About Time You Met: Kemmy Gichaba, Osteopath and Founder of Holistic ImpactBy Angelica Malin
Inspired by the creator, Kemmy Gichaba, and her own experiences with crippling anxiety and panic attacks, Holistic Impact’s products are focused on health and healing, uniting your senses, and treating the body as a whole to emphasise the mind body connection for an immersive, impactful treatment.
We chatted to Kemmy about her own experiences with CBD and essential oils, the inspiration behind Holistic Impact and launching the range during the pandemic:
Why did osteopathy appeal to you and how long did it take to qualify?
I suffered from lower back pain when I was a teenager. I didn’t like the fact that I was always prescribed painkillers, but never given the tools to improve my back or understand why it was happening.
My back problems meant that I was always interested in anatomy and the holistic aspect of medicine and with a desire to get to the root cause of issues, osteopathy really appealed to me. Osteopathy is all about looking at the individual, taking their lifestyle into account to form a treatment plan that aims to improve the root cause of the problem and not just the symptoms. I qualified in 2013 with a masters in osteopathy and a diploma of naturopathy and in total, I studied for 4 years.
Tell us about your journey with anxiety and panic attacks, how did it start?
My panic attacks started in 2016 after my wedding. My husband was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 15 and had always managed it well, but when we went to Kenya to get married, he got a bacteria in his blood 2 days before the wedding which caused him to have hyperglycaemia. As a result, his blood sugar shot up and he lost 10 kg in 48hrs. He was almost unrecognisable at the altar and just after he said “I do” he collapsed and had to go straight to hospital.
It was without doubt the scariest moment of my life and he came incredibly close to death. His blood sugar stabilised after 3 days, thankfully but the shock of this whole event started my panic attacks around a month later.
How did anxiety and frequent panic attacks affect you day-to-day?
The onset of my anxiety and panic attacks was somewhat gradual. It started with the feeling of a tight chest when I was asked about our wedding day, then I noticed that I’d start shaking when I’d speak about the wedding. After a few weeks, it escalated to full-blown panic attacks if I was in crowded places or trying to get home on the tube. My symptoms typically would be shortness of breath, difficulty speaking and hearing, tingling in my face and arms, nausea, loss of appetite, and insomnia. It wasn’t long before it was taking over my life.
Which coping methods did you find most effective?
When I finally decided enough was enough, I found high-intensity cardio-based exercise to be effective in managing my anxiety and panic attacks, mainly running and CrossFit. It helped to reduce the frequency of my panic attacks, and as a result my sleep improved. I also started practising meditation via the Headspace app, and that helped me feel calmer during the day I mainly used headspace. Even though exercise did improve my sleep, I was still having issues, so I turned to CBD and it was an absolute game-changer, stopping my insomnia, helping me to get better quality sleep and ensuring I woke feeling more rested, which in turn reduced my general anxiety during the day.
What inspired you to start Holistic Impact?
As I was going through my journey, I noticed similar patterns in my patients. I always knew that the mind and body connection was important but when I saw how I healed my body and mind holistically I wanted to share my tools. I was nominated for associate osteopath of the year award and my patients had begun to encourage me to start my own clinic.
After my nomination, I felt ready to start something on my own, and Holistic Impact has been the outcome. First, it was the name of my practice, but now encompasses the unique range of CBD and essential oils products I have created. The name reflects my style of treatment and the intention of the products, a high-quality CBD oil, a CBD Body Salve and a coconut oil bases Lemongrass and Eucalyptus candle.
How long did it take you to formulate each product?
I started my product line in January this year. The CBD is sustainably sourced in America where it is organically grown, and lab tested. I receive it from Surrey where it’s packaged. My candles are made in Surrey too and it has taken 7-8 months to finalise product packaging and design. I’ve really enjoyed the learning process and am so proud of each product. They really embody my treatment style and healing ethos, and to be able to share them with my patients and now on a wider scale is a dream come true.
Do you think it is more difficult to launch a range during a pandemic?
Yes, it has been difficult but lockdown in some ways benefitted me, giving me time to work on the range and its USPs. One thing I have found is that the timings for receiving things can’t always be trusted and there are a lot of people involved in the production of just one product, but I have learned to be very patient and not to expect things to be perfect the first time! It’s been a process, but I couldn’t be more thrilled with the result.
Were there any bumps along the way and would you have done anything differently if you could turn back time?
I wish it could’ve been easier of course! But I feel that I met all the right people at the right times to make this whole thing happen. I wouldn’t have had the chance if we weren’t in a global pandemic. There were a few months during lockdown when I was barely working. I wouldn’t have had that time in my normal life, so in a way I don’t think I would’ve changed anything. The issues that would come up would be wrong sizing, labels being sized wrong, product sizes having to be changed. All things that could be amended thankfully!
If you could give one piece of advice to someone looking to start their own business, what would it be?
You must believe in your vision. Also, be open to listening to others on the same journey and ask a lot of questions. Above all, practice patience and discipline. These are skills I have learnt with my exercise and general routine, but they’ve been invaluable in getting me to where I am today. Lastly, it is important to remember that entrepreneurship isn’t always fun and you have to stay motivated on the low days. Do something every day however small because every step counts!