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A review of the 2012 OMS Retreat in New Zealand

Wendy Wood talks about her experience at the February 2012 OMS Mana Retreat in New Zealand, and how it helped her.

I was diagnosed with MS on Christmas Eve 1998. My neurologist at the time initially thought I had a tumour on my spine.

When he told me the results of the MRI, he said “I’m sorry, it’s not cancer, it is multiple sclerosis”. For quite a while my only noticeable symptom was numbness in both legs and feet.

An inspirational experience

Gradually over the years my balance and mobility deteriorated. I have seen three neurologists over that time; I have only been offered steroids but no advice.

I found George’s book in February 2010 and started following the program. It wasn’t until now that I have been able to attend a retreat.

I have just come home from the MS retreat at Mana in the Coromandel; a wonderful setting, and an amazing and inspirational experience.

There were 23 fellow people with MS all with varying degrees of disability, some recently diagnosed but all amazingly honest, brave, generous and very funny at times!

George, Sandra and Craig are well respected medical professionals with an amazing ability to present the evidence and inspire hope.

George clearly explained exactly what we needed to do, and also explained the scientific studies that support it. The evidence is compelling.

Compelling delegates

Craig taught us the importance of mindfulness and meditation and we had plenty of opportunities to practice. Sandra had many practical tips and pointers to help us on our way.

We heard from a young doctor who has overcome her disease by following this lifestyle choice. She looks amazing and has just taken her final Psychiatry exams, after being initially advised by her neurologist that she could only hope to be a part time GP not a psychiatrist!

Her insights into the power of the mind and the role of emotions were very useful. I became close to the others on the retreat and we have already formed a support group.

I found that talking about my feelings of helplessness, anger and frustration allowed me to release some of that built up pressure inside that I didn’t know I had, it was a very healing experience.

Worth every minute

I came away from the retreat inspired and very hopeful. I have read the book several times over, and I thought I was following the program as my condition is starting to improve.

I now know that there is more I can do; meditation and mindfulness are a daily part of my life starting now. My GP has been an amazing support and is pleased to see that I am now empowered to take control of my MS.

She is always willing to organise blood tests, prescribe high dose vitamin D, even offering meditation sessions in her surgery. If you don’t have a supportive GP, my advice is to change doctors! This is George’s advice too.

Wendy Wood

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