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  • Zoya McCants

Right To Heal has a Product Line? How did that start?

So, why a product line for a mental wellness company?

I see Right to Heal as more than a group practice, we provide a service to our community, but we also provide community, a place to just be yourself. People can join a weekly group, attend a workshop, and grab some inexpensive luxurious wellness products.

For example, a person can engage in trauma therapy, attend a workshop on “how trauma impacts the brain,” join a group with a safe space to share and unpack, or simply grab wellness products to aid in their journey of self-care and overall physical and emotional wellness.

It’s like a one stop shop. We offer events in person and virtually, to meet our community’s needs. Some people have busy schedules and getting to our office may not be feasible, so a virtual group or workshop is ideal. Our practice is licensed in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, so in order to provide that sense of community, we need virtual events.

Now, why wellness products?

I remember the very first time I experienced a panic attack. I was probably 26 years old. I was working as a director for a mental health treatment team, one of my staff members suffered from a stroke and was hospitalized, I got the call on a Sunday night. I had to deliver that message to the rest of the team on Monday morning. That same day 2 elderly clients had died. One from a very recent cancer diagnosis and another from complications with several medical conditions. I had to write 2 reports for the clients that died and follow up with HR regarding the staff member who was in the hospital. My plate was full, but I can’t say that I understood that concept at 26, I just knew to keep going. Looking back, I can now say I definitely had a full load, I was just beginning a doctoral program, working on my license hours, overseeing a treatment team and all of the duties that are included in that, as well as, experiencing a sense of loss, one which reminded me of the loss of my grandmother who also died from cancer. I can vividly remember sitting at my desk and feeling a sense of panic, heart racing, palms sweaty, short, and shallow breaths, this heavy sensation in my heart, and derealization. I felt like everything in the room was happening around me, but I was floating away, like I wasn’t even there. I remember the program assistant saying, “are you OK, because I know I wouldn’t be able to handle all of this.” I got up and said “I have to go…” It felt like I was running [but probably speed walking] to the metro north and the train just happened to be close by when I arrived. I felt the tears fall and they were hot, like steamy, and they were not stopping. I boarded the train and just sat there confused about what I was feeling and the major sense of overwhelm. I called my mother and told her about it, and her words were “oh, that’s a panic attack…” She was so calm about it, all while I am thinking I am dying. She then said, “I felt that way before.” I made an appointment the next day with my PCP and he said the same exact thing, “that’s a panic attack.” He then asked about the type of work I do and offered me a prescription for Lorazapam. In my head, I’m thinking, “I’m not taking this…” I thought this feeling would only last for the evening, but I was wrong it lasted 4 days and the panic attacks were reoccurring within those 4 days, and rather than being overwhelmed with work or the sense of loss, I was fearing the return of the next panic attack. I hated the feeling, and my mom came by to stay with me.

I went to the store and purchased some really expensive [emphasis on really expensive] candles with lavender, I got a lavender spray for my pillows, and a nighttime cream to rub on after a shower. It was infused with lemongrass and lavender. I played slow instrumental music and practiced slowing down my breathing (this is before playing meditation music was a thing). I wrote in my journal in the morning and before bed and created a nighttime routine to wind down. I also took off from work. I returned to the gym by the 4th day and I still felt like my heart would beat too fast and I’d faint (fear of dying) so I did speed walking on the treadmill instead. When I returned to work the following Monday, the symptoms had faded but I knew I couldn’t go through that again, because it felt heavy, scary, overwhelming, and debilitating. It was a feeling of wanting to fight through it but also being scared and paralyzed by the fear. Fortunately, this was my only experience with panic attacks, however, I truly understand and empathize when my clients feel this way on a recurrent basis. I hear their experiences and I know I want to help.

To jump forward, when I began my private practice in 2015, I knew I wanted to incorporate holistic methods, yoga, deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness and the use of aromatherapy, and relaxation techniques. I wholeheartedly understand when my clients do not want to take medication, and we have this discussion. We discuss their diagnosis, their physical and emotional symptoms, and the pros and cons of medication and how to have similar dialogue with their prescriber. Whether medication is chosen or not, we also identify coping strategies, previous maladaptive behaviors, wellness tools and consistency along with patience.

Right to Heal encompasses all of this to me, holistic care, community, support, therapy, and wellness aids. I began making my own aromatherapy candles and essential oils, giving candles out to my clients, friends, and family. I encouraged people to create nighttime routines to slow down physically and mentally. I then added to this collection of hand-crafted items by making body scrubs and body soaks. My next step is a body butter. I began studying the benefits of aromatherapy with therapy. I’m a fan of polyvagal theory and I really try to get my clients to understand what’s happening within their bodies, as well as, how they feel emotionally, both are connected.

Therapy is an amazing experience and can help with transitions in life, past or current traumas, identifying maladaptive behaviors, increasing self-love, self-worth, self-care, assertiveness, boundary setting, psychoeducation and so much more!

Candles, aromatherapy, body scrubs and soaks do not replace therapy. They aid in creating wellness routines, beginning the steps to self-care, and taking care of our mind and body. As I always say, self-care includes recognizing what you need, saying “no” when you need to, setting boundaries, knowing when your plate is full, and taking the active steps to check in on yourself.

I love this product line because we all have a right to heal and be the best version of ourselves.

Our candles are made from soy wax, and our essential oils are phthalate-free and adhere to RIFM and IFRA standards for safety and purity. All candles made with fragrance oil are labeled as such. Our candlewicks are slow burning, to help you keep your candle just a little longer. Our body scrubs are hand made with brown sugar, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and vitamin E oil with a special fragrance or essential oil.

Check out our next Wellness Pop-up Shop on Saturday, March 18th from 12-6pm in Union, NJ.

By Dr. Z.

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