About Cassie

Licensed Massage Therapist for 9 years, business owner since 2007.

Get to know Kanika, LMT, Cosmetologist, Esthetician

We welcomed Kanika Mayes to our team in May 2018. She’s licensed in every service we offer at East Village Spa and comes from a long line of cosmetologists, including her grandmother and mother. A passion for the beauty industry is in her DNA!

What are licenses do you hold and where did you attend school?

I’ve been a licensed cosmetologist since 2002, a licensed esthetician since 2014, and a licensed massage therapist since 2018. I attended the Iowa School of Beauty in Urbandale for my cosmetology and esthetics training, the Iowa School of Beauty in Ankeny for my massage therapy training, and Aveda institute for my instructor’s license.

What are your specialties?

As an esthetician: Facials, facial waxing (I LOVE brow shaping!), chemical peels, and Hydrafacial. As a licensed massage therapist: Relaxation oriented massages. As a cosmetologist I also provide relaxing manicures and pedicures at East Village Spa.

Why did you choose this career?

I truly believe it is a blessing and a privilege to have a career that helps clients build their confidence through skin and nail care, and relieves their aches and pains through massage therapy. Overall helping people look their best on the outside helps them to feel their best on the inside.

Describe your treatment style in a few words:

“Look good, feel better.”

What is your favorite East Village Spa service to give?

Our seasonal massages, because I enjoy the aromas we work with specific to the season.

What is your favorite East Village Spa service to receive?

The custom spa pedicure

What is your favorite product we carry?

This summer, it is the Farmhouse Fresh “Fresh Melon” scented lotion, but it is always changing.

How do you spend your free time?

I throw AMAZING parties, teach Sunday school, love reading faith-based or inspirational books, and am a huge Denver Broncos fan!

Why should clients book with YOU?

I’m a knowledgeable, patient, and caring professional who is in-tune with my clients’ needs.

Book with Kanika online or call (515) 309-2904 to schedule!

 

Top 5 things your massage therapist wants you to know about couple’s massages

I walked through Greenwood Park yesterday past no fewer than 3 wedding parties posing for photos…wedding season is on! Between pre/post wedding relaxation and celebrating anniversaries, we help many couple’s to relax this time of year. While couple’s massages are one of our most popular offerings, this service also generates some of our most frequently asked massage questions. Over the years we’ve helped thousands of couples relax together and would love to share the top 5 things your massge therapsits wants you to know about couple’s massages:

  1. Couples massages aren’t just for romantic couples.

At East Village Spa we see mother/daughter and BFF duos in the couples room frequently. Particularly heartwarming for our LMTs  are the times our licensed massage therapists get to treat family members together when one person is looking after a loved one with an intellectual or memory impairment and chooses to relax with their family member in the same room to help them feel comfortable. A couple’s service is appropriate as long as both parties are comfortable disrobing (to whatever level they choose) in front of each other and sharing health information with their massage therapist in front of the other party.

2. Let your partner relax without judgment

During a massage, people fall asleep and snore. Your massage therapist sees that as a compliment (and if the session is geared towards relaxation massage, this is the goal!) During a couples massage, let your loved one be themselves, even if they are sawing logs next to you. One of our therapists’ pet peeves during couples massages is when one guest scolds their significant other for snoring during a session. This startles not only your partner but both of the massage therapists too. Don’t wake your sweetie, let them snore! If snoring will interfere with your ability to relax, you might consider booking your services in separate rooms.

3. Don’t stare (or glare) at your partner’s massage therapist!

Licensed massage therapists are health care providers with extensive training and high ethical standards. Nothing is more awkward than one when a guest receiving a couple’s massage stares (or in some cases, glares) at the therapist providing a service to his or her significant other. This makes us incredibly uncomfortable and self conscious. When someone stares at a massage therapist, it is difficult for us to focus on the task at hand: attending to your loved one’s muscles and tissues, watching for subtle signs of discomfort or relaxation to help us provide the best therapeutic service we can.

