Aesthetic practitioner Miss Mayoni Gooneratne reflects on her career in aesthetics and shares why wellness is a fundamental part of her practice
“You’ve got to be able to look after yourself before you look after anyone else”
Born in Sri Lanka, Dr Mayoni Gooneratne moved to the UK at the age of three. By the age of nine, her doctor-parents knew that she was going to follow in their footsteps thanks to her passion for caring for others. Miss Gooneratne shares, “In every stage of my life I have always wanted to help and care for others.”
She graduated from St George’s Medical School in 2000 and the following year started her basic surgical training at Epsom and St Helier’s Hospital. In 2005, she finished her PhD in the neurology of the bowel and control of the pelvic floor. Fast forward seven years and, whilst also working fulltime in the NHS specialising in colorectal conditions and pelvic floor issues, Miss Gooneratne completed her higher surgical training. But it wasn’t quite what she had expected.
She says, “The idea of working in the NHS is wonderful, but the reality is that I didn’t feel like I was doing what I set out to do, which was to help people. I was fighting fires. I thought I might have to think about another career, and it was hard because all I wanted to do was be a surgeon. Surgery is hardwired into my soul so to leave it was a really big deal.”
Miss Gooneratne shares that at the age of 34 she spoke to a career adviser through the British Medical Association and ‘had a lot of therapy’ before making the decision to leave. “As a mum of three, I decided to complete my injectable training during my third maternity leave. It was actually one of my friends who suggested I trained in botulinum toxin. I honestly thought that it was beneath me and had a really negative, pre-conceived idea of aesthetics. I’m hastened to add that I did my training with Cosmetic Courses in 2015 and it was absolutely amazing. Mr Adrian Richards was a real inspiration,” she says. In 2017, she opened The Clinic by Dr Mayoni, which was a finalist for Best New Clinic in 2018’s Aesthetics Awards and received a high commendation at the Awards in 2019. She recognises that her past, both professional and personal, has undoubtably influenced the way she runs her clinic. “My background had a real focus on postpartum women. I was so struck by how devastated they were at what had happened to their bodies through pregnancy and, in turn, what difference I could make to their lives,” she says, adding, “Women still don’t talk about the effects of pregnancy and often they don’t get the right help. Or worse, feel guilty when they do look after themselves. But the truth is that you have to be able to look after yourself before you look after anyone else.”
This, Miss Gooneratne explains, is the foundation of her treatment offering which is based around three key pillars: SkinFit, BodyFit and MindFit. She shares, “The sensation of someone looking after you is so powerful.” Linking wellness and aesthetics specifically Miss Gooneratne adds, “How we look is absolutely one aspect of wellness. There is evidence that the hospital anxiety and depression (HADS) score improves by 13% when someone feels good when they look in the mirror.” She further explains, “If you are looking like the best version of yourself you will undoubtably feel like the best version of yourself. However, there’s such a big disconnect here so it’s our job as aesthetic practitioners to marry the two. In my clinic I also have a functional nutritionist, a personal trainer and a life coach, all of which enables me to do this.”
As well as being a key opinion leader for Viveve Medical, AestheticSource and CoolTech, Miss Gooneratne also trains for Cosmetic Courses and Oculo-Facial Aesthetic Academy. She says, “As a trainer, seeing someone else ‘get it’ is an amazing feeling. I thought rather than complaining about the problems in the industry, why not be the one that tries to make a difference and train others. I believe that if people aren’t part of the change, they are part of the problem. Training others is also great learning for my professional development.”
When asked about her biggest achievement, Miss Gooneratne was quick to share, “Growing three humans. They are such champions of me and they will grow up to know that there is real value in self-care.”
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