The beauty of a bath

Just typing this blog post makes me long for a soak in the tub with a good book and my favorite Kneipp bath liquids.  Baths are not only indulgent, but as any bathing aficionado knows, the health benefits can’t be denied!

Okay, I did get inspired by my own post and filled my trusty tub with beautiful blue Deep Sleep liquid bath from Kneipp. :)
Okay, I did get inspired by my own post and filled my trusty tub with beautiful blue Deep Sleep liquid bath from Kneipp. 🙂

Relief of joint and muscle pain:

According to the Arthritis Foundation, a warm bath benefits people who have fibromyalgia, low back pain, and arthritis.  For added benefits, try using a muscle soak in your bath like Kneipp’s Arnica Joint Relief or Juniper Muscle Ache bath soaks.

Bedtime benefits:

The Mayo Clinic suggests trying a bath at bedtime as part of your night time ritual.  For added benefit, we recommend trying the Kneipp Valerian and Hops Deep Sleep bath blend or the Lavender Bath blends.  Kneipp recommends scheduling bedtime 15-20 minutes after a soak in their deep sleep bath.

Flexibility benefits:

A warm bath is a great place to gently stretch or massage easy to reach muscles like your calves, quads, or in your feet.  Scheduling a massage or chiropractic adjustment, gentle yoga or stretching after a bath is great too because muscles are warmed up and loose.

Circulatory Boost:

For people with  poor circulation or to warm up in the winter, a warm bath will help arteries and veins to expand and increase blood flow.  I especially love (and need!) a bath after a winter run outside.

To enhance the circulatory benefits, add an aromatherapy bath with warming oils like Kneipp’s Spruce and Pine bath.

Soften Skin:

While bathing in overly hot water or salts can dry out skin, a bath in a softening or hydrating oil can nurture and moisturize skin, especially hard-to-reach skin on the back.  A tablespoon of almond or jojoba oil added to the bath or some of Kneipp’s skin soft almond bath will leave skin feeling great.

Bath Safety:

The arthritis foundation recommends soaking in warm (not hot) water between 92 and 100 degrees.  They caution that anything hotter can stress the cardiovascular system, particularly for people predisposed to heart problems.

Adding oil to the tub will make it slick so be careful getting out of the bath and use caution the next morning if you hop in the shower to make sure it isn’t still slick!

Lastly, don’t add essential oils directly to your bath without a carrier oil or salt!  There are many great soaking blends from companies like Kneipp that have proper instructions and dilutions, if you don’t have ample aromatherapy training or background, stick with those.  Essential oils won’t mix with water so if you put drops of them “neat” (right out of the bottle undiluted with oil or salt) in your tub, you may end up with a burn (possibly in a sensitive spot!) because the oil won’t dissolve.  Trust me, I can attest to this.  Ouch!

What are your favorite bath rituals, products, or blends?


Spa Surprises: Dos and Don’ts

Springing a spa visit or massage session on an unsuspecting friend or loved one might seem like a great idea…but unless you are positive the person loves surprises and has been dying to visit the spa you might be best off purchasing a gift certificate.


I’d say at least 50% of visits where a guest is taken to a spa without warning don’t turn out as well as they could have if the guest had warning, regardless of how well-intentioned the giver. This isn’t to say we haven’t had happy surprises, but the happiest guests are people who love being surprised and have usually had enough hints from their partner or family member to know they’re coming to the spa!  (“Hey honey, you  might want to take a shower and wear comfy clothes and not eat a huge meal right before we go out this afternoon…hint, hint!”)

Most common issues with Spa Surprises:


When planning surprises, we all know it can be hard to get someone to run on time without giving them a reason why they have to rush.  Many times a well-meaning spouse has intended to get their loved one to the spa for an appointment but has arrived very late since the recipient scheduled a work meeting or ran long on errands.  Regardless of whether or not they are late, you can still expect to pay for the full session and the recipient is usually frustrated and feeling rushed so it is harder to fully relax.

Health Concerns or Treatment Preference

Perhaps the recipient might not be the best candidate for the service you selected. For example, your mother might already have a massage therapist she loves or might be receiving chiropractic or physical therapy and trying to limit to one wellness service at a time to figure out a solution to an injury and wants to hold off on getting a massage for a bit.

Some spouses book a manicure at our spa for a loved one not understanding that their loved one wears nail enhancements but that we only offer natural nails.  This results in lots of frustration for the guest who wants want acrylics or fills.  Nail surprises are especially tricky now because of the options in gel polishes. Spas operating on an appointment basis really need to know what kind of polish a guests is wearing and if they need a special removal procedure so we have enough time blocked out.  Unless you are positive you know exactly what kind of manicure or pedicure a loved one or friend wants, it is best to let them book their own service so your surprise doesn’t backfire.


