Body scrubs exfoliate and leave the skin glowing and refreshed. It is beneficial for all body treatments to include an exfoliation of some sort. Scrubbing the skin, whether it is with a dry brush, sugar scrub, or salt scrub, will exfoliate dry skin and improve texture and cell renewal. It also increases circulation, aids in lymphatic drainage, and eliminates clogged pores, which helps in absorbing nutrients, as well as proper excretion of metabolic waste. Dry brushing is an excellent way to stimulate nerve endings, which in turn rejuvenates the nervous system. Exfoliation is more than skin deep.
Aromatherapy is widely used and is extremely beneficial for physical and emotional health. Different essential oils can calm, stimulate, rejuvenate, and detoxify the skin. It can be used on hot towels, in lotions or oils used on the body, and in a steam shower or bath. Some common and not-so-common essential oils can take an ordinary body treatment to the next level. Lavender is one of the most commonly essential oils used; it greatly reduces stress and anxiety. Black pepper oil helps improve circulation and eases aching muscles. It should be blended with a carrier oil or lotion when used on the body. While on the costly side, neroli oil has a luxurious scent. It helps with insomnia and can take clients into total relaxation.
Hydrotherapy tubs are an amazing way to detoxify and prepare a client for their body treatment. A complete immersion in water infused with either essential oils, detoxifying muds, or clays allow the pores of the skin to open and absorb the beneficial ingredients. Hydrotherapy reduces muscle tension and relieves pain; the weightlessness felt when under water relieves tension in the limbs, supporting aching muscles and easing the movement as opposed to when on land. Plus, hydrotherapy stimulates the release of endorphins, acting as a natural pain reliever, which will further reduce muscle soreness.
On the whole, cold water is used to stimulate and invigorate, increasing the body’s internal activity, whereas warm water is used to calm and soothe, slowing it down. Alternating between hot and cold water treatments can help heal injuries, enhance various bodily functions, and reduce any inflammation. Being immersed in warm or hot water raises the body temperature, increases blood flow around the circulatory system, thus alleviating pain. The improved circulation will in turn help heal injured tissues and rehabilitate damaged muscles or joints. It boosts the immune system, increases blood flow and circulation of white blood cells around the body, and allows lymph (an immune system fluid that helps collect and get rid of unwanted materials from the body) to be moved through the body more efficiently, therefore strengthening the immune system, helping to fight colds and illnesses. It also encourages detoxification because saunas and steam rooms induce considerable sweating. This is the body’s primary way of eliminating toxins, therefore, the impurities and toxins are flushed out through the skin, helping to detoxify the body.
Hydrotherapy treatment can be effectively used while on a holiday because it relieves stress. Hydrotherapy can help to reduce blood pressure caused by stress. It may also slow down the body’s reaction to anxiety and release endorphins – a natural stress fighter. Some hydrotherapy tubs have jets purposely placed to hit trigger points in the body while simultaneously massaging clients.
The Vichy shower is also a common addition to body treatments. They typically come with five to seven showerheads or a “rain bar.” The water cascades over the client, while removing product. The temperature of the water can also benefit the skin. A warm Vichy shower balances, reinforces the immune system, and relaxes the body. The therapist can perform an alternate hot and cold therapy shower that oxygenates, detoxifies, firms and tones the skin.
Scottish showers are similar to the Vichy shower. It is a form of hydrotherapy where high-pressure hoses are controlled by the therapist. They use hot and cold water throughout the treatment, which enhances the circulatory system and blood flow. It assists in relieving depression, maintains healthy hair and skin, strengthens the immune system, and persuades the increase in white blood cell levels.
Balneotherapy, from the Latin word balneum, meaning bath involves the use of natural thermal and mineral water to alleviate skin conditions and improve a person’s general well-being. Treatments generally take place in bathtubs, pools, or natural bodies of water. The benefits of balneotherapy have been recognized for thousands of years. Early Roman and Greek civilizations often used mineral-rich hot springs to treat various ailments. Today, balneotherapy can involve either hot or cold water and encompasses a wide range of spa therapies. It can be used to treat a variety of illnesses and ailments, including psoriatic arthritis, acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema. The water used in this treatment often contains a high content of minerals and nutrients. Minerals that can be absorbed include silica, sulfur, selenium, radium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, lithium, potassium, manganese, bromine, and iodine.
