Customized massage for mental health care

Years ago, I was seeing a spa guest for frozen shoulder pain. She’d been in a few times previously. This visit was different. I tapped at the door to see if she was ready, and she was wrapped in the sheet, standing and sobbing. I offered her some water and sat with her on the massage table. When she was able to slow her breathing, she explained that she was having a panic attack. She had just had an MRI for her shoulder a few days prior and had a panic attack in the machine. She said it was terrifying. When she put her face in the face cradle of my massage table, the same feeling washed over her and triggered a panic attack.

We decided we’d continue with the treatment, but we modified it to the sidelying position (think sleeping on your side) on the table with the sheet covering her, but draped lightly with her arms and feet out so she felt free to move. This position made all the difference and we did sidelying massage for the next few visits.

The sidelying massage position is helpful for people who experience claustrophobia

Guests prone to anxiety or panic attacks may also benefit from shorter sessions and slower techniques until they get used to the idea of massage. Sometimes faster massage techniques can be too stimulating for someone who is already on alert. Taking slow, deep breaths before and during the session can help as well. It is also helpful to ask your therapist what you can expect during the session (I call this a “road map”) so you can relax your mind instead of wondering what is coming next. Know that you have the right to ask your therapist to stop or take a break.

Slower massage techniques are sometimes helpful for people who are anxious.

Some guests, especially those who have a history of abuse, no longer feel comfortable in their own bodies. Massage can be a safe way to experience touch and massage therapists can even share self-massage techniques to help with stress management and to reconnect an individual with his or her body (American Massage Therapy Association.)

Some clients who have experienced abuse feel more comfortable receiving services where they can be fully clothed. Treatments we offer that can be done without disrobing include foot massage, assisted stretching, Craniosacral therapy, acupressure, Shiatsu, and even facials or nail services. All of these include safe touch and allow guests to control the session. They can stop or modify the service at any time. It is important for guests to share their needs with their provider so their provider can check in more frequently to ensure comfort or see if adjustments can be made, allowing their clients more control of the session.

Many massage and spa services can be performed fully clothed. Talk to your provider about your comfort level disrobing. He or she should be able to modify the service.

Guests who experience PTSD also benefit from massage therapy. A 2012 study found that veterans who received massage therapy reported significant reductions in physical pain, tension, irritability, anxiety, and depression (Collinge et al, 2012). Again, it is important for massage therapists to ensure guests are in complete control of the session. Therapists should ensure adequate time to address questions before and during the session. Guests should feel comfortable speaking up, whether they need more or less pressure, a change in position or technique, or to take a break or stop a session entirely. At East Village Spa, we understand the need for massage therapy to address PTSD for our military personnel. We offer a specially priced “Military Massage” to make massage therapy more accessible.

Whether you are living with a mental illness or are anxious about trying massage therapy, know that modifications can be made to ensure your comfort. Your massage therapist is not a mental health counselor, but he or she should be a good listener, able to suggest or accommodate changes to your session so you feel entirely in control. If a therapist is unable or unwilling to honor your needs, or if you have had an uncomfortable experience in the past with massage therapy, consider trying it again with a different therapist. Communicating your needs and preferences before the session is essential to ensuring you will get the massage you deserve.

Learn about the our massage therapists here. If you’d like to discuss the options that would be best for you, feel free to call us at (515) 309-2904! We would be happy to help you find the best service and providers for your unique needs.

Resource: Collinge W, Kahn J, Soltysik R. Promoting reintegration of National Guard veterans and their partners using a self-directed program of integrative therapies: a pilot study. Mil Med. 2012;177(12):1477–1485. doi:10.7205/milmed-d-12-00121

Rosacea Awareness

April is Rosacea Awareness Month. Many people don’t understand rosacea, which is frequently confused with sensitive skin. According to Shannon Esau of Rhonda Allison, “Rosacea is a chronic and progressive disorder that impacts 16 million Americans. Rosacea will typically present as redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead that will come and go. It is a complex condition, with three stages of progressed symptoms.”

More progressed rosacea with bumps and thickening of the skin.

