Mind, body & soul (... and not so much El Rancho)
New health care studio takes integrated approach to healing
I gosh-near ruined my life around the time I turned 30 because of a bad breakup and the terrible ways I dealt with it. Basically, I went into full self-destruct mode: one hand holding a vodka tonic, and the other hand waving in the musky air of El Rancho as I danced to bad jukebox music with some sweaty stranger.
It wasn’t healthy.
At least that’s probably what Stacy Reuille-Dupont would have told me. Reuille-Dupont is the owner and brains behind Durango’s newest innovative, integrated healthcare studio, Studio B. Opened in August 2020 and located in the Purple Cliffs at Escalante, Studio B specializes in using physical, mental and dietary health to tackle bad breakups and the rest of life’s woes – without the use of late- night dancing and alcohol.
Reuille-Dupont’s background inadvertently shaped Studio B and her future in integrated health. She began studying psychology in college, but after a couple months, wanted to switch her major to exercise science and ended up with a degree in kinesiology and business with a specialty in health club management.
“I had my own health issues that got me into the medical system in a way that didn’t make me want to be reactive; I wanted to be more proactive,” Reuille-Dupont said. “I wanted to go in a direction that was more preventative. I wanted to figure out what we can all do to not even need the medicine.”
So, she and her husband, Jeff Dupont, focused on exercise as proactive, preventative measures to health and went on to own and manage health clubs around the country. During this time, Reuille-Dupont noticed that some of her clients would open up to her, becoming emotional and telling her things that she believed were important in their health journeys.
“There was obviously something in me that was tapping into certain pieces,” Reuille-Dupont said. She sensed these vulnerable breakthroughs helped her clients move toward their physical goals, because they could clear the thoughts that might be holding them back from achieving their health goals. But because she didn’t yet have the skills to fully take advantage of these psychological opportunities, she decided to go back to school and get her masters in counseling and ultimately her PhD in Clinical and Somatic Psychology.
Now, Reuille-Dupont is a licensed therapist as well as a certified personal trainer, and the one thing she has learned is that body and mind are irrevocably and intrinsically tied together.
“We know that what you think and how you respond to things impacts your cellular structure, and it impacts how your body manifests it all,” Reuille-Dupont said. For example, emotions elicit a change in the endocrine system, which elicits change within the body’s other systems. So, if a person has psychological trauma, it can dysregulate their nervous system, and then all sorts of things go awry: digestion issues, headaches, cardiac issues or joint pain. If we don’t take care of our psychological needs, then our physical health can follow.
She points out, though, that it doesn’t necessarily have to be so traumatic. “Psychology is a skill game; it’s all about looking at where you are, what patterns you have in your life, taking that apart and putting in what works better,” Reuille-Dupont said. And when it comes to therapy, “who wouldn’t want to talk, uninterrupted, to an unbiased person for an hour?” she asked.
My answer to her was, pretty much everyone in Durango, because a lot of people around here call running, mountain biking and skiing “therapy” (present company included). To my relief, Stacy said that was great, and it’s all part of her overall objective at Studio B.
“If you’re getting what you need from (biking, running, etc.), that’s great. If you’re getting the release you need, if you’re getting the social support you need – we call that social engagement – it reregulates your nervous system and keeps everything humming along really well, and that’s awesome,” Reuille-Dupont said.
Thankfully, physical exercise metabolizes and regulates our stress hormones, and if we don’t metabolize them we’re more at risk for disease. That does not, as she briefly touched on – and perhaps to my chagrin – include late-night bar dancing and drinking alcohol.
In fact, as most of us don’t really want to hear, alcohol is another piece of the integrated, holistic health approach, and we should probably not be binging so much on it. In fact, alcohol and other dietary decisions affect our system more than we may think. And if our mental and physical health act as the roof and walls of our metaphorical well-being houses, our nutritional intake is the foundation.
“Nutrition is a key to it all, because you have to eat certain things to get all the vitamins, minerals and micronutrients that you need to build the neurotransmitters and the hormones that the rest of the body operates on,” Reuille-Dupont said.
Which can be complicated. Or it can be slap-you-in-your-face simple because, say for example, you’re going through a bad breakup and drown yourself in whisky for breakfast, ice cream for lunch, and El Rancho popcorn and vodka for dinner, you’re probably not going to feel well. And if you don’t feel well, you’re probably going to text someone you shouldn’t, and then lie on the couch all day full of regret and self-loathing. Like I already stated, not healthy.
Truly, on a scientific level though, Reuille-Dupont explains that our nervous system is so tied into the microbiome of our gut that even people struggling with depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, ADHD and other mental health conditions can benefit from a more carefully constructed diet – which Studio B also offers with in-house, licensed dietitians.
It’s a three-pillared system, and, as Stacy points out, you can’t really have one without having all three: mental, physical and nutritional health. They are all tightly braided together, and they are all offered under one roof (Studio B’s, not El Rancho’s).