There's some days where you wake up, and everything in your day goes right. There's others where things go wrong but you manage. Then there's some you remember for the rest of your life.
As our fax machine buzzed to life early on June 2, 2003, I had no idea how the document that it churned out would change my life so quickly. As I read through the information, I could feel my heart sink and my knees go weak. The government was changing how they funded Physiotherapy clinics.
As the owners and operators of a private physiotherapy clinic in Alberta, Canada, over 80% of our income came from the Alberta Health Care public funding. With the loss of this funding, our patients were forced to go to government provided facilities or be required to pay personally to see us.
As a family, all our financial eggs were in this one basket. We had 4 phenomenal children age 10 to 17, who we worked hard and sacrificed for, to make sure they always had a parent at home. Bill was a stay at home Dad, and did all the accounting and bookkeeping for our clinic. He ran the business side and I treated the patients. It was a great partnership, but a clinic without patients wouldn't run on this alone.
We had long ago decided to have a parent at home raising our children, a decision cemented and reinforced by the fact that stable jobs in our small community were not easy to come by. Humbled but resolute, Bill and I set to work brainstorming solutions to this crisis in our lives. We put our heads together and looked for ways to diversify our services with something that people were willing to pay for.
At this time cosmetic services had really began to boom. Everyone wanted to look younger, myself included, but I struggled personally with this. My whole life I was passionate about healthy living. I put all of my energy and focus into making sure I lived a healthy lifestyle. Much to my dismay I was looking much older than I felt. At 45, I felt 20 but was looking much closer to 60. No one wants to look older than they are, let alone older than they feel. I had an unfounded bias against cosmetic procedures, deeming them to be just for vanity and all having negative health repercussions. They were just too risky. I had looked at many options for myself, but they either didn’t work, they didn’t produce results fast enough, they cost too much, and all of them had some element of risk to my health. This was not something I was willing to compromise on.
Going through my notes for a seminar, I discovered a rough outline for acupuncture face lift. I knew the power of acupuncture, but needles in peoples faces seemed too extreme. I wanted a natural method that had other benefits. I had previously been using a micro-current machine in my practice as a way to treat people without the use of needles. Maybe this could be used in some way?
We began to develop Second Chance Facial Rejuvenation, although we didn’t have that name then. For countless hours, we worked, practiced, and perfected it. People began to notice change in my own appearance, something that they wanted to know more about. The more people that interacted with me, the more clients we had.
This new service was quickly integrated into our clinic, and as expected, when people saw the results on their first treatment, they were excited to continue having sessions. This produced a welcome lift of revenue into our finances, easing the strain we were feeling. Clients were more excited at their increased energy levels, decreased insomnia or hot flashes, and improved mood, than their more youthful faces, so I knew my quest to enhance health as well as look younger, had been achieved. We nicknamed our technique “Stealth Health”, or “Health by Vanity”. The improved self esteem our clients experienced was a driving force to helping them pursue their dreams and we thrived on their success stories.
My fellow colleagues continued to pressure me to teach them this process, but I needed to perfect it, trial it and refine it before I felt comfortable teaching it to others. We also needed a name. One of our clients, excited by the results she had seen, raced into the clinic, embraced me and exclaimed: “Thank you for giving me a second chance at looking younger!” Second Chance Facial Rejuvenation ® was born!
Using the income from offering this service in our clinic, Bill and I began to set time and resources aside to begin helping others overcome what we had experienced. We wanted others to find self employment manageable, and for them to be able to say, just as we had done: "No, we will not compromise our children and our values", and "Yes, I can make a change in my life".
Looking back, the income from practicing that protocol at the clinic, and later on, teaching the program to others, we were able to weather one of the most devastating financial challenges in our life. Challenge, just as in nature, breeds changes, and from change something new and beautiful is created. Our challenge gave us the change, that gave us a second chance at business, a second chance at health and looking younger.
Today, 13 years later, our youngest, Katrina, who was only 10 when this crisis happened, has been able to carry on our legacy by offering these services and co-teaching it by our side.
As I pass the age of 60, I have the energy and enthusiasm of a 30 year old, and no one ever guesses my true age. Reflecting now, when that fax machine kicked into action June 2, 2003, it's hard to imagine I would ever see that paper it printed as a gift, but ours, and the hundreds of lives that have been positively impacted on this journey, tell me a different tale.