5 ways we respect the earth

Traditionally, the spa industry has found ways to reduce waste and help to offset the use of energy, water, and disposable products required to provide services. Spa and wellness providers understand that caring for our planet to ensure we have clean air, water, and places to enjoy beauty of our natural surroundings is important for physical and mental health. At East Village Spa we are always working on finding new ways to reduce our environmental impact. Here are 5 of our favorite ways we’ve been working to reduce our footprint:

  1. We partner with Recycle Me Iowa to recycle. Most of our products come in recyclable packaging and Recycle Me Iowa helps make it easy for us to recycle the packaging and shipping containers required to run a spa by providing us with containers to keep our recyclables and coming on a regular schedule to pick them up for us. They are affordable and provide excellent customer service. If you live or work in a building that doesn’t offer recycling, reach out to Cigi and her team. They take great care of us, and the Earth.
  2. We switched to Himalayan Salt Stones from Jade stones for our hot stone massages. Not only do our clients get the benefits of Himalayan Salt, but these stones require less energy to heat and save gallons of water per use as they don’t require a water bath to soak in and gallons of water for cleaning. Instead, they are heated on a temperature controlled mat and are cleaned safely with an eco-safe, EPA registered Thyme oil spray. According to Saltability, a 10 room spa (that’s our size!) can save 20,000 gallons of water annually by switching from traditional water bath stone heaters to salt stones.
  3. We don’t use whirlpool soaks for pedicures. First, we value your safety (the bacteria in many whirlpool basins is gross) so we use one-time-use disposable tubs. These tubs save an estimate of 10-20 gallons of water depending on whirlpool size. For every whirlpool tub, it not only needs filled for the service, but then filled again and run with cleaning chemicals that go down the drain. That’s lots of water.
  4. We only offer robes for people getting multiple body or skin care treatments as a convenience when switching treatment rooms. I know, it is fun to slip into a robe, but people do not realize the environmental impact. Only about 4-5 big plush robes can go into a wash/dry cycle which uses lots of water and energy. If people are coming for one service, say a massage, they would have to undress, put on a robe for a couple of minutes, take off the robe, get on the massage table, and then put their regular clothing back on again. Not only would this shorten service time as in our rushed world, guests tend to run a bit behind (ahem, pot calling kettle black here since I’m chronically 5 minutes late) but the main reason we forgo robes for single-service visits is the environmental impact.
  5. Our products are safe, not only for you, but for the Earth. We carefully choose our partners so we know the products you are enjoying are ethically produced and healthy. Our Rhonda Allison Skincare is European Certified Organic (a tougher standard than in the US), our Farmhouse Fresh line is partially crafted out of herbs grown on their farm, which includes a farm animal rescue sanctuary. The Kneipp line uses salts sourced from an underwater salt cave in Germany that has been used for over 100 years so the salts are pure and haven’t been exposed to environmental pollutants. The Rescued Jewelry line we carry includes recycled jewelry components and gives all profits to an animal rescue. Our Rapid Fire pain relief products are produced locally in central Iowa, thus reducing shipping waste as they are delivered by the man who developed the line himself. Our nail polishes from Zoya and CND are free of harsh, toxic, chemicals and always have been.

Please help us this Earth Day by finding a way to reduce a bit of waste, making choices for sustainable, ethical, and non-toxic products, and enjoying some time outdoors for your mind, body, and spirit.

The top 4 reasons we switched to Himalayan Salt Stones

I admit to being a skeptic on lots of “new and exciting” products so I didn’t give Himalayan Salt Stones much thought when they started appearing in little pockets of the industry last year, replacing traditional basalt or jade massage stones. Fast forward to September 2016at the International Spa Association conference, when I was captivated by a bowl of warm stones that appeared to be glowing. Every day, I’d return to booth and play with varieties of warm salt stones, testing them for heat retention, heat consistency, overall feel. I could not get over these stones!

