“When people speak about “feeling beautiful” it is never solely about what is going on externally.”
Nicole Cichocki is a master stylist and integrative beauty consultant. She is the founder of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness — the first practice of its kind, fusing energy work with hair services. Nicole is passionate about bringing wellness into the beauty equation as she views wellness as the most important marker of beauty. Beauty from the inside out. We were able to take some time with Nicole to explore the evolution of her practice and where we go from here.
Can you tell us about your background and what got you started with energy healing with your beauty practice?
In the past 20 years that I’ve been doing hair professionally, my career has been split between working in the salon, backstage, and education. I love practicing the craft, but I also love learning and teaching. There came a point about 6 years ago when I had accomplished my goals in terms of being a hair stylist and I was burnt out. I felt exhausted and, like the work I was doing, was shallow and didn’t have meaning.
Given that I had so much under my belt and I knew I had a lot to offer, I decided to search for any shred of meaning in what I was doing. Besides, I didn’t know what else I would do, if I wasn’t doing hair! I’ve always been acutely aware of my client’s energies. When I would teach other hair stylists, I would watch how their energy would interact with the person they were working on. My curiosity about this led me to go in search of an energy language, so I could make the intangible experience I was having and observing, tangible.
I started my energy medicine training with the Healing Touch Program and after 3 years of intense training, became a certified practitioner.
As I was going through my training, I had stopped becoming so drained at work, I was tapped into a whole different dimension of being a hair stylist and I was constantly thinking about how ALL hairstylists work with energy, and most don’t have the knowledge or tools to navigate it. It’s like a superhero not know how to use their superpowers. Once I was done with my Healing Touch training, I decided to leave my job and start my company Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, where I now offer energy therapy with every hair service.
What motivated you to try fusing these two practices together?
My desire to create meaningful transformations was my number one reason to start my own business. Also my belief that there is a huge missed opportunity if we are only addressing someone externally while delivering a “beauty” service. I basically left my position after 15 years on a hunch I could deliver a new kind of beauty service. One that increased the well-being of my clients through energy therapy, essential oils, refined technical skill and mindful, compassionate presence.
“Beauty is not something to be attained but awakened.”
What exactly IS energy healing therapy?
Energy therapy / Energy Healing is a process where a practitioner consciously uses intention to open, clear and balance the human energy field. When the human energy field is open and flowing, it influences optimal physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.
There are many different forms of energy therapy. I would say Reiki is the most well known. I practice Healing Touch. When researching which modalities I wanted to study, I was drawn to the Healing Touch program because of their ethics, credibility and standardized education. They are endorsed by the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) and the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB). It is also the only energy medicine program that has 2 national accreditations. Meaning, there are outside accreditation agencies that hold their training to a certain level of excellence. We have a Scope of Practice and Code of Ethics we practice under and document session in clinical fashion to explain interventions used and track progress. Practitioners who are certified in Healing Touch are well trained and highly qualified by the time they receive their certification. I love the “woo woo” aspect to complementary therapies, but for me have a balance of the things I intuitively know and being grounded in the research is super important. I see it as a great responsibility to work in and with another persons’ energy field. I approach my work as an energy therapist with great care.
What is the background of Energy Therapy healing?
The observance of energy dates back thousands of years with Indian culture referring to it as Prana, Chinese culture referring to it as Chi, the Kabbalah, and Jewish tradition calls it astral light and the bible even speaks of Jesus surrounded by fields of light and recounts him performing hands-on healing. Energy therapy seems to have existed throughout the ages with the basic principle that we humans can channel energy and influence others energy. In more recent times, science has begun to catch up with what healers do but still has a long way to go. One of my favorite modern day healers is Barbara Brennen. She describes the history in great detail in her book “Hands of Light” if you want to learn more.
What happens? How does energy work effect the recipient?
Our bodies are designed to self-regulate and heal on their own. Any congestion in the field can block an individual’s natural process of healing. During a Healing Touch session, I first assess someone’s energy field then based on what I find, use a combination of hands-on and hands-off touch to open, clear/balance the energy field. Research indicates that receiving and energy therapy like Healing Touch often facilitates a deep sense of calm and relaxation in body, mind, and spirit.
What’s the difference between energy work and something like meditation that also calms your mind?
Good question! First energy is superfluous. It can shift with thought or through action. We can put on a certain scent or repeat a mantra and create a shift. It is pretty easy to shift our own energy. So practicing something like meditation will shift your state of energy generally to a more calm or focused place. I love this question because the results of both practices can feel very similar. How I would interpret the difference with energy therapy, is it specifically aims to bring the energy system back into a state of balance with the help of practitioner focusing on certain parts of the energy anatomy. In a session, the client and I set a goal and hold a specific intention for healing, I then diagnose the energy system, and based on that diagnosis, use interventions to move towards the goal.
Are there any potential dangers?
No. Not when in the hands of a knowledgeable, ethical and responsible practitioner.