Mild rosacea causes some redness or flushing that is exacerbated by certain topical products, improper skin care, some foods, alcohol, drugs, or other triggers. According to the Mayo Clinic, more progressed stages of rosacea can lead to bumps that look like acne, a thickening of the skin on the nose leading to a bulbous appearance, and eye issues. Rosacea is not caused by poor hygiene. It may be hereditary, but people with fair skin with sun damage, people who drink or smoke may be more at risk.

Things to avoid

Rosacea symptoms may be lessened by avoiding triggers. This can include using a sunscreen daily (which you should do anyway), reducing sugar, and stopping smoking. Studies show that alcohol consumption may cause rosacea or worsen symptoms for some people, though it is important to note someone who never drinks can also develop rosacea.

People with rosacea should also avoid “scrubbing” their skin or using manual exfoliation (gritty) products. These can cause irritation which may worsen symptoms. A product like Rhonda Allison’s Mandelic Arginine serum can gently rejuvenate skin without an aggressive scrub.

Managing Symptoms

Rhonda Allison Skincare

In addition to avoiding triggers that can worsen symptoms, proper skincare is essential to treating rosacea. For more severe symptoms, people may wish to seek assistance from a dermatologist.

At East Village Spa, we offer Rhonda Allison professional skincare which has several options to help ease rosacea symptoms.

Sensitive Skin Complex: This serum supports inflamed, irritated, infection-prone skin while providing a high degree of environmental protection. This product also eases facial redness and burning.

Creamy Milk Cleanser: Formulated for sensitive and traumatized skin, gentle with milk proteins to soothe and hydrate.

C-Stem Cell: This complex strengthens skin and protects against environmental stress.

Milk Mask: A cooling, calming, and hydrating mask

Wasabi Mask: It may be surprising that wasabi would be an appropriate ingredient for sensitive skin and rosacea, but this mask purifies and hydrates acne and rosacea-prone skin.

If you have concerns about your skin, you can visit with a licensed esthetician for more guidance, regular facials and proper home care can make a world of difference in your skin health. To book a facial with one of our licensed estheticians, click here.

Resources

Differentiating Rosacea From Sensitive Skin, Shannon Esau, Rhonda Allison Cosmeceuticals. Available at Skininc.com

Mayo Clinic: Rosacea https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rosacea/symptoms-causes/syc-20353815

American Academy of Dermatology: Does Drinking Cause Rosacea?
https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne-and-rosacea/rosacea/does-drinking-cause-rosacea

American Academy of Dermatology: 6 rosacea skincare tips dermatologists give their patients:
https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne-and-rosacea/rosacea/6-rosacea-skin-care-tips-dermatologists-give-their-patients

Don’t get scammed by diverted beauty products

Confession time: I’ve bought diverted products in a moment of despiration and I KNOW better! A couple years ago, I realized that I didn’t have enough foundation to last through an upcoming trip. Because of my poor planning, I didn’t have time to run to the store that carried the brand, and there wasn’t enough time to have it shipped directly from an authorized retailer. I caved to the temptation: I ordered it on Amazon Prime for 1 day shipping. My foundation arrived and I immediately realized it wasn’t quite right. The label didn’t match the original label. Instead of the shade being printed on the bottle, it was attached with a crooked sticker. It was orange. I’d been fooled. Not only was I out the money for a fake bottle of foundation, I was still out of foundation for my trip.

What does it mean if a product is “diverted?”

Diverted products are not sold through authorized channels. Many people think of shampoo and conditioner, but this is common with skincare and cosmetics too. Some lines are intended only for sale by licensed professionals or authorized distributors. Products sold outside of these channels are likely to be expired, diluted, adulterated, have not been properly stored, and are definitely not gauranteed by the manufacturer. Sometimes, these products contain dangerous additives or ingredients that are not on the label, so you can’t be certain a diverted product doesn’t contain ingredients you are allergic to.

How to spot a diverted product:

If you see a salon or spa brand, or any exclusive cosmetic or personal care product at a drug store, grocery store, or discount clothing and home goods store, chances are it is diverted. This In-Style article offers helpful tips for spotting diverted items, including looking for inconsistencies in the labels or packaging, covering bar codes to make them harder to track (look for bar code stickers or markered out bar codes), and prices that seem significantly lower.

