07 Oct Life Force

In 2007, I was one of 30 estheticians invited to attend and open house at  WALA, the mother company of Dr. Hauschka Skin Care, located in Eckwalden, Germany. The busy two-day event was filled with speakers, tours, and activities. During my stay, I had many interesting, educational and enlightening experiences. One of those experiences was facilitated by the international trainer of trainers, Claudia.

I arrived at WALA jet lagged and disheveled. It had been a long time since I had traveled abroad. I had neglected to pack a change of clothes in my carry on so, of course, my luggage was lost. Fortunately another esthetician from the USA lent me some clean clothes. Let’s just say I was not feeling my best self.

After a long day of activities, Claudia asked us to discuss in small groups how we explain the benefits of the lymph stimulation massage to our clients. Unique to the Dr. Hauschka facial is the use of brushes to stimulate the lymph in the face. The brushes are stroked on the face and accompanied by gentle hand motions to encourage the movement of the lymphatic fluid. The process is relaxing and imparts a natural radiance to the skin. We sat at tables, divided by nationality and language. My group consisted almost entirely of women from the United States. Somehow everyone decided I would be our group’s representative. As people around the table shot off the various benefits of the lymph stimulation massage, I scurried to write them down. I barely had time to think of my own response. As I stared at the group’s list I felt a sense of dread. I did not think this is what Claudia wanted. As I racked my brain for my own response, I realized I also gave my clients a small list of benefits, which included some of the things on the larger list in front of me. Claudia called on our group first. There was no time to finesse the answer.

I felt I needed to fairly represent my colleagues, so I bravely and somewhat hesitantly stood in front of the room and read the list: increases circulation, reduces wrinkles by relaxing the face, detoxifies, strengthens the skin, supports the skin in doing it’s own cleansing, tones the skin……..on and on. Claudia looked at me somewhat astonished and said “that is how you sell the lymph stimulation massage to your clients?”.  Squirming inside, I looked and her and weakly said “yes?” Claudia looked disappointed. I sat down, somewhat relieved and somewhat embarrassed.

Claudia approached a table of estheticians from Austria. A young woman stood up, gorgeous and glowing with pregnancy. She said confidently “It increases life force”. Claudia beamed with joy. “Yes!” she said. “Increases life force!” Now it was my turn to be astonished. We can sell life force?

I tried to imagine saying to my clients “lymph stimulation increases life force”. How would my clients respond? I also wondered why no one at our table had put it on the list.

In the U.S. we talk about life force in the context of the teachings of other cultures. Yoga and Ayurvedic practitioners use the word “Prana”. Acupuncturists, Feng Shui consultants, martial artists, and many are comfortable with the concept and the word “Chi”. Within these circles, and in those terms, life force is talked about easily.  We are comfortable with words like vitality, radiance, youthful glow, energy and sometimes, spirit. But life force? I don’t think I have ever heard anyone say to me “my life force is low” or “walking in the woods increases my life force” or any such thing.

I have learned a bit about life force through studying Feng Shui. Feng Shui is a practice which works with the Chi, or life force, in a space to enhance the lives of the people who live or work there. Feng Shui practitioners often use the words Chi and energy interchangeably. I think Chi and life force are the same thing, but I wouldn’t necessarily say the same about Chi and energy, at least the kind of energy found in the cells in the body. Chi is something rather mysterious. Though we have an understanding of how to work with it, and we can notice it’s presence or lack, we really have no idea where it comes from, or why it exists.

I found it incredible that a skin care company would encourage it’s estheticians to focus on life force as a benefit to facials. As I learned more about the foundations of the Dr. Hauschka Skin Care line, it became clear why. Dr. Hauschka Skin Care addresses life force not only through treatments, but in the growing and processing methods of the ingredients, in their formulations, packaging, and in their community. At the core of the company are beliefs and practices which seek to be in harmony with and support life force in nature. The goal is to create products that improve our own life force so in turn we can nurture the life force in everything around us, creating a continuous cycle of, well, life force.

Often when my clients come in they report feeling drained, stressed, and over worked. After receiving treatments they look brighter, seem uplifted and more harmonious. They seem restored in their mind, body and spirit. Or, to say it another way, their life force is in better balance.

I am curious about other people’s experiences with life force. Do you pay attention to yours? What words do you use to name it? How would you describe it?

I invite you to talk with us about life force at Jasmine as we continue to explore ways to work with it and make it an important part of our approach.