At Something Social, we believe what goes around comes around. We also believe in the golden rule (and something that’s arguably more important than the previous belief), treat others the way you want to be treated. So that’s why we started #SomethingSignificant. Every month, we’re going to share with you a new way to give back. Whether it’s volunteering at a local food drive, or spreading awareness about an issue close to your heart, your Something Social team is here to encourage you to do #SomethingSignificant.
*Trigger warning: the following contains sensitive content.*
The unrealistic standards set by an Instagrammable, globalized culture are steep. Detox diets, bronzed legs-for-days, a long, long list of various exercise regimens, internet trolls, and toxicity fueled by anonymity can create a perfect environment for emotional turmoil. (We cover how to detox digital overload in our article, Fostering Mental Wellness: Digitally.)
Though some accounts, like @celebface, work to demystify the photoshopped bodies we scroll past, the weight of society’s standards still takes a toll in a very serious way, and oftentimes take the shape of eating disorders. These conditions are caused by a toxic mixture of over-fixation of bodily perfection and the rigorous restriction of an individual’s essential nutritional needs. These disorders are curable, but they’re incredibly serious and can be exacerbated by the highlight-reel of social media. This is a cultural issue that we need to work together to solve, but the truth of the situation can often get swept under the rug.
“Secrecy and shame are two symptoms of the disease. For many individuals struggling, it is the pain they know, and the thought of recovery is terrifying and might seem impossible,” said Rachel Happ, who graduated from the Parsons School of Design Strategies in 2011 and founded Cashmere Foundation, a non-profit organization, focusing on the eating disorder recovery process. “Treatment is critical.”
The Cashmere Foundation works to comfort those battling eating disorders by encompassing them in a safe space, using the healing power of self-care. “Cashmere is a feeling. Its being wrapped in warmth, comfort… luxury,” says Happ. Happ emphasizes comforting patients as she was once in recovery herself.
“I created Cashmere from personal experience. I had struggled my whole life with an eating disorder. … It was a constant feeling of being cold and scared. When you’re so physically sick and mentally exhausted, the healing process just doesn’t even sound possible.
I’ll never forget what shifted my entire way of thinking. I was 17 years old during one of my extended hospital stays. My family would always bring me little care packages; warm sweaters to snuggle in, scarves for when it was cold, and soothing lotions. I felt really comforted.
During this time, I was going to meet with a new doctor and didn’t know what to expect. This doctor asked me ‘What would you like to do today? How about some hand lotion and aromatherapy?’ She didn’t ask about my meal plans or speak about medication right away. It was the first time I felt like I was being treated like a human being.”
Cashmere’s mobile spas visit patients and our certified therapists offer a signature menu of massage, aromatherapy, meditation and soothing virtual reality. Touching on every step of the patient’s journey, Cashmere educates and nurtures its patients from check-in to post-treatment. Their mission is to treat each patient on the individual level, providing a personal and intimate connection during an incredibly vulnerable time.
The foundation partners with hospitals and care centers bringing spa carts stocked with all-natural essential oils, lotions, warm towels, and infused spa water to their patients. Licensed massage therapists visit patients in chemotherapy infusion centers and during extended hospital stays.
By day, Happ is a product designer at Google, so it should come at no surprise that Cashmere prides itself on patient feedback and data. 95% of patients directly report that their spa services positively impacts their hospital experience. Over 75% report a reduction in symptoms including anxiety and discomfort. And The Cashmere Foundation patient satisfaction rating? 9.9/10
Services are provided 100% free of charge to patients and are made possible by the generous support of hospital and foundation grants, individual donors, and corporate sponsors.
Interested in getting involved?
Cashmere Foundation is hiring massage therapists, spa facilitators, and volunteers. Apply here.
Donations can be made here.
If you are currently struggling with an eating disorder, know you are loved and valued. You can reach the NEDA Helpline at (800) 931-2237.
Are you part of #SomethingSignificant that you think we should know about? Tweet us @somethingsocial or tag us on Instagram- @somethingsocial.