Body wraps are another type of treatment often seen. There are many different types of wraps that offer a variance of benefits. Seaweed is great for detoxification as it is very high in minerals; algae are used to detoxify and nourish the skin; mud or clay wraps are primarily for detoxification and reduction of cellulite. When using shea butter or any other type of rich cream with a wrap, the skin will be softened and hydrated. Herbal wraps use cotton cloth, muslin, or elastic bandages soaked in an herb-infused solution, and the client is wrapped firmly and cocooned in plastic and blankets to keep them warm. They are used for skin softening and inch-loss body wraps. Parafango is much like the paraffin wrap. Fango means mud in Italian. This treatment uses a warmed mixture of paraffin wax and mud to help stimulate the skin and pull out toxins through the skin. When combing paraffin with mud, clients get double the benefits of a treatment. The mud helps detoxify the body while the paraffin keeps the mud ‘glued’ to clients to achieve maximum results. While there are many different products that can be used with body wraps, the compression that they provide almost always give the client an instant loss of inches.
Microcurrent is a widely used (and not a necessarily new) treatment, not only for the face but for all areas of the body. It is a low level of electrical current that mirrors the body’s own natural current. A benefit that has made microcurrent so popular is that is uses hydrolysis of triglycerides (the shrinking of fat cells), which helps eliminate cellulite. The advantages range from wound healing, muscle rehabilitation, macular degeneration, to lymphodema and continue to assist medical practitioners with amazing results. Microcurrent also stimulates muscle re-education, the process of lengthening or shortening muscles is mostly related to the term “facial toning.” Sometimes referred to as MENS (Microcurrent Electrical Nerve Stimulation), microcurrent re-programs the muscle fiber, allowing the muscle to lengthen or shorten, depending on the direction of the application. The intended use is to aid in the battle of anti-aging by diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improving the texture and appearance of the skin, re-educating and toning facial/body muscles, and reducing the overall visual appearance of aging. It is a popular non-invasive service that gives clients the freedom to attain anti-aging goals without the recovery, downtime, and expense of surgeries.
New technology in skin care is an ever-changing industry and I honestly do not think our client’s skin has never been happier! There are many different technologies that can be used in body treatments; some are designed for relaxation and others for results. They can be used together to create the ultimate treatment for clients.
Flotation beds are one of the newest types of beds to enter the treatment room. Flotation is a deeply relaxing body treatment that allows the client to experience total weightlessness. It is like physical dreaming. The bed is filled with warm water; the client rests on the bed after an oil, lotion, or scrub treatment. You then lower the client and envelope them into a pleasantly warm blanket, and the client experiences a floating sensation. Apart from bringing deep relaxation, flotation is known to have physical benefits as well, including relieving stress on joints and muscles, enabling faster recovery from muscle and joint strain, encouraging easier and deeper sleep, causing the client’s body to release endorphins, which relieves pain and may lower blood pressure. It also increases circulation, relieves water retention, and opens the pores for maximum effectiveness of the treatment.
The most common form of this treatment is wet flotation – something is added to pure, clean water to create buoyancy that will take your client’s full body weight. You might have a dead sea, mineral, aroma therapeutic, or herbal flotation that simply describes the kind of salt that has been added to the water to make the client float. Each of these minerals will do different things for the skin; they may be detoxifying, softening, or hydrating, depending on what is being added. Dry flotation is a bit different in that it can be simultaneously combined with other treatments and the client does not have to get wet. Instead, they are cocooned in a kind of plastic blanket full of water. You may find there is a cream/mud/aromatherapy body treatment that includes dry flotation; the warm water surrounding the client will make the oils, lotions, or potions absorb more effectively into their skin. To relax deeply, meditation flotation is likely to include special lights and gentle music to help the client.
Thalassotherapy, from the Greek word thalasso, meaning sea and therapia meaning treatment, is another form of treatment that uses seawater as a form of therapy for the body. This treatment is not as widely available in the United States as it is in Europe. In thalassotherapy, trace elements of magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, and iodide found in seawater are believed to be absorbed through the skin. The therapy is applied in various forms such as showers of warmed seawater, the application of marine mud or algae paste, or the inhalation of sea fog.
All of these treatments have extreme benefits for the overall health of your client’s skin. As a professional, taking time to discuss what your client is looking for will ensure a successful visit and happy client. While some of the machines used can be costly for a small business owner, it is very possible to mimic these treatments with a similar effect. While keeping client’s faces radiant and wrinkle-free, it is just as important to care for the skin on their bodies. If your spa has space, I would highly recommend adding a 30-
minute body treatment to your menu, if you do not offer them already. It is a great way to introduce your clientele to body treatments and allows you to educate them on the importance of the overall health of their skin. If your spa is fortunate enough to have access to the lovely machines mentioned, there are always ways to expand and change your existing treatments with the ever-changing industry. If your clients love the skin they are in, it will show!
Courtney La Marine began her career in 2007 with a love for skin, health, education, and product development. Having grown up with problem skin, working with clients to solve skin issues is the main focus in her practice. La Marine has a unique approach and firmly believes that each person deserves a customized treatment specifically tailored to them. She has worked with many skin care lines over the years and currently works with a Colorado-based skin care line and owns Clove Studios, in Denver, Colo. Teaching clients how to care for their skin from the inside out is the root of her practice.