How do massage therapists manage their own pain?

One of the most frequently asked questions I heard when I was practicing massage was “how often do YOU get a massage?” As massage therapists, we learn to get a good read on our bodies and learn what works well to prevent or manage our own pain.  Some of the LMTs on our team shared what works best for them, and their favorite referrals.

Camdine: I use a Lacrosse ball on my hips, back, and neck to massage painful spots. Camdine also uses locally produced Rapid Fire to reduce pain.

Julie: Daily stretches, epsom salt and Kneipp arnica bath soaks 3x week, a glass of warm Pure Inventions Tranquility tea (with magnesium) before bed, Rapid Fire to control small areas of pain, regular massages and chiropractic care as needed.

Julie’s favorite nighttime  drink is the Pure Inventions Tranquility which contains chamomile, passion flower, and magnesium.

Jamee: I use acupressure as a cure for everything but death, and I haven’t died yet. I see my personal massage therapist (co-worker Tiffany) regularly. I also purchased a Yoga trapeze that is a miracle for low back pain.

Heather: Massage 2-3x a month, regular visits with chiropractor Dr. Pulley (East Village Chiropractic)

Our employees massage each other and also see therapists outside the spa when their co-workers are booked. We all know the importance of “practicing what we preach!”

Hannah M: Staying active after a hard day reduces tension for me.

Jamee (cont’d): …On second thought, I should get a med alert bracelet made up that says in an emergency, call my massage therapist (Tiffany.)

Brandi: Yoga and using a foam roller, a 30 minute daily walk, get adjusted at Shine Chiropractic weekly, Fadeaway Flotation monthly.

Tisha: Rapid fire for aches, pains, and headaches, cupping therapy, foam roller, yoga, and a monthly massage (more often when needed!)

Most of our employees swear by Rapid Fire for muscle aches and tension headaches.

Conny: I’m not in pain often, but if it happens, I either overworked something or an emotional issue came up. For physical pain, I use rapid fire and a soak in a hot bath with epsom salts, receive massage twice a month. A good book, a glass of wine, and a friend for heartache.

 

Conny is especially partial to Kneipp bath salts because like her, they are from Germany.

Cassie: The older I get the more my joints act up, especially after running, biking, and swimming. In addition to regular massage, I see Dr. Pulley for chiropractic care when I overdo it or something feels “off.” I have done regular pilates at Gigi’s Pilates for about 6 years. Sometimes stretching isn’t the answer (or isn’t the only answer). The strengthening techniques in Pilates really help my low back and knees from screaming after longer runs.

If I miss to many pilates sessions, my body rebels and I get low back spasms that make it hard to run. I have learned the importance of strength training to keep everything working like it should!

Want to try massage therapy or one of our favorite pain relieving products for your own aches and pains? Stop into East Village Spa at 601 East Locust or book online!

Managing Workplace Stress

One of my best friends had been solidly in the “Massage is weird, I’ll never get a massage” camp for years. He finally confessed that this year he tried massage and has been getting them regularly ever since. I asked him what prompted him to try, when all of my prodding for years didn’t convince him. His reply “work was getting to be too much and I didn’t know what else to do to manage it.”

Even if you love your job, work can be stressful! In fact, 65% of Americans cited work as the #1 contributor to stress in their lives (2012 APA’s Annual Stress in America Study). The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has increased focus on stress as a workplace safety and health concern.

Even working in a spa, which would seem to be a low-stress job (to people who don’t work in a spa!) requires our team to carefully monitor their emotions and manage stress levels, both at home and at work. We see people at their most vulnerable and need to be sure we can be calm and present with them so we’ve become not only experts in relieving stress for others, but in practicing self care to keep our stress at bay and not absorb the stress from clients we’re working with.

At the spa, we hear anecdotal evidence from our guests that stressful issues at work (unclear demands, limited growth opportunities, time management concerns, supervisors, even workplace bullies) are a main reason they visit the spa. While our providers can’t change your work situation, we can offer coping mechanisms. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) studied the effects of massage therapy on ICU nurses and found statistically significant benefits to nurses who received massage therapy to manage stress over those who did not.

