Since our inception, Dr. Randi Raymond: and Hali Love have been totally focused on building strategic, quality wellness programs and experiences. Randi and Hali have over 40 year of combined experience in the health and wellness indsutry and have been working together since 2010. They share a passion for health and wellness, and also for educating the world on living a healthier lifestyle.
Dr. Randi Raymond
IHCI Faculty Member
Integrative Medical Doctor
Certified Yoga and Meditation Teacher
My love affair with medicine started when I was eighteen and became an EMT in the city of San Diego, CA. I loved the adrenaline rush of that job, and it propelled me into work in the radiology department at a major hospital in San Diego. Eventually I moved on to an outpatient surgery center, where I worked as an operating-room technician for a few years.
I was on track to attend medical school and become a surgeon. I was good at my job, I loved what I did, and I believed 100 percent in the paradigm of Western medicine.
At nineteen, I received the devastating news that I had cervical cancer. For the first time, I knew fear and began to realize I was not invincible. The treatment plan was to remove a portion of my cervix and possibly my uterus. That seemed a little extreme to me. I thought I might want to use my lady parts someday, so I asked for six months from my oncologist. I said I would make some changes in my life and see if things changed. If they didn’t, I would have the surgery. Luckily, the simple changes I made worked; the cancer was gone at the next visit, and I got to avoid surgery.
How did I do it? I began to clean up my behavior and lifestyle. I knew I was partying too much, so I got off the endless cycle of work hard all week, trash yourself on the weekends, go to work Monday morning hungover, and repeat. Let me be clear: I did not become a stay-at-home saint at this point, but I cut way back on the amount and type of alcohol and other toxins I was consuming on a regular basis. I was not eating “right” at this point in my life, either. I say “right” because nutrition has become such a hot topic lately. There is so much information out there, with so many diets to choose from. It has become a challenge to decide which is the “right” diet for the dog, let alone ourselves. But with my new diagnosis, I started reading. I read mostly about industrial meat and the treatment of the animals, and I quickly stopped consuming red meat and pork. Occasionally I would have free-range chicken and fish, but other than that I had switched to veggies and grains. I later found out the grains weren’t really the best thing for me. I have since cut them way down, but in the early days of this nutrition experiment with myself, grains seemed like a good idea. I was learning, and like many of us, I stumbled along the way. But even with those simple changes of more rest, fewer toxins, and no industrial red meat, my cancer was gone and still is today.
As will happen from time to time, life gave me another wake-up call on a quiet Sunday morning. I was riding my dirt bike in the desert outside of San Diego. I was involved in a life-altering accident. My memory of the accident is pretty brief. I knew it was happening, and I couldn’t stop it. I knew I had hit the ground hard and that I was badly injured. Yet I didn’t actually perceive pain. A wave of exhaustion passed over me, and then the lights went out, just like they did on an old TV set. I was left unconscious and alone on the floor of the desert until strangers found my seemingly lifeless body and helped me to safety.
For the first time, I became a trauma patient. I endured four major surgeries over the course of a year and was left without the use of my arm. I was disfigured and disabled.
I had never felt so weak or helpless in all my life. But this experience was a turning point for me. I fully understood the efficacy of Western medicine for the repair of injured bodies. I also began to see the shortcomings of Western medicine during the rehabilitation process. I was surprised by the amount of medication being prescribed without taking into account the tolerance levels of each patient. There was also very little attention being paid to the underlying health of the patients going through major trauma. Being “healthy” before or after surgery was not promoted or even talked about.
After six months of physical therapy, I was still unable to lift my arm above my shoulder. When I asked my surgeon if I would ever regain full use of my arm, he told me probably not and to get used to taking narcotics long term to deal with the pain. I was in my early twenties and was not prepared to live a life of decreased mobility and chronic pain.
There had to be another way. Luckily, I stumbled upon it soon after. In my physical therapist’s office was an acupuncturist. Even though at first I thought it was nuts, I got a treatment, and it honestly helped. It was not an instant cure, but it at least gave me some pain relief without drugs, a good night’s sleep, and some hope. At that time, I couldn’t have asked for more. The subsequent treatments, combined with massage therapy and my newfound interest in yoga, inspired me to switch my college major from Western medicine to Eastern medicine.
I attended the number-one acupuncture college in the nation and completed my masters in Oriental medicine. That motorcycle accident led me to the realization that the real beauty in all forms of medicine is how effective and powerful they are when combined. One type of medicine does not rule or triumph over another. When applied correctly and without ego, many different modalities can help as we heal and grow. Each different modality or style of medicine has its rightful place in the healing process. The trick is to find a place where you can have a variety of options and an experienced person to guide you through the choices to find what works for you.
During my time in college, I was married and struggling with infertility, miscarriages, and my deep questioning of who I was and why I was here. I felt that if I couldn’t have children, something in me must be deeply flawed. I continued to work on my health and receive treatments from fellow students and professors. I took an enormous amount of foul-tasting herbs and continued to work on my diet to be sure I was taking in adequate nutrients. Meat came back on the menu for me, but this time it was local, organic, grass-fed meats only. On the third try, it happened; my daughter began her journey into this world, and I began my journey into motherhood.