I ordered a set for the spa “just for fun” and after months of using them with our regular clients and for special events, we’re all hooked and have now changed over our Heavenly Hot Stone Massage sets to from jade to salt stones and are in the process of adding enough stone sets to include a few Himalayan Salt Stones in our EV Signature Massages in lieu of the basalt stones we have been using for 9 years.

We are so excited for you to try them and these are the top 5 reasons we fell for the Salt Stones:

4. The heat is consistent and unlike stones in water roasters, they won’t get TOO hot so there is less down time for your therapist making sure they are a safe temperature mid-session.

3. In the past, we couldn’t offer hot stone massages in the couple’s room because the roasting units generated too much heat and used too much electricity. With the new stones, we can FINALLY offer a couple’s hot stone massage! Look for this new service to be available before May 2017.

2. The salt stones will help us in our goal to be more environmentally conscience. Unlike the jade stones which require a couple of gallons of water for warming and cleaning, the salt stones warm on a dry mat and require only a safe EPA registered Thymol oil cleaner. PLUS, the salt stones have natural antibacterial properties.

1. The texture is AMAZING! Even our long-time hot stone regulars who loved the Jade stones were impressed by the slight hint of exfoliation with some of the salt stones. The texture allows the therapist to get a better grip to work a bit deeper as well because they have more control of the stones.

We can’t wait for you to try our new and improved Heavenly Hot Stone Massages, we know you’ll love them as much as we do!

Click here to book online or give us a call at (515) 309-2904!

Get to know Conny, LMT

Conny Beard joined our massage team in 2017 and as a native German, brings a unique perspective of massage and wellness to her clients and colleagues. Thank you for helping us to welcome her!

How long have you been in this industry? Where did you go to school?

My interest in massage started over 20 years ago in Germany. I’m certified in Foot Reflexology and Therapeutic Massage in Germany along with Shiatsu and Infant Massage. After moving to Iowa I finally was ably to get a professional license in 2017. I went to school at Body Wisdom Massage Therapy School in Urbandale, Iowa.

Why did you go into the massage therapy field?

My mom was a pediatrician all her life and exposed me to a lot of gently healing methods. One of it was gentle touch and just being present for someone need. I think that sparked my interest in massage.

What is your favorite service to give?

Relaxation massage is my favorite for sure. I believe a lot of illnesses in our modern world have their roots in stress. If I can give my clients some minutes of zooming out of their stressful life, that makes me happy and I hope them too. I love their faces after a massage.

What is your favorite retail product?

Since I’m a native German I love the Kneipp products, especially the salt. As child I suffered from severe asthma and attended a 6 weeks cure in a salt mine. It was hard to be away from home for so long as a 6 year old but it healed me completely!

What is your favorite way to reduce stress?

Since I’m a big believer of hydrotherapy I can relax wonderful in a warm bath with salt, a book, nice music and candles. Or a long walk on a lake.

What is your favorite self care suggestion for clients?

Try not to sweat over small things, notice stress and let it go. Be positive and enjoy little things every day.

What is your favorite relaxation quotation?

Do more of what makes you happy. ~ Carmel McConnell

What is an interesting fact about you clients might not know?

I love to travel and have friends and family all over the world. So far I visited all continents beside Asia and Antarctica (too cold!). I enjoy learning about other cultures, customs and if I can, traveling to interesting places.

If you’d like to schedule a massage with Conny, click here and choose “Specific Therapist” and her name from the drop down menu!

So you think you want a Brazilian wax?

Thank you to our guest contributor (who shall remain nameless) for a “Real woman’s” account of her first Brazilian wax.

Have you ever thought such things as:

“A lot of people I know get Brazilian waxes, there must be something to it!?”

“I hate shaving my bikini area. A lot.”

“I have waxed my eyebrows a million times, a Brazilian wax can’t be THAT bad, right?”

“I haven’t shaved in so long, I might never shave again…”

Dramatization of tropical vacation to protect the author’s identity. Actual events included lots of empty cocktail glasses.

