In the bustling world of today, where the demands of life can sometimes feel overwhelming, prioritising wellness has become a beacon of light. Wellness isn't just about fleeting trends or quick fixes; it's about fostering a lifestyle that cultivates balance, nourishment, and self-care. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Ayanna Birch, Founder of bodywork brand Birchwood Body, Certified Massage Therapist, Movement Practitioner and Wellbeing speaker, to delve into the essence of a wellness-first lifestyle, learn about her journey, and gather wisdom on creating a meaningful, holistic approach to well-being.
Latticia: What does a Wellness-First lifestyle mean to you?
Ayanna: A wellness-first lifestyle to me means finding balance in the things that you do. It's finding joy in whatever it is that you're doing, whether that be hobbies, career, you know, just life, relationships, friendships, things like that is what a wellness-first lifestyle means to me and having a really good strong community. It also means carving out time for yourself... I think it's just literally learning about yourself, your boundaries, what you love and what makes you feel good, quite literally.
Latticia: Tell me about your journey as a certified therapist and what led you to start Birchwood Body?
Ayanna: I've always loved kind of touch. I've always been quite natural to massaging people's shoulders. Even in a night out, you know, you're in a club and you know, somebody's like oh, like, oh, like my neck and I'm like, Oh, well, let me just help you, I was always really a touchy kind of person.
Birchwood Body, quite literally, is about teaching you about your body and how to take care of your body. There's different elements to it; there is massage therapy, there is mobility and movement and then there's also mindset because I think mindset is such a big thing in everything that we do. It's very much a platform that's just going to teach you about your body.
Latticia: What would you say is the biggest trend or, like, the biggest misconception that you've noticed in the wellness industry right now?
Ayanna: I think one of the biggest trends is definitely, food and I think one of the biggest misconceptions, and I've always said this, is that not everything is for everyone. I feel like sometimes in the wellness industry, it's very much like, oh, you can't have that, you can't eat that and that's bad for you. We're all human beings, we're not robots, like, we can have things in moderation.
Latticia: Do you have any daily rituals or routines that you do to take care of your own well-being?
Ayanna: I'm a morning person, so I love waking up and having a bit of time to myself. So whether that's, like, journaling, stretching or moving a little bit. I'm not like a full-on, like, exercise person, but I do love to move especially through yoga and pilates. I love having a little dance in the morning as well and spending time moisturising my body or applying concealer to my face, it feels so good. Tapping has become a key part of my routine. I tap on my chest—it's incredibly energising and invigorating, especially when I'm feeling a bit low. This technique gets my blood flowing and sets a positive tone for the day.
Latticia: How do you stay motivated and inspired on your wellness journey?
Ayanna: As much as I would say that I'm a positive person, sometimes I am really in a rut and it's hard to really see out of it. Thankfully, I have a really amazing community around me; my family, my sister and I have good friends. Once I've done a small step of like having a shower and feeling rejuvenated, then I'm like, okay, I'm ready to like receive and also give back.
Latticia: What does your evening routine look like for you when you've had a full day of massage treatments?
Ayanna: It's so funny because I can have a day of back-to-back clients and feel super energised and then I need to kind of shake it off because I'm too energised and I need to sooth my nervous system. On a day where I'm feeling really fatigued and I'm really struggling, I just need to kind of go to like a class where I can get a bit more in my body, have a tea, chill with music on, clean myself and my bedroom, something like that.
Latticia: What advice would you give someone looking to pursue a career in the wellness space?
Ayanna: Go for it. Like literally if you just want to test, go to a workshop where there's people that are training and they need people to practice on and then like ask questions. Definitely explore it, see if you want to invest in it.
Latticia: If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is looking to prioritise their well-being, what would that advice be?
Ayanna: I would say just take it step by step. I think with wellness, I think sometimes we can do a whole overhaul, like, oh, I'm going to change my diet and I'm going to start exercising every day and I'm going to do this and I'm going to do that. And it's like, actually, like, just take it step by step, do one thing and then once you've got that, then do the next thing.
Latticia: What do you hope to contribute to the wellness industry?
Ayanna: It's so funny and I know this is going to sound really cheesy but I don't care. Last year, I was at a project with Natalie the founder of Empower. We were at an event and we had this tent and I remember giving a massage and his son was there. And then he was like, I want to be a massage therapist when I'm older. And I was like, oh really? There's not a lot of people wanting to be like practitioners so that really made my day. Aside from inspiring people to become practitioners, I really want share and reach enough people to teach them techniques on how to understand their emotional body, through massage and movement.
Thank you so much Ayanna for sharing her incredible wisdom with the LATTICIA Organics Community.
Key takeaways: A wellness-first lifestyle isn't a destination but a journey filled with mindful choices, self-discovery, and embracing what truly resonates. Ayanna's insights remind us that well-being is personal and that even small steps can lead to transformation. So, whether it's dancing in the morning, daily rituals, or debunking wellness myths, remember: wellness is about progress, not perfection.