Bringing calm to a stress-filled world

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BRATTLEBORO — Senja Curran, a Vermont-licensed aesthetician, offers facial treatments as a way to counter the stresses that can prematurely age the face.

"Our cells regenerate every 28 days," she said. "As we get older, the regeneration process slows down. Our face is deeply affected by what we ingest, by the thoughts we have, and by the ways in which we're treating our bodies. A deep facial massage encourages lymphatic drainage and eliminates toxins. The blood flow comes to the surface. The result is clear, more glowing skin."

Trauma and stress are held within the fascia and muscles of the face, she continued. Massage helps to relieve those pressures.

"My signature treatment is 60 minutes," she said. "What I hope for is an internal re-set, that the system comes back to homeostasis, a stable internal balance."

Curran explained that stress causes inflammation. Chronic inflammation taxes the body's systems, including digestion and circulation. With deep relaxation, there is less inflammation internally.

"The skin is allowed to breathe," she said. "Your face naturally relaxes. Everything falls into place. Everything is so intricately interconnected."

In this treatment, Curran provides face, scalp, and neck massage, to encourage an hour's deep relaxation.

"I want the client's skin to feel amazing and rejuvenated and balanced," she said. "Clients report to me that their skin looks even better the next day than it did on the day of treatment."

Curran traveled a winding road to her current practice.

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"When I was 21, I worked in a mall at the Lanc me beauty counter," she said. "I was business manager for two years. I didn't love the idea of selling products to people. I was more interested in what I could do with my hands and how that relates to what we put on our skin."

So Curran took a 300-hour accelerated course in aesthetics (skin care).

"It was grueling," Curran said. "I was working full-time, then driving so far to class. I was getting home around 11 at night. With the extreme amount of stress I was experiencing, I was in a constant fight-or-flight state. My eating habits were terrible. I would stop and get a coffee and some junk food on my way to class. I didn't have the self-care rituals I have now."

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In the aesthetics course, the students practiced the techniques they were learning on each other's faces, using various products.

"In my over-stressed state, I had a reaction to all the products," Curran said, "and I developed a full-blown case of acne. It took me years to get it under control. I was so embarrassed - a skin-care practitioner with a horrendous skin condition. But it was a blessing in disguise. I know what it's like to have active cystic acne."

Curran requires new clients to fill out an intake form that asks what might seem to be some unusual questions.

"The questions are meant to elicit information that helps us have a deep, thought-provoking conversation before the first session," Curran said. "I offer customized treatment, so the more information I have, the better I am able to develop appropriate protocols. Discussing the answers on the form also allows the customer to ask me questions about the treatment."

Curran emphasized that her practice is intended to help people heal.

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"This work can bring up emotions," she said. "I want my clients to be able to feel deeply relaxed and safe while they're here. My goal and mission is to hold a safe and sacred space here in the studio."

Her clients include both women and men although if a man has a lot of facial hair, she said, the treatment can't fully reach the pores.

Curran encourages her clients to see her every month or every other month at the least. Over time, she builds a trusting relationship with a client and develops a knowledge about the person's skin.

"I'm not a doctor, so I can't diagnose or prescribe," she said. "But I can observe. For example, I might notice what looks like a possible skin cancer and recommend that the client see a dermatologist."

April marks Curran's third year at her current studio on Main Street. Her website,, states her philosophy as "rooted in the Sacred practice of Self Care as Ritual," with an "intuitive and minimalist approach to Holistic SkinHealth."

A new podcast, "The Situation Womb," is now available in which Curran has an in-depth conversation about her personal journey to skin health and wellness with Siri Bani, a Kundalini Yoga teacher, at

For more information, call Curran at 802-689-0412 or email her at

Nancy A. Olson, a frequent contributor, can be reached at


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