A Q&A with Balance Integrative Health’s Lena Sendik

by Arthur Vandelay on September 9, 2014

19ROOM_BALANCE_CPJ-webBalance Integrative Health has seen success in New Orleans, a city known more for its food than fitness. A favorite of the entertainment industry, BIH has connected by catering to those with challenging schedules and a need for privacy.

Scene spoke with CEO Lena Sendik about how they’ve done it and how they started.

1) How did you first connect with the film & entertainment industry?
I have been connected with the film industry post-Katrina. I have many friends in the industry, actors, casting, production and the like.

2) Films need a variety of medical services, such as physicals for insurance. What are the services that you’re being asked for?
Most of our visits so far have been alternative treatments for a variety of issues lead actors and actresses may be facing while on set. Acupuncture and, specifically, Shakuju are big. Most people have heard of acupuncture, but if you’re unfamiliar with Shakuju, definitely check our website at www.bihnola.com for more information.

3) What are some of the services you offer that our visiting friends from Los Angeles, New York or overseas appreciate finding in New Orleans?
We offer comprehensive services from internal medicine visits, to traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, cupping, guasha, massage, nutritional consulting and personal wellness planning. We do private yoga coaching, kinesiology consults to assess movement and we have a green pharmacy. And our TCM practitioners can customize herbal remedies to each individual as well. Additionally, we are the only place that offers a needle-less form of acupuncture called Shakuju. It’s a very restorative treatment that helps with many conditions.

4) The idea of mixing Eastern medicine with Western medicine isn’t new to filmmakers. What are some of the concerns you hear from the general public?
I don’t really hear concerns very much. The general public does’t necessarily understand the approach to having many different disciplines of medicine available under one roof in a coordinated setting. Traditionally, conventional medicine hasn’t embraced alternative therapies as “credible” until more recently.

5) How do you overcome those concerns?
We are really just trying to get the word out that health is both a personal responsibility and a collaboration with professionals. As it stands now, most of what our health plans pay for is really “sick care,” not health care.

P1010424-web6) What inspired you to open BIH?
I saw most people involved in healthcare really defeated. Physicians weren’t really able to do the jobs they were trained to do because of time constraints and pressure from insurance companies. In New Orleans, we really don’t have a solid network of alternative practitioners, or any easy way to access them. I saw these models in other parts of the country, so I thought it would be great to bring it to New Orleans.

7) Why is BIH so big on creating a comprehensive experience?
Integrative health treats the whole person: the biological, social and psychological aspects of health as well. It’s designed to treat the underlying cause of disease and discomfort as well as relieve the symptoms. The only way that can be accomplished is with a truly comprehensive experience.

8) Why offer a wide range of services, rather than specializing in one field?
Everyone is different for that reason. Different things work for different people. This allows us to really individualize treatment plans and give the client the best overall experience and end result. All in an environment that feels a lot more like home.

9) What is your favorite Kevin Bacon movie, and why is it Tremors?
Haha. I’m actually a sucker for Footloose.

In addition to Balance Integrative Health’s physical facility at 2121 Magazine Street, the company also sends massage therapists and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners to sets to perform acupuncture and other services. And for clients that require discretion, whether famous or just shy, BIH offers back door access for full privacy. After hour appointments are also available to accommodate the intense hours of those who work in the film industry and elsewhere. Find out more at bihnola.com.