• Taking Care of You

    Laura WestDo you ever suffer from neck and shoulder pain and headaches? How do your wrists and hands feel at the end of the day? Professional skin and body treatments can be physically demanding. Stress in our neck, shoulders, wrists, lower back, and legs are all part of the occupational hazards that we can experience as professional skin therapists if we do not take care of ourselves. Practicing self-care, with correct body mechanics and keeping ourselves hydrated inside and out, are key to maintaining a healthy body and longevity.

    Taking care of you is about incorporating a combination of several elements:

    • Reduce the risk factors with ergonomics.
    • Develop proper body mechanics.
    • Balance your self-breath.
    • Maintain a healthy diet.
    • Exercise.

    The term ergonomics means the “study of people and their work environment,” including work space, equipment, tools and the demands both physically and mentally. The goal is to achieve comfort, health and productivity. To achieve an ergonomically efficient workspace, ergonomists look at people and draw on disciplines from anatomy, physiology, physics, and engineering.

    In the treatment room, this would mean looking at our equipment – specifically our treatment bed, stools, and trolley.

    Treatment Bed: Ideally you need to be able to have the client’s head at the height of your abdomen to perform skin treatments. For waxing and body treatments, you need to be able to work and move around the bed in a relaxed lunging manner – without causing stress on your back.

    Therapist Stool: If sitting is your preference then an adjustable stool is ideal, as it allows you to work at a height that gives you support while your feet are still on the ground.

    You want your trolley to be sturdy, and on wheels, so it can be moved closer to you, especially if you are performing a full leg wax (you don’t want to drip wax on the floor!).

    An ergonomic treatment room is the foundation of good body mechanics. Body mechanics means using proper body positioning and movement to prevent and correct posture problems, reduce stress and enhance physical capabilities, which helps ensure that all of our clients, from early morning to end of the day, are receiving the same energy from us.

    The way we position our bodies and hands are important not only for the energy we are giving the client but also for the health of ourselves. We connect with our clients through our touch and energy. If your body mechanics are incorrect you will lose the connection with the client and suffer from body stress.

    When standing to give a skin treatment, your body should be relaxed with knees slightly bent. Bend from your hips and move your body as one.

    If sitting is your preference, ensure your back is supported, you are sitting up straight, and both of your feet are firmly planted on the ground.

    Tips to Reenergize Yourself Throughout the Day:

    Shoulder Roll Exercise: You can perform this exercise while in your treatment room to alleviate tension and help keep good posture. Simply lift and roll the shoulders up and back slowly. Repeat three times.

    Spinal Roll: This will help to bring some oxygen back up to the brain. Starting with your head, tilt down and slowly roll down one vertebra at a time with your hands hanging down by your feet. Take a deep breath in, and then exhale out. Slowly roll back up, one vertebrae at a time, inhale and raise your arms up over your head, then on the exhale, bring your arms back down. Repeat three times.

    If you’re really feeling adventurous, do a head stand – that will get the blood flow back to your brain!

    As we always say at The International Dermal Institute, you can’t give what you don’t have. The connection we create with our clients and the energy with which we balance them must start from us. Keep yourself in balance by practicing good body mechanics and using functional equipment. We live our life to take care of others; it’s take time to take care of you!

  • How to Motivate and Empower Your Employees

    Sharon MaxwellEmployees are your most valuable commodity; they can make or break your business. An unhappy staff member or someone with a negative attitude doesn’t only “affect” your business but “infects” it and spreads the virus. On the contrary, employees that are valued and feel the passion for their work can spread the smile, creating a welcoming environment for your clients.

    Communication is key to success. Involve your team in decision making and embrace their ideas and creativity. Set goals and targets together and make them realistic and achievable. Schedule regular meetings or huddles that are not to be cancelled unless an emergency occurs.

    The most valuable lesson that I learned from my manager, was that mistakes are OK! This was revolutionary for me, as I am a perfectionist. Without mistakes there is no growth. If you create a safe environment, it allows your employees to be creative and provides a vehicle for empowerment. Support them to try something new, and affirm them. It may or may not work, but out of it comes a learning curve, and growth.

    Lead by example. Be involved, participating, enjoying, but not controlling. Be approachable; be a mentor, rather than a boss – someone they can relate to and respect. Treat staff how you would like to be treated yourself.

