The Sensorial Treatment Room: Tapping into the 5 Senses

by Laura West, Master Instructor, The International Dermal Institute & Dermalogica
Providing our clients with the upmost bespoke treatment experience can be achieved by personalization through our treatments and creating the perfect sensory environment tailored just for them.

We use our senses to connect the outer world to our inner selves. For example, certain smells can trigger memories and alter our moods. Certain colors can heighten our alertness. Certain tastes can be used to have an effect on strengthening or weakening our organs. Sound can affect our moods and transform us. And touch, our most basic means of experiencing the physical world, has perhaps the most powerful effect of all. As professional skin therapists, our most important piece of equipment is our hands! We “touch” people all day long physically by performing our treatments. To really connect with our clients and help them achieve overall skin health and balance, we should incorporate all the senses. Here are some bespoke sensorial experience extras:

Smell:

The nose is one of the most sensitive parts of the body. Smell evokes powerful memories and emotions. Our nose draws odor and fragrances to itself by inhalation. Favorable aromas can initiate happiness and link clients to pleasant memories. Essential Oils of Lavender, Eucalyptus and Cypress aid in calming the skin and promote healing.

In your treatment room you can create a signature style treatment by beginning your treatment with some inhalation therapy. Start by applying a few drops to your hands, press your hands together and then hover your hands over the clients nose and mouth and do some guided breathing. Ask the client to close their eyes and begin to inhale through their nose, pause, and then exhale through their mouth three times. You can also apply the soothing essential oil blend across their trapezius muscle and down their spine and finish with an application on the soles of their feet.

Taste: :

Taste is known as the most immediate and gratifying sense. 80% of what we perceive as taste is actually smell. Our tongue allows us to experience 4 distinct tastes (sweet, salty, sour, bitter). All other flavors are provided by the sense of smell.

Studies have shown that warm beverages can influence behavior. To enhance the clients overall sensory experience, offer drink infusions-and a slice of fruit to a warm tea or glass of water – (lemon, orange, strawberry, raspberry, cucumber). Serving your client, a warm beverage can help increase their trust, warmth and generosity toward you. You can offer a glass of water as well at the end of the service and remind them to stay hydrated.

Sound:

Sound is the most widely used sense that humans connect with. The sound of music, birds chirping, rain falling, waves crashing. Sound itself is composed of energy waves that move though air, water or solid matter.

In your treatment room, think about the music and the vibrational affect it has on your clients. Listening to favorable music can help stimulate the release of dopamine, which allows for deeper pleasure and relaxation. Listening to music activates multiple areas of the brain that link with movement, attention and memory. Be mindful of unwelcome noise that can jar the senses and possibly create a negative experience. Balance communication with silence and keep conversations limited during the treatment. Also, be mindful of opening and closing product and loud water noises in your sink when you change out your water. A fun and personalized idea is to create play lists and let your clients choose what they would like to listen to. Also, be sure and check if the volume is to their liking.

Sight:

Our eyes provide us with the most intense and immediate information about our world. Also, our emotions, are revealed in our eyes - laughing, crying, sadness. The eyes also respond to many physical changes in the body- conditions of our heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.

What is the client seeing when they come into your treatment room? Be sure your room is clean and tidy! Sight can really influence the perception of your service. Choose warm light as it naturally relaxes and comforts people, aiding and encouraging them to relax and unwind.

Touch:

Our skin contains thousands of specialized cells the respond to external stimuli and communicate information to our brain. There are five specific sensations: touch, pressure, pain, heat, and cold. Our hands are the main vehicle that we use to touch a client. It is important that you keep them warm. When touching a client’s face keep our movements rhythmic. When massaging the upper body, neck and shoulders, check in with the client to make sure your pressure is to their liking…not too deep or not too light.

Other considerations -client care/service extras: the temperature in your treatment room, be sure it is not too hot or too cold, if you do not have control of the room temperature consider extra blankets (weighted blankets are ideal).

Some service extras that can enhance the treatment:

-warm steam towels to cleanse the hands and feet at the beginning of the treatments

-warm steam towels on the face to remove product and include a warm steam towel across the client’s neck and shoulders at the end of the treatment

-warm stones underneath the client’s neck and shoulders

-memory foam pillows/bolster underneath their knees to support their low back

-warm tummy pillows on the low abdomen

-soft, clean luxurious linens that feel amazing on the skin.

-warm treatment bed with a regulated bed warmer

Customizing treatments to appeal to all the five senses will leave a positive impression on your clients. It sets you apart from the competition and helps you create a reputation for excellence. It elevates your service from the ordinary to the extraordinary, making your clients feel genuinely cared for and helping you build a trusting, long-lasting relationships.