HI, I'M JENNI!
I AM A WELLNESS EXPERT, SOMATIC COACH, HEALING SHERPA, GRATEFUL MOMMY, SPIRITUAL JUNKIE, INTUITIVE EMPATH, JOY SEEKER, HEALTHY HOME CHEF, AND A RADICALLY HONEST, AUTHENTIC, AND COMPASSIONATE SPACE HOLDER.
I have always been drawn to healing and helping people. Volunteering at a children’s hospital through high school evolved into a multidisciplinary, three-decade career in the health and wellness space. My love for healing, continual personal and professional exploration, and deep desire to help others find joy in their lives is my life’s purpose. Through the unfolding of my own healing journey, I am able to guide, coach, and support others on theirs.
I WANT TO SHARE MY STORY WITH YOU.
When I was 13, my life changed. Driving home with my family and my friend from a swim meet, a massive tree was struck by lightning and fell on our car (as “luck” would have it, this friend’s dad, an arborist, was supposed to have cut down that exact tree weeks prior). Fortunately, the tree landed on the hood of our car and we managed to escape relatively unhurt. Because my dad hit his head on the windshield, he was given a CAT scan at the hospital. This is when they discovered the brain tumor (cancer). The surgery was successful, but the multiple rounds of radiation were too much for his body and brain. Slowly, over the next eight years, we watched my hero decline — cognitively, mentally, and physically. He died when I was 21 and so did a part of me. I was a daddy’s girl through and through. He was my person. He was my safe place. We did everything together from fishing and jumping in the waves to playing Canasta and lacrosse. Watching him slowly disappear, forget things and people, and detach from us is a pain I buried deep down. This was the beginning….
A few months after my dad passed away, I started getting panic attacks and anxiety (though they run in my mom’s side of the family, I had never experienced either). They were terrifying, constricting, shaming, and relentless. Desperate to make them go away, I did everything I could to figure out “what was wrong with me”. I read books, went to therapy, took Xanax (for a month), did an MRI, ran EKG’s, and engaged in a whole bunch of over-thinking. Around this same time, my aunt (dad’s sister) died from a rare form of adrenal cancer. Having them both die so close to one another was a big wake up call. I realized then that none of us can take our health or vitality for granted. After graduating from college, I became a certified personal trainer and began my wellness career. This journey led me to more discoveries, hardships, lessons, and growth.
In 2002 at the age of 31, I decided to get breast implants. I was young, flat-chested, and believed they would give me a greater sense of beauty and self-confidence. In the years following the surgery, I began noticing symptoms of Breast Implant Illness (BII) — although I did not make the connection at the time. My anxiety and panic attacks resurfaced (they had been almost non-existent since college). I had episodes of heart palpitations. I was unable to get pregnant and went through two years of unsuccessful fertility treatments. Multiple food sensitivities, along with other gut issues began to surface. My adrenal and thyroid function became impaired — I was tired in the afternoons and had bouts of insomnia. Headaches, mood swings, dry skin, ringing in my ears, and random muscle pain, and sensitivity to light rounded out my symptoms. My experience with BII was what I call a “slow drip” — many years, many symptoms but none serious enough to tie it to my implants. It wasn't until later on that I was able to connect the dots to what this all actually meant.
My unhealed trauma and anxiety didn’t just impact me physiologically - the collateral damage extended into my relationships, my career, and self-expression. I found it challenging to feel truly safe anywhere or with anyone. When our body and nervous system are living in perceived danger and threat, it is almost impossible to assess our environment and interactions correctly - we simply can’t be a reliable witness for ourselves. Unprocessed attachment wounds, co-dependency, and fear of driving on highways (due to having a massive panic attack while driving on one) lived front and center in my life for many years. I was living and breathing the definition of trauma - a survival response of not being in the here and the now that involves broken connections to our body, our vitality, our cells, to reality, and to others.
After 25 years as a personal trainer, I added Certified Nutrition Consultant (CNC), Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P), and Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner (CFMP) to my credentials. I began working with clients with chronic illness. I created frameworks for supporting each body's bio-individual needs, including nutrition, gut/microbiome repair, supplementation, sleep and movement practices, self-care rituals, toxic burden reduction, and trauma healing. Concurrently, I was implementing my own, comprehensive healing plan to address my ongoing health issues. I followed an anti-inflammatory diet, corrected my nutrient deficiencies, supported my thyroid and adrenals, improved my gut health, and began addressing my trauma.
I had known for years that I wanted to remove my breast implants and amalgams (silver fillings), but it wasn’t, until I lived in a house full of toxic mold I knew removing them, was imperative. The mold triggered a massive onslaught of symptoms including panic attacks, heart palpitations, kidney stones, and fatigue. We moved out of the house and four months later I had my breast implants and amalgams removed. I was confident that with these toxins removed and the combination of healing modalities (I was doing everything on the spectrum of science ⬌ woo) I had on board, I was “healed”. Not so fast.
While I did feel 80-85% better, the anxiety was still there. This everlasting cloud, thorn, unwelcome sidekick, and hijacker still had its grips on me. It made me scared, small, and shameful. It suffocated my life-force. I questioned, cried, and took my commitment to healing to the next level. I knew there was more to uncover. I dove headfirst into more extensive trauma research, including neuroscience, Polyvagal Theory, neuropsychology, and working with shame. I researched, worked with healers and therapists, did hands-on training, and received more certifications. I began practicing mindful movement, slowing down, processing the trauma, and listening to and connecting with the wisdom of my body.
I, then, was able to see the anxiety as a messenger (a gift, really) — a voice letting me know that my body had something to say, something to release. It was telling me I had more trauma to heal. It told me that all those years of pretending to be strong and unaffected by my dad’s death were survival skills put in place to “protect” me from feeling the pain of losing him. The pain of watching my dad disintegrate in front of my young eyes. I had become the Tin Man — fitted with a full suit of armor — burying the pain, yet always searching for my heart. The trapped energy of my trauma wanted to come out and the anxiety was its vehicle. The anxiety was my invitation to go in meet this pain, feel it and let it go. The way in is the way out - our symptoms are the key to healing our trauma. A life lived with fear, disconnection, and false strength was being rebuilt with awareness, resilience, and vulnerability.
I WAS HOME AND RECONNECTED WITH MY HEART.
I learned to surrender, embrace the ongoing inner work, and honor the unpacking that is still to come.
I float with the constant ebb and flow of my healing journey and I trust I am supported and guided.
I trust my body, desires, and intuition.
I honor my boundaries while holding space for others and their truth.
I understand that a person’s story about me has nothing to do with me.
I learned that healing is an embodied shift from self-blame and shame to radical self-care and connection.
I know healing trauma is the greatest gift you can give yourself.
One of the beautiful gifts I received from my healing journey was the expansion of my intuitive gifts and connection with my spirit guides. As an empath, I have always felt (and absorbed) other's energy. But it became more clear I was reading people’s energy, more importantly, the unhealed parts of them (essentially their trauma). While this gift can be both a blessing and a burden, I honor that I was chosen to use this to help people heal to a greater capacity.
When we address ALL facets of our health, we can truly embrace and embody the healing benefits that our mind, body, and spirit were meant to experience. While there are many directions you can go to reclaim your health, healing trauma is a necessary path for finding your way home.
Welle by Jenni Houston is the culmination of my life experiences, education, and expertise. It is a body-oriented, personalized healing blueprint that merges science, spirituality (the "woo)", and somatics to help you move from a state of survival, anxiety, and shame to one of hope, purpose, and potential. I believe what helped me heal can help you as well.