One of the most fascinating aspects of life is to learn about people and the journey that they have taken to arrive at their current destination, whether it be their career or their personal lives. For Giselle Wasfie, owner of REMIX Acupuncture + Integrated Health in the Loop, the path to an intensive study of Traditional Chinese Medicine had some interesting stops along the way. One that included a stint as a hip-hop music journalist and a fashion editor (complete with the requisite anxious elevator ride with Ms. Wintour). FW:Chicago recently sat down with Wasfie to learn more about her career journey, acupuncture, and her quest to demystify Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Originally from Flint, Michigan, Wasfie grew up with physician parents and was named by her dance-loving mother after the lead character in the melancholy ballet Giselle. But instead of becoming the ballerina that her mother envisioned, Wasfie eventually found herself in New York City working her way up to become an editor at Glamour magazine. Even though Wasfie was initially drawn to the sophisticated aura of the fashion editorial world in New York, she began to feel like it didn’t suit her and became bored. Wasfie always loved music and made the shift to music writing, moonlighting as a hip-hop journalist. She was among the few women music writers on the scene. There are still relatively few female writers in the music industry, Wasfie says.
Eventually, a friend who was Wasfie’s literary agent (she wrote a novel in 2005) introduced her to the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). She made the decision to come back to the Midwest and began an intensive four-year training program, culminating in a Master’s Degree of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago. Her training included study of acupuncture, Eastern nutrition, and herbal medicine.
Wasfie opened REMIX in 2012 (named after her continued love of music). Admitting the language of Traditional Chinese Medicine can be esoteric, she makes it her mission to modernize the process for her clients. Hence, the lack of lotus flowers on her website. When asked about common misconceptions, she says people often have rather horrifying ideas about what acupuncture is. “I once heard that someone watched a show called 50 Ways You Can Die, and a man supposedly fell and died with acupuncture pins in him. People just don’t know what acupuncture really is.” She describes the purpose of acupuncture as removing impasses in your body that could prevent you from feeling your best.
From Runway to Reiki: Giselle Wasfie of REMIX
According to Wasfie, the most common ailments for which clients come to her clinic include fertility, sleep problems, and digestive issues. “The great thing about holistic medicine is that when people come to my clinic for one issue, they find other aspects of their health have improved as well,” Wasfie explains. She told the story of a client who came to her clinic for a problem with his Achilles tendon, received an acupuncture treatment, and reported having had the best sleep of his life later that night.
So, given her training, what does Wasfie think is the one thing that a woman can start doing today that would leave her feeling better in a week? In one word, meditation. “I would say that a five-minute meditation every morning is the best thing a woman can start doing. You don’t need to buy anything, just start. There are a lot of great resources, including apps you can use to help talk you through a mediation." (Wasfie recommends an app called Stop, Breathe, Think.)
"We are so used to just jumping out of bed and being mothers, wives, girlfriends, and we are just off into the day," says Wasfie. "You think you don’t have five minutes, but you do. You will wake up the next day and notice that you do feel better, and it will just continue to improve from there.”
A background in fashion and beauty editorial came in handy when Wasfie was developing her product line. REMIX by Giselle Wasfie includes aromatherapy sprays that assist with sleep (Chill Night) and daytime anxiety (Chill Day), facial serums, and a collection of fragrances. Wasfie is currently working on a rebranding of her product line that will launch this summer and include a few new products. Everything in her product line is 100 percent natural and made by hand.
Being an entrepreneur, Wasfie has faced her share of challenges. “Staying in business is the biggest challenge that I have faced," she says. “One of the things that I have done to stay in business is to do everything myself. Carrying 50-pound boxes of soy wax (for her REMIX candles), up three flights of stairs keeps you humble.” For women who are interested in starting their own enterprise, Wasfie has this advice: “Start small and really know your product. Making mistakes can allow you to really become intimate with what you are selling.”
REMIX Acupuncture +Integrated Health, LLC, 70 East Lake Street, 312-204-7204.