Monday, August 31, 2015

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Dr. Gabrielle Francis, co-author of 'The Rockstar Remedy'

Dr. Gabrielle Francis has been practicing natural medicine for more than thirty years.
She is a Naturopathic Doctor, Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, and Licensed Massage therapist. Dr. Francis currently practices in New York City as The Herban Alchemist.  She also operates Backstage Alternative, which is her natural medicine road show that provides chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, nutrition and herbal remedies to performing artists on tour. 

Dr. Francis received her formal medical training at National College of Chiropractic and at Bastyr University. She has extensive training in Alternative Cancer Therapies, Environmental Medicine, Functional Medicine, Mind-Body medicine, and Bio-Identical Hormone therapies. Following her formal medical education, Dr. Francis travelled extensively to various parts of the world studying medicine with indigenous healers in countries such as China, India, Thailand, Bali, Brazil, Morocco, Peru, Guatemala, Ecuador, Belize, Mexico, Egypt, and Mali. 
Stacy Baker Masand is a health, fitness and lifestyle editor whose work has appeared in magazines such as In StyleMarie ClaireSelfShapeFitnessDuJour and Women's Health. She's co-author of New York Times bestseller Your Best Body Now. Stacy is currently developing projects for both small and big screen.
Their latest book is the health/wellness/rocknroll book, The Rocstar Remedy.
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About the Book:

Title: The Rockstar Remedy
Author: Dr. Gabrielle Francis with Stacy Baker Masand
Publisher: HarperCollins Wave
Pages: 330
Genre: Health and Wellness/Rock n Roll
Format: Paperback/Kindle/Nook

Known as the “Rock n’ Roll Doctor” to some of the most famous bands in the world, Dr. Gabrielle Francis shares her unique holistic prescription to achieving health and balance—even when you don’t live like a saint!

As a Holistic Doctor to the music industry’s elite, Dr. Francis has helped rock stars repair, recover, and refuel from the demanding schedules and occasional overindulgences that come along with the rock star lifestyle. Being overscheduled, sleep-deprived, overeating, drinking and managing physical and mental stressors aren’t lifestyle habits unique to the music industry; they are the same challenges faced by all of us, every day. 

In The Rockstar Remedy, Dr. Francis shares her unique strategies designed to be incorporated into your hectic lifestyle. Her programs are customized to meet you where you are at, whether an experienced health enthusiast or a beginner. Completing the 21 day detox will give you a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm for life, while looking and feeling your personal best. She explains how health is not a destination, but exists on a spectrum, and the simple act of making better choices every day—even if they’re not the best choices—helps us achieve balance in both mind and body. With tips for improving energy levels, easy food guidelines and a simple no-starvation detox, Dr. Francis offers a simple, effective plan for staying healthy and happy amid the chaos of our daily lives. Her popular “Harm Reduction Techniques” and “90/10 Rule” make it easy to celebrate life with occasional indulgences while maintaining good health. This is not a temporary fix; this program brings long-lasting, life-changing results. 

Now you can reach for the stars too!

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Thanks for joining us at the book club, Dr. Francis!  Can I call you Dr. G?

Dr. G:  Thank you for inviting me!  I am thrilled.  And yes, please call me Dr. G.  That’s my DJ name.  Hee hee!

I am so enthralled with your book, The Rockstar Remedy!  How did you get known as the Rock ‘n Roll doctor?

Dr. G:  Well, I am honored that you are reading it and that you like it.  I have been told that it is the first time that people have read a health book that is a page turner! 
 I started working in the music business when I was 19.  At that time, I was working backstage as the massage therapist for all the different bands that came to town.  I worked my way through Chiropractic school, Naturopathic Medical school, and Acupuncture school as a massage therapist and then as a holistic doctor.  Each profession built on the previous one.  I stayed in the music business and the bands would always call me when they were in town.   Once I graduated from Medical school, I started to go out on full tours with the bands.  That is when I became the Rock n Roll doctor.  I would tour for several months with a group offering massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, and naturopathic medicine to the artists and the entire entourage.  Then I would get picked up by another group and tour with them for several months and it just went from there. 
I guess the famous people liked the idea that I was a one stop shop and they could get all the modalities in one person.   I was also very popular with musicians because I did not judge the extreme indulgences that come with being a touring Rockstar.  I just worked around it and designed some “harm reduction strategies” to make the naughty things a little nicer.  These little tricks are shared in The Rockstar Remedy.

Can you tell us what the inspiration behind your book was?

Dr. G:  My first practice of incorporating all of my healing modalities together was on tour with Rockstars.  I then moved on to a traditional practice in San Francisco and now New York.  I began to realize that most of patients were actually living like Rockstars.  They had extreme lifestyles, overly booked schedules, little time to eat healthy, travelling for work, and self medicating for the stressors with food, alcohol, and other addictive pleasures.   Yet, they wanted to feel better and be healthy.  Traditional health approaches are very judgemental and unreallistic and most people aren’t able to follow them for more than a month or two. 
I had the idea that I wanted to take the message of health to people in a very fun and non-judgmental way.  I wanted to address the realities of lifestyles and socializing and show people that just like Rockstars on tour, they could improve the quality of their health in the context of their life the way it was. 
I also wanted to take the message of health to an audience that would typically not be interested in health because they found it boring or simply unattainable.  In other words, I wanted to get more people to join the church, not just preach to the choir.  And since Rockstars are archetypal heros and heroines to so many people, I thought that they would be great ambassadors for this health revolution! 

