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Family skincare clinic finds home at Integrated Health

The mother/daughter team opened ArteBella this summer
Kira Ptak works with her mother Anita Rullens at the new ArteBella skincare clinic at Bowen Island Integrated Health.

The newest addition to Bowen Island Integrated Health is seeking to deliver care through a carefully crafted combination of both a medical and holistic approach to treatment.

ArteBella is now in operation at the Trunk Road medical centre, offering a variety of services related to the body’s largest organ – the skin. The mother/daughter team of Anita Rullens and Kira Ptak officially got things underway earlier this summer, the culmination of a passion each of them hold for attending to the mental and physical health of their patients.

Anita and Kira moved to Bowen, and Canada, for the first time in 2022. However the groundwork for their arrival had, unknowingly, somewhat been laid years earlier. Anita, originally from the Netherlands, had moved to Arizona to work as an esthetician. During a vacation to Whistler she fell for the scenery of the B.C. coastline.

“This is what I remember distinctly: what incredible architecture and a beautiful city. And then you take this drive along the coast (Sea to Sky Highway) and it just takes your breath away. I was just so in love,” says Rullens, who believes landing back in the area was meant to be following that first encounter.

Anita honed her craft while living in the States, working with plastic surgeons for more than two decades on combinations of reconstructive and cosmetic surgeries.

“That’s when my initial little seed just really blossomed into a real passion for all the things that we can offer in skincare, both holistic and medical,” she says. Seeing the results from more serious operations, such as major injuries requiring reconstruction, also inspired Rullens to continue a pursuit in skincare. “You impact their life in such a profound way… I love that nurturing aspect.”

Anita returned to the Netherlands where she has spent the past several years working in the industry, and it was during this time that Kira, who was born in America, made her own move to Canada. She’d been studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands at the school’s Isle of Skye campus in Scotland, focusing on Gaelic language and traditional music. “I really, really loved what I was doing but I felt like something was missing,” she recalled from her first year of study.

Specifically, Ptak was searching for a more natural science-oriented program. A bit of research on North American universities, and a timely guest lecture on horses native to the Americas, led her to the University of British Columbia, where she’s now working on an Interdisciplinary Studies degree with a focus on forest communities and their impact on all levels of the ecosystem.

Sights set on Bowen Island

The pair were soon reunited in Canada when Anita joined Kira in B.C., choosing Bowen Island as a settling place. While searching for an avenue to continue her skincare business, Rullens struck up a conversation with Dr. Nicholas Lendvoy, co-owner at Bowen Island Integrated Health. The pair decided the clinic would be an ideal place to set up shop, and following the Canadian licencing process ArteBella began seeing patients in June.

The clinic offers a variety of medical treatments and skincare options for both long and short-term care. “When you walk through that door you know you will be taken care of, and that whatever your concerns are you’re in good hands,” says Anita. She’s joined by her daughter on the job, who has also worked to gain the skills to treat patients.

“Having someone who you can go to with questions, having someone who has done the research for you, has that attention for you and your concerns and lifestyle – when we say the holistic approach that’s what we’re talking about,” says Ptak.

Rullens and Ptak also point to the advantages of their business being located in a dedicated health clinic. In instances where further assessment might be necessary, a patient can be referred to other members of the Integrated Health team. This includes the recently-arrived Dr. Charles Scudamore, former surgical director of the B.C. Liver Transplant Program and liver transplant surgeon at Vancouver General Hospital and B.C. Children’s Hospital. Scudamore is now practicing a range of skin rejuvenation treatments on Bowen.

“We want people to have a good experience, and this is based on experience… At the end of the day we want whoever walks through the door to walk away feeling that much better. Whether that’s on a really deep health level, or even just a confidence boost,” explains Kira.

Just over two months into their new Canadian chapter, both mother and daughter are encouraged about ArteBella’s future on the island. “At the end of the day we have our vision and our values, and then other than that it’s kind of go with the flow… I think that as it stands we have a fantastic starting point,” says Kira.