I recently read an article that stated; "the latest skincare and make-up ranges of 2001 do not offer any more than previous years", and also said, "creams and lotions in spite of the updated technological jargon that comes with them were just the same".
I dispute this, beauty therapy and its related skin care products and treatments have made great strides in these last 3 years and will continue to do so. Yes, the jargon is more technical, but then so is the therapist, who knows more and wants to know more. No longer can the skin therapist of today be considered the bimbo of yesterday, she reads more, attends technical postgraduate training and has access to treatment products that are made and supplied by Drs and specialists. This means, therapists expectations are high and products must be of a standard to meet those expectations.
The refinements of ingredients like Retin-A, anti-oxidants, enzymes and vitamins C and E have made them a true active, no longer the placebos of the past. The carriers of these ingredients, have become controlled release delivery systems. Delivery systems and controlled release technology, are expanding the cosmetics industry into areas previously known only to pharmaceutical. The cosmetic research industry is experiencing a dramatic wave of innovation to address new market driven opportunities.
Alongside the change this wave of new delivery systems and refined actives, comes another change within the beauty industry. This change is within segments of the service beauty therapists offer their clients. We have seen the growth of day spas, destination day spas, body treatments, and skin treatment therapy and electrolysis become specialties for the experienced therapist, who no longer wants to do the basic grooming treatments that beauty therapy clinics all offer.
But not everyone wants to be a specialist in skin treatment therapy or electrolysis, and even the most successful beauty therapist will eventually get bored waxing legs and tinting lashes. So whats next, what comes after skin treatment therapy and beauty therapy?
The next biggest growth area for beauty therapy will come from a part of the industry that is second nature to a beauty therapist, RELAXATION THERAPY.
This will be very appealing to the therapist who does not find skin treatment therapy exciting or interesting, relaxation therapy is for the therapist who loves caring for her clients and enjoys many of the alternative therapies available today. Yes, relaxation therapy will have a big market and it will grow as long as people work over 50 hours a week, suffer from burnout, stress, experience crowded living conditions and do not take TIME OUT to relax and wind down.
A targeted market.
TIME OUT, RELAXATION THERAPY, call it what ever you like, but its here and its going to grow. So if you dont want to be a skin treatment therapist, your bored with basic grooming treatments and you rather like some of the spa type treatments that you read about in trade magazines but dont want to go into day spa therapy. Relaxation Therapy might just be the thing youre looking for.
What is RELAXATION THEAPY?
Anything your heart desires, as long it offers the FEEL GOOD that taking TIME OUT and experiencing pleasure gives.
Those are the key words, FEEL GOOD, TIME OUT, RELAXATION. All conjure up an image that that would be different for all of us, but an image with many things in common. Pleasure, joy, indulgence, gratifying and goodness just to name a few.
Selling relaxation is easy, everyone wants it and needs it. Its easy and gratifying to give and once one gets into receiving mode, easy to accept and enjoy.
Philosophy of Relaxation Therapy
Pleasure, Emotion, Well-being,Vitality
These four are the culmination of Relaxation therapy. It begins with pleasure, the pleasure of having all of the senses stimulated, awoken and soothed. This raises feelings of well being, emotional calm, strength of soul etc, from all this, vitality and feelings of being alive, well and happy come. Just what one needs to go back into the fray once more until the next session of TIME OUT and RELAXATION THERAPY?
The TIME OUT experience is based on unconditional giving as much as if not more than anything else is. The notion that weary souls can receive compassionate care and attention without payback goes a long way to explaining why this type of therapy will be so popular.
Serenity, soul soothing and stress busting services are what new millennium clients want and the RELAXATION THERAPY therapist knows just how to provide them.
What sort of treatments could I start with?
Relaxation therapy involves all the senses, sight, touch, taste, sound so the basis of relaxation therapies would begin with Aromatherapy. This modality can cover all of the senses and is a great place to begin, Aromatherapy is a serious modality but one that can be changed to Relaxation therapy without too much trouble.