This bottle of hair spray has a telltale sign of diversion: A sticker over the real barcode. Note how old the product and sticker are. This was on the shelves at a Des Moines grocery store today.

Am I getting a better deal at a big box store? 

Many professional quality hair and skincare lines dictate the prices that their authorized distributors can charge. No authorized licensed professionals or distributors are allowed to charge less. Ironically enough, many diverted products cost as much as, or more than, a guaranteed product sold from a legitimate distributor, and you truly can’t know what you’re buying if it isn’t from an authorized retailer.

This bottle of Redken Shampoo sells for $15.99 from an authorized salon, but was on the shelf at a local grocery store with a sticker over the real bar code today for $19.99.

Professional skincare lines like Rhonda Allison, our exclusive skincare line, are only available through licensed estheticians or dermatologists. According to Rhonda Allison:

“Consumers need to be aware that if they purchase from an institution such as eBay or Amazon, their product may be diluted, expired, or counterfeit. Such product may not be safe to use or perform as tested and Rhonda Allison will not take responsibility for the purchaser’s dissatisfaction…these products are considered “diverted” and constitute a high risk to the consumer.”

A quick check of Amazon showed a few Rhonda Allison products, and almost all of these diverted products were priced higher than our products! Some appear to be bottles that are either older designs or not “quite right.”  For example, I found a bottle of Rhonda Allison’s Drops of Essence today on Amazon selling for nearly $50 more than we sell it at East Village Spa. Our product is guaranteed to be exactly what it says, comes with expert advice, and we’ll happily ship it to our clients!

Diverted and seriously overpriced product on Amazon.

If diversion is so bad, how are stores getting away with it?

According to Consumer Affairs, the illegality comes from people within the supply chain diverting the products to stores like big box or online retailers, which is a breach of their contract. For example, if a distributor unethically sells their products, including those that are expired, damaged, or used, to a big box store, they are breaching their contract with the manufacturer. Some individuals sell stolen goods. The products then go to a warehouse where the products bar codes are destroyed or covered to make them hard to track. When a big box store buys diverted products from these unethical operators, this is not illegal, but it is unethical because the retailer cannot guarantee the authenticity or safety of the products.

The only way to reduce this practice, short of passing legislation making it illegal for retailers to purchase unauthorized products, is to educate consumers about product diversion and encourage consumers to purchase directly from their salon, spa, or wellness professionals. This is the only way to guarantee that you are getting what you pay for, and more often than not, you’ll end up saving money. Plus, you will be supporting small business owners instead of online or big box retailers engaging in unethical practices without concern for your health.

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

“Parlor” or Practice: Is your massage therapist legitimate?

Camdine Cox, LMT, uses a hot compress on a client.

Massage Therapists have come under attack from all sides in Iowa in the last year. Early in the year, lawmakers proposed a bill to eliminate massage therapy licensing, which never made it to a vote. Criminals are increasingly and illegally using the phrase “massage therapy” as a front for illicit activities including human trafficking. Local lawmakers are targeting legitimate and licensed massage therapists including long-time small business owners with restrictions and additional fees instead of enforcing existing laws to go after the actual criminals.

At East Village Spa, our experienced licensed massage therapy team provides nearly 7,000 massage treatments per year. Some of our team members have over 10 years of experience, some have transitioned to massage from other health fields like nursing; some from other science fields like engineering. As a whole, massage therapists are skilled, trained, caring health care providers. To help consumers to know what to look for when seeking a massage therapist, we’d like to offer the following suggestions.

  1. Check the Iowa Department of Public Health licensing website to make sure your massage therapist is properly licensed and has not had disciplinary action taken against them. Ensure you have the proper spelling and legal name when searching. To obtain a license in Iowa, a massage therapist must have a MINIMUM of 600 hours of approved education, passed their national boards, adhere to the laws, and maintain continuing education requirements. Many therapists far exceed this minimum standard. It is illegal to practice massage therapy or call yourself a massage therapist without a license.
  2. It is a legal requirement that therapists display their license in their office or treatment space. If you don’t see a license posted, it is safe to assume they are not licensed and you should leave, or check online to verify that they are approved to practice.
  3. Value professionalism. Licensed massage therapists should ask their clients to complete a written health history or intake form and update their health information regularly. Massage may need modified for certain health concerns. Your therapist should also keep treatment notes to monitor client progress and record session data.