4. Couples massages on reality TV are far from real!

We’re amazed by the number of couples who want to hold hands during their session. If your tables are close enough for you to hold hands, then they are too close for your massage therapists to work around. Nobody wants only half of their body massaged! Hold hands on your walk to and from the treatment room, but enjoy your own relaxation space by bubble on the treatment table. Rose petals on the table might look pretty on camera but in reality, they’ll stick to you and smash into the carpet and your therapist will end up having to pick them all off as he or she goes. Lastly, you won’t be staring longingly st each other, deep in conversation. You’ll be resting quietly face down in the face cradle or face up looking at the ceiling, much safer, more comfortable positions for your neck.

5. Do you! Couples massages don’t need to be the same.

Some people think a couples massage will be perfectly synchronized, but in reality, they are completely customized for your unique preferences in pressure, technique, and focus area. For example, one person can get a sports massage and another can get a prenatal side-lying massage in a couples service. As long as the massages are the same length of time and we know in advance which services you want so we can pair you with the appropriate specialists. Some services like hot stone massage or our barefoot bars aren’t available in the couples rooms due to space and equipment availability.

Ready to book a couple’s massage? Give us a call at (515) 309-2904. Online booking isn’t available for couple’s services, but we’re happy to help over the phone. We look forward to helping you relax together! Learn more about our services at www.EVDaySpa.com.

Dads Need Day Spas!


According to an International Spa Association study, 47% of spa-goers are men! Father’s Day is a great opportunity to introduce the important men in your life to some the health and relaxation benefits of professional massage therapy, skin care, and nail grooming. The following are benefits of each service that appeal to men:

Licensed Massage Therapy: Licensed Massage Therapists (LMTs) are health care providers with hundreds of hours (most of our LMTs have well over 1000 hours) of training and maintain high standards of professional ethics. An LMT can help with general stress management by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, or relieve pain by relaxing tight muscles or addressing soft tissue  injuries with orthopedic techniques. Both relaxation and orthopedic massages have researched and proven health benefits. The American College of Physicians now recommends massage therapy as a first course of treatment for pain including low back pain.

Facials: Men truly benefit from professional facials performed by licensed estheticians (in Iowa an esthetician starts their career with 600 hours of training and accumulates hundreds of hours in additional training in skin health, product chemistry, and treatments). I’d even argue that men need these services more than women. Why? Shaving and beards! While women primarily seek professional skincare to slow signs of aging, men tend to seek skincare for irritation. Shaving can over-exfoliate skin and razor burn is uncomfortable and not the look most guys are going for. Men who wear beards experience dry, flaky skin under the beard. Even guys who rock a full beard can enjoy a facial, your esthetician can work through the beard to the skin below and focus lower on the neck. A professional skin analysis and treatment can help with these concerns. A simple but effective home care routine (sometimes just a product or two) can make a world of difference to a man’s skin and relieve discomfort. 

In addition, most facials at East Village Spa include lots of relaxing massage of the face, neck, and shoulders, which everyone loves, regardless of gender. For a man that is uncomfortable with the idea of booking a full body massage therapy treatment, a professional facial is a safe and healthy, way to experience stress relief.

Nail grooming: Most people associate a manicure (hands) or pedicure (feet) with a perfectly polished finish, but in actuality, the nail polish is the most minor part of the service and can be substituted with a healthy buff to a natural shine. Our hands and feet are some of our body’s most used and abused tools and their health is vital. Plus, everyone loves the hand or foot massage included in most services! Dry, cracked cuticles are an invitation to infection.

Healthy fingernails are a part of a well-groomed professional look and are vital for people in fields working with their hands like musicians or health providers. Safe, skilled care for cuticles and calluses and safe nail clipping to prevent discomfort or ingrown nails is an important part of foot care for athletes, especially in sports that require running. Men who work in industries with steel toe boots often experience foot discomfort and love the results of a professional pedicure. Men with mobility problems who can’t reach their own toenails especially benefit from some TLC, though if they need more than routine maintenance, a podiatrist might be a good first step.

If you want to treat dad, grandpa, or another important man in your life to a healthy spa service, stop in or purchase a gift card online (www.EVDaySpa.com). We also offer convenient online scheduling! We promise they won’t feel awkward at East Village Spa, we have a great mix of guests from teenagers to octogenarians and, YES, we see lots of men!

Running safety tips with Dr. Pulley

Cassie and Braxton at the Midnight Madness Race in 2017, our favorite event to run together.

