Touch is the first sense we all experience in the womb. It has the wonderful power to create memories. Do you ever think about what an honor it is to have a license to touch? Each client you encounter is a canvas for your energy, so take your ten magic wands and create something epic for someone.
In my nearly two decades of being an esthetician in a medical spa, I have introduced needles, heat, electrical stimulus, lasers and chemicals onto and into people’s faces. While they get fabulous results and it is gratifying to know you have helped someone regain their sense of confidence through these treatments, facials are, and always will be, my favorite treatment.
Facials allow the creative side of practitioners to come alive. I love facials for several reasons some of which are:
- They can be done safely on most all faces;
- They can be customized and given a personality;
- They render instant results;
- They can can turn around a client’s day; and
- They have the ability to take a client on a journey.
This article will discuss some techniques I implement into my facials to make it not only a memorable experience but also one for the clients to take home to help in their daily lives. When we teach clients tips they can use at home, we are empowering them and building a relationship based on caring. When we touch our clients’ lives on multiple levels, we are taking them on a journey that far exceeds a steam and scrub.
Setting an Intention
Before beginning, it is important to make sure your treatment will awaken all of your client’s senses. To do this, implement the checklist provided (see Sensory Checklist). After a complete consultation, I encourage clients to set an intention for our time together. Usually I will suggest an intention of peace, relaxation or simply letting go. As silly as this sounds, many times people have a difficult time doing this. We are so hyperconnected in this world, we sometimes lose the ability to connect with ourselves. In offering this to our clients, we can relate on a completely different level, which has value in the eyes of the consumer.
As I begin treatment, I suggest the client places one hand on their abdomen and the other over their true heart, as it promotes awareness of their own breath and that of the beauty and power of full, relaxed breathing. This is a nice way to teach a technique they can do anytime themselves to get back into the now and reduce the anxiety and stress that is so destructive to our skin.
I then ask my client to share a few cleansing breaths using an extended version of military breathing that soldiers are taught to help them remain calm in times of severe stress in combat. The technique is simple: take in a breath for four counts, hold for four counts and exhale for four counts. I suggest an additional four count of “hovering” after the exhalation before beginning the cycle again. It is in this space of hovering that we turn our attention to the empty space that holds peace and tranquility. We begin our treatment from a place of calm. You may choose to place your hands on their shoulders, face or neck as they breathe, whichever feels best.
After we complete a few sessions of breathing, I rest my fingertips on their third eye, located on the forehead and say, “Just relax, this is all you time now.” It is a way of giving them permission to let go, and many times, I will see a small smile cross their face.
Lymphatic drainage is fabulous to flush toxins and improve the overall benefits of the facial. This technique can be used on the most sensitive of skin types and has powerful results. Gentle motions administered with little energy in the eye area can work wonders for fluid retention and to restore vibrancy to the eye area. This technique is valuable with clients who have undergone cosmetic surgeries. If you know a client is planning a procedure, suggest a pre-surgery facial to teach them some simple techniques to help them in their healing process and another facial as soon as they feel recovered. Clients appreciate your concern and are empowered with new knowledge of the best way to work through their recovery. Using and retailing jade rollers is great for this, those with allergies, those that retain fluid in the eye area and to relieve eye strain from screen fatigue.
A technique that couples well with lymphatic drainage is shiatsu. Used in traditional medicine, this form of work uses finger pressure on specific points of the body to redirect energy to meridians or pathways to encourage the natural healing powers of the body and restore vitality and balance. Benefits of shiatsu include:
- Yin and yang balance,
- Improved circulation,
- Released energy blocks,
- Calming of the nervous system,
- Reduced stress,
- Stronger immune system and
- Improved muscle tone.
There are many online videos and books to learn and master these techniques. I particularly like them for clients with sinus troubles. Touch points include the sides of the bridge of the nose, under the three points of the brow, under the cheekbones, etc. After the treatment, I review these techniques with my client for them to do when they want to relieve pressure. I suggest they perform them when they first open their eyes in the morning or while in the shower to get the most of the effects of warm steam. In addition, it also aids acne clients.
While a mask works its wonders, I do a hand massage. This is another opportunity to incorporate breathing techniques and induce deeper relaxation. There are many points on the hands that directly relate to organs of the body. Add scented oil for clients to savor the memory of their treatment.
Starting at the elbow and using sweeping motions, begin the breathing exercise again and verbally reinforce the intention of the treatment. Using the technique of preference for this massage, making sure it is an extension of relaxation.
Points of interest include the following.
Thumb. Moving from the base to the tip affects the pituitary and brain. Massaging and holding mild pressure at the apex of the base in the webbed area where the thumb connects to the rest of the hand induces relaxation.
Index finger. Slight pressure
on the base of this finger can relieve insomnia.
Middle and ring finger. Light pressure at the base of both the middle and ring finger may target hypertension.
Pinky. Massaging the pinky
can help the function of liver
Tips. The tips of all fingers are sensitive area of the sinuses.
Palm. Use kneading motions to the palm to aid in digestion and detoxification.
I like to intertwine my fingers with theirs and gently rotate the hand in circular motions to relax. Finish the massage with strokes to the area where the wrist connects to the hand to target reproductive organs. Take the hand and give a little shake a few times before placing it back on the bed to empty unwanted energy.
I acquired my esthetic oncology certification to take the journey with clients undergoing chemotherapy treatment. I highly recommend adding this knowledge, as the rewards will have special meaning to your career. I have taught classes for cancer therapy patients and the people who support them. If you or someone you know is undergoing therapies, you understand how it can wreak havoc on the skin. One suggestion as a gift for those in treatment that can touch the senses is a new and sanitized makeup brush and an aromatherapy card. Apply a few drops of lavender or similar calming oil to a paper towel and seal it into a large zip lock baggie with a beautiful greeting card for a few days. The card will pick up the scent without the oil staining the card. Visitors can share cleansing breaths with the patients while fanning them with the lovely scented card. Then, use the makeup brush to gently stroke the patients face to relax and comfort them. You can make it extra special by sharing an image of a favorite place as a point of escape or playing soothing music. One of my favorite escapes is a cabana near the beach in a hammock with a soft cotton cushion. The cabana is filled with fragrant flowers in a variety of colors. Can they feel the breeze dancing over their face as they let the soothing sounds of the sea let them escape reality for a few minutes to revitalize and restore balance? As with all treatments for cancer patients, get preauthorization from family and physicians beforehand.
After completing the facial, I suggest sharing one last round of breathing. Thank them for allowing you to share time with them. Leaving your client with a positive thought is important. I always conclude by placing my warm “wands “over their eyes then gliding them up to the third eye and saying, “You are a perfect whole being. Namaste.”
Customizing your facial is fun, and having an arsenal of techniques at your fingertips helps to make every treatment a new adventure for your clients as well as allow you to incorporate new products each time and keep your clients interest piqued.