During my pregnancy, I decided that I did not want to raise a child in the uncertain hustle and bustle of the United States. I decided to sell everything I owned (which was a lot, by the way: a house, cars, toys, the white picket fence, and the whole nine yards) and moved to Costa Rica. I was looking for a slower pace of life with people who truly seemed to enjoy living without the distractions of modern “convenience.”
That was one of the scariest and best decisions I ever made. Everyone thought I was nuts—well, okay, maybe two people thought it was a good idea—and I myself had some cold feet at the last minute. Still, I pushed through it all and landed in Costa Rica a month shy of my daughter’s arrival. About a year later, my long-term marriage came to an abrupt and violent end. I was left to raise my daughter on my own. Looking back, I see that this was the best thing that could have happened. I learned about patience, tolerance, acceptance, and that when I am pushed off a cliff, I can fly.
I built a practice and a career in Costa Rica, and I am proud to still call it home today. After a few years of being a single mother and village doctor in a third-world country, I met a man who changed my life again. We went on to have a son and build another life together in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Being back in the United States was a great opportunity for me to reconnect with family and to continue my education to include a doctorate in integrative medicine. This degree has taught me the perfect blend of modalities to help me build the bridge between the different forms of medicine. I don’t know how I got so lucky to be able to divide my time between two spiritually uplifting places, but I’m glad it happened!
The siren song of Costa Rica has called me back home once again. I have had the good fortune to meet the right people at the right time in the right location, and we have begun the journey of creating an amazing place. I have recently purchased a piece of property bordering a national park with stunning ocean and jungle views, where I am building my dream retreat center. Eden Wellness Community is a place for like-minded people who truly want to live a healthy lifestyle. Our community-based agriculture will serve the residents and guests of Eden Retreat Center, which is at the heart of the project. Developing a sustainable community in paradise is a real dream come true for me, and I am looking forward to sharing this vision with all who are willing and able.
Like many, I have been on an interesting journey. All of my experiences and education have brought me to an integrative approach to medicine. I am able to combine many healing modalities to create a trans-formative experience for myself, my family, and my patients. I understand now what it means to be healthy, and I hope I have shared some of that information with you.
IHCI Faculty Member
Subconscious Restructuring Counsellor
ERYT500 and Meditation Teacher
I was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 1977. I was raised by my Grandparents: Bill and Janet Reid. My grandfather was a decorated hero in World War II, and to this day, he remains my hero.
I was told that when I was born, my then young mother had decided to put me up for adoption and my grandparents retrieved me from the hospital. I grew up on their Tree Farm (mostly Christmas Trees) just outside of Calgary in a small town called Okotoks. Life was simple, and quiet, until my grandparents’ children (my Mom, Aunt and Uncle) came around - I figured it was the regular family feud stuff that I grew up hearing about from my friends (I’ll spare the details out of respect for my grandparent’s children).
My early years consisted of figure skating (basically since I could walk), which contributed to failed knees. I was told I needed to have knee surgery at age 20, however, as a result from an over 20 year yoga practice and implementation of Multi Barre Techniques, I have yet to have surgery, and my knees no longer lock out.
Throughout my life I was my grandfather’s side kick. I would work on the tree farm with him, help with the garden, and every Saturday my favourite thing to do was to pack up the truck with garbage and head to the dump. I was rewarded with a slurpy (a canadian frozen drink) and a chocolate bar for removing the garbage from the back of the truck. Sometimes the bags were so heavy, I would lay down and push them out with my feet. Needless to say, I didn’t smell too good afterward - but I was on cloud nine with my hero, slurpy and chocolate bar - Life was wonderful. My grandma would cook home-made meals, of vegetables that we grew in our garden and organic beef from a local neighbour. My grandmother was a psychiatric nurse by trade - she was highly against processed foods, Thankfully. I had neighbours to play with - mostly boys, which I liked because they were easy to get along with.
When it was time to begin school - things shifted for me. I remember being in the school gym, before grade one. I was with my grandparents, and all of the other kids and parents. I looked around and noticed that my grandparents were older than all of the parents. I remember vividly tugging on my grandpa’s pants and asking him - why are all of the parents so young and you are old? He replied, in a loving way, “Because we are your grandparents”. Which I knew in my 5 year old brain, but I was still confused. I then asked Grandpa, “Well if these are the parents of the other kids, where are my parents?”, and my grandfather again in a loving way said, “Sweetheart, your real parents didn’t want you.” I smiled at my grandpa and hugged his leg. I was so grateful for him. But at the same time I felt a heart wrenching pain my chest as his words echoed in my innocent child mind: “your parents didn’t want you”. This is where my core limiting belief of feeling unwanted began.
I then began school. Kids would tease me about my grandparents, and call me names. I was very tall and skinny with big feet - so teasing came easy. Regardless I made some friends - mostly the new kids that I felt sorry for, as the other kids from school would tease them and call them names as well. I think this is where my desire to help people developed.
