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Fight Client Stress With Scalp Massage

By: Annet King
Posted: May 31, 2012, from the June 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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On the subject of using oil as part of a scalp massage, it will make the experience more sensory for the client. A few drops of a calming aromatherapy blend, or a warm nut- or plant-based oil can be used if your client is suffering from dry scalp. Obviously, it is important to check with your client before incorporating oil to ensure they are not leaving your treatment room to go straight to a company function. If you are a full-service spa and the client prefers the use of oil, recommend that she schedule a shampoo, blow-dry and styling following the scalp massage.

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Suggest that scalp massage be added after a nail service, before hair services, during an eyelash tint or as part of the client’s next skin care treatment. Send clients home with a trial size of a stress-relief oil, which they can use over the third eye area in the evening, and apply to their neck and shoulders to wind down and release stress.

Recommend scalp massage as a gateway experience to potential male clients who may be newcomers to the professional skin care experience. It’s nonthreatening, noncommittal, and it feels good. Consider introducing it to your clients as a nonalcoholic happy hour offering, since it’s a great way to relieve tension, especially for clients who spend their days in front of computer screens. Eight hours plus on a keyboard every day commonly results in eye strain, as well as neck, shoulder and jaw pain from clenching the teeth. Clasping a handset phone receiver between ear and shoulder—something many still do, in spite of the invention of headsets—adds to the problem.

Scalp massage is also a natural recommendation for two extremely common issues: frequent headaches and insomnia. It’s the equivalent of slipping out of an excruciatingly cute pair of stiletto heels, or loosening a tight necktie and starched collar; it’s soothing, sedating and relaxing—a much-needed release from the chronic stress that defines modern living.

Annet King is the director of global education for The International Dermal Institute (IDI) and Dermalogica. She develops, writes, presents and monitors the success of all classes that comprise the IDI curriculum, and is CIDESCO-, ITEC- and CIBTAC-certified. King’s initial career as the operations director for Steiner involved overseeing spas onboard several luxury cruise liners. This parlayed into extensive work in the skin care field in Singapore and other areas of Southeast Asia. She can be contacted at 310-900-0811 or