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BIOptimizers - Awesome Health Podcast

Aug 26, 2021

She’s on a quest to empower and heal. 

Years ago, Jessica Van Antwerp was a typical college student searching for answers to life’s conundrums. 

Still figuring out what to do with her future, Jessica changed her major from business to philosophy (dad was not happy.) This one decision tells us so much about her - Jessica is a thinker. A critical thinker. A big thinker. Finding business school to be a bore, she fell in love with philosophy, which fit her like a glove, and those thinking skills she picked up would serve her well as an adult. She never stopped asking big questions and seeking truth. 

Jessica was an athlete in high school, and she was always interested in health and fitness. Over the years, she has lived on a vegetarian diet, but some severe health results (that she shares with Wade) brought her back to eating meat. 

If you struggle with addiction, be sure to tune in as Jessica talks about her seven-year daily addiction to weed. She has also leaned on alcohol and even nicotine at times during stressful periods. Today, those substances are far behind her. Still relatively young (late 30s), Jessica has overcome addictions, stress, and childhood trauma through two powerful physical and emotional therapy modes: traveling and massage. 

Today, Jessica is an entrepreneur whose business focuses on both travel and Asian massage therapy.

She is the owner and CEO of Integral Travel - a wellness retreat company that educates people on how to unlock the natural healing capacity of their bodies while connecting people around the globe. 

She draws on over a decade of experience in the health and wellness industry. Her experiences with anxiety, weight, low self-esteem, and addiction are also huge contributors to her knowledge base today. 

Jessica is also a licensed massage therapist trained in several eastern schools of massage, including Shiatsu, Qigong, Thai Yoga Massage, and other energy modalities. 

Her story will grab you by the qi. Don’t miss this fantastic conversation between Jessica and our host, Wade Lightheart. You’ll learn a whole lot during this 80-minute journey.  

In this podcast, we cover:

  • Jessica and Wade geek out over the topic of philosophy
  • The childhood wounds Jessica discovered that were holding her back and how she overcame those traumatic memories
  • The various modes of massage Jessica practices and how they help people
  • Jessica’s profound spiritual moment 
  • Jessica’s transition from staunch atheist to belief in a “higher power” 
  • How Jessica overcame weed addiction
  • From low self-worth to self-love
  • What are Qigong and its ancient medicinal practices
  • Jessica’s nervous breakdown and how she found restoration


The answers lie within, not outside of you.

During the show, Jessica talks about when she first discovered a particular form of Qi gong called Sheng Zhen Gong, which means unconditional love. Here’s an excerpt: “I immediately felt its power. I went from feeling qi in the palms of my hands to feeling it in my entire body. And I felt my heart. It was like that scene from the Grinch, where his heart grows three times and busts out.”

“I felt this in my whole body, and I knew this was my medicine. I dove into the practice. Within a month, I was at a five-day meditation retreat with Master Li, the founder of Sheng Zhen. In China, he trained with a women's martial arts team for over a decade. He’s a Kung Fu movie star. This guy knows what he’s doing in relation to energy. And so I practiced every day for six months before I felt normal. Meanwhile, very little had changed about my external circumstances.” 

“I think this is the key I want anyone listening to understand - sometimes there’s not a lot you can do about the stressors in your life. They are your responsibilities, your obligations. What you can do is change your relationship with them.” 

Gaining New Perspectives

You may already have a taste of the impact a retreat can provide - particularly a focused, organized retreat. As the CEO of Integral Travel, Jessica offers powerful wellness retreats. She says: “That’s sort of the pinnacle of what we offer during a multi-day experience, just immersing or exploring one’s inner terrain while the attendee is exploring an outer terrain that is unfamiliar.”

“The newness sheds new light and gives perspective on what you’re confronting and learning about yourself through the internal practices that we do - yoga, qi gong, meditation - how it takes you out of your day-to-day routine so you can look back and ask yourself, “Okay, what aspects of this are working for me, supporting my health, my vitality, making me feel good? What aspects of my daily life are not so good?” 

“What do I want to change? That’s the magic of going on a retreat - giving conscious attention to your life and yourself, as opposed to just going on vacation, feeding on activities.”

“A retreat is different. It’s about inner reflection for long-term change in your life.” 

Don’t feel ashamed if life seems overwhelming. Jessica has been there. She worked 90 hours per week at one point and had a nervous breakdown. With refreshing honesty and compassion, she shares the high and low points of her life. Dealing with addictions, emotional hurts, workaholism, and then the spiritual turning point that led to healing travels and life-altering rejuvenation through eastern meditation, yoga, and qi gong. 

Check out this episode - love is energy, and it can turn your life around.   

Episode Resources: 
Check out more about Jessica Van Antwerp & Integral Travel
Integral Travel YouTube Channel
Integral Travel on Instagram
Integral Travel on Facebook