What is wellness? Well, it’s a HOT topic in the world of healthy living and Nantucket’s got game! To start let’s define it as a broad concept and then let’s get LOCAL.

 The National Wellness Institute defines Wellness as; a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential multidimensional and holistic, encompassing lifestyle, mental and spiritual well-being, and the environment positive and affirming. 

Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence. So where do we find it on ACK? Health and wellness expert JOANNA ROCHE has the scoop below. 


Let’s face it, we all know spending time in nature is good for us. And now it’s a real thing, complete with scientific evidence, perfected by the Japanese, proven to improve physical and mental health. Shinrin-yoku is a term that means “forest bathing”, developed in Japan during the 1980s and now a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. 
The idea is simple: if a person simply visits a natural area and walks in a relaxed way there are calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits to be achieved. Oh Nantucket, you are rich in ways to NATURE BATHE – find your Zen place and breathe in the air. The Nantucket Conservation Foundation and the Nantucket Land Bank have great trails and places to experience solitude.
And by the way that air is SALTY and oh-so-good for you and also widely studied by the scientific community. Spending time near the ocean improves lung function and many respiratory conditions. SALT is also amazing for the skin, and even if we can only frolic for long periods of time in the ocean during July and August, you can head right over to Island Pharmacy for a big bag of EPSOM SALT and take a very hot 30 minute bath to sweat out the toxins in your system and get a great night’s sleep.


One of the best and easiest things you can do for your self is to make your diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables. There is no better time to do that than summer on Nantucket. Shop the Sustainable Nantucket’s Artisan and Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning and get the best of the local harvest. Moors End, the Boatyard, and Pumpkin Pond are all easy farms to get to and offer the best of the islands bounty. While you’re at it add fresh eggs to that list!


A medical practice or treatments that focus on optimal functioning of the body and its organs, usually involving systems of holistic or alternative medicine. And yes, we have a functional medicine doctor on Nantucket.
Dr. Sarah Williams also practices homeopathy and offers alternative treatments to Lyme’s disease, chronic illness, and autoimmune disorders. This is the future of medical care and frequent island visitors Mark Hyman and Toby Cosgrove of The Cleveland Clinic are at the forefront of this revolution. For further reading click below.


Ready or not, medicinal marijuana is coming to Nantucket. We can’t ignore it much longer, either its arrival or its growing support as natural medicine. The world of medical edibles, topical treatments, and serums is on a boom track that will have significant impact on both our local and national economy. Get more information below.


Just as Nantucket is rich in natural wellness we are rich in nurtured wellness. I find that the best healers are deeply intuitive, calming, and have finely tuned the art of listening to the body. Your life story is stored in your body, the all challenges, pain, and memories that make us who we are. Sometimes, these parts of us get stuck, and need to move along. These three gifted practitioners are among the best I’ve experienced.


With her gentle and holistic approach to this ancient Chinese healing art, ERICA MARREO is a rare find. Acupuncture is a long term solution to chronic pain, inflammation, and proven way to improve well-being. Key point – she has a truly intuitive way of managing pain. In her practice at 35B Keypost Corner, she treats adults and children and also offers the acu-facial, a long term treatment that reduces fine lines and wrinkles in a completely non-invasive and non-chemical way. Check out her website below.


For those looking for inspired life guidance. If you find yourself at a crossroad or are experiencing transition or change, SEANA ZELAZO can help you connect to your inner wisdom. Key Point – she was educated via University of Massachusetts and Smith College and in a rare combination is both intellectually and intuitively trained; as a Reiki master, in Shamanic Healing and grief counselling. Her philosophy speaks to our own innate ability to access our own power. Find Seana at Keypost Corner and also online  with her website below.



For those looking for a completely different massage experience, accessible to all. SANDY WALSH offers the Traditional Thai Massage which encompasses our whole being – bones, joints, muscles, fascia and our energetic and spiritual bodies. It brings you to a state of elevated relaxation by blending Indian Ayurvedic and yogic postures with an emphasis on the energy channels of Chinese Medicine. Key point – Thai Massage is an effortless, total body experience starting at the soles of the feet and finishing at the crown of the head. This form of bodywork is practiced on a thick padded mat on the floor with client dressed in loose, comfortable clothing. Learn more below.

To really practice wellness requires mindfulness, and when you take into account the richness in both natural resources and human capital we have on Nantucket – we are truly blessed. I hope this list inspires you to think about wellness in different more personal way, and to incorporate a few of our suggestions. Stay tuned for more healthy hotlists with great recommendations for living well on ACK. Finally, much love to SARAH FRAUNFELDER for her beautiful Nantucket Photography as seen above. Follow her on Instagram at @womaninfield for more!
JOANNA ROCHE is a wellness expert, spa consultant, and brand strategist. Her mission is to inspire wellness as a personal and business practice. With more than twenty-five years of experience in management, marketing and operations for spa and hospitality companies globally, she is a leader and frequent speaker on the evolution of fitness and spa to wellness. Find her this summer at The Nantucket Culinary Center offering a series of lectures on Creating Wellness and at www.joannaandcompany.com, Listen to BalancingACK on WNCK 89.5 Nantucket’s Public Radio or follow her on Instagram @januaryjo for a dose of inspiration and the adventures of her tribe. Click below for her website!