Nurse Edu

Anti-Aging Healthcare - A Complete Approach to Patient Care  By: Dr. M. Palmer, PhD, ND
The direction of our A3 AntiAging office is medical office/ medical spa training & coaching.  We find a growing trend in many medical offices that offer complementary medical treatments including esthetics is to train the office medical professional (RN, PA or MA) in both esthetics and naturopathic protocols to eliminate the common problem of utilizing unlicensed medical professionals for complementary medical treatments thus reducing frustration for patients and professionals and lowering the office liability.
In our opinion, taking the time to hire or train well qualified medical professionals specializing in complementary medical is worth the investment for the doctor and the patient.  Recent statistics show that more and more patients are demanding board certified specialist in all procedures and with the rise in lawsuits one must think of prevention and total patient care for long term practice success. 

We work with both Medical Esthetics 
and the ANMA/ American Naturopathic Medical Association (professional associations founded over 25 years ago) to support quality education for treatments, techniques and protocols for complementary health-care that enhance the patient and practice success. 
Many medical offices employ unlicensed medical professionals such as estheticians offer a salon approach to their care.  Although the treatments are nice and pampering, what is lacking is the medical knowledge and it seems inappropriate to have a salon in a medical office, but offering chemical peels, pre and post care, corrective treatments focused on medical conditions including acne, rosacea, melasma, cancer treatments and nutritional support for the patient is to offer complete care and keep patient compliance and returns and referrals high, while maintaining low liability. 

Others employ a medical professional who lacks the “cosmetic ingredient” or rather a combination of skincare knowledge with the cosmetic approach and very few practices employ Naturopaths who have a very different approach to esthetics. 
As medical professionals we are taught, "Do no harm", Naturopathic practitioners are trained to; "Treat the patient as a whole individual". If the two providers could work as a team or medical professionals that now focus on esthetics could expand their education to include Naturopathic medicine, we could have the ideal patient approach.
Many medical practices tend to direct their focus of care in a very clinical manner where downtime is expected and little to no pampering is provided to the patient. Practices with a focus on anti-aging provide an atmosphere where patients can not only expect to be de-stressed and pampered but also have their skin care needs addressed with a more therapeutic and holistic health-care approach by an anti-aging practitioner who truly focuses on both the outer and inner beauty.

Over the years I have watched so many practices add various treatments to their list of services without the proper training, to little training or they employ providers without the proper credentials.  Nevertheless, I truly do believe that every problem has a solution. Where there is a need, there is a calling for specialized practitioners for this type of work. 
In today’s market, Baby boomers are seeking anti-aging treatments in greater numbers. With more medical offices focused on cosmetic procedures, new and prosperous business and career opportunities are emerging.  Most of us in the “baby boomer” category have enjoyed getting the essential "quick fix" with injections but truly desire additional treatments that work from the inside and help provide and enhance a more natural look in order to avoid the downtime and risk of complications but the quick fix doesn't address inner health.
One might think of medical office aesthetics and naturopathic medicine as mutually exclusive groups with nothing in common professionally. But in the practice of naturopathic medicine and medical office aesthetics, nutrition and science intersect. In fact, the science of medicine, sometimes called the “healing art” shows its most creative side in the practice of Anti-aging Health Care. Both professionals work to improve the functioning of the skin and work with vitamin therapy. Naturopaths work internally and medical office or medical spa aesthetics work externally.
Naturopathic Medicine encompasses many aspects: Therapies of Mind, Body and Emotion, Nutrition, Hydrotherapy, Chinese Medicine, Botanical Therapy, Homeopathic Remedies, and Physical Therapies. All work together to treat the cause with the Healing Power of Nature.Combining the best current medicine practice with remedies of the past, Naturopathic medicine works to enhance the innate healing capacity of the body. Therapies for allergies, skin conditions, digestive problems, and menstrual cramping are an important component of many treatments. Anti-aging Healthcare is our term for therapeutic and enhancing medical office or medical spa esthetic treatments designed to rejuvenate the skin. The Medical Esthetics Specialist™ or Aesthetics Medical Specialist™ work in a medical office or medical spa to refinish and resurface the skin. Treatments performed require both an artistic touch and clinical knowledge (medical license & advanced certification).
An understanding of ingredients, treatments, procedures, contraindications and proper client selection is essential for success.Providing clients with comfort, understanding and quality service in an atmosphere of discretion, warmth and accommodation is also required. Today’s patients/ clients are well-informed through the Internet, info-commercials, books, and magazines. Unfortunately, some information obtained is not clear and may not be accurate or appropriate for their skin conditions. As the medical office or medical spa aesthetics dept. professional, it is your job to educate and provide result-oriented treatments. As we age, our skin becomes heavier and more lackluster.

Rejuvenating treatments can assist by five basic steps: 
1. Exfoliate- remove the dead cell buildup – lackluster
2. Treat Conditions
3. Nourish (supplement skin with essential ingredients/ vitamins) 
4. Soothe (pH balance)
5. Protect – SPF always (mineral SPF coverage applies)
6. Nutrition -As a Naturopath I believe it is essential to work from within for a true glow and true beauty, a complete approach!
Exfoliation of superficial cells increases circulation and cell turnover enabling active ingredients to penetrate further thus, giving visible results for all conditions treated. But what if the patient is under stress?, one can use facial peels till the cows come home, but the patients/clients inner health and nutritional requirements are still in need of being addressed and this is where education and training are essential! For years, the consumer had to choose between relaxing treatments that produced little result and more dramatic treatments with substantial down-time. The goal and demand of consumers today is results, without the less desirable “nipped and tucked look” while still aiming for a natural more youthful appearance.  

