A Journey Through Dark Times Leads to the Light of Health and Healing
Stephanie Solaris has a hard-earned passion for “helping people create the life they desire.” Her business, Solaris Whole Health LLC, located in Bernardsville and offering integrated nutrition and wellness protocols, was born of her experience with debilitating illness followed by a circuitous search for help. As a result of her journey, and aided by her background in science and pharmaceuticals, Solaris found her calling helping others reclaim their health.
Born in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, Solaris earned a degree in chemical engineering from Northeastern University. While working as a pharmaceutical executive with long hours, extensive travel and compromised eating habits, Solaris’ health deteriorated to a breaking point, and in 1997 she left her corporate job. The respite did not solve the problem, however, as she found herself gaining unexplained weight, and feeling “unable to move,” knowing that “something just was not right.” Chronic fatigue and IBS were among her conditions.
Solaris called on her natural curiosity for science and skills as a researcher to mine the nascent field of alternative and complementary modalities for answers. She “explored everything – homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, cranial sacral therapy, talk therapy, supplements, yoga, tai chi, qi gong,” and more, gaining valuable knowledge from each of these approaches. As her health slowly improved, an emotional awakening emerged as Solaris began to recognize ways in which she had identified herself with things in the outside world – her job, status, etc., rather than with her inner essence. “What I do now couldn’t be further from that mindset,” she notes.
What she does now is offer integrative health and nutrition services, customizing support based on an individual’s medical history, genetic make-up and lifestyle patterns. Her company’s goal is to take all facets of a client’s life into account: “We believe that body, mind and spirit must all be nurtured and attended to in the healing process.”
Solaris says she never imagined that she would someday help others heal themselves. “It was not even on my radar.” But friends encouraged her to share her story. As she gained confidence with the idea, Solaris knew she had the science background to get started, but needed other skills. So in 2007 she received her graduate certification as a Certified Health & Nutrition Counselor from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in conjunction with Columbia University Teachers College. Since then, she has also been accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners; certified in First Line Therapy, trained to work with doctors to optimize a client’s health, and is NEI (Neuro-Endocrine-Immune) Certified, where she is trained to specialize in hormone and neurotransmitter optimization.
By 2007 Solaris had done many internships with medical professionals in the metro area and established a wide network of allied colleagues. In December of 2008 she was working as a nutritionist with a successful Manhattan holistic health group when a car accident left her with a serious concussion and chronic headaches. “That moment changed everything,” she states. She left the Manhattan practice and concentrated on work closer to home. Although the accident was traumatic, Solaris now sees it as an opportunity—it enabled the “birth” of her own business, and allowed her to create a work environment that truly nourishes her. Moving in January 2013 to new office space at 5 Morristown Road, Bernardsville, stands out as a milestone for Solaris. There she and her staff seek to offer clients a calm, quiet reception from the bustling world into a space where they can tune inward, and from which they can ultimately discover their own ability to effect profound change in their lives. Solaris Whole Health LLC uses state of the art diagnostic technology to help determine “where the well is depleted,” as Solaris explains. From there, a personalized plan is created to “fill the well” with the optimal combination of nutritional supplements, diet/menu information, and lifestyle suggestions.
Solaris sees herself as just one part of her clients’ health team, collaborating with physicians and other healthcare professionals to offer a holistic approach to wellness. In fact, this is where she feels her past work experience has best served her present purpose: “Research is collaborative; that’s where I came from. Shared information creates change.” Combine that collaborative sense with her natural curiosity about the science behind her own illness, and “it all came together,” Solaris remarks.
Looking back, Solaris says, “This was not a planned business. I knew what I wanted to do, but was not sure how I was going to do it.” She has done it by remaining committed to the lessons learned on her own journey. Foremost among those discoveries has been the profound ability we all possess: to heal ourselves when we choose to take control of our lives. Witnessing the power of this reality when a client chooses to create the change which leads to newfound health—this is what motivates Stephanie Solaris and brings her sincere joy. This is how she creates the life that she desires.
Location: 5 Morristown Road, Suite C, in Bernardsville. For information, call 908-221-1112 or visit SolarisWholeHealth.com.
Staff writer Julie Shaw is also a Certified Viniyoga Therapist. For information, visit WindingPathYoga.com.