Your body is a veritable wonderland of information and The Well Center, an Armonk-based integrative medicine and holistic healing space, is the gateway to discovery. Bedford City Lifestyle sat down with founders Deb Ross, a licensed acupuncturist and board-certified herbalist, and Michele Zipper, a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, to explore their whole-body approach to health and longevity.
An overscheduled lifestyle is common and as a result, most people dismiss distress signals from their bodies as it can feel overwhelming to address. What do you say to those who may be choosing to put their health on hold?
Deb: We want people to be empowered and to take ownership of their health. Healing can fit into a person’s life in manageable ways and sometimes a little bit goes a long way. Trust your intuition if something does not feel “right." You know yourself better than anyone else.
Michele: Symptoms are not normal and when there’s something physically “off”, that’s your body signaling something. We need to learn how to listen because those signals will become louder until we are forced to listen. That’s where testing comes in, and we create the big picture of what we believe to be the root cause. That’s when we witness their "aha" moment – everything clicks. That moment is the game changer.
Testing can be a scary word because it can carry a negative connotation, and also because people may fear the results, knowing they’ll need to make hard changes in order to feel better.
Michele: Our mission is for people to feel their best. It’s important to understand that testing is an extraordinary insight into our adrenals, gut, hormones, inflammation, and more. Healing is not a one-size-fits-all approach. We view testing as information to bring your body into balance. With so much wellness information out there, bio-individuality is key and what works for one doesn’t work for the other.
How does ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ in wellness expand into the other areas of your practice, such as Chinese Medicine?
Deb: Chinese Medicine sees each person’s health as uniquely interconnected with their mind, body, and spirit. We are trained to see patterns and root causes. So for instance, if we both have insomnia, that might present itself completely differently for each of us, and for vastly different underlying reasons. Each presentation requires different acupuncture points and herbs. The individualized nature of the medicine is what makes it so effective and powerful.
Michele: That’s where TCM and Functional Health are very similar in thinking about root cause. When I think of insomnia, I wonder if it’s a parasite? Blood sugar? Hormones? Stress? Insomnia isn’t the problem, insomnia is the symptom.
It’s evident that you’re both deeply knowledgeable and genuinely passionate about integrative health. Was there a catalyst that led the two of you on this journey?
Deb: We’ve healed health issues within our own families, starting with ourselves. We’re passionate about what we do because we’re proof that it works. Our families are proof. Our patients and clients are proof.
Michele: We see people in so many types of pain. Many of my clients come to me on anxiety or ADHD medication, and that’s okay, we can provide support to dramatically reduce their symptoms by working on what’s most likely affecting them. I enjoy working with kids with ADHD because there’s usually a lot of food and gut-driven behavior.
What would you say to someone who’s hesitant to begin their healing journey?
Deb: The power of prevention and maintenance in healing cannot be understated. Keeping your body in balance is what prevents disease, and re-training ourselves to stop reacting to things only when in pain or crisis is crucial for a longer, healthier life. Prioritizing your well-being is key to longevity, health, and overall happiness.
Michele: There’s so much that we struggle with daily – mental, environmental, physiological stress – which affect our mind and body. We need to control what we can, and taking care of ourselves is more important than ever. We are here to help guide you in the right direction.
The Well Center also offers quality supplements, chiropractic care, massage, energy work, astrology, personal training, and more. thewellcenter.com
"My mentor always says, “slow is the fast way,” meaning health and healing don't happen overnight. Meaningful and steady change takes time and commitment."- Deb
“Change is hard at first, but becomes easy with a little mindfulness and effort. ‘I have to’ becomes ‘I get to’ when they see it’s possible to jump out of bed in the morning with energy and ready to take on the day!” - Michele