After a cluster of curveballs at work left me with some niggly pain in my neck and shoulders, I decided it was time to treat myself, and made an appointment at the beauty therapist for a relaxing facial and massage.
A young girl greeted me at the desk and ushered me through to a room with instructions to disrobe and lie on the bed under the big towels. She was back a few minutes later, pulls a chair up to the table, produces a clipboard and pen and asks me:
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“So Claire, how do you feel about your skin?”
The question took me by surprise. How DO I feel about my skin? Of course, I am grateful for it. I am glad I have it… what is she getting at here?
She looks at me intently – evidently, that was the WRONG ANSWER. She tries again…
“What issues do you have with your skin?”
“None really, I think my skin is fine.”
Why is she making this difficult? Enough talky talky, more rubby rubby!!
“So what skin problems would you like me to address today?”
ARGH! All I want to do is lie here and bliss out for a couple of hours while you rub several different kinds of goop and put warm towels on me. That’s it. Big words and problem solving are a couple of the things I had hoped to escape for a while by coming here, so can we please just get started?
“ Well I booked in for a relaxing facial and massage......”
She must have thought I was one tough cookie…
“OK well let’s cleanse and then we’ll take a closer look…”
So it turns out I have a pimple and some un damage. I don’t see these as problems that need to be rectified - I see them as part of enjoying life! Sometimes I eat chocolate and sometimes I spend entire days in the sun and I if it gives me pimples and sun damage, I am fine with that! In fact, life would be pretty shit without chocolate and sunshine, even if I did have flawless skin!
The girl did a great job and I got to bliss out for a while and left the salon feeling wonderful.
But the experience got me thinking – why are they trying to make problems out of our natural conditions? I almost felt like I should have problems, or that the lack of a problem was a problem in itself! And it’s not just about skincare or women - Ads on the radio tell me that balding is now a medical issue, and in the States, there is a medication to "treat" shyness. Wikipedia says “Therapy is the attempted remediation of a health problem, usually following a diagnosis. In the medical field, it is synonymous with the word "treatment".
Pimples are not a health problem, shyness is not a health problem.. Cancer is a health problem! In our effort to recognise optimal body-mind wellbeing, are we creating more problems than we are solving? Shouldn’t we sort out the real problems first before we start making up new ones?