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Healing in Puerto Vallarta: A Personal Healing Journey And The Modalities Available To You 

By Erin Neff

September 28, 2023

Why Mexico for healing?

For hundreds of years, people have been coming to Mexico for healing due to its rich traditions of using natural remedies. People often come for plant medicine, yoga retreats, and cultural rituals that contribute to a person’s journey of healing their bodies, minds, and souls.

The sheer number of people that come for healing makes Puerto Vallarta a special place with some very gifted people. In this week’s blog, I will share a piece of my personal journey into healing and some of the special people  who are helping me as I grow and stretch outside my comfort zone.

Ice Baths

Are you crazy??? The short answer is Yes! I mean, no. Okay, a little, yes. If you asked me why I don’t just take cold showers, I would say, “That sounds so awful.” It really doesn’t make sense and this brings me to the, “Yes, I’m a little crazy”. I’ll try most things once. Let’s be honest, It’s not going to kill me. Public humiliation, maybe, but I’ve suffered a generous amount in my life,I figured I would survive this in order to form my own opinion and hope to get some benefits along the way. I know the benefits like, reduced muscle soreness and inflammation, faster muscle recovery, and improved circulation but what I didn’t believe, and what pushed me to give it a try was the enhanced mental well-being.


Ice bathtub


The worry and stress that comes with entrepreneurship is something I’m learning how to manage. I’ll always have worries, fears, and anxieties, and it’s part of life. Learning to manage and not allow them to control my life has been part of my ongoing healing journey. In my total disbelief that jumping into ice water would help my anxiety, I decided there were plenty of other benefits that I would get, so why not give it a try and open my mind to what could happen?

Here is what I experienced, the first 30 seconds are intense, kind of what you expect. Those thirty seconds fly by when you are concentrating on getting oxygen to your brain. Within those thirty seconds, your brain starts to register you’re not in danger, and things start to calm. Once my breath returns to normal, I can take my brain where I want it to go. For me, that’s some form of mediation. I say positive affirmations to myself, allow myself to daydream about growing my business (my favorite), intentionally focusing on all the beautiful things I am creating, and believing that all my dreams will come true. It’s a level of intention that directs my energy in ways that serve my goals. Once I start daydreaming, I lose track of time. Before I knew it, 15 minutes had passed, and I was ready to get out!

This is the impact I feel on my body:If I get out between five to nine minutes, I get a huge dopamine hit to my brain. That’s pure joy, my friends. I am happy ALL DAY. Not much can disrupt that feeling of happiness just hanging out in my brain. When I get out between ten and fifteen minutes, I get pure relaxation. As in, my brain couldn’t worry if it tried. All the stress and anxiety I’ve carried with me all week is GONE! That level of relaxation lasts the whole day! Can we say WOW!?!?! This is better than any chemical-induced relaxation I’ve ever experienced.

For me, ice baths are a form of self-care and healing from whatever stress the week has brought me. This benefit alone keeps me coming back to Raices Chocolate (the location of ice baths) week after week. Here is what Laura and Eduardo have to say about Ice baths:


Me: “What inspired you to serve our community with Ice Baths?”

Raices Chocolate: “When we first tried the ice bath we knew there was something so special about it. It was a way that we were able to connect to ourselves, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. On a physical level, ice finds its way into the depths of the body and releases the inflammation and pain that sometimes we don’t realize is there. Through this, it brings on an emotional release of different stressors that pop up throughout the week. We hold so much of our emotions in different parts of our bodies, and the ice has a way of finding it, creating an awareness of it, and finally, helping to release it. Ice has been a teacher that has helped us to realize the strength it takes to give up control and give in to the lessons of life. In this lesson, we have learned for ourselves. We are now able to give this advice to others; Let go, and surrender to the ice. Allow the ice to be in control and heal your body. In fact, in our body, we have ten times as many cold receptors than warm receptors. Because of this, my physical strength or toughness doesn’t work.