These thoughts are what eventually talked me into getting my first Brazilian wax. I had returned from a fantastic tropical vacation, which forced me to keep things trimmed up “down there”, because that’s what we ladies like to do when we are in swimwear. And each morning I went to tackle this issue, I grumbled and complained to myself about how much I absolutely despised shaving this area! The angles, the tiny razor nicks, the razor BURN! Why on earth WOULDN’T I try waxing!

When I returned home, the temperatures topped out at 30 degrees for a couple weeks, I became lazy and had no need to shave. I can’t be the only one right? A little over 4 weeks from when I returned from the beautiful tropics, I decided I was going to take the plunge. I scheduled my first ever Brazilian wax at the spa one morning while I was at work. I didn’t even flinch. I had 3 days to prepare my nerves, which were oddly nonexistent. I talked worriedly to probably every esthetician we have on staff about my concerns, and always received the typical “It’s really not that bad” response. So for the last 2 days leading up to the procedure, I was ready. It can’t be that bad. It just can’t be. I’m sure it seems to last 5 minutes, and you’re done, and everything is smooth and great and the world’s a better place!

Fast forward to brave little me, lying in the treatment room, awaiting the first “pull”. When that first pull happened I realized, I wasn’t ready. Nothing could have prepared me for this! How on earth is this classified as “not that bad”!? I now completely understand the “AHH KELLY CLARKSON” situation in The 40 Year Old Virgin. Holy smokes.

I spent a bit of time trying to figure out how I had made such an extreme mistake on my expectation of the pain vs. the actual pain. I realized the reason I initially thought it was so incredibly terrible was because I had absolutely no expectations whatsoever. I had no clue it would hurt on that level, because in my mind I thought, “how bad can pulling a few hairs out really be? My eyebrows aren’t terrible…” In reality, it is pulling hundreds of hairs out at once, so of course it’s going to hurt! A lot.

However, within about 10 seconds the discomfort is completely gone. With each pull, it became more and more bearable. I was in and out of the treatment room in under 30 minutes! We do book the treatment for 40 minutes here at the spa, but sometimes it can take much less or a little more time. It just depends on the person, the hair growth, etc. Brazilian waxes can only be done with at least ¼ inch of hair growth. If you arrive for your appointment and your hair is not long enough, the therapist will let you know. Typically this is about 4 weeks of hair growth, but can definitely vary depending on the person. It has been 2 weeks since my wax and I have almost no regrowth at all. I could literally attend a last minute pool party comfortably. (Granted, it’s still March… in Iowa… so a last-minute pool party is not likely.)

I had no discomfort after the treatment, aside from one tiny ingrown hair that lasted about a day. There was no rash, no “razor burn”, really no discomfort at all afterwards. These are the reasons I am now a forever Brazilian wax receiver. Any amount of discomfort felt during the treatment could never outweigh the amazing outcome of receiving it.

If our guest writer has you convinced that a Brazilian wax is really “not so bad” you can click here to book yours online! Have more questions! Click here for another post on waxing.

Top 3 reasons to wash your face twice a day

Cassandra Lacina-Griffin has been a licensed esthetician for over a decade and recently I asked her to share with me one piece of advice she wished our guests knew. Without missing a beat, she said “I wish people understood how important it is to wash their face twice a day.”

According to Cassandra, there are three main reasons you should wash your face both in the morning AND before you go to bed. If you exercise or sweat in the middle of the day, you might have to add another cleanse to remove sweat and bacteria.

1: Cleansing prevents excess oil. Sometimes people with dry skin hesitate to cleanse twice daily because they feel that it can be more drying. On the flip side, sometimes people who have oily skin use too harsh of a cleanser which can dry the skin out and cause it to produce MORE oil!  In those cases, Cassandra recommends that you check with a professional to make sure you are using the right cleanser for your skin type.

2: Cleansing removes dead skin cells that build up overnight. Even though YOU are sleeping, your skin is hard at work turning over skin cells.

