5 ways we respect the earth

Traditionally, the spa industry has found ways to reduce waste and help to offset the use of energy, water, and disposable products required to provide services. Spa and wellness providers understand that caring for our planet to ensure we have clean air, water, and places to enjoy beauty of our natural surroundings is important for physical and mental health. At East Village Spa we are always working on finding new ways to reduce our environmental impact. Here are 5 of our favorite ways we’ve been working to reduce our footprint:

  1. We partner with Recycle Me Iowa to recycle. Most of our products come in recyclable packaging and Recycle Me Iowa helps make it easy for us to recycle the packaging and shipping containers required to run a spa by providing us with containers to keep our recyclables and coming on a regular schedule to pick them up for us. They are affordable and provide excellent customer service. If you live or work in a building that doesn’t offer recycling, reach out to Cigi and her team. They take great care of us, and the Earth.
  2. We switched to Himalayan Salt Stones from Jade stones for our hot stone massages. Not only do our clients get the benefits of Himalayan Salt, but these stones require less energy to heat and save gallons of water per use as they don’t require a water bath to soak in and gallons of water for cleaning. Instead, they are heated on a temperature controlled mat and are cleaned safely with an eco-safe, EPA registered Thyme oil spray. According to Saltability, a 10 room spa (that’s our size!) can save 20,000 gallons of water annually by switching from traditional water bath stone heaters to salt stones.
  3. We don’t use whirlpool soaks for pedicures. First, we value your safety (the bacteria in many whirlpool basins is gross) so we use one-time-use disposable tubs. These tubs save an estimate of 10-20 gallons of water depending on whirlpool size. For every whirlpool tub, it not only needs filled for the service, but then filled again and run with cleaning chemicals that go down the drain. That’s lots of water.
  4. We only offer robes for people getting multiple body or skin care treatments as a convenience when switching treatment rooms. I know, it is fun to slip into a robe, but people do not realize the environmental impact. Only about 4-5 big plush robes can go into a wash/dry cycle which uses lots of water and energy. If people are coming for one service, say a massage, they would have to undress, put on a robe for a couple of minutes, take off the robe, get on the massage table, and then put their regular clothing back on again. Not only would this shorten service time as in our rushed world, guests tend to run a bit behind (ahem, pot calling kettle black here since I’m chronically 5 minutes late) but the main reason we forgo robes for single-service visits is the environmental impact.
  5. Our products are safe, not only for you, but for the Earth. We carefully choose our partners so we know the products you are enjoying are ethically produced and healthy. Our Rhonda Allison Skincare is European Certified Organic (a tougher standard than in the US), our Farmhouse Fresh line is partially crafted out of herbs grown on their farm, which includes a farm animal rescue sanctuary. The Kneipp line uses salts sourced from an underwater salt cave in Germany that has been used for over 100 years so the salts are pure and haven’t been exposed to environmental pollutants. The Rescued Jewelry line we carry includes recycled jewelry components and gives all profits to an animal rescue. Our Rapid Fire pain relief products are produced locally in central Iowa, thus reducing shipping waste as they are delivered by the man who developed the line himself. Our nail polishes from Zoya and CND are free of harsh, toxic, chemicals and always have been.

Please help us this Earth Day by finding a way to reduce a bit of waste, making choices for sustainable, ethical, and non-toxic products, and enjoying some time outdoors for your mind, body, and spirit.

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!

massagevacation

 

Our “Spa Moms” share their mother’s day picks

Not sure what to gevintagepedicuret mom from the spa for mother’s day?  The moms on our team shared what they’d most like to receive as a gift!

Teresa: An indulgent EV Signature Facial is not only relaxing, but will make any mother’s skin glow and give her some pampering!  This is a great way to show her you love and care.”

Tisha: “An EV Signature Massage is a great way to unwind, specifically I love the soothing aromas of honey glaze and sweet cream. It is a good way to release tension in muscles from all the daily running with children.”

Camdine: “Aches and pains are unavoidable being a mom, let a heavenly hot stone massage melt them away!”

Jamee: “A gong fu chai scrub has the relaxing effects of massage while exfoliating your cares away.”

Cammie: “The longest massage I can get! I just want my body to feel better and be taken care of and it isn’t too likely a mom like me would get an 80 minute treatment for herself”

Cassie: I’m not a mom, but I have a mom that LOVES spas!  She doesn’t live in the area so I can’t treat her to services, but she gets to try all of our products and she shared some of her favorites.  From “Mama Chris:” I love my sweet cream and fluffy bunny lotion from Farmhouse Fresh, and the new Citrine Beach sample you sent!  You know I love my bath salts too, the Kneipp Pure Bliss smells so good!”

