Archive for May, 2010

Hello There,

No understanding of aesthetics would be complete without a little knowledge of sensation and perception.  The process of sensation starts off when stimulus enliven our nervous system.  Facial clients / patients experience five sensations – two of which are auditory and smell and, three skin senses – touch, temperature and pain.  The general characteristics of sensation are absolute (minimum) thresholds and difference (minimum amount of difference between two stimuli) thresholds.

Perception on the other hand, is defined as a process by which the brain chooses and forms, coordinates and arranges its interpretation of sensations.  Our perceptual abilities are our most important link to the outside world.  Each kind of sense organ is dedicated to receiving a specific type or particular quality of stimulus.  It is through our senses that we take in information about the environment.

Out of all the senses we rely on, it is our sense of vision, more than anything else that we use to survive and comprehend the world.  The physical stimulus that the eye responds to is light.  It is made up of electromagnetic energy. The physical characteristics of light are wavelengths contained in a color spectrum which we interpret through mental vibrations (psychological sensations). It is these neural impulses that relay messages to the brain when light is experienced through the retina of the eye. It is the rods and cones (specialized nerve cells) that react.

Our olfactory system is designed to act in response to chemicals that are in the air. Smell occurs when airborne molecules travel up our nose. It is our way of detecting danger and of experiencing pleasure. Our sense of smell is mainly a warning signal.

The sensation of touch varies over portions of our bodies.  Only one specific receptor (pacinian corpuscle) for touch has been found.  They are called dendrites (branched extension of nerve cells) and they respond to touch.

The skin reacts to heat and cold. The number of regions sensitive to cold far outweigh those sensitive to heat. We experience the sensation of heat when both warm and cold receptors are stimulated simultaneously.  

Pain sensations are caused by a variety of stimuli including extreme pressure and heat. In an aesthetic practice the sensation of pain is usually caused by the force of extracting comedos. A well-known explanation is the “pain gating” theory which suggests that there is an actual neural gate that can be opened or closed by the form a neural message takes.

Understanding the brain and body responses is paramount and the physiology behind sensations and perceptions can make a big difference when applying this information to the practical aspects of aesthetic treatment delivery.  I personally find it all very fascinating and if you do too there is more to read and view on this and other related topics – see below…

Copyright ©2010 All right reserved – Victoria L. Rayner




Reading Materials



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Happy Sunday Morning,

The waiting area is the first glimpse behind the front door of our establishments.  It is the bridge that spans the divide into our therapeutic treatment areas.  It should honor our clients and our patients and its decor must speak to them in a welcoming voice that indicates just how much we appreciate their patronage.  It should provide a hint of the special experience that is in store for them.  Every element present must reinforce one very important message that they are a V.I.P (very, important person) and our guest and, as such; they can anticipate that they will be treated with the status afforded to a dignitary.

Imagine your waiting area. Does it say these things? Does it form a connection between you and your clients and patients?  Do your furnishings, floor coverings, lighting fixtures, selection of color schemes, window dressings, wall art, and your accessories all support the theme you have chosen for your aesthetic facility?

Our frontline reception areas should conjure up feelings of overall restoration and personal revitalization.  At the same time, they should transmit messages of safety and privacy.  From the minute our clients / patients enter into our business sanctuaries they should be able to breathe a sigh of relief.  They need to feel as if they have been transported from the hustle a bustle of everyday life into an awaiting oasis.  

A reception area in an aesthetic treatment center needs to be a happy haven for suppressed spirits.  Artistic visual elements should evoke uplifting sentiments – expressive essentials with deep enough depth capable of communicating with the souls of those we service.   One of the easiest ways to do this is by tapping into nature. Wall treatments with rugged stone or wood finishes create auras that imitate outdoorsy environments in relaxed indoor settings.  Skylights and fireplaces in waiting rooms with high ceilings and wood beams invite mystical possibilities for open-mouthed wonder from first time clients or patients.  Arched doorways make great passageways into dreamy meaningful spaces that express the promise of life-giving warmth and aesthetic healing. 

Bubbling streams of running water can make a waiting room a meditative retreat as can, relaxing music and a variety of incense fragrances.  Any or all of the recommendations provided here can act as stress modifiers that can bring about harmonious balance.  This is of primary importance to not only your clients or patients but anyone, including ourselves, if we have been battling stressors all day.

More on this topic to come in the future:

Copyright ©2010 All right reserved – Victoria L. Rayner

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Hello There,

The questions listed below are to challenge you to become a little more introspective about your role as an aesthetic expert.  Regardless of our expertise, the ultimate task is to discover our true distinctive nature and what separates us from other contributors to the field.  It is in knowing that which defines us professionally that we discover our strength and our gifts as providers.  The answers you give to these questions can be very revealing and are worthy of contemplating.