A Canadian pilot study of seated workplace massage showed short-term benefits of 20 minute weekly seated massage on employees in stressful work environments and suggested further research is needed to see long-term benefits of such a program. The Touch Research Institute of Miami showed that a 15 minute chair massage was more beneficial than a typical 15 minute break in reducing anxiety and also improved cognitive performance. Forbes recommends that executives regularly receive massage to reduce workplace stress, increase productivity, and increase sleep.

Work stress is serious! Don’t take it from us, take it from the American Psychological Association. This is a great article on tips to manage your work stress from the pros.

When it feels like too much, sometimes a visit to the spa can help you feel like yourself again, whether it is a stress relieving massage, facial, or both. Learn more about our services or schedule time to refresh and de-stress here.

 

FAQ: When should I come back?

A question we’re frequently asked is: How often should I get a (insert your favorite spa service here)? As far as how often you should get spa services, it depends on the service and why you are receiving it.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I GET A FACIAL?

  • For general relaxation and routine skin wellness: typically a monthly facial will suffice, though we understand sometimes you have to stretch it out to every other month or quarterly. As long as you are using the products your esthetician recommends in between visits you should be fine. At a minimum, each season it is good to get checked out in case you need to change your routine due to changes in the weather and your activities.
  • For peels or Minus 10 protocols: you will need to visit in shorter intervals (perhaps 2-3 weeks) based on the treatment goal and where in your skin cell turnover cycle your esthetician wants you to repeat the service.
  • For acne facials like our “Clear Relief” facial: a monthly facial to assess skin, perform extractions, and do a deeper cleanse along with recommended home care between visits is necessary until the acne clears up.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I GET A MASSAGE?

You can typically get massage therapy as often as you’d like, but any of us who have spent a day getting massage in school or testing massage students or job applicants can attest that there IS such a thing as too much massage! Your body will let you know when you’ve had enough! A few good suggestions for spacing your services:

  • General stress management and relaxation massages: These are fine in whatever interval you can manage with your schedule. We have clients in weekly (sometimes twice weekly), lots of every other week and monthly massage clients, as well as some who are able to treat themselves on special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.
  • Sports massage: If you’re training for an event, regular massage at weekly or every-other week intervals are helpful to prevent injury and keep you on your training schedule. The type of massage your therapist recommends during training, shortly before an event (1-2 days) and shortly after an event will have different session goals, techniques, and duration.
  • Injury or specific focus work massages: The frequency will vary for these services based on what you and your therapist are addressing. It is possible to overwork an area and for most kinds of massage, we don’t want to further inflame an area so your therapist will suggest rest periods between massage. Typically we’d ask a client to come more frequently at the beginning of treatment for a specific issue until it has subsided (2 sessions in a week is not uncommon at this stage), then maintenance massages. Your therapist will gauge frequency based on how long the benefits of the treatment seem to last.
  • If you are seeing multiple providers to treat the same condition: We often partner with chiropractors and physical therapists for greater treatment effectiveness. Do make sure your massage therapist knows all of the treatments you’re receiving for the injury or health concern (i.e. physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, etc…) and make sure your other providers know you’re receiving massage so you don’t over treat a condition and all providers are on the same page with scheduling service frequency.

HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO WAX?

Wax intervals vary greatly depending on the person, hair texture, ethnicity, hormones, and heredity play a role in how often you’ll need to book your follow-up waxes. It is important to grow hair to at least 1/4 inch before waxing to make sure the hair catches in the wax.

  • Facial waxing:Typically 3-4 weeks is common between waxing for brows, upper lip, and chin.
  • Brazilian/bikini, back and chest waxing: 4-6 weeks is a typical interval for Brazilian, back, and chest waxing.
  • Leg waxing: Leg hair needs a bit more time to grow in enough to wax, most people need to go 6-8 weeks once their hair is on a good growth schedule.