There you have it!  Stop in to get mom a gift card from April 25th through May 8th to take advantage of our gift card sale, and pick up a little something fun to wrap up with it so she can get a taste of the spa at home. Can’t make it in?  Click here to buy a gift card online (gift card voucher sale does not apply to online gift cards)

 

Human trafficking in the spa industry

Following a White House proclamation in 2011, January is recognized annually as Human Trafficking awareness month.  In recent years, organizations like the Polaris Project and government agencies have helped to shed light on how widespread human trafficking and slavery are in America, in big metropolitan areas, affluent suburbs, and quiet rural towns.

The issue of human trafficking is often top of mind for me as a spa owner because facets of this industry have been used as a way to exploit victims of human trafficking and Iowa is not immune.

Fake Massage Businesses

Fake massage businesses masquerade as providing legitimate massage, reflexology, spa, or other health services, but often operate within a network of traffickers.  People I’ve spoken with are shocked to see how openly these businesses are advertised online.  In 2015 alone there were many raids on parlors:

Salt Lake City, Utah

Central Ohio

Houston, Texas

And in West Des Moines, IOWA in 2015, women were found living on bunk beds in a massage parlor that operated long hours 7 days a week including late nights.  Neighboring businesses reported they never saw employees come or go.  After a visit from the fire inspector, the parlor was told they could re-open once they met fire code. A city council member asked police to investigate the business for illegal activity, but police declined.

Licensed Massage Therapists are health care providers who have extensive education in their field.  While some people laugh and tease licensed massage therapists like my colleagues and me about these parlors, it breaks our heart, especially when the people forced to work in places like this may be slaves, even minors.  The reporting and labeling these businesses as “massage” is dangerous to licensed massage therapists like me and puts us at risk for assault or harassment.

It also is unfortunate as it stigmatizes the good work that licensed massage therapists do, making some people less likely to seek services that could truly benefit their health, including pregnant women, cancer survivors, senior citizens, children with disabilities, athletes, and people with high stress levels or injuries.

Nail Salons

In 2015, a series of articles in the New York Times by Sarah Maslin Nir exposed nail salons for human rights violations.  The organization Human Rights First explains more about nail salon labor exploitation.

As a spa owner, I know exactly how much a safe and ethical manicure and pedicure cost.  Quality products that are free from the harsh chemicals common in some high volume salons are expensive (Our cost for a bottle of base coat, top coat and one color of Shellac is $65.85, not to mention all the lotions, scrubs, and disposable tools we give to our clients or toss after a service!)

In order to ensure safety, employees can’t rush through services and need to allow adequate time to clean and sterilize their tools.  The cleaning and tool sanitation time is time they can’t see clients.  If a salon is under pricing services, they will have to make it up in volume which doesn’t always allow for adequate tool or tub cleaning. Nail technicians spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours attending training programs and continuing education so they can provide safe, skilled services.

Basically, my point is that if a nail service is really cheap, something has to give, whether product quality, sanitation (reusing disposable products, not allowing enough time to clean instruments or tubs), or employee compensation.  Often, all three.

Like the fake massage businesses, nail salons are also under investigation.  The New York Times series set off a rush of legislation and investigations in the northeast in 2015 exposing many labor violations.

It isn’t a recent problem for nail salons.  The Huffington Post published an article in 2013 explaining some of the reasons nail salons are easy fronts for human trafficking: Low hour requirements for licensing programs, a predominately cash-based business (easier to launder money), and at least in 2013, they were more under-the-radar than fake massage businesses.

In Virginia, a nail salon is under investigation after human trafficking reports in November

In Connecticut, 23 nail salons were shut down in 2015 for wage and health violations

New Jersey also started cracking down on health and wage violations in nail salons last year.

It is important to note that not all low price or high volume nail salons are engaging in illegal or unethical practices. Nail salons can be an excellent business for people with lower start-up rates and many are operated well by people who are passionate about their career or making an honest living.  However, human trafficking is growing at such an alarming rate nationwide, it is important to know the signs and report any suspicions.   Learn more about the signs at PolarisProject.org.

If you know someone you suspect is a victim of human trafficking, you can also contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline 1-888-373-7888

freedomquote

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.

annualdinner

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

image15

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

image11

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.

image13

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.

image5 (2)

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

image4 (1)

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.

image8 image9

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!

image3 (2)

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

image1 (6)

Thanks for everything, 2015.