The most uncomfortable surprises are where the recipient has no desire to receive a massage but a family member wants to force them to try by springing it on them.  While WE all love massage, we respect that some people don’t want to be touched or have boundary concerns.  Almost always when someone who does not want a massage is pushed into a therapist’s office without warning, the result is a fight with family members, tears, and a very uncomfortable massage therapist stuck in the middle.   If a guest truly doesn’t want a service, your therapist will not do the massage out of respect for their comfort.

Trust us, emotions can run high and it is best to encourage someone hesitant to try massage to meet with a therapist first for a consultation or try a fully clothed or short session at a time that they choose.

Forgetting to plan around the appointment:

Surprising a loved one with an 80 minute hot stone massage and taking them out for a huge lunch first? Yikes!  It is hard to relax on a full stomach.  Picking an unsuspecting spouse up from the gym (sans shower) and dropping them off for a massage is also uncomfortable for all involved.  So many people receiving a surprise visit feel they can’t fully relax because they didn’t have time to prepare or shower first like they normally would or they stress during their service thinking about their long to-do list for afterward.

Also, if you are planning a service like a facial before taking the recipient out to a nice dinner or show and don’t warn them to pack a change of clothing or their cosmetic bag, that can also lead to tension.

Other options that aren’t a total surprise but are really great:

If you aren’t 100% positive that the person you intend to surprise with a spa service will be mentally and physically ready at the time of the appointment, and that you know the exact service and provider they want to see, a gift card might be the best option.

You can purchase a gift card to the spa and propose 2-3 days or times when you or someone else has offered to watch the kids or clean the house so they can enjoy absolute relaxation. Many spas like ours offer convenient online scheduling so pour a glass of wine and cozy up by the computer to plan out your perfect day of relaxation.

Even if the spa visit itself isn’t a surprise, you can drop off flowers or a fun gift for us to present to your loved one after or during their session.  We even had one individual recently leave several cards for his partner with a special note on each one for her to read before each service.  How sweet!



If you feel like your loved one truly would enjoy a surprise visit, call the front desk team and we can offer some ideas of what has worked best in the past and if you don’t plan to surprise them with the visit but want to add a fun element of surprise like a dinner out after or flowers, we can make recommendations for our favorites! If the guest is a regular at the spa, we can easily suggest services they might enjoy without divulging confidential information.

The biggest benefit of planning ahead? Not only will the recipient be able to fully enjoy the best services for their preferences and needs, but they will also get to enjoy the anticipation of their spa day and during a stressful week, there is nothing better than counting down the days and hours until your next massage (well, nothing better except for actually being on the massage table!)


Are acne treatments contributing to superbugs and tips for mild to moderate acne.

A widely circulated article in the Wall Street Journal published this week discusses the risk of creating superbugs with traditional antibiotic acne treatment.  Doctors are finding that the antibiotics that were once effective are no longer helping and the doctors quoted fear that prescribing antibiotics for acne will open teenagers and others up to developing other serious conditions like drug-resistant MRSA.

From our experience, people aren’t always clear on the causes and types of acne, plus there are lots of myths surrounding acne treatments and causes.  This article from the Mayo Clinic offers great advice on the different types of acne and when to seek medical help for yours.  It also offers tips on preparing for your appointment with a dermatologist.

Unfortunately, you can’t just hope for better skin, you need to make changes to your routine and possibly lifestyle.  For mild acne, you might evaluate your day-to-day routine.  A few ideas include:

  • Cleaning your phone with antibacterial wipes daily to avoid spreading oil and bacteria
  • Changing your pillowcase every couple of days
  • Washing your face morning and night with an appropriate cleanser for your skin type
  • Get a facial from a licensed esthetician (not just the advice of a sales person behind a cosmetic counter!  Usually these are not trained estheticians) for advice and help unclogging your pores safely.
  • Using a moisturizer appropriate for your skin type (yes! Even people with oily skin need hydration, but a gel or acne-specific cream may be best)
  • Try a mask or spot treatment like Derma E’s Exfoliation Mask or Farmhouse Fresh’s Pajama Paste Mask
  • Exfoliate weekly with a product like Derma E’s Microdermabrasion Scrub or Farmhouse Fresh’s Sand your Ground Mask (which doubles as a scrub and clay mask but do not OVER exfoliate and do not exfoliate  skin that is irritated or has open areas.

For more moderate acne, in addition to all of the above:

  • Try regular facials for deeper cleansing and help with deep pore extractions in a way that won’t scar skin
  • Try a series of light chemical peels
  • Reduce stress, especially if your acne flares up when you are under stress
  • Visit a dermatologist

For severe acne, visit your doctor or dermatologist for recommendations.

We know acne can be frustrating and believe me, some of us at the spa have battled painful scarring acne before so we can empathize with the frustrations.  If you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to speak with a licensed esthetician or your doctor for advice or a referral.

Don't hesitate to reach out to a professional for help if you are struggling to manage your acne at home!
Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional for help if you are struggling to manage your acne at home!

