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  • Writer's pictureJacqueline Le Sueur

Nature's Bounty

How we manage our wellbeing is a matter of personal choice. It is something I am passionate about and an arena I have been working in for over 2 decades. In 2021, into our second year of the global SARS-CoV2 pandemic, more and more people are aware of the need to think about their wellbeing, about their wellness, as the stresses from living as we have to continue to take their toll.

One thing I do every day is go out for what I call a bimble, a walk. Every day without fail, no matter the weather and no matter how far I am able to go. It is a wonderful form of self-care and something that can be done no matter where you live. I will admit that living in beautiful countryside is an inspiration however that has not always been the case. I have spent much of my life living in huge, over-crowded Asian cities however even then, with a bit a looking, I have always been able to find peace on my walks in amongst the chaos.

Spending time on your wellbeing is a wonderful way to nurture yourself however people often say, 'I can't afford to do this' ...something we may hear more of as we advance here in the UK into what is likely to be a challenging winter for many. Going out for a walk is usually free of charge if we go from our doorstep and it can take as little or as much time as we have available.. There are other things we can do too.

I have been thinking about this a lot recently as I am giving a workshop for the company I work for shortly in one of our Wellbeing Wednesday workshops. It is a sharing and learning workshop where we will be talking about the ways we can reduce costs, reduce our impact on the environment and reduce waste by using things from nature that we find in our fridges or kitchens or gardens for our wellbeing. All the usual caveats apply to this with respect to considering allergies, drug contraindications, being wary of using goods that may have been in touch with pesticides, and not using anything like this as a replacement for medical treatment. That said, there are many delightful benefits to using Nature's bounty in our self care wellness routines.

As I went to my fridge to get something I needed to make a body scrub a couple of evenings ago, my mind wondered back to the days when I was in Asia; I had been commissioned to write an article about the benefits of facials. It was published in 2007 however its as relevant today as it was then so I thought it was worth sharing here, in 2021 as I give thought to the tips I will share in my upcoming workshop. Whilst this article may reference having a facial in a spa, thankfully a facial is so easily given to ourselves, by ourselves. Giving ourselves even the simplest of facial treatments provides a huge benefit to our wellbeing, as well as to our skin and it needn't be expensive either if we look to Nature for what we need ...

'This time last year I was lying flat on my back receiving a facial from a beautiful Balinese therapist in one of Ubud’s many wonderful spas. I drifted languidly between heaven and earth as her fingers danced magically over my skin and somewhere in my dreaming it crossed my in that there were surely many worse ways to be spending a rainy weekday morning!

Before she started my treatment the therapist took a close look at my face and told me I had beautiful skin. Now, believe me, at my age compliments like this are not found growing on trees, so it was with much pleasure I accepted her comment! She smiled sweetly. A smile that rapidly fell from her face when I uttered those words facialists are horrified to hear,

“I wash it with soap and water.”

Actually, even that is stretching the truth as my face gets washed with shampoo when I shower morning and night. And if the dust of a motorbike ride needs to be removed during the day, then I use soap. However, it has to be said that both my shampoo and my soap are as natural as they can get and both are imbued with the therapeutic properties of Lavender and Roman Chamomile essential oils.

“But Ibu,” the therapist exclaimed, “soap and water! What do you use to tone and moisturise?”

The upward intonation in her voice held the slightest tremor of fear in anticipation of what terrible blasphemy I might utter next.

“Well,” I replied, “ I tone my face by massaging it daily.”

She looked at me somewhat puzzled, the complexities of the English language having caused momentary confusion. I continued, undaunted,

“And to moisturise, I feed my face two to three times a day with a combination of vegetable and essential oils that I blend myself, according to my mood and the condition of my skin.”

As a professional aromatherapist I have been treating my skin with Nature’s bounty for almost fifteen years. As well as the numerous benefits of Baobab, Quinoa and Menketti vegetable oils, amongst others, my skin also receives the daily delights of essential oils such as New Caledonian sandalwood, Damask rose and frankincense. Add into this mix papaya and oatmeal to exfoliate, and wild honey and banana to soften my sometimes weather-beaten countenance, plus cold chamomile tea bags to brighten my eyes and you can perhaps see why the shelves of my bathroom cabinet are empty of pre-packaged lotions and potions, whilst my fridge is overflowing with purchases from the nearest market.

This is not to say that mass produced products are detrimental to the skin. Far from it. It is merely my choice to embrace Nature wherever I can. The myriad of benefits from manufactured beauty products can be seen in the wide variety of facials that are offered in spas the length and breadth of Asia-Pacific. Facial treatments that lighten and tighten; rejuvenate and illuminate; restore and renew.

Skin is the largest organ of the human body and deserves to be nurtured and cared for. Not just on the face, but the entire body too. Given the significant amount of dollars that are spent annually across the region on facial products, it would seem we are certainly caring for the most observable part of our anatomy if not for the rest.

A skilfully given facial can be one of the most relaxing treatments to receive. Regardless of whether it’s candlenuts and tamanu oil that are being applied to your skin, or delicately fragranced and carefully engineered products from a bottle or a jar is merely a matter of personal choice. To lay with your eyes shut while your face is cleansed and exfoliated, masked and massaged, toned and moisturised is one of life’s little but most delightful treasures.

From the fridge or the bottle countless facial treatments await both men and women in spas and beauty salons from Bombay to Brisbane, Melbourne to Macau, Singapore to Sydney. There is no doubt that your skin and your soul will both thank you if you make time to avail of the wealth of wonderful options waiting out there for you.'

© Jacqueline Le Sueur 2021 All Rights Reserved

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