I didn’t start running until I was in my 30s, as a lifestyle change after a health scare. My friend, Braxton Pulley, DC and owner of East Village Chiropractic, was one of my biggest supporters as I learned how to run safely. He’s also helped me through a few slumps, injuries, and disappointments. With so many of our East Village Spa guests and his chiropractic patients training for races this season, I asked him to share advice to keep you runs safe and fun!

Q: Is running safe? Research seems to disagree.

A: Running is safe within reason. You have to listen to your body and remember that pain is a way for your body to tell you something isn’t right. If you have a persistent problem while running, talk with your health care professional. It could be shoes, mechanics, or prior injuries. It has been my experience that significant safety issues usually arise when people don’t pay attention to their bodies and just try to “walk it off.”

Q: What are the most common injuries you see in your patients who are runners and what can they do to help prevent them or recover from them?

A: Hip pain-focus on stretching your hip rotators, hip flexors, and hamstrings. Knee pain-most knee pain related to running that my patients present with tends to be from the IT band on the outside of the thigh. Massage can help. Plantar fascitis-this primarily stems from lack of stretching the calf. Stretch both the gastrocnemius and the soleus to help reduce likelihood of this injury.

Q: Should I stretch before or after I run?

A: This is the age old question. Recent evidence is showing that there is no benefit to stretching beforehand and some studies show stretching before running can increase the possibility of an injury. I think the entire argument is off-base. Warm up and cool down for your runs, but stretch every single evening, regardless of whether you have worked out that day. It can take a few days for muscles to tighten up, and stretching right after a run won’t do a lot for the soreness you may have 2 days later.

Q: How can someone safely start running?

A: The key is patience and setting a long term goal. It takes awhile to train your muscles and your lungs so be patient and persistent. There are a lot o f programs out there, but I have seen the “Couch to 5k” type program work well with many of our patients.

My first 5k with Dr. Pulley and my husband. I finished with a pace over 12 minute miles, but this accomplishment was as exciting as my first half marathon. In running, every milestone is a victory!

Q: What is your advice for dealing with the setbacks that are inevitable for runners?

A: Setbacks are going to happen. Injuries, weather, motivation, life…they happen. When it comes to running, enjoy the journey. When you can’t run, keep your mind in the game by using other aerobic activities (as tolerated) like swimming, biking, rowing, etc… This will also help keep your lungs engaged. When you are ready to run again, start slowly and work your way back to where you were. I think you’ll find that you recover much quicker than you think!

You can do it!

Whether you’re contemplating starting to walk or jog or you’re a seriously competitive runner, massage therapy and chiropractic care can help you achieve your goals. I’ve been fortunate to have advice and support from Dr. Pulley in my athletic endeavors. If you can’t make your chiropractor your running buddy (which is pretty convenient, I’m not going to lie!) at least turn to them for advice.

To learn more about Dr. Pulley’s services, click here. If you’d like to schedule an athletic massage at East Village Spa to support or reward your training, click here.

The Midnight Madness Run in 2016

FAQ: Who is your BEST massage therapist?

If I had to pick one question that makes the front desk cringe the most, it would be “But really, who is your BEST massage therapist?” First of all, asking me that question is like asking someone with kids “Which one is the best, surely all of your kids aren’t good, right?” Second, this is a totally subjective question and the therapist that is best for me one day is not best for me another day. And the therapist who uses a style I’m least fond of may be our most popular.

I liken it to music. If I asked 100 people at random to tell me the best band that ever played at Wells Fargo Arena, answers would range from The Eagles, Garth Brooks, Drake, Lorde, Slipknot, Green Day and more… Some people would be annoyingly passionate about their response, believing it to be the One True Answer.Also, musical tastes change over time and even from day to day. Just because you had an incredible experience for your first massage (which is what we hope for every single massage client anywhere, ever!) doesn’t mean it is the only type of massage for you. If this were the case with music, I’d still be listening exclusively to New Kids On The Block (Anyone else think Jonathan Knight was underrated?)