    Justin Behanish, LMT, helps a client with a gentle neck stretch.

  4. Look for red flags. Therapists must provide safe, clean work surroundings including clean linens and sanitized head rests and massage tools, proper hand washing and common infection control measures. Does the business provide a comprehensive website or written menu of services with rates clearly defined? Are their marketing materials and advertisements clear and professional? Are clinic hours reasonable for a health provider? If your gut tells you something is “off” then it probably is.
  5. A licensed massage therapist will ensure your modesty and comfort at all times. If your therapist does not step out of the room to allow you to disrobe and lay under covers, or if they work with immodest or no draping, this is a concern and a breach of their professional ethics. If your massage therapist needs to address sensitive areas like the gluteal, abdominal, or pectoralis muscles, they should discuss this with you prior to work in those areas and obtain your consent. You should still remain modestly draped during massage in these areas. If you feel uncomfortable at any time in a session, ask to end the session.
  6. Phrasing matters. Licensed massage therapists use professional terminology when referring to their treatments. A massage therapist will never refer to him or herself as “masseur or masseuse,” terms that have been co-opted by people providing illicit services under the guise of massage. Also, licensed massage therapists work out of practices, offices, clinics, spas, salons, hospitals, in-home, etc… but they do not refer to their work place as a “parlor” which is another phrase commonly used to insinuate illicit activities take place.
  7. Like you would when seeing a new doctor or counselor, seek out referrals for a massage therapist. Read reviews online, read therapist bios, look into education and specialties to find the best massage therapist for your needs and preferences.

Brandi Munch, BA, LMT massages a clients shoulder.

Licensed massage therapists play a vital role now that traditional healthcare expenses are ballooning, where people are realizing the importance of alternatives to opioid pain medications, and seeking to manage stress for their overall health. It is my hope that lawmakers and people in authority will use the existing state laws to go after the human traffickers and people who are hiding under our professional title without punishing ethical, legal, LICENSED massage therapists and making it more difficult for consumers to take advantage of a safe, healthy, massage.

Learn about our licensed massage therapy team here, or schedule your therapeutic massage session by clicking here!

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This post was written by Cassie Sampson, BA, LMT. Cassie has been an Iowa Licensed Massage Therapist since 2005, has served as massage therapy educator, and is proud to employ an incredible team of licensed massage therapists who make a difference in the lives of their clients every day.

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.

 

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.

Comfortable ways to run, bike, and swim in Des Moines for Newbies

When I was in my early 30s, I knew I needed to get fit. I grew up swimming but didn’t know how to ride a bike and couldn’t run a mile. The first time I ran a full lap around Gray’s Lake (1.9 miles) without stopping was as exhilarating as my first half marathon. I learned how to ride a bike in in my quiet neighborhood after dark so little kids wouldn’t seem me wobbling around on two wheels. While I crave regular workouts now, I totally get how awkward it can be when you are just getting started so I wanted to share a few ways I’ve found that are comfortable for people of all fitness levels, especially people just starting out or getting back into the swing of things after a long hiatus.

Des Moines City Ride: A safe, comfortable bike ride

I still swim, and I learned to love running. I can bike well enough to complete triathlons, but biking on streets terrifies me. Not learning how to ride until late in life means I still almost fall off my bike every time I stop and can’t stand up to pedal, weird things most people take for granted. My friend Katy gently nudged me to try the Des Moines City Ride last night after several people told me this was an awesome way to get comfortable biking around Des Moines. Last night we met at Westchester Park on Aurora Avenue and biked as a group to Dogpatch Urban Gardens which will be my new favorite place for produce! It was awesome!

The ride was a nice slow pace so nobody was left behind, great practice biking on streets, family friendly, and everyone was encouraged to use proper signaling. I was able to meet new people and catch up with friends while biking. The group meets most weeks on Mondays to explore a different neighborhood, but check their facebook page and website for the up-to-date schedule.