    Reward and recognize if your staff go above and beyond. This can be monetary, but find out what motivates the individual. Determine the value to the business. It could be a day of education, if targets are achieved, or a one hour skin or body treatment, a product, extra 2 hours off work, cake, chocolates, a team lunch/dinner, or even a designer handbag. I have been with the International Dermal Institute for 20 years and I was given a year’s supply of my favourite product to say thank you. As you can imagine I was absolutely thrilled and I felt really valued!

    Plan an informal chat with your employees every 6- 8 weeks, but make notes on accomplishments, areas for development, where they are now, strategies for development, and support or training needed. This is not an assessment or a yearly personal review, it is valuable time together, and an opportunity to share and discuss the business, but it’s also useful to keep for reference as an action plan.

    The business of skin is serious. But the best environment for staff and clients is one where they have freedom to smile, socialize, snack and chat.

    British broadcaster and radio journalist John Tusa once said “Management that wants to change an institution, must first show it loves that institution.” Do you love your business enough to change?!

  • Empowering Women Through Argan Oil

    March is Women’s History Month, and we are in an age where more and more women are gaining the rights they deserve. In some communities, it is harder than others, but there are some impressive ways women help each other out, even in the harshest of environments. A good example is the Argan Co-operative, a group of women that manufactures the production of Argan Oil in Morocco. Backed by the government, they oversee the laborious process of grinding down argan nuts into a paste, which is then sent to factories to extract the elusive Argan Oil. This cooperative runs a large-scale business, while sharing profits among women of the Berber tribe. What a great way to proactively support the entire community as a whole!

    The extraction process of Argan Oil is a cumbersome process, making it expensive and rare. However, the riches really lie in the benefits of the oil itself. It has an unusually high concentration of Tocopherols (Vitamin E) and Carotenes (a form of Vitamin A). It is also an excellent source of antioxidants and flavonoids that help prevent collagen and elastin breakdown. Essential fatty acids and plant sterol protect skin while reinforcing the barrier lipid layer. A great moisturizer for skin and hair, it is easily one of the best and oldest ways to hydrate the body.
    Look for this ingredient for maximal skin benefits and make sure it has been certified by government regulatory bodies to meet their standards. Some oils claim to be Argan Oil, but in fact, are counterfeit oils. Using this ingredient not only helps your skin, but also a small and mighty community of women in Morocco.

  • Weave Your Web

    Over the years I have met many inspiring women that have connected me to professional information and helped me grow personally, allowing me to expand and strengthen my web around the globe. On March 8 we celebrated International Women’s Day, and to honor the women in my life, I would like to share some stories and lessons learned.

    While speaking at a conference in eastern Canada I was privileged to see an amazing presenter, Ildi, a woman who owns her own training and human resource company. Her charisma and presence captivated the audience of 250 people and gave me information about myself and other women on my team that I have benefitted from to this day. Since then, we have had her as a guest speaker at our Toronto training center and our company has sponsored a conference she organized, Women in Leadership and Business . She developed this conference because she “wanted to come up with the right forum, which I believe is a combination of practical tools, knowledge and strategies that is enhanced by the chance to network and make connections with other business women.” Through one chance meeting, we both have benefitted from cross-promoting our businesses and I have learned many skills.

    Our sales manager Reagan was looking for groups to help her stay motivated and inspired and found that common groups weren’t a good fit, so she started her own. She wanted to create an atmosphere where “women felt welcome to attend, could further their own education through a specific topic and could network in a genuine environment.” She didn’t like the concept of giving a business card to someone before having a conversation with them. Pink Tank instills an environment where women can get to know each other and creates a community of success. The best advice she has ever received from a woman: “A challenge is simply an opportunity.”

    While at a cottage for Family Day, Julie, a vivacious women who owns her own landscape design business, made the comment “I will do anything to support women in business. If a friend or someone I know starts a company, I will take part in that business – from hosting a jewelry party to supporting events they are throwing.” She belongs to her local Chamber of Commerce as well as a women’s group of her region. The best advice she’s received from a woman is “Be your own true, authentic self” and “if it takes less than 2 minutes, do it now!”

