Written by Ben Schooley
Photography by Paula VM Photography
Alternative medicine and holistic healing practices have become a topic that more residents are having in our area with each passing year. As our exposure to information increases, so does our knowledge on possible remedies to our health and well being struggles.
Whether emotional, spiritual, or physical…we all have issues that we want resolved in our lives and “Just go to the doctor” isn’t always the best and final solution. As women continue to investigate treatments for themselves and their families, we talked with 3 of the area’s most prominent professionals working the front lines of these practices to discuss their specialties, who most benefits, and why.
HELENE GROSS (left)
DONDI PERSYN (center)
& KIMBERLY VERBEKE (right)
Dr. Kim Verbeke, Traditional Naturopathic Physician and owner of Avita By Dr. V here in Boerne, has always had a propensity for healthy medical choices. So much so that she
ultimately received her degrees in Traditional Naturopathic Medicine in 2014 and has been advising people on healthy medical choices ever since.
She begins, “I was raised around more traditional and natural health choices. When other people’s mom were taking kids to pediatricians, my mom was taking us to homeopathic doctors. It was normal for me. I had worked in the medical field prior to going to school and so I had been around the industry for a while. I wanted to be a doctor early on, but I was disillusioned with how people were treated – they treat the symptoms and not the cure and I never cared for that.”
Naturopathic doctors might not be a term you’re familiar with, but Verbeke explains, “Naturopathic doctors are kind of what doctors used to be – we look at the root cause and while we use supplements, I have a medical director and will prescribe actual medications, but only if they are truly necessary – if someone has a migraine, we’re looking at lifestyle issues that might be causing the migraine. We look at holistic health problems – the root causes for the disease – the toxins, the missing nutrients, or you have a toxic load. It’s not always that simple, but it often is.”
After a comprehensive lab panel test, Verbeke is able to identify the deficiencies and issues that can be plaguing a patient. She continues, “I can’t tell you how many parasites or some sort of toxic exposure I see in the clinic – those are things I see a lot of. They’re super common but normal MDs aren’t testing for them. On a hematology panel, there are certain markers that are elevated when you have parasites – there’s tons of them and people don’t realize that they have them – and they can wreak havoc on your health. I had a lady that I was working with that was getting sicker and sicker and they kept telling her that her thyroid was the problem. She couldn’t drive to her appointments without having to rest. After our lab panels and some other testing, I discovered that she had rope parasites, and we got rid of the ropes and she had a new life. This foreign organism sucking up all of her nutrients – it’s fascinating.”
Just like any good physician, Dr. Verbeke is serious about not only her patient’s health, but how they are treated within her clinic. “Normal MDs normally give you about 7 minutes. What can you possibly learn after 7 minutes? I spend a 30 minute consult which normally becomes about an hour and a half typically. I want to learn the pieces of the puzzle and put them together. I also have a great group of practitioners that I talk with on a regular basis and consult with on the more complex cases. I wanted to practice in a way that was different. I want people to walk away from our time together saying that their life is better. They’re sleeping. They can think clearly. Their overall health. When you’re healthy that also spills over into all parts of your life and truly gives you the best quality of life.”
After some of her own health struggles a few years ago, to ultimately finding a more natural remedy for her ailments, Verbeke had found her passion. She explains, “For me, what pushed me down the road into my career was realizing that many of the MDs didn’t really know how to help me. They’d just throw a bunch of hormones at me and tell me that those would make me feel better. But they’re not going to fix the root causes of my issues. There has to be a way to fix this that can help me figure this out and put the pieces together and it just catapulted me from there. It was really frustrating trying to find someone that could help me.”
As for the future of the clinic. Verbeke continues to grow and add services, along with just generally wanting to raise awareness locally. She finishes, “I have some things I’m looking at adding to the clinic, I love educating people around town about super simple changes you can make that can create meaningful change and I love talking with people about that – being healthy and feeling well are based on the choices you make day over day and I love educating people like that – I’d love to do more group educating of people because it’s fun and I love talking with them about it. This community is amazing, I’ve loved growing my relationships and would be blessed to continue helping people with their overall health…in a natural and healthy way.”
“I love educating people around town about super simple changes you can make that can create meaningful change and I love talking with people about that. Being healthy and feeling well are based on the choices you make day over day.”
Dondi Persyn takes special notice of the scents around her. So much so that she has re-invented her career around the emotions and benefits she finds in her custom scents she produces via her business, Rosewood Maison, LLC. A Boerne resident, Persyn has developed a niche of providing consumers with her custom created fragrances designed to uplift, heal ailments, both visible and emotional.
Persyn begins, “I have a background in histology and marketing but I always knew I wanted to work with oils and herbs. I have some goats on my property – they got lice from the deer and I wanted to treat them in a way that wouldn’t harm them. I looked up some oils, treated them, and they got shiny, happier, and I thought that it smelled quite good so I started using it around the house and around myself.” From these simple beginnings, Rosewood Maison was born, a farm and fragrance company that creates custom signature scent products for luxury clients including fragrances, oils, soaps, salt, soaks candles – each item handcrafted. However, she is focused on far more than providing a signature scent for your home or business. She is vested in your spiritual and emotional health and well-being.
With her corporate scent marketing background, Persyn balances her professional experiences while trying to infuse her more spiritual or “natural” sides of her work. She explains, “I have my scent marketing world and I have my earthy intuitive world. I want to bring them together more – I want to expose people to alternative ways of thinking and getting back to authenticity – REAL things. Natural, non-toxic ingredients. Healing, uplifting herbs and oils. Being vulnerable. I see so much fear in our lives now and so many fake things. I want my clients and the people in my groups to heal naturally and grow in that authenticity.
