Wellness in the Nail Industry

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Wellness, used as a buzzword for decades by beauty and medical professionals, has steadily evolved into a concept, a way of life recognized by leaders in these seemingly disparate worlds.

But what exactly is wellness?

According to the Global Wellness Institute of Miami, Florida, wellness is the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles leading to a state of holistic health, which itself is defined as a synergy of different dimensions to produce a balance of mind, body and spirit—what some might call a state of “healthful happiness.”

High-level medical schools began teaching wellness in 2000 under the name of integrative medicine. Now, wellness courses are widely available to beauty and nail professionals, who have steadily recognized the importance of wellness in their respective industries. Wellness is now practiced in and across salons, spas and medical practices.


The Nail Technician and Wellness

Although the spa world has long embraced wellness and the mind-body-spirit connection, these concepts are fairly new in nail salons. 

As such, some manufacturers have are working to ensure that nail technicians have their wellness supported. Footlogix Founder Katharin von Gavel states, “Wellness is not one thing, but a series of small things. Footlogix knows that the small act of including footcare products to one’s daily self-care routine contributes to hydrated and intact skin, preventing disrupted skin, and therefore contributes to wellness.” Gavel continues, “Smooth, hydrated and healthy skin positively impacts the physical health as much as mental health and overall wellness. Wellness is not just absence of discomfort, not just surviving, but thriving.”

The North American School of Podology (NASP) in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, incorporates wellness in its classes. NASP President Vicki Malo states the school’s objective is to teach technicians how to offer wellness pedicures, and encourage the techs to instruct clients on homecare regiments—proper footwear, the best products to eliminate stubborn issues—to promote health and well-being post-service.

To attract the wellness-minded client, some nail techs add or include “wellness” in their salon or service names, although actually practicing wellness involves so much more. “Seeking wellness takes deliberate effort in knowledge and practices,” says Erika Allison, a certified Medical Nail Technician (MNT) and owner of NuFeet Medical Pedicures®. “Influencing the wellness of our clients takes an awareness we were not usually taught in beauty school.” 

According to Allison, as an MNT, she must always be mentally present to the purpose of the service, whether that be performing client analyses or remaining aware of client health conditions or how to perform client care safely with the appropriate precautions. Allison states, “According to the CDC, 51% of Americans over 20 have at least one chronic disease. That means that we can assume at least half of our clients must be treated specially and correctly with their holistic health in mind.” 

Allison continues, “From there, we can advise our clients in their wellness track relevant to their hand [and] arms [or] feet [and] legs.” For example, a client with dehydrated skin on their hands or feet is told to wear sunscreen on their dorsal surfaces when in the sun, as well as good hand and body lotions with humectant ingredients twice daily to prevent moisture loss. The client would be further advised to increase their water intake, and always wear shoes to prevent water loss through direct contact with porous surfaces.


The Seven Dimensions of Mind, Body and Spirit

Seven dimensions are said to be critical to achieve a balanced mind-body-spirit state in the pursuit of wellness. Nail technicians who wish to incorporate wellness in their services should actively pursue these seven dimensions:

  1. Physical – What is seen and felt during the service; for example, the nail technician analyzes their space before every service to conduce the proper work area and determines whether the client can receive care.
  2. Emotional – A positive aura. The nail technician supports the client throughout services as the client strives to become their best self, and the technician leaves negative emotions outside their practice. 
  3. Intellectual – The nail technician continually pursues new wellness skills and information, as the pursuit of wellness requires knowledge of its concepts and a discerning mind. 
  4. Social – The nail technician responds to the client in a helpful and positive way to support the client toward wellbeing.
  5. Spiritual – Pursuing wellness for the self and the client nurtures the mind, body and spirit, whether or not overtly acknowledged. 
  6. Environmental – A calm, pleasant atmosphere; clean and warm appearance; and prominent aseptic techniques and infection control demonstrate the philosophy of wellness during nail services.
  7. Occupational – The nail technician continually seeks extraordinary, high-level occupational skills and knows correct nail terminology. Relevant certifications earned and displayed by the technician reinforce their skills and knowledge to the client.


The Future of Wellness

Medical physicians at one time suggested, supported and sometimes even performed wellness services, as wellness was once widely accepted as being aesthetic, relaxing, preventive and healthful. However, in the early 1900s, as medicine began to focus on physiological and pharmaceutical philosophies, wellness took on a negative connotation. Only recently have medicinal physicians begun to acknowledge a synergy between wellness and health. Now, the definition of wellness has come full circle, gaining the respect of the medical world due in large part to peer-reviewed studies. 


About the Author

Janet McCormick, co-founder of Nailcare Academy and co-author of the Nailcare Academy programs, has been a nail technician for 40 years. She is a CIDESCO Diplomat, holds a master's degree in allied health management and has written over 400 articles on nail and skin care topics since 1978. She is also a member of Nailpro's 2022 advisory board.

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