Are you ready for a rebook or looking to schedule your first service? Learn more and book online. Don’t hesitate to give us a call with your questions at (515) 309-2904.

 

 

Talk to your doctor about massage

When I was 22 (in about 2002), I picked up a small item from the floor as someone called my name. When I turned my head to see who it was, my neck caught. For a month, I had a stiff neck. Growing up, we never used chiropractic or massage therapy so my first instinct was to go to a walk-in clinic doctor. The doctor briefly assessed me, then told me I had arthritis and needed long term pain medication to treat this condition he presumed would plague me for life. That was that. I was too inexperienced to question him, but the visit literally took 10 minutes and I left thinking I had serious arthritis at 22. I took the medication for months, even though the pain had subsided after just a few days. When the medication was pulled from the market after dangerous side-effects emerged, my pain never returned.

I haven’t had any other issues related to that little injury and I truly believe, knowing what I know now as a massage therapist, that a trip to a good chiropractor coupled with a massage would have managed the pain I experienced at 22 just as effectively as the medication. Fun fact: that experience is one of the reasons I became a massage therapist!

I believe that had I experienced the same kind of injury today, doctors would have responded differently. In fact, a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2012 showed chiropractic care and specific exercise were more effective than NSAIDs or Narcotics for treating neck pain.

For acute or subacute low back pain, one of the most common reasons for physician visits, physicians are changing their tune as well. The American College of Physicians recommends in a 2017 report that physicians FIRST recommend treatment with heat, massage therapy, spinal manipulation, or acupuncture BEFORE resorting to pain medications. For chronic low back pain, physicians are instructed to recommend rehabilitation, spinal manipulation, stress management, exercises like yoga or Tai Chi, in addition to other non-pharmaceutical interventions.

Where does massage therapy fit into the mix? Many studies have shown massage therapy to be an effective treatment for pain, especially low back, neck, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and more. A summary of some of the research is available through the National Centers for Complementary and Integrative Health. The Touch Research Institute has many studies about massage therapy available online as well. Because more research is always beneficial and because the guidelines for physicians are evolving, you can make a difference.

If you have had positive experience with  massage therapy for pain management, be sure to let your physician know what you are doing. It is always important to let your physician know all of the wellness services you are receiving so they have the whole picture of your treatment. Because some are less familiar with the benefits of massage therapy or see it as “merely” a pampering service, hearing first hand from their patients about the relief they get from massage is helpful in shaping how they might approach others with similar conditions or how they might answer questions for patients who broach the subject of massage for pain relief.

Haven’t tried massage for pain? We’d love to visit with you! Visit our website to learn more about our service and providers, or Book a service with one of our experienced, licensed massage therapists to see if massage therapy could be part of the solution for your own wellness and pain management.

Top 5 reasons we love Rapid Fire

Rapid Fire, locally developed and produced pain relief spray and roll-on products, have been gaining popularity in Iowa in recent years. In fact, Rapid Fire works so well that when our massage therapists attended a conference last year, they all came back begging me to replace our long-time, big name (that I shall not mention) pain relief spray with Rapid Fire. I dragged my heels for a bit, but kept stealing sprays from their Rapid Fire for my own aches and pains so I figured we needed to have this awesome product at the spa since it was what we were all using, even though we had shelves full of another product that was easily available. Here’s why we love it:

  1. Headache relief: This stuff is potent, so if you’re using it for headache relief at the temples, apply a tiny amount to your finger tips first, then massage into your temples and scalp. If your pain is at the base of your skull, feel free to spray or use your roll on. Be sure to wash your hands after touching it so you don’t get it in your eyes!
  2. Pure ingredients: Rapid Fire is made with wintergreen, a natural form of aspirin, peppermint for a counter irritant (to draw your attention away from underlying pain), spearmint and camphor which are analgesics (numbing agents). The active ingredients are blended in coconut oil which slows the absorption so it lasts longer than most products. It doesn’t contain alcohol found in many drug store pain relievers because alcohol makes the effect wear off faster.
  3. It passed the “Disney Test!”: Kelly suffers from horrible migraines and she swears that Rapid Fire is how she survived long days at the park on the rides, standing in lines, and walking for miles.
  4. It reduces soreness after deep pressure massages: If you feel like you need firm pressure to enjoy massage but experience soreness the day after, ask your massage therapist to use a spray of Rapid Fire over the area he or she worked to reduce inflammation and the likelihood of pain the next day. (As an LMT, I’d be remiss if I didn’t add that you can also ask your therapist to use less pressure, but we know not every client is cool with lighter pressure, though sometimes reducing the pressure a bit is more effective!)
  5. It is locally crafted by an individual who is incredibly passionate (maybe even a bit intense) about pain relief: Kevin Burns, a central Iowa MMA fighter, created an essential oil blend to help with his own pain, but quickly found himself helping other fighters. Eventually his business was born. There is something really satisfying about using a product that is so passionately and whole-heartedly backed by the person who created it, especially when the product actually works as well as he claims it does. Learn about Kevin and the company here.

In pain? Book a massage! Before your service starts, ask your massage therapist to grab a bottle of Rapid Fire to use on any sore areas. In a hurry? Stop in and ask our front desk to let you sample the product to see if it is the right pain reliever for you!

 

5 “Awkward” summer issues to mention to your spa provider

We’ve all been there, you show up for a spa service and realize you are wearing your stinky sandals, or you spent a day at a pool party and got some extra sun a couple of days before your massage. The good news is it is fine, and expected, for our guests to mention these and other common summer issues to their provider BEFORE the session so we can make accommodations!

Stinky Feet Situations:

If you are worried your feet are not as fresh as they could be and it is going to bother you so much that you can’t just relax, it is fine to mention it to your provider before hand! While you’re getting ready, they can prepare some hot towels with tea tree oil to freshen up your feet so you can relax into your session! Other spas and massage therapists are likely to have solutions as well.

Plantar Warts:

Tell your therapist if you have plantar warts, especially because some rooms are pretty dark and we don’t always see them. While plantar warts are not super likely to spread between people in a massage situation, we don’t want to spread on your feet and we know they might be painful to massage. Your therapist can also do deep compression work on your feet or hit reflex points through a sheet over the immediate area (assuming it isn’t painful) so not to worry, you’ll still get a great foot massage and we promise we won’t be weirded out! (Get more info about plantar warts here.)

Post-sun flaking skin:

Summer is the season of “bonus exfoliation” in massage treatments. Dry, sun-exposed skin will sometimes ball up as we massage the back, but fear not because we have a solution. Once this starts, we’ll add some extra oil to the back and buff it with a dry towel, this usually takes care of the layer of dead skin so we can get back to massage! If you suspect this will happen, let us know in advance so we can start the session this way and your massage can have a better flow to it. If you have big pieces of peeling skin or a serious burn, that is different. In that case, it is best to reschedule your massage with plenty of advanced notice or ask your therapist to avoid the area.

Foot or nail fungus:

Let your therapist know before the service starts. While people with a healthy immune system have better luck avoiding person-to-person infection from a fungus, people who are pregnant or who have certain health concerns may be especially susceptible to infection so they will want to avoid the area or work with gloves. If you are booking a nail service but have a nail fungus, your nail technician can complete all of the service safely except that if you want polish, you will have to bring your own or purchase a bottle of polish and any base or top coat you wish to have used for the safety of other guests. Unfortunately, a pedicure can’t cure a fungal infection. Learn more here.

Mystery Rashes:

If you have a rash that is more than on just one small area of the body away from where your therapist or esthetician will be working, please reschedule your service. If you have poison ivy, you definitely need to reschedule! The risk of transmitting poison ivy to your therapist and to many clients they see is too great. Please give as much notice as possible and believe us, we’ll thank you for rescheduling. Click here for our blog post on poison ivy.

