#HerbalAha Moments and other Highlights from the Herbal Skincare Summit

#HerbalAha Moments and other Highlights from the Herbal Skincare Summit

In case you missed it, last week, I hosted the first ever Herbal Skincare Summit (the live event is over, but you can purchase it and watch or listen anytime HERE!). In this virtual event, I brought together 18 herbalists, holistic health, and skincare experts to offer their stories, wisdom, inspiration, and practical tips for how to use the magic and science of herbs for clear, vibrant skin. I’ve been wanting to do a summit for a long time, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to offer, since there are so many great summits out there! I didn’t want to say more of what’s already been said (at least not in the same way), and I’ll be honest–I don’t really like doing things the same way that have already been done.

We can always make the argument that there are no “original” ideas, because all creation comes from the same collective source consciousness.

Herbal Skincare Summit--Kami McBrideAnd I fully believe that, but, what I needed to figure out for myself was what message did this source consciousness intend to come through me? And in what way? And who else was meant to be involved? Obviously I was meant to talk about skincare–and skincare in a holistic way, of course. But “holistic skincare” is such a massive umbrella these days, which I am very happy about!

So many people are writing about it, teaching about it, and practicing it both personally and professionally, that the definition I assigned the term in my book Love Your Skin, Love Yourself back in 2013, has now become commonplace. At the Nutritional Aesthetics® Alliance, we had a discussion about what “holistic” really means, and while we were able to offer some different perspectives, we realized that it really still is such a large umbrella term that can mean so many things. And while not all definitions might be “right” to every person who identifies as holistic, all are a step in the “right” direction.

But none of this helped narrow things down for me! I didn’t want to just do a “holistic skincare” summit, because versions of that have already been done. So I began to do what I always do to help me brainstorm–I set my intention during meditation that I wanted to co-create something that was not only beneficial and inspirational, but also that was needed at the time it would be delivered. I also brought in my allies–my bearded dragons, my stones, and my herbs, because they also share in this same source consciousness.

I started spending more time outdoors, and was guided to have more conversations about skincare with plant and stone people, and that’s when I realized four things:

  • There are SO many ways nature can help the skin that aren’t being talked about enough
  • Skincare is healthcare–and not enough people understand that. There is still this misconception that caring about the skin means that you are in some way vain or superficial–even in the holistic and herbal community
  • Many of the lessons that nature teaches can’t be Googled–they are told through stories and must be experienced
  • Live interaction is a must

HSS Quote Card--Sarica CernohousThat’s how the idea to focus specifically on educating people not just about how to use herbs for healthy skin, but also on how to tap into herbal intuition and “earth wisdom” (as Herbal Skincare Summit speaker, Maia Toll would say), to learn from the plants. And to do that, we needed to tell stories. And I needed to do at least some of it live. So I decided to offer a live wrap up session on Facebook every evening of the Herbal Skincare Summit, to connect with people, and celebrate the teachings of each day. I truly think it was one of the best aspects of this summit–and since the videos are still there (click here to find and watch them), they help the good vibes spread farther and last longer.

So while each Herbal Skincare Summit speaker was invited to speak on the subject in the way that most resonated with them, I asked each for two things:

  • Their story–how did the plants first call to them and how did they come to do what they do?
  • Their favorite herb

And what I found when I was going through each interview, and what many Herbal Skincare Summit attendees emailed me to say, was that they learned just as much from the stories, as they did from the actual “content.” 

Personally, I was so inspired by the speakers, that as I went through the videos, I took an entire single subject, wirebound, college-ruled notebook full of notes. I wrote down quotes, herbs, ideas for recipes, and what l later described as “:#herbalaha” moments that came through as I was listening. I realized that in this notebook was something very special–a true treasure chest of collaborative gold that was co-created by the teachers, the plants, our attendees (all attendees were asked to share their favorite herbs and “herbalaha moments from the summit) and myself.

