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Stress and DNA Damage: What Your Clients Need to Know

We all experience stress, and we all process it in a different way. Nevertheless, when it’s ongoing it may have serious implications on our longevity – internal and external. With the holiday season rapidly approaching stress levels tend to peak, making it an ideal time to remind clients to take a moment for themselves.

Part of our work is helping clients de-stress and pointing out that nurturing is a necessity not a luxury. A key to mental and physical wellbeing is taking some time out even if for only a couple hours as it significantly reduces stress levels.

What to Know About Stress

Stress damages health at the cellular level, so managing it promotes and protects cellular integrity. Though the link between chronic stress and chromosomal damage has long been known, researchers at Duke University Medical Center recently released study results, which shed more light on the stress/DNA damage connection.

They found that chronic stress triggered certain biological pathways that ultimately led to DNA damage, which ranges from aging of skin and hair to proliferation of diseases and malignancies. Chronic stress decreased levels of the vital protein p53, also known as a “guardian of the genome,” which researchers believe is the reason for chromosomal irregularities.

According to the “Stress in America” survey by the American Psychological Association, 44 percent of Americans say their stress levels have increased over the past five years. Though I believe stress, and stress factors have been present throughout history, we certainly live at a much faster pace these days.

Zapping Stress

While the treatment room provides a great setting for bringing clients to a place of stillness, think of ways to support them even after they leave your facility. You might consider providing a tip sheet on ways to reduce stress or primary causes of stress, or suggest a relaxing at-home regimen for both the body and face. You might remind clients:

  • Facials and body treatments are not a luxury, rather a part of overall well-being.
  • Take time out to clear the mind chatter and do something they love.
  • Sleep is key! It has to be quality sleep, so turn off the TV and cell phone.
  • Exercise relieves stress and releases good endorphins.
  • Food fuels health. Consume life-giving foods, and take the time to consciously eat.

In the treatment room one of my favorite stress-zapping treatments is the Tranquility Stress Relief Facial and Massage. Every step incorporates massage. Before the treatment I like to offer clients a drink of mint or lemon water, then have them close their eyes and gently take a few deep, slow breathes. Just before cleansing the face, I begin by simply pressing my hands on the shoulders, then move to the sternum and back to the shoulders to relieve tension and begin the relaxation.

Throughout the treatment I’m moving them deeper in relaxation. For example, during the enzyme application I have clients breathe in soothing, calming essentials oils like lavender. While applying nourishment to the skin, I begin a full face and neck massage (including the eye area). This luxurious treatment was specifically created to give clients a brief escape from the chaos while delivering nutrients to the skin. They will leave feeling relaxed, and skin will be healthy, glowing and hydrated.

There is no doubt we as a society are more stressed than ever, being mindful of this and practicing the “art of stillness and calm” we not only give a great gift to our clients – we give it to ourselves and that is a win/win.

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