Spring has sprung, and it’s time to shake things up. I always use the seasons as a prompt to freshen my office and menu. For example, Green Tea and Lime Leaf have usurped Milk and Honey as they go to experience, and exfoliation is the name of the game. Clients are shedding winter wear and showing more skin. Most have been on low-fat diets, and their skin shows it. So before they get their spray tans, they need this.
I depend on three different techniques: Body brushing, Body Polish and Salt Glow. A lot of times, these terms are used interchangeably, but they are different. I am going to share with you the differences and when I choose which.
I like to start every massage with a simple 5-minute brushing. I use a natural bristle brush to dry the brush, with a plastic shield between the bristles and the wooden handle (which makes it easier to sanitize). You can use a loofah, and then it goes home with the client. I find synthetic fibers too sharp, and that can damage the client’s skin.
I use the simplest technique, which is ankle to head in long strokes toward the heart. (I save the feet for last) Start with light pressure and keep checking in with clients about comfort level. After the brushing, I follow the same path with a warmed, scented towel to remove the impurities that just loosened. Finally, I begin the massage. I do not dry brush if I am going to perform another of the exfoliation techniques.
This is still a dry room protocol and is traditionally done with a creme based product like Biotone’s Micro-Buff Creme Body Polish. It is a gentle and luxurious way to freshen up the skin and increase circulation. I love this product for its ease of use, and because it’s gentler, I can perform more treatments in a day and on a great variety of skin types.
It’s a great intro treatment for clients who have never experienced exfoliation before. If I need to ramp up the exfoliation intensity (heels, knees, elbows), I put on spa gloves.
This is the most intense exfoliation of the dry room arena. It is important for your thicker skinned, athletic, and/or masculine clients that you offer this as an option. The salts are excellent therapeutic allies when dealing with chronically tight and sore muscles. One of my favorite added value treatments is a torso treatment. I work in the Biotone Salt Glow, lay hot towels over it, cover it with my Hydroculator pack and go on to massage the legs.
I return to hyperemic and relaxed back muscles, now ready to accept my massage completely lulled into submission. The full-body glow takes a few more towels than the polish to clean off, but it’s basically the same protocol with the salts' added therapeutic benefit.
Double Dog Dare
If you have already mastered your exfoliation treatments and need a challenge, add in a hot, wet wrap over the product application and let it cook. I promise your massage client will be ”al-dente” after that.
Here are the cold hard facts
Like massage, if you don’t experience it, you will never perform it. Never trust a therapist who is not in therapy.
Be well, do good work, and for goodness sake, write often – we need feedback.