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Moving To Costa Rica And The Healing Property Of Plants

moving to costa rica
Alexis O’Reilly is a Health and Wellness Coach who moved from Columbus, Ohio to Costa Rica. Here she tells her story about the move and her interest in plant medicine and the healing properties of plants.

Written exclusively for Expat Network by Alexis O’Reilly


My professional career began in Product Development in New York followed by Ohio. In 2015, I became pregnant with my son and developed an awareness for his well-being that grew into a concern for myself, friends and family and eventually into my practice.

In 2018 my family moved to Costa Rica to break from lives that seemed overly complicated and unnecessarily distracting from what truly mattered. That return to basics created the space necessary to fill myself up with new interests and possibilities; it was an unexpected gift resulting from decluttering my mind and our lives. Living in a Blue Zone (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/books/features/5-blue-zones-where-the-worlds-healthiest-people-live/), introduced me to the benefits of plant medicine. I became interested in clean beauty and began clearing my house of as many toxins as I could.

During this time my son developed a seemingly incurable rash lasting for months. A neighbor recommended I ditch the cream from the pharmacy and that I dilute oregano oil with coconut oil. He was cured in two days! I started making my own skin care items, such as coffee body scrubs, sea salt foot scrubs and essential oil roller bottles for myself and friends while sealing my toddlers many cuts and scrapes with Sangre De Grado and other tree saps containing antibacterial properties along the way.

I grew a desire to formalize my methods professionally. In educating myself about holistic health and wellness, I discovered the path of coaching. I enrolled in The Institute for Integrative Nutrition the next day and began my studies! This role spoke to me as integral in connecting the various facets of wellness that many individuals need in terms of education, motivation and advocacy to find their success.

Today I have coached many clients to transform their lives by acting as a supportive mentor and wellness advocate. I raise awareness and offer support as clients move toward the greater health and well-being goals they establish for themselves. I believe in manifesting the life you want through positive thoughts, a clear path and dedicated work.

My program can be done in person or virtually depending on the client’s location. Starting with a complimentary Discovery Session, we complete a health history and determine if we’re a good fit to work together during my three-month program. We take a holistic look at all aspects of life during our 1:1 coaching sessions, identifying short- and long- term goals and creating action plans.

Mid-week accountability check-ins have worked wonders with my clients. Many programs fail due to the lapse of time between sessions; we get ahead of that.

It’s believed to take a month, give or take, to break or build a habit. Thus, three months gives ample time to assess an individual’s situation, create a plan and ensure maintenance and growth thereafter. You do not hire a personal trainer expecting a 6-pack after one month and should not expect quick fixes with any aspect of health and wellness.

As my family moves toward sustainable living, I strive to create a mutual exchange of energy and ideas that raises vibrations for all of us collectively. What is growing in our gardens that can alleviate an ailment? What ingredients are sitting in our pantries that are effective astringents and leave behind no toxic residue? Where are we doing more harm than good despite the best intentions? Clients learn how to create their own products which are better for the environment, safe around children and lower cost than traditional products.

Client challenges vary based on a person’s bio-individuality, history and environment, but from a high-level, people struggle with either taking the first step, execution or maintenance. Most people, if asked could tell you three things they should be doing to improve their health, but they are not doing those things. I hear women say they do not know where to start and end up feeling overwhelmed or intimidated by the wellness world they see portrayed online. Many are self-starters that faulter once they hit a plateau or a life event deprioritizes their own well-being. Others consider the work complete once a program ends.

I wake to the sound of howler monkeys in the trees outside and make a cup of coffee. After making fresh juice for my husband, son and myself, I take a 3-mile hike on a mountain to start my day.  During the hike I listen to podcasts until I get to the top and there I sit and meditate overlooking the ocean. This quiet time each day helps clear my head and creates an hour of uninterrupted mindfulness. From there I go home, shower and get organized for the day. I then head into my office where I hold client sessions throughout the day. After work, I pick up my son from school and then as a family we head to the beach to watch sunset.

In early 2021, I will be opening a multi-purpose facility in Costa Rica from where I will procure my herbal and botanical ingredients onsite, while hosting retreats in partnership with plant medicine practitioners and physical and mental wellness professionals. This will also be a place where a family vacation merges with wellness, inspired by my own family’s desire for seeking transcendence in our travels.

I believe that like-minded energy grows exponentially when harnessed, and am partnering with a representative from Sante Laboratories, the premier CBD testing facility in the United States. His belief in the healing powers of nature combined with the abundant natural resources of my new home is the perfect storm to expand my offerings while continuing my online practice.