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Women’s History Month: Women in Business – Part 5

As we wrap up this Women’s History Month Women in Business Series, a reminder that this month’s theme is Providing Healing, Promoting Hope. There are so many ways the Black woman, and our community as a whole, needs to heal.

Holistic Wellness has been around for decades, but only recently has it become a buzzword with more interest and practitioners. 

The first African-American woman to become a physician was Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, who earned her degree in the early 1850s. The first (and only) African-American woman to receive her MD from New England Medical College, she was known for providing healthcare for freed slaves. Dr. Crumpler wrote a book instructing Black women to take charge of their health and that of their children. 

Dr. La Tina Epps Thomas also believes that one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to take our health into our own hands. Here is her story.

TSD: What type of business do you own? 

Dr. La Tina Epps Thomas: A holistic concierge tele-health and wellness practice. I take into account a person’s physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social and spiritual health. Then I educate and emphasize they take back their health through prevention, and supporting their body through optimal health through the use of natural, non-invasive therapies and natural substances that encourage their body’s inherent self-healing process.

TSD: How long have you been in holistic health? And in business for yourself?

Dr. Thomas: I have been in the industry since 2017 and in business since 2018.

TSD: How many employees do you have?

Dr. Thomas: One – me!

Dr. La Tina Epps Thomas is a Naturopathic Doctor who leads people down the path to natural healing and a healthy lifestyle. (Courtesy photo)

TSD: What was your inspiration for going into holistic health and starting your business?

Dr. Thomas: My inspiration for going into holistic health through yoga and healthy lifestyle changes stems from my own struggle with an eating disorder. As a teenager, I fought a long battle with anorexia/bulimia. I won by changing my mindset about myself and about food, and incorporating the healing benefits of yoga. 

As an adult, I was diagnosed with asthma, allergies, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and hypothyroidism. After seeking help from several doctors and not getting any better, I realized there had to be a better way. And that just dealing with symptomatology but not the root cause was not working. This led me on a path to discovering the multidimensional powers of yoga and naturopathy, which in turn put me on the path to better health and healing for myself and countless others. 

TSD: What challenges have you faced as a holistic practitioner and business owner, and how have you risen above them?

Dr. Thomas: We live in a society that disregards centuries of evidence regarding the body’s ability to heal itself with the proper support through optimal nutrition, detoxing, supplements, essential oils, herbs, water, exercise, and stress reduction, among other natural alternatives to health. This is the amazingly beautiful way God made us. So, there are those that discredit what I, and others like me, do. Fortunately, this is beginning to change, somewhat. 

People come to me thinking there is a quick fix, not realizing you can’t just take a little pill and continue on with the same unhealthy habits. Rather, it requires work in changing one’s mindset, then their lifestyle. Sometimes they don’t want to do the work or take their health into their own hands. I’ve had to stop taking it personally and remind people through social media, and speaking engagements on the importance of taking control of one’s health. Eventually, they come back – it’s typically when they are sick and tired of being sick and tired!

Sometimes people don’t value my time. Someone might text, email or call with “just a quick question” on something they may be dealing with. But they require an appointment. Like any other industry, there are those who want the help but don’t want to pay for it. As a healer, I’ve had to learn not to always give everything away. I remind myself that I went to school for three years past my undergrad studies and did clinicals for three years and continue to invest in knowledge and training. As someone once told me, “People don’t go to their medical doctor for free, they shouldn’t expect you to be free either.” 

Dr. La Tina Epps Thomas with her husband of 17 years, Darrell K. Thomas, at a recent signing of her book “The Health Coach Collective.” (Courtesy photo)

TSD: As a wife and a mother (if you are one), and now a business owner, how do you balance it all?

Dr. Thomas: As a wife and mother to two furry babies Kitty and Max, and a Godmother to some amazing kiddos that I actively help raise, as well as being a business owner, the subject of how I balance it all is a big one. Honestly, like every other woman who has these responsibilities, I have my moments where I think if I hear my name being called one more time, or if one more entity needs me, I’m going to scream. It can be exhausting. Here’s the thing: that is absolutely normal. It’s OK to not be 100 percent available to everyone and everything all the time. … 

Because this is truly my passion, I sometimes give of myself until I’m depleted. So, I’ve learned to acknowledge when I’m struggling to keep up and don’t beat myself up about it. I rest and ask for help when needed, which is hard at times since I’m the “fixer.” But to be truly authentically living I must be OK with not being OK, then do the work to change that. That includes not feeling guilty when I just can’t do something and need to rest. This requires a really good support system, which I’m blessed to have my family and tribe. 