    These are just three examples of how connecting with other women can positively influence our lives. Whether you become involved in your local Chamber of Commerce, fitness groups, Toastmasters or skin care classes at The International Dermal Institute, some additional benefits to you would be:

    • Expanding your network and partnering with other women to gain new leads
    • Inspiring others (as well as being inspired) to achieve desired goals and aspirations
    • Bartering with people who are strong where you are weak, such as an accountant to help with financials or a marketing guru to help bring your
    business from good to great
    • Learning skills from other women or finding out about the latest technology
    • Out-of-the-box thinking and translating advice from different industries to our own
    • Engaging in the lives of others for the better
    • Giving back

    The inner strength of a woman is phenomenal. Women perform 66% of the world’s work, produce 50% of the world’s food and invest 90% of their incomes back into their families. It has been shown that when women in a community are successful, the community thrives. Successful women are amazing role models creating a positive trend – the offspring will be successful. Women in our lives offer words of wisdom and often lead by example.

    Whether you “like” an inspiring woman’s Facebook page, follow motivational women on Twitter or invest in a woman entrepreneur through FITE, reaching out and giving back will keep you motivated, expand your network and increase the amount of support you give and receive.

    The skin care industry is an amazing sector to be involved in as clients are paying us on a daily basis to touch them. From doing a simple manicure to giving an elaborate skin treatment, people benefit from this touch in so many ways. This literal feeling that our clients experience needs to be taken to a figurative level to help us weave a web of connectivity in our lives.

    Appreciate and honor the women in your life now. Life is too short. Spider webs have the strength of steel, but with more elasticity. Never be afraid to weave a world wide web because the more women we connect to, the more resilient and strong our communities will be.

  • Why I’m Not Over the Hill

    By “the hill”, I mean Hillary Clinton. I am not over her. I am not giving up on her. And as for Hill herself – when will she give up? I think when you hear that crackling sound way off in the distance, and the furious hissing of steam. That would be the sound of hell freezing over.

    With March as Women’s History Month, it’s really easy to slide into lots of platitudes about girl power. Hill doesn’t really go there.

    She epitomizes the core quality which I admire most: resiliency. Hillary bounces back in the face of crushing defeat. When you look back over her presence in the public eye during the past two decades, she has endured loss and defeat. Oh, the shame — yet the talk on the Hill these days is that she might swap jobs with Joe Biden and run alongside President Obama as his stalwart VP. Well, I can dream can’t I …?

    On a policy level, her health care crusade was a colossal disappointment. It is shameful that millions more Americans today cannot provide adequate health insurance coverage for themselves and their families, especially as more Americans are separated from conventional 9-to-5 jobs with employer benefits packages.

    Pundits of every stripe even take delight in skewering Hillary for her wardrobe, notably her solidly square pantsuits in every color, and her awkward choices of coiffure. Feminists insist that role of the First Lady or Secretary of State is not a beauty pageant contestant, and that the White House is not a fashion show. In a sense, I must disagree. Especially now in the digital age, when images of the First Lady are sent around the world faster than your hair can stick to your lip-gloss. This connectivity is a powerful opportunity for the quintessential American woman to tell women everywhere who we are.

    Who is she? Hillary is a Goddess. Let’s see — Artemis, known as Diana to the Romans, was a virgin huntress. She wore fierce leather archery braces on her arms and shins as she moved through the forests beneath the moon. Not exactly a fashion-plate or a seductress, but one bad mammer-jammer with that bow and arrow.

    Athena, patroness of Athens, known to the Romans as Minerva, wasn’t born in a conventional, female, fleshy way. She sprang, as a full-formed miniature woman, fully clad in armor, from the knee, or head (depending on the version of the myth), of her father, Mighty Zeus — no mother present. Oh, and Athena was also a virgin. No hubby, baby-daddy or cozy momming in this goddess profile.

    Though perhaps no sex-bomb, Hillary is indeed a wife and mother. But she brings that fierceness of the virgin huntress and civic warrior to her bearing as Secretary of State. It’s also worth mentioning that Hill and Bill seem to have treated the timing of parenthood strategically, a key lesson which I reinforce when I speak to women’s groups. If it’s possible to have it all, I know for sure that you cannot possibly have it all at the same time. Tempo is critical.

    Hill’s been on the bus a long time. She’s been to the mountaintop. She’s been to hell and back. She’s walked the fire-walk. You can see the weariness in the firm set of her mouth. But there’s a cold fire in those eyes, burning on.

    Every woman can take a page from her — she’s a big thinker, a tireless fighter, a protector of justice, and she’s still here. Right on Sister…