  • If you could use all of your aesthetic talents and skills to make one wish come true for one of your clients, what would that wish be and, how would you go about accomplishing it?
  • If you could change on thing about your career so far, what would it be?
  • If you had to describe the single most important contribution you have ever made to the field of aesthetics, what would you say it was?
  • If you had an opportunity to practice aesthetics anywhere in the world where would it be and, why would you want to provide your therapeutic treatments there?
  • If you had an opportunity to meet one famous person who helped to develop the field of aesthetics to become what it is today, who would that professional be? And, what would you want to ask them to share with you?
  • Who has been your most difficult client, and why?
  • If you had to explain the difference between an “esthetician” and an “aesthetic clinician” in the simplest terms, how would you define the distinctions between these two providers?
  • If you could give just one piece of advice to someone starting out in the field, what would you tell that “newbie” professional about the industry?
  • What was the hardest transition you have had to make in your career so far?
  • If you could change your professional identity completely, what would the new, improved professional version of you be like?
  • If you were to receive a professional award for one aspect of your professional character, what would you want to receive this tribute for?
  • If you were to breakthrough three obstacles in your career life that are blocking your success and preventing you from realizing your dreams, what would they be?
  • If you had to rid yourself of your professional memory except for one event, what single occurrence would you still choose to recall?  And, why?
  • If you could say one thing to your instructor, what would it be?
  • Can you remember when you felt the proudest of a colleague or someone in our profession, and, what it was that generated your admiration?
  • If you were to name the seven wonders of aesthetics, what would they be?
  • If you were to edit out one recurring thought that occupies your mind when you work, what would it be?
  • If you were to recommend one book or instructional DVD on a subject related to aesthetics, what would it be?
  • If you were to create the field of aesthetics in seven days, what would you do on each of the seven days?

Copyright ©2010 All right reserved – Victoria L. Rayner

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Hello There,

  • We have the kind of positions that ingratiate people to us
  • We find ourselves in professional circumstances where we have chance meetings with people who are on the same wave length as ourselves mentally, spiritually and physically
  • We are in a unique position to help women who may have not received equal or fair treatment to feel more worthy as women
  • We can associate with high-achievers on a regular basis who have generated incredible fortunes
  • We have a chance to partner with physicians and other medical professionals to provide cross-care services
  • Our work brings happiness and builds on the confidence of our clients and patients
  • We can participate in the healing process by assisting persons who are overcoming cancer so they can go on to live highly vibrant and healthy lives
  • We can dedicate ourselves to educating people on how they can better care for themselves
  • We practice skin care treatments in remote havens such as luxurious tropical paradises and other enchanting get-a-ways
  • We continue to learn and become multidimensional providers
  • We can lighten the stress for people who are under tremendous pressure
  • We can provide treatments to star-studded of celebrities
  • We can become contributing authors to skin care publications or write books on subjects related to a whole host of aesthetic topics
  • We can experience success – not once, or, twice but as much as we are willing to work toward its attainment
  • We can experience a healthy, positive flow of energy if we make it our conscious intent
  • We have jobs that provide us with a tremendous amount of personal fulfillment
  • We can give encouragement and counseling to others to improve their circumstances and emotional well-being
  • We can assist wives, mothers, career professionals and female entrepreneurs to better balance their demanding lifestyles with our coaching
  • We can share with our clients and patients amusing, poignant and treasured moments
  • We inspire others who are interested in our field with our therapeutic processes
  • We help make people’s lives more peaceful and positive
  • We fight acne on the frontlines and produce evidence of aesthetic healing
  • We can start or partner with other nonprofits and donate earnings to support worthwhile community causes
  • We can go into business for ourselves or begin corporations

Copyright ©2010 All right reserved – Victoria L. Rayner

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Hello There,

There are few things as psychological and therapeutic as fragrances.  Some scents are pleasant while others are offensive.  In our aesthetic environments we use scented fragrances to create feelings of coziness and warmth – basically, overall, inviting atmospheres.  We also use various fragrances for odor control as masking agents in situations where there are lingering musty smells. 

Selecting the right scent for an aesthetic facility is difficult because of the different preferences and sensitivity level of each and every individual.  Relying on one fragrance may not the best solution unless, of course, it is a signature scent in which case it would support the entire theme of the aesthetic establishment.  For example: a clinical fragrance might smell fresh like clean linen to conjure up imaginative images of cleanliness or eucalyptus, a medicinal scent (an aroma that is extracted from leaves of an evergreen tree) whereas, a Victorian salon might be more inviting if essential rose oil were added to a potpourri boiler with a scented candle underneath to fill the reception area with a romantic rose-filled fragrance and eliminate offensive odors.

Scents can also be restorative.  I used to like to spritz my facial table sheets with a lavender or lilac scent.  On those dreary, overcast, snowy laden days, it reminded my clients of springtime, bouquets of flowers, clean and clear air and, warm, soothing sunshine.  Another inconspicuous way to add a scent to your treatment room is to put a few drops of essential oil extracts on some cotton balls and tuck them into the various corners of the room.  An open vase on a counter top with earthy, natural scent works nicely too for a checkout desk or, we can add a favorite scent to a light bulb to fill the entire facility with a pleasant lingering fragrance.  We can also use scented candles (such as the Eco-Friendly Soy Candle), scented soaps and oil lamps.  It is important to note however, that citrus scents don’t last as long as muskier options.  Keep in mind that no matter what scents you eventually select, that fragrances have weight. There are those derived from raw materials—jasmine, rose and gardenia which are appreciated more by women because they are lighter in weight, in contrast, men prefer the more aromatic herbs as scents, such as lavender and sage because they are a bit heavier and more robust.