3: Cleansing in the morning removes the night time serums and chemical exfoliators. Serums and exfoliators do their best work at night when you are resting and not sweating or wearing make-up, but they need to be removed before you start your day, especially before sun exposure or applying make-up.

If you have more questions or would like to get recommendations from a professional esthetician, schedule a facial with Cassandra or any of our great licensed skin care providers here.

Get to know Brandi, LMT

Brandi Munch, LMT

In February 2017, we welcomed Brandi Munch, Licensed Massage Therapist and soon to be yoga instructor to our team. Thank you for taking the opportunity to get to know her better!

How long have you been in the industry?

I have been a massage therapist for over a year. I graduated from the Aveda Institute in West Des Moines.

Why did you go into the Massage Therapy field?

I’ve always been a helper and discovered my passion for health and wellness after pursuing my own journey to healing.

What is your favorite way to reduce stress?

Yoga, meditation, journaling, floating (I recommend Fadeaway Floatation Therapy)

What is your favorite self-care suggestion for clients?

Stretching! Our bodies are meant to move. Find what feels good and do it daily.

Do you have a favorite wellness resource?

Yoga with Adriene on Youtube and the book, “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise L. Hay.

What’s a fun fact that clients would enjoy learning?

I was a social worker for 10 years before starting massage therapy school and I am currently in training to become a yoga instructor.

Why should clients visit you?

I know how stress impacts our physical bodies and would love to help you relax so you can be your best self.

If you would like to schedule a massage with Brandi, click here to book online and select the “specific therapist” option from the drop down menu before selecting her name.

 

 

Top Valentine’s Picks for 2017

If there is one thing that the world needs more of, it is love. Whether you want to shower your significant other with TLC for Valentine’s Day, or you’re feeling the need to give yourself the gift of stress relief, love, and care (because you deserve it!) we’ve got some ideas that are healthier and more indulgent than a box of chocolates!

A spa gift card:

Whether you want to treat your sweetie to a couple’s massage or you are looking for TLC for someone who could really use some love this Valentine’s day, we offer gift cards in a variety of denominations online, or visit us in the spa to pick up a gift card and (and enjoy an organic chocolate treat while we put it together for you).

Something fun for the bath:

Need something perfect for a romantic or healing bath? We’ve got lots of great options!  For a fun bubble bath that will leave skin super soft, try the Farmhouse Fresh Whoopie Cream Wash, a hydrating bubble bath/shower gel (that is also an awesome shaving cream!) Farmhouse Fresh just released several new scents in this decadent formula that will be arriving at the spa on by 2/3/17! WE ARE SO EXCITED!

For someone looking for an array of wellness bath care, the Kneipp line is perfect and has solutions for uplifting mood, opening sinuses, inducing sleep, and relieving pain. This line is available in a variety of sizes of salts, bath oils, and gift sets and is a favorite of our massage therapists for their own self care.  A glass of wine and a soak in a Kneipp bath is a perfect way to love yourself.

Massage Oils:

Ready to try to copy some of your massage therapist’s skills on your partner? We’ve got lots of great options for massage oils to use at home.  Our favorite suggestions are the Farmhouse Fresh massage oils (also great to add a bit to the tub for softer skin!)  We have a variety of scents, but the Red Hot blend is a great warming scent for Valentine’s Day and would be a thoughtful addition to a gift of red roses.

Jewelry:

We carry assorted locally crafted jewelry from Heather Morphew Designs (especially popular are Heather’s beautiful earrings).

We also feature Rescued Jewelry, a line of jewelry featuring some repurposed and recycled components, with 100% of the profits donated the Basset and Beagle of the Heartland Rescue. A perfect gift for someone who loves animals!

Something to feed the spirit:

Wholesome food prepared in creative ways is a perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s day. Two of our favorite picks in the East Village are Hoq and Alba. Both use seasonal, fresh, ingredients and artistically craft delicious and indulgent meals. While Valentine’s reservations are hard to come by, pick a quieter time to enjoy a more leisurely dining experience. Hoq and Alba offer great options for vegetarian and gluten free diners as well! Going solo? Both restaurants offer bar seating that is perfect for taking yourself on a date. You deserve it!