Giving Thanks

Our massage therapists, estheticians, and management team have much to be thankful for.  We get to work in a (mostly) peaceful space with lovely music and candles, fun products, and caring colleagues.  We have the privilege of treating clients and getting to know and care about many like family over the years.  Most of all, we get to see guests become relaxed, serene, and unburdened, even if only for a moment.  In our busy, plugged-in world, that is truly the biggest blessing of all.

Camille Arbegast, Managing Esthetician

From Camille: I am thankful for not only being able to help my clients relax and ease their mind, but for being able to see the positive changes in their skin over time as we address their struggles and concerns.

JameeKoopmanMassage

From Jamee: I’m thankful for the autonomy to use my knowledge (in massage and healthcare) to my clients’ best advantage.

 

webkatie

From Katie: I am thankful I can make people feel better about themselves and hopefully be a bright spot in their day.

 

webteresaFrom TeresaI am grateful for all the wonderful people I get to work with: co-workers and clients alike.

 

 

CelesteBrightonHS2From Celeste: I’m thankful for the unlimited resources and knowledge my co-workers have, and for the opportunity to find out more about the lovely people we take care of.

FullSizeRender(1)From Cyerra: I’m thankful to work with a talented and and welcoming group of people who inspire me every day!

 

Happy thanksgiving from our spa family to your family.

Massage Therapy Benefits Veterans and Active Duty Military

East Village Spa wants to make massage therapy accessible to military personnel and veterans so we offer a specially priced massage therapy treatment year round with their needs in mind. The “Military Massage” is a 60 minute massage designed for active and veteran military personnel facing diverse physical and emotional health needs related to service.

Our Military Massage is also priced at $70/hour, which is a reduced rate from our usual $85/hourly massage rate.  This reduced rate is our “Thank You” to those who serve, and we hope this allows for more frequent visits as the benefits of massage build over time.

Common proven benefits of massage therapy correspond to concerns shared by many military personnel due to the nature of their work.

We are thrilled tmassageo be able to offer a massage service just to active and veteran military.  The first massage will include a detailed health history and a chance to visit with your massage therapist about your treatment goals, whether general relaxation, stress relief, specific injuries or areas of pain that you’d like focus on.  Your massage therapist will discuss the best pressure, massage therapy techniques, and self-care to help you achieve your goals.  He or she can also refer you to a colleague within the spa for different techniques or may refer to outside providers as needed.

For testimonials of how massage therapy can provide relief to wounded military personnel, click to read this article from Massage and Bodywork about CAUSE (Comfort for America’s Uniformed Services) and wounded warriors receiving massage therapy as part of their treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center.

To schedule a Military Massage, click here and go to our online booking, select “Military Massage” for special pricing or call (515) 309-2904. If you are comfortable doing so, please note any specific injuries or illnesses at the time of booking so that we can research and be prepared for your appointment.  Your therapist will guide you to the best massage treatment options for your sessions.

 

 

 

East Village Spa Partners with the Beacon of Life Shelter

East Village Spa has partnered with the Beacon of Life Women’s Shelter to provide free facials and skin care products to help the shelter’s residents learn what it feels like to relax and be cared for, in addition to developing a skin health routine that is attainable and manageable.

The Beacon of Life serves women who do not have a safe place to reside or who need support in their housing.  Many of their clients come directly from incarceration and The Beacon programming focuses on helping them with employment, financial stability, mind/body wellness, and recovery.  When the licensed estheticians at East Village Spa decided to partner with an organization to help educate and nurture women, the Beacon was a natural choice.

Julie Hewitt, Case Manager at the Beacon of Life said that in addition to not feeling worthy of self-care, the women at the shelter have skin care concerns unique to their situation.  Hewitt describes advanced signs of aging due to drug use and stress.  She adds, “I see a lot of acne, wrinkles, dry skin, and pock marks from scabbing.”

Cassie Sampson, owner of East Village Spa, says “I believe working in a spa environment, we take skin care for granted, but we know that when our skin looks healthy and we feel worthy of being cared for by others, we gain confidence. We hope a boost in confidence helps the residents who are making positive life changes like starting a new career or reconnecting with family.”

Both East Village Spa’s employees and the team at The Beacon of Life shelter hope that the women come away from their spa experience with a sense of relaxation and feel that they are valued and important.