Jane-Lise Villegas has been practicing naturopathy for 3 years, and is also a consultant for natural healing, and nutritional well-being.
Her life is spent working and caring for her 10 month-old son, who has opened her up to a new world, namely natural health and nutrition for children, as well as positive education.
In her words, naturopathy is a way to soothe, limit and prevent health issues, by taking more natural paths in everyday life. With a focus on nutrition, the natural healing powers of plants, establishing healthy patterns in daily life, and on relaxation and breathing techniques, Jane operates with the utmost respect for her clients' vital energy, and a belief in each person's capacity to self-heal.
I/O: Tell us a bit about how you got to where you are today.
Jane-Lise: I see myself as an explorer of knowledge. I love learning and I’ve navigated different territories: literature, IT, naturopathy, foreign languages… I’m happy, because all of that coexists in my life today.
I/O: And how did you become a naturopath?
JL: I needed to do something meaningful, which lead me away from my managerial position in IT and into naturopathy. I was always passionate about botanics and nutrition. I started a training program, and was pleasantly surprised with the wealth of knowledge within this discipline. I learned a lot about myself and others. I then became a therapist little by little, by working on myself first. It was a really personal path, accessing this knowledge, and allowed me to help others without taking power, only through pure empathy.
I/O: What’s your work ethics like?
JL: To listen closely and without judgement, to find specific, personalized solutions for the person to whom I am talking. It can be hard not to be dogmatic. I always try to offer multiple solutions, and the right one is the one that triggers something that allows them to move forward at a certain point in time. My aim is not to change everything about a person’s life, I only wish people to find one element from our work together that will bring positive change in their lives. The ideal way of life is different for everyone, and changes over time, because people’s lives change. I try to help my clients find a balance that suits their life, at a given moment in time.
I/O: Who are your clients, and what are they looking for?
JL: I don’t have a typical client. Most of them are women, aged 20 to 45. I get more and more young men, too. My clientele is usually looking for natural solutions to issues they have, and someone who will really listen. Someone who helps them validate intuitions that traditional medicine doesn’t always process. Often, they’re just trying to understand where a certain unbalance is coming from, and it’s my role as a therapist to explain when I can, which makes them less passive in their problems, and often leads to positive change.
I/O: What’s the main reason people come to see you?
JL: There’s a wide variety of reasons why people come: to re-balance their diet, skin problems, digestive issues, fatigue, pregnancy and every chronic ailment you can think of.
I/O: Do you think the West is progressing towards preventive medicine?
JL: This is only the beginning. We are still not used to seeking help when everything is going well, but I’m under the impression the younger generations feel more and more responsible when it comes to well-being, and take it seriously. I’m confident it’s evolving.
I/O: What’s the first question you ask your clients?
JL: Every consultation is different from the next, so it really depends on my intuition, and each client’s energy. I already learn a lot about them just observing them as they walk in. I do always ask if they want to drink something, usually what I’m drinking, to instigate a friendly atmosphere.
I/O: Any tips for dealing with stressful Parisian life?
JL: Learn how to disconnect, preferably by recharging your batteries outside of the city: in a forest, on a mountain, by the sea… To reconnect with nature, and more importantly get your head away from your multiple screens and telephones. It’s especially important during winter, when people tend to stay in, not to mention the benefit of escaping pollution. It’s easy to take even a day trip from Paris, go to the seaside, be with the elements, feel alive!
I/O: What are the challenges you’ve had to face, and what are the ones in your way right now?
JL: For a long time, I felt like a bit of an impostor. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be where I was, because of this grand, perfect idea I made for myself. I’ve since worked on my confidence, and on my relationship to others by managing my emotions. If I can recommend a good read: L’Intelligence du Coeur, by Isabelle Filiozat. It’s a book that I read at the right moment, and that helped me relax in my relations to people around me, in my love life, social life, and family environment. It really unlocked something for me, and helped me feel legitimate as a therapist.
I/O: Do you have a mantra?
JL: I love this quote from Mark Twain: They did not know it was impossible, so they did it. It's taken from Thoughts and Aphorisms. It’s important to transcend your limitations, real or perceived. As far as my practice goes, I find human beings to be immensely resilient, and believe that we have huge capacity for healing. There are many solutions, and jumping to worst case scenarios is easy. There is always a way, however long and winding the road might be.
I/O: How do you find balance between your physical, emotional, and professional life?
JL: It’s a never ending quest, and everything’s changed since I had a baby. But usually, by combining healthy food, physical exercise, and taking time out of the city, everything falls into place, almost naturally. These days, I have some sleep to catch up on, and I have to practice letting go, in order to relieve the pressure.
I/O: What experts and teachers do you admire?
JL: I’m fascinated by the pioneers, the people who dare question the establishment and find new paths, no matter the discipline. I love reading biographies and portraits of artists, athletes, entrepreneurs, and I feed off the energy these people have. It gives me confidence in human beings.
As a teenager, I fell in love with Alexandra David Neel, and discovered myself a passion for traveling. These days, I read Célina Alvarez and about her project to educate all children in accordance to their natural talents. I also read Angèle Ferreux-Maeght, a friend who is developing a new cuisine in a fun, tasty, and joyful way.
And of course, Daniel Kieffer, my naturopathy teacher, who has been a leading developer of the discipline since the beginning, when it was still quite unknown. He transmits his knowledge with great humility and generosity, and an open mind that will always be a source of inspiration.
I/O: Tips or pointers to feel good and energized?
JL: Naturopathy is a discipline where every case is entirely unique, so it’s complicated to give general advice because they might not suit everyone. But here’s three essential principles you can apply year-round:
- Eat fresh fruit and fresh vegetables daily.
- Get enough sleep and go to bed very early once or twice a week.
- Exercise at least twice a week, for a minimum of a half an hour.
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