What I’ve Been Up To!

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If  you  have noticed  it’s been quite some time since my last post, my apologies. I have not given up blogging, I’ve just been really busy with an exciting  new direction  I’m taking in my career path.  So I thought I would take a moment to fill you in on what I’ve been doing.

In the spa industry  it can be a constant struggle to find and keep new clients, especially in the current economic climate.  I am always looking for new  ways to generate more business while maintaining  my professional integrity.  The field of esthetics has plenty of opportunities to add new services and treatments, but I remain steadfast in my commitment to offering skin care that does not compromise or harm the skin.  No microdermabrasion, deep peels or dermaplaning for me!

So, when I  read an article about the skin challenges of women undergoing cancer treatment, I knew this was it!  I would  educate myself about caring for the skin of cancer patients and add an Oncology Facial to my list of service offerings.  Like most people, my life has been touched by relatives and  friends who have had to battle this dreadful disease and if I could help improve the quality of life even a little for someone going through cancer treatment, what an amazing thing that would be. The skin during cancer treatment does have special needs, so I could help clients manage their skin issues, while also giving them a relaxing, rejuvenating escape from the stress of dealing with cancer and cancer treatment.  If you’ve ever had a facial, you know how relaxing they can be. There is always a massage component and studies have  shown that  massage and the healing power of touch can help alleviate some of the side effects of cancer treatments. Stress, anxiety, depression, pain, nausea and fatigue can all be decreased by massage. In fact, many cancer treatment centers are offering massage therapy as a complimentary treatment.

My initial plan was to attend a 3 day Oncology Esthetics class in the DC area in March.  Unfortunately the class was cancelled because of snow, and has not yet been rescheduled.  The next best option was an online course which would only provide me with theory, but having been an Esthetician for 14 years I was  confident I could translate that theory into hands on treatments.  Plus the class I had planned to take only offered  2 hours of hands on work with cancer patients,  so I figured I wasn’t missing  much.  I decided to take the online course, have completed it and this week I took  an Oncology Massage class to learn additional massage techniques for cancer patients.

 But there was one  problem with this plan. I felt a little uncomfortable with the idea of making a profit from another persons illness.  I know Oncology doctors and nurses get paid for what they do, but they’re actually helping cure their patients and save lives.  But after some soul searching I came up with two ideas that would make me feel a little less guilty.

  1. Volunteer for the ” Look Good Feel Better”  program.
  2. Offer complimentary Oncology Facials on my days off.

LOOK GOOD FEEL BETTER

  • I am very fortunate to have an amazing boss who has agreed to allow me to use my facial room on my days off to give  Oncology Facials to cancer patients at no charge.  These facials will be offered on a limited basis, but I will do my best to accommodate as many clients as possible.

And of course in addition to these free programs, I will be adding an Oncology Facial to my list of services. This would be a great gift idea for a friend or loved one who is going through cancer treatment.  Helping with cooking, cleaning and errands is a great way to show how much you care, but the gift of pleasure and relaxation would be so special for someone struggling through treatment.

Needless to say, all of this education and training have kept me very busy, but I should soon be back to blogging and bringing you lots of new information about skin care and skin health.

If you would like more information, or have any questions, please email me at  facetimewithjudy@aol.com,   message me on Facebook or leave a comment here on the blog.

Escape Winter With a Sensory Journey!

secret-garden-painting1One of the things I love most about my job is the luxury of working with beautiful plant based aromas.  The therapeutic effects from natural aromas are a great way to help clients recover from stress and return to a more calm and balanced state.  At Elan we begin each spa service with a an Aroma Sensory  Journey to allow our guest to choose an aroma they love. What better way to transport yourself to a beautiful escape on a cold winter day! The following is from the Aveda Professional website:

NATURE MAKES PERFECT SCENTS

“Aromas can create new memories or bring back a moment in time with startling clarity. Unlike other senses, smell travels directly to the brain’s limbic system, which is home to memory, emotion and imagination. At Aveda, we use 100% naturally derived aromas that we call Pure-Fume™. We pioneered the development and use of “functional aromas” that go beyond scent and offer substance. Developed by our resident clinical aromaologist and noted Ayurvedic experts, every aroma and blend has a therapeutic effect.”

“The sense of smell works in two ways—psychologically and physiologically. The psychological aroma connection to memory and emotion is very powerful and happens in an instant. Physiologically, essential oils work through topical application and the lungs. We integrate aroma throughout the guest experience in many different product forms. Since each guest has different aroma memories and preferences, we ask guests to take an Aroma Sensory Journey to help determine their aroma preferences and create a customized, memorable experience.”

You can continue the experience at home by using essential oils, scented candles and skin and body care products.  For maximum effect,  make  sure  the aromas you use are naturally derived from plants and flowers.

NATN

In my Facial Room “Pamper” is a Dirty Word…..

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Why?  Because when do we pamper ourselves?  When we feel like we’ve done something to deserve it, and want to reward ourselves.  Even clients who receive a facial as a gift will save it for a special occasion or until they feel they have a good excuse  to use it. I hear it all the time when I ask my new clients what brought them in for a facial.  They tell me things like they’re celebrating the kids going back to school after summer vacation, a promotion, or they just finished their thesis. The list goes on, but too often it sounds like they feel they must justify what they are doing.  Look up the word “pamper” in the dictionary and here’s what you’ll find:

  • From dictionary.com-Pamper:(verb)  to treat or gratify with extreme or excessive indulgence.
  • Merriam-Webster: To treat with extreme or excessive care and attention.
  • thesaurus.com: Coddle, overindulge, spoil.                                                                             

 You see where I’m going with this?  If you view getting a facial as excessive indulgence, you will feel guilty  every time you have one. You’ll think of it as a “guilty pleasure” that you must justify.  This belief could not be more wrong, and here’s why:

Most people know that a facial in a spa is an extremely relaxing experience.  We play soft music, dim the lights, use relaxing aromas and massage techniques that are soothing and nurturing.  To the uninformed, this might seem like “pampering” , but the fact is, all of these techniques are used in an effort to improve the skin by helping our guests escape and recover from stress.  We know stress damages every organ in the body, and the skin being the largest of the organs it suffers as well.  And because it’s on the outside of the body, the skin is often the last organ to receive the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.  

According to Dr. Ellen Marmur in her book “Simple Skin Beauty” a 2004 study found that the white blood cells of women under high psychological stress aged more rapidly than those in a control group who were not under stress (page46).  Stress can also exacerbate a number of skin conditions like rosacea, eczema, acne, psoriasis and alopecia. 

An article I recently read on webmd (http://www.webmd.com/beauty/skin/effects-of-stress-on-your-skin) explores the theory that  the mind and skin are intimately intertwined and many skin disorder may be rooted in our psyche. There is even a new  field of study experts are calling “Psychodermatogy” that addresses the impact of an individual’s emotion as it relates to the skin, which combines traditional medicine with complimentary medicine and relaxation techniques.  The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami has conducted studies showing  that test subjects mood and activity levels improved, as did all measures of their skin condition including redness and itching, after receiving massage. 

The beauty of understanding the mind/body component of stress is that the effects of all the relaxation experienced during a facial helps improve the skin as well as all the organs of your body.  I don’t call that pampering, I call it wellness, and one should never feel guilty about scheduling a wellness appointment (at least once a month)….and please, no dirty words!!

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