5 ways we’re reducing environmental impact

Spa owners and employees, by nature, care about the health and well-being of the people we serve. That extends to the environment in which they live. One challenge in owning a spa is that there are many environmental challenges in this industry. Some of these challenges may come as a surprise to our guests. We are continually taking steps to reduce our environmental footprint.


1.We LOVE Recycle Me Iowa.

East Village Spa employees with recycle me Iowa storage containers

Haven’t heard of them? They are located in Des Moines and offer convenient, affordable recycling if you live or work in a building that doesn’t have recycling as an option, you need this company in your life.The amount of cleaning supply and product containers, packaging and shipping waste is overwhelming, but we make sure to recycle as much as possible. Every 2 weeks Recycle Me Iowa takes it all away.

2. Reusable cups reduce waste

East Village Spa Manicure, guest holding ceramic mug.

Since we switched to glassware years ago, we’ve saved hundreds of cups per week from going in the trash. We still have to-go cups for our hot and cold beverages, but we encourage you to bring your own and we’ll happily send you on your way with a full travel mug of our yummy hot or cold Pure Inventions teas!If you’re enjoying a complimentary beverage in the spa, please choose a reusable cup instead of paper or plastic.

3. Reducing robes = reducing water and energy waste

East Village Spa Robe on Hanger

Did you know that the average home washing machine uses 41 gallons of water per load? Drying laundry accounts for a large amount of energy use as well. We are happy to provide robes for convenience for guests enjoying both a facial and a massage at our spa, but we do not offer robes for guests who are enjoying a single service. This helps us to save over 200 gallons of water (on a single Saturday!) reduce energy and detergent use.

4. Eco (and human!) safe pedicures

East Village Spa guest getting a pedicure and talking to nail technician.

Did you know, our pedicure chairs use 80% less water than traditional pedicure chairs with whirlpool jets? They also don’t require us to flush gallons of harmful sanitizing chemicals down the drain every time they’re used! We choose our nail care products carefully, for the safety of our employees, guests, and the environment.

5. Eco-friendly products and packaging

Rhonda Allison Citrus Gel Cleanser with recycled glass dish full of fruit

We partner with companies who have safe, ethical business practices. Farmhouse Fresh is headquartered on a farm, where they source some of their ingredients. Their packaging is often reusable (like ice cream dish candles-see how we re-used the dish in the photo).Rhonda Allison’s packaging is designed to preserve the products without synthetic preservatives, and can be recycled.Zoya and CND nail polishes are non-toxic and Zoya will even recycle nail polishes from ANY company during their Earth Day campaign.

Our environmental initiatives are always a work in progress. Some things we can’t control for regulatory and safety reasons (for example, we’d never, ever re-use wax sticks. This is dangerous and a violation of sanitation rules.) We’re always brainstorming together ways that we can minimize our impact without sacrificing on service quality and safety and it is my goal to have several NEW initiatives to share with our guests by Earth Day 2020.

Post by Cassie Sampson, BA, LMT. Owner, East Village Spa in Des Moines, IA. East Village Spa was established in 2008 and offers massage therapy, esthetics, and natural nail care.

Pedicure Safety Myths

‘Tis the season to prep and polish toes for spring break trips and soon-to-be sandal weather! It is also the season of pedicure safety myth-busting.

Myth #1: A good pedicure will leave your feet baby soft.

We have calluses to protect our feet. A safe pedicure will gently soften the callus, but won’t cut it. Razors and graters that cut or aggressively file calluses are illegal in Iowa and many other states (though some salons still use them) Cutting calluses can open you to infection and will make them grow back harder. We use a safe foot file that we send home with you so you can continue gently softening your calluses safely over time.

Myth #2: You should to bring your own tools to a nail salon to avoid infection.

If you feel like you need to bring your own tools to your nail salon, you probably need a new nail salon. Salons are required by law to properly sanitize tools in an EPA Registered disinfectant like Barbicide (the blue liquid), or by heat or steam sterilizing them. We use both Barbicide AND heat sterilization for our metal tools. Sterilized tools are then sealed until use. Porous tools like files, buffers, flip flops, toe separators and wooden sticks must be immeidatly disposed of or given to our guests to take home. If a salon re-uses disposable tools, it is likely they are cutting other safety corners too.

If you bring your own tools, it is unlikely that they are sterilized to our standards. If they’ve been rolling around in your purse, car, or make-up bag in a punctured Ziplock, they are likely contaminated with bacteria or debris that can cause infection. Just because those tools are only used on you doesn’t mean they are clean! If you have any doubt about your salon’s sanitary standards, ask them! Salons that do things the right way are always proud to discuss their sanitization proceedures.

Myth 3: I need to bring my own nail polish to a salon.

Nail polish at a reputable salon is safe. By the time it is applied to a guest, their nails have been cleaned sanitized. Our polishes are also selected for safe ingredients. Guests who come with a diseased toenail are required to go without polish or purchase a bottle to keep. We do not use shared polishes on these guests for everyone’s safety.