When I was 10 years old, my mom came to our house. Whenever she would visit, my grandparents would tell me to go outside and play. I always abided. But this time, I watched and listened through an open window. I was scared and sad. My mom left angry. The next morning I woke up and I couldn’t breathe. My grandma took me to the doctor and I was diagnosed with asthma…really bad asthma. I spent the next 10 years with every possible inhaler; the blue one, the red one, the brown one and the white disc that crushed steroids. I was hospitalized at least twice per year for weeks at time. I remember my grandma would bring me Skor chocolate bars with little squirrel stickers with special notes on them. Just as she wrote on my brown lunch bag every single day for school (even throughout high school!).
Regardless of my asthma, I continued skating and when I entered Jr. High School I began playing volley ball. Due to my height, I was fairly good, and played throughout high school. My grandparents would come to every single game - the didn’t miss one…I miss them so much….
I became a teenager and hormones took over. I didn’t want to be teased anymore. I wanted to be “normal”. I craved it. I thought that being with my mom would satisfy this craving. So when I was 13 years old, I moved with her to Edmonton Alberta. Needless to say, it was an adventure - living with her and my step dad. I made some friends and have some fun memories, but the teasing continued. In Edmonton they have this thing called Froshing - that is when the older kids pick on the younger kids. I would have eggs smashed on me and shaving cream sprayed in my face on a regular basis. I would run home from school in terrorr. That is when I took up biking - I could bike faster than the bullies could run (point for me!). It was during this time that I recall my mom doing breathing exercises and practicing yoga - this is when I was first introduced to yoga, which is a positive I take from the experience. The rest of the experience lead me back to live with my grandparents 8 months later…I missed them then also.. and I remember experiencing huge guilt for leaving them in the first place - especially my grandpa. He was my best friend and greatest fan. I vowed to never leave his side again.
Fast forward to a few years later…15 years old. My grandpa had me working as soon as I could (back then in Alberta we could legally work when we were 15 years old). He had many friends - one of which owned a local gas station at which I started working at - my very first job. My grandfather wanted to show me the importance of going to university to get a degree and high paying job, and thought that a measly job at the gas station would do the trick, although after I received my first paycheque I was so happy! I then went and found a second job at Subway (the fast food restaurant) and still went to school full time. I loved that I was making my own money. I would take my grandparents out for dinner and buy them presents and throw them the best birthday parties. I am quite sure I had a surprise birthday party for my grandpa every single year - even when he couldn’t remember it was his birthday!
My grandpa was amazing - he would drive me to work every weekend and on some evenings too, as our house was about 30 minutes from town. It was this year that my Grandma (a devote Catholic) had me transferred from Public School to the Catholic School. It was an interesting experience, as my mom would not give permission to have me baptized. Despite good grades, I was suspended more than a few times for menial mischief. The superintendent at the time did not want an “un-bpatized heathen” at the Catholic School. However my grandma always pulled strings to keep me there. Thankfully. I made really good friends and the children there were much nicer than what I was used to at the public school.
At age 16 I got my drivers license - I could not wait to have some freedom! My grandpa gifted me his big ol’ 1977 two tone brown chevy farm truck. I loved it. I then started driving myself to school! I LOVED it. My high school years were fun, filled with working and regular teenager shenanigans.
After high school I was determined to make more money. I discovered a job in road construction that paid over $20 per hour - so I took it! My grandparents were not happy that I wanted to take time off to work before heading to college - but I did it anyways. This is when my mom sent me a yoga video - I guess she thought I needed to ground down and make better decisions….this is when my yoga (Asana) practice began. I continued to work in road construction. I made a bunch of money and bought a sports car - a cherry red dodge stealth. My grandpa thought it was the best. I would take him cruising as much as I could. I then started college (see credentials), and moved away from the tree farm right to down town Calgary - you couldn’t really get more opposite! By this time I made some really good friends (most of which I am still friends with). I had some amazing roommates and life was good.
After I finished studying Business Management and Canadian Law, I began to work at a firm where I met my first husband - he worked at the firm also. At the same time, my grandpa fell ill with the terrible disease of Alzheimer's. I then moved back to my grandparents home to help take care of Bill. He had me promise since I was a young child that I would never put him in a home for old people. To fulfil my word, I moved home to help my grandma take care of him. As time progressed, I quit my job and started my own litigation firm and a landscaping company that I ran out of my grandparents basement. Also as time progressed, so did my asthma. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get it to improve.
A few years later I opened my first yoga studio - Yogadown , which is still operating today. My grandparents gifted me property next to them, of which my husband and I built a 6000 square foot dream house, with a yoga studio above the garage - this became my third studio location.
So while we built our house, and while I ran basically 5 companies from my grandparents basement, I became pregnant. I knew instantly I would have a baby girl (and I did). In 2008 I gave birth to a hefty over due beautiful baby - we named her Bili - after my grandpa Bill. She is strong and dedicated just as he was - my new hero was born.