Reine Matthews is a SWIHA graduate both doing great things and writing great things! Her first book, Thriving After Diagnosis: Instead of Merely Surviving, was just published… and she is already working on a second! Hailing from Northern Idaho, Reine received an AOS Degree in Mind Body Transformational Psychology from SWIHA, with concentrations in Holistic Nutrition and Wellness, Life Coaching, and Urban Farming and Conscious Living.
Reine chose to get into the field of holistic wellness because of her personal journey of being diagnosed with (and thriving beyond!) Lyme Disease. According to the CDC, Lyme disease is the fastest growing vector-borne, infectious disease in the United States, with 25,000 new cases being reported every month for an estimated 300,000 new people being affected per year (25% of which are children). This illness is typically transmitted through a bite from an infected deer tick and has been reported in all 50 states and on every continent, excluding Antarctica. Common symptoms include: fatigue, neck stiffness or pain, jaw discomfort, muscle pain, joint aches similar to arthritis (particularly in the knees), swollen glands, memory loss, cognitive confusion, vision problems, digestive issues, headaches, and fainting.
Lyme disease can be so tricky to diagnosis and treat because the Elisa test performed at doctors’ offices misses detection of approximately 35% of culture-proven cases. Some studies even indicate that up to 50% of patients who have been tested for Lyme disease receive false negatives. Furthering complicating this matter is the fact that fewer than 50% of those diagnosed with Lyme disease even recall having a tick bite or seeing the “bullseye rash” that is characteristic of the illness. To top it off, this divisiveness in the medical community means that health insurance often doesn’t even provide coverage for treatment of chronic cases.
With all this in mind, Reine knew that she had to take matters into her own hands after diagnosis. Part of that included beginning her holistic education at SWIHA: “Going to SWIHA really helped me on my healing journey. I learned so much about myself and healed more than I ever could have on my own. I healed parts of myself that I didn't know needed healing until they came up during the psychology classes.” Reine changed her diet and her entire lifestyle in order to feel well and function properly. She started to make a concentrated effort to connect to herself spiritually, practicing yoga and meditation, and began “making friends with her soul.” In learning and applying the principles of holistic nutrition, she found out how these changes can improve health and wellness— inside and out. She began to lose weight, feel stronger and more energized, and found a way to thrive beyond her diagnosis.
These experiences inspired Reine to write her book. “I found my way to healing by switching to a holistic way of life,” Reine says, “and wanted to be able to share that experience with others in a way that could help them in their own healing journey. That is why I wrote Thriving After Diagnosis: Instead of Merely Surviving.” In the book, Reine discusses the tools and techniques she is using to find health and wellness. She also goes over how to switch to a holistic way of eating and being, sharing how it helped her and what she feels makes it such a great path to healing.
Reine shares that writing about her experiences was therapeutic after graduating from SWIHA: “Having to think back about how I felt and what I went through during the early stages of my diagnosis and everything that came afterwards really helped me to heal any pain that may have been left from the original experience. I continue to learn more about myself, which helps me to be more understanding and compassionate with others. We all can find health and wellness within.” Reine credits a lot of that healing to the people before her who also had the courage to share their experiences, stating, “I would not have found my way to healing if it weren't for books, blogs, and videos created by others who paved the way before me and who went through their own healing journey while sharing it with the world. I hope to do the same for those who come after me.”
When remembering her classes at SWIHA, Reine talks about how the methods of teaching, and the personal interactions she had with the teachers helped her to thrive. “They are so supportive and encouraging of your ideas and allow you the freedom to find your way in the process of what you are learning. They have this great energy that is uplifting and makes everyone feel good about what they are doing and where they are at, even if they aren't sure of how to get to where they want to be. The teachers at SWIHA help you find the courage to do what you otherwise may have been afraid to do.”
With legions of support behind her and a bright future ahead, Reine has created a business called Be Well & Happy Coaching, where she offers Nutritional, Spiritual, and Life Coaching and has added an Angel Intuitive Certification to her ever-expanding list of skills. On her website, she discusses her coaching techniques and maintains an active and well-written blog covering topics ranging from holistic recipes to psychological and spiritual discussions. She also continues to write with an incredible sense of passion and dedication. “I have a plan to write at least five books in the next five years,” she shares. “Right now, that is my main focus. I am sharing my story with the world to help everyone heal in some capacity, no matter what it is they are dealing with in life.”
Reine’s advice to future SWIHA students and budding writers is simple, yet elegant: “Be yourself, believe in yourself, be true to who you really are, and allow the process to unfold. You never know where this life will take you… be okay with that and enjoy the journey!” We certainly have enjoyed watching Reine’s journey unfold so far, and we can’t wait to see what is in store next for this talented graduate!