I must surrender my body and emotions to be able to relax in the ice. Through these lessons, we have learned so much about ourselves and feel grateful and happy to be able to share this with the community. To be able to imagine people having a similar experience when we learn to let go of what is no longer serving us, then we can all realize how powerful and strong we really are. On all different levels. I think our biggest inspiration to continue to bring ice baths to our community is to allow people to have another outlet in being able to connect with themselves and bring them into the present moment that they are experiencing. Plus, everyone in Vallarta craves a vacation from this summertime heat, this is the perfect opportunity to feel that cold!”


Me: “Tell me about the community you have created by offering this modality of healing?’

Raices Chocolate: “As everyone works through their own experience in the ice, it has created a community of compassion, perseverance, and overall wellness. It is incredible to be a part of new friendships being formed, witnessing strangers support each other, and being a part of this overall healing process in Vallarta. There is a natural connection with the people who are experiencing this difficult task and overcoming that obstacle together. We are so grateful to have been able to meet and talk to people from all over Vallarta and really all over the world who desire more for themselves. The energy that is created by each individual that comes to Raices is what keeps it incredibly unique and special. It’s not everywhere that we can find people who are willing to put themselves into something that will change the way they think and support one another throughout that process. Support, willpower, and determination is the glue to all of this that is being created here. We are all humans and have a lot more in common than we realize.”


Me: “I know you also make chocolate. What are the benefits of cacao, and what is your favorite chocolate to indulge in?”

Raices Chocolate: “I have been working in the world of chocolate and cacao for about six years now. It has been a great passion of mine. Ironically, through my research and study of cacao, I have learned that there are many connections between the health benefits of cacao and ice baths. Cacao is a natural mood enhancer; it stimulates the brain’s production of neurotransmitters which increases the release of serotonin and dopamine. Just like the ice bath. They both also help to improve the cardiovascular system, reduce cholesterol, and help to give you focus and energy throughout the day. Cacao specifically has your daily intake requirements of potassium and magnesium and is also packed with iron, phosphorus, fiber, zinc, calcium, antioxidants, flavonoids, and essential amino acids. There’s nothing better than a fresh cup of hot chocolate after an ice bath! My favorite chocolate bar is dark chocolate with cranberries and my wife’s, her favorite is dark chocolate with pistachios!”


Check out their page here



I’ve done breathwork before but my knowledge was pretty limited. Before I arrived at my session, Natalie asked me to set an intention. I showed up with my intention in my heart and an open mind to learn and receive what she had to give. During the session, Natalie led me through a new way of breathing along with meditation. It took practice to breathe differently. The mediation led me through a visual of releasing pieces of myself that didn’t serve me. I was feeling connected to my higher being and I saw myself giving love to those that hurt me, walking away from those who don’t support my goals and dreams, and surrounding myself with people who love me. I could see myself trusting more, loving more, and believing more in myself and those surrounding me.


Word breathe written on the sand


When I allowed myself to visualize this, it unlocked a space in my brain and my heart to be more of this in real life. After leaving that session, I give myself greater permission to say No to the activities and people that aren’t in alignment with my energy or vision of serving. I’m learning to say, yes, to more things outside my comfort zone that ARE in alignment with my energy, the energy I want to create, and the service I want to give. I felt empowered to be a better version of myself than when I arrived. Her session changed me for the better, and I’m so grateful for my experience with her. Here is what Natalie has to say about her gift of healing:


Me: “Describe the kind of healing you do and what inspired you to choose this as a way to serve your community?”

Natalie: “My sessions are all custom-tailored to meet the unique individual needs and include gentle transformational coaching, embodiment practices, Clarity Breathwork, and intuitive healing touch. All of these practices inform my ability and understanding of embodiment and how to best help my clients balance the masculine and feminine aspects of their being. The third level of my healing is breathwork. I rediscovered the powerful modality of Breathwork during the lockdown in Montreal. Clarity Breathwork sessions online helped me reignite my life force in times of isolation and darkness. Most of my clients are women who are finally ready to step into their power.”


Me: “What are the benefits of this type of healing?”