Lap swim at Ashworth Pool

During regular pool season, Ashworth pool offers lap swim only hours from 12-1 daily. The hours are not well-published so there is usually not a crowd. For newer swimmers, Ashworth’s lap swim time offers a comfortable space to practice without dodging kids and families. The 50 meter length is great if you dread turns and swimming outdoors helps make getting in a workout more of a treat and less of a chore, especially if you use the last part of your visit to enjoy quiet time on the pool deck while you dry off. When I make it to lap swim, I usually notice a range of abilities, from new swimmers and senior citizens just covering a couple lengths of the pool, to triathletes and college athletes training in the off-season. Everyone just does their own thing and has plenty of space.

Fleet Feet run programs and social runs

I’ve always been a fan of Fleet Feet Sports and their run programs and social runs. The employees and volunteer mentors for Fleet Feet are the kindest, most supportive people you’ll ever meet and they welcome both new and experienced runners and walkers to their programs. Whether you’re running to get ice cream or beer, training for your first 5k or your 50th marathon, they have something you’ll enjoy at just the right pace. They’ve even started doing social runs in other areas of the city. Check the Fleet Feet Website page for their upcoming events or stop into the store where they will be happy to invite you to join the fun!

Visit the South Suburban YMCA

Prefer an indoor workout? I’ve found the team at the South Suburban YMCA to be exceedingly welcoming to people of all fitness levels. Some of our spa guests who have never gone to a gym have found a great home at the South Suburban Y and look forward to lap swim, water aerobics, spin classes, and individual workouts. If you’ve never been a “gym person” this might be a good place to start.

Wherever you start out, we’re happy to help you on your journey! Book a massage to help with aches and pains, or any spa service as a healthy reward as you progress toward your fitness goals!

Try massage therapy first for pain!

eastvillagespa-tishaforearmmassageWhen I was 22 (so, awhile ago), I turned my head funny picking a very unlucky penny off the floor.  My neck ached for a couple of weeks so, being right out of college and not having a doctor in my new town, I went to an urgent care clinic for advice. The doctor felt my neck, did some range of motion exercises, and declared that I had arthritis, wrote me a painkiller prescription, and sent me on my way.

Not once did this doctor tell me, an otherwise healthy and active 22 year old woman to consider massage therapy, chiropractic, osteopathic manipulations, or other conservative forms of pain management.  When I did seek out massage on my own and realized how powerful it was, I knew I needed to become a massage therapist to help others.

I’ve been researching the nation’s opioid addiction crisis and wondering why traditional health providers are still not more widely educated on the benefits of conservative measures of pain relief for non-specific pain (i.e. back pain that is not caused by an underlying factor such as cancer) when massage therapy has been proven in multiple studies to be effective in relieving many kinds of pain.  I can almost give the doctor I saw back in 2002 a pass because massage therapy wasn’t as well-researched as it is today, but I feel like with our current information, there are no excuses.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (drugabuse.gov):

  • From 1991-2013, opioid (Vicodin, Hydrocodone, Oxycontin) prescriptions rose from 76 to 207 million.
  • From 1990-2010 overdose deaths from prescription opioids tripled (and were more common than deaths from heroin or cocaine).
  • 14.4% of women are prescribed an opioid drug during pregnancy

eastvillagespa-juliemassagecloseupOver 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, 38 million of those need relief from persistent moderate to severe back pain (drugabuse.gov).  Massage therapy has been proven effective in treatment of non-specific chronic low back pain (The Annals of Internal Medicine).

  • 401 patients between the ages of 20 and 65 who had non-specific chronic low back pain for at least 3 months (rating a minimum of 3 out of 10 on a pain scale) received either general relaxation massage, structural (injury-specific) massage, or traditional medical care for 10 weeks.
  • After results measured at 10 weeks after treatment and 26 weeks after treatment, participants who received massage fared significantly better than those who received traditional medical care without massage.
  • There was no statistical difference between those who received general relaxation massage techniques and those who received structural massage techniques.

Massage Therapy Magazine cites several studies showing the efficacy of massage therapy for various types of pain and proposes that massage therapy can be a major player in helping to combat the opioid addiction epidemic by offering a conservative first line of treatment for pain.

