Wellness Collective member Nancy Despres is a registered nurse utilizing some unique therapies in her holistic practice. Using electroacupuncture and rapid transformational therapy among other tools, she helps identify and remove the obstacles keeping your body from its balanced state of being.
Practicing as a nurse in cardiovascular thoracic medicine and open heart surgery, Nancy brings a functional medicine perspective to her holistic practice. Learn more about the experience that led Nancy to question whether there was more to health beyond our concept of medicine.
“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.”
“Life is not happening to you, it’s happening for you.”
Was there a specific moment/event/happening that ignited your holistic flame?
I graduated from Grand Valley and I worked in the hospital which was Butterworth, now Spectrum, on a really busy cardiovascular floor and I had a client who was dying. She was on a special IV; she knew she was dying and there was nothing that could be done. She had really made peace with it. The doctor was making his rounds and I went up to him and told him that she would really like to just go home. He stood there and screamed at me that she was on life support and that there was nothing else we could do. I froze.
He stomped off and went into her room. He was in there for about an hour and when he came out he found me, put his arms around me, and said “thank you, we have arranged for her to go home.” In that moment, I really felt there is so much beyond our concept of medicine and that everyone has their own idea of healing and that it wasn’t always in the patient’s best interest to have a hospital dictate to them what that is. I wanted something more, to go beyond the medicine schedule, the IVs, getting patients down for procedures.
There is a whole other piece that we weren’t even touching. I had another patient who had been chronically ill for a long time. At that time nurses were giving patients bed baths which I thought was a nice intimate time because it allowed for a lot of conversation. I was helping her get washed up and she said to me, “If I didn’t have my rheumatologist, if I didn’t have my cardiologist,” and she went on to list the many specialists she was seeing. “If I didn’t have my illness, I wouldn’t have anything”. That struck me so deeply in that moment because I felt like I was witnessing something very profound, but at the time did not quite realize what that meant. Later, in my coaching practice I learned that illness meets needs. It fulfills a need to feel connected, to feel important, to get peoples’ love and attention. Of course we aren’t consciously making the choice to be sick, but it does meet a lot of needs. I knew I needed to be able to help people in other ways.
In 1998, I was still working part-time at the hospital and I developed anxiety and panic attacks to the point I couldn’t leave the house. It would last all day. At the time I didn’t know it was anxiety so I made an appointment with my doctors and he started writing me prescriptions for Prozac and Xanax. I felt judged and dissatisfied with this diagnosis. I remember going back to get testing done and encountering a woman that did the testing I do now (this testing picks up on things in the body before they show up in blood work or other exams.) I had been under a lot of stress and had a lot of things bubbling under the surface that all-together had run me down. So I started looking into diet and nutrition, homeopathy, flower essences and began understanding what was going on with me – really getting to the root of the issue instead of just treating the symptoms.
What type of people/symptoms do you generally work with?
Most of my clients have gone to doctors and are either put on a medication to stop their symptoms or aren’t receiving answers. I most often work with digestive issues, immune issues, hormonal, emotional, infertility, weight, or people with somewhat miscellaneous complaints that something is not right but have not found answers with their doctor.
How does your work differ from other therapies similar to yours?
I’ve been doing electroacupuncture/biofeedback testing since 2000. I get a client history, have them fill out an assessment form outlining their goals for this therapy and then I use the acupressure points on the hands and feet because every point is either a beginning or end point to a meridian system within the body. I can test for weak points in those meridians and get an energetic reading on things happening in the body which will come before the physical manifestations fully come to fruition.
I also do rapid transformational therapy which uses regression to heal the body through the subconscious. The idea is that if there’s something you want and it isn’t working out, there is a block there. The belief is that we start picking everything up with a wide open mind from in-utero until later childhood and these beliefs that we take on are not necessarily ours. I use a technique called dialoguing with the abuser which allows clients to take their power back. I upgrade inner child which is a beautiful to heal the inner child complex and I always record the transformation. I do command cell therapy as well. If you come in and have thyroid issues, I will use this technique to ignite the inner physician, where the mind is used to heal things within the body. Biofeedback is registered with the FDA. It’s like muscle testing amplified.
If you had to choose a few holistic wellness staples you think everyone could benefit from what would they be?
Acknowledging feelings. Feelings are made to be felt and can eventually cause illness if they are ignored.
Really getting in touch with what you want in life. We grow up with a lot of “should”s, trying to make other people happy we tend to suppress our desires.
Nutrition. Drawing the connection between how you eat and what you feel.
Drink water. Most people are chronically dehydrated and so many issues can be resolved by staying hydrated.
What hobbies or interests do you have outside of your work?
I live on a little lake so I enjoy kayaking and being out on the pontoon. Self development. I’m always doing some kind of seminar or workshop. I love time spent in nature and reinventing my idea of what self-care is. I thought it was manicures and pedicures for the longest time and now I know its saying “no” when I mean no and “yes” when I mean yes, really uncovering what lights me up and makes me happy. The hobby is unlearning old patterns and putting in the good stuff, finding out what I really want in this space in my life. Travel is definitely in it.
Did you grow up in Michigan?
I grew up in Chicago, then in Wisconsin and then to Michigan. I grew up near a bird sanctuary that had hills and waterfalls, a really beautiful little area that was tucked away in Geneva, Wisconsin. A gorgeous hidden gem of a place. I always felt very free and very safe to spend time exploring outside.
Where is your favorite place you have ever traveled?
I loved Buenos Aires, Argentina. They have little neighborhoods called barrios and they’re all different. I stayed in a smaller one and no one spoke English, but I never felt so safe. It’s like if Spain and Italy collided. Their seasons are gorgeous. The springs there have these vibrant trees called jacaranda trees that turn this bright purple. It’s just a beautiful place with a rich culture.
What is one thing you do regularly to nourish your well being?
Meditate. Once in the morning.
And wake up with gratitude.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Prevention is the most desirable form of health care. Being very proactive, even in western medicine, getting regular checkups, I think is important, but it’s important to balance it with holistic care. In holistic care there are things you can do for you, so you feel like you’re taking an active roll. Working in the hospital I certainly understand the technology and am grateful they can do the procedures that need to be done when they need to be done. I worked in open heart and when people have blocked arteries, you’re not going to give them an herb or a flower essence, but those things can play a key role in prevention. So many people in the hospital were there for stress related issues. So looking into what you can do to nurture you and put yourself first involves a lot of unlearning and responsibility in the sense that you have the ability to respond. That you have a choice in how you respond, and determining what will get you where you want to be.