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. 

Michelle Gagnon — the Bioalchemist for THE WELL
How did you get into wellness?

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.

What does wellness mean to you?

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. 

Three non-negotiables in your life?
The book you own that is the most dog-eared?

Botany In a Day, my first reference book for botanical identification. I still refer to it every now and then.

Instagram accounts that get the most likes?

I barely use Instagram...maybe that’s part of my wellness strategy!

Healthy beauty secret?

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.

Food philosophy?

I choose a plant-based diet and eat local, seasonal produce — just simple, whole food.

Words to live by?

Love you.

Snack you pack when you’re on the go?

Fresh fruit, nuts and dates. I like this Bearded Brothers Maca Chocolate date bar also.

Early bird or night owl?

Somewhere in between. Not too early, not too late, as long as there is eight hours in between, or nine if I’m lucky!

What are your wellness travel essentials?

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.

Key to a good night’s sleep?

Exercise and lying on my back with no pillow, savasana style.

When you really need to chill out, you...

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.

Instant mood lifter?

Smell a flower.

Morning and bedtime rituals?

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.

Most used condiment?

Olive oil, never enough!

How do you take coffee or tea?

No coffee, only tea. Taiwanese oolong is my favorite. I am a purist. No milk, no sugar… just the taste of the leaf.

Hydration strategy?

Clean water. I enjoy infusions as well, sometimes diluting with a little rose water, or even infusing with a fresh vanilla bean overnight.

Inner issue you’re still working on?

Taking it easy on myself

Go-to wellness gift?

Custom essential oil blend

Preferred mode of movement?

Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art

When you feel a cold coming on, you...

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 TinctureFurnace 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. 

What’s sacred to you?

Mother Earth.

How do you reboot?

I take one step back, leave the busy city and allow myself to wander, sometimes seeking silence and solitude.

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