Harpers Bazaar - France

Harpers Bazaar - France

When Raphaelle Elk with Harpers Bazaar reached out asking if would share my thoughts about breast health and health in general I was delighted!

Sharing my thoughts and the full interview with you below! A selection was used in their June 2023 issue. 


In past years, the conversations about breast care have revolved around how to make them softer, stronger, smaller or bigger...how according to you, has the cosmetic world changed and now turned to care rather than beautification?

That’s a great question and I think it’s very telling of the progress we’ve made in this industry. How we present physically has a lot to do with our internal dialogue. Finally we are starting to acknowledge the powerful intersections of the mind and body. Redefining beauty as health, and dismantling these discriminatory barriers is the social work we need to center wellness in our communities. When we connect with ourselves and authentically love all the parts that make us unique the more rewarding it is. 


Would you tell me the story of how you decided to launch products such as the breast oil?

A patient came to me battling 8 years of breast pain. Surgeons couldn’t resolve the issue and she had resolved to seek relief rather than a solution. I made her a formula that eliminated the pain in a little under a month. As most of us know, when you find something that works - you let the girls know! She was so relieved to feel good again she wanted to share the oil with patients outside my clinic. It was then that I decided to perfect my formula, package the product, and open up to the general public. Today, my line of products have all evolved out of my clinic and the desire to support people using formulas that work with the body to avoid side effects, and address the issues at the root. 


How do you explain how hormones have became such a part of the beauty conversation today? Do we need to understand more about hormone balance? 

I believe that women’s health has finally started to get the attention it deserves. Finally we are not afraid to talk about the symptoms we feel when our hormones are out of balance. Hormones are connected to every vital process in the body including sleep, digestion, fertility, weight gain, movement, brain function, etc. Hormones effect the way we perceive ourselves emotionally and physically. It feels healthy that we are getting comfortable talking about hormones within the beauty world. Especially if we are exchanging information on effective ways to balance hormones at home and with the help of a health practitioner. 


In Chinese medicine, the breast is an important place because of the energy we find in it. I know that part of your work is based in this idea, would you talk to me about that?

Im really glad you asked me this question. When you think of the saying a weight on my chest”, we are referring to the visceral experience of emotional stress. Even the energetic feeling of being weighed down affects the flow of energy in the body. I like to tell patients that when there isnt flow, nothing can grow”. When Qi (think energy”) doesnt move freely, our emotions build up and develop patterns that are hard to shift. This can also manifest in the body by means of lumps, pain, or irritation. Our breasts sit on top of our lungs also referred to as the canopy” and they are connected to the emotion of grief. There are six meridians in Chinese medicine that flow through the breasts. Taking the time to promote healthy flow of Qi through your breast tissue will help to maintain good health and optimal emotional balance. 


Are your products and routines a way to encourage women to reconnect to this part of their body?

Yes, my goal is for women to develop new ways of connecting with their bodies; to slow down and listen. My products support a relationship of trust. Helping your body to remember how to function optimally. We all need a gentle reminder of what is healthy now and then. That is why these formulas address our most basic needs with the best quality herbs and in ratios that make them very effective. 

Rejuvenating Breast Oil incorporates herbs known for thousands of years to heal tissue and break up lumps. It also has herbs that flush out what is not useful for the body. When we break something up we also need to regenerate and give that part of the body extra care. This formula also addresses the fear held in the chest, and the ritual of application sends energy from the fingers back into the breasts. It encourages an act of self care, and that love can be very healing.


We are entering into a new approach with new products and formulas that target PMS, post-procedure recovery and drainage We don't have those type of products in our french brands, and I would like to understand why?

I hope that brands start to address the recovery process because that time of healing is the best opportunity to teach the body how to function in a healthy way. You can cut something out of the body but understanding why it happened and supporting the body in healing will help stop it from happening again. In Chinese medicine when you have excess fluid in the body (dampness) it can accumulate and congeal. It is like a pot of soup on the stove, if you cook it too long it becomes denser. That happens in the body, that is why you need to intake fluids to flush out the excess. If this cycle of doesn’t occur properly, over time it can start to affect the body in ways such as brain fog, bloating, poor digestion, weight gain, nodules, vaginal infections, breast lumps… and unfortunately the list goes on. 

