THE WELL Q&A: Michelle K. Gagnon
The Bio Alchemist for THE WELL shares her insights on a holistic approach to wellness and her passion for aromatherapy.
It began with aromatherapy and essential oils solely as a lifestyle imbued with passion. They inherently impacted my entire well-being and infused wellness into all areas of my life, so it organically evolved into a deeper practice and career. Then I began working with nasal kinesiology, distillation, sourcing, formulation and so on.
Wellness is a lifestyle — not a trend — and it is holistic. We cannot be well in our body yet polluted in our mind and vice versa.
Travel, naps and Skin Nectar by Bio Alchemy Olfactive.
Botany In a Day, my first reference book for botanical identification. I still refer to it every now and then.
I barely use Instagram...maybe that’s part of my wellness strategy!
Lipids. Not just applying these botanical oils to the skin and hair, but consuming more cold-pressed oils in our diet. These healthy fats not only feed our skin with essential nutrients but our bodies as well. Olive oil, moringa, argan, avocado, sesame, walnut, sunflower... there are so many.
I choose a plant-based diet and eat local, seasonal produce — just simple, whole food.
Fresh fruit, nuts and dates. I like this Bearded Brothers Maca Chocolate date bar also.
Somewhere in between. Not too early, not too late, as long as there is eight hours in between, or nine if I’m lucky!
Essential oils, of course. I always love a delightful aromatic experience on the plane. I switch these up but always include Frankincense oil, some niaouli and thyme in a spray bottle to use as a sanitizer, and laurel to wake me up when I arrive. Other must-haves include rose water for skin hydration (and even add a little to my water), balm, my Skin Nectar (which I apply liberally to my face on the plane), a silk sleeping mask and earplugs.
Exercise and lying on my back with no pillow, savasana style.
Step away from New York City! Walk around nature, harvest wild plants or cozy up at home with a pot of tea and a book on a particular interest… we can never stop learning.
Smell a flower.
My day always begins and ends with an herbal tea and caring for my skin. It is the time of the day I allow myself the true luxury of indulging in the most precious botanicals I have.
Olive oil, never enough!
No coffee, only tea. Taiwanese oolong is my favorite. I am a purist. No milk, no sugar… just the taste of the leaf.
Clean water. I enjoy infusions as well, sometimes diluting with a little rose water, or even infusing with a fresh vanilla bean overnight.
Taking it easy on myself
Custom essential oil blend
Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art
Take it very seriously since I work with my nose and any cold will jeopardize my sense of smell. I press pause and I rest as much as possible. I use the steam room, drink green juices, stretch my body and drink lots of herbal tea. I have an arsenal of herbs that, given enough sleep, usually always come through, including: Woodstock – C&F Tincture, Furnace Creek Farm decoctions, honey with one drop thyme thymol and one drop lemon essential oil. I also rely on a Neti pot and Eucalyptus facial steams.
I take one step back, leave the busy city and allow myself to wander, sometimes seeking silence and solitude.