3 Essential Treatment Room Modalities: Galvanic Current, LED Therapy, & Pressure Point Massage

pressure point massage therapy
Table of Contents

It’s amazing to me in over twenty five years, how much the skin care profession has changed. Gone are the days of the traditional “basic” facial treatment, replaced with acids, enzymes, peptides, currents, lights and frequencies! It’s mind blowing! Equally as “mind blowing” can be trying to decide just what to do with it all and which to choose to incorporate into your skin care practice. Every practice is different and every esthetician is different as well, and it really comes down to modalities best suited for each individual situation, however, I have chosen three that are tried and true that are easy to incorporate, affordable and proven to deliver amazing results. There certainly are many others that I love, but galvanic current, LED and pressure point massage are at the absolute top of my list… let me tell you why!

galvanic current facial therapy

Galvanic Current Facial Therapy

Galvanic current has been a staple in the skin care practice since the early 1930s. Long known and used in European facial therapy it still remains a skeptical modality in American skin care. Galvanic current is one directional current used to force a water soluble product deep into the skin. Aside from today’s technologically advanced peptides, acids and liposomes; it stands alone as one of the only ways to force products past the acid mantle (the most protective barrier of the epidermis) to deliver products deep into the lower layers of the epidermis.

This process of forcing a water soluble product into the skin is called phoresis. Using a positive current as the active electrode is called cataphoresis and saturates the layers of the epidermis with nutrient rich, acid ingredients (not acids… I’m referring to positively charged products that have a lower pH and are on the “acid” side of the pH scale) from whichever type of water soluble treatment product that you choose to use. Think about the treatment products that you use in your cabin. Serums and concentrates for anti aging, pigmentation, glycation, inflammation, dehydration, elastosis, or any other skin concern; can be forced deep into the layers of the epidermis to have even more powerful effects than when used alone. Cataphoresis can be performed before or after facial massage as well as before or after the treatment mask, whichever suits your treatment regimen. You simply can not go wrong with iontophoresis!

When utilizing a negative current as the active electrode, phoresis is now referred to as anaphoresis. Anaphoreses is using a negative current to force a water soluble alkaline product deep into the layers of the epidermis. The dual benefit in this treatment is the effect of alkaline product, most likely a desincrustation solution, which softens the pores and dissolves sebum allowing you to deeply cleanse oily and acneic skin and perform superior extractions. Anaphoresis is performed after exfoliation and prior to extractions. A “must use” modality for any esthetician aiming to improve skin the struggles with excess oil, clogging and acne breakouts!

Galvanic Current machines can be purchased individually for a little as a few hundred dollars or as a standard part of any multifunction machine.

led light therapy

LED Light Therapy

LED, Light Emitting Diodes and many other light based therapies have been at the top of the controversy list for several years. Although lasers and IPL receive the majority of the hype, there are just a few states that restrict LED as well. LED’s cellular benefits were first noted by NASA. Not the particular place you would expect to find skin care modalities discovered, but it was NASA research that discovered that LEDs had the ability to generate photosynthesis in space and actually grow plants! Further research discovered its ability to not only sustain normal cell growth, but to also enhance wound healing and prevent both bone and muscle loss. Studies showed that cells exposed to LED lights, particularly infrared, underwent growth and repair up to two hundred percent faster than those that were unexposed.* This research steered the skin care industry into a deluge of research in various LED wavelengths and their effects on the skin. The first FDA approved LED was an amber light, first manufactured by a company called Gentlewaves, that was clinically proven to increase collagen production in the skin. Now keep in mind, nothing happens overnight, multiple treatments were required over several weeks, with results appearing gradually over time; nevertheless the results were significant.

In skin care treatments today there are three LED wavelengths that are used to improve the health and condition of the skin. As noted above, amber LEDs are at a wavelength of 605 nm and increase collagen and elastin production. Red LED wavelengths are 660 nm and shown to reduce inflammation as well as trigger collagen production. Blue LED wavelengths are at 415 nm and are antibacterial. A fourth LED, infrared, is 855 nm and is used to promote healing and circulation. Infrared is not as commonly found but is manufactured by reputable and FDA approved LED companies and proven to deliver amazing results to the skin.

Each of these LED wavelengths has its place in the treatment room. Reds and ambers are ideal for anti-aging and Rosacea as well as boosting the overall integrity of the skin; and blues for improving acne and Rosacea as well.

LED treatments are easily incorporated into any facial treatment, including microdermabrasion. Lights are held over areas to be treated for several minutes following a treatment mask or the application of a treatment serum or concentrate. Please note that it is critical to follow your manufacturer’s instructions for use.

LED is a simple way to update your skin care treatments, stand apart from your competitors and maximize your results.

pressure point massage therapy

Pressure Point Massage Therapy

Now let us revert back to the tool of our trade, our hands! Massage techniques have long been the secret weapon that estheticians have in their pocket. For centuries upon centuries they have been used to increase circulation, detoxify, heal, calm and soothe not only the skin, but the entire body. As the skin care profession has shifted from one primarily of relaxation and pampering to results oriented, equally has come the focus on the link between the condition of the skin and the health and condition of the inner body.

Various areas of the face are directly linked to a minimum of eleven internal organs of the body, including the liver, stomach, small intestines, bladder, colon, gallbladder, heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas and genitals. The Chinese have long known this connection and can actually make clinical health diagnosis based on looking at an individuals’ skin! Beyond our scope of practice, but a proven ability.

Applying this information and skill to the skin care treatment room is, in my opinion, the third necessary modality that every esthetician should use. Pressure point massage takes the knowledge and skill of Chinese medicine and places a bit of its benefits into the hands of the skin care professional. It is shown to improve circulation, relax and de-stress the client, minimize sinus pressure and even relieve headaches. There are fifteen facial energy points that lay mainly along nervous system pathways that are linked to various parts of the body. The concept behind pressure point massage is to compress these energy points that will in turn trigger the body’s own natural healing responses. The degree and length of pressure time can have different effects. It is optimal for movements to be firm, yet gentle and held for approximately one to three minutes.

During treatment it is important for you, the esthetician, to stay focused and breathe as well as to ensure that your client focuses on steady, deep breathing as well. Then end every treatment with a big glass of water!

One of the greatest benefits to pressure point massage is that it can be done on ANY skin type and ANY skin condition even those that you otherwise would not work on such as acne, rosacea and inflammation or sensitivity.

As with any new technique of any kind, practice makes perfect. Before incorporating pressure point massage it’s critical to do your homework. Purchase a facial pressure point chart to keep handy in the treatment room. Research various techniques that are available in books, videos, and even online. Take your time and understand the true benefits that pressure point massage can deliver.

Learn More About Treatment Modalities with ASI Online

As skin care professionals we have the ability to change the way our clients look and feel about themselves. There is no other job more powerful and rewarding than that! Invest in yourself, your treatments and your results with dedication, passion and knowledge. Simple modalities incorporated into a facial treatment may just change the world for somebody… thanks to you.

If you’re interested in learning more about treatment modalities and other skin care topics, browse our online courses.


NASA, 2008, LED Device Illuminates New Path to Healing.


NASA, 2003, NASA Light-Emitting Diode Technology Brings

Relief In Clinical Trials. http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2003/nov/HQ_03366_clinical_trials.html

Not sure which modules are best for you?

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