What kind of rock ‘n roll stars have you had the pleasure to meet?

Dr. G:  I have worked with Starving Artists that were on their first tour to huge household name artists on tours that grossed mega millions.  I have worked with artists in Rock, Punk, Heavy Metal, Jam Bands, Country, Alternative, Grunge and the list goes on.  Some artists are easy going and others are extreme Divas and everything in between.  If I could drop names, then I would be able to retire early.  But that won’t happen.  So I leave the names out of the stories and up to the imagination of the readers!

What kind of a lifestyle do they normally lead for those who aren’t familiar? 

Dr. G:  Rockstars lead lives that operate on a pendulum.  There is the tour life and then there is the off tour life.  The tour life is not that different than that of a business traveler or a working mom for that matter.   They go all day, move all the time, perform, party, try to sleep, and then get up to do it all over again. 
Most of the artists that I have toured with are trying to lead healthier lives as they have already done the sex and drugs things.  So now the tours are with organic foods, the nanny’s have replaced the groupies, the wives and kids are there for part of the tour.  They may even be doing yoga, meditating, or on another spiritual path.  For the most part, the Rockstars I have worked with are from all genres of Rock and they are truly conscious, spiritual, and creative ambassadors.

Can you dig inside your book and give us an excerpt?

Dr. G:
The Rude Awakening

I remember sitting in Naturopathic school with other students and hearing them talk about how their future practices would be.  They would say things such as:  If my patients eat at Mc Donald’s I won’t work with them.   I can only work with people who are open to raw food and vegetarianism.  Coffee is the root of all things evil and my patients will not drink it.
It led me to wonder how these people were going to pay off their student loan bills.  Who would be their patients?  It hadn’t crossed my mind that my first practice would be touring with Rock Bands and I would have this dilemma too.

When I graduated from 17 years of medical school, I was so burned out from working full time and going to school that I was not even sure I wanted to be a doctor anymore.   This seemed like a good time to take a few months sabbatical and do the travelling I had always wanted to do.  I was having an identity crisis and felt a break from medicine would cure it.

So I sold my possessions, closed my chiropractic practice, and drove my books and clothes back to Cleveland to keep in storage for who knows how long.   I headed to Europe with a backpack and no hotel reservation.    For the next 8 months, I backpacked through Europe seeing sights, making pilgrimages along the way, sipping coffee in cafes, and taking in the culture.   I missed medicine and realized that I truly did want to be a doctor.  

Several months into it, one of the bands I had worked with previously, got wind I was in Europe.   How would I like to get paid to travel?  They wanted someone to go on tour and do some natural medicine for them.   What a day it was to take a taxi from the youth hostel in Paris where I was sharing a room with 6 people to the very swanky Paris hotel where I would meet the group.  The taxi driver questioned my appearance and destination.   I arrived at the fancy hotel looking like one of the Beverly Hill Billy’s. wiping the dust off myself.  The band gave me money to buy some hipper clothes.  They could not bear to see the hiking boots and backpack.   The next few months it was 5 star hotels, tour buses and planes instead of trains, and lots of great parties.

I had my massage tables sent to Europe along with a natural medicine pharmacy of herbs and vitamins and acupuncture needles.   I was so excited to be able to incorporate all of the modalities for healing together for the first time since I graduated.  This would be my first practice.
 I was in for a Rude Awakening!

My visions of the ultimate natural medicine practice were quickly dissolved.  After Paris the band headed to Amsterdam.  Need I say more? I quickly realized that this band was just as committed to revelry and debauchery as they were to their health.   The preventive medicine I knew turned into harm reduction for hangovers and Sexually Transmitted Disease.  What to do?  This is not the kind of natural medicine practice I had wanted.  Eventually I relaxed into it.  I put my judgments aside and learned to use my medicines any chance I could.   As a doctor, I needed to learn this.   I learned to meet people where they are and make small changes where I could.   I learned it is possible to be healthy and have a lot of fun too!

You can’t always get what you want…
But you get what you need.”

-The Rolling Stones

What has been the responses from people who have read your book?

Dr. G:  My patients, family, and friends tell me that the book is great and very easy to read.  They love the layout of information and say that they pick it up as a reference and read small sections at a time for soundbytes of information.  I have heard quite a few times that it was the first health book they read that was a page turner!   I think that my stories and the artist quotes and stories make this the most engaging health book on the planet!

What’s next for you, Dr. G?

Dr. G: Well, I have been doing massive amounts of press for this book.  But the second book is in the ethers waiting to be downloaded. 
I am a world traveler.  When I travel, I find the healers and the healing systems in the country that I am in and I try to learn the holistic medicine traditions of the region.  So my next book will be my travel medicine stories.  Lets say Eat, Pray, Love meets Anthony Bourdain with an alternative medicine theme!

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