Biologique Recherche & Wellness for Cancer
Beauty and care, in the face of cancer
The French cosmetics and personalized care (face, body and hair) brand Biologique Recherche has developed custom support for individuals affected by cancer, by selecting the most suitable products, following a rigorous protocol co-developed with Wellness for Cancer(1).
The result ? Rigorous training and a meticulous program that combines the human and “caring” aspects.
This unique approach, based on adapting care to an existing range, is being gradually developed at the spas and institutes in Biologique Recherche’s approved network. In France and worldwide. The story of a not-so-obvious obvious choice.
(2) Biologique Recherche Ambassade de la Beauté, 32 ave des Champs-Elysées – Paris
A NATURAL AND NECESSARY EVOLUTION
Cancer disrupts our lives, affecting each of us in a unique way. In addition to direct or indirect physical changes, it has an impact on our image of our bodies, which are deemed to have “failed”. Our objective and subjective perception is altered. Strong emotions also play a role in our weakened bodies. It may inspire fear, anger, anxiety, or even a feeling of betrayal.
To help these individuals reclaim their image—or at least reconcile themselves with their reflection—society is slowly evolving. It finally understands that this quest for beauty is not futile, but necessary.
In France, since the 2013 Cancer Plan(3), beauty and wellbeing treatments have been recognized as “cancer support care”. Wigs, makeup, manicures and tattoos are therefore offered by socio-estheticians working primarily in medical and social care structures. This work, initially carried out empirically, has been the subject of a legislative framework since 1996, in particular with regard to the training required. Onco-aesthetics has become a real specialty, with unquestionable benefits.
However, the more global approach to care for clients affected by cancer, especially at spas, remains neglected, if not taboo.
While reconnecting with the body, through fitness and beauty treatments, is a natural and obvious way to a regain self-esteem, it can also be comforting and offer a break from medical treatment. Like meditation, Pilates or yoga, the benefits of which have been proven in studies, socio-aesthetics can reduce some of the side effects of treatment, especially on the skin, which is particularly weakened by the disease.
HUMANIST INTUITION INSTEAD OF MARKETING STRATEGIES
For all of these reasons, Biologique Recherche, which has been developing very high-concentration “raw and pure” cosmetic care for more than 40 years, had the idea of developing a personalized protocol.
“We know that 10 to 20% of our clients are facing or have faced cancer, and we will all be affected by it, at one time or another in our lives. That was our case. However, we could not provide safe, suitable solutions for our clients to care for their body and their image, even though it was essential for them. Most spas do not accept these clients! Ethically, it was unacceptable,” explain Rupert Schmid and Pierre-Louis Delapalme, Co-Presidents of BIOLOGIQUE RECHERCHE.
“This was especially true since our line already included a selection of products that were theoretically suited to the needs of patients or former patients, provided they were combined with the right procedures. To accomplish this, we needed to formalize, validate and transmit the right approaches, stances and knowledge, both physical and emotional. We contacted Julie Bach, the amazing Founder and Director of the American association Wellness for Cancer(4). I just called her and explained our intention, and she agreed. We were honored. And so the story began.”
(3) In relation to Measure No. 42 Plan_cancer_2003-2007_MILC.pdf
(4) WFC’s mission: “to offer patients and recovering patients the opportunity to take care of themselves, through access to Wellness and integrative medical programs. We are working to build bridges with the Wellness industry, through partnerships with cancer centers and through awareness programs, training and research studies.” Julie Bach – senseofwellness-mag.com
A RIGOROUS AND ULTRA-PERSONALIZED METHOD
In 2016, Julie Bach came from the United States to meet and work with Biologique Recherche’s Parisian teams, at the Ambassade de la Beauté.
She and Gloria Lenckner, Training Manager and Assistant Manager of the Parisian flagship, patiently designed and developed a custom training program.
Based on the specific challenges and needs expressed by patients, they listed the different problems, in particular in relation to skin—a subject that Biologique Recherche has been exploring and studying for four decades.
Gloria and Julie then identified, among the brand’s 150 products, those that were most effective, in terms of their gentle and non-damaging effects, as well as helpful ingredients or combinations of ingredients. They also ruled out those products that could be unsuitable.
