We just finished our First Annual Integrative Lyme Ski Retreat and it was amazing!
At the Blackjack Ridge House in Alta, UT, 19 of the most progressive thinking medical professionals came together to learn about the integrative management of tick-borne diseases, detoxification, hyperbarics, mold illness and the role of the gut-brain-heart axis in healing from chronic illness. I also gave a bonus talk on the Healing Mindset, how to align your thoughts with your health goals to put your body and mind into action to create radical healing.
Upon arriving in Alta, our guests were greeted by Dr. Dave Dornfeld and myself, Tom Moorcroft, DO. We started the evening with introductions and an overview of our weekend together. Then we heard from two of our sponsors, Jeff Thurston of Master Supplements and Dennis Schoen of Researched Nutritionals. They shared with use the latest research on probiotics and Th17 cells. These were incredibly powerful talks. Probiotics are critical to gut health in all aspects of health and specifically in healing from Lyme disease. T-helper cells, also critical in most aspects of health, are of particular interest to those of use who treat PANDAS-PANS given the possibility that our own group A strep specific Th17 cells may be part of cause of infection-induced autoimmune encephalitis (aka PANDAS/PANS).
One of the biggest surprises of the weekend, was the super high-quality 5 course meals we had from Amy and her team of incredible chefs from MediumRareChefs.
Don’t get me wrong, breakfasts were also great, but the dinners were amazing and a nice way to transition each evening from structured talks to more informal think-tank type of discussions.
The next morning we were greeted by a beautiful bluebird ski and amazing skiing at Alta and Snowbird. We broke into different groups so everyone was able to enjoy some R&R at their own pace. It seems like I was not the only one in the group who works super hard to help my patients get better and maybe, just maybe, doesn’t always focus enough on taking a few moments of personal time to decompress. This day definitely fit the bill. Exciting skiing, breath-taking views and gorgeous weather.
In the evening, I spoke about the importance of the gut-brain axis in creating and recalling memories, sleep, brain detoxification and healing. Dr. Dave then spoke about environmental and acquired toxin loads and integrative approaches for promoting in detoxification, including mild hyperbaric therapy (mHBOT). He reviewed the critical aspects of Lyme disease, including how it can evade your immune system and the complexities of treatment.
We then experienced another amazing meal from Amy and crew. Over dinner I was so surprised to see how much interest everyone had in my new case-based learning practitioner training program.
The next morning we awoke to some clouds and a storm moving in. While we enjoyed another great day outdoors it started to snow on us. What a gift!
On our last night together, I spoke about the complexities of diagnosing and treatment mold illness, including a deep dive into the competing camps of CIRS and mycotoxin illness. The great news is that there are many practitioners who think the same way I do – take the best information from all sources and apply them to the unique individual in front of you. Our mold discussion included various approaches to using different binders, detox agents and anti-fungals (both herbal and pharmaceutical) for the various mycotoxins. Knowing what you’re dealing with has been very useful in my practice! Afterward, I jumped into one of my favorite topics – the Healing Mindset. Our brains are the most amazing goal achieving tools on the planet. What we focus on becomes reality. If we are sure we can’t heal from Lyme, this will become reality. If we are sure we can heal from Lyme, then our brains will get to work and do everything in their power to make this a reality.
Hans from OxyHealth hyperbarics then gave us a great overview of the efficacy of hyperbaric treatments in many different medical issues, specifically environmental toxin exposure, including mold, and Lyme disease. And then their was another amazing dinner were long-lasting professional relationships were fortified and we continued to discuss how to innovate in medicine so we can become even better at helping our patients heal.
Our final morning brought us to a bittersweet conclusion. It was amazing to spend time with so many truly dedicated professionals. We saw many of them off, but a few of us lucky ones got to stick around and experience the incredible gift of powder Mother Nature provided us!
Nearly everyone remarked to me this was the best conference they had ever been to because we actually had the time to really talk, to explore topics as deeply as we needed to, to ask the questions that were truly burning and would make a dramatic different the very next day we were in the office. In my practice, I have found that taking the time to develop relationships and talk about what is going on is critical to making the right diagnosis and creating a treatment plan that is truly effective and the patient can follow. I wanted our retreat to be the same way. As it turns out, so did everyone else.
Before we left, we created a plan to have the retreat again next year. We’re going to try and find a slightly bigger venue, but not too big. We are dedicated to maintaining the ability to have in-depth group discussions and lectures where anyone can ask any question at any time.
I’d like to thank everyone who made this happen, including our sponsors and our chefs. Most of all, I want to thank the DOs, MDs, APRNs, PAs, RNs, PTs, and Pharmacists who took the time out of their busy schedules and shared their dedication to helping their patients regain their health so they can regain their lives!
Looking forward to seeing everyone again next year!