Get to know Cori

Cori HuginsCori Hugins, licensed cosmetologist, joined our team in July 2016 to provide safe and relaxing manicures and pedicures.  We’re excited for you to get to know her and are confident you’ll enjoy her as much as we do!  As a fun bonus, Cori has also attended massage school so the hand and foot massages she gives in her nail sessions are amazing!

Why did you go into this field?

To heal people and make others feel like their better selves. It’s a very rewarding career when you are able to have fun and help people at work!

What is your favorite service to give?

I enjoy pedicures and making your toes look beautiful!

What is your favorite spa service to receive?

I absolutely love facials! They’re relaxing, yet I know my face is being cleaned, and cleaned right!

What is your favorite way to reduce stress?

Yoga! I feel at least 10-15 minutes of yoga a day can reduce stress and tension in your back, shoulders, and wherever else you may be feeling uncomfortable. Breathing is a big one for me.  Take the time to just stop, relax, and breathe.

Do you have a favorite relaxation quotation?

“Smile and the world will smile back.” Whenever I”m feeling down or stressed, I think of this and live by it.  It makes me feel better knowing I may be impacting someone’s day, no matter how small, in a positive way.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself

I’m a HUGE astrology nerd!

Why should clients visit YOU?

I’m caring, a great listener, and will give you an excellent service.  I will make sure to give you the nail service that is exactly what you are looking for.

To schedule a relaxing manicure or pedicure with Cori, click here to book online!

You’re not cheating!

Imagine this:  You are about to leave for a weekend road trip with your friends and wake up with a crick in your neck.  You call the spa hoping to squeeze in a bit of pain relief with your therapist but he or she has the day off.  The receptionist suggests another great therapist, but you decline because you think you’ll hurt your therapist’s feelings.

When you return, you book with your regular massage therapist, tell them you were miserable on your trip, and they are shocked at how tense your neck and shoulders are from that painful road trip.  You need to book 3 weeks in a row just to feel normal again before you can get back on your monthly schedule.  Your therapist tells you they wish you’d have seen one of their colleagues for some relief before you left. After all, they trust them with their own massage therapy sessions and think they are great!

painWith summer so near, it is a good time to remind clients that our employees encourage you to see their colleagues for services to keep up with your progress.  We know your schedule gets crazier in the summer and our employees are also planning upcoming travel, races, and family events.  If they aren’t available when you need in, they want you to see one of their co-workers that they trust immensely with your care (and their own!)  Here’s why:

  • Our spa is a “team treatment” spa and the majority of our clients see multiple providers for more booking options and treatment styles to choose from.
  • We have been open almost 8 years and our experienced employees are fortunate that they don’t have to compete for bookings, they are always comfortably busy!
  • Our employees can rest easier when they plan a vacation or have an unexpected illness knowing that their regulars can keep on their treatment schedule with one of their co-workers.  Believe me, it stresses them out when planning a trip knowing someone they’ve been treating will skip a session (or complain that their therapist is leaving) rather than see a trusted colleague.
  • Our employees know that because they are all so busy, it is hard for clients to get in to see them as often as they need to.  We’d all rather have you see 2-3 people and get in on the schedule that is recommended than wait too long between services and not get the results you could.
  • You might find it beneficial to experience different styles of work or different opinions from other providers!  I personally have two therapists I book with at the spa when I need relaxation or want a hot stone massage, one therapist I book with for shoulder pain, and another I book with for general deep tissue.
  • Last but not least, our services providers care about you and hate to think you are in pain when they know someone who can help you!
No need for disguises! Most of our clients see multiple providers, we won't be upset!

No need for disguises! Most of our clients see multiple providers, we won’t be upset!

Next time you can’t get in with your regular provider, let the front desk know specifically what you like about that person and we can pair you up with someone who has a similar approach instead of waiting longer than you or your body wants to between services. You might also ask your regular provider who he or she would recommend if you ever need to get in when they aren’t available. Click here to learn about our skilled treatment team and click here to book your next appointment!

P.S. Our team had a good laugh at this picture, because it sometimes feels pretty accurate!



