Healing from WTHN: Trying acupuncture for the first time

WTHN is a new and affordable acupuncture destination in NYC founded by Dr. Shari Auth, an expert holistic health practitioner, and Michelle Larivee, a former investment banker with a passion for wellness. We got to hear from Shari and Michelle about how they started their business, what self-care means to them, and how acupuncture can really make a difference in the lives of busy on-the-go women! I also visited WTHN’s beautiful healing space and tried out acupuncture for the first time. Read on below!



Shari and Michelle, what inspired you to create WTHN? How did you meet and become cofounders?

Michelle: A ski accident left me with chronic neck pain and few healing options. At the suggestion of my doctor, I tried acupuncture and felt immediate pain relief. Over time, I also experienced holistic benefits including better sleep, less stress, and a stronger immune system and fewer sick days. Later, acupuncture helped me get pregnant with my son. Given my own personal health transformation, I become a huge advocate for acupuncture, but realized that there was no easy way for others to get started and there was no trusted go-to brand. In the world of Soul Cycle and Drybar, we were lacking a modern reimagination of acupuncture, and I set out to find a way to bring the deeply healing powers of acupuncture to a larger audience to help more people

Shari: I always wanted to help people and quickly moved into a career in the healing arts at a young age. Intrigued and inspired by mind-body medicine, I pursued my doctorate in Chinese medicine and have been a holistic health practitioner for over two decades now. I founded WTHN with Michelle Larivee to bring the healing power of acupuncture and herbs to a larger audience. WTHN’s goal is to demystify acupuncture and herbs and make it more accessible. We believe acupuncture should be integrated into everyone’s wellness routine and are making it easier than ever to do just that.

Michelle: We were introduced by a mutual friend who was a client of Shari’s. Brought together by our own deeply personal health journeys and a shared desire to help others lead healthier lives, the combination of our unique perspectives has inspired us to bring the magic of ancient healing to our community.

How did you recruit some of NYC's best acupuncturists to join you?

All of our expert Healers are NY State Licensed Acupuncturists with a minimum Master’s Degree in Chinese medicine, and many have doctorates. In addition, our Healers are all trained in our own WTHN method. Our acupuncturists are all genuinely passionate about helping others feel their best and bringing this powerful healing modality to a larger audience.

What are some tips for millennials who may be trying acupuncture for the first time?

WTHN is ancient healing--acupuncture and herbs--for modern life. It’s a brand-new acupuncture experience: personalized, ultra-modern, and convenient for your life. Our herb blends are Traditional Chinese herbs supercharged with adaptogens for a modern mix that really works. They are herbalist formulated for potency and come in tablet form for ease. WTHN was created to make acupuncture and herbs accessible and demystify how they work and what they are good for.

The WTHN acupuncture studio is a 360 healing experience that activates all five senses from our proprietary sound therapy for deepest relaxation to heated tables for total comfort, complimentary tea, a zen wellness lounge and soothing lighting. We are the first acupuncture studio to offer a membership model that makes it affordable, convenient for your lifestyle, and a staple part of your wellness routine. As the next generation really shifts to focus on preventative health, acupuncture and herbs are important tools to incorporate into your regular wellness routine.

You offer so many incredible acupuncture treatments. How do clients choose a treatment?

Our mission is acupuncture for all and to help others stay healthy and feel better so they can lead happy, fulfilled lives every day. Acupuncture is proven to treat hundreds of conditions so we designed a treatment menu that is easy to understand and navigate with some of the most common conditions.

Every treatment is customized to a client’s individual health goals and needs. Our menu offers three categories: Prevent, Heal, and Glow. Because Chinese medicine is a system of preventative health, the Prevent menu focuses on optimizing your health and includes the key things everyone is walking around with--stress, fatigue, anxiety. The Heal menu includes some of the key health conditions for acupuncture--pain relief, women’s health, digestion, and sleep. Our Glow menu offers our ancient Chinese beauty secret--a multi-tasking facial rejuvenation treatment that leaves you looking younger by reducing wrinkles and firming the skin (through increased production of collagen and elastin) and feeling relaxed through a holistic treatment.



How often should we come to see positive effects? Would you be able to share some "success stories"?

If you’re coming in for stress, fatigue, or for loosening tight muscles, relief can be found in a single session. Consumers of acupuncture frequently report feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and “looser” after a session. For more chronic conditions like migraines, IBS, and insomnia, regular care is recommended.

WTHN is more than reactive care, it’s prevention. So once your chief complaint goes away, stick around for weekly or monthly self care to manage stress, keep your hormones balanced, optimize your digestion and boost your immunity.

WTHN has only been opened for four months and in that time we’ve already been credited with a couple of pregnancies, the relief of pain from headaches to plantar fasciitis, and helping many stressed and anxious New Yorkers experience the bliss of lowered cortisol levels and higher serotonin and dopamine levels.

What are your goals for WTHN in 2019? What should members get excited about?

We recently launched our own line of proprietary herb blends. Acupuncture and herbs are powerful together and equally life-changing on their own. We are excited that with our herb blends, we are able to reach a national audience to bring the healing powers of plants.

WTHN is the first consumer brand with a true holistic approach to preventative medicine and wellness, by offering herb blends in combination with acupuncture and cupping services. It's a unique take on modernizing Traditional Chinese Medicine. We have built WTHN from the beginning to scale, with a national vision in order to achieve our vision of acupuncture for all and mission of helping as many people as possible to feel their best. We plan to expand our studios in New York in the near term and continue to expand to a wider audience with our herbal supplements.

I had to chance to try a 45min acupuncture session, and I chose the “Stress and Anxiety” treatment, because as students we offer suffer from much stress and anxiety. I was running late because of a subway delay, so I was a little out of breath after sprinting to the studio. Upon entering the softly lit lobby, my healer (Grace?) greeted my warmly and told me to take my time and take a few deep breaths. She then led me to the treatment room which was decorated in the same minimalistic neutral tones as the lobby. The treatment took place lying on a heated table. Grace asked me a series of questions about my health, including my health concerns, and any imbalances I was feeling intuitively. She also took my pulse and looked at my tongue, common practices in Traditional Chinese Medicine. From this, she was able to select 12 pressure points (which are symmetric, so 6 on each side) personalized to my health and wellness goals. She gently inserted the needles while making sure that I felt no discomfort. Because the needles are thinner than a strand of hair, they are able to be inserted without much feeling. The needles were insert on my feet, legs, elbows and hands. After they were inserted, she placed a pair of headphones around my head that played a 30 minute guided meditation. I was told that many clients fall asleep during this part of the treatment, and I certainly did. After what felt like seconds, Grace gently tapped me awake, and took out the needles, I drank some of WTHN’s proprietary, specially-brewed ginger tea before heading out.

Afterward, I felt relaxed and tension-free, and as if a rush of warmth had entered my body - even stepping out into the cold NYC air did not feel as freezing.  My healer mentioned in order to see continued and obvious benefits, to come back every 2-3 for continued treatment. Because members are given cards to keep track of their treatments, each visit is a chance to build upon the previous treatment. In addition, no treatment will ever be the same as they are personalized to your body’s present state. If you are looking to try acupuncture for the first time, we’d recommend WTHN for a soothing and non-intimidating healing experience!