The Move To Mindfulness, by Rebecca Archer
21st Century living is stressful. In an age of 24/7 connectivity it is becoming increasingly difficult to switch off. The average person uses their smart phone a staggering 221 times a day (Daily Mail, 2014) and sends and receives around 115 e-mails in a 24 hour period (Forbes, 2013). Even when we are not at work the majority of us are still thinking about it. The 9-5 simply doesn’t exist anymore.
It is estimated that one in four adults has been diagnosed with a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety, at some stage during their lifetime (Annual Health Survey for England, 2016). The beauty industry has responded to this epidemic by offering products and treatments which help clients become more mindful and improve their overall wellbeing. According to the 2017 Global Wellness Economy Monitor Report, the international wellness industry grew 10.6% to £2.97 trillion between 2013 and 2015, making it one of the world’s fastest growing markets. Sue Harmsworth, MBE, Founder of ESPA summarised the move to mindfulness perfectly when she recently said “We’ve spent the last decade looking after our bodies and we’ll spend the next decade looking after our minds.”
Psychology Today define mindfulness as a state of active, open attention on the present. When a person is mindful, they are able to observe their thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting life pass by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.
A Whole New Meaning For The Word “Therapist”
As beauty professionals our job remits are expanding to include amateur counselling, as clients turn to us for advice on a whole plethora of problems, which are not confined to the beauty arena. Ever had a client talk to you about work or relationship problems? Of course you have. Never before has the “Therapist” part of our job title been so accurate. In response to this many professional beauty brands have now enlisted a panel of lifestyle experts to help advise clients on everything from nutrition to meditation.
Tracey Woodward, CEO of Aromatherapy Associates says, “We know we can change how people feel for 6-8 hours with our products, now we want to change how people think and their habits allowing them to lead healthier more mindful lifestyles. Our vision is to help not only our consumers but our spas, retail partners and internal staff to develop strong inner peace and foundations to help manage day to day stresses.”
Treating The Mind
Treatment menus are also reflecting the move to a more holistic approach. ESPA Life Wellness at the Corinthia Hotel London, offers guests integrative medicine within a luxury spa environment to enhance healing and relaxation, to optimise wellbeing and promote recovery from compromised health.
ESPA offer a Mindful Massage at the Corinthia London to help the client unwind a busy mind and escape the pace of everyday life. This holistic, deeply relaxing and clarifying experience works on the concept of mindfulness, focussing on both mind and body to help the client “be more present” and reduce their stress levels.
The therapist skilfully guides the client through breathing and colour visualisation techniques to help relax the mind and release physical or emotional anxieties .The metamorphic zones on the feet are then massaged to help rebalance and ground, before a soothing, deeply therapeutic massage is continued up through the body to promote positivity to the mind, finishing with a re-energising scalp massage using warm rose quartz crystals.
The Power of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is often misunderstood as just a process that involves nice scents with no other benefit. However, Christina Salcedas, Global Director of Education at Aromatherapy Associates is keen to point out that “…it is scientifically proven that aromatherapy has the power to be able to change the way you feel through the sense of smell. This powerful and most primitive of our senses has a direct link with the brain where memories and emotions can be re-called. This enables those suffering from stress, anxiety or depression to have a great self-help tool by channelling happy, safe and uplifting memories with essential oil blends.”
Christina continues, “Some of the Aromatherapy Associates blends that are particularly effective include Deep Relax, which can help aid a great night sleep due to the restful properties of Vertier, ideal for someone who is feeling anxious about anything. DeStress Mind’s blend of Chamomile and Frankincense can help to clear and focus the mind. Both products can be found in bath and shower oil form as well as roller balls for a quick and easy on the spot application. Aromatherapy can help you whoever you are, whatever your needs are, you simply need to find your preferred method of application and the choices are endless.”
In response to a world where wellness is strived for, but stress dominates, Noella Gabriel, Co-Founder and Creator of ELEMIS Therapies has designed LIFE ELIXIRS. Launching in May, these five emotional aromatics (Calm, Clarity, Fortitude, Embrace and Sleep) are breathed in to bring physical and mental wellness. Noella explains, “LIFE ELIXIRS has been created to bring everything back to the potency of modern aromatics. When the day overwhelms you, these complex, delicate, yet scientifically formulated blends will tune in to you. Restoring harmony, settling the mind, quietening the body, whilst harnessing your inner dynamism.”
The Mental Health Foundation argue that sleep is as important to our health as eating, drinking and breathing. It allows our bodies to repair themselves and our brains to consolidate our memories and process information. Poor sleep is linked to physical problems such as a weakened immune system and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
Up to one third of people experience issues such as difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep while one in ten are said to experience insomnia regularly (Headspace, 2017).
Recommended for those who feel stressed, unable to relax and have problems sleeping well, Comfort Zone offer the Tranquillity Pro-Sleep Massage. This innovative massage acts on three different sensorial pathways: olfactive, tactile and hearing, for profound relaxation. The synergy of a unique blend of essential oils, the bespoke Tranquillity™ Sound, Ayurvedic and Indonesian Sea Malay manualities combined with the use of soft brushes, gently guide the way to achieve a quiet and peaceful mind and body state favouring sleep and helping to recover jetlag side-effects.
Another way to help clients unwind is to transform your beauty business into a sanctuary for them. An easy way to do this would be to insist that clients hand over their smart phones and tablets before commencing their treatment. This will ensure they leave the stresses of their life at the door. Before implementing this policy it is important to educate clients on why you are temporarily separating them from their Wi-Fi enabled devices, as some may respond frostily to an enforced digital detox if they don’t understand the benefits associated with it.
Whilst clients should be encouraged to turn off their mobile during treatment, smart phones offer a number of guided meditation apps that will help them switch off at home, such as Headspace (Android/ iOS) which has been endorsed by the movie star Emma Watson. Many people spend a lot of time worrying that they are not meditating correctly and these apps provide the vital reassurance many seek to be able to meditate successfully for a minimum of 10 minutes a day.
Mindfulness meditation involves sitting silently and paying attention to thoughts, sounds and the sensations of breathing or parts of the body, bringing your attention back whenever the mind starts to wander (NHS, 2017). In this state of deep relaxation the mind becomes a lot more receptive to positive suggestions and intentions. The practice is instrumental in driving positive life changes, breaking habits and learning new things.
Mind Your Business
By offering a more holistic approach to beauty therapy you will be able to better meet your clients’ emotional needs. Focusing on your clients’ wellbeing will enable you to create stronger connections with them which is likely to foster customer loyalty and repeat visits.