James Dowler: An interview with MIRROR WATER

MIRROR WATER: Hi James! Please could you introduce yourself and the work you do.

James Dowler: Battling years of chronic illness led me on a journey of exploring all types of healing modalities. It wasn’t until I discovered the connection between the mind and the body and understood chronic stress to be the cause of my physical dis-ease that symptoms began to ease.

I now teach thousands of people around the world to alleviate stress and anxiety through their breath. My aim is to provide people with knowledge and practices that help to re-wire their neurobiology and in doing so restore people’s ability to regulate their emotions and build resilience.

MIRROR WATER: For anybody who’s unfamiliar, what actually is breathwork?

James Dowler: Breathwork broadly defined is any time you take conscious control of your breath and use it as a vehicle to create a shift in your physiology and/or the state of your mind. There are lots of different ways in which you can use your breath - whether that is to calm you down, energise you, improve your focus, optimise your sports performance or even improve your sleep - there are different breathing techniques for all of these. The modality of breathwork that I teach is learning how to use the breath to down-regulate one’s nervous system which helps people to move into a more relaxed and settled place.

MIRROR WATER: Feeling relaxed is a top priority for us at MIRROR WATER, what’s the science behind breathwork and it’s link with calming the nervous system.

James Dowler: Conscious breath regulation such as extending our exhale sends a signal to our brain that we are “safe” and so can help the parasympathetic branch of our nervous system come online. With the parasympathetic branch of our nervous system online, our endocrine system secretes a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine that has the effect of slowing our heart, stimulating our digestive process and moving our body back into a place of homeostasis.

When you’re not admiring the shiny tiled walls and terrazzo flooring, steal away to the treatment rooms, complete with retro reclining chairs imported from Japan. Here, skilled aestheticians work their magic using high-quality products and innovative techniques.

Our words to live by are ‘give a fig’. We believe in creating thoughtful, immersive experiences that transform your everyday. We have four principles that guide everything we do, internally and externally: curiosity, communication, community, and consistency.

The collaboration with MIRROR WATER came about organically after Estée booked her first treatment at Formula Fig in Vancouver as a birthday treat.

“I had never heard of them and a quick Google search told me that this was the best place to go,” she says. “I saw the unique and impressive curation of products on their wall and knew MIRROR WATER had to be on those shelves. I can be slightly relentless and luckily on this occasion, it paid off. Working together has been a dream and I’m excited for this partnership to grow.” - Estée Lalonde

At Formula Fig, guests can now enjoy a curated selection of MIRROR WATER products, including the SMOOTH Body Oil and RUB Solid Balm. These products complement Formula Fig's immersive skincare experiences, extending the benefits beyond the facial treatments.

At the heart of both brands is a “dedication to nurturing yourself from every angle”. Formula Fig specialises in rejuvenating the skin, while MIRROR WATER focuses on promoting relaxation and self-reflection through bath and body care.

We love partnering with skincare brands who embrace a whole-self approach: the notion that caring for ourselves begins with the rituals we take the time for each day. MIRROR WATER offers a great assortment of skincare and body care products that our guests can bring home with them to complement their treatment routine.

It’s not uncommon for someone to book in for a facial because they’re feeling stressed or drained and just want someone to take care of them for an hour,” adds Estée. “That’s the same person who might benefit from the essential oils in our body oil for example. Something to carry on the relaxation at home between treatments.

In line with this holistic approach, Estée's personal journey and passion for wellness have shaped MIRROR WATER into a community-driven space that encourages mindfulness and balance. It's more than just products; it's about fostering a sense of wellbeing that extends beyond skincare routines.

Uniquely female-founded, owned, and operated, Formula Fig is powered by its deep beliefs in community, design, and service – helping all of its guests #GiveAFig about their skin. Book your treatment in Vancouver, Toronto, or Los Angeles via their website.

WRITTEN BY: Emma Gibbins