It would be great to see more formulas available in France that are designed to help people get to the root cause of PMS. Formulas like these would also have an effect on other issues like infertility, insomnia, weight, mood swings. I am not suggesting a pain relief formula (although supportive for the moment) but ones that truly help with the reason the pain is there to begin with. 


I would like to imagine what kind of rituals women can embrace in France without these products being available yet? 

That is a beautiful question! Developing a practice where you start to trust your intuition more and more would be very helpful. Our bodies are very wise and they often know what they need, sometimes we’re just not listening. I think this is partly due to the heavy fear-based marketing we are bombarded with. We are told that if we don’t use certain products or eat in a certain way that that makes us outcasts. No one wants to feel alone. In reality we are not alone, it is comparison that is the true killer of joy. My suggestion would be to slowly start listening to your desires. Start sending the message to your body that you are listening. Some examples of this would be to pick the flowers at the market that made you smile inside, the ones that created a spark and not the ones that will look the best on the table. Order the dish on the menu that caught your eye first! If you think of something you want to enjoy don’t look for a reason as to why you shouldn’t.This practice will help you feel honored and loved! You deserve all of it and more!


What can I apply as active ingredients?

For pain or swelling try a few drops of Frankincense (Ru Xiang), it is physically and emotionally transformative. Peppermint (Bo He) is also a Chinese herb used to resolve tension in the body. That is why it is so good for headaches, it helps you expand and calm an irritated mind. Try a drop directly on your temples or the back of your neck. 


How do I massage myself? First you need to try to send your mind down to the tips of your fingers. You can't think your way through a massage you need to sense your way. This can be hard at first but with a little practice you will learn to listen to your body through the tips of your fingers. Think about what your skin feels like, the temperature and the texture, then push a little deeper visualizing in your mind what is beneath your fingers. This will help you develop your listening skills. Explore your body and try not to second guess yourself. 

If you are massaging your breasts with the purpose of increasing the flow of energy and draining out toxins, I recommend starting with a little of our rejuvenating breast oil on the hands. Massage from the center of your chest, above your nipples, out to the sides, then down.Work your way to the lower center, beneath your nipples, and massage to the side then down. Sending all the waste down the sides of the body to be eliminated. Massage with all of your fingers and the palms of your hands. The solid touch will bring comfort and allow your body to relax and release. 


How many times a day? Try sending a little self love massage to your body when you are in the shower or bath. Don’t think of a massage as something you need to do to be healthy, think of it as an offering to your body. 


What time of day? 

I say make it easy on yourself, do it when it fits in nicely with your schedule. There are benefits to all times of day. In the morning it will help you eliminate all the toxins your body has worked to detox while you slept. In the evening it will also aid detoxification and could help relieve tension for a good nights rest. You can’t go wrong! Just don’t massage yourself when you feel pushed for time, your body will sense the tension and the benefit won’t be as great. 


What can I change in my lifestyle (like something special to drink during PMS, after a procedure, to encourage circulation?

For PMS pain or to encourage circulation I suggest making a cup of fresh ginger tea. Drink this daily during the week before your period. Fresh ginger is warm, moving, and will help decrease bloating and pain. Simmer 5-7 slices in 3 cups of water and serve when it has boiled down to 2 cups. Another option is to put some castor oil on a natural piece of wool (no chemicals, you don’t want them soaking into your body) and lay the cloth over your abdomen with a hot water bottle for 20 minutes for 3-4 days before your period starts. Don’t use while bleeding. Castor oil is great at breaking up accumulations that cause pain and swelling. 

After a surgery once your doctor has given you a green light there are so many ways of promoting healing without increased scar tissue. For a smooth post-op recovery I always recommend Rejuvenating Breast Oil to my patients. After an invasive cesarean or surgery, a daily application of this rich oil has proved to facilitate cesarean recoveries and breast implant removal alike. If you don’t have access to my formula I recommend using castor oil. It’s a simple and accessible ingredient that can offer some support. 

Bone broth is an excellent addition to a post-op diet. It helps our body detox through the digestion. It boosts nutritional absorption, and strengthens our bones, connective tissue, skin and much more. From a Chinese medicine perspective, bone broth works at the deepest level (our bones!). Remember to avoid using garlic, onions and hot spices in your bone broth. We don’t want to send moving energy into our bones we want them to be solid!

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