Written by Dan Krefft https://dancantravelwell.com/
Dr. Shani Cooper, LAc, DACM and founder of Root & Soul is on a humanitarian mission to inspire healing through natural pain management. This 8-year Navy veteran and intel analyst transitioned from military servicewomen to empowered entrepreneur without missing a beat. Utilizing her healing hands shaping and styling hair, she soon discovered the practice of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. Shani is now on the front-line and leading the charge in the fight against emotional and physical dis-ease.
“The head is not separate from body,” says Shani. “Both work in tandem together to aid in the healing process.” Her passion is deeply rooted (no pun intended) in providing personalized treatment plans tailored to the physical and emotional needs of each patient. Her story doesn’t end here. Shani is enhancing her offerings to include Doula services and support for expecting mothers and after birth when women can be most vulnerable.
“There is so much confusion and expectations put on women about what should happen after birth,” she explained. “Women need to be protected as huge neurological changes are happening and it can be emotionally and physically draining.” Shani believes that real change happens from within the body. Adopting the philosophy that food can also be medicine, she uses a variety of natural herbal supplements in her practice to treat the whole person, not just the ailment.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Shani about how she can take thousands of years of East Asian medicine, its products and practices, and evolve them to meet the needs of the market today.
- Tell me a little bit about yourself and your business (military service and background) and how you ended up in your current role as Founder of Root and Soul?
I joined up with the US Navy in 2000 and spent most of my career in the intelligence community. I left the military in 2008 and started out doing hair. I saw a need in the market and added massage to my tool kit later. It was while studying massage, that I encountered the practice Chinese Medicine and its healing properties.
- What first attracted you to entrepreneurship? Explain.
I have worked for myself ever since leaving Navy. Now more than ever my ideas of the kind of work I want to do doesn’t really have an outlet in the corporate space. Much of my entrepreneurial journey with Chinese Medicine is out of necessity rather than by choice. As my passion for my work has grown, I am discovering new ways to help my clients through restorative therapies and natural products.
- What services and treatments do you offer?
My practice focuses on natural solutions to chronic issues. Namely, chronic pain and digestive issues, and inclusive reproductive and birth services. My next challenge is to complete my postpartum recovery program that is aimed at providing better solutions for after birth for families, responding to their physical and emotional needs during that very precious and precarious time.
- What is your WHY when it comes to your business?
I’ve always loved helping people and making them feel better. Helping to improve someone’s quality of life, getting them back to the activities they love with the people they love, instead of at home suffering and limiting their lives, that lights me up every time and keeps me going.
- Why is healing and sharing your gift with the world such a big part of your business and your life? (networking, hosting workshops, donating your time, etc.)
I think that part is connected to my larger “why” of wanting to help others. Creating spaces where someone feels safe enough to take a chance and do what drives them is an amazing gift. It is incredibly profound, especially when I work as a volunteer Doula and get to participate and bear witness to the amazing life change of bringing life into the world.
- We’ve all had days when we felt like giving up, things get real, rough, and we are faced with making hard business as well as life decisions. In those moments of struggle those challenges times, what motivates you to keep going, what is it that helps you move forward and overcome these challenges?
Oh wow! Keeping the focus and drive to keep going when it gets hard is not an easy thing to do. Being a healer and my passion to create solutions for my client’s is a huge motivator for me.
- What is one piece of advice you would give female entrepreneurs just starting a business?
This is the time to be brave. So many want to hear what you have to say and can relate to your experience, that it’s almost your duty to do something that scares you if you are feeling called to do so.
- What strategies do you deploy if you want to really connect with someone, both in your personal life and in business?
Reach out… and listen. You must be able to actively listen to know what someone is asking for… I encounter people often who want quick and easy fixes to their issue that has taken many years to develop. I share with them that I make no promises, but I’ve seen amazing change happen in people who were ready to change their narrative. Everything from your self-talk to what you eat and how you breathe can either be part of your solution or adding to the problem.
- Can you talk a little more about digestion and how you are treating chronic ailments with a more natural holistic approach and why you feel this is important?
Chinese Medicine has several tools. The two I that really have the strongest effect on chronic issues are botanical herbal prescriptions and breathing exercises, followed very closely by food as medicine. This order of importance changes once balance starts to be restored and all three, I employ with my patients. So many people who struggle with impaired digestion don’t even realize it. I am proud to say that I sustainably source all my herbal supplements directly from the source. The practice of biohacking only harvests herbs at specific times and year. The process uses local family farms and only pesticide free herb cultivation. My distributers go into the villages and work with the families to sustainability and ethically source my herbs. This allows generations to thrive and maintain a good quality of life.
- Personal and or Business life Mantra?
Stay passionate… and keep your eyes open. You never know when your calling is going to bring you into an opportunity that is going to open doors for you. The biggest example of this is my personal journey to parenthood. After an early pregnancy loss last February, I slowly realized as I was working to heal from that heartbreak that another door was opening for me to bring my tools and talent to. Adding birth work to my skills has felt like a lifetime coming, but I couldn’t have seen that a year ago.