Alumni Spotlight with Felicia Davis
Felicia Davis is a Program Manager for the Washington, D.C.-based think tank The Aspen Institute by day and a Master Restorative Wellness Practitioner by night.
But, unlike other Master RWPs, Felicia didn’t complete all four levels of the Restorative Wellness Solutions program to start her own practice. She doesn’t promote her services. And, she has no intention of taking on more clients.
Instead, Felicia’s using the transformative skills she’s learned through RWS to help one sole client heal from over 20 years of chronic illness.
That single, super complex client just so happens to be Felicia, herself.
CHRONIC ILLNESS SINCE CHILDHOOD
Felicia experienced a challenging childhood, riddled with skin conditions, weight concerns, hormone imbalances, joint pain, and mood issues. In college, she experienced severe gut issues and developed chronic fatigue syndrome. In her ‘20’s, she had persistent joint pain and severe allergies that seemed to appear overnight. “I consulted with a lot of different doctors along the way, but most told me it was all in my head – they’d say ‘you’re fine’ or ‘maybe you’re depressed’. I saw one rheumatologist who told me I likely had some type of autoimmune disorder but they didn’t know what kind. Unsure of what was really going on, their only recommendation was to begin immunosuppressive drugs.”
By her mid-30’s, Felicia’s chronic fatigue was so severe that she had turned to drinking massive amounts of caffeine to try to get through her work day. She knew this wasn’t sustainable and that there had to be an answer to what was ailing her, so she began seeing functional practitioners. One after another, she’d work with a practitioner for a few months, inspired by their “get healed in 3 months” stories, only to find herself still chronically sick many months and thousands of dollars later. “I even tried consulting with MDs with functional credentials, but found they were just chasing symptoms. I just wanted answers,” says Felicia.
Eventually, Felicia decided to take matters into her own hands by enrolling in the Nutritional Therapy Association’s NTP program. “I had been on all kinds of diets for a long time, but no one had ever even told me maybe I should try a grain free/dairy free diet or specialty diets like AIP,” says Felicia, noting that once she started learning more about nutritional therapy for herself, a whole new world opened up for her.
THE TURNING POINT
Even after earning her NTP credentials, Felicia still found herself struggling to find answers. But, her experience with the NTA reaffirmed to her that – with the right tools and information – she could crack the case, noting “The NTA taught me so much about diet and food, which helped me feel a little bit better. But, I didn’t experience the transformation I was hoping for. The good thing is – the NTA program is what eventually led me to Restorative Wellness Solutions.”
At one point in her journey, Felicia consulted with the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) where she learned that some practitioners worked with labs. Soon after, she was introduced to Restorative Wellness Solutions via the NTP program and immediately knew this was the next step on her healing journey. “I had supposedly cleaned up my gut already, but it wasn’t working. No one had answers. My NTA education wasn’t enough to support complex cases like my own. That is when I knew RWS was the answer,” says Felicia.
Shortly after completing the NTA program, she enrolled in RWS’ Mastering the Art & Science of Gastrointestinal Healing. And, from there, she couldn’t stop:
“I got my gut into a good place, but I could feel there were other things I was still dealing with. I kept taking the RWS courses and each course layered on a new level of healing. I learned all the different ways clients might present with issues, patterns, and trends. I could finally see why my previous attempts at healing didn’t work.”
When asked what the difference between RWS and Felicia’s previous efforts were, she emphasized the fact that RWS taught her how to support healing based on her own individual needs – “I developed the ability to adjust protocols based on bio individuality – I finally learned how to solve challenges rather than chase symptoms. And, the RWS instructors supported me in that – they worked with me to keep going until we knew what we were dealing with,” she says.
HOW TO HELP YOURSELF HEAL
Felicia shared that her RWS experience has drastically changed her life – not only because of the concepts she’s learned via the RWS curriculum, but because of the support she’s received from RWS instructors, too. “I’ve really leaned on the RWS instructor team and they’ve fully supported me every step of the way. The world needs more RWPs”.
In fact, having a guide or partner is the number one tip Felicia has for other people struggling with chronic illness or unresolved health issues. She was kind enough to share her full list of tips on how to heal yourself, which include:
#1 – Find a partner: “I’ve definitely served as my own health advocate, but I’ve also had practitioners to lean on along the way. I’ve even done private consultations with RWS instructors to get perspective on my own health issues, which has been so valuable,” says Felicia. She recommends every practitioner have their own dedicated coach or mentor, too.
#2 – Focus on the root cause: An important part of Felicia’s journey has been access to lab testing, which she acquired through her RWS studies. According to her, “it allows for a level of personalization you can’t get anywhere else.” Felicia has gone on to complete all four levels of the RWS program, noting that our capstone class – Advanced Clinical Mastery – unlocked so many answers for her and is a class everyone should take.
#3 – Make peace with where you’re at: Felicia also cites the importance of developing a spiritual practice to support yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. This allowed Felicial to accept where she was at and the choices she’s made along her 20+ year journey, noting “I have a much greater understanding of who I am, what I want, and how to be in the world – this is one of the most valuable things I’ve gained.”
#4 – Don’t be afraid to ask for more help: “Whether it’s a therapist or prepared organic food delivery, get the support you need,” says Felicia, adding “You shouldn’t feel bad about being too busy to prepare your own healthy food – there are other options if you need them.”
#5 – Be willing to say no: Last, but certainly not least, Felicia reminds those who are struggling with chronic health conditions to remember they have the power to say no – especially in a world where there is constant friction between taking care of your health and living your life. “You have to be willing to edit your life. Our culture is very go, go, go – accomplish things, do things. This isn’t necessarily a good model for people dealing with chronic health issues. You need to be very careful about who you pick to surround yourself with and who you choose to be your mentor.”
When asked what she’s most proud of with regards to her supporting her most complex client (aka herself), she noted the improvements she’s made on her symptom burden chart. Felicia notes, “I do it every so often and can see that every couple of years that my symptom burden is cut in half. I feel like I’m finally coming out on the other side and am so proud that I did not end up as a statistic.”
If you’re ready to reclaim your health just like Felicia, be sure to apply for Mastering the Art & Science of Gastrointestinal Healing. In less than 12 weeks, you’ll gain the clinical skills and insights you need to start transforming your health.
Felicia Davis is a Master Restorative Wellness Practitioner and Senior Program Manager at The Aspen Institute. You can connect with Felicia on LinkedIn here.