Good Health is Both a Journey and a Destination

Leslie Teyssier calls her health challenge “a gift” because it introduced her to a life of disease prevention.


Diagnosed with thyroid disease six years ago, Teyssier learned of two options — medicine or surgery.

She rejected those and chose instead a path of holistic approaches to better health and well-being. Not only did she avoid surgery, but she also changed her life. With the help of Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, Teyssier brought her life back into balance.

“The diagnosis put me on the path of discovering the various healing modalities of integrative medicine,” she explains. “The gift of having an illness is that it pushes you through doors you may not have gone through before.”

Teyssier resumed her yoga practice and massage therapy treatments. At Scripps, she also learned about energy healing and helpful nutritional supplements.

“Rather than treating the symptoms,” she says, “I began treating the cause of my illness, which was chronic stress. I learned to heal myself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.”

Destination Health and a new professional start

One of her most valuable discoveries at Scripps, she says, was Destination Health, an annual mind-body-spirit retreat she first attended in 2003 — one year after her diagnosis — and every year since to maintain optimal health.

As a result of the conference, she is now teaching a journaling class and is becoming certified in healing touch.

“The ideas and the resources are wonderful,” Teyssier says. “That all these amazing healers are there for you … it’s a great place to learn and rejuvenate.”

Destination Health is a unique gathering for both health care practitioners and lay people. Rauni Prittinen-King, RN, cofounder of Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, directs the retreat with Mimi Guarneri, MD, the center’s medical director.

“It’s not only for people with chronic disease, but for anyone who wants to focus on health and lifestyle changes,” King explains. “You do more than learn about a topic … you learn how to apply it to your life. For caregivers, it’s a chance to learn how to guide patients to different modalities.”

Mindful approach to learning and overall health

Held in Hawaii, Destination Health presents a perfect opportunity for renewal and redirection. The glorious location helps to make that possible.

“This setting is so nurturing that it helps people open themselves to learning,” King says. “For many, it’s the beginning of their healing journey.”

For Teyssier, Destination Health proved to be more than a springboard to good health. She now earns her living working in the mind-body field.

“I learned to listen and understand what my body was saying to me,” she says.

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