It took a lot of courage for Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642) to publish his findings. His observations of the sky with a new instrument for the time – the telescope – proved the theory of Copernicus (1473 – 1543), mathematician and astronomer. The trouble was that at the time, philosophy and sciences were controlled by Catholic theology; and the official interpretation of the Bible was that the sun rotates around the Earth while Galileo was proving that it is the Earth that rotates around the sun. Galileo knew the consequences. Publishing the findings would bring him great troubles. And it did, with an interdiction from the Vatican to publish any of his works, house arrest for the rest of his life, and excommunication.
In order to make significant headway, the Wellness industry needs to tackle the sensitive issue of recognizing and addressing the main components of our human being. Until we know what it is that we are trying to make well, it is difficult to achieve significant and lasting results.
It is relatively easy to monitor and evaluate the state of the physical body, and many spas have excellent mind-body modalities, yielding tangible results. But, what about the other components of the being? We see increasing attempts at balancing the “energetic body” such as with Ayurvedic or TCM approaches, although they are rarely integrated with other spa treatments. However, the new and ultimate frontier has to do with the integration of the spiritual aspect of our being. Here, we can anticipate a lot of resistance. Confusion between spirituality and religion creates an obvious danger of misperception and of interference with the religious beliefs of the customers. In addition, many customers are atheists, agnostics, or simply spiritual skeptics. Clearly this is a mine field. It is daunting and dangerous, just as it was for Galileo.
I believe that there is both a need and the potential to work with the principles of spirituality within a secular context – let’s call it “Secular Spirituality.” It embraces the key ideas that support and stem from the conviction that our being is more than simply physical, emotional and mental. In that regard, the spas and practitioners who work with energy concepts are already ahead of the game as they accept the influence of something that cannot be seen (vital energy) but whose effects are felt and seen.
Until our industry faces up to the tough issues of the other-than-physical aspects of our being, it will sub-optimize its contribution to society. But, I am optimistic that it will change. The world is getting quickly more complex and challenging, generating evermore stress on people. Recognized or not, stress is probably the most significant factor in our physical and emotional health problems. Ultimately it leads to sickness and diseases. That alone will force better solutions. Spas limited to the benefits of pampering will only provide short-lived relief.
The task of broadening not only our vision of the human being, from a purely secular way, but also to find acceptable and effective means to harmonize its core components, might be unrealistic for our industry. But if not the spa industry that focuses on wellness, then, who or what else?
In the meantime, our customers dream of ways to reach some degree of balance and harmony, with some lasting value. More and more spas offer “life-coaching” and Body/Mind modalities. It is only a question of time before a fuller embrace takes place, when a comprehensive and holistic approach will give to “spirit” its proper place in the Body/Mind/Spirit alignment. In the recognition that nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come, we can remain hopeful that those who will pioneer these ideas will not have to experience the tyranny Galileo suffered from the hands of personalized ignorance.
Jon Canas is the author of Energetic Skincare, Naturally! (www.energetic-skincare.com). It explains how to apply the principles of energy medicine to achieve superior results with spa treatments and skincare regimentation at home. He is a contributing author to the authoritative Milady’s Standard Esthetics Advanced Textbook (pg.# 242-245, Orential Reflex Zones of the Face). He has authored over a dozen trade articles for the spa industry. He is a frequent speaker at Beauty & Spa trade shows and conferences.
Jon canas is also president of the Swiss company, Laboratoire Gibro S.A. exclusive manufacturer of the energetic skincare line PHYTO 5®, based on the unique wellness method known as Phytobiodermie® (www.Phytobiodermie.com). He is president of Phyto Distribution Inc, the Florida based company distributing PHYTO 5® products in the US.
Originally from France, Jon went to Cornell University, Northeastern and Harvard. His first career was in the hotel industry: he was a V.P. of Sheraton and C.E.O. of Omni Hotels. His home is in Central Florida.