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What is Wellness?

By: Lila Shanti Pettyjohn
Posted: September 28, 2012, from the October 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Water consumption also serves another vital function in skin and overall health, which is detoxification. Water carries waste (toxins) out of the body and the less toxic buildup that is in the system, the clearer the skin. People are constantly exposed to toxins in water, air, personal care and household products, chemicals in and on food and through building materials. Toxins are a part of life in the modern world. The body works hard to clear out toxins, but it is typically not enough, and toxicity buildup can take place in the body, affecting overall health and showing up as skin issues. Regular detoxification is a useful tool in maintaining health and can be done in a variety of ways, including intervals of fasting, juicing and raw food diets. Nurture a professional relationship with an area nutritionist, so that you can confidently recommend clients to that person for nutritional assistance. Topically, recommend that clients seek skin care products and ingredients that detoxify and purify the skin.


Part of health that can be harder to gauge is stress, but it is important to do so because stress absolutely affects skin and overall health. When clients are chronically stressed, there is an overload of chemicals that wreak havoc on the body and mind. Chronic stress is also linked to illness and disease, such as an increased chance of stroke and heart attack, as well as a compromised immune system, which leaves people susceptible to an array of health issues. Stress management is vital to well-being, and techniques that work vary from person to person. Your client is the only judge of her stress levels and what works to decrease her stress. It is important to her your clients help their stress levels and find tools that reduce—and hopefully eliminate—stress. Some methods to try include yoga, meditation, therapy, coaching, massage, energy work, time with loved ones, exercise, deep breathing, hobbies, time in nature, petting companion animals, reading, journaling, visioning and laughing. Take your client’s stress levels into consideration and encourage them to seek out stress-relieving activities. You can also help to relieve a lot of their stress in the treatment room by incorporating relaxation techniques into your services, such as scalp massage, energy work and breathing exercises.


Sleep patterns are another key component in relation to health. Lack of sleep can have similar effects as chronic stress. The body and mind need rest in order to heal and rejuvenate. It’s akin to taking time off of work. Even if you are in your dream job, you wouldn’t enjoy it as much if you worked nonstop. You need time off. Sleep is a similar concept. People need an average of 6–9 hours of sleep per day. If you’ve never done so, try sleeping in varying lengths and determine when you feel your best, have the most energy and are the most productive. Many factors can contribute to restful sleep, or lack thereof, including mattress, pillows and bedding, room temperature and light, as well as the noise levels in your sleep environment. Take steps to help clients create a space in which you can get your best sleep and other areas of your life will improve. Informing clients about sleep deprivation gives them another tool to use along their path to wellness.

Create targeted treatments

It is clear that focusing on holistic wellness not only improves clients’ lives overall, but also improves skin health and function. Set yourself and your team apart as skin care professionals by taking the time to educate yourself on holistic wellness and then using that knowledge to create more targeted treatments for your clients.

Lila Shanti Pettyjohn is a licensed esthetician, certified professional coach, certified wellness coach and certified Reiki practitioner. She owns A New Leaf Wellness, a holistic healing practice where she uses her varied skills to help clients heal mind, body and spirit. Pettyjohn also has a line of handcrafted, natural bath and body products. She can be contacted at 318-294-5926 or