Here are just a couple of #herbalaha examples (and I’ve sprinkled a few others throughout this page 🙂

“As the skin is an organ of digestion, it actually tastes herbs. For each of the doshas, there are particular tastes that bring balance.” —Melanie Sachs

“We need to go back to the basics. We need to go back to what our great grandmothers were using 200 years before the chemical revolution.” —Tammie Umbel

“A lot of the time, we think if we see a little benefit in one thing, more is better. So we isolate it and boost it up–but then we’re missing the more balanced benefits that nature allows for us by using the whole plant.” —Dr. Trevor Cates

That notebook has so much love and positive energy infused into its pages, that I decided early during Summit Week (I did not plan it before), that I wanted to offer it back as a gift to those who purchase the Herbal Skincare Summit kit, as well as our speakers. So I am now working on turning it into the Herbal Skincare Summit Companion e-Book, which will be given exclusively to anyone who purchases the Herbal Skincare Summit kit.

I don’t have a release date yet, because it is a lot of information to compile and organize, and I want it to be a beautiful offering.

But if you already have purchased the Herbal Skincare Summit Kit, or would like to purchase it now (click HERE to do that), you will receive it once it is published. I am so excited to have this opportunity to continue to spread the goodness that was created by the Herbal Skincare Summit, to those who most want to receive it!

As I sit at my desk in a beautiful suite at a retreat in Palm Springs (this retreat was planned before the summit was, but the timing could not have worked out more perfectly that I’m here the week following the Herbal Skincare Summit), I’m reflecting on how peaceful, inspired, and happy I still feel from the summit. I treated myself to an in-room facial yesterday after I arrived (my airplane-dehydrated skin NEEDED it!), and was pleasantly surprised that the aesthetician who came, knew about the summit and had positive feedback. This event had such a positive impact, and it’s my mission to continue that.

After watching the Herbal Skincare Summit, I hope you fall in love–or deeper in love–with both your skin and the plants too!

Did you attend the Herbal Skincare Summit live or purchase the Kit?

What was your greatest #herbalaha moment? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Skincare is Healthcare–Why We Should Focus on Our Largest Organ First

Skincare is Healthcare–Why We Should Focus on Our Largest Organ First

It’s always astonished me, how the idea of taking care of one’s skin is considered by so many to be an act of vanity. Images of vintage ladies applying cold cream at their decadent vanities come to mind. I watched the Amazon Prime show “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (OK–I binge watched the whole thing in two evenings); and I myself marveled at the clips of Midge and Rose sneaking off to the bathroom after their husbands fell asleep to apply their night cream, and then sneaking back in at the crack of dawn to remove it and apply their makeup before their husbands awoke. The idea that skincare is healthcare, not just a fluffy ritual, would have been quickly dismissed back then. And surprisingly, it’s still dismissed today.

I’ve spent the greater part of my life observing my own changing relationship with my skin.

I’ve also been studying the history of women’s beauty rituals and changing roles in society for quite some time. I’ve come to the understanding that the whole idea that caring for the skin is solely for beauty, vanity, or to impress or seduce a man; and the shaming that’s followed, really is a result of our patriarchal society. I’ve thought deeply about the damage caused by the whole “anti-aging” movement to women collectively, to our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health–and what we can do to heal that hurt. I’ve written several blog posts that explore concepts of beauty, aging, and skin-related women’s image issues:

I’ve also given some thoughts about how to reclaim our sacred beauty and creative expression, and celebrate it without fear or shame:

While these are important issues, what we still need to discuss is the fact that skincare goes way beyond self-care or celebration of beauty.

We need to discuss the fact that in actuality, skincare is healthcare.

I find it fascinating that many health practitioners–even holistic ones–kind of snicker at me when I tell them that my focus is on skincare. They seem to think that focusing on skin is superficial or frivolous, and that there are more important organs that need attention–especially since most skin issues start inside (with the gut, liver, lymph, etc).

That may very well be true, but I start with the skin, because unlike the gut, liver, or lymphatic system–it is visible, and we see whatever’s ailing us reflected back multiple times a day. Its changes are immediately noticeable, and if there are blemishes, scars, flare-ups, spots, lines, and wrinkles, often, these affect how people feel about themselves.

I’m not the only one who believes that skincare is healthcare.

Eastern philosophies such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda often start with the skin during diagnosis, as the location and other physical characteristics of lesions, pigmentations, or features of the skin correlate directly to an internal organ or system that may need to be attended to. This is well and good, but in this day and age, constant stress and chronic illness is the norm; and people are used to living with symptoms such as digestive issues, chronic fatigue, mood swings, constant colds, painful menstrual cycles, and disturbed sleep. Because of that, those symptoms often go unnoticed, or are dismissed as stress or just getting old. But when the skin shows us something? A new wrinkle, spot, dilated blood vessel, or pimple? We pay attention.

The skin is the largest organ, and we have to stop treating it in a disembodied, disconnected way from the rest of our organs and systems.

The skin is an organ of digestion, elimination, immunity, respiration, temperature regulation, and sensation; and should be treated with as much reverence as the brain, heart, liver, and other vital organs of the body.

Clean Skin from Within by Dr Trevor CatesA truly holistic approach to skincare seeks to find the root cause of the symptom that’s choosing to manifest visibly on the surface. It’s definitely important to uncover things on the inside like food sensitivities, as well as environmental toxicants, and poor lifestyle habits which contribute to the underlying causes of the symptoms, but we also have to look at the actual skin. As my friend and colleague, Dr. Trevor Cates says in her book Clean Skin from Within, the skin is a magic mirror–it reflects back to us what’s going on inside.

What I offer in addition to caring for the skin from within, is that we can also start on the outside, by utilizing the skin’s powerful absorption abilities to deliver nutrients into the skin from the outside in. While the exact rate of absorption via the skin depends on many factors and varies from person to person, we know that delivering nutrients through the skin–AKA transdermally–is possible, because both the pharmaceutical and supplement industries use transdermal delivery systems for medications and micronutrients.

We can also deliver vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other powerful phytonutrients into the body via the skin through the use of carrier oils, essential oils, and herbs–or what I refer to as “whole food skin nutrition.” When we do this in addition to other holistic measures, we truly care for the skin–and the health–and will see results faster, which will last longer.

I started my blog and later, my business, with the notion that skincare is healthcare.

I also feel strongly that the way to vibrant skin and radiant health is through the use of plants. For these reasons, I decided to create the Herbal Skincare Summit: an online event that happens free January 8-12, 2018, and features stories, wisdom, and inspiration of renowned herbalists, holistic health, and skincare practitioners. Together, we’ll celebrate beauty, inspired by the magic, wisdom, and science (yes there is room for both magic and science in Mother Earth’s plant kingdom) of nature. I hope you can join us to learn more about how I truly feel the plants are here to bring us back to ourselves and the planet, through the skin.

Herbal Skincare Summit

Click HERE to register!

*This post contains affiliate links.

Photo credit: Wellcome Library

5 Inspirations to Get Out of the Self-Care Rut

5 Inspirations to Get Out of the Self-Care Rut

Self-care is possibly the most popular recommendation health coaches and wellness practitioners give to their clients–particularly to women. Because if mom’s not happy then no one’s happy right? And you can’t give from an empty cup? Surely you’ve heard those (possibly from me!). But like anything else that’s good, it is possible that despite our best intentions, we get stuck in a self-care rut.

Self-care is something that can mean many different things, and come with a whole mixed bag of feelings.

Is it a spa treatment? Drinking more water? Sniffing essential oils? Sipping herbal tea? A home-cooked meal? A shiny new crystal? New lipstick? A day away from the kids? Sure, why not? But then the feelings come…”I don’t have time.” “I shouldn’t be spending money on frivolous stuff like that.” “I’m not one of THOSE women.” And so on.

I know. I’ve heard it from my own clients and students, and have even caught myself thinking and saying it myself. Sometimes I indulge, and feel great about it. Other times, I go without, or put it off, or move my “scheduled” self-care block into next week that’s “not as crazy” as this week. When that happens, and I see another mom–usually another mom who has a business because that’s typically who I see online–post about her amazing self-care experience, I also catch myself thinking thoughts like “must be nice” or “she must have so much help” or “maybe next week.”

You know what though? I find that most often when I skip self-care, it’s not because I don’t have the time or money for it. Because I truly believe in turning small daily habits into self-care rituals. No, for me the problem is more often that I’m lacking self-care inspiration. Sometimes I’m so tired I just can’t think of something creative to do that’s easy and already in my house in addition to tweaks and lifestyle upgrades I’ve already made. It’s kind of like a food rut–you get comfortable making the same quick, simple recipes that everyone likes until you make them so often that the thought of having it again makes you physically ill. But instead of a food rut, it’s a self-care rut.

The best way to get out of a food rut–and a self-care rut–is to try something new.

It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, time consuming, or expensive–because let’s face it–if that’s the case, then you’ll be less likely to actually do it. In my book, The Sauce Code, I talk about how adding a simple sauce to your favorite dish is a great way to make it new and exciting again (and I give you 7 super simple and delicious plant-based sauce recipes that go great with pretty much anything!).

So today, I decided to offer some of my favorite simple self-care tools and experiences to inspire you out of your self-care rut. Here are three of mine:

1. Pajama day. Now I realize that if you work outside the home, it might not be a great idea to show up to the office in your bunny slippers and flannel PJs. But if you’re like me and you work from home (or you have a day off from your job), give yourself permission to wear pajamas all day. I actually recommend wearing a different set from what you slept in. Get up, shower, and put on a fresh pair of your comfiest or most luxurious (whichever makes you feel cozier) pair, add a fluffy robe and slippers, and go about your day. You still feel like you got dressed, so you’re not being lazy (win!), and it feels SO good. And if you’re into the super trendy Danish practice, hygge, well, you can’t get much more hygge than jammies.

2. Say no. I often tell my clients that their “no” muscle often needs more exercise than any other muscle in the body. Women, in general, are yes people. We’re helpers, we’re caretakers, we want to be everything for everyone. We feel really guilty when we say no. We worry that we’ll let people down. We worry about what they’ll think of us if we say no. So we say so much yes to everyone that we end up having to say no to our own desires and needs (notice how I listed desires before needs?). Say no. Say it because you can. Say it loud and exaggerated as if in slow motion. Annunciate as if you were doing a vocal warm up exercise (my theater friends will know exactly what this means 🙂 ). Don’t say no to things like paying taxes or feeding your children, of course. But next time someone asks you to do something that your or someone else’s wellbeing doesn’t depend on? Say no. If you’re not sure, ask yourself–“what will happen if I say no?” If your answer has anything at all to do with how you think your no will be perceived by someone else? That’s how you know it’s a GOOD no.

3. Revive a forgotten (or neglected) hobby. What did you love to do when you were younger? Sing? Dance? Play catch? Draw? Read? Garden? Whatever it is, there is a grown-up version of it that I promise you, you can fit into your life. Sing really loudly in the car. Read a book about your absolutely FAVORITE subject or character of all time. Get some crayons and color. Something recently that made me really happy was going out into my yard, sitting on the grass, and just looking through it to see what I might find. When I was a kid I loved looking through my grass for four leaf clovers (we had a LOT of them). I’d sit there for hours. Well I didn’t find any in my yard last time I looked, but I DID find lots of lovely little native herbs that if I didn’t look closely, I would have completely missed. I sat there for only about 15 minutes, but it made me smile for the rest of the day.

IncenseAnd here are two ideas from my friend and colleague Trish Ward (who you might remember from this post):

1. For the mind and spirit: “I grab my Harmony incense, malachite and sit with my angel cards. I do breath work so I can get really grounded. I’ll also just put my feet bare on the earth and receive its strong healing vibration.”

2. For the body: “When I am giving to my body, I use a tongue scraper, dry brush, and epsom salt bath. This stirs the lympathic system, which is the sewage system that can rid the body of toxins to create optimal space within the body.”

By the way, Trish has an amazing 10-day self-care challenge. It’s free–check it out here!

What are some of your favorite ways to break out of a self-care rut?

I’m always looking for more ideas, so if you have a favorite, please share it in the comments below!

Image credits: “No” by born1945, “Incense” by Lefertis Heretakis

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How to Use Art for Healing and Manifestation

How to Use Art for Healing and Manifestation

I want to start by saying I believe everyone is an artist. I’m not saying everyone can paint like Monet, dance like Misty Copeland, or sing like Celine Dion but I strongly believe that you don’t have to be someone who creates art or expresses creativity for a living to be an artist. The suffix “ist” really just means “someone who does this thing that the -ist is attached to.”

I remember first being introduced to this concept years ago, when I attended my first IIN mega conference (5000 high-vibe health coaches and healers in one room? Heck yeah.) in New York City. During this amazing event, I got to hear incredible speakers including Deepak Chopra, Sally Fallon Morell, and Dr. Mark Hyman all in one weekend. Kathy Freston was also one of the speakers (quite the contrast to Sally!), and was there to talk about her book. Veganist. During her talk, she explained that she wasn’t an expert in veganism, and doesn’t really go by the term “vegan;” rather, she prefers “veganist” because she happens to study and practice veganism.

Years later, Rosemary Gladstar, at the Mid-Atlantic Women’s Herbal Conference, made the important point to the crowd (not as large as the IIN crowd but 200 equally high vibe herbal women talking sisterhood and preserving herbal tradition under one tent? Double heck yeah.) that you don’t have to practice clinical or medical herbalism to consider yourself an herbalist. You just have to have a relationship with the plants in your regular life, and constantly study their uses. For me, that was such a relief! Because I’ve loved herbs for the majority of my life, and work with them often–I also teach how to use them to make skincare–but for the longest time I didn’t call myself an herbalist because I don’t have a clinical or medical herbal academic background. But from that day forward, I began to refer to myself as an herbalist, and that felt so empowering!

It’s the same with art, and in today’s episode of the Rachael Pontillo Show, herbalist, mama of 5, and artist, Jenel Schaffer offers the same perspective–you don’t have to teach art or do art for a living to be an artist–you just have to do art. She also debunks the myth that artistic talent is innate; as an art teacher herself, Jenel believes that art is a learned skill.

I’m down with all that, but that’s not why I invited Jenel to be on the show. I invited her, because of her amazing experience of how she used art for healing and coping through hard times in life–and get this–she also used it to manifest a smooth pregnancy, peaceful homebirth of her fifth child, and healthy post-partum recovery. In fact, at the time of our interview, Jenel had only given birth two weeks prior!

Learn more about how to use art for healing and manifestation from Jenel below:

Click HERE to download the audio version of this episode free on my iTunes channel (and subscribe while you’re at it!)

How does this relate to art?

Jenel spent her pregnancy working with an Art Journal. As a visual person, she likes to write and draw pictures together. She did numerous drawings of myself pregnant, celebrating the beauty of pregnancy and the glow she felt as a pregnant mom. This was not something I relished in any of her other pregnancies. She truly tried to embrace herself, and love herself- for her own sake and for her child.

Jenel also shares my belief that beauty is more than skin deep. It comes from within. What Jenel does and teaches as an artist also celebrates what is within, and by doing so, she was able to manifest the birth and recovery experience she had only dreamed of in the past.

In Jenel’s own words:

“I am giving credibility to my gifts, and the joy I feel using them is reflected on the outside. There was a time where I wore a lot of makeup to hide myself. Then there was a time where I wore none, in protest. Today, I believe in a balance. I believe in lovingly taking care of your body and your appearance- and that includes the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of our nature.”

About Jenel Schaffer:

How to Use Art for Healing with Jenel SchafferJenel Schaffer is a certified Art Teacher K-12 as well as a certified Family and Nutritional Herbalist. She has been teaching on herbs, nutrition, and art for over 10 years. Her work began in public schools, then she moved to the private sector as an herbalist and currently as a homeschool teacher and contract art teacher at various locations in eastern Pennsylvania.  Locations include the GoggleWorks in Reading PA, libraries, coffee shops, private homes, farms, and wellness centers. Her website is www.jbschafferartist.weebly.com.

By the way, one of the books Jenel mentioned, The Artist’s Way is one of my absolute favorites–I highly recommend you check it out! Oh and I also wanted to share that the artwork on my wall is by Julia Watkins. I adore her work and have several of her prints and pieces of jewelry!

Did Jenel’s story resonate with you as much as it did me?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission when you make a purchase after clicking on one of the links (at no cost to you). Affiliate commissions help me continue to provide you amazing stories, expert interviews, and top quality holistic skincare and wellness content for free. Thank you for your support!

Soul Care: How it’s Different from Self-Care

Soul Care: How it’s Different from Self-Care

I had a bit of an epiphany the other day after my acupuncture treatment. See, I was all excited that I was treating myself to a bit of self-care before the session, but afterwards, I realized that what I’d experienced was not self-care at all–it was soul care. It’s a similar feeling to how you feel after an amazing facial, massage, Reiki treatment, or other type of hands-on beauty, wellness, or energy session.

Think about that feeling yourself. Think about how you felt right after the last treatment you received. What words and phrases come to mind? Peaceful? Relaxed? Blissful? Loved? Cared for? For me, after that acupuncture treatment, I felt completely relaxed and cared for. And that’s when I realized that what I had just experienced was not self-care at all. It was soul care.

The definition of self-care can be confusing.

Rachael DIY Facial Mask

DIY facials are a great form of self-care.

I was first introduced to the concept of self-care during my holistic nutrition education at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®. The idea taught was that you cannot give from an empty cup. The now cliche examples that come up to describe the why behind self-care are how “when mom’s not happy, no one’s happy,” and of course how you’re always supposed to put on your own air mask before helping others during a plane crash.

But what is it exactly? Is it as simple as doing something nice for yourself just for the sake of doing something nice for yourself? That’s part of it, but if it was really that simple, then we wouldn’t have to have multiple blog posts, books, articles, and online courses dedicated to it.

It seems that self-care should be something that’s related to pampering or wellness in order to really be considered self-care, right? Something like a spa day, or massage, or really well-prepared nourishing meal? Maybe drinking enough water, meditating, doing yoga, or getting enough sleep? This is about the point where people get confused, and even overwhelmed and the self-conversation turns to “I can’t afford that,” or “who has time for that?” or “I’m not that kind of person (who needs to be pampered all the time).”

In my coaching practice, that’s typically when I tell my clients that self-care doesn’t have to be a big ordeal like an expensive spa retreat or time consuming yoga practice. It can be as simple as taking an extra long bath or shower with candles and relaxing music. Or as brief as a few sun salutations or rounds of deep breathing. Coaches like me who make this recommendation are well intended–and trust me, these little things do add up to really nice results. But there’s a problem with this kind of self-care–it another thing you “should” or “have to” do. It doesn’t necessarily seem like a treat. And no matter how great you are at at-home facial massage or giving yourself your own Reiki treatment (if you have Reiki), let’s face it–it’s not the same thing as having it done for you by someone else.

We all need to be cared for by someone else from time to time.

Body treatments are excellent soul careWhen I give myself facials at home with my own handmade products, that is self-care. When I clean and declutter my home to make it a pleasant environment to live and work in, that is self-care. When I cook a really nourishing meal for myself, that is self-care. Is the quality of what I do as good or better than what someone else could do for me? Sure. Does it save money? Absolutely. But does it give me the same feeling? It depends on what it is.

Cleaning my house–no matter how great I feel after it’s done–is just part of the routine. But having someone else clean my house–well THAT is a treat. While I give myself amazing facials, it’s not the same as getting a facial from an aesthetician at a spa (even though I still bring my own products!). I can’t zone out and fully relax, and I certainly won’t take a full hour or longer on my own skin. When I do yoga at home, it’s great–but it’s not the same as having helpful hands from my instructor adjust me when needed or give me a little extra love during savasana.

When we allow ourselves to be touched, cared for, guided, and yes–pampered–by others, it becomes soul care. Because we all deserve to not have to do the work all of the time. My acupuncture treatment was so amazing, because my acupuncturist was there for the sole reason to care for me. My only job was to be open and honest during the consultation, and then to just lie there and receive. The same goes for when I get a facial, or a massage, or a chiropractic adjustment. All I need to do is show up, maybe talk a little, then just lie there and receive.

While it does take self-motivation and self-action to get oneself to the acupuncturist, or spa, or wellness center–the treatment itself is not self-care because it is not delivered to oneself by oneself. So I’m drawing the line and calling this type of care soul care.

Self-care is still important.

Rachael Pontillo making skincareSelf-care is a positive–and usually pleasant–practice, routine, or treat that is delivered to oneself by oneself. It requires no outside help or location, little-to-no special equipment, little-to-no spending, and can be done for just a few minutes or for as long as you want. It’s great for stress management, lifting the mood, and maintaining one’s overall level of wellness. Keep doing it regularly. Keep making room for it on your calendar.

But also make room for soul care. It is equally important to allow yourself to be cared for by another person. It’s even better if it’s someone who doesn’t know you personally, because there won’t be any attachments or energetic baggage involved.

If regular soul care treatments aren’t in the budget for you, here are three suggestions:

  • Get treatments from the student clinic at a local school
  • If you’re a wellness practitioner yourself, find a colleague or referral partner to trade services with
  • Ask for soul care for gifts for holidays, birthdays, or any other time it’s gift giving time. Gift cards to wellness centers or spas that offer multiple modalities are great, so you can choose what resonates, when you want.

Remember–just because you can do something doesn’t mean you always have to be the one to do it for yourself.

I have a homework assignment for you. After you finish reading this, make a list of treatments you know you love to receive and treatments you’ve never received but have been dying to try. Then brainstorm out if you know anyone who provides those treatments that you can trade with, if there’s a gifting occasion coming up, or do an online search for student clinics in your area. Then, make an appointment!

share-your-thoughts-2-150x150I’d love to hear from you–does separating self-care from soul care make either or both easier for you?

Please share your thoughts in the comments!


*This post contains affiliate links.

The Importance of Self-Care for Wellness Practitioners

The Importance of Self-Care for Wellness Practitioners

Self-care is a term that gets thrown around a lot, and it can mean many different things. For some people it means a lavish day at the spa, with facials, massages, and treatments. For others, it can mean eating home-cooked meals, taking a nice hot shower without getting interrupted, or just getting enough sleep. For many, self-care lies somewhere in between.

I think we can all agree that self-care is important–especially for moms and others who are responsible for the care of others or who otherwise give of their own time and energy for the betterment of someone else’s life. I’m passionate about this topic (in fact I preached an entire sermon about it at the Unitarian Society of Germantown in Philadelphia), and I think it’s really important to spread the message about how important it is for those who care for others to equally care for themselves.

Aestheticians, massage therapists, and other spa therapists strive to provide the space and loving touch to those seeking to look and feel better about themselves, or simply add self-care to their lives. But what happens when the aesthetician’s own needs aren’t met? How does the experience in receiving a facial or body treatment change if it’s coming from a practitioner who’s running on empty herself? A practitioner who’s feeling bogged down, stressed, or disconnected?

Think about it. Imagine going to a spa–taking time out of your day and setting aside money in your budget–for the sole purpose of relaxing, receiving, and rejuvenating–only to find that the air is thick, the vibe frantic, and the service rushed? It’s quite a different experience when the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, and the practitioner calm and centered.

Aestheticians and wellness practitioners need to practice self-care as much as they preach it.

This isn’t only necessary for client’s experience, but for the overall wellness and satisfaction of the aesthetician. I can’t tell you how many times I visit aesthetician and wellness professional groups on social media and see posts about how drained, stressed, and disconnected many practitioners feel. And they feel guilty about that, because they care so deeply about how their clients’ experience is.

The International Congress of Esthetics and Spa is one of the leading conferences in the spa industry. Over the past several years, in in its markets of Philadelphia, Dallas, Miami, and Long Beach, it has modified its offerings to offer practical ways for aestheticians to focus on their own self-care. Exercises in movement, meditation, breathing, gratitude practices, and many other wellness strategies are now taught on the main stage, as well as the idea of how important it is to be centered and present during a treatment. I recently had the opportunity to interview the Vice President of Les Nouvelles Esthetiques and Spa magazine and the ICES, Christele de la Haye, for the Nutritional Aesthetics® Alliance to discuss this further.

Watch the interview below:

It’s been my honor to be part of the International Congress of Esthetics and Spa, and I look forward to continuing to spread the message of self-care for aestheticians and other spa and wellness practitioners.

share-your-thoughts-2-150x150Are you an aesthetician, spa, or wellness practitioner?

Do you find it hard to “practice what you preach” with your own wellness and self-care practices? Please share your experience in the comments below.

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