14 Nov

Recently, I was filming a facial treatment protocol featuring my Facial Acupressure technique to add to my online training resources. When I applied the warm steam towel to my model’s face and décolleté she gave a deeply, relaxing sigh. Signaling that the relaxation process was deepening. It made me question, what effect are we having on the body when we apply warmth to an area? 

I found an article in Psychology Today quoting Christopher Lowry, PhD, Associate Professor of Integrative Physiology and a member of the Center for Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder. 

He was asked the question: How do warm temperatures affect someone’s mood? 

Dr. Lowry: Exposure to warm temperature stimuli that aren’t painfully or unpleasantly hot can elevate a person’s mood. This has been observed in clinical settings. And it also happens in the spring, when the onset of warm weather after a cold winter helps account for the mood lift seen in “spring fever.” The key physiological mechanisms underlying this effect aren’t certain yet. However, we believe that warming of the skin increases electrical signals in sensory neurons. These neurons relay signals to the spinal cord, and neurons in the spinal cord then pass along the signals to the brain. The result is activation of brain areas that process pleasant stimulation, such as the medial orbitofrontal cortex. Activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex is low in depression, but it’s increased by warm stimulation in a way this is correlated with perceived pleasantness. Simply put, warming the skin makes people feel good emotionally. 

With winter on the way, in the northern hemisphere, we can incorporate more warmth into our facial treatment protocols and increase client’s mood at the same time as treating their skin. Using this information, we can apply warmth at several points of a professional skincare facial treatment. 

Client Preparation

Starting with your esthetics treatment bed - Using a heat pad, especially on chilly days can feel delightful. Electric heated mitts and booties are a great addition for clients with poor circulation whose extremities are always cold. Alternatively, warm hands and feet with a warm steam towel. 


Cleansing the eyes and lips - Use warm, dampened cotton discs to cleanse the eyes and lips. This can be done by dipping them in a bowl of clean warm water, squeeze excess water out and use while warm. If you prefer to prep ahead of time, you could always place them in a towel cabinet to keep them warm. 

Steam towels for product removal - Cocooning the face, neck and décolleté with a warm steam towel feels so nurturing. Once the towel is applied press firmly into the skin to help absorb product and dissipate the heat into the skin before wiping away product. 


Hot & Cold Hammer – These devices use the Peltier elements that heat and cool opposite surfaces at the same time. Apply massage medium to face, neck and upper body. Wipe product from your hands, turn the clients’ head to one side and slowly glide the warm side of the hammer from the top of the neck and outwards to the shoulder and slowly back again. Repeat at least 6 times. Turn head in opposite direction and repeat. Continue on with massage sequence. 


While some masques are applied warm and kept warm with steam as with oatmeal poultice masques. Some face masques can be warmed in the towel cabinet, this usually works best for cream textured masques with a higher oil content. Gel based masques can become runny if heated and having no oil content will cool down quickly on the skin. Warming a flaxseed filled pillow and placing it under the neck while the masque is on adds another element of warmth and deepens relaxation. 

Finishing Products 

Using micro-current devices with heating elements to assist in product penetration of serums and or moisturizers such as My Skin Buddy or Brigitte Kettner Eye Rejuvenator adds the final warming element.

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