Copyright ©2010 All right reserved – Victoria L. Rayner

 Spa Fragrance Descriptions


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Make your own fresheners. In a spray bottle filled with water, add about 20 drops of your favorite essential oil.  

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Hello There,

Today’s challenges sometimes make us question our core professional beliefs, values and expectations.  Our beliefs affect our behavior in many ways. Those of us, who worked hard for decades, find it particularly, disheartening.   After pushing ourselves so much more than everyone else around just to get to the top of our profession, only to find that in a stressed economy we must start to see ourselves and our professional world very differently.  It is particularly devastating for those of us who have been threatened by competitive tactics that have nearly destroyed our enterprises and challenged our professional momentum.

When we find ourselves feeling the pressure, it is easy to come to the conclusion that maybe we should abandon our businesses and / or switch careers. But, what if we believe we have something significant to offer and, that we might be able to make a difference perhaps, even be part of the solution instead of the problem.

If we have been in the industry many years, we most likely, have been in this situation more than a few times.  People whom we admire and trust may unintentionally give us the wrong advice. They may not be doing this intentionally. They may just be encouraging us to move on because they feel it’s in our best interest to do so.  Their responses may be mainly, out of concern for our future financial stability more than anything else.  Yet, what of our career lives? If we believe in our purpose we may be willing to take more personal responsibility for keeping on track and not veering off course even when we are confronted with the most horrific of circumstances. 

Some of us believe that we lead a more useful life no matter what and, if riches come to us, or not.  This does not mean we think our time and our efforts are not worth very much, it means that we make choices to follow our passion regardless of how lucrative our efforts are.  It is the perks of the profession that keep us so impassioned.  When you combine our dedication and our sincerity with our interest in our clients and patients you get a wonderful mix of qualities that turn out to be unbeatable. 

Copyright ©2010 All right reserved – Victoria L. Rayner

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Hello There,

Recognizing what is the best in us and nurturing those instinctual qualities by refining them is the fastest way to expedite our success.  So many times we downplay our signature strengths. We go through life not fully utilizing them to the extent that we could.  What makes us extraordinary just goes untapped as we engage in our lesser skills and abilities.   Acknowledging the essence of our innate capabilities is essential to bringing us into the foreground professionally. When we operate on a level that is not instinctual we are not living up to our full potential.   We cannot possibly be as motivated as we could be if we were true to our natural given talents.   

When we come from an exhilarating place deep inside of us we are energized and whatever we do feels as if it takes little or no effort to accomplish and the rewards are nothing short of spectacular.  In contrast, when we are forced to perform a task and our heart is not in it, we experience a sinking feeling that drags us down.  Doing what we love captures the full character of our emotions and draws from us all kinds of pleasant sensations. 

To find our strongest strengths we must be very aware of ourselves and the things that matter most to us and make us feel a sense of ourselves as we act in accordance.  Generally, our gift is the one thing that is the easiest for us to do.  We do it so well that we are never ridiculed for it. In fact, by contrast, it’s just the opposite, everyone raves about the way we perform the particular activity. It’s self-confirming because whenever we do it, we feel a sense of inner-satisfaction unrivaled by any other pursuit. 

Many times, this talent just shows up without any accumulated experience which is why it is often referred to as our gift.  It is so simple, that we make excuses to disown it, giving it little credence and treating it as if it was of no importance and we need not bother to further develop it. Unfortunately, what is most distinctive is what we tend to under appreciate about ourselves, but it is our gift that accounts for our power and to not take it into consideration and embellish on it is foolish because it always has an impressive effect, affording us special status.  It is our music and it is what was given to us to put out into the world. It does not come from us, but through us and, it is not ours to keep.  It is for us to use to improve the lives of others and to improve the evolution of the human condition.  Not surprisingly, as it turns out, when we understand this, our life takes on a greater meaning.  

To gain a better sense of you try to identify with one or two of the categories listed below excerpted from a Portion of the “Chemistry Test “ – developed by Rutgers University anthropologist, Helen Fisher

The Explorer –

You enjoy risk-taking and novelty seeking.  You are creative, irreverent and restless.

The Builder –

You are calm, sociable, popular, conscientious, dutiful, loyal, persistent, conventional, traditional and good at management.

 The Negotiator –

You are imaginative, intuitive, holistic, nurturing, compassionate and verbal. You generally see the big picture and good people skills.

The Director –

You excel at math and have mechanical and design skills. You are direct, decisive, musical, logical, analytical and not especially emotionally expressive.

Copyright ©2010 All right reserved – Victoria L. Rayner

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