Natalie: “The benefits are multiple and I find that my clients receive exactly what they have been searching for a long time. Physical benefits can include improved sleep quality, decreased stress levels and reduction in anxiety, cessation of panic attacks, better mental and emotional health, boost in immunity and nervous system reset. Clients also report feeling more confident on all levels, reconnected to their life purpose and unique abilities and gifts, increased libido, and even better orgasms.”


Me: “What is it like to be in a session with you?’

Natalie: “I am a very gentle and intuitive person. I have always had a natural talent for developing immediate rapport with my clients, so no time is wasted on getting to know each other. Of course, I always go at a pace that is appropriate. I find that my clients feel heard, seen, and understood in my presence because of the beautiful and safe environment I provide. In many cases, we go deep right away. I prepare and purify my own energy for every session by settling intentions and spending time in prayer and meditation. I am very open-minded and totally nonjudgmental. I guarantee 100 % confidentiality. I find that after every session, women leave in a more relaxed, balanced, and encouraged state. I feel blessed that I can hold space and be a catalyst for positive change.”


Me: “If there’s one piece of advice you would give to women in regards to healing, what would it be?”

Natalie: “Change your approach and relax into transformation, freedom, and new possibilities. We have all seen a fly banging and banging into a window, trying to push through by force, thus wasting the last bits of its life energy. The fly’s strategy serves as a death trap. If the fly just stops to relax and look around- it would see that there’s an open door right there, and in less than a second of enjoyable flight time it would be free. Same here. My bespoke “Clarity Breathwork Experience” is exactly what is needed- relax your nervous system, come out of the perpetual fight or flight mode you’re in, drop into your body, and you’ll open yourself up to a beautiful world of magical possibilities and freedom. You are not alone. I will be your fresh pair of eyes and will help you see that you don’t have to keep on pushing boulders up the hill anymore. Breathwork is that powerful.”

Natalie is trained in cognitive behavioral physiology and has a Masters in Counseling Psychotherapy. She has extensive training in Psychodrama Theater and Ancient Tantric Practices. She also holds a BA in Sexual Diversities Studies and a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality Studies.

Check out her page here


Quantum Activation Healing

From the moment I walked in, Donna created a warm and safe environment to be myself and reflect. We started with a Human Design card pull. It was spot on to what I was going through. Crazy how energy is reflective. Makes me think twice about what I’m carrying with me and putting into the world each day. Donna shifted my energy by using pressure points on my head. Soft touches in specific pressure points. Had I known she was going to have her hands in my head, I would have chosen “wash day” instead of a 3-day hair with dry shampoo day (sorry, Donna).


sign of quantum healing


Energy moving through your body is REAL. I could feel it coursing through sometimes fast, sometimes so intense I had to shake it from my hands. Something unseen, yet it was weighing my body down so much I needed to shift it and move it out of me. Even after the session, I could feel the energy moving through and evacuating my body. I was a little shaky as I left. It’s odd, but I felt like I could breathe clearer like everything was a little clearer. It was like a reset to my body and brain. I left a little lighter than when I walked in. That night, I slept like I hadn’t slept in years! Donna’s gentleness and caring was the perfect touch. Here is what she has to say about her healing:


Me: “Describe the kind of healing you do and what inspired you to choose this as a way to serve your community?”

Donna: “With the integration of several modalities and experiences, my energetic bodywork has evolved into what I call Quantum Activation. I fully believe that we are all connected to each other, the Universe, our ancestors, and previous timelines of existence, and therefore, any healing that we are able to access from ourselves is impacted by infinite layers of energy and experiences. I believe that we are healers of self and that I will never be your healer. However, I can hold the space for your energetic self and physical body to connect to itself to all these layers to create transformation to access healing.

I chose to serve others this way after becoming a widow at 33 due to my husband’s brain cancer journey. For fourteen months, I researched all the ways to cure cancer and was introduced to the world of the subconscious mind-body connection and energetics. I watched the man I love heal to 98% and then fall with one disappointed sentence from a loved one. I learned how powerful the body and intention are and how truly fragile we are in the space of others.”


