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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Integrative Wellness Works for Women

Aug 29, 2013 02:10PM ● By Suzie Agrillo

Dr. Arianna Sholes-Douglas

Dr. Arianna Sholes-Douglas (“Dr. Arianna”) is a doctor who has brought many women’s awareness about a healthy lifestyle to a new level of understanding. Through her practice and seminars at national women’s conferences and resorts, she has become a noted educator on the topic of integrative medicine. Her signature lectures include Getting Unstuck 10 Small Steps to Big Life Change, What’s Stress Got to Do With It? and Women, Wellness and Wisdom. As an influential voice on women’s health, she has been an expert consultant for publications such as, Fit Pregnancy, Good Housekeeping and Essence.

In January, Sholes-Douglas opened her practice, Tula Wellness, with a vision of uplifting women and helping them to achieve optimal health. She is very spirit driven and feels that incorporating a spiritual perspective into healing is her gift. A traditionally trained physician, she also studied integrative medicine with Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona, and helps patients navigate between the choices of conventional medicine and evidence-based alternative medical therapies.

Integrative health considers the whole person. Sholes-Douglas honors a centered approach and healing partnership between a physician and patient. Her practice uses natural, spiritual and alternative therapies to promote healing, recognizing that mind, body and spirit all contribute to wellness. For example, she explains that if someone is depressed, traditional treatment for a doctor is to write a prescription for a pharmaceutical antidepressant. Sholes-Douglas will potentially incorporate diet and herbs such as turmeric, which have been shown to be equally effective in some cases.

“Tula” means “balance” in Sanskrit, and Sholes-Douglas explains, “We believe that in order to live life in balance, the needs of the mind, the body and the spirit must be addressed. There’s a time and a place for everything. Always keep balance and stay present. Being in the moment is taking a deep breath and being aware of what’s going on around you and inside you.”

The doctor believes it is important to take time each day for relaxation and rejuvenation. The first thing she does when she awakens is to take a few minutes to express gratitude and set an intention for the day, saying, “I ask God or the Universe how to use me in a spectacular way.”

Sholes-Douglas knows that our thoughts can be a barrier to accomplishing health goals. “Negative self-talk is the biggest saboteur of our greatness. It’s the number one reason why people fail or aren’t able to stay on course. They are listening to self or ego, as opposed to spirit. We fail when we use negative self-talk and when we operate out of fear.”

The message, she says is to believe in ourself. “For example, after making a mistake, we might say under our breath, ‘I’m so stupid.’ It’s important to recognize when we are doing that and replace the negative thought with something positive.” One of her favorite books is Wayne Dyer’s Change Your Thoughts-Change Your Life.

In addition to changing our thoughts, she says, we need to shower ourselves with positive affirmations. “Affirmations are also huge, huge, huge,” she says. “Figure out which affirmations you need and repeat them. Write them on Post-it notes around your house. There is power in words. Even if you don’t believe it at first, if you say it long enough, you will start to believe it.”

At Sholes-Douglas’ office, first visits are always an hour, because she treats the whole person, rather than conducting only problem-focused visits. She notes that focusing solely on the manifestation of a specific medical problem is like “checking the exterior of the car, but not opening the hood.”

Because self-esteem can be linked to a woman’s perception of her image in the mirror, Sholes-Douglas’ team offers integrative skin care and medical aesthetics that include prickly pear antiaging treatments and facials, chemical peels and medical esthetics. She also addresses exercise, diet and stress. When she helps patients lose weight, even in small amounts, they feel more confident. ”Food is the number one drug. It affects your mood and energy level,” says Sholes-Douglas. After one patient lost weight by changing her diet and lifestyle, she expressed how much better she felt and how much happier she was. That is gratifying to the doctor, because impacting peoples’ lives so that they have more energy and are more confident makes her day. When that happens, she says, “That’s it. I’m done for the day.”

Sholes-Douglas observes, “Stress is the root source of disease and aging. Understanding that an unhealthy lifestyle and poor dietary components can lead to stress and inflammation; the goal is to counterbalance the body with anti-inflammatory activity such as mindfulness and meditation. We can’t get rid of stress. We can’t necessarily change jobs, traffic conditions or obnoxious people. The challenge is to learn to deal with stress.”

At home, Sholes-Douglas likes to exercise with a personal trainer, cycle and make jewelry. She is currently writing her first book, Jewels for the Journey.

Tula Wellness is located at 2200 E. River Rd., Ste. 109. For more information, call 520-577-1129 or visit

Suzie Agrillo is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings.