Partnering Skin Health with Wellness
It is evident that many individuals are intent on obtaining a healthier lifestyle and are vastly reconsidering their current regimen with the hope of attaining optimum health and the panacea of a kinder, gentler existence. This trend is projected to continue for many years to come and prospectively aligns skin care professionals with licensed health professionals, presenting the opportunity to unite and build skin health and general wellness in partnership. The enormous effect of the wellness movement has catapulted into the general market with great opportunity and diversity.
The alternative medicine industry's growth is predicted to reach $14.3 billion in 2016.1 This figure substantiates more and more that individuals are thinking outside of the box when considering their options for health care and general well-being. This inspiring movement also represents a new paradigm shift for the skin care industry: creating the necessity for professionals to re-evaluate the current approach in their services, the type of products they use, and how they communicate skin health to the public. What professionals articulate, perform, and recommend is viewed as credible knowledge by the public, which is highly impressionable today, more so than ever before.
Professionals are absolutely going the extra mile to ensure that they provide exceptional service. They partake in advanced training, travel to tradeshows, strive for the perfect ambiance in their spas, invest in the finest products, and make every attempt to cater to the individual desires of their clients. But what about skin care professionals? Do they take the time to instill the same degree of quality in their own lifestyles? Do they exude an energetic and healthy vibrancy in their presentation each and every day? Do their eyes communicate health and vitality? Does their hair and skin mirror health? In short, are professionals exhibiting the wellness they speak of to their clients?
Working harder is not necessarily smarter. When sacrifices pertaining to health are made, the equation, for many, may not add up. Wellness is a commitment and a full-time proposition supported by a person's dedication to strive to be at their best through an adopted, philosophic lifestyle. Wellness begins with each individual honoring themselves daily. Anyone can support their future life span and wellness prosperity by supporting and making deposits to their health bank account.
Constant fatigue will affect endurance levels to the point where simply coping with daily activities is exhausting, draining emotional stamina to the level of disconnect and ultimately impacting health. This level of fatigue may lead to burnout and a potential downward spiral into degenerative health conditions and disease. Prevention is the key to reestablishing health and requires a plan of action that is rational, realistic, and personalized to individual needs. A conducive wellness plan also requires sound evaluation and planning due to the complexity of physiological requirements and bio-individuality.
The word holistic is traditionally aligned with naturopathic philosophy, protocols, and treatments, which include an adoptive lifestyle that advocates total balance and harmony in all aspects of life. Holistic wellness encourages vitality in human existence by embracing the healing power of nature and supports the belief that the body may be both self-regenerating and repairing by employing concepts from nutrition, exercise, fresh air, water, and sunlight. The time-honored philosophy asserts that symptomology in the form of an ailment or disease represents a body that is out of balance. In holistic health, the entire body is viewed as a system: physically, emotionally, and spiritually; it is not assessed as parts to treat individually. Naturopathy maintains that the body has the inherent ability to heal itself given the proper opportunities, awareness, techniques, and provisions.
It is worth noting that stress appears in various forms, including those that cannot be seen (cellular stress). When the stress levels of life are ever constant, they can manifest into a variety of moods and symptoms. The adrenal glands are responsible for the fight-or-flight response from chronic stress. This on-off switch can become hard-wired and remain on, leading to adrenal exhaustion. The long-term activation of the stress-response system and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones can disrupt almost all of the body's processes. This disturbance puts people at an increased risk for numerous health concerns, including heart disease, chest pain, sleep irregularities, digestive complications, obesity, worsening of skin conditions, headaches, muscle tension or pain, and fatigue. Other associated health problems include anxiety, depression, memory impairment, lack of motivation or focus, irritability or anger, and over- or under-eating.2
Stress has also been shown to alter the composition of the microbiota, or flora, that resides within the digestive system, which may impact neurotransmitter and inflammatory cytokine levels. Research has shown that stress can lead to the development of bacterial overgrowth while depleting favorable conditions in the large intestine.3 Other concerns regarding chronic stress include long-term immune, gastrointestinal, reproductive, and neurological manifestations.
Individuals taking a stake in their health and longevity are continually aware and mindful of the commitment necessary to attain the results of optimum wellness. Society is fixed upon a Methuselah life span and, from a science-based perspective, anti-aging refers to the slowing down or prevention of the aging process. It is well publicized that preventative care is the best way to thwart degenerative diseases.
Abraham Maslow, a famed psychologist, hypothesized one of the most prolific viewpoints concerning the observation of human behavior and health. His research featured a theoretical concept entitled, "The Hierarchy of Needs," and adeptly grasped the concept of human motivation.4 Maslow's work identified many aspects of human developmental psychology and its connection to health, including characteristics of self-discovery that should be ever present for everyone.
Physiological and Biological Needs – The physical requirements for human survival must be met or the human body cannot function properly. These needs, which are the most important and should be met first, include air, food, water, shelter, and warmth.
Safety Needs – This level of the pyramid includes protection from the elements, home, security, order in life, stability, and life without fear. It encompasses ensuring that life is deterred from hindrances that may provoke danger or fear.
Love and Belonging – This level includes family, friends, relationships, love, affection, community, and a sense of being welcome and needed and belonging. It requires living and working in an environment that supports healthful emotions.
Esteem and Cognitive Needs – These needs consist of self-worth, respect, and esteem; respect from others; knowledge; meaning; and rationale. It encompasses the foresight to learn and the desire to learn and respond to others.
Self-Actualization – This level of the pyramid includes believing in oneself, realizing self-potential, seeking personal growth, striving to enjoy life and helping others to do the same, and contributing to the community.5
1 statista. (n.d.). Projected alternative medicine industry revenue growth in the U.S. from 2011 to 2016 (in million U.S. dollars)
2 American Psychological Association. "Stress in America." Survey. (2010).
3 Bailey, M., Dowd, S., Parry, N., Galley, J., Schauer, D., & Lyte, M. (2010, February 9). Stressor Exposure Disrupts Commensal Microbial Populations in the Intestines and Leads to Increased Colonization by Citrobacter rodentium. Infection and Immunity, 78(4), 1509-19.
4 Maslow, A.H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370-396. doi:10.1037/h0054346
5 Wikipedia. (2016, May 28). Maslow's hierarchy of needs. In Wikipedia. Retrieved June 14, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs
Erin Madigan-Fleck, N.M.D., C.N.H.P., L.M.C., has over 30 years of experience in the aesthetic and natural health industries and is licensed as a master cosmetologist and aesthetic instructor in Georgia. She is a nationally certified natural health professional and holds a bachelor's degree in natural health, a master's in holistic nutrition, and a doctorate in naturopathic medicine. Madigan-Fleck served her clinical residency at Progressive Medical Centers of America in Atlanta and has written a complete course in holistic and integrative aesthetics.