While pain medications including opioids certainly have their place in patient care and are necessary for many people, we need to find a way to educate traditional healthcare providers that conservative treatments like massage therapy are effective. One way to start is by discussing massage therapy with your primary care provider.  Last year, 16% of respondents in the American Massage Therapy Association 2015 industry study indicated that they discussed massage with their physician.  If you have had positive benefits from massage, let them know!  We also need to encourage teaching hospitals and massage therapists to continue to conduct sound research to further share what many people who get massage already know: It works!

Ready to try massage? Click here to book with one of our experienced and licensed therapists.

Sources:

Massage Industry Fact Sheet 2015: American Massage Therapy Association https://www.amtamassage.org/infocenter/economic_industry-fact-sheet.html

Massage Magazine: Can Massage Help Combat the Opioid Epidemic? https://www.massagemag.com/can-massage-help-combat-opioid-epidemic-36842/

National Institute on Drug Abuse https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/legislative-activities/testimony-to-congress/2016/americas-addiction-to-opioids-heroin-prescription-drug-abuse

The Annals of Internal Medicine: A Comparison of the Effects of Two Types of Massage on Chronic Low Back Pain. 2011. http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=747008

Kneipp Wellness: A Fascinating History

Before we invest in a product line, we like to know the story and get a feeling for the company.  Kneipp, a German line we carry, has an awesome story and long history of offering balance, pain relief, and relaxation naturally. The rare instances we have German spa visitors, it is a blast to see them rush the Kneipp product display. It shows that many have the utmost respect for the founder, Sebastian Kneipp (1821-1897)

dpag-1997-sebastiankneippHistory

Sebastian Kneipp was a priest, naturopathic doctor, and is widely considered to be the father of hydrotherapy. He believed he cured his tuberculosis with regular dips in the icy Danube river. He worked with a pharmacist to develop a line of medicinal cures and many of the formulations are included in today’s Kneipp remedies.  He continued to share the benefits of water in wellness treatments, including wading pools, baths, and using water in other ways to ease pain.

People walking in a Kneipp pool

Kneipp pools such as this exist today. Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/simpleinsomnia/

kneipphistoryProduction

Today the Kneipp salts are still mined using traditional methods from Europe’s last remaining salt cave, which is 250 million years old and 1500 feet deep so the salts are not exposed to environmental pollutants.  Products are planted derived, free of animal products, free of preservatives and mineral oil, eco-friendly, and dermatologist tested for skin safety.

The Kneipp Philosophy Today

Sebastian Kneipp believed that the five pillars to health were water, plants, exercise, nutrition, and balance.  This simple philosophy is embraced by spas and wellness providers today.  In the foothills of the Bavarian alps, there is an entire town dedicated to Kneipp wellness, “Kneipp town.” The spa village of Bad Wörishofen features Kneipp treatments at all lodgings and doctors practice Kneipp wellness. In Kneipp wellness communities, you’ll find many hydrotherapy tubs, walking paths where people walk through streams and in nature, and more!

mandarin_oriental_hong_kong_kneipp_pool_and_ice_fountain

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Spa in Hong Kong features a Kneipp walking pool and ice bath.  (Wikimedia Commons)

Our East VillageSpa Best Kneipp Sellers:

Kneipp products are incredibly popular, especially with clients who hope to continue their relaxation and pain-relief benefits post-massage. The Kneipp Bath Salts are our top seller, with the top three scents being:

  • Arnica joint relief
  • Juniper muscle relief
  • Eucalyptus Cold and Sinus relief
  • Red Hemp and Poppy “Pure Bliss”

Our top-selling Kneipp oil is the Devil’s Claw, which aids in pack pain, neck pain, and headache relief.  Our massage therapists love incorporating this oil, plus the arnica products into treatments.

Our best selling bath salt from Kneipp is ideal for people who have joint and muscle pain or arthritis.

Our best selling bath salt from Kneipp is ideal for people who have joint and muscle pain or arthritis.

Learn more about Kneipp through their website, or visit us at East Village Spa to smell and feel the different products, pick up literature, or ask our team for guidance on hydrotherapy and aromatherapy!

Source:

My Water Cure by Sebastian Kneipp

Kneippus.com