Our music tastes change with our immediate circumstances. My background work music consists of mopey 90s grunge while my run mix includes songs I’d NEVER admit to having purchased on iTunes. Same for massage styles. Sometimes you need a relaxing, nurturing hot stone massage. Sometimes your chiropractor sends you to a massage therapist for focused work to rehabilitate a shoulder injury. Sometimes I want a therapist to let me wallow and cry when life is stressful, sometimes I need a therapist to encourage and motivate me to keep up with my workouts.I hope this makes sense. While all of the massage therapists at East Village Spa can offer a relaxation massage, or can focus on your back/neck/shoulders (This is what 90% of our guests request, I promise we’re all skilled at this!) we might go about it differently. Think of Taylor Swift’s 1989. Love it or hate it, when Ryan Adams covered the album in his own style, her songs gained a new fan base who otherwise would not have listened. Same songs, totally different approach.

I hope this encourages you to branch out. I seek diversity and skill in my massage therapy team. I love all of my providers, but for different reasons. If you aren’t thrilled with one style, it’s fine to “change the station” and try something new, but do remember that just because a style is best for you, or your friend, it isn’t perfect for everyone and that’s ok!

Ready to try a new style of massage, or a new therapist? Click here to learn about our licensed service providers and click here to book!

 

Get to know the Administrative Team!

Our front desk crew has years of experience and works together to ensure guests have the best visit possible and that our service providers have what they need to perform treatments that exceed expectations.

Cassie Sampson, BA, LMT, Spa Director, Community Relations, Misplacer of things

Cassie opened East Village Spa in 2008.  With the spa’s growth through the years (from 3 to 10 treatment rooms!) she primarily oversees the general day-to-day operations of the spa including social media and marketing. She occasionally fills in for our massage therapists as needed and does an annual charity “massage-a-thon” in February. In her free time you’ll find her running, biking, swimming and snuggling her old hound dogs. Cassie also designs jewelry to raise money for animal charities (check it out at the spa!) She’s a member of the Des Moines AM Rotary Club and serves on the South Suburban YMCA board and chair of the Iowa Massage Therapy Board. Cassie is passionate about elevating the massage therapy profession and educating the public about the benefits of licensed, skilled massage therapy. You’ll usually find her at our front desk as she loves getting to know everyone’s clients (and because that’s where we keep the chocolate!)

Cassie’s the best person to contact if you are looking for speakers for your organization.

Kelly Parker, LMT, Spa Director, Boss Lady, Knows where everything is

Kelly originally joined our team in 2009 as our managing massage therapist.  Kelly’s travels took her to a position with the Four Seasons where she further fine-tuned her massage and customer service skills and became an expert in the Farmhouse Fresh product line.  Kelly returned to Iowa to rejoin our team in 2014 as our front desk manager (and Cassie’s “Life Manager.”)   In 2018 she was promoted to Spa Director, since she’s truly the glue that keeps everything together. Kelly loves live music and is an active member of the Historic East Village board. She’s often out and about in the neighborhood working on fundraising projects and supporting local shops and restaurants. While Kelly doesn’t accept massage bookings, she will happily help out in a pinch so sometimes you’ll see her in the treatment room!

Kelly’s the best person to contact with inquiries about group bookings, non-profit donations, and general spa inquiries, or troubleshooting your online account or order concerns.

Molly Kinsey, Licensed Esthetician, Guest Services Manager

Molly will help you plan your spa day, make sure you remember your appointments, and become your best friend in the process. She’s a licensed esthetician and sees guests by appointment on Tuesday afternoons and fills in occasionally to help in an emergency.  She LOVES all esthetics services but especially waxing. She’s happy to make skincare recommendations at the front desk and knows our Rhonda Allison line in and out.

Molly’s a great contact for scheduling and changing appointments, troubleshooting your online orders, gift cards, and other general spa service inquiries. She’s also the best person at the desk for skin care retail suggestions.

Cori Hugins, Licensed Cosmetologist, Guest Services Assistant

Cori is a licensed cosmetologist who has also graduated from massage therapy school.  She has been providing excellent nail care for our team since 2016 and in June 2017 transitioned to a full time position as guest services assistant because of her excellent customer service skills and calming nature. Cori still sees nail care clients on a limited basis, you can book with her on Thursday afternoons and she fills in as needed to assist guests with safe, skilled manicures and pedicures.

Cori is a great person to suggest products for body, hand, and foot care and answer your questions about manicures and pedicures. She’s often the person who will help you schedule appointments and pick up gift cards.

You can reach our front desk team by:

E-mail us at EVSpaDesk@gmail.com. We check our e-mail frequently during business hours and will respond ASAP.