Get to know Tisha!

Tisha2EastVillageSpaWe are pleased to introduce you to the newest member of our team, Tisha (pronounced “Tee-sha”) Knight, a licensed massage therapist and esthetician who will joins us as a full time massage therapist in March.  She has a great style to help calm and relax guests and we know that our clients will love working with her!

How long have you been in the industry?

I have been a licensed massage therapist since 2014 and just got my esthetics license in 2016.

Why did you go into massage therapy?

I have had a passion for helping others from a young age. I started my schooling in the beauty industry with the intent of doing esthetics.  They provided a dual program opportunity with massage and esthetics, so I thought Why  not?!  I decided to start first with massage and I was in love with every aspect.  It was definitely a match.

Just last year, I actually came across a letter to myself from 1st grade consisting of “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  Having no idea what I could have written at that age, I was surprised to see that “Massage therapist” was listed at number two!

What is your favorite service to give?

Right now, the EV Signature Massage.  The honey heel glaze smells amazing and it is fun that you can use it to exfoliate and soften any area of the body, not just heels.

What is your favorite spa service to receive?

That is a tough question! Any sort of massage.  Feeling my muscles and tissues being manipulated and stretched in ways that I can’t accomplish myself through yoga/exercise is just amazing.  My strong second choice is facials.  I love that feeling of having such a “fresh and clean face” and you also get deep relaxation with your facial service.

What is your favorite retail product?

So far, the Farmhouse Fresh Coconut Beach Scrub.  I love the gentle exfoliation but also moisturizing benefits.  I love using the scrubs on my feet with my foot file.  I’m looking forward to learning more about and starting to use the Rhonda Allison skin care line.

What is your favorite way to reduce stress?

Yoga, walking, being outside in general, listening to music, and of course getting a massage or facial whenever possible!

What is your favorite suggestion for clients?

Stretching consistently, whenever you can.  Stretching is especially important in the morning, after sitting for longer periods, and before bed.  I’ve experienced amazing benefits from yoga.  I love, love, love yoga.  Finally, drinking water.  Too many people odn’t drink enough water and it is one of the most important parts of our health and being alive!

Why should clients visit YOU?

I enjoy understanding and executing whatever it is that each individual would like me to focus on .  I love being able to vary my treatments, provide therapeutic benefits, and most importantly offer my clients what they are looking for in a massage.

To book YOUR appointment with Tisha, click here and schedule online!  She is currently providing our Wellness, EV Signature, and Seasonal Special massages.



Caring for the Caregiver: Teresa’s Story

A question we’re frequently asked is “How often do you get a massage?” or “Who does your massages?”  I decided to ask our team to share stories of how massage and complementary medicine have impacted them personally.  Our massage therapist, Teresa, was the first to share her story.  Stay tuned for more stories in the series!

From Teresa:

Teresa, a massage therapist at East Village Spa, provides a craniosacral massage to Kelly.

Teresa, a massage therapist at East Village Spa, provides a craniosacral massage to Kelly.

For the past 5 + years, I have been a dedicated client/recipient of myofascial/deep tissue massage and chiropractic adjustments.  I believe I would not be able to sustain a career in massage therapy without receiving this therapy myself.

For years before moving back to Iowa, I sought help through massage and chiropractors, with some success, but I would describe it more as hit-and-miss. When I moved back to Iowa, I learned about myofascial massage methods used with deep tissue with the help of a knowledgeable, skilled and gifted therapist, James Kozuki. I began regular sessions, and we have been able to peel back the layers of restrictions and “stuck” tissue that had resulted from soft tissue trauma I sustained many, many years ago, not to mention any other sprains, strains and “normal” tension (like pregnancy) that were layered on top!
In those early-in-life accidents, I had been jarred, whip-lashed, bruised and twisted up (no broken bones) and as the years went by, stiffness and soreness in my neck and low back became more pronounced.  Now, with the help of massage therapy and chiropractic care, I can turn my head in all directions without pain or stiffness, and my low back is better than ever.  I am forever grateful for the gifts of massage therapists (and gifted chiropractors, too), especially when you find one that fits exactly what you need!
Thank you to Teresa for sharing her story! To learn about our massage therapists, our services, or to schedule an appointment online, click here!

