It was a life-threatening health scare in her twenties that introduced KATIE JENSON- HULL to the true meaning of radiance and a new career out of the beauty and spa industries and into Naturopathy and her practice as The Radiant Nutritionist. Here she shares her discoveries about the real meaning of radiance.
There’s always that one person who comes to mind when you think of someone as being radiant. Someone who lights up the room when they walk in. You can’t put your finger on what exactly it is that makes them that way, but they exude the qualities of radiance. They have that “Je ne sais quoi”. We always think that the bride on her wedding day is beautiful and glowing. Or the pregnant lady has a ‘glow’ about her. On first value these are all physical aspects of radiance. But I wonder if this is really the case or is radiance something more?
Radiance is a somewhat ambiguous term. When we say someone is looking radiant, what are we actually referring to? Shiny hair? Good grooming? Beautiful clothes? Maybe
we are referring to skin that looks all dewy and glowing, a complexion free from blemishes, hydrated and plump. Put simply, someone who looks radiant just looks “well”. These are all physical attributes that society deems to be attractive and showing health. However, as I have become older, I’ve come to understand that you can’t limit radiance to a surface level and think it is only skin deep.
In my opinion, there is much more behind the idea of what makes someone glow. Radiance to me is a mixture of good health and contentment that quite literally beams outward. True radiance is made and cultivated from within and cannot be imitated by the use of highlighter make-up to create the appearance of illumination. Radiance happens below the surface level.
A preoccupation with radiance
To be or appear ‘glowing’ has been a preoccupation of mine since my early twenties. Growing up, there was a real pressure on us as young women to look our best: to have über-groomed skin, hair and nails and to always be wearing the most on-trend outfit. Your radiance was on show for the world to see. All at face value.
Then, at the age of21 I had a blood clot in my brain .I was fortunate to recover from it, but it was a completely life-altering event and one that changed forever the way I viewed life. I became a much more intuitive person and much more aware of what I was placing in and on my body. My idea of radiance changed overnight.
My thirst for living a life at optimal health came bubbling to the surface. After I recovered, I felt I was more radiant than ever. I had a much deeper connection with myself and I properly understood my needs for the first time. I changed career direction from gaining a politics degree and retrained to become a spa therapist. I wanted to learn more about wellness and what really made people glow.
I loved my time in the spas and watching people melt at the power of my hands. I realised that in this busy world, cultivating radiance was a difficult task. I would think a lot about what was causing my facial clients’ skin to be so angry and red. Or why another client was suffering with confidence- crippling acne. There was something happening on the inside that I couldn’t completely help on the outside.
After a few years, I took some time away from the spas and joined the world of make-up and skincare. Again, I thrived in this environment, but I couldn’t help questioning certain ideas surrounding luminosity. I felt that it was just all a little too superficial. I couldn’t get my head around putting more make-up on someone who was naturally beautiful. Nor covering up imperfections which were clearly coming from somewhere deep within that the latest skincare couldn’t touch or foundation couldn’t patch up.
Not long after this I became a mum to a beautiful boy. I was exhausted after a difficult birth which left me feeling depleted and hormonally-imbalanced. I had many questions about the concept of health and well-being and I retrained to become a nutritional therapist with CNM. After three years of intense study, I set up my own clinic. It was a no-brainer to decide to call myself The Radiant Nutritionist. To be honest it is all rather tongue-in-cheek and it all leads back to my own radiant journey. I know how it feels to be far from your radiant self. To feel exhausted. To feel so tired that you don’t have the energy to do the things you love. I want to support other women to be their happiest and healthiest selves. For them to glow from head-to- toe and from the inside out.
The practice of Naturopathic medicine tied in perfectly with my idea of radiance being about the whole person and giving the body the right conditions and tools to support the proper functioning of systems and delivering radiance. Training to be a naturopathic nutritionist allowed me to find the science to back up my own thoughts and experiences through the years.
So, what is radiance?
When you look up the meaning of the word radiance it says, “A glowing light shining from something”. You could easily think that this is referring to the skin’s ability to reflect light. But as I have already alluded to, radiance goes far deeper than skin level. It is to do with inner and outer vitality and health.
It is a simple sum of: Health + Vitality = Radiance.
Radiance comes from the individual’s core. It is what lights up a person from within. Living in tune with yourself and having intuition which provides a guiding compass deep within. Guiding with individual needs for optimal health, wellness and sparkle.
I would sum up radiance as living with intention and vibrating health outwardly. Someone is radiant to me when they are bright-eyed, full of positive energy and have the ability to light up a room without even realising they do this.
I often assess how radiant and vibrant a person is, getting a gauge of the person’s current state of health and vitality. You can do this too. Stand in front of a mirror and really take in the image in front of you. What do you see? Are your eyes bright with a sparkle? Is your hair glossy? Can you meet yourself in the eye and smile? Is your skin clear? Are you standing up straight? Make a note and periodically check in with yourself. You can seek to make adjustments to support and aid inner illumination.
Radiance can be supported by simple everyday practices that help bring the body into balance. Things such as resting more, and adequate sleep are critical, helping us
to regenerate and activating our parasympathetic nervous system. Gentle movement and a daily dose of Nature
also slows the nervous system. A well-supported nervous system aids our digestive system to absorb and digest nutrients effectively and also detoxify toxins. This all helps to support the idea of glowing. Consuming a diet rich in vitamins, antioxidants and low in processed sugars and fats. Adequate hydration. Sometimes it is necessary to remove anything that is hindering the body’s systems to work optimally. Small steps all mount up, helping us to feel good from the inside out.
True radiance, then, is about an individual’s optimal state of health in mind, body and soul. To be radiant is
to enjoy and live our lives with a deep vibration of inner health that penetrates to the surface. Real radiance requires deep inner work. This deep internal work doesn’t happen overnight, nor can it be purchased in a bottle. It is something that is cultivated over time. We all deserve to be our best selves. We all deserve to be the healthiest version of ourselves. Try turning your attention inwards and set your inner radiance free.
How modern life dampens our radiance
We aren’t fully radiant if our systems are not in balance and certain key systems of the body aren’t working optimally. Naturopathically, radiance is about the whole person. It comes from a balanced mind, body and spirit. Naturopathic nutrition allows us to investigate the root cause of what is stopping us from being our most vibrant self. The following are a few scenarios that can stamp out the flame of our internal radiance:
- Intense stress – many are now living with chronic stress
- Hormone imbalances
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Poor self-esteem and confidence
- Mindset – with limiting beliefs
- Poor skin barrier and gut health
- Not being consistent with self-care and how we look after ourselves and putting one’s self last
- Lack of purpose
- Food intolerances