Essential oils, are the basis of Aromatherapy, they are readily available but quality must be high, no cheap substitutes will do. For those of you who have done Aromatherapy as part of your training, getting relaxation therapy up and running will be easy. For those of you who have not done Aromatherapy, get a good book read it well, take note of all of the contraindications or better still, do a basic course at your local beauty therapy training institution. One can still begin Relaxation Therapy without training, by buying pre-blended essential oils, in fact its a great way to go, because blending essential oils is an art that takes time, effort and skill. Remember, relaxation therapy is supposed to be fun to do as well as receive, and that if you move into blending oils, it becomes Aromatherapy and the modality changes. Just remember, when working with essential oils there are always contraindications.
A clinic that wants to targets RELAXATION THERAPY and nothing else can be refitted for very little expense, the working areas need not be large in fact preferably they should be intimate. They will need to be sound proof with good ventilation and heating. Once these basics are taken care of the interior decorating can take place, and the sky is the limit.
The Asian or Tropical approach would be a great place to begin, both symbolise relaxation and conjure up thoughts or memories of balmy winds, tropical beaches and warm nights.
Treatment rooms should incorporate some illusion of or a type of indoor and outdoor space, using wood, stone, water and earth as part of the back to basics approach. Recreating this type of ambience is easy and clients will relax into this environment very quickly.
With subtle lighting, plants and the fragrance of herbs, spices and essential oils wafting through the air, running water and bird sounds or quiet chants as back ground sounds, you will have created the holistic ambience of RELAXATION THERAPY.
The RELAXATION THERAPY clinic is like a sanctuary for the senses a buffer from the outside world that people everywhere increasingly want and need, your treatments should address those needs.
Treatments should embrace both body and face within the appointment time and should touch all senses; this will be achieved by everything you use. Asian and tropical treatments offer an exotic experience; using fruit, vegetables, plants, herbs, and flowers, spices and oils from these countries extends the experience. You can offer honey, mud, sea salt or herb body scrubs but whatever it is, it must be administered with a little dose of love the most important ingredient of all. Love is what is needed most in modern lives that are so alienated by gadgets and material objects, the therapist gives relaxation with touch, sound, scent, taste and sight, this is the panacea that comes with these treatments.
A place to begin. Pleasure, Emotion, Well-being, Vitality
Sound, Sight, Touch, Scent, Taste
We begin with colour therapy, this is as old as the hills, all colours have an effect on the mind, and to induce relaxation one must choose a colour that will do this. Both violet and blue are known to have the physiological effects of lowering muscular tension and blood pressure. Green also lowers blood pressure and dilates the capillaries. This light should be subtle, subliminal or filtered, use as an up light under a large plant or behind a screen or curtain. Alternatively use these colours in linen or as floating sails/curtains above or around the treatment area.
Candles offer a great opportunity here, to create ambience, fragrance and an illusion of warmth, they can be relaxing colours and fragrance at the same time. Vanilla is a very popular candle fragrance, but the options are unlimited. Just be sure they are of the highest quality you can buy.
Natural sounds are best; they must be continuous and again like colour subliminal. (Just barely there) By natural sounds I mean water, bird calls, bush sounds not music, although a mantra chant can be very soothing because of the quiet repetitive manner in which it is sung. If you have some form of running water in your relaxation room you will have covered sight again as well as sound. It does not have to be a waterfall of great proportions to get the right effect and sound; there are some beautiful small table fountains available. I once made a fish tank with beautiful fish and plants in it, then arranged for the filter to run the water back onto the surface; this made a lovely splashing sound and aerated the tank water at the same time. It covered both sight and sound and was a beautiful addition to my room. Remember the relaxation area must be sound proof, so no noise can enter from adjoining rooms.
Tisanes, teas, herbal infusions or cool drinks, all are part of the RELAXATION THERAPY. These are given to the client at the beginning of the treatment, half way through and of course at the end. Why?
Herbal teas and freshly squeezed juices inject us with just as much vitality as health-giving foods. Such fluids flush out unwanted toxins and help re-hydrate the bodys organs, increasing blood flow and moving oxygen more efficiently around the body. In this respect they are ideal for beginning and topping off the benefits of a RELAXATION THERAPY treatment.
Herbal infusions have always had a role in oriental diet for the mild effect they can have on stimulating the kidneys, calming digestion, aiding circulation and of course, putting water back into our bodies. Pre-prepared teas are widely available in supermarkets today, beautifully blended and easy to prepare. They can be served warm or cold or as a basis for a shake.
