What Instagram Taught Me About Health

I’ve been following @lilychoinaturalhealing on Instagram for years, and I haven’t been starved of her deep wisdom on holistic wellness since. Lily delivers all her information in easily digestible captions, and her seemingly infinite knowledge has really changed the way I look at wellness.

Lily Choi is a Acupuncturist and a Holistic Health Influencer, with a private practice in NYC.  She’s been living holistically since her childhood in China, and inspires a global audience of loyal followers eager to learn how to care for their own health and wellness using the gifts of nature.

What’s your background?

I grew up in a very holistic family in China and later moved to Hong Kong. My father was a herbalist, and we lived an extremely natural lifestyle.

How popular was holistic wellness during that time?

When I was growing up, Chinese medicine wasn’t very respected. There were times when my father was afraid to practice, his profession was so shameful. Now, people’s opinions have completely flipped. The public wants to know more about natural medicine. Unfortunately, my dad has since passed, so I have to share his teachings without him. I wish he was here to help me today, but I try to do my best with his memory.

I share as much of my knowledge of Chinese herbalism as I can with the world, and I’ve found Instagram is a great channel to do that. I started my page with no real expectations. I was just posting some information I knew people would like to read about, some tea and cooking methods, mostly.

After seeing some really positive responses I started creating more content, and it’s grown exponentially from there. I’m glad I get to help the public in such a positive way.

What are the most vital elements of staying healthy?

Eating, sleeping and how you deal with your emotions are extremely important.  Some people really can’t get over certain things.

Meditation is also very important and helps you deal with whatever life throws at you, it allows you to acknowledge your emotions and let go of them so you can do the right thing.

I try to go to bed early, eat three meals a day, eat healthy and fresh food; it’s a challenge.  Sometimes people say, oh, I have so much work. I’m going to skip a meal. You can’t skip a meal because it’s very important.

When patients come to see me for acupuncture I also counsel them, I  speak with them and try to help them think and see things differently.

Holistic Wellness can be controversial at times, do you ever get any negative reactions?

Only when I talk about vitamin B12. The truth is, many times it comes from animal livers. There are alternate sources as well, but I have to say what I believe, that the best source really is from animals. Some of my vegan followers don’t really like hearing that, and it’s great to be vegan, but in my posts I have to convey how I eat and live.

How do you manage your content?

People have suggested apps that schedule my posts automatically, but I don’t like automatic posting.

I post how I feel. Sometimes I just don’t feel like posting something I planned on, so I save it for another time.

Do you think social media has an impact on society’s lifestyle?

People can learn a lot from social media; whether it’s wellbeing, shopping, or travel, there’s a huge wealth of knowledge on these platforms. A lot of my clients know of alternate forms of medicine because of social media, and that’s how they’ve been able to find me.

What are your favorite social media platforms?

I use Instagram primarily, because I think it’s the most popular. Instagram takes up a lot of my time, but I’m also on Facebook and Twitter, and I’m looking in to Pinterest.

I make most of my income from Instagram alone, selling products or connecting with new clients. This is my only source of income, and I don’t do any paid advertising. That just goes to show the power behind Instagram as a place of commerce.

What is your biggest challenge keeping up with the fast paced world of content creation?

It’s really important to me that the information I post is current and accurate. I put in a tremendous amount of time and research, and that’s definitely a challenge. I spend a lot of time on my Instagram posts, and I think that’s something a lot of content creators struggle with.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?



Just do it!

I was going for a run once, and I noticed someone wearing a Nike T-shirt with their slogan on it, and it made me think about how powerful those words are. Who came up with that line for Nike, it’s been there forever! Sometimes companies change their slogan to keep up with trends, but ‘Just Do It’ has stuck for them. It never gets outdated.

People today think too much. A lot of patients I see are exerting themselves by overthinking, and find themselves disengaged in the present moment. Living in the moment, and just going for it, is so important to a healthy lifestyle. I get questions all the time about how I handle everything I do (from med school, to making time every day to cut my own ginger), and I tell them that I just do it. It’s really that simple for me.

You have a lot going on, what do you practice to keep it all balanced?

I try to exercise twice a week, and I meditate whenever I can. One form of meditation for me is being engaged in my work. When I’m cutting ginger, I focus on nothing but the motions involved in the activity. That’s one of the ways I meditate.

What is one task you would rather delegate?

I do everything by myself, but I grew up that way. Even cutting my ginger, I’m afraid someone else won’t do it exactly the way I know it needs to be done, so I’m more comfortable doing most things myself. Someone to clean my house would be helpful, though!

Outside of your work, what do you find gives you the most fulfillment?

I love getting messages from patients saying how much better they feel. That really helps me see the impact I have on people’s lives.