Get to know Camdine Cox, LMT

Camdine CoxWe are happy to introduce you to our newest team member, Camdine (Pronounced “Cam-den,” she also goes by “Cami”) Cox, Licensed Massage Therapist.  Camdine joined our team in February 2016, but her massage career started long before we were fortunate enough to cross paths!

How long have you been in the industry?

I have been a licensed massage therapist since 2009

Why did you go into massage therapy?

I have always loved helping people and making them feel better.  When I was little, I used to massage clients’ hands at my grandmother’s beauty salon  while their hair dried.  I love cooking and took a year of culinary school at DMACC but realized I’d be working odd hours in the culinary field.  I got my massage license to help work my way through college, but I fell in love with it!  I love being able to take away someone’s pain and get them back to what they love doing.

What is your favorite service to give?

My favorite massage to give is the sports massage.  I have learned a technique from Dr. James Mally that he refers to as “pin and stretch.” It allows me to work with tight, shortened muscles using range of motion and pressure.  I have found this approach very effective.

What is your favorite spa service to receive?

My favorite massage to receive is the hot stone massage.  One stroke with the stone is equivalent to seven with the hand.  It allows the therapist to work deeper faster and without having to use as much pressure.

What is your favorite retail product?

The Farmhouse Fresh honey glaze.  It smells amazing and works great on dry skin.

What is your favorite way to reduce stress?

I love to get lost in a book or listen to music.

What are your favorite suggestions or tips for clients?

Drink your water and stretch everyday.  You should drink your body weight, divided in half, in ounces of water daily.  Every night when you sleep, your body builds additional connective tissue over your muscles.  This binds you up and makes you stiff.  Stretching and massage helps to break this up.  You should stretch when you wake up and before you go to bed, ideally.

Do you have a special talent people might not know about?

I like to make jewelry and I can speak Spanish and French

Why should clients visit YOU?

I focus on relieving the cause of pain and stress through sports, prenatal, and hot stone massage.

To book a massage with Camdine, click here!

2015 Highlights

The 2015 spa year wraps up in 3 hours and like always, I’m a sap for reminiscing.  The year has seen more growth, which means more people in Central Iowa are experiencing some much-needed stress relief!  It is always good to have a year with far more ups than downs (I’m sparing you photos of the ceiling collapse and floor drain explosions of 2015). I thought I’d share 10 memories from the year that make me smile.

  1. Early in 2015, I had the honor of presenting my friend (and super cool human) Dr. Chris Lorang with the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award from the East and South Des Moines Chamber.


I also got to enjoy a fun evening with some of our team at the chamber’s annual dinner.


2. I love teaching and I had the privilege  of teaching TWO amazing classes of students at Body Wisdom School this year.  So many great massage therapists entered the profession in 2015.image16


3. Our team celebrated many “Best of Des Moines” wins again in 2015.  We truly appreciate your vote and we aim to live up to our “Best Spa” designation every day.


4. Maybe the coolest thing we did in 2015 was provide free facials and skin care products to 12 women from the Beacon of Life Shelter during the spring and summer.  One of these awesome women chose to share her story with Channel 13 news.  I’m forever moved by the power of human touch and the confidence boost of proper skincare.image10

5. We got to enjoy Allison dancing with EVERY SINGLE MASCOT at the SW 9th Open Street Event that the spa volunteered for.

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6. Kelly and I had a great educational experience at ISPA conference and returned invigorated and full of ideas.

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7. Adding Rhonda Allison Skincare to our spa services and retail was the best decision we made in 2015.  Our skin looks and feels amazing and our clients are thrilled.  rhonda-allison-2

The Rhonda Allison line also allowed us to incorporate more corrective peels to our menu and I personally loved the results from mine!  Check out my blog post on it here.