Book yourself some time for TLC!

The best gift you can give yourself or your loved ones, in our opinion, is time to relax and renew your spirit at the spa. Schedule online or call (515) 309-2904 for assistance with booking. We look forward to seeing you!

Which facial is best for me?

We have so many great facial options, sometimes it can be hard to decide which one is the best choice for your needs!  I hope this guide helps to narrow it down for you. Our estheticians are able to customize many services and have no fear, if you select a facial that is not the best choice for your needs, they can often make a last minute change to a more appropriate facial that is the same length of time or can substitute products as needed to customize your service.

EV Signature Facial: MOST POPULAR FACIAL!

  • Our most relaxing facial for those who are looking for great skin care results AND relaxation
  • Includes a longer masking time than the Wellness Facial so skin receives more benefits that way
  • Extra relaxation benefits like more massage techniques incorporated, plus a softening honey foot mask and foot massage while the active professional products are working their magic on your face..

Best for: Adults who have concerns to address including acne, dryness, aging, rosacea, and hyper-pigmentation

Not recommended for: Anyone who can’t lay on their back for over an hour, younger teens, pregnant guests (book our Pregnancy Glow facial instead)

Minus 10 Facial: MOST CORRECTIVE FACIAL

  • Our most corrective facial for anti-aging results as this facial utilizes 3 different acid exfoliants to firm and brightening the skin
  • This facial is recommended to our clients as a series of 3, performed every 2 to 3 weeks for optimal results
  • Clients may experience very light flaking and/or slight dryness after this facial due to the rejuvenating exfoliants

Best for: Adults who want to see age-defying results, people willing to complete the series and home care for best results

Not recommended for: Teens or people without aging skin concerns, anyone with acneic skin, pregnant guests (book our Pregnancy Glow facial instead!), or anyone who can’t lay on their back for over an hour.

Clear Relief Acne Facial:

  • An hour long healing facial for people who have cystic or inflamed acne
  • Designed to reduce bacteria, soften and dissolve cellular buildup, and reduce inflammation

Best for: People who want to get a start on treating inflamed or cystic acne

Not recommended for: Pregnant guests (book the Pregnancy Glow Facial), guests who do not have cystic or inflamed acne, or guests who are already under a dermatologist’s care for their acne.

Wellness Facial:

  • An hour-long facial that includes skin care for face, neck, and decollete, some extractions if needed
  • Can address any and all skin concerns

Best for: Everyone! This is a great option if you aren’t sure you are the right candidate for our more clinical facials or as a consultation facial if you are considering peels.

Not recommended for: This is a great facial for everyone, but if you are pregnant, please schedule a Pregnancy Glow facial so we can be sure you are scheduled in the room with an incline table.

Express Facial:

  • A quick 30 minute cleanse, mask, moisturizing facial that includes professional skincare recommendations.
  • Does not include extractions or exfoliation.

Best for: Anyone in a time crunch, someone just wanting an introduction to the Rhonda Allison line or professional product recommendations. Can serve as a good consultation facial before scheduling a peel service. This is a great starter service for younger teens.

Not recommended for:  Someone wanting to address multiple skin concerns as there aren’t many corrective products (like exfoliants or masks) used in this facial, someone looking for a more pampering and indulgent service. We recommend scheduling the Wellness or EV Signature Facial.

Pregnancy Glow Facial:

  • An hour-long pampering, pregnancy safe facial that addresses a variety of skin needs from changing hormones.
  • Includes a hydrating foot mask and foot massage
  • Performed on a treatment table that allows our guest to rest with her head elevated.

Best for: Pregnant guests, this is the facial we require our pregnant guests to schedule as we can be sure the products are safe and that we have the service scheduled in a room with a table that allows our pregnant guests to rest in an inclined position.

