Here’s how a Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® (CNAP) might approach a consultation and management of a client who comes to him/her with undereye puffiness: 

Part 1: The consultation

Client: My undereye area has been getting puffy on and off for a few months now. Most often in the morning, but I notice it at different times of the day. Sometimes my eyes even feel a bit swollen. What can I do?

CNAP:  Hmm. Let’s try to rule out some things could be causing you discomfort. From your description, it sounds to me like you could be experiencing a reaction to something external or internal, or both. We can investigate and discover what may be triggering your issue from a few different angles— environmental, lifestyle, and dietary. Have you added in a new product to your routine recently, like makeup or makeup remover, fragrance, eye drops, or laundry detergent?

Client: Not really. I will pay closer attention to the effects of my eye makeup though. I can get a little lazy with that kind of thing.

CNAP: Mascara especially can accumulate bacteria and cause irritation. You might want also want to consider your laundry detergent; chemicals can cause irritation and it’s possible that you could be reacting to your face cloth or pillowcase.

Client: Oh wow, really? I never would have thought about those chemicals in laundry detergent.

CNAP: Are you getting adequate sleep…and do you wear contacts?

Client: No, not really. I have been staying up late…working on my computer. No contacts.

CNAP: Sleep is such an important component for so many bodily functions to perform. You may want to limit your exposure to your devices, at least a couple hours before bed as well. These are all habits you can change by being more mindful; it just takes practice. Also, perhaps you want to get your eyes checked; it’s possible you may need glasses?

Client: You’re right. I should do that…I actually haven’t had my eyes checked in a few years.

CNAP: Your concerns could also be symptoms of an allergy of some type, possibly either environmental or an undiagnosed food allergy. Do you have any known environmental or food allergies?

Client: I do get pretty bloated when I eat carbs, which I eat a lot. I eat late, too. I crave a lot of salt also. I’m actually pretty ‘puffy’ everywhere, now that I think about it.

CNAP: It’s possible you could have an undiagnosed food allergy. There are numerous common foods can trigger responses in the body that are not very obvious, externally- like soy, corn, eggs, nuts, nightshades, wheat, or dairy for instance. You could try to eliminate those foods one-by-one for a couple weeks-and just observe how you feel. Maybe you could keep a food diary and notice when the puffiness seems to be at its worst. This could help you to discover what’s at the core.

Client: Wow-that’s a lot of things to eliminate! I guess I could try it and see what happens. This is really helpful, thank you! You made me think of things I never would have considered. I just thought I could get a cream or something, but it makes sense that it could be internal.

Part 2: The plan

CNAP: Based on what we talked about, what I’d like to do here in the treatment room is help to gently stimulate the eye area to increase circulation and help to release any underlying tension and water retention.

Client: That sounds great! What does that entail?

CNAP: I just want you to lie down, close your eyes, and try to relax. After we cleanse, warm, and exfoliate your skin, I’ll place cool marble stones over your eyes. Then I’ll begin with a gentle acupressure massage around the eye area, as well as on other areas of the face, scalp, and neck to help stimulate the lymphatic system. Then I’ll do another massage using cool jade stones and rollers to continue to help with lymphatic drainage. The lymphatic stimulation combined with the movement and cool temperature of the stones helps reduce the puffy appearance, and will help your eye area look more refreshed and vibrant. After the massage, I’ll apply an eye serum with cooling and anti-inflammatory ingredients including cucumber and calendula, which will continue to tone and de-puff the area.

Client: How long will the effects last?

CNAP: Stimulating the lymphatic system and cooling the tissue is a great start that has topical effects, and also contributes to helping to restore balance below the surface–but until you figure out the underlying cause of the puffiness whether it’s a food allergy or just something in your diet that needs to be adjusted, the puffiness will always return. It’s important to me though, as your nutritional aesthetician, that you feel happy and confident with your appearance when you see your reflection as your body rebalances on the inside, so I recommend coming in for this treatment once a week for a month, while you also follow the recommendations I’m about to give you. After that we’ll reassess and see how much progress we’ve made and decide from there how often to come in for the eye treatment.

Client: That sounds great, thanks!

Part 3: At-home advice for persistent puffy eyes

CNAP: Before you go, I wanted to share a few more things you can do to at home to help eliminate puffy eyes.

Client: That’s great. I’ll do whatever it takes.

CNAP: After this treatment, and going forward, make sure ylemon-water-hydrationou stay hydrated. Getting adequate water in your body, through liquids and water-rich fruits and vegetables, encourages your body to release extra water so you won’t experience puffiness from water retention. Also, you may have heard that reducing the amount of foods that you eat that are very high in sodium— think salty sauces and processed foods— helps prevent water retention too.

Client: I’ll definitely try to do that.

CNAP: Getting enough detoxifying greens and B vitamins in your diet also help prevent puffiness. Good sources of B vitamins are spinach, eggs and wild salmon. And if your puffiness issues persist, I’d recommend seeing a naturopathic doctor who can help you explore the possibility of an allergy, food or otherwise, that could be causing this puffiness.

Client: Got it. I’m definitely going to try being more mindful of my diet and my water, and see if that helps. If not, I know where else I can look for answers. Thank you for the amazing treatment, and all the info. My eyes look the best that they have in months!

When presented with a client’s concern, the right set of questions and answers can really boost your confidence, and cement your clients’ trust in you. Sharing our version that illustrates the different facets within each step allows you to have a deeper understanding of nutritional aesthetics in action!

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photo credit: Lemon via photopin (license)