The days of full-face lifts and hiding out at home or under a large hat with red peeled faces are no longer in demand. A more therapeutic approach focused on total health is the direction for this decade.

Baby boomers, more than ever, are younger than their chronological age and are living more active and productive lives. Yet, the aging process is being seen in their skin, particularly as they (we) grew up outdoors and tanning. Inevitability, they are turning to an Anti-Aging approach. Despite their busy schedules, they will make time for result-oriented therapeutic treatments. More often than not, we take our skin for granted without the understanding that we are being exposed to a toxic world full of pollution, dust, radiation, and germs often called “free radicals”.  So when we finally become aware that damage has occurred, we seek instant fixes without reservation. And it is to the Medical Esthetics Specialist™ practitioner that we are turning.

Beauty comes from within and true beauty is a reflection of the soul. This makes the association of the medical office esthetic professionals- and the Naturopathic doctor/practitioner a perfect team and more importantly, both providers have the same goal and focus, providing treatment that is both therapeutic and enhancing. Both focus to treat the client not the symptom. Treatments are less aggressive and more team focused.

I like what a Medical Esthetics Specialist™ practitioner once said, “A long term progressive approach to the treatment and home regimen is the best avenue for building a practice and client rapport with beautiful, healthy skin.” The patients/clients we see in our offices today seem to be seeking the obliteration of all possible signs of aging without the down-time of the most aggressive treatments. The dull, tired appearance of aging skin is viewed as a sign of weakness, a betrayal of their bodies. Aging is viewed as the enemy to success and must be eliminated at all costs. They want lunchtime fixes that allow them to return to work without questions or comments. They want quick fixes to what may be a complex problem. They want monumental results and will not accept downtime of more than a weekend.

Many middle aged and older models and actresses we see in the media today boast of not yet having a lift or tuck and although they may spend the same dollars, their focus is on complete body rejuvenation may include, HGH therapy, avoidance of the sun, oxygen infused and medical grade skin care products and lunchtime treatments to get them back on the set looking there best. The desire is to look rested, youthful, and glowing (free of any visible lines, wrinkles, blemishes or discoloration). A Medical Esthetics Specialist™ focuses on AntiAging Health care and is quickly becoming the baby boomers “go to” provider with the treatments they are seeking.  Overall, the patients we see today are stressed and looking for more energy, more vitality, and a stronger sense of health. Together with Naturopathic docs and clinical esthetics the final result will be a well-cared for body, mind and spirit approach.

Our team focuses on education for treating the patients as a whole in person using natural ingredients, providing real results and greatly reducing complications and with less adverse reactions helping the client to be more compliant.  Having started my career as a medical professional working in Dermatology and Plastic Surgery some 26 plus years ago, I strongly felt there needed to be a more Complementary Health Care /Naturopathic approach to patient care. 

So when I was asked by the dermatologist and plastic surgeons I had the distinct privilege of working for to develop protocols on various peels and other complementary treatments while in the process of doing so, I gained so much insight along with some great problem solving capabilities.  Not only was it a wonderful opportunity but it also showed me how little available information there was out there and there was absolutely no support groups to turn to guide me along the way.  The majority of products I found were beauty focused and the ingredients were very disappointing, my personal favorites were ones from the health food stores which were simple in ingredients and vitamin focused. I had to find a medical supply company for assistance with the products and none seemed to understand the importance of pH balancing the skin post treatment and supplementing the skin with nutrients in non-clogging carriers. I personally, always preferred the more natural and bio-compatible approach to things, but it was something that simply did not exist.

However, with the support of some top doctors, I was able to focus on my personal passion; Naturopathic medicine and this is the reason even today that with over 26 years as an educator I personally dislike any non-physician use of TCA peels (same ingredients as drain cleaner!) and work with Lactic acid as my key peel along with a progressive approach which has provided real results with such conditions as, anti-aging, acne, rosacea and melasma.

As a medical professional we were always reminded “to do no harm” and how could one give a peel that not only is nearly equal to using drain cleaner but that causes so much skin cell damage? Yes, many say it is very easy to “perform” peels, but it takes years to understand skin and find protocols that give effective results and low-liability.

In health-care today especially store front office or medi-spas, many people come to practitioners wanting instant results but forget to inquire about the education and skill of the provider.  Truly Qualified providers must know their skills and have "test kitchen" protocols from experienced educators who have treated a (minimum of 200 patients and be provided with protocol studies for each treatment taught successfully.)  In our quest to promote and provide this to the professionals I have mentored I determined that as I was starting my business there should be nutritional classes, qualified mentors and educators offering one on one training and so, this is how our AntiAging Esthetics & Medical Spa  training manuals were developed.

For 30 years our Medical Esthetics(tm) association/ network team coined the phrase, “Leave it in the hands of the Specialist” and we see this as still strong today.  The manuals we have been asked to contribute my knowledge to are chapters filled with our years of experience and area of focus coupled with years of sifting through protocol studies, obtaining advanced degrees, something we felt was essential.  In our opinion educators should have experience in order to offer something to teach.  They are not someone who takes a class then decides to teach others, it sounds humorous but unfortunately it is common place in the non-medical industry.  More information can be obtained in the updated Medical Spa manual by Medical Esthetics (association).

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