Utilizing an enneagram personality profile, and some honest discussions about the struggles in your life, Persyn works with her clients to journey to healing. She continues, “My individual clients for the oils are my enneagram clients. I create oils specific to their life path. It’s a spiritual journey – it’s ancient wisdom and it’s powerful. I share that wisdom with companies and groups, but I really enjoy couples or groups. After 28 years of studying the enneagram, I developed the inner-child enneagram theory: You were born a certain way, then life happened, and you began acting and thinking a certain way. You learned ways to navigate your life. I try to guide people back to their inner child, where we started, and how God created us to be. What’s our gift? And what is stopping us from getting there again? When we understand your vices and virtues, I can create oils to help ease that resistance. The enneagram teaches that we see things in 9 different ways. We all see the world differently. This is what our family says we should be. Our job. Our partners. But what path are we on? Take off your glasses and view the world differently. “
While you might have heard of “enneagram”, Persyn explains the science behind it: “It’s not religion specific, it’s a spiritual tool. The enneagram teaches you to do the opposite of what you WANT to do, so it’s challenging.
On occasions, I honor my ancestry by drumming with healing groups. The vibrations are super healing and when coupled with essential oils. The vibrational healing is very real and it’s extremely helpful. You can drum out anxiety. In the Native traditions, you can drum the specific areas for perspective, action, to let go, and to honor our ancestors. When you go through the steps of drumming, it brings about the whole healing. And really that’s my motivation: to heal, live authentically and to help my clients do the same.”
Asked about how the area has received her practice, Persyn is honest and unapologetic. “My family are really the only ones who give me a hard time. I suppose – my sister, my dad…. he was injured and I wanted to get him to do yoga and give him essential oils to help him and they made fun about it. I’ve been preaching enneagram to them and they have been skeptical …but most recently my family are starting to come around. If they’d just spend some time with me, I know it heals, but it’s always about getting them past their own notions…. I don’t use the word HELP because it’s the sunny side of control, but I guide you. Assist you. And I absolutely love it. I’ve experienced similar things here in town – some people question what I do, and some embrace it. Many clients have said to me that it has been beneficial, but yes, you have to be open to a new way to address healing.”
“My individual clients for the oils are my enneagram clients. It’s a spiritual journey – it doesn’t really matter where it comes from, but it’s ancien wisdom and it’s powerful.”
Helene Gross, owner of My Divine Connexion, wears many hats. Working in a variety of practices, from professional hypnosis to “energy healing”, she is one of the area’s most well known “clinicians” that works in these areas. Through a life full of experiences, both good and not so good, Gross passionately works with clients to move them through their issues to a healthier, better life.
She begins, “I’m originally from Denmark. My family was in the military, so we moved all over. One of those moves was to Puerto Rico, where I ended up staying for 5 years. I married and moved back to Denmark. Ultimately, I moved to Texas which is simply perfect for me. That was in 2009.” Before her arrival in Texas, however, Gross’ life changed while in Mexico in 2003. She continues, “I surrendered to what I was supposed to have done. I opened up my life to accept what I was supposed to be doing and whatever I have done that was wrong. I let go of everything physical – I went into an indigenous tribe on the Pacific ocean that more or less told me ‘We’ve been waiting for you’. They gave me a necklace and I started crying – that necklace was one that I was given when I was very little that broke before I left for the US – it wasn’t exactly the same necklace, but it was from the same tribe. They showed me their medicines and philosophies and how they worked.”
Gross had been working online with many clients in her varied skills and mediums, but following the trip to Mexico, her skills were refined further. “What do I actually do? It’s literally going in and helping you connect with YOU. In that way, also clearing your body of spiritual and emotional negative energy, opening you up for a flow. Together with “the Divine”, I work on your cellular being but also on your frequency. You know when you feel down and out and you see everything through muddy glasses, a victim standpoint, I help you move from the victim standpoint to the empowerment. I go into your deepest issues, with your permission, and pull that out with you so that you can release that which stops you in your life. The beliefs and limiting behaviors we carry from childhood…I help you dispel those things. Deprogramming what you’ve been programmed with. I work with PTSD – the entire world is going through a programming of fear this past year and a half. That fear gets you to make decisions on fear, which is never good for you.”
Utilizing her training, skills, and passion for not only your health but your emotional well being, Gross does credit her spiritual connections with her success rate. She continues, “I have a home office where you lay on the massage table and we work with frequency. It goes in and raises your whole body and system via the technology. It’s a healing mechanism. I then work with your guides and mine to connect you to your own wisdom – your own intuition. It comes from you that is not physical, it’s the non-physical. This is very hard to explain. As an open channel, you allow God to come through you, and you allow the energy to do the work. After we’ve established a flow in your body, we go into deep relaxation similar to hypnosis – you’re no longer in your critical thinking. Once your body is flowing through your body, you will feel where the energy centers or shakras are – if they are blocked, you will feel the energy come through and those are the areas you’re holding on to the emotions from way back. Then we journey through your body and process those emotions and release them. Anxiety and depression – there’s normally something that has occurred to cause it – and the behavior you’ve learned stays with you. Then you come to me in your 40s and say ‘My life is falling apart’ – we go back in time and see where it’s started and determine which programming you’ve been following that’s not YOU. We clear that from you and suddenly life looks different for you after even just one session. Physical, emotional, spiritual healing that happens all at once.”
While certainly something many may dismiss, Gross’ work has countless success stories. And Kendall County contains many of them. She finishes, “Yes, I get called a gypsy from time to time. But the area here has been wonderful and welcoming and I’ve made many friends through my sessions. I want people to reach their full potential, and every single day I watch that happen as people experience something bigger than themselves, and they leave my office feeling better than they have in decades. What could be more rewarding than that?”
“I want people to reach their full potential, and every single day I watch that happen as people experience something bigger than themselves, and they leave my office feeling better than they have in decades.”