We speak to Stephanie Hoo, a Clinical Aromatherapist, Clinical Biotherapist, Integrative Plant-Based Nutrition Coach, Lifestyle Medicine Coach and Founder of A Gracious Life – an all-round lifestyle guide and a holistic approach to wellness – on the ways to empower our lives with the knowledge and skills to lead a healthier and happier life, naturally.

A Gracious Life aims to help people achieve holistic wellness and treat certain life issues – be it physically, mentally and emotionally – using the most natural way possible. Her guide includes personal consultations and advice on alternative therapies such as therapeutic-grade essential oils, mindful practices as well as plant-based nutrition.

Tell us a little about yourself – about your background and your journey as well as inspiration in pursuing holistic wellness and coaching others?

I am from Malaysia but I have lived in Indonesia almost all my life and now I have been based in Bali for the past five years. I used to work in the advertising industry for 12 years, and then in 2013, I got an unfortunate call that my mother was diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer so I dropped everything in my career and took a whole year off to take full care of my mom. To help her through her treatment, I started to look for alternative ways to help support her immune system and that is how I discovered therapeutic-grade essential oils, which is the purest form of essential oils – only found five percent in the world.

So I started using these oils such as Sacred Frankincense, an essential oil sourced from a five-thousand-year-old tree only found in Oman that is said to help treat certain ailments including tumor, on my mom. I also started looking further into her lifestyle and changed her diet, eliminated chemical products, and integrated a lot of alternative healing methods such as breath-work and meditation to help her both physically and emotionally. In that year, she did 27 rounds of chemo and experienced no side effects from her treatment at all. She felt healthier than those who were cancer-free. It made me take notice that this way of life is beneficial and magical. Even though I lost my mother at the end of the year, I gave her a quality life that is irreplaceable. Some people would be unable to go through more than two rounds of chemo without getting extremely sick or last as long as my mom did and I knew it was because of this lifestyle.

After her death, I told myself if I could just help one person with whatever I have learned during the time I took care of my mom then I have succeeded. So I decided to take this seriously and got myself certified in Clinical Aromatherapy, and it went on from there. All of this led me to launch my personal brand – A Gracious Life.

What is A Gracious Life? Tell us about your brand and what it does?

A Gracious Life is a holistic pursuit of wellness, where I am able to share my passion for plant-based medicine, combining whole foods and essential oils to guide clients towards a healthier existence, eradicating harmful chemicals and substituting it with holistic approaches and practices. Our body is intelligent; it has the wisdom to heal if we give it the right platform – from nutrition to your physical exercise and mindset. You could eat the healthiest food but if you are in a stressful state, your body will still fall sick. Stress is the number one silent killer – so part of what I do is to help clients realize this and manage their stresses correctly. My experience seriously proved to me that there are alternative ways of healing. So that is what A Gracious Life is all about.

What should I expect if I enroll as your client?

Firstly there is a one-on-one consultation where I assess different aspects of their life and find what is imbalanced. My job is to get it back to equilibrium so their body is in a state of healing. Then I would give them some protocols to follow, which are lifestyle changes such as diet, nutrition, using specific blends of essential oils to address their particular issue, some breath-work and so on. No two people that have the same problem will have the same protocol because I cater to each individual’s specific condition and give them a personalized solution.

I ask my clients to follow the program for at least three to six months since it is natural therapy so it will take some time before you can see results – we are not here for quick fixes, we are here to treat the root cause of their issues. It is the fairest duration to give for both the client and myself. But most of the time, clients tend to already see some changes in just a few weeks. So it really depends on each and every individual. My therapy requires patience, diligence, and consistency. I tell my clients if they don’t see even the slightest improvement at all in the given time frame then I tell them to simply stop.

What are the benefits of therapeutic grade essential oils? 

Essential oils are concentrated compounds extracted from plants. As I mentioned, therapeutic grade essential oils are the purest form there is. It is completely chemical-free, making it one of the truest forms of plant-based medicine. These oils are usually diffused, applied topically and are even safe to be ingested. When these oils are used, it is absorbed quickly in the bloodstream, allowing the body to reap the benefits of what each plant has to offer, ranging from boosting the immune system to supporting the emotional system, improving skin and treating certain conditions.

Its strong natural scent is also really beneficial. Out of our five senses, the sense of smell is the only way we can reach our limbic region, and it’s the region that controls our emotions, moods, behavior, our feelings, and our memory. So through smell, it instantly goes to that part of the brain and affects your emotional well-being.

Share with us some of your most inspirational success stories throughout your career.

I had a 17-year-old client in London, who had severe eczema since he was born. His whole body was red and his skin kept bleeding. His mom tried everything, he was always on steroid creams and strong medications but nothing really helped. She then reached out to me, and within one week I was able to bring down his redness and itch by 75 percent simply by asking him to completely eliminate dairy from his diet and apply certain blends.

Another client of mine suffered from severe asthma for 40 years. It was so severe that she was not able to move a very short distance or climb up the stairs without using her inhaler and almost every night she would have an attack. She tried all sorts of medication but nothing worked. After my consultation with her, I gave her a simple protocol to follow such as a few essential blends and eliminate sugar from her diet. And within two months she was asthma free! It has been four years now and she has not had an attack!

Can you tell us what are your best ways to manage stress? 

There are a lot of ways and approaches – it is subjective to many people. For me, I manage it through Qi Gong, meditation and essential oils. There are many ways that you could manage stress, from taking walks to being in touch with nature, listening to music, going to a spa, reading and so much more. It depends on what you enjoy to do but the important thing is to take some time off to do it. It bows down to self-care. Self-care is not selfish!

Thank you, Stephanie, for your inspiring chat. 

You’re welcome.

More about A Gracious Life, visit agraciouslife.com or Instagram a_gracious_life.

What’s New Indonesia along with our community, Jakarta Fabulous Working Ladies, and Stephanie Hoo hosted a gathering at Savour of Pakubowono called “Success in your own terms, Naturally”. During the event, Stephanie touched upon different meanings to success, how it affects their lives and how to identify stress. She also shared some advice to help people improve their well-being and achieve a happier and healthier life by incorporating natural and holistic approaches with the help of chemical-free products.

At the end of the gathering, Stephanie also spoke about a very important aspect of holistic wellness – nutrition and created delicious green smoothies with the help of Forest Smoothie. Forest Smoothie is the first “café re-forestation” project, where the proceeds for every green smoothie you order or create with them go towards planting trees in Kalimantan. Their tagline is “Every Drink Plants a Tree”.

Check the photos of the event here.

By: Divyha Pridhnani-Bhojwani