How ‘walking the wellness talk’ boosts our performance
Upon finishing my Advanced Diploma in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine in the 90’s I hit the road as a young woman and went traveling.
Even then the idea of working in spas appealed to me – the ambience, sense of luxury and all that peace and quiet was seductive! But at that point in time acupuncture wasn’t something offered on spa menus, which to me seemed unfortunate. I felt that some of these high end spas with their endless white curtaining and soft lighting would be the perfect environment for complementary healing. It was a missed opportunity that as it turned out wouldn’t be ignored for much longer.
Eventually after flitting around the globe from London to South America, home to work in a health retreat, upgrade my skills to a BA in Chinese Med and an extended stint in an Aveda spa in Ireland, I returned back home eager to put roots down. I wanted to create a practice that incorporated my love of my ancient healing modality with all that I enjoyed personally in the spa world.
Blending work and life
Returning home and securing myself work as a contractor at a leading lifestyle retreat I once again found myself wearing two hats. My acupuncture skills apparently lived in a different world to my body work and spa sensibilities.
This was a really frustrating realisation. I was on a fast track to exhaustion based on the financial need to massage more to earn as much as I would with my primary qualifications.
At this point I had to question what I really wanted. Could I keep this up? I felt myself disconnecting from my ‘why’ of being in this industry in the first place. I knew that my knowledge, skills and passion to help people in my own unique way was not truly being utilised.
This was, in hindsight, one of those make or break moments. I remember really having to dig deep to gain clarity on what I really valued in my personal life and my work, and where I was going to have to draw the line for the sake of financial wellbeing.
Enter Rockupuncture™, a modality that incorporates heated stone massage and acupuncture.
The creation of my signature modality felt like a complete accident, but it was of course born out of these frustrations seeking resolution. The defining element that makes this treatment stand out is that it is a wonderful blend of a classic spa treatment with an ancient wellness therapy.
The booming wellness industry
This occurred in 2009 just as ‘wellness’ was becoming an emerging element, the Spa + Wellness Summit was soon to be created, now known as the Global Wellness Institute, and Susie Ellis was to name Wellness elements as a new and defining feature in her 2011 overview of the future of spa therapies.
It’s easy in hindsight to reverse engineer the process, see what worked and how it has gone on to be the fundamental element of my business. Something I never could have imagined at the time.
The heated stones offer that pampering nurturing, full body element that most people want even if they are not aware of it in a ‘spa experience’. Acupuncture offers them a wellness experience and an opportunity to extend themselves in a safe environment without compromising their initial desire for something known.
From the outset of the creation of Rockupuncture I had a sense that I needed to treat this like a business, and for that I would need to go on a very steep learning curve. I no longer wanted to be ‘just’ a contractor (not that there is anything wrong with that at all!) but a core value for me is growth and evolution.
Change for the sake of change doesn’t interest me but I really wanted to feel within my work that I was always navigating toward the edge of what I knew and growing my skills in a way that offered me new challenges and added value to my journey.
The learning curve
So I learnt how to Trademark a name, I patiently grew a client base in a Sydney and Melbourne, sought out networks and clinics in these cities and still 8 years later I travel to Sydney 6 times a year to see clients.
As I have moved into mentoring other practitioners and health coaching women this has continued to provide a level of diversity and hands on connection that I love and couldn’t imagine working without. I also sought out legal advice on licensing and have trained a number of practitioners to work with me, in support of my practice at the health retreat.
Within my role at the lifestyle retreat Rockupuncture also took me around the world, from a 5 star retreat in Thailand to the ISPA conference in New York. It was an extraordinary and fast education and evidence that wellness was well and truly more than just a fad in the Spa and Retreat industries.
This learning curve was not without its hitches though!
Burn out is a very real hazard of the wellness industry and we need to take time individually to discover what balance and harmony looks like for us.
This will be an individual experience that depends on what else is happening in our lives. I have at times fallen into the well-known trap for many hands on therapists in not taking enough time for self care and rest.
I would love to see more spas taking an authentic approach to the wellness of their staff, and encouraging a process of support anchored in personal responsibility. Burn out and exhaustion is not a badge of honour I wish anyone to wear! This is where my role as mentor with the Australasian Sustainable Wellness Academy holds a special place for me – to be supporting others to lead their best life with ASWA’s Accredited wellness programs.
The business of wellness
The element of working on my business as well as in it, has its own perils too.
It had taken me at least 15 years at that point to acquire the skills and knowledge I had and somehow I expected myself to almost instantaneously have the business acumen to match!
I took some time, once again to become clear on what skills I needed to acquire and could reasonably expect myself to learn and what I should outsource for the sake of my energy (and sanity). Triage is a very necessary skill in running any sort of business.
Just as I respect the clients that seek me out for mentoring I too am very grateful for the support of the mentors that I continue to invest in to the betterment of my personal and professional lives.
On the number of occasions that I have been called to talk to corporate groups on the topic of wellness in the workplace I was initially taken back by the seeming simplicity of what was needed by people. While I love discussing at length the philosophy of Chinese Medicine, those I spoke to wanted permission to rest, they wanted to know how they could possibly do all the things currently expected of them in their lives and eat enough greens. They spoke to not having the skills to manage the emotional fall out of being chronically over tired.
These issues have both personal and cultural solutions that need a multilayered approach in both our homes and workplaces. Ultimately it comes down to personal responsibility, what we choose to prioritise and taking the one first step to creating change in our lives. Where there are external factors that we can’t change very quickly (as is often the case) finding shorter term ways to support ourselves is essential.
Wellness skills for personal and professional development
I have been incredibly privileged to have access to a vast array of complementary therapies and I can speak first hand of the expense of seeking out integrative medical attention that often puts clients off seeking help. But I can also vouch for the fact that that expense spent now in preventing and supporting my health far outweighs the expense that would be incurred not just financially but physically in years ahead, if many small and treatable health issues were left to manifest.
I have watched countless clients take huge leaps of faith when their suffering got to such a place that they could no longer justify their lifestyle choices. And I can honestly say none of them had to take their children out of their schools and no houses have ever been repossessed!
Change itself can be such a terrifying prospect but with the unknown also comes a multitude of positive options we couldn’t previously have seen.
Rockupuncture was one of these options for me. It was a natural expression of my own professional passions and creativity, at a time when change was needed. Without this modality and the growth it inspired many of the business opportunities and connections that I have enjoyed since wouldn’t have occurred. Who knows what I might be doing instead?
Walking the wellness talk
So now when I hit that wall in my work where things feel harder than they should and nothing is flowing, I recognise it for what it is; a call for growth (not for more late nights and struggle!)
I plan time out alone or with my mentors to seek clarity, a new perspective and nourishment at a fundamental level to ensure that I am walking the wellness talk and continuing to evolve in our rapidly changing world.
Accredited Wellness Programs
At the Australasian Sustainable Wellness Academy we’re not just a training academy, we’re a movement to create healthier and happier individuals, workplaces and communities.
Our flexible, effective and scalable wellness programs empower individuals, workplaces and communities to lead healthier, happier lives with purpose, engagement and optimum performance.