alternative” cancer treatments. That being said, it was extremely interesting to read about the two examples of “spontaneous” remission they do cite. The part at the end of the article where they discuss the limitations and dangers of early detection was very refreshing. If anyone is interested here is the URL: http://discovermagazine.com/2007/sep/the-body-can-stave-off-terminal-cancer-sometimes/article_view?b_start:int=0&-C=

    The other interesting thing I found in this article is that they talk about cases of melanoma in the lungs and armpit- places that receive little to no sun exposure. My husband was doing some personal research on melanoma a little while ago. He found information pointing to the over-consumption of polyunsaturated oils spurring the growth of melanoma- not sun exposure. Melanoma on internal organs would seem to support this idea.

  4. Nicole,

    I have to disagree with your comment about melanoma (in the organs) being directly influenced by the amount of polysaturated fats that we eat in our diet . I am a Stage 4 melanoma patient/survivor, who has always eaten pretty clean with the majority of my diet consisting of plant foods. I am also an athlete, and have stayed active my whole life. I have no food allergies and have had no major sickness or health problems until I got melanoma. What do I attribute my diagnosis to? 100% sun and UV exposure. As a child and teenager, I was in the sun constantly. We had a pool in our backyard so we swam all day long. From the ages of 14-22, I was a lifeguard/swim coach/instructor where I spent 8-9 hours/day in the sun. Yes, I wore sunscreen, but I didn’t reapply as often I probably should have (we know way more about that now than we did then). Prolonged sun exposure without protection can change in the melanin in your skin as you can freckle or get moles easier. Over time, these moles can change, as our DNA in our melanin can change and mutate from too much UV exposure.

    My melanoma started as a mole on my leg that changed while I was pregnant. It was removed surgically and then I was told that we caught it early, got it all, and that it would most likely not return. 2 years later, it came back into my lymph nodes and then metastasized to my lungs. Melanoma, like any cancer, can metastasize from the original tumor site to distant organs if it travels through you bloodstream or lymphatic system. So, in my case, obviously the melanoma wasn’t entirely taken care of and rid of, and over a 2 yr period of time, it traveled through my lymph system.

    What I loathe more than anything in the world is when people tell me that I got cancer because I must have a healthy lifestyle or diet. There are A LOT OF OTHER FACTORS that determine whether you might get cancer or not. Stress, genetics, environment, toxins, and more–cancer is complicated and doesn’t necessarily discriminate. Why is it that there are people who are unhealthy, eat poorly, are overweight, have sedentary lifestyles and DON’T get cancer and othere who are very healthy DO? Can you blame babies that get cancer on diet and lifestyle? We just need to accept that sometimes there is no rhyme or reason. Of course, there are preventative measures that we can take to REDUCE THE RISK OF CANCER, but at the end of the day, there is no 100% guarantee that you won’t get cancer in life.

    I am grateful I got cancer. Why? Because it has changed my perspective and outlook on life. It has taught me to live in the moment, not sweat the small stuff, have more gratitude, enjoy my family more, and taught me to have more faith. Sure, there are stressful moments–the fear of the unknown–but at the end of day, cancer or not, we all have and EQUAL opportunity to LIVE. Nobody knows our destiny or future, only God does.

  5. Anonymous says:


    I tried to email Donna at the email address given — dlkappon@yahoo.com — and it came back with an error message. Any suggestions? I wanted to know how she injects with Frankincense… how often, how much, and how?


    Susan in Maine

  6. Anonymous says:


    I am fascinated with your experience at CHI!! I can’t wait to go. I have had to have a knee replacement and am recuperating. I want to CHI go to help clear my body of all the medications I have had to take and help my body heal. I use to sleep so well with no problems but since this surgery I cannot sleep at all.I have considered getting a mini tramp for a while. I know how good it is for the lymphatic system. As I have looked at several different kinds I am confused if it really makes a difference in the effectiveness of the exercise depending on the type of rebounder you use. At CHI what type did they use and did they recommend a certain brand over another or is the one at Costco as good as any? I’d love to hear your oppinion. Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

      Collett, check out my recommendation under “Robyn Recommends” on GreenSmoothieGirl.com. Don’t get a $20 cheap one at the sporting goods store. They are hard on your joints and are really a little kid’s toy. I don’t know the one at Costco but i would imagine it’s a child’s toy, too, will check it out next time I’m there. Should have 32 springs and many more quality features.

  7. This place looks wonderful. They don’t–by any chance–have one for little toddlin’ kids with cancer, do they? In January my then-19-month-old baby girl was diagnosed with stage 4, high-risk neuroblastoma.

    I appreciate and resonate with Christina’s comments. Although I personally don’t have cancer, I don’t know how much closer I could get to having it than to have my breast-feeding baby diagnosed and fight tooth-and-nail for her medical decisions…only to be denied. I don’t understand why some babies are born with cancer. I don’t understand why parents of minors aren’t allowed more health-care freedom.

    But Christina’s last paragraph eloquently sums up the essence of cancer. Especially the “more gratitude” part. Thank you!

    And Robyn…..in recognition that SEPTEMBER is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, learn a little for the kiddos, huh?! Keep up the fantastic work. And God bless all those angelic pediatric cancer patients that have little choice in their medical treatment, and no CHI’s to go to.

    1. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

      Annabeth, I was once very involved in the movement to allow parents the right to choose. Google my name with Parker Jensen’s. Also Katie Wernecke. Somebody posted an editorial I wrote once on this topic, as a petition that a lot of people signed.

      I don’t know if CHI would take a 2-year old. I know that one of the places I plan to study, I tried to take a teenage boy (and his mother) and they said no. Too many legal issues for them. However, I know the Burzynski Clinic in Texas has treated very young patients—Stanislaw Burzynski has nearly gone to prison for his courage in continuing to treat patients (with the backing of hundreds of his patients every time the government tries to indict him).

      Babies are currently being born with well over 100 measurable toxins in their bodies. We are degenerating DNA each generation that we eat refined foods and lots of chemicals and genetically modified foods. Those are my theories about the “why” of that.

      God bless you.

  8. Anonymous says:


    The e-mail address for Donna is actually dlcappon@yahoo.com.

  9. Hi Robyn,

    Burzynski Clinic was our first choice. Due to the fact that he is trying to make it possible for insurance to help cover costs, he has to follow some strict FDA guidelines about who he can accept. Dr. Burzynski himself has spoken on the phone with (at the time) Abigail’s oncologist. He couldn’t accept her unless she failed to respond to conventional medicine. Thankfully, she hasn’t. She had a phenominal response to chemo–blessings from God, and from her supplements and pure diet. She is currently N.E.D. (no evidence of disease), but still has a couple years of treatment to go through.

    Someday, someday, there will be more acceptance for children’s choices. You’re right, there are so many legal hurdles. We could have been taken to court, had we chosen that path. The doctors were willing. It’s a fine balance between what is healing, in all aspects. Someday, there will be places that will be able to treat children naturally, holistically, CHI for kids!!!!

    Meanwhile, I should go make a smoothie for breakfast! (I just emailed one of your “ordering support” people with a question about the “Good for you” food bars…she might have a question for you.)

    Thanks, and keep up the amazing work you are doing!


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