Begin your RELAXATION THERAPY with a warm infusion made to relax, calm and settle the tummy. Vanilla, cinnamon, lime fruit, turmeric and ginger is a fabulous blend or even a simple chamomile & lime blossom or rose tea will do.
Half way through your treatment a break is taken for stretching, bathroom and changing position this is the time for the next tisane which will be more substantial than the first and consist of blended fruits and yogurt. Only a small quantity is recommended about 200 mills but enough to give mild feeling of fullness, which will contribute to the last, and final stage of relaxation. A small piece of dried fruit like ginger, pear, date or a small piece of rose flavoured Turkish delight can also be given at this time. Finally at the end of the RELAXATION THERAPY a final tisane is given while the client is recovering and resting. For this a little stimulating uplifting drink that has a lime/lemon undertone, cinnamon or ginger and lime leaf is a wonderful mixture or a red zinger that has red hibiscus flower, ginger, lemon and orange flavours.
Remember your drink presentation must cover the senses, sight and taste, so serve them in beautiful glasses, with floating herbs and flowers or fruits. A beautiful tropical feast for the eyes and taste buds.
Aromas will always evoke memories of our childhood and times past, these memories are more often than not of good times, places and people. They can have a powerful aphrodisiac effect, be stimulants or calm and soothe the nerves. As the sense of smell is so basic a part of us, Im sure we all could benefit from a greater awareness of the role it plays in our every day lives. Aromatherapy means therapy through aromas will go a long way in creating a safe place and haven within your treatment room, thus completing the RELAXATION THERAPY you are creating for your client.
There are a number of pre-blended atmospheric burning oils available and just like the high quality that must be used for your treatments a high quality blend of atmospheric oils must be used for burning. It the oils are of inferior quality, there is every chance you will be releasing unwanted chemicals into the air and these can make you and your client feel very unwell. Please remember that you are in this environment working for eight hours a day, if that environment is not safe it will have a detrimental affect on you over a period of time.
A combination of aromas will permeate your treatment area over time, this aroma will be a culmination of every thing you use on a daily basis and will be very pleasant providing you use quality products.
If you wish to use a particular aroma for its relaxation effect, use it as a vapour in preference to burning it. The vapours of the essential oil, fruit, vegetables, plants, herbs, flowers or spices can be infused in hot water and inhaled from the bowl. This would be done before treatment begins and after the relaxation tisane. The most well known fragrant plants for relaxation are lavender and chamomile, some less well known ones are: lime blossom, poppy, violet, cypress, orange flowers and frangipani.
For nervousness make a vaporising infusion by adding 2 drops of neroli and 2 drops of melissa to hot water for inhaling. For relaxation make a vaporising infusion by putting lavender flowers, orange flowers into hot water for inhaling. The vision of flowers floating in a beautiful bowl before you to inhale is decadent and unforgettable.
Using the aromas of spices for therapeutic purposes is often practised in Asia, if you have ever wandered through the spice markets of Bali, Singapore or Hong Kong you will recall those wonderful aromas of vanilla pods, nutmeg, ginger, sandalwood, cloves, cinnamon and star anise. Blend these with your flowers to recreate the fragrances of the orient within your vaporising infusion. Remember to use only a little or they will overpower the subtle aromas of the flowers or essential oils.
As an alternative to using the vaporising infusion bowl, consider the Lucas Championniere steamer. This is a wonderful piece of equipment for vaporising your choice of oils or herbs and blowing the resulting steam onto the clients skin or into the surrounding air. This steamer can be placed on the table beside your treatment bed and create a wonderful warm steamy atmosphere, just like the tropics.
The philosophy of RELAXATION THERAPY Pleasure, Emotion, Well-being, Vitality
These four are the culmination of Relaxation therapy. It begins with pleasure, the pleasure of having all of the senses stimulated, awoken and soothed. This raises feelings of well being, emotional calm, strength of soul etc, from all this, vitality and feelings of being alive, well and happy come.
The ritual of application (especially at the hands of a dedicated therapist) relaxes us, empties our minds and soothes our souls in an atmosphere of peace. The power of touch is part of being human; it is part of our earliest awareness of being alive as babies in our mothers arms. However most people live in cultures that leave them isolated from one another. They give themselves no time to enjoy the simple pleasures of physical contact.