If you bring your own, it might not look as great as we’d like. Different consistencies and brush sizes mean that our nail technicians aren’t going to get the same results they get with the brands they trust and use every day, plus they may not combine well with our top coats.

Myth 4: It’s “just a pedicure.” Laws and regulations are excessive.

Several states are facing legislation to try to reduce licensing in cosmetology professions. In Iowa, licensed cosmetologists and licensed nail technicians can legally do manicures and pedicures. They spend hundreds of hours training in not only how to make your nails look good, but to learn how to identify nail health concerns, infection control, safety techniques, and chemistry of products they use. They have to take regular continuing education including topics like safety, sanitation, and the law. Licensed nail technicians and cosmetologists are subject to oversight by the department of public health.

We’ve all heard nail salon horror stories. Many of these issues are caused by salons that are not following the laws. Insist that the person giving you a pedicure is educated and practicing legally. The salon license and every individual nail technician or cosmetologts’ licenses are required to be posted in the business.

Ready to book your safe pedicure at East Village Spa? Click here to book online! Remember, wherever you go, it is ok to ask questions. If your gut tells you something isn’t right, it is ok to end the service and leave. Your health is worth it.





Resolve to avoid these 3 skin health mistakes

New Year’s Day is always a good time to set goals. People often focus on nutrition or fitness goals, but neglect their skin’s health when creating a wellness plan for the year! We’ll make skin care resolutions easy with 3 common skin health mistakes to resolve to avoid this year.

From Camille Arbegast, Managing Esthetician at East Village Spa:

Resolve to exfoliate properly: That might not mean using an actual “scrub.”

Many people think that to exfoliate you need a scrub, any scrub. But more often than not, a manual scrub is not appropriate for your skin. Some scrubs are really aggressive and will damage your skin. For people with acne-prone skin, scrubs can cause inflammation, spread bacteria and increase breakouts. People think that Clarisonics exfoliate the skin but they really don’t (slightly, but not enough). They’re great for deep cleansing but that’s about it.

A serum exfoliates with acids instead of “grit.” The benefit of using a serum to exfoliate is they will likely have multiple benefits for your skin along with exfoliation.

From Lindsay Crowe, Licensed Esthetician at East Village Spa:

Resolve to stop getting skincare advice from social media celebrities.

People may use the wrong products because of social media influencers. They see what they are using and want to look like them or have their skin, but the products that work for the Instagram or You Tube celebrity may not be appropriate for the person watching the video. That’s a new thing happening in our industry and I have started to see it with my clients this last year… they see it on YouTube and they want it!

For example, you may see someone raving online about a clay mask, but those are only for oily skin or spot-treating blemishes. If someone with normal to dry skin uses that mask, it can lead to irritated dry skin and breakouts.

Getting the right products for your skin starts with an esthetician so we can talk and map out your personal needs. That’s why our facials and products are customizable, which I love!

Cassie Sampson, BA, LMT, Owner, East Village Spa

Resolve to quit picking at your skin!

2018 was a stressful year and stress translated to breakouts for me. Breakouts translated to stress relief in the form of “picking” my skin to try to do my own extractions. It was a vicious cycle that caused some scarring on my cheek and chin. I work with 7 licensed estheticians, so WHY I felt the need to try to extract my own skin is beyond me. (This is a lie, I did it because it was satisfying.)

Now I’m in repair mode to minimize the scarring. I use Rhonda Allison Perfection Clay to spot treat when I get a blemish to make it easier to extract if I feel compelled to try to do it, and I properly treat my skin before and after. Mostly, I’ve made it a goal to get a facial or Hydrafacial when I’m stressed. The services are incredibly relaxing which helps to reduce my stress and anxiety that causes my blemishes (and my desire to pick) AND they help with the scarring. Win-win.

East Village Spa Facial with Mask

Need help achieving your new year skin health resolutions? We’re here for you! You can book a facial online here. Not sure where to start? A Wellness Facial is a great option for people who are totally new to professional skincare. Want more stress relief with your facial? Book the EV Signature Facial which has all of the benefits of the Wellness Facial, plus lots of extra TLC. If you’ve tried facials before and want something that packs more punch, I strongly suggest the Hydrafacial. It is a game-changer!

You can also stop into the spa and see if one of our estheticians is free to consult with you about the best service or products for your needs. Cheers to healthy skin and a low-maintenance routine designed for YOUR needs in the new year!

Top Holiday Gift Picks-2018

I’ll admit it, my family and friends can always expect gifts from East Village Spa for special occasions. Some of our team members shared their top gift picks for family and friends. If your loved one works at the spa consider this your spoiler alert before you read further!