Not recommended for:  Anyone who isn’t expecting. However, if you have a concern laying flat on your back during another facial, mention this at booking and we can reserve this room for you!

Click the title of any facial we’ve described in this post or click here to book your customized facial with our experienced and licensed Estheticians at East Village Spa!

Our predictions for the top 2017 spa trends

It is always fun to see the changing trends in the industry. We’re especially excited for some of the trends we’re seeing leading into the new year.

Nails:

Our nail technicians have mostly been getting requests for natural rounded or oval shaped nails leading into the new year. They are glad to see fewer requests for sharp, squared off nail looks.

Nude shades are still in, but with a modern twist. Our nail technician Cyerra said that the most popular nude shades they are using for CND Shellac are Field Fox and Rubble.

On the opposite end of the color spectrum, bright neons reminiscent of the 80s have been so popular that the spring 2017 shades were released early and have been a huge hit over the holidays!  Ultra bright colors like Blue Eye Shadow, Pink Leggings, and Jelly Bracelet are reminiscent of a playful time. With many people finding 2016 to be a rough year, people are finding a bright spot with fun nail colors.

Massage and Wellness:

With a big push back against fake news coming into 2017 including upcoming warnings on facebook posts featuring fake news stories, we all hope the same holds true for online health information.  We predict that in 2017, people will take a harder look at their sources and become more savvy when researching massage, health, and wellness online. Earlier in 2016, we posted a blog about the best ways to find reputable health information.

Skin Care:

The biggest trend our estheticians see industry-wide is a movement away from manual exfoliation (like abrasive scrubs and microdermabrasion) toward chemical exfoliation like peels or acids. Harsh manual exfoliation risks spreading bacteria and can be too abrasive. Recent news of a class action lawsuit against Unilever, maker of the St. Ives Apricot Scrub, a long-time fixture in drugstore beauty departments may help to further public awareness of other forms of exfoliation that are safer and more beneficial than harsh scrubs.

What trends do you hope to see for 2017?

Get to know Molly I, Licensed Massage Therapist

Thank you for helping us welcome Molly Ihde to our team! Molly joined our team in 2016 and has been a great addition to our sports and deep tissue therapists.  In addition to her passion for deep tissue and athletic massages, her Aveda training helped her develop a place in her heart for relaxation and spa therapies like our Gong Fu Chai scrub, which she loves doing!

How long have you been in the industry?

I graduated from the Aveda Institute in 2015 and have been working full time as a massage therapist ever since.

Why did you go into massage therapy?

I became a massage therapist because I have an interest in health and wellness, specifically in sports therapy and preventative care.

What is your favorite service to give?

I enjoy athletic massage and deep tissue work.

What is your favorite spa service to receive?

I love our Gong Fu Chai scrub because the Farmhouse Fresh Clementine oil smells amazing and my skin feels so smooth afterwards.

What is your favorite spa retail product?

Unfortunately, I haven’t tried everything yet, but some of my favorites are the Farmhouse Fresh face masks, Sweet Cream Body Lotion (we use this in the EV Signature Massages), Rhonda Allison Ultra Hydration Lotion and Farmhouse Fresh Plum Chiffon Balm.

What is your favorite way to reduce stress?

When I’m stressed, I like to go for a run, do crossword puzzles, read, or listen to podcasts.

What is your favorite self-care suggestion for clients?

I’m a huge fan of foam rollers and lacrosse balls for more specific trigger point relief. These tools are probably the closet thing you can get to deep tissue and broad pressure body work at home and a great habit to get into between appointments.

Do you have a favorite relaxation or stress relief quotation?

“Our bodies communicate clearly and specifically, if we are willing to listen.” Shakti Gawain

Why should clients visit YOU?

I really work hard and do everything I can to be a positive part of someone’s day. If my client leaves with a smile and even just a little bit better than when they came in, I’m happy.

To schedule a massage with Molly, click here or call (515) 309-2904. If booking online, be sure to select “specific therapist” and choose her name from the drop down menu if you wish to make a request to see Molly.