Dr. Erica Arcuri knows a thing or two about health and wellness. The Toronto-based naturopathic doctor offers a variety of treatments and counselling services out of her wellness clinic Well BYND, combining techniques from her training in botanical medicine, nutritional therapies, Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, and lifestyle coaching, all with one goal: to empower women to take ownership of their own self-care.
Here, we discuss her career path, what inspired her to open her own clinic, and we get the inside scoop on her other venture, the biannual Wellness Market.
To start, could you briefly walk us through your career path? How did you get where you are today?
I was a science kid and I always knew I wanted to work in the healthcare field in some capacity. After high school, I spent four years at Wilfrid Laurier University for my undergrad and then moved back home to Toronto to complete four years at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine.
After graduating, I worked out of a few different clinics around the GTA with no real intention of opening my own clinic space in the near future. At the beginning of 2019, an opportunity to have my own space presented itself and I sort of just ran with it. Within a matter of two months, the clinic was up and running and is growing more and more each day!
Have you always been passionate about health and wellness?
Definitely! I was a competitive dancer growing up, so staying in shape and eating well to fuel my body was always very important. When I went away for school, a lot of that flew right out the window—I was eating like crap and drinking every weekend, which eventually led to my own gut and skin issues. I was bloated 24-7 and my eczema was constantly flaring up. It was then that I was introduced to Naturopathic Medicine. I found myself a naturopath in Waterloo and it completely re-sparked my passion for health and wellness. That’s when I truly began to integrate it into my own life and knew this was something that I wanted to make a career out of.
Tell us about Well BYND. What is it all about, and what inspired you to found it?
Well BYND is a wellness clinic located in downtown Toronto. We offer one-on-one consultations with various practitioners and we host monthly wellness events to share insights with our community. Our team is growing, but as of now we have myself, a Holistic Nutritionist, and a Skin Care therapist who offers facials and other skin care treatments.
The vibe of the clinic is very chill and cozy. My goal was to create a space that offered quality care without feeling too medical. I want our patients to feel like they are visiting a friend’s apartment when they walk into the clinic, because when they feel comfortable and can let their guard down a little more easily in our consultations, the results become so much more powerful.
Tell us about your role with VTMN Packs. And what do you love about them?
I am actually on the team of advisory board members for VTMN packs alongside some other amazing naturopaths and nutritionists. I love the concept of offering a personalized vitamin pack delivery service where people can stay consistent with their supplement routines and treatment plans. But what really drew me into loving the brand has been getting to know Laurie Cook, the founder and CEO. Laurie is a licensed pharmacist with a big interest in taking a natural approach to health. Her dedication to ensuring that each supplement included in the packs is high quality with proper dosing shows how truly dedicated she is to this concept.
From what I understand, you’ve been trained in botanical medicine, nutritional therapies, and Traditional Chinese Medicine, including acupuncture. For readers who are unfamiliar with these forms of healing, could you give us a brief overview?
Naturopathic Medicine is essentially an umbrella term for all those different modalities that you just mentioned. It’s a blend of conventional science-based knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. We use various diagnostic testing and treatments that support and stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal. We look beyond just what drug treats what symptom and address the underlying root cause of why you are experiencing those symptoms in the first place.
Do you still practice in all these areas?
I do! Diet and nutrition are foundational with every patient I see. I will usually add various herbal supplements, vitamins, or “medicinal foods” as well, based on the patient’s symptoms and health goals. But I also love to incorporate a lot of hands-on techniques such as acupuncture and cupping because they can be so healing to the body!
You’re also the co-founder of the biannual Wellness Market, which will be happening this spring on May 3, 2020. What can people expect from event?
The Wellness Market has been an amazing opportunity for us to connect with the wellness community in Toronto. We curate an amazing group of vendors, run fitness classes with local instructors, have interactive experiences such as our infamous Meditation Station, and host a discussion panel with some super inspirational leaders in the industry! Our event in May is the first one we’ve held in Vaughan at the beautiful Kortright Centre and we are so excited.
What are some of your favourite wellness brands that will be participating?
Honestly, I truly love all our vendors, it’s so hard to choose! Organic Traditions, Art of Marina, VTMN Packs, and LadyFlow are some of my faves that will be back for the spring show!
We’ve also been working with Scotiabank this year through their WomenInitiative program and so they will be back to introduce the initiative at our Spring show.
Some of the areas you focus on healing are skin, hormones, and digestion, right? What are some of your tips for achieving health in these areas?
Eat your greens, drinks lots of water, and take care of your adrenals! Get comprehensive lab work at least once a year and invest in functional testing when necessary (i.e. for hormones, gut health etc.). Trust me, it’s worth it! Check in with yourself monthly and create three health non-negotiables that you will stick to. These will change frequently depending on what else is going on in your life at the time! Finally, build a health care team that you feel completely comfortable with. Have an MD, an ND, a massage therapist, a skin care therapist, a trainer, a physiotherapist…whatever your health goals may be, create a team, tell them your goals, let them get to know you, and have them on speed dial!
Why do you think it’s important for women to feel empowered to take ownership of their own self-care?
Every single one of my patients are ambitious go-getters—in their careers, family life, and social life. They are on-the-go 110% of the time! But when your health starts to decline because the hustle becomes too real, you know you’ve neglected yourself longer than you should have. And that’s okay! Sh*t happens. Usually when a patient is coming into the clinic it’s because they’ve reached a point in their health where they are motivated to make a change but need some guidance. If that motivation is not there, it can become hard to step out of old habits and routines to make room for positive change. I can’t force you to be healthy and feel your best—I can provide you with all the tools under my belt, but it’s up to my patients to implement them.
What tips do you have for developing this sort of mentality?
Becoming empowered to take ownership of your own health and self-care is not an easy mental shift. Especially as women, we tend to always put our own needs at the bottom of the to-do list. Implementing change from our regular habits can seem scary and overwhelming but it doesn’t need to be. I tell every one of my patients that my goal is not to have them living on a cleanse for the rest of their lives. As I mentioned above, it’s important to check in with yourself monthly to create your health non-negotiables. This keeps you in tune with your body and aware of when you are starting to sway.
What is a typical day-in-the-life for you?
Every day is so different. The only routine I maintain in my life is my skincare routine…and beyond that, as long as I’m drinking enough water and eating when I’m hungry, the rest is very go-with-the-flow. The majority of my days are dedicated to seeing patients, but when I’m not, I’m creating treatment plans, getting a workout in, and planning, planning, planning!
What is your favourite part about your job?
It sounds so cliché, but I really love treating my patients. I have such a unique bond with each and every one of them, and it makes me so happy to be able to witness all the small wins that they achieve!
What’s next for you?
My top priority for the new year is to grow Well BYND. I’m hoping to launch a fun product line in 2020. And we are also working on something super exciting for our fall Wellness Market Toronto edition!