Keep it simple. Instead of ten things you are doing in one week to “improve,” minimize your appointments and schedule to just a few. Otherwise, the “wellness” appointments themselves (i.e., yoga, physio, stretching class) become a source of stress.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Giselle Wasfie.
Giselle Wasfie is a former music journalist and magazine editor turned board-certified herbalist and doctor of traditional Chinese medicine. She went from interviewing OutKast and being a staffer at Condé Nast, to founding REMIX Acupuncture and Integrative Health, and its accompanying clean skincare and organic aromatherapy line in 2012.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
The most interesting story is probably the story itself. I never even knew what acupuncture or herbal medicine was growing up, and then very later in life, at 33, I went into a four-year master’s program to study it. Now, I can’t imagine *not* being an acupuncturist. The biggest takeaway is that sometimes life has a plan for you that you are wholly unaware of, and you just have to follow your instincts, and trust the path.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The biggest mistake I made when I first started is trying to do everything myself. I graduated with a goal of starting my own business, so I wasn’t only the practitioner, but also the entrepreneur, the creative director, the supply manager, the publicist, the business development director, the shipping department…and, you get the idea. I learned — and probably only in the past few years really learning — that I need to bring in help to grow — and stay sane.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Help is crucial, and sometimes, as in my case, the person who led me into studying traditional Chinese medicine and becoming an acupuncturist had no idea she was helping to introduce me to my lifework and future!
The story goes: my former book agent was telling me that a new guy she was dating was an acupuncturist, and I became curious because I’d never heard the details of it, and it planted a seed of discovery in me that I keep digging up until a light went off and I realized I wanted to study it more, and officially apply to grad school for it, and eventually, become a practitioner. And here we are now!
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
I think overall REMIX’s mission is fresh and relevant — to empower people, through natural medicine, to take hold of their health. The goal with REMIX — both the products and our services — has always been to make health approachable and fun, removing the fear, confusion and alienation people feel with allopathic medicine.
People tell me they look forward to a REMIX appointment, and I see patients heal and transform; or, a customer will tell me they love a product and feel better after using it, and I know our mission is working.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- Keep it simple. Instead of ten things you are doing in one week to “improve,” minimize your appointments and schedule to just a few. Otherwise, the “wellness” appointments themselves (i.e., yoga, physio, stretching class) become a source of stress.
- Nail down the foundations first. Sleep, move your body for 20 minutes a day, eat warm, nourishing foods, drink (ideally, warm or room temperature water). If you create a secure foundation, you can go to the next level more efficiently.
- Be flexible. In traditional Chinese medicine, the goal is for a person to be “bendable bamboo,” meaning flexible (and hydrated, see above.) Don’t become too rigid with “healthy eating,” or beat yourself up for missing a pilates class, just try to go with the flow, because sometimes life is out of our control.
- Add in acupuncture! It really is a life changer, if you find the right practitioner.
- Have fun with wellness. Instead of making it another chore, reframe it as a life pursuit towards feeling your best self.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
“Wellness” can be an elitist scene because a lot of times, it costs big money. It’s not that it isn’t worth the money (it so is) but not everyone can afford it, so it’d be great to pay it forward somehow, whether buying an acupuncture session for a single mum you might know, or a helping sponsor a yoga class in an inner city school, so forth.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
I think honestly, you have to figure these things out on your own because if I told you, you wouldn’t really experience them! But if I were to share a couple, I’d say:
- Be prepared that being an acupuncturist, if you choose to practice independently, also means you need to be a business person with business skills.
- “The journey is the destination” because it’s an ongoing process of unfolding and growing for both you and your patients.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
All of the above, but I treat a lot of mental health at REMIX, and I feel like I see how difficult and common issues like anxiety and depression are — especially heightened during this year with Covid 19 lockdowns, panic buying, uncertainty with jobs and home life issues. So I would just say, it’s important that we value mental health as much as physical health, and work to destigmatize it.
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