Whew, see, that wasn’t so awkward, was it? It is important to have an open dialogue with your massage therapist, esthetician, and nail technicians. They are experts at what they do and are eager to help you feel comfortable, but they need good communication and feedback from you to make that possible. Ready to schedule a visit? Click here!

 

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 Brandi, LMT

Brandi Munch, Licensed Massage Therapist, yoga instructor, and reiki practitioner joined our team in February, 2017. Brandi has a loyal following of clients seeking a peaceful, quiet relaxation service. She spent 10 years as a social worker prior to seeking a calmer field where she could truly make a difference in the lives of her clients.

How long have you been in the industry?

I completed my massage therapy education at Aveda in 2016 and have been working full time in the field ever since. I became a certified yoga instructor in 2017.

What are your specialties?

Relaxation-focused massage sessions and reiki. I also offer prenatal and hot stone massage.

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.

Describe your treatment style in 3 words:

Nurturing, restorative, peaceful

What is your favorite East Village Spa service to give?

I love the indulgent foot massages we offer because we incorporate yummy scented products!

What is your favorite East Village Spa service to receive?

I love all of them!

What is your favorite retail product?

Rapid Fire locally produced pain relief spray

What do you do in your free time?

I spend time with my old grumpy puggle, Sophie. We love to be outside exploring trails and parks.

Why should guests visit YOU?

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

What are guests saying about Brandi?

“Brandi takes such good care of me. This is my regular “me time” spot! I feel so much better after going to her services.”

“She is an excellent massage therapist. She knows the muscles and how to relieve stress and pain. She is nice and responsive.”

“Friendly, professional and simply amazing. Explains everything she does so I understand the massage and the good it does for my mind and body.”

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.

 

 

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?

Massage Updates

We want to let you know some exciting massage therapy updates for our team!

Teresa, a massage therapist at East Village Spa, provides a craniosacral massage to Kelly.Our long time LMT, Teresa, is moving to Dubuque. Before she could finish her last month with us, she broke her foot and has to bid farewell to the spa sooner than any of us had hoped.

We expect she’ll be back for frequent visits and if any of you are ever in Dubuque, you can book an appointment with her at Body and Soul Spa where she’ll be providing her healing massages to the lucky people there!  She wants to thank her clients for 4 wonderful years.

heathereastvillagespamassageHeather Brown is a soon-to-be graduate of Body Wisdom School with a natural gift. Heather brings many of the same characteristics, both as a therapist and a person, to our team that we loved about Teresa and after receiving a massage from Heather, Teresa said she would be very confident referring her clients to her.  Heather will join us in Mid-December, but we promise she is worth the wait, when I received a massage from her this week, I almost shrieked with happiness because her firm pressure, divine neck work, kind spirit, and total concern for my comfort and experience were the EXACT qualities what we hoped to find in a therapist to help continue care for Teresa’s clients and new spa guests.

TwoFeetDeepMassageEastVillageSpa1To help accommodate more guests while we wait for Heather to join our team, our dear friend and former East Village Spa Massage Therapist Allison Peterson will be helping out.  She’ll be at the spa weekday hours starting next week through early December.  This is a special treat for her clients who have been missing her!  She’s a great fit for athletes, people in need of pampering, or people who love Two Feet Deep barefoot massage.

 

eastvillagespa-kellyjo_smMany of our guests don’t realize this, but both Kelly Parker (pictured), our manager, and I are licensed massage therapists.  Kelly initially got her massage license in 2009 and I received mine in 2005.  Because of our “running-the-spa duties,” we no longer accept pre-booked appointments but we both are excited to jump in and help out in a pinch, so you might see us donning our massage aprons more often in the next month or two.

Stay tuned for more updates as we add a new therapist to our team before Thanksgiving. To book your appointment, call (515) 309-2904 or visit our website!