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Jun 3, 2022

A Conversation with ‘Your Total Health Doctor’ Teriya Richmond: Where the Mind, Body & Spirit Meet

Your Total Health (and Spa) Doctor Teriya Richmond’s innovative, intentional and modern model for health- and self-care make her a change agent in black women’s health issues. In life and in her medical practice, she subscribes to and encourages her patients to subscribe to mitigating risks of chronic diseases through healthy eating, a healthy lifestyle, exercise and psychological well-being—to focus on the whole you.

So, how do we focus on our whole selves—mind, body and spirit—to achieve optimal health and wellness? By practicing what I’m coining as her 5 ‘S’ approach.

  1. Support Systems. Having or creating a strong support system is vital to successfully functioning in life. For Dr. Teriya, her family, husband and children are all a part of the business in some form or fashion, giving them full understanding of the tasks at hand and the time sacrifices at stake. So, when she’s scheduled to do a speaking engagement or a podcast, for example, they understand the assignment. Plus, she’s built teams over the years that help, not hinder the progress and success of the mission and the message.
  2. Self-Care. Self-care is that thing that can combat many physical, mental and emotional challenges. And, although she would love for everyone to come to her spa, Dr. Teriya iterates, “[Self-care] doesn’t mean you have to go to the spa. It could mean journaling, it could mean having a session with your therapist, it could mean hanging out with your positive homegirls, it could mean you setting boundaries with people.”
    A lot of times we don’t center on self-care because we are too busy and think of self-care as an entire process. Just prioritizing yourself is the first step to self-care, says Dr. Teriya. Whether it’s a 15-minute walk, a 5-minute mental break or 50-second meditation, it all adds up. Incorporate doing something for you or your health daily, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem at the time. There are studies that show that if we are celebrating and embracing being super women that over time this lifestyle can lead to hypertension, diabetes, even heart attacks.
  1. Saying “No”. Sometimes we just have to say “no” to help preserve ourselves and our sanity. We cannot be all things to all people all the time. But ever the problem solver, when she has to say “no”, Dr. Teriya respectfully declines and often offers suggestions on who else the person could call upon instead. And remember, a right now “no” doesn’t have to be definitive or infinitive, it can simply mean “not now”.
  2. Dr. Teriya turns down the covers and to goes to bed at 10 o’clock every night unless she’s out or has an event. Adequate sleep has been proven to be one of the top antidotes to alleviating stress. “Many of us are stressed and don’t even realize it. We may not lead stressful lives, we may have good relationships, we may have a decent job or profession, but at the same time we have experienced so much trauma in the world overall—especially in the last few years—that we may not realize how that is affecting us.” Sufficient sleep hours are different for different people. Know your number!
  3. Focus on the symptoms. One disparity in our health as black women, particularly those of us who work out and feel healthy, stem from the ‘Pre’s’, as Dr. Teriya calls them: pre-hypertension, pre-diabetes, pre-cancerous cells on a pap smear. “For some, although you may not currently have received a diagnosis, continuing to live a certain lifestyle—even if you run—be it stress, poor diet, smoking or are pre-disposed to something that is genetic can all contribute to you developing a chronic disease,” she notes. And she emphasizes that the ‘pre’ range is a risky area that a lot of black women don’t necessarily know or address—again, even if we exercise—because we tend to think we are healthy because we haven’t actually received one of these specific diagnoses.

We also may have symptoms of depression or anxiety. A lot of times we don’t pay attention to the ques that our bodies are giving us that something is going on with us mental health wise. These can include sleeping too much, not sleeping enough, weight loss, weight gain, undereating, overeating, being easily agitated or feeling as if something is going to happen to you. These are all potential warning signs of depression and anxiety and are signals that we should pay attention to.

What made Dr. Teriya decide to focus on serving black women in her medical practice?

We’ve all heard Iyanla Vanzant say, I’m not my sister’s keeper, I am my sister. Well, Dr. Teriya talks the talk but also walks the walk. “They always tell you in business to choose who your avatar is, your ideal customer. I am basically my own avatar. I am the women that I serve. I know the things that I need and, with talking with them, the things that they need. And a lot of times, it all aligns. So, it is my privilege and my pleasure to be able to serve them. Many are called but few are chosen. I truly feel as if I am chosen. And I love it. When I go to bed at night, I know I’ve done my diligence every single day.”

More about Dr. Teriy
Dr. Teriya is a native of Chicago, Ill., where graduated from the notable Whitney Young Magnet High School. She went on to continue her education at Mount Saint College in Clinton, Iowa, the University of Illinois College of Medicine and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Dr. Teriya currently serves as Chief Medical Officer of AIDS Foundation Houston, as the Physician Advisor for Angels Surviving Cancer and on the admissions committee at the new University of Houston College of Medicine, where she is also an Adjunct Professor. She founded Your Total Health Clinic and Day Spa, a space where she provides health- and self-care experiences with a unique and modern approach to health and wellness. Dr. Teriya is also a run coordinator for Black Girls RUN! and creator of Mocha Millennium Woman (MMW), an initiative that encourages women to be confident in who they are through fitness, fashion and fun. She continues her clinical research career with a focus in women’s health on topics including endometriosis, cervical cancer and bacterial vaginosis. Dr. Teriya can be found and followed on Instagram @drteriya @youtotalhd

By: Joy Harrell @joyrunsrealestate

Joy Harrell is a licensed real estate agent and co-owner of The Sift Sisters bakery based in Houston, Texas. She is a native Houstonian and graduate of the University of Houston—go Coogs! When she is not helping people buy, sell or invest in real estate, she can be found hanging or traveling with her hubby, running or biking the streets and trails in and around Houston, mentoring girls or testing new food and cocktail recipes.