Me: “What are the benefits of this type of healing?”

Donna: “The benefits of Quantum Activations are unlimited and specific to what the body and being is willing to receive and release. The most important thing that my sessions offer is space for your parasympathetic nervous system to be activated. The only time our bodies can truly heal from within is when our bodies are in the space of rest and digest. When we allow our bodies time, space, and nurturing touch, our heart and breathing rates slow, our blood pressure lowers, our body processes the food we eat fully and our body can relax. It is in the state of this true energetic, full body and mind relaxation that our cells can recover, clear, and rebuild. My Quantum Activations also offer a light touch on your head through a modality called Access Bars. Intentional, nurturing touch to the body has been identified as imperative to the healing of the body. Bodies were created to be touched, to feel, to be held, to collaborate with other bodies. In a society that breeds distance and disgust with bodies, soft touch without ulterior motives supports the transition to the parasympathetic nervous system. The body, mind, and souls ability to release energetic blocks, physical pain, subconscious triggers, and trauma from previous lifetimes is significantly impacted from this space within our nervous system.


Me: “What is it like to be in a session with you?”

Donna: “Sessions with me are quite relaxed. Often clients fall asleep or enter a deep meditative or trance-like state. Often, there are sensations in the body and colors behind the eyes. Emotions are sometimes expressed, but mostly I hear a lot of snoring and see twitching in the body.  I can sense where your energetic and physical blocks are within your body and when they are releasing or need a bit more time. If my connection to your energy produces unclear avenues for intention, I will ask you questions to bring up the energy of what we are clearing. The two-hour sessions often feel like a great rest, which, given the activation of your parasympathetic nervous system, is exactly perfect.


Me: “If there’s one piece of advice you could give to women regarding energy healing, what would it be?”

Donna: “My advice for any kind of healing is that we are layered like an onion, so every experience you allow for your body to heal itself will allow you to know just a bit more about You, the Being. As we unravel the anger, the fear, the hurt, or whatever to find our true selves, we will find more things about us that shock us. We will find truth, trust, guidance, and likely more anger, fear, and hurt. But always keep going with what FEELS LIGHT, right, comforting, helpful, expansive. And always ask your body what it requires. We often use our minds to push our bodies around instead of tuning into our intuition and what FEELS LIGHT for us to pursue. We hold all levels of the Universe and existence in our bodies, so let it be your guide. We are healers of self always; I may just be one of your teachers.”


Check out her page here


In conclusion, there are many ways to heal yourself from the trauma our bodies hold. I find that it takes a village. It’s necessary to experience different kinds of healing, and best to use them in combination with each other. Life coaches, therapists, holistic doctors, etc. are all great people to involve in your healing process. Creating a support system of professionals and friends to help you reach your goals makes a huge difference in your progress and mindset as you are doing the work on yourself.

Come out and network with us and meet other outstanding local women entrepreneurs.

Engagement in our Facebook and in-person networking groups can substantially boost your networking efforts. Our group offers a platform to meet, learn from, and collaborate with like-minded professionals. Save the date for our next Women’s Networking Puerto Vallarta event.

  • Frequency: Last Thursday of each month
  • Date/Location: September 28th, 2023 – The Seahorse Cucina Bar & Lounge Puerto Vallarta. Calle Zaragoza #160 B, cuarto piso, Centro de Vallarta. 48300 Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico.
  • Language: English-speaking event, open to all women-owned businesses in the local community
  • Admission: Free

For more information and to stay updated on upcoming events, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/womensnetworkingpuertovallarta


About the author: Meet Erin Neff, Founder of Women’s Networking Puerto Vallarta and Life Transformation Coach. A transplant from Austin, Texas, Erin is passionate about creating space for women to collaborate and grow together to make a positive impact within us and our community. Her Life Coaching business started by helping salespeople make small changes that added up to big commissions. It has transformed into helping people make their dream life a reality through changing habits, healing trauma and having a vision that excites them to get out of bed.  instagram.com/erinn_lifecoach/





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