I also use the resources such as essential oils and herbs that help balance mood. I make sure I am eating and nourishing my body with the best foods that my body needs to function at its best. I take time out to do yoga and meditate and pray. I also get out and explore nature either alone or with my god kiddos frequently. I garden and love wildcrafting. 

I’ve learned how to say no and let that be a complete sentence. And I’ve learned how to distance myself from energy vampires and negative people. 

Most importantly, I observe the sabbath. From sunset Friday night to sunset Saturday night, I shut down my office, don’t do any business. People don’t stop needing help or being sick just because it’s the sabbath, but it’s rare that I’m needed during that time. This time is reserved for rest and family and friends. Taking this time out is so important to allow our minds and bodies to be able to just be. 

TSD: What impact does your business have or do you hope your business will have in the future? On your family, community, etc.

Dr. Thomas: I believe I am just the vessel through which the Creator uses and that I’ve been given this gift and passion for true healing to spread the health message to the world. It’s manifested itself in speaking engagements, and corporations seeing the need for health and wellness education for their employees. 

My family and friends have been impacted because I’m always in teacher mode, which I guess, depending on who you ask, may or may not be a good thing. I pray and hope that people will begin to take control of their health and truly begin to journey the path of authentically living natural. There really is a better way. 

Dr. La Tina Epps Thomas, a certified 200HR Certified Yoga Instructor, believes in the mental and physical healing properties of yoga. (Courtesy photo)

TSD: What advice do you have for someone who might be interested in entering your field?

Dr. Thomas: Research and find a really good school that resonates with you and make sure you are able to shadow or do clinical studies with someone that you respect and is aligned with your style and thought processes. The second thing I would say is don’t compromise on your beliefs, regardless of what society says. 

TSD: What advice do you have for other black business owner hopefuls?

Dr. Thomas

  1. Find your passion and work at it. It may not come easy or quickly but continue to work at it. 
  2. Reach out to others because networking is so important. 
  3. Know your worth! When someone comes to you, they are coming for your expertise; that includes all the time, money and education you have invested into your expertise. You may not be for everyone, but the right people will begin to notice and they will come.
  4. Stop comparing yourself. I recently heard a speaker say, “Comparison is the thief of joy!” It’s true. It doesn’t matter how far along someone else is in their business. It really is true when they say, “What God has for you is for you.” Follow those who are doing what you do and find your own niche, your own way of doing things. 

TSD: If you weren’t doing this, what else would you be doing?

Dr. Thomas: In my previous life, I was a model and produced music videos and commercials. I think I would be doing that. 

TSD: What professional accomplishment or major milestone are you most proud of?

Dr. Thomas: At the beginning of the COVID shutdown, I started a daily live stream called “Coffee Break Live with Dr. La Tina.” It was a way for me to connect with my clients and yoga students. I talked about everything from social issues, mental health issues to do-it-yourself (DIY) medicine in your kitchen to healthy cooking tutorials. 

This was a way for me to help demystify natural alternative solutions for health and wellness. It grew from a few people tuning in to hang out on social media with me every day to hundreds of people from around the country watching and building a community. I did more than 230 shows. I took a break for a while but every day I get messages from people who watched it, thanking me and asking when I’m going to do the lives again. I’m proud to authentically show up, be there and to pour into others. 

I’m also proud of being contributing writer for various health and wellness magazines, as well as a contributing author on a book. I’m in the process of writing 2 more. 

Mostly importantly, I’m proud that God chooses to use me to help people. 

TSD: Anything else you’d like to add?

Dr. Thomas: I would love to chat with Tri-State Defender readers. I can be reached at: DrThomas@alnhealthandwellness.com; 901-494-4579; www.alnhealthandwellness.com; Facebook: alnhealth; Instagram: latina_thomas; YouTube: ALN health and wellness tv.

Women’s History Month: Women in Business – Part 4

Women’s History Month: Women in Business – Part 1

Women’s History Month: Women in Business – Part 1

Women’s History Month: Women in Business – Part 1

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