The Past Nine Years She has Been Studying Healing Modalities From Thai Bodywork to Functional Lab Work to Counseling to Ancient Diagnosis. Meet Natural Health Practitioner, Candice McCallister
Candice is a holistic health practitioner who has been there too, and loves coming alongside other women on the journey. Together, we can dig deeper into what’s really going on so that you can finally feel good in your body again.
She loves to work with clients in a truly holistic way – combining functional lab testing with dietary and lifestyle changes, as well as addressing emotional and structural stressors that may be affecting their symptoms. She loves to encourage and support her clients who often feel stuck or alone in their health struggles, listen to their stories, and give them the information and support they’ve needed to finally get better.
Q: After you completed your education, where did you feel your career path would take you?
CM: My education has come in waves, so I’ve thought different things at different junctures. My undergraduate degree was in Biology, and I was at the top of my class; but, I really had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. My first child was born around the time I was completing my Masters in Counseling. Then, I decided to go deeper into natural health training - bringing together mental health and chronic health needs I was seeing in my clients. I always thought I would end up in higher education.
I love teaching and working with groups of people, but I knew I needed to work with people one on one first. I have found that I love working with clients one on one and in groups. I love getting to walk with people as they face the challenges of the heart and mind and body that have kept them stuck and then support them as they find a hopeful and meaningful way past that to a place of freedom and thriving!
Q: For those in our audience not familiar with the services provided by a Health Practitioner, can you share with us some options that are available?
CM: I have two basic options, both of which overlap in many ways. One: I work with clients as a holistic mental health counselor. Generally, people come to me with symptoms of depression and/or anxiety, along with past experiences or traumas that leave them feeling stuck, irritable, or lost in their daily lives. More often than not, this couples with some chronic physical symptoms, too (digestive distress, skin disturbances, food sensitivities, hormone ups and downs, etc.). With counseling clients, I use talk therapy combined with body-based therapies to support real changes in the nervous system. This means people get relief from depression and anxiety AND their chronic symptoms improve. I can also provide some education and information about natural health support in this context.
Two: I do functional lab testing and holistic protocols to address chronic health symptoms, like low energy, poor digestion, brain fog, and headaches. Testing can help us dig deeper into what is actually going on, instead of just guessing. I use my counseling lens to hear more deeply and see the big picture of what’s really contributing to a long-term issue. People often say they feel truly heard and seen in their health struggle for the first time in their lives. In a world of specialists, it can be rare to find someone who can look broadly and identify the blind spots that have been keeping people from getting better.
Q: What are some of the common reasons why women visit you?
CM: Depression, anxiety, low energy, headaches, hormone and cycle-related symptoms, digestive issues, food sensitivities.
Q: You have pursued further training as a Licensed Counselor in the state of Arkansas, a Certified Thai Bodywork Practitioner and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner. Tell us, what are the benefits these services can provide for women.
CM: During these uncertain and stressful times, I pretty much recommend that everyone have a counselor or regular outlet for emotional processing. The somatic experiencing approach that I use in therapy has the added benefit of going beyond words to bringing awareness to the body and what needs to be released or worked through there. Often, our bodies are giving us clues to what we are really experiencing and what we really need. We rationalized so much away with our minds that we can be living in denial of the true experience we are having in the moment. Our bodies don’t lie or rationalize. In a way, they give us the most simple, true feedback available to us. When we tune into them, we have an opportunity to move through the stress or fear or grief that has been keeping us stuck.
I love doing Thai Bodywork and believe it to be one of the best ways to address pain in the body. Unfortunately, I only practice this with friends and family, as I’m not licensed as a massage therapist in the state of Arkansas. However, this intimate knowledge of the body and muscles informs all the work that I do, and I often teach clients self-care methods using bodywork principles to address period cramps, chronic leg pain, and neck and shoulder tightness.
As a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, I am like a detective looking for clues to solve the mystery of what is causing the symptoms my clients are experiencing. I have found that even mental health symptoms are affected greatly by physiological imbalances. I do not diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure disease; instead, I am looking for what is out of balance and helping to gently return the body to homeostasis. I frequently test for imbalances in hormones, digestive tract microorganisms, and minerals. I also do food sensitivity testing. I love testing because I often find that people guess wrong and then address an imbalance in the opposite direction. We almost always uncover unexpected clues that are key to helping people feel better.