Touch is healing for the emotions as well as for the body, a simple and effective route to general wellbeing via our largest sensory organ our skin. Massage is thought to have originated in the East as a method for unblocking the chi, the vital energy flowing through our bodies that tends to get trapped due to emotional and physical upset. In Asia, massage has always been the backbone of health and wellbeing. There is no mystery to the power of massage. The uncomplicated process of kneading, stroking and pressing the body is proven to unleash countless therapeutic benefits.
Relaxation begins within, in order to tap into this inner place we turn to mindful exercise yoga, tai chi, meditation, even simple focused breathing techniques. So at the beginning of the treatment start with simple breathing exercises and meditation, for the inexperienced client it can be virtually impossible to drown out the incessant rabble of their internal dialogue and it takes practice to reach the inner peace that comes with this exercise. But once in a quiet, receptive state, the mind will reach an altered awareness and deep relaxation.
Begin the treatment with your hand placed on the sola plexus, ask the client to breath with the rhythmic pressure of your hand, in through the nose on release, out through the mouth on pressure, this is done 4 times and assists in clearing the lungs and mind. Pressure is then applied to the shoulders and the same breathing exercises done with pressure and release of your hands.
Stretching is also part of relaxation, we do this unconsciously after sleep or staying in one position for a period of time. Before and half way through the relaxation treatment some simple stretches will encourage a relaxed resting position and at the end of the treatment to get the body awake and going again. The therapist does this for the client by slowly & gently pulling and stretching each limb and the back area. The back is done by laying the client down, pushing your hands down to the small of the back, slide to the side and pull and slide slowly up to the base of the skull, then through the hair and off. Do each movement 3 times.
Heat is part of touch, the warmth and comfort that a hot water bottle gives when one is ill or in pain is easy to recall. So warmth is an integral part of RELAXATION THERAPY, the revival of placing heated stones in strategic places on the body during a body treatment has had a great renaissance recently.
Heat packs are available in all forms these days many are filled with herbs, infused with essential oils and are heated in a microwave just before use. The simplest of all, is a heated towel that has been infused in aromatic herbs or essential oils. These are rolled tightly and placed at strategic points, for example behind the neck or small of the back. What ever you choose remember that warmth is relaxing and soothing so must be included in the treatment.
The place to begin. Pleasure, Emotion, Well-being, Vitality using the senses of Sound, Sight, Touch, Scent, Taste
We have cover all of the senses and how you would address each one, we will now put it all together into a format that will become the basis of your RELAXATION THERAPY TREATMENTS.
A tantalising treatment begins with a name; this name must have some link to ingredients or massage technique that will be used during the relaxation therapy.
For example, Sensual Flowers, Desert Spice, Spirit Body, Tranquillity, Bali Santai, Ginger stretch, Mantra Massage, Traditional Indonesian Massage, Java Wrap, Herbal Heat Revival, Oriental body glow, Coconut Cream squash.
Treatments focus strongly on ingredients from natures tranquillity chest. Massages rubs, soaks, head, face and feet all can be incorporated into one blissful treatment or done individually. You a limited by your imagination.
Room set up has top priority every thing must be ready before the client arrives; there must be no clattering around looking for things at the last minute.
Begin with your client undressing and be given.
They will then be given a warm tisane that has been blended for its relaxation and calming properties. This will give you an opportunity to read the clients file (which they would have filled out in reception) to check for any contraindications.
On the table beside the client you will place a vaporising infusion that you will prepare in front of them, after asking about the aromas they find most pleasing from the selection you have. If you have a Lucas Championniere steamer turn it on and begin vaporising the room while the client is enjoying their drink. If not, ask the client to inhale the vapours emitting from the bowl, to make the aromas more intense place a blue chiffon fabric over the clients head and bowl.
Teach them to slowly breath in through the nose and out of the mouth for 3minutes. Then to relax back into the chair, close their eyes as you prepare a flower filled footbath.
Use a large rustic wood bowl or ornate porcelain, no plastic vibrating footbaths. Fallen flower heads are freely obtained from flower markets after the morning auction.
