Dr. Barbara Sturm Shares 10 Invaluable Wellness Tips for Fall

Kate Moss holding a white lily flower
Kate Moss photographed by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott for W Magazine, March 2005.

As the seasons shift into fall, you might find yourself revisiting wellness regimens in anticipation of the busy holiday months ahead. For some, an intense workout, psychoanalytic therapy session or deep massage will help ease the stress that might come along with over-scheduling your increasingly packed social schedule. Personally, I find locking myself in a room, away from my family, where I can scream and curse for 30 seconds usually does the trick. To each their own.

Over the past few years, Dr. Barbara Sturm has become a respected virtuoso not just in the field of skincare but when it comes to health and wellness, too. Her European methodology, incorporating science and the elements of nature, has earned her the respect and following of women across the globe—they’ve become devoted fans of her products (her hyaluronic acid serum rules, okay? It’s the best on the market, hands down.) as well as her wellness philosophies. The Germany-born skin savant offered up to W 10 of her ultimate, crucial tips to incorporate into your wellness routine this season to help manage and uplift your skin, immune system, and mental well-being.

Try Bircher Muesli

“I love to begin my day with Bircher Muesli,” Dr. Sturm tells W. “It’s easy to make and you can store the ingredients over a long period of time. Oats are rich in several nutrients, including fiber, carbohydrates, plant-based protein, and B vitamins that help aid digestion, reduce oxidative stress in the gut, lower cholesterol levels, and boost brain function. Oats are also a good source of iron and biotin—an essential enzyme that has proven to help reduce hair thinning and loss. Soaking oats overnight helps break down starches, making it easier for our bodies to digest and absorb their essential nutrients. I have perfected my own recipe, which you can check out here.”

Incorporate Some Lymphatic Drainage

“Gentle lymphatic drainage is incredible for waking up the skin—it provides a de-puffing effect, so your complexion instantly looks healthy and radiant,” Dr. Sturm says. “The lymphatic system is responsible for carrying away and filtering out toxins and waste from every cell, tissue, and organ, which can show up first in skin puffiness and other disorders. It’s a key part of each facial at my spas, but you can also incorporate it into your skincare regimen at home.”

Body Brushing

“I’m a big believer in dry body brushing, which mechanically boosts your circulation and lymphatic system and discourages fluid retention. The bristles also provide an exfoliating action, which helps unclog pores and removes dead cells from the surface of the skin, leaving it better able to absorb the ingredients in your body products. I’ll body brush for a few minutes, shower, and apply a high-quality body cream for softer, smoother, and healthier-looking skin.”

Give Yourself a Scalp Massage

“The scalp is the largest generally forgotten area of skin on the body. Studies have shown that the condition of the scalp plays a vital part in the production of healthy, strong hair. Giving yourself a scalp massage with one of my targeted Molecular Hair and Scalp serums provides deep relaxation while addressing dryness, irritation, and overall scalp heath. It’s an amazing treatment for relieving stress, reducing tension, and encouraging relaxation that supports scalp health and the promotion of naturally beautiful, radiant, and healthy hair. (You can now also book a revitalizing scalp massage at my spas—a natural follow-up to the recent launch of my molecular hair and scalp collection.”

Supplements and Diet

“Diet is essential to controlling inflammation and promoting skin and overall health. I avoid inflammatory substances like alcohol, sugar, flour, as well as salt and processed or fried foods—and instead, eat lots of anti-inflammatory foods like cherries, blueberries, blackberries, green leafy vegetables, beans, seeds and nuts, olive oil, and tomatoes. However, it is sometimes hard to follow a healthy diet in today’s fast paced life, and we all encounter deficiencies. What makes a huge difference to me are supplements. I take Sturm Inside supplements religiously—along with several of my other skin and anti-aging supplements. I’m also a vegetarian, so I am extra careful to replenish my zinc daily through my supplements.”

Enjoying an Anti-Inflammatory Moment

“I try and take time for myself and play tennis, swim, walk, do yoga, take a milk bath, listen to music, and dance—movement is essential for releasing inflammation-reducing hormones in the body. I also love to enjoy time with my family; we’ll cook together at home using lots of anti-inflammatory fresh ingredients, play board games, and do puzzles and arts and crafts.”

Spending Time in Nature

“Studies have shown that spending time immersed in nature is good for us. The smells within a forest can influence numerous metabolic processes and negative ions, which are found in high quantities throughout dense forestation and absorbed through your skin and lungs, and have the potential to lower inflammation, reduce stress, and boost serotonin levels. I grew up in nature, so whenever I need a boost, taking a walk in the forest or even in a local park or nature preserve does the trick.”

Red Light Therapy

“Red light therapy is a non-invasive treatment which uses the healing power of natural light LEDs to deliver doses of safe, therapeutic red and near infrared light to the body. It has a wide range of clinically documented benefits including diminishing age spots, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, stimulation of collagen and elastin production, increased blood circulation, reduced joint pain and inflammation, quicker muscle recovery to boost training and athletic performance, and promotion of healthy sleep as well as enhanced mood, cognitive function, and mental clarity.”

Take a Sauna

“A tremendous tool for skin and overall health and well-being (that also feels great) is a sauna. Sauna has been clinically shown to improve skin barrier function, regulate sebum flow, and improve cardiovascular and muscular health. Just make sure to apply a hyaluronic acid and moisturizer immediately after finishing the sauna bath, to seal in moisture and avoid dehydration through osmosis.”

Deepak Chopra Meditations

“I always want to promote a message of love, respect, and healing—it’s essential to our wellness and mental well-being. I have been deeply inspired by Dr. Deepak Chopra and often repeat his affirmations, such as, ‘Today, I look at the world through the eyes of kindness.’ You can listen to his meditations on Spotify when you’re in need of a mental break or recentering.”