Your practice’s business is called Truth Beauty and Goodness, do you consider it a salon, a wellness center, how do you describe what you do now?
I would describe what I do in 2 different parts.
Part 1 – Is my salon work. I practice what I call the Integrative Beauty. It is a holistic approach to hair care services that integrate beauty and wellness. I would call the space I work in a salon, but 10 years down the road I see actual Integrative Beauty Cultures that are differentiated from salons as we know them today.
Part 2 – Is my consulting and coaching work. I educate and coach conscious minded beauty industry professionals looking to deepen engagement, increase overall life satisfaction and bring wellness into their beauty equation.
You mentioned that you want to makeover the beauty industry. What would you change?
I will preface this by saying I generally stay away from blanket statements, but I feel 99% comfortable saying this one… I think the biggest thing that is out of date is that the beauty industry at large is only addressing exterior beauty.
There is a huge missed opportunity that internal beauty is not in the majority of our cultural beauty equation. The overarching mission of my work in the salon and through my education is to remind people that beauty is their birthright. It is innate. It cannot be bought or groomed, only awakened. At it’s highest form, it brings pleasure and evokes a certain divinity. And we ALL have it.
Now, I want to add I am pro beauty industry. I love everything from the healing power that a hair service can bring to the prowess brought on by the perfect red lip to the aspirational quality and joy I feel in my cells when I see certain editorial work. I just think the beauty dialogue is ready to be revamped. Beauty shaming is rampant in the industry and in our culture at large. What would it look like to approach beauty commerce knowing our clients are not broken, not in need of fixing? To think of what we do through the beauty industry as a pathway to help people align their inner beauty with their outer beauty. I think if we could start there, beauty products and services could be used to heal the world at large.
Why do you believe it is important to keep the beauty aspect? Is there something about beauty itself that is healing?
I want to keep the beauty aspect in my work first because it’s what I know. I am not ready to exit this industry. I feel called to help evolve it for and with others that are on a similar plane of consciousness. I believe we are all here to make a unique contribution, and mine is to bridge the beauty/wellness gap. Also, my clients are busy folks and often don’t make time for mind/body self-care. My services offer both hair care and built in mind/body boost.
To feel beautiful and to feel well are one in the same. When people speak about “feeling beautiful” it is never solely about what is going on externally. When cultivating beauty from a more holistic, or whole person view, the process of healing naturally unfolds with that. To be well we all need to be touched, seen, and heard. In our touch deprived, device heavy society that we are living in, isolation, depression, anxiety etc. are more rampant than ever. Anyone who offers a beauty service with mindful presence, compassion and kindness is a healer.
What effects have you seen, on yourself and your clients, from incorporating the energy sequences?
My clients generally are far more relaxed after energy work. I can see a real shift in people when they leave a service from when they came in.
The cool thing about giving energy work to someone, is I receive the benefits also. I find I am far more focused, mentally flexible and creative as a result. It’s kind of like a mini-meditation at the beginning of each client.
What is your most requested energy therapy sequence?
I would say the sequence Relax gets the most requests. It helps to calm the nervous system, quiet the mind and reduce stress. A good “one size fits all” sequence for the modern day client.
You are also doing workshops to share your approach with other beauty professionals. Which workshop is the most requested? What is your reflection on this?
Yes, I offer workshops in wellness, people development, and cutting & styling techniques. I also offer the Truth, Beauty, and Goodness certification I will be launching early 2018 for beauty service professionals that want to practice integrative beauty and add wellness to their service descriptions. Currently, I have had a lot of interest in my Strengthsfinder™ workshops. These workshops are all about working with our innate talent as a way to reach our true potential personally and collectively. I also am getting a lot of interest in my cutting and styling courses. My point of difference is not only helping stylists improve technically, I help them improve interpersonally (our relationships with others) and intrapersonally (our relationship with ourselves). I have built into all of my curriculum concepts like growth mindset, mindfulness, and flow. All of these are pathways proven to help increase engagement and wellbeing.
I think these are the most requested because salon owners like the idea of increasing engagement among their staff. When employees are engaged in their work, performance and profitability are remarkably better and they retain their people. Happy, engaged stylists mean happy returning customers. I also think I am just tapped into information that hairstylists already intuitively know. I’m just putting a language to it so that they can positively leverage these concepts.
What is your dream for this practice, how it can benefit our collective bigger picture?
My dream for Truth, Beauty, and Goodness is to bridge the gap between beauty and wellness so that beauty industry professionals can positively impact the world. To feel and look beautiful and to feel and look well are one in the same. My work helps the beauty industry professional cultivate new levels of wellness for themselves so that they can deliver products and services that truly add to the wellbeing of their customers. My hope is that through a more kind and compassionate process, we in this industry can evoke meaningful change individually and collectively. I admit it feels lofty to say I want to change the world, but what I know as a hairstylist, is that at our best, that’s what we do, one client at a time.