Q: How did you pick the name Sweet Water Offering?
CM: I originally chose the name when I started my Thai Bodywork practice in Illinois. I had lived in Thailand in my early 20s (where I first experienced Thai massage!), and my name was too different for Thai people to pronounce. So, they gave me a new name! “Namwaan” in Thai means “Sweet Water.” At first I used the Thai word but then decided to use the English translation and liked the sound of it with “offering.” I love that it fits even if I shift my focus on my work as time goes on - it’s my offering to the world, the gift of my heart to support others in health and wholeness.
Q: Can you tell us how you manage your work life balance?
CM: As most of us have experienced, everything changed with the beginning of the pandemic. My kids have been home since March, and I have been working from home since then, as well. I have found what works best for me is to make a clear schedule for my week and stick to it. The family’s needs are constant, but it is good for me AND for them if I have clear boundaries and if they are expected to be independent and responsible for themselves during defined periods of time. My kids are 14, 11, and 7, and I’m thrilled to see them stepping up in their contributions to the family and in their ability to care for themselves and each other.
I keep my work hours limited to 25-30 hours per week for the purpose of maintaining good work life balance, as well. It’s important to me that I practice what I preach: good self-care, home-cooked meals, healthy family rhythms, getting to bed early and getting good sleep, spending time in nature, exercising, meditating/praying. These are givens to me, and it’s amazing how much I can get done in my work hours when I am focused and energized from healthy daily practices. My husband also has a cancer diagnosis that we will likely be addressing on and off for the rest of his life. When he is undergoing periods of treatment, this is an added strain on balance in our daily lives. To me, the most important shift is a mindset one: Putting our own struggles and challenges into perspective and embracing the beauty and gifts that are still there even in the hardest seasons of life.
Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience?
CM: Building a business from scratch takes time. Plan for it and welcome the sustainability of slow, natural growth. In the end, you will feel ready and up to the task when your business takes off. And here’s the other key: Stick with it. Many times, the only difference between the businesses that make it and the ones that don’t is perseverance.
Q: Which woman inspires you and why?
CM: Jenny Shih. She was my business coach when I was first getting started. I love that she is down to earth, not at all salesy, comes from the heart, and is practical and efficient. Her training has helped me immensely, but even more so I am inspired by her character and values in doing the work she does.
Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today?
CM: All the rules of the game have changed during the pandemic. Many people feel lost and unsure about how to move forward in all the areas of their lives. Most women cannot thrive without connection. The stress and uncertainty of the past 6 months has affected their hormones, sleep, and mineral levels. A recent study shows that depression has increased threefold over the past 6 months. I highly recommend that all women find a counselor or support person to meet with regularly to track with them. This includes processing the emotional experiences they are having, as well as addressing the ways this is affecting their bodies. Even if women are still in a daze and continuing forward as normal, it’s time to get some support in place. Often, the weight of a stressful situation hits after things have calmed down.
Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to pursue their dream and start a business?
CM: Find a mentor to learn from. I love the availability of online programs and group support these days, but nothing replaces a one on one mentor. This is something I am passionate about as I move forward. Every time I see a new practitioner starting up in our area, I contact them. In the world of natural health, starting a business can feel very lonely. I want to connect people so that we can all encourage and support one another. I have started a network of Holistic Healers in the Little Rock area for this purpose.
Five Things About Candice McCallister
1.If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?
I would love to sit at a table of various ancestors of mine and ask them a million questions. My genealogy includes Vikings, Native Americans, Scottish and German people, and even a few kings of England. I guess there might be conflict if they all sat together. ;)
2. What's your favorite holiday?
I love the Advent Season. Our family has some special traditions that make this time really special. I find it to be a contemplative and sweet time of waiting for Christmas.
3. What's your favorite type of foreign food?
I love Thai food - especially the unrepented papaya salad called Som Tam. I make it at home and can’t get enough of the tangy, fresh flavors!
4. Is there anything you wished would come back into fashion?
I really liked flowy gaucho pants. I might still wear them sometimes...I am not too much for fashion rules. :)
5. Do you have any hobbies?
Harp, Gardening, Macrame, Cooking, Herbalism (growing & wildcrafting plants and making medicine from them)