This footbath could contain lemon grass that has been steeped in boiling water for 20 minutes and strained. Alternatively lace the footbath with essential oils of pine, tea tree and eucalyptus.
Next use a peppermint and aloe vera gel rub put in a little sea salt for exfoliating, and use a pumice stone for the heals and soles of the feet. Anointing the feet is a long-held ritual in many cultures. As you rub on the creams and lotions think that you are giving a sacred start to their treatment. If you are skilled in reflexology use these technique if not simple foot massage will suffice. Use base oils of avocado, olive and sesame spiked with clove oil, cinnamon or ginger.
After a simple 5 minute massage complete the this stage of the RELAXATION THERAPY by putting the feet back into the footbath washing off the oil with a deliciously fragrant soap and then plunging them into cold water and towel dry briskly with a rough towel.
Now is the time for the client to rest on your treatment bed this should be close to the ground to continue the Asian/Tropical experience. Cover the client with a loose light fabric (no towels) place a heat pack at the small of the back or behind the neck or between the scapula. For those of you who have Phytomer self-heating mud, this would be the ideal time to use it as directed.
Begin your stretches, each limb is gently eased, stretched and relaxed three times, then the back. If you are using Phytomer self-heating mud you will be unable to stretch the back, however the warmth of the mud will be doing a grand job of relaxing the spine.
Breathing exercise is next, place your hand on the clients sola plexus and begin the pressure breathing technique discussed earlier. Your client should be well and truly winding down by now, remove the heat packs before they get cold, leave the Phytomer mud on at this time it can be removed later.
Dry skin brushing is next, use a pure bristle brush, and with brisk light upward movements following the lymphatic system starting at the feet and finishing with the arms.
Massage in all its forms is an unbeatable medium for relaxation, begin at the feet, moving up the body and finishing with scalp massage, remembering to complete the draining movements properly.
You are now half way through your RELAXATION THERAPY this is when you give the client a break so they may use the bathroom have that midway drink and you can complete the treatment. If you have used the Phytomer self-heating mud, now is the time to remove it, ask the client to sit up, get them to draw their knees up and rest their arms and head on them. Use a spatula and warm compresses to remove the poultice, dry and then give your client a robe to leave the room. While your client is in the bathroom, make the midway drink this is more substantial than the first and consist of blended fruits and yogurt. Only a small quantity is recommended about 200 mills but enough to give a feeling of fullness, which will contribute to the last, and final stage of relaxation.
A small piece of dried fruit like ginger, pear, date or a small piece of rose flavoured Turkish delight can also be given at this time.
Lie the client on their tummy dry brush the soles of the feet, legs and back then complete the massage you began earlier. Roll the client over onto their back, cleanse, tone then massage the face, neck and decollete finishing up through the scalp and draining off, apply a mask that is fragrant and fruity use yogurt as a base.
Use something cold and soothing on the eyes ensure the client is well covered and leave them to relax. Do not start cleaning up while the client is at rest.
Complete the treatment by removing the mask with warm compresses soaked in rose water; compress the whole body to remove any excess massage medium and then smooth in a fragrant body lotion. Stretch each limb again as you did at the beginning of the treatment, this starts the awakening process.
The client can now retire to the chair, and have an uplifting tisane. This should be a stimulating uplifting drink that has a lime/lemon undertone; Cinnamon or ginger and lime leaf is a wonderful mixture or a red zinger that has red hibiscus flower, ginger lemon and orange flavours. This awakening period is important and should not be rushed, allow them time to mentally prepare to leave.
This is an important time, do not hurry it, this time gives you the opportunity to ask for a re-booking, and to offer retail products to continue the relaxation at home. This could be in the form of bath oils, body lotions, essential oils, soaps or teas, in fact all of the wonderful things you have used throughout the treatment should be available for the client to purchase.
This completes a basic RELAXATION THERAPY treatment. The variations that can be made to this basic treatment are endless; it can be broken up into a scalp, back & shoulders, feet & legs, face & arms modules, as I said earlier RELAXATION THERAPY is only limited by your imagination.
So this is the future, RELAXATION THERAPY.
I know those of you who choose to move into this field are going to have a wonderful and rewarding time.
There is life after beauty therapy! Enjoy.