Lynsey Wooliscroft has been in the beauty therapy and wellness sectors for years, and during this time, she's realised just how important it is to ensure that everyone is putting some effort in to achieving a healthy work-life balance
Life is busy. In between going to these great gyms in Hong Kong, spending time with the fam at these kids’ activities in Hong Kong, and going to work, you need to fit in social catch ups, grocery shopping and TV time. It’s just a lot. So we sat down with Lynsey Wooliscroft, Head of Spa and Training at Aromatherapy Associates Asia to find out more about achieving a good work–life balance. (And, in case you missed the recent workshop: The Art of Sleeping Well with Aromatherapy Associates Asia as part of Wellness Month at CÉ LA VI, be sure to check the video below for a 5-minute mini workshop on how you can sleep better!)
We chat with Lynsey Wooliscroft from Aromatherapy Associates Asia
We just experienced The Art of Sleeping Well workshop with Aromatherapy Associates Asia and now, Lynsey Woolliscroft, Head of Spa and Training for Asia, is going to share some tricks and tips for how you can sleep better. Enjoy!
Posted by Honeycombers Hong Kong on Monday, June 18, 2018
Hey, Lynsey. Thanks so much for taking time out of your own busy schedule to sit down and chat today. Let’s start off with a bit of background about your life as a beauty therapist.
So, I did some work placements in some accountancy firms and law firms and that’s when I realised that I didn’t want to be in a desk job. At college in the UK, I realised that I loved biology, and that I wanted to work with people and the human body, and it was the careers advisor who actually suggested beauty therapy.
From there, I went to the London College of Fashion for two years, and it was absolutely amazing, as the school is on Oxford Street. It was a great experience because you were in the mix with all the fashion designers and the makeup artists, and it was just such a creative space. Then I got a job in Ragdale Hall, one of the big health hydros in the UK. I learned a ridiculous amount there, as we were working with around 6-7 brands, and each one has about 20 protocols, which was such good exposure. The spa was huge! It had 35 treatment rooms, and over 60 therapists, so that was a giant learning experience for three years.
In 1999, I got a call from Mandarin Oriental, London who were reopening after extensive renovations, and I was asked to run the reception and operations at the spa, which was such an exciting opportunity, as I was trying to get out of therapy (it’s a really tough and physically demanding job) but stay in the industry. It was my first exposure to 5-star, and I stayed with the Mandarin Oriental brand for 12 years. 4 years in London, then Macau, New York and finally Hong Kong. But, like everyone, I needed a change.
And how did the Aromatherapy Associates Asia role come about then?
I actually met Geraldine Howard, one of the founders of Aromatherapy Associates at Spa China conference. It was three days of conferences, and hers was the only presentation that really shone and spoke to me. You could see she had an immense amount of passion, even after 40 years in the industry, she was still very passionate about her core values, which were to deliver healing to the people, and to try to spread this education about how you can use essential oils to balance yourself in this busy world, and to share this with as many people as possible, and that really resonated with me. I thought: I could work for this lady
I was incredibly forward, and because I was lucky enough to be sat on the same table as her, we got chatting and after three days I asked her for a job. A year later, I moved from The Mandarin Oriental to Aromatherapy Associates, and it feels like yesterday in so many ways, even though it was five or six years ago now.
So what’s particularly fun about your position?
In Asia, we deal with 13 different regions, so I’ve had to learn about different currencies, importations, logistics–which is great because I love a puzzle–and what I love about my role is that I get a little bit of everything, from people management to finance to events and workshops.
How is Aromatherapy Associates Asia helping people to find balance in this hectic world, and why is it different? (And no, this is not an advertorial)
We know that the products we have work: they help people sleep, they balance, they rejuvenate the skin, so we don’t have to keep creating new products, so how we grow from here is through the workshops and educating people on the benefits of these essential oils.
The world’s getting faster. We’re getting more stressed. We’re sleeping 20% less than our grandparents did, but we’re processing SO much more information than what they did, so stress is through the roof. If we can give tips and life hacks to people to help them be better versions of themselves, then job well done in my eyes! (laughs)
How do you deal with the ‘hippy’ stigma that still exists around aromatherapy?
It’s all about research and the science behind wellbeing. For example with sleep, research now is showing that, acutely and chronically, lack of sleep can lead to really major issues from heart disease to obesity to Alzheimer’s and depression. All of these imbalances can be improved if we can rectify sleep patterns.
We work with with wellness experts who are specialists in their chosen fields, for example for the sleep workshop, we worked with Dr. Neil Stanley, who has been studying sleep for many, many years in the UK, so the knowledge that we share is from him. We take his extensive and scientific knowledge and help make it palatable for the general public. And people want this information.
So first of all we educate on what goes wrong, in the hope that people will put an importance on their wellbeing, and then we educate on how we fix the problem, both with essential oils and other tips and hacks, around things like digital detox and breathing exercises.
Aromatherapy and essential oils are not just about tree hugging. (laughs)
It’s a harder concept for guys to get on board with, do you think?
Very much so. I think with men today, it’s almost like they hit the burnout and only then they realise that they can’t function at work or that they’re forgetting things; all of this cognitive thinking starts to get affected and solutions need to be found. Around 35-40% of the guests that come into the spas in Hong Kong are men, and they’re all coming in to get de-stressed. And luckily we have treatments to help that.
So in terms of the workshops, are these things you’re working on independently or in conjunction with the spas that use your products?
A bit of both actually. I recently did a sleep workshop at The Mandarin Oriental, but we also work with corporate firms, like banks and fashion houses, companies that want to invest in employee wellness. I think that’s becoming more of a requirement, as HR departments look at staff turnover and burnout rate, they’re recognising they need to help their employees get a better work/life balance.
I mean, one of the best workshops I’ve done was for a construction company. It was a complete mixture of people in attendance, ranging from the foreman to the secretary in the office, and they were attentive and asking questions, and it was such a fun workshop because they genuinely wanted to know how to have more energy and how to sleep well and how to just combat emotions and all those other stressors. And it’s so great to be able to deliver these messages to the people.
Looking for other wellness info in Hong Kong? Beth Wright explains 5 ways to lose weight (that the diet industry doesn’t want you to know!), we learn more about sustainable sanitary brand Tsuno, these are the best dentists for kids in Hong Kong, and here’s where we shop gym supplements in Hong Kong.