It doesn’t take a witch to know that beauticians have healing powers, but it takes one to point it out. Cassandra Eason is the English author of 85 mind, body and spirit books. Her latest, Pagan in the City, discusses how to use ancient rituals in the modern world. While in New Zealand recently she spent an hour discussing the way therapists overtly or intuitively incorporate the old ways into today’s treatments. Women today, don’t have it all, rather we do it all. Or at least we attempt to. That means a big build-up of stress which, when entering a beauty clinic, clients just want to release. Clinics, says Cassandra Eason, are a sanctuary; a place to recharge, a safe place away from the hustle of the world and the demands on our time. She believes that beauty treatments are comprised of 60 percent practical skill and 40 percent the energy field radiating around the therapist. It is this field that draws in clients, embracing them if you will, and allowing their healing to begin. Cassandra is adamant that therapists fulfil an important social function, which makes it important to value ourselves. “Everyone working in beauty should accord themselves value, say to themselves, ‘I’m doing good work’,” she says. Therapists do a great deal more than merely dispense beauty treatments. They are teachers and psychologists and counsellors, too. Teaching people how to take care of themselves is a key role for therapists. “Not only do therapists teach women to value themselves, they learn something new each visit. This information gets passed down to their kids for the same sharing of information down the generations that has been common throughout the centuries.” Rituals are an important part of our lives, Cassandra says, even if we don’t recognise them as such. But lighting a candle for each new client demonstrates that this is her special time. Fragrant oils relax and create a sense of ceremony; while crystals give the aura of creating a sacred space. In the old days women’s rituals were very private. Women took themselves off to a secluded wood or river where they conducted their rituals out of the curious gaze of men and children. The way modern treatments are conducted have their roots in these rituals which is why, Cassandra says, the more special the client is made to feel, the more beautiful the rituals surrounding the treatment, the more effective it will be. “You clinic is their retreat from the world and the fact that someone has made them feel like they are the most important person in the world makes them feel valued,” she says. The best therapists see the world through their clients’ eyes. “If you can make them feel good, they will be clients for life,” says Cassandra. But she warns people can feel vulnerable when they first enter a clinic. She suggests using your intuition to see what it would be like to come through the front door. Do they feel safe? Are they welcomed? Is anyone expecting them? Are they acknowledged by name? Has the therapist done her homework and looked up the client’s previous treatment and checked her notes? “People coming in will feel slightly defensive,” says Cassandra, “so don’t put your most glamorous person out the front. Choose someone the client can relate to, someone they feel they could become like. It should be someone who knows the client’s name, and a little about them, enough to ask a personal question.” She says if the client feels someone is interested in them, has remembered something about them, has done a bit of homework about them and their last treatment, it builds up a relationship. “It doesn’t matter if you have the best clinic in the world, if people feel you don’t care, they won’t return. It’s all about creating the whole experience for them.” That two to three minute pre-treatment chat, when you explain what you’re going to do, is important, believes Cassandra. It pays dividends she says because it makes a personal connection. Ask clients what they want from the session. Be intuitive, she advises, listen to yourself. In these days of instant gratification we no longer trust our instincts. It’s very easy to forget how. The ambience of a clinic is also crucial. Cassandra suggests introducing a fun element, some flowing water, and a very small indulgence (like chocolate) to make the client feel just a tiny bit wicked. A dish of soft-coloured crystals in reception which clients can run their hands through, and a hearth-like centre with perhaps tea lights will also help make clients feel at home. There should be nothing hard or angular, warns Cassandra. Even fabrics should have a warm look and feel to them. How you move is important, too. Moving smoothly, gracefully and in circular motions is natural for women, and very healing. Speaking softly and in a relaxed way helps clients lose their feelings of vulnerability, and helps them open up spiritually. The climax of any treatment is likely to be invasive so Cassandra recommends that at its conclusion you begin to move away slowly. This brings them back into the world very slowly, allowing them to shrug off the cocoon you’ve created for them, much like coming out of a hypnotic trance. The final touch should be the blowing out of the candle. “Therapists have amazing skills, but they also have the ability to change people’s lives. If you feel good or beautiful, you tend to act differently and see yourself differently. You are at the front line of everyone else’s success and feelings of self-worth. “With a treatment, clients want to be made more beautiful, but they also want to be validated, not made to feel ugly and stupid. Which is why, she says, beauty therapy is one of the most important jobs you can have.
The Healing Powers of Beauty Therapy
Sunday, 06 July 2008