Rhonda Allison Vitamin A Peel Before and After

8. We raised almost $2500 for Fluffy Butts Animal Rescue at our annual Spalloween fundraiser and had a record turnout!  The funds helped to cover several surgeries for the dogs in the rescue, like my new buddy Linus (pictured) who found a brand new “fur”ever home shortly after the event.

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9. We celebrated our 7th birthday!  I spent the day choking up because I get emotional at the spa’s birthday.  I just lost it when my dear friends at Ephemera posted this sign in their window.  It reminded me of over 7 years ago when we just had 2 itty bitty baby businesses across the street from each other.  We used to post cheery signs in the windows to say hello.  My how we’ve grown!

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10. We closed out the busiest year yet with this delightful little view of the capitol from our nail care suite last week.

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Thanks for everything, 2015.

7 years, 7 fun facts (and some throwback photos)

I always get a bit sappy on the spa’s birthday.  I’m not a parent of human children, but I consider the spa to be my baby.  Today the spa is 7 years old and I’ve spent my morning going through old photos and smiling about all the people I’ve gotten to work with over the years.  I don’t have any photos of the spa in progress when we were building out the old location, which is a shame because the transformation was incredible.

That being said, some of the things we found when remodeling the first location were so horrifying I think it is best that I don’t have lasting images.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

I wanted to share 7 fun things about the spa for 7 years to mark the milestone.

  1. We signed our lease in September 2008, the day before the market tanked! We laugh that when you start at the bottom, there really is only one way you can go!
  2. Our team grew from 4 of us in 2008 to 18 of us in 2015spagrowth
  3. In 2009, our first full year, we did 2649 services.  In 2014, our most recent full year, we did 10,234 services (we’ve already topped that number by a lot this year!) in 7 years, we have performed 51, 617 massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, and waxes
  4. We have been voted Des Moines’ Best Spa every year since 2010!  This is a photo of our group in 2011.cityviewbestof2012
  5. Our employees stay with us a LONG time, but sometimes switch roles.  Our front desk manager Kelly used to be one of our amazing massage therapists.  Our amazing massage therapist Tiffany, was our first front desk manager!kellytiffany
  6. The old spa’s location was too small, had weird restrooms, and no parking, but it did have the prettiest storefront, especially at the holidays.EVSpa-59
  7. I hit my 10 year anniversary as a licensed massage therapist this year.  While I’m mostly handing out chocolate at the front desk (trying to dodge my REAL projects) these days, you’ll still find me filling in for a shift here or there!

    Me (age 27, seems forever ago!) in my private practice prior to opening the spa.

    Thank you to all of our clients and employees throughout the years who have made this a fun journey full of such wonderful memories.  Here’s to many more years!

Get to know Cyerra, Licensed Esthetician and Nail Technician

FullSizeRender(1)Cyerra Kemp is the newest member of our team, joining us in October, 2015.  She studied cosmetology nearly a decade ago and after taking time to care for her children, Cyerra returned to school to study nail technology and esthesiology.  We are so happy to have someone so enthusiastic about her career on our team, her passion energizes all of us!

Why did you get into this industry?

I love making people’s nails beautiful.  I get joy from helping others relax after a long day.

What is your favorite service to give?

I enjoy performing manicures with nail art.  I have also grown to love waxing.  I enjoy giving facials too because it is such a relaxing service.  I guess you can say I love everything.

What is your favorite service to receive?

EV Signature Pedicure and EV Signature Manicure with Shellac.

What is your favorite retail product?

Farmhouse Fresh Butter Rum Scrub

What are your favorite ways to de-stress?

Turn on some music and practice nail art techniques

What advice do you have for clients?

Solar oil cuticle oil and sunscreen are your best friends.  Don’t forget to take time for relaxation.

Why should our guests visit YOU?

I can provide a relaxing experience at the spa.  And, for nail art, I’m your girl!

To book an appointment for a manicure or pedicure with Cyerra, click here!  If you want to add nail art, please add an upgrade for french tips or Rockstar Nails so that ample time is allowed.



