Holistic health chapter launches in county

Christine Stephenson/The Herald
Denise Schnell works as a holistic health practitioner as the owner of LIFEshift discover JOY in Jasper. She's now also the founder of the Dubois County chapter of the national nonprofit Holistic Education Foundation, which launched Nov. 9.


Denise Schnell always knew she was different.

Ever since she was little, Schnell always had a special bond with her great uncle, who was a chiropractor. She wanted to heal people like he did. But Schnell wanted to focus on more than just helping people’s bodies — she wanted to help every part of them.

As the owner of LIFEshift discover JOY in Jasper, Schnell is already a holistic health practitioner in the community. But now, she’s also the founder of a local chapter of Holistic Education Foundation, a national nonprofit dedicated to holistic education and natural living.

The Dubois County chapter launched Nov. 9. It will have monthly Zoom meetings, often with guest speakers, and plans to have more in-person activities once it’s safer to gather in person.

The HEF chapter is open to anyone interested in holistic ideas, even if they're just starting out or don't know much about it.

Holistic living can be difficult to explain to someone who’s never heard of it before, Schnell said, but it basically means taking care of one’s entire self: body, mind and soul. And for every individual, that care can manifest in different ways.

“You have to figure out what you connect with,” she said. “We want to help people in all stages of their holistic journey.”

Schnell's office at LIFEshift is filled with dozens of bottles of essential oils, quartz crystals and a framed picture of three cartoon unicorns that reads “See love, hear love, speak love.”

But just because she focuses on essential oils doesn’t mean everyone interested in holistic living has to. Others in the community focus on areas such as nutrition and exercise.

“We want to help people at every stage of their holistic journey,” Schnell said. “Even if they just have that little bug in them saying, ‘This seems interesting.’”

Schnell also wants to debunk misconceptions about holistic living, such as the idea that people can’t practice natural and Western medicine at the same time. For Schnell, it’s the opposite — she wants the two to intertwine more often.

“We’re all just people that want to make other people feel better,” she said about holistic health practitioners and traditional health care workers. “I want people to use Western medicine if they need it. But if, say for example, someone needs surgery, there’s a way to incorporate things like affirmations and meditation along with that, too.”

And ultimately, holistic living is not just about taking care of one’s own self, Schnell said, but taking care of the community, too — something especially important now.

“With the election and COVID and everything, there’s so much separation happening in the world. People get focused on things that are out of their control,” she said. “But life continues … We want to make the world a better place to live in.”

Those interested in joining the local HEF chapter should email Schnell at hefdci@gmail.com.

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