Why we call our hot stone massage “Heavenly.”

Just typing “Hot Stone Massage” makes me melt a bit.  The lovely forecast calling for a high of -3 degrees tomorrow shall serve as my blog inspiration tonight!

A hot stone at East Village Spa is quite unlike the stock photography you see everywhere showing a row of stones sitting directly on a client’s back and no therapist in sight. All the photo below is missing is an orchid growing out of her ear.

NOT what a hot stone massage looks like!  (Photo courtesy of wikimedia commons)
NOT what a hot stone massage looks like! (Photo courtesy of wikimedia commons)

What clients CAN expect is for their massage therapist to work with his or her hands to assess the muscles and tissue and then massage primarily with heated stones as an extension of their hands.  Our therapists can also do a hybrid of hands-on techniques to address trigger points or specific areas of pain and hot stone massage for general relaxation.

The stones are heated to between 120 and 130 degrees and the therapist is able to safely hold them with bare hands and should keep them moving until they have significantly cooled off before placing them directly on the skin and leaving them. The heat from the stones will help to boost circulation, relax tight muscles, and quiet the mind.

The therapist uses a variety of different shaped warm jade stones as an extension of their hands to relax tense muscles.
The therapist uses a variety of different shaped warm jade stones as an extension of their hands to relax tense muscles.

stone massageStill not convinced of how awesome a stone massage is?  This video is a perfect little example of some of the techniques massage therapists can use with different shaped warm stones (note, this is not a company we endorse or have used, but their video provides a great example of just some of the many stone techniques a therapist might incorporate.)

As wonderful as hot stone massages are for most clients, there are a few times we don’t advise them including for clients who are pregnant, clients who have burns, skin conditions or are undergoing radiation.  People with fragile thin skin or who are diabetic, paralyzed or otherwise unable to sense heat are also not good candidates for a hot stone massage and would benefit more from a traditional session.

A cold week like this one might be the perfect opportunity for you to change up your massage routine and try out a hot stone massage with one of our experienced therapists.  Click here to book yours!

Planning your wedding spa service timeline

The holidays are one of the most popular times to get engaged and if you were part of a couple celebrating your recent engagement, CONGRATULATIONS!  Hopefully you are able to enjoy planning a celebration with family and friends, but we know sometimes wedding planning can be stressful and confusing.  Here are a few helpful hints for planning spa services to prepare for your wedding.


Whether it is a bride looking to schedule a first Brazilian or a groom wanting his first back wax, the worst time to experiment is the day or two before your wedding!  For best results, we recommend getting the wax services you’re considering for your wedding and honeymoon at least 6 months out and then keeping up the routine until your wedding.  The first wax is often the most painful and until you have a wax, you won’t know how your skin will react.  With regular waxing, you’ll likely get a smoother result and less irritation for the big day.

If you are planning to wax your underarms or legs prior to your wedding, plan to have AT LEAST 6 weeks of growth for a smoother wax.  Hair needs to be a minimum of 1/4 inch long and the longer the better in those areas.  Brow and lip waxing should be planned at least 3-4 days in advance of the wedding.Leg Waxing at East Village Spa


If you are a nail biter looking to grow your nails for your wedding, we recommend at least 3 months out getting at least a basic manicure every 2 weeks to help keep your cuticles and nails in shape and reduce your temptation to bite them.  Applying a cuticle oil like CND Solar Oil and hand cream nightly will do wonders to get your hands and nails in shape for wedding photos.

Wearing a hard polish like Shellac is a great way to grow your nails because it makes it harder to bite your nails and easier to break the habit, especially with stressful wedding planning.  Using REAL CND brand Shellac (as opposed to one of the imitation versions some salons call “Shellac”) with proper removal will not damage your nails.


If you have skin concerns you’re looking to address before wedding photos, the best time to start working on them is at least 6 months out.  A professional esthetician can help you determine the best products are for your skin needs (and your lifestyle).  They can also help with clogged pores and clearing up your skin.  Once a month is best for a facial, but taking care of your skin at home with the proper products for your skin type between facials is going to make the most difference!

Avoid booking a facial the day or two before your wedding or your engagement photos, especially if you are traveling and aren’t familiar with the esthetician or product lines in case your skin reacts or because deep pore cleansing can lead to break-outs while your skin is purging impurities.  A facial with an esthetician you know well and products you are accustomed to should be fine the week of your wedding or photos, your esthetician can always go easy on extractions to avoid any redness.

An added benefit to facials is that they are super relaxing, with tons of massage on the face, scalp, neck, and arms.  Any bride-to-be can use that nurturing stress relief!

Men's Facial


Sometimes during the wedding planning it can be easy to lose touch with your fiance!  Booking a couple’s massage can be a great way to reconnect and relax together.

To book time to prepare for your wedding, give us a call at (515) 309-2904 or hop online to schedule when it is most convenient for you!