Get to know Jamee

JameeKoopmanMassageJamee Koopman, LMT, joined our team in 2015.  She is a graduate from Body Wisdom Massage Therapy School and Cassie’s former student.  We could not wait to recruit Jamee to join our team when she graduated because we knew our clients and colleagues would love working with her!  We are glad you are taking a moment to get to know her better and we know once you do, you’ll see why we just had to have her on the team!

How long have you been in the industry?

1 year

What are your licenses?

Certified Nursing Assistant, Certified Medical Assistant, and Licensed Massage Therapist

Why did you go into the field you are in?

I have spent 20 years in healthcare and I feel that massage therapy is a more hands-on approach to reach people on varied levels.

What is your favorite service to give?

Sports massage, though I’m open to integration of different techniques to tailor massage to specific needs.

What is your favorite service to receive?

Hot stone massage

What is your favorite spa retail product?

The Pure Inventions Tranquility Tea

What are your favorite ways to reduce stress?

Meditation, Qi Gong, and spending time outdoors

What are your favorite tips for clients?

I like to suggest stretches and acupressure points for my clients to use for self-care after their massage.

What are your favorite wellness resources?

I like to use every resource available, but my favorite is that gathered from getting treatments by my fellow massage therapists.

Do you have a favorite relaxation quote?

“When angry, count to four.  When very angry, swear.” ~Mark Twain

Do you have a  unique hobby people might not know about?

I find that the more coffee you drink in exotic locales, the more the human experience sinks in, and skills and knowledge evolve from there.

Why should clients visit YOU?

I understand that everyone’s circumstances and dispositions are extremely unique.  I simply wish to meet you where you are and provide the best therapy for what you need in your moment.

To book a massage with Jamee, click here!

10 reasons pets are good for your health (our excuse to post cute pet pics)

The team at East Village Spa knows that pets are vital for our mental and physical well-being and many of us have at least one rescued pet!

1: A  2012 study from Hiroshima University in Japan showed that when employees watch pictures of cute animals at work, they narrow their focus and pay more attention to detail. (All the more reason to read on!)

Our esthetician and nail tech Cassandra's dog

Cassandra’s dog

2. Nurses at Cedars-Sinai hospital share anecdotal evidence that after a pet therapy visit, some patients sometimes have lower heart rate and require less pain medication.

Camille's dogs

Camille’s dogs

3. Many studies have shown that dogs help with weight loss, including encouraging more physical activity, especially walking.

Cassie and her dog Ernie

Cassie and her dog Ernie

4. When humans pet a dog, they experience a release of several “feel good” hormones. (Study by: Rebecca Johnson, Ph.D., RN, of the University of Missouri-Columbia Center for the Study of Animal Wellness)


Celeste’s dog, Hannah’s dog, Jamee’s dog

5. James E. Gern, MD, a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, states in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology states that children who grow up in a home with “furred pets” like cats or dogs have reduced risk of allergies and asthma.

Cassandra's cats and Jackie's cat and dog

Cassandra’s cats and Jackie’s cat and dog

7. Dogs have been shown to improve reading scores.  Many schools and libraries are even incorporating time for kids to practice reading to dogs, who are great and non-judgmental listeners!


Hannah’s dog

8. Pets can relieve pain by initiating the relaxation response and taking a person’s focus off their pain. (Dr. Jeff Burgess, University of Washington Pain Center).

Our Esthetician/Cosmetologist Cammie's pet rabbit.

Our Esthetician/Cosmetologist Cammie’s pet rabbit

9. Pets can encourage people to make social connections

social pets

Katie’s dog at the East Village Spooky Paws Pet Parade. Cassie’s dog at a doggy birthday bash.

10. Senior citizens who own a dog or cat performed better on Activities of Daily Living. Researchers speculate the sense of responsibility to a pet also contributes to their the overall well-being of seniors. (Raina P, Waltner-Toews D, Bonnett B, Woodward C, Abernathy T (1999). Influence of companion animals on the physical and psychological health of older people: an analysis of a one-year longitudinal study. J Am Geriatr Soc. Mar;47(3):323-9)

spa cats

Kelly’s cats, Teresa’s cat, Hannah’s cat