Live & Work Intentionally: Help Create a World of Wellness

By Ann Brown , LMT

Live & Work Intentionally: Help Create a World of Wellness

By Ann Brown , LMT

Throughout my spa career, one of the aspects of working within the spa industry that has become more and more precious and valuable to me is our focus on intention.

As massage therapists, we work with intent every time we serve a client, knowing our hands and our strokes bring – on a very simplistic level – comfort. Our impact (our intent) is much larger than that, however, as we operate and support an industry that works to improve wellness and health on a larger scale.

Creating a Ripple Effect

The work we do creates ripple effects for our clients and for our communities, and I appreciate working within an industry that is all about giving to others. Through the lessons I have learned through my own spa journey, I've come to deeply appreciate how much I have benefited from others' support, and that appreciation has led me to focus on my own giving back – from serving as chair for our local Walk to End Alzheimer's to choosing Lake Area Industries, a not-for-profit organization that employs approximately 70 individuals with disabilities.

I love being able to pay it forward, but the truth is – I gain so much from helping others. The people who I come in contact with inspire me and remind me that, collectively, we are changing the world.

I recently attended the first-ever Caribbean "Wellness Mastermind" Day in collaboration with the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) on June 25, 2018 in Miami. I walked away energized by how my colleagues are creating a healthier world and inspired by the heart, soul and dedication they put in their efforts.

We learned from spa leaders such as Susie Ellis about wellness growth and trends and Gareth Presech, founder of the World Health Innovation Summit, about wellness tourism. We interacted through panels and networking, and I was proud to attend the event with Saltability's national educator/distributor for Ireland, Christine Clinton.

The Five Senses Solution

Christine is the chair of the GWI Wellness for Children initiative, focused on creating awareness of the need for children and young people to be actively involved in their own wellness. From the first time I met Christine, I knew she did more than use her massage skills to make a living. She was determined to use massage to change lives.

During the June GWI round table, we shared ideas and collaborated on the best practices for developing global wellness for children. We talked about Christine's pre-school program, The Five Senses Solution, currently being piloted at a private Montessori school in Ireland with 300 children from 6 weeks of age to 12 years old. We discussed the evidence that shows the importance of touch in the formative years and how we can incorporate simple yet meaningful massage practices into classrooms.

Christine shared how the Five Senses curriculum incorporates education about nutrition – giving the kids hands-on, sensory experiences and truly good food to eat. She discussed the importance of understanding how all disease processes begin in the gut, from type 2 diabetes and obesity to heart disease and cancer. Five Senses kids also learn the importance of good sleep hygiene, since we now know more about the connection between health and the circadian rhythm.

The first U.S. pilot of the Five Senses Solution program will launch in September in the Palm Beach County school district with two classrooms, working with 3- and 4-year-olds. I am so proud to know Christine and excited by the work she is doing.

Filled With Gratitude

I walked away from the event grateful for the new friends I made and the knowledge I learned, and I left ready to explore how our new relationships may help each other and the causes we care about.

We grow stronger as we help others grow stronger, and I ask you to consider – what initiatives are you supporting? How are you paying it forward, connecting with others, and creating your own ripple effects?

Educate yourself on opportunities that fit your personal interests and your skills and knowledge as a massage therapist. Consider where you will make the greatest impact and receive the greatest rewards through service to others.

We are massage therapists. We are entrepreneurs and business owners. We are caregivers, and we are visionaries who see the impact our focus on wellness holds for the world. Live with intent — live well.