We’re excited to introduce our new partner, Dr. Revée “Ray” Barbour, a naturopathic doctor, teacher and wellness specialist. Dr. Ray is an advocate for women’s wellness, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have the opportunity to share her expertise with the Rae community.
We love that you position yourself as an advocate for wellness—what drew you to your field of work and focus on supporting women’s wellness?
I was raised with African-American Medicine (aka Rootwork) as a firstline for our family’s ailments, so natural medicine was part of my culture and identity since childhood. Although I knew at a young age I wanted to become a medical doctor, it wasn’t until I was in my early 20s before I discovered Naturopathic Medicine. What led to the discovery of Naturopathic Medicine was recognizing the systemic disparities and limitations of Western medicine per evidence of the repeated offenses, lack of answers and mismanagement of care I witnessed my family, as well as myself, endure with it. I knew in my soul that there had to be a form of medicine that unites the best of both traditional and modern advantages, addresses the deep root causes of disease, and empowers patients to truly learn how to support their bodies’ self-healing capacity. It’s important for people to know evidence-based natural treatments exist and are effective tools for both healing and prevention of disease. My commitment to whole-person wellness includes everyone; but I give careful attention to women, and especially Black women, because we are usually the guardians of our family’s health. When you treat the matriarch in a family, you’re technically treating the whole family because her health will impact every one else who loves and depends on her. This is one of the driving forces that leads me to champion women’s wellness, and the work is now more crucial than ever.
We understand you’re also on a mission to serve as a doctor, teacher and wellness transformation specialist. Why are you passionate about this mission?
From a spiritual perspective, I believe life missions are not simply created but rather assigned and seeded into one’s life calling. I’m one of the lucky people who was given clarity at an early age on what my life’s calling would be, and my mission is a declaration statement to confirm my commitment to my life’s purpose. In naturopathic medicine, we follow both the Hippocratic Oath and adhere to six foundational principles for medical practice and patient care. Within those six principles, Doctor as Teacher (Docere) is my duty as a licensed naturopathic doctor (ND) to educate and promote self-responsibility for health to my patients. I love using the old proverb: “Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime,” because it captures the sentiment of Doctor As Teacher. It’s necessary to take time to thoroughly explain to people what they need to know and do with their bodies in order to conquer illness and sustain their wellness long-term. Simply put, once you know better, you can do better. This leads to self-growth and transformation of the body, which is what it means to have a “wellness transformation.” Additionally, I know firsthand that when a doctor truly uplifts, teaches and empowers their patients, then the patients can not only heal faster, but also transform into who they are truly meant to become for this world and thrive versus merely surviving.
As a busy professional, how do you support your well-being throughout the day?
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that doctors make the worst patients, and unfortunately it’s true to a certain degree. For years, I didn’t respect my body’s limits until I experienced burnout in my late 20s. I recovered, but anyone who’s been through true burnout knows your body is never fully the same after that. Since then, I’ve cultivated an ever-evolving therapeutic lifestyle to safeguard my health. Although it’s been years since my burnout, I’m still a workaholic at heart and have to be mindful of those destructive tendencies. Over the years, I’ve learned how to set strong healthy boundaries for myself with work-life balance. I’m not perfect by any means, but I do my best to actively listen to my body and be consistent in my healthy habits. My current health regimen includes two herbal tonics and a few different supplements to counteract negative effects of stress, toxins and running a full-time business. I try to drink plenty of water daily and follow the 80/20 rule by eating healthy, homemade nutrient-dense meals most of the time, with flexibility to enjoy occasional treats. I subscribe to a local, organic farm CSA to always keep fresh seasonal food at hand for using food as medicine. Other than that, my key wellness behaviors include: daily deep-belly laughs because laughter is truly good for the soul, getting 8-10 hours of sleep per night, lots of hugs from my family and either yoga, pilates or going for walks as physical movement. Spiritually, I always keep God as my center, and have a daily breathwork practice for staying calm and grounded. I also need to give a shoutout to my awesome acupuncturist and chiropractor who provide monthly tune-ups. Finally, I always make sure to take my breaks during the day, as well as my vacations too.
What does ‘shine from inside’ mean to you?
“Shine from inside” means allowing your true essence/qi to glow. We’re all made of energy which is vital to our existence. Our inner light and energy resonates highest when we are:
1) Walking in your truth to be who you are, unapologetically.
2) Choosing to thrive and not just survive.
3) Being proactive to make decisions that promote wellness and balance inside out.
Any advice for the Rae community?
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make with their health is delaying help when an issue first arises. Unfortunately, I have seen too many people allow fear to prevent them from seeking help. While some cases may be self-limiting and will clear up on its own, more often than not most symptoms represent an alarm system within your body trying to communicate imbalance. Usually the longer people wait to fix imbalances, the harder it is to treat and reverse symptoms. So please don’t wait to seek help! Be proactive to know what is happening in your body and try to replace fear with curiosity. Remember, when we know better, we can do better.