Janice Pastorek wants to spread good vibes—medicinally.
The registered nurse and certified homeopath first became interested in skincare and wellness due to her own unexplained chronic childhood rashes. But it wasn’t until many years later, when she went to work at her husband’s lauded plastic surgery office, that she saw the potential healing and beautifying applications for post-surgery patients.
Over the years, Pastorek has treated myriad clients, while also acting as a go-to consultant, advisor and educator for entities from The New York Academy of Medicine to French beauty line, Guerlain. But it is perhaps her passion for both science and alternative healing that most sets her apart: Whether playing guided meditations for patients lying under lights or using homeopathy to combat issues from bruising to anxiety, she brings an unlikely holistic approach to the couple’s Park Avenue practice.
Here, Pastorek explains the importance of vibrational medicine and duality in pursuit of health and happiness:
Live The Process: Have you always been interested in beauty and health?
Janice Pastorek: From a very young age, I had fun experimenting with different looks, playing with my mother’s makeup and creating hairdos. I’ve always loved art too: I took charcoal drawing classes at 8 years old. I became completely immersed in making things around me beautiful and organized. I’d create little vistas around my home, put flowers together. I'd even go into my father’s factory and decorate the bathroom. I was always interested in beauty. My friends thought of me as “the knowledgeable one” in that department and about health.
It’s interesting that I wound up in skincare because, as a young child, I always had a rash of some kind—on my feet, my joints. Nobody knew where they came from. I remember that, to help, my mother would take me to someone who would put gentian violet on my toes, which made my toes purple!
As I got older, I continued to have rashes that no one knew how to fix. The solutions that doctors suggested often created additional problems. That's when I really got interested in how to properly treat skin—really to help myself.
Then, when I came to work for my husband 35 years ago, I found myself thinking about how patients’ results looked great, but, after the surgery was done, I couldn’t stop noticing their skin. I’d think, “It's a shame that now all I see is that freckle or acne, etc. And it's a shame they now have to go work with a dermatologist.”
I felt that we needed to offer at least some simple services to help patients recover and improve their skin. At that time, no one was really offering skincare products or treatments in a plastic surgeon’s office. The beauty companies coming up at that point were more than happy to educate me on the science behind their products.
The first company I was involved with was Estée Lauder. I worked with their physician's division, helping to develop cover-up and other products related to dermatology and plastic surgery. I would speak at doctors’ meetings on their behalf, sharing pearls of wisdom about how patients could use the products to look better after surgery. At these meetings, I took courses that the dermatologists offered. Eventually, I had enough experience to give courses to doctors who were doing facial plastic surgery.
LTP: How and when did you discover homeopathy?
JP: I've been using homeopathy for over 20 years. When I started using it, I was primarily using Arnica because it was very mainstream and, a little later, Gelsemium, which worked like a miracle for anxiety when I started doing TV spots. When I was in the green room and people would have panic attacks, I would offer some Gelsemium, knowing it was over-the-counter and it worked. So, that was my first understanding of what homeopathy could do.
But it wasn't until I came across a product called OcuMend, which was a patch developed to prevent bruises under the eyes from eyelid surgery, that I became interested in what homeopathy could do for my patients. When I saw it at a meeting several years ago, I asked if they'd ever used it for bruising from injections. They said no, but they were happy to give me the product to see if it worked. It did, and the company ended up introducing it to other physicians for that use too.
Later, I broke a rib, which is very painful. I thought, “Maybe I should just slap one of the OcuMends on and see if it helps?” Within three days, the pain was much reduced! About a week later, I noticed that there was a bruise in a big circle around the injury, but no bruise under or just outside the patch. Three or four weeks after the break, I couldn't even feel where the injury was—usually healing takes eight to ten weeks.
That's when I called up the founder of OcuMend and grilled her about the product: “What is this? How does it work? What can I read?” I read six books about homeopathy before I found one that I still think offers the best explanation of what it is. It’s called Impossible Cure by Amy Lansky, a former NASA scientist. It's about the history of homeopathy, but also her story of how she took her son off the autism spectrum using homeopathy and other Western medicine procedures. I found it fascinating, but I also wanted to validate the story. Sure enough, when I asked my psychiatrist and psychologist, who are patients of mine, they reported that they had used homeopathy similarly.
Shortly thereafter, I took a one-year certification course to better understand how to use homeopathy specifically for our patients. I feel like we have figured out how to use homeopathy effectively to manage bruising and anxiety. And it's something we can give without a fear of side effects. We can give it to babies; we can give it to pregnant women.
LTP: How do you continue to use homeopathy and other holistic healing methods in your current practice?
JP: What really intrigues me about homeopathy is that it is a vibrational approach to medicine. As you may know, string theory is the most prevalent theory on why matter exists. It argues that, at our smallest component, we are vibration and, at our largest manifestation, we are vibration. Therefore, doesn't it make sense that we can use vibrational medicine to help us be well?
In addition to other treatments, in my current practice I use lasers, ultrasound and light technologies to restore skin and help people heal and feel better. I see those energies as vibrational medicines too. I try to educate each patient about my view of what works and what doesn't. What shows up in the physical body may be a result of one’s vibe not being at its peak.
LTP: How do you personally keep yourself feeling healthy and balanced?
JP: Twice a week, I take a yoga class. Every day, I do a little cardio too. My husband and I also ballroom dance, which includes salsa, foxtrot, waltz and rhumba—it makes our hearts sing. To feel my best, I also want the foods I eat to be nutritious and what I consider “high vibe.” So, I eat clean, organic when I can. I note how I feel after eating something—does it bring good stuff to me or not?
LTP: What do you think makes someone beautiful?
JP: Beauty comes in so many packages. But what makes people truly beautiful is when they are feeling great; you can feel their energy, see their facial expressions as happy, content, at peace. So, beauty results from doing what makes your heart sing at some point in the day, every day.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
JP: This is a great question because, several years back, I did an informal study, asking patients what makes them happy. Most people couldn't answer the question. So, I came up with a little prompt to help them recognize what does make them happy: For example, to me happiness looks like blue skies, a beautiful beach, cashmere on a cold day. It looks like new shoes, dark chocolate, a belly laugh. It looks like being loved. It looks like clear skin, good hair. It feels like good energy. Feeling alert and happy and turned on, tuned in. It's like loving other people, acknowledging others. You know, happiness is a feeling. It can look like something, but what it feels like is most important. So, I just mention those things to people.
It's funny—this is just an aside—but with this current political stuff, you know, people are really unhappy, but it’s actually forced me to be kinder. I feel like reaching out more. So, that's the good thing that's come out of this election season.
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?
JP: So, if you want to “Live The Process,’ you’ve got to know what process is, right? Most people don't know what their process is. So, my process is this: I'm doing “trip Earth.” I don't want it to sound too flaky, but, basically, I'm a conscious being having a physical experience, negotiating a plane of duality: light and dark, hot and cold, love and hate etc. That duality allows me to have choice, to have desire. When I know what I don't want, I better know what I do want too. Without the duality, there's no relativity, and I need relativity to know where I want to go. No matter where that is—no matter what I want, whether it’s an object or power or experience—I want it because I think I'll feel better for having it. My goal is to feel good.
So, my process is to figure out what makes me feel good and stay on track to achieve those things. It takes focus. Everything in your consciousness begins with focus, which is trained with meditation. So, meditation is always part of my day, even if it's just a few minutes. I strive every day to stay on target and try to go with the flow and recognize that where I am right now is okay, even good, and that it's all gonna work out. If it hasn't worked out yet, it means we're not there yet. That's the process. And you know, we just want to keep feeling like life is a journey, and that’s good. Be in the journey. Make every day count.