They then associated each product with a series of stances and procedures adapted to each
This approach was concluded with a truly comprehensive training program for the Biologique Recherche professionals.
A constantly changing source of both general and personal knowledge that encompasses technical, medical and human domains.
TRULY COMPREHENSIVE, DEMANDING TRAINING
The first step for the esthetician is understanding the client’s journey and their unique story, their type of cancer, their medical treatment (surgery, biological/hormonal therapies, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, alternative therapies, etc.) and its side effects, whether temporary or long lasting. Always bearing in mind that each case is unique, even if it may sometimes be similar to others, and making sure that they maintain an appropriate stance: tact, empathy, compassion, listening, presence and kindness, without ever judging or advising.
It is also important to understand the main principles of the lymphatic system and signs of its dysregulation, such as lymphoedema.
The second step involves observing the client as a whole: hair, body hair, skin, nails, eyes, face, arms, hands, feet… We want to understand the person as a whole, understand their feelings, assess the effects of cancer on their entire body and recognize potential modifications and adjustments to the treatment.
This “mapping” must lead the esthetician to ask the right questions about the patient and about possible means of improvement, while adapting to each treatment and side effect.
Only then can the beautician choose from among the selection of products recommended by the guidelines, combining them with the right procedures—meticulously detailed by many diagrams.
A PARTICIPATIVE AND REFLECTIVE APPROACH
To tackle this important and sensitive subject, Biologique Recherche submitted the trainingbook to a committee of independent experts. After modifying, enhancing and validating it, the committee now fully supports this vital step in regaining self-esteem.
- Françoise Ellien(5), Director of the Réseau de Santé SPES (Soins Palliatifs, Soins de Support et Douleur) [SPES Health Network (Palliative Care, Support Care and Pain Management)] in Essonne Sud, a French department located south of Paris;
- Amandine Servy, a dermatologist specializing in medical oncology at Institut Curie, a foundation recognized in France for its cancer research;
- Laëtitia Valentin, a socio-esthetician and sophrologist;
- Professor Ivan Krakowski(6), Chair of the AFSOS (French-speaking Association for Supportive Care for Cancer) and medical oncologist at Institut Bergonié, a cancer center located in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region of France.
“The idea is not to treat or to cure, but to do some good, to provide wellbeing adapted to the stage of the disease and especially to the client’s overall condition.” GLORIA LENCKNER, BIOLOGIQUE
BIOLOGIQUE RECHERCHE AND ITS WELLNESS FOR CANCER PROGRAM RECEIVED AN AWARD AT THE 2018 GLOBAL WELLNESS SUMMIT!
On October 8, 2018, at the 12th Global Wellness Summit, 650 experts and leaders in the wellness industry and, by extension, the health and nutrition industries, rewarded Biologique Recherche for the program it had co-developed with Wellness for Cancer.
“For the economic players from the 80 countries represented, the Global Wellness Summit is a haven of wellness. We were therefore both honored and surprised to receive this 2018 Leader in Social Impact Award. For our teams, this represents the recognition of our commitment and work to offer individuals affected by cancer an interlude of wellbeing and rest,” declared Pierre-Louis Delapalme and Rupert Schmid, Co-Presidents of Biologique Recherche.
IN SHORT & IN PRACTICE
When is this care protocol used?
There is no ideal moment, although remission proves to be a time that is more easily accepted.
The program is available before medical treatment, or even during it, with all the necessary caution and the expertise of a trained esthetician.
Where can you find these treatments?
In 10 countries: France, USA, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Hong Kong, China, Bulgaria and South Africa.
In 15 countries before the end of 2019.
POSSIBLE BENEFITS OF MASSAGES AND SPA CARE FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH CANCER
- Moisturizes the skin.
- Relieves muscle pain.
- Soothes or stimulates the nervous system, depending on the method used.
- Promotes deeper breathing.
- Improves vivacity and mental clarity.
- Improves sleep.
- Speeds up recovery from anesthesia.
- Increases patient awareness of signs of stress.
- Relieves loneliness.
- Creates significant social interaction.
- Reestablishes a positive body image.
- Lets patients feel they are participating in the healing process.
Extract from the Biologique Recherche & Wellness for Cancer training book