Phone: (515) 309-2904

You can also create an account and book online at www.EVDaySpa.com Let us know if you have questions or would like assistance with your account!

Get to know Karina Levy, Licensed Massage Therapist

Karina Levy joined the East Village Spa team in March, 2018 when we recruited her to fill an open position, knowing she was the perfect fit for our guests. Karina ‘s experience as a professional ballet dancer and founder of a non-profit that provides massage therapy to individuals who have ALS are two things that create her uniquely relaxing and therapeutic style of bodywork.

Where and when did you receive your professional training?

I received massage therapy training at the Iowa College of Natural Health (Iowa School of Beauty) in 2012 in Ankeny. I have a BA from Iowa State in history and religious studies and I’m working on my master’s in history. I’ve taken several advanced trainings including Myofascial Release by John Barnes, Orthopedic and Sports Massage by James Waslawski, and cupping.

What are your specialties?

Orthopedic massage, working with people who have serious illnesses like ALS, prenatal massages. I love to give relaxing services like body scrubs and hot stone massages as well.

Why did you choose this field?

I was a professional ballet dancer for 12 years, massage therapy helped me with injury and maintaining healthy muscles through my career.

Describe your massage style in 3 words:

Therapeutic, Deliberate, Quiet

What is your favorite East Village Spa service to give?

Either the EV Signature or Athletic Edge Massage

What is your favorite East Village Spa service to receive?

Same! Depending on the day, either the EV Signature or Athletic Edge Massage

What is your favorite retail item?

I LOVE bath salts so I’d say the Kneipp salts or Rapid fire for injuries.

What are some fun facts about you?

I’ve lived, taught, and performed ballet in Denmark, New York City, Chicago and many other places. I love to read and I’m a history nerd. I love wine, cheese, and strong coffee.

Why should guests book with YOU?

I respect your life story and health needs, whatever they are that day. I do my best to listen to your body and cater to your needs every session.

What are guests saying about Karina?

“From the instant my massage started, I knew I was literally in good hands. Karina used a nice, firm pressure throughout the massage but her technique was so slow that it didn’t cause pain and was super relaxing. She let me rest quietly and my mind drifted away. Before my session I was stiff and achy from swimming, but I left the spa with greater range of motion and a much better attitude!”

To book a session with Karina, click here. Please select “Specific therapist” from the drop down menu, then select her name to see her availability. This will register your booking as a request for Karina.

Flower Power Spring Featured Aromatherapy Blends

Every season we’re thrilled to bring a new features menu. For Spring 2018, our team selected three aromatherapy blends to help with common spring concerns. When you schedule our Flower Power massage, body scrub, or facial, you’ll get to select from one of the following three essential oil blends to enjoy during your service and take home as our gift!

Spring Cleaning Blend: Toning and astringent essential oils support lymphatic drainage, increase circulation and boost immune function. Choose this to feel refreshed and revitalized.  This blend includes lemon, lime, geranium, and rosemary essential oils.

Breathe Deep: Clear and protect your respiratory tract and sinuses, soothe congestion and coughs. This is a perfect blend for someone who is experiencing seasonal allergies. We don’t recommend visiting the spa when you have a cold, but the oil you take home will be perfect to keep in your medicine cabinet! Includes lavender, frankincense, peppermint, and eucalyptus essential oils.

Flower Power Blend: This uplifting flower and citrus blend will help give you courage to say “no” to some of the spring events, occasions, and obligations filling your calendar. The energizing properties in the blend help give you a pick-me-up when you feel like your schedule is running you instead of you running your schedule. Includes lemon, rose, and a hint of peppermint essential oils.

Scent is a powerful tool and we like to think that by associating these scents with a nurturing East Village Spa Service, when you enjoy your product at home your mind take a mini trip back to your relaxing visit at the spa. Learn more and schedule our seasonal features here. (Flower Power features are available March- May 2018, after May 2018, this link will take you to whatever our current seasonal features are!)

Our Flower Power Facial includes not only our aromatherapy blend, but a 12-flower mask and cold marble stones in your facial massage to reduce puffiness and help with sinus pain.

What is Reiki and why should I try it?

