The Inquisitive Olive

TIO: Michelle Larivee

TIO: Michelle Larivee

Michelle Larivee

Kosterina Family,

Today on The Inquisitive Olive, we have the pleasure of hearing from another fellow female wellness entrepreneur – Michelle Larivee, Co-founder and CEO of WTHN. I had the pleasure of visiting WTHN’s beautiful space earlier this year and outlined my experience in this post. Just like the healing powers of EVOO, acupuncture is a powerful reminder that our ancestors' wisdom was far ahead of what we may have expected. And, everything is connected when it comes to our well-being.

In our interview, Michelle drops some deep Chinese medicine knowledge. What she shares below about the ancient health care systems in China blew my mind. Michelle says you would pay your acupuncturist to keep you well and if you fell sick, you would stop paying them until you were well again. How did we flip this completely on it’s head here in the west?

Michelle is the Co-Founder and CEO of WTHN. With 15 years in the healthcare industry, Michelle was inspired to start WTHN following her personal health transformation through Chinese Medicine. WTHN is the first omni-channel brand for holistic healing rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine with acupuncture / cupping studios and at-home healing through acupressure, herbal medicine, and more.

Prior to WTHN, Michelle spent 13 years at the intersection of finance, healthcare, and social impact.


Favorite food? Crunchy peanut butter.

Favorite self-care treatment? Acupuncture.

Favorite grocery store purchase? Hu chocolate bars - hazelnut crunch.

Favorite skin care or beauty product? WTHN Face Cupping Kit.

Favorite place to travel? Home to Michigan in the summer.

Favorite part of your day? Family dinner together.



How did you come to the world of wellness?

After a ski accident left me with chronic pain and a dislocated vertebrae in my neck, I found few healing options. Many Western modalities were failing me. At the suggestion of my doctor, I tried acupuncture and felt immediate pain relief. I was able to stop taking muscle relaxers and painkillers. Over time, I adopted a lifestyle and routine around Chinese medicine through acupuncture, cupping, herb blends. I finally felt empowered; I had a toolkit of natural, holistic remedies. I slept better, was less stressed, and had fewer sick days. Acupuncture and herbs also helped me get pregnant with my 2 children.

What’s your passion? What makes you feel most alive?

Passion is putting my energy to use through creating. There’s nothing as motivating as seeing an idea in my head come to life in full-color and physical presence. I feel most alive when spending time with my children and gardening.

Where do you live, and what do you love about your home/hometown?

Recently moved to Montclair, NJ during the pandemic. I love having space and a yard. Our block is a true neighborhood where everyone supports each other.

What inspired you to pursue your area of expertise?

After a transformative personal health experience with Chinese Medicine, I identified an opportunity to make acupuncture more accessible. As I was building out the business plan, I was introduced to Shari, the Co-Founder and Chief Healing Officer of WTHN. We both aligned on the vision and mission from the beginning and found our partnership to be very synergistic.

Drop us with some knowledge. What’s the one fact, insight, or story about your area of expertise you’d like to share?

Chinese medicine is not a last resort - it works best preventatively to strengthen the immune system, prevent stress from manifesting physically, and recover from workouts. In China, you would pay your acupuncturist to keep you well. If you fell sick, you stopped paying until you were well again. This is the exact opposite of America’s health care system, which is really a sick care system.

Is there a wellness myth you can bust for us?

Wellness is not just a nice-to have - it is a must!


Who do you call family?

My immediate and extended family, a group of girlfriends I've had since high school and college, and my WTHN work family.

Food is love, so tell us, what’s a comfort food that you associate with family?

Homemade pizza.

How do you stay connected with loved ones?

It's important to spend time disconnected from the rest of the world at times. I have a weekly date night with my husband, I go on a hike every weekend with the kids, and FaceTime with the grandparents almost every day. I also get away for a girls' weekend with my closest friends once a year.

How do you balance the responsibilities of family life (to kids, partners, parents, or others) with self-care?

I try to take a long-term view and not do it all every day. On a weekly basis I ask myself if am I able to balance work, life and my own health.


What part of your morning ritual helps you start the day on the right foot?

I do not look at my phone right away. I wait until I drink coffee and have breakfast with my kids. Then, between the kid drop off, I take 3 Run the World tablets while doing a 2 minute meditation.

What’s your favorite place to unwind?

In front of a fireplace in the winter, at a beach listening to waves in the summer.

Tell us about a time when you didn’t feel well—physically, emotionally, or spiritually. What action steps did you take to heal?

Following my ski accident, I couldn’t work out as I was in chronic pain. Turning to Chinese Medicine helped to address both physical and emotional symptoms. It’s like therapy for the mind and body at the same time.


Take us with you on a grocery shopping trip. What’s always in your cart (real or virtual)? Do you hit up farmer’s markets, local bakeries, food coops, etc.?

I love farmers markets! Starting this summer, we are growing tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, peas, beans, and more in my own vegetable garden. In my shopping cart you will always find: almond milk, Purely Elizabeth granola, honeycrisp apples, Siete tortilla wraps, guacamole, and kombucha.

What's the ingredient or spice you cannot live without? Why?

Za’atar. My husband is Syrian and we put it on everything!

How do you enjoy your Kosterina Extra Virgin olive oil?

I love to make home made salad dressings with it. It is also great for mixing with herbs de Provence as a bread dipping oil.

Do you like hosting dinner parties? If so, do you have a dish that’s your claim to fame?

I live for hosting dinner parties! I like to pick a specific country for the theme and coordinate the menu, beverages, decor etc. I make a killer baked brie with mango chutney, carmelized onions, rosemary, and red pepper flakes that is highly requested.

Have you been to Greece? If so did you find a product, dish or drink you loved? Tell us about it!

For some reason, the first thing that comes to mind is the amazing iced coffee super chilled with frothy milk. The greek salads have tomatoes that were just so fresh and tasted nothing like in the US, along with the feta. The fresh fish simply grilled with lemon and olive oil also amazing.

What are your favorite fitness resources/favorite workouts?

The Lex Effect, Melissa Wood Health, and DanceBody.

Say you only have 10 minutes to squeeze in a workout. What do you do?

A short video from one of the above.

Do you have a scent, sound, or taste that helps you relax?

The WTHN candle has our signature scent of bergamot and frankincense designed for energy, cleansing, and relaxation.

How do you stay the course when you’re not feeling motivated?

Take a short power walk to reset and get back in the game.