Brandi Munch, a licensed massage therapist and certified yoga instructor, offers Reiki (pronounced Ray-kee) energy work for relaxation at East Village Spa. Brandi answered a few frequently asked questions about Reiki. Brandi was attuned to Reiki in June 2016 by Reiki Master Erika Nielsen.

What is Reiki?

Reiki is an ancient form of energy work that clears your energy and removes blocks to bring you greater health and wellness. Think of acupuncture without the needles. Reiki gently encourages you to heal from within.

What does Reiki feel like? Are there any risks or side effects?

Reiki does no harm and the only side effect is relaxation. It can be given during traditional, hands-on bodywork or be given hands-off. Reiki feels different for everyone, but a lot of the feedback I have received is that my hands feel warm. Others say they can feel energy radiating through them in various ways. Some don’t feel anything at all except relaxation. There is no right or wrong way to feel.

Is Reiki a massage? Can you include Reiki in a traditional massage?

Reiki can be incorporated into massage but I find it is strongest during a specific Reiki session. In a Reiki-only session, the practitioner is “hand’s-off” and the client would be resting on the table in comfortable clothing or undressed to your comfort under the sheet and blanket.

Who benefits from Reiki? Do you feel Reiki or massage therapy are more beneficial?

Reiki is for everyone (and so is massage!) I would recommend a Reiki session for those with high-stress levels, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, those who feel stagnant, who are looking to clear their vibrational frequency, or clear their emotions. Reiki AND massage are both important self-care tools.

How do I book a Reiki session with Brandi?

You can call (515) 309-2904 to schedule a 30 or 50 minute standalone Reiki session or book online. If you’d like to incorporate Reiki into a massage therapy treatment, we suggest booking an 80 minute massage and requesting Brandi. Please let us know in advance you prefer to integrate Reiki into your massage session we suggest booking a 30 minute Reiki session and a 60 minute massage session back-to-back, requesting Brandi for each.

Top 5 reasons to get a winter pedicure: Your freezing feet will thank you!

“Nobody seems my toenails in the winter,” is no excuse to let your foot care go during the cold months according to Lindsay Crow, a licensed cosmetologist and esthetician at East Village Spa. Lindsay strongly believes that foot and nail care is a year round health necessity. She shared her top 5 reasons to take care of your tootsies with a safe, professional pedicure this winter.

1. Cuticle and nail oil is a must for cold, dry weather. Natural oils like shea butter, avocado, and jojoba are the best types to use for hydrating nails and cuticles to prevent small cracks and openings in the nail which can lead to infections, hang nails, and ingrowns. These oils also strengthen the natural nail. We think about cuticle oils on our hands, but we forget about them for our feet.

2. A winter pedi is a perfect chance to treat your nails while taking a break from polish. It is ok to be bare! Nails are made of a tough protective protein called keratin. Nails do not breathe, but putting polish onregularly without a break can lock in and trap bacteria, fungus, yeast, mold, and mildes that can form under the nail plate. Podiatrist Erin Nelson from Des Moines University taught our team during a recent training that if you have unwanted growths, polish could trap them in, speeding along their progression. It is also good to take a polish break before a visit to your physician, podiatrist, or dermatologist so they can inspect nails for fungus, ingrowns, and melanoma. We can always buff your natural nails to a shine if you are willing to take the bare nail plunge!

3. Professional, safe nail trimming and filing helps prevent ingrowns, excessive skin overgrowth, and helps keep nails from catching onto those fuzzy socks and tearing. A licensed nail care professional can help teach you the best way to clip and file nails and can help identify concerns that might warrant a visit to the podiatrist.

4. A pedicure is a great opportunity for extra TLC to clean the unwanted dirt and debris that easily gets caught under toenails and between toes. People can also experience issues if they don’t properly dry between their toes, especially before putting on socks. For some people, especially guests with injuries, who are pregnant or aging, it is hard or impossible to reach your own toes! Our nail technicians take care of that while you relax.

5. A pedicure can be a time to relax and recharge your batteries. Enjoy a cup of hot tea, get an amazing foot massage, and do something that is good for your physical AND mental health.

Click here to book a pedicure with Lindsay or any of our great nail technicians this winter. Not ready to go bare but want a polish that dries immediately? Book a Shellac pedicure and you’ll be ready to put on your boots before you go.