Custom blended essential oil lotion, body scrub, bath soak or hydrating mists are a gift that shows you put a bit of extra thought and effort in.  After making a few choices on our Body Bliss Aromatherapy app, we’ll develop a custom recipe for whatever you can think of: pain relief for athletes, “love potions,” stress relief for expectant mothers, TLC for people undergoing chemotherapy treatments…you name it! 

Eurospa Eucalyptus Mint Shower Mist

Our Licensed Massage Therapist Becky suggests our EuroSpa Eucalyptus Shower Mists. “My entire family and my fiancé have terrible sinus issues and the smell is very cleansing, invigorating and yet simultaneously calming. I’ve even sprayed it in my car and room, not just the shower or diffuser! The variety of different aromas blended with the eucalyptus are pretty great too! Something for everyone!”

Kelly, our spa director, is constantly replenishing our Zoya limited edition holiday sets. These are our best gifting value. Zoya nail polish is normally $10/bottle but these 4 packs sell for just $15! They are perfect to separate for little value-priced stocking stuffers or creating gift sets for a group. Zoya polishes are salon quality, vegan, and made with safe ingredients.

Both our Guest Experience Manager (and esthetician) Molly and Licensed Massage Therapist Hannah plan to gift Thistle Farms items. This organization provides programming and employment to women who have survived sex trafficking, drug addiction, and abuse. Plus, their essential-oil based candles, room sprays, and oil rollers are beautiful gifts. Molly loves tucking some literature about the organization into the gift bag to let the recipient know how their gift makes a difference.

Rhonda Allison IllumiColour lip glosses are a very popular gift this year. Conny said that her mom and sister who never wear make-up love them. Our esthetician, Cammie, said that she loves sharing these lip glosses because they look great, but also feel great because they contain nourishing, pro youth ingredients.

ALL of our Farmhouse Fresh products make beautiful gifts. Plus, this line supports animal rescue. Their headquarters is even on a farm animal sanctuary! Jamee is giving the mini-sets like this face mask trio. Cassandra suggests Farmhouse Fresh Sweet Cream scented lotion because everyone appreciates lotion in the winter and it is a perfect light scent. Kristiana’s mom loves their Caramel Coffee Shea Butter Scrub.

Licensed Massage Therapist, Brandi, said her family is getting Kneipp Bath Salts because they need to chill out! The arnica Joint and Muscle salts are great for relatives dealing with pain and inflammation. Many of our team members regularly give the gift of a relaxing aromatherapy salt bath to ourselves.

We have a huge selection of beautifully locally crafted earrings by designer Heather Morphew Nelson, from tiny studs to drop earrings, necklaces, and more. She has a huge fan club among our clients. Stop in to browse her ever-changing selection!

Need help with gift ideas? Stop in! We can help you shop and we’ll even wrap your gift while you enjoy a complimentary chocolate. East Village Spa is open Monday 10a-7p, Tuesday 9a-7p, Wednesday 10a-7p, Thursday 9a-7p, Friday 10a-6p, Saturday 10a-5p, and we’re closed Sundays. We will close at 2pm on Christmas Eve. Learn more at www.EVDaySpa.com!

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.

We are thankful

The first time I got a massage, I was 24 and had just gotten injured at work. I booked a 30 minute massage on a whim to try to help. I literally had no clue what to expect, I even kept my tank top on under the sheets. That massage was so incredible that when I was done, I knew that I needed to help people feel that way too. Within a year, I enrolled in massage therapy school.

Our team is so fortunate to do what we do, and Thanksgiving is always a time to take a step back and really reflect on how grateful we are to be in the spa profession. I asked the crew at East Village Spa to share their favorite part of their career and why they are thankful to be in this line of work.

Brandi: My favorite part of being a licensed massage therapist is making space for others in a compassionate way. And, I am thankful for my co-workers!

Jamee: I am thankful for being able to help people move past challenges that are holding them back from leading their best lives. I would normally be begging people to let me treat them, but now I get to make a living doing this!

Kanika: Being a cosmetologist, esthetician, and massage therapist, I am thankful for the gift of human touch. My career cannot be completely taken over by a robot, computer or technology.

Becky: I like that I never stop learning! I love helping educate my clients and myself. I’m thankful that I get paid to hang out with friends at work!

Jennifer: I love building trusting relationships with clients. My favorite part is getting to see them again and again. I am grateful for the community that therapists bring, they share knowledge and information.

Hannah: I really enjoy the process of talking to my client and listening to what is going on, then helping to put all the clues together. It is like doing a puzzle, but you are still “working.”

Molly: I’m thankful for being able to build relationships with co-workers and regular clients. I love getting the chance to educate and help clients with skincare needs. Oh, and I LOVE doing extractions!

Cassandra: I enjoy getting to know my clients. I learn where I need to travel, eat, and other fun stuff! Also, I get to play and have fun. I say play, because I get to use all the nail polish colors at the spa, not just the few I have at home. Plus, we get to mix things like masks in the facial room and get to test out and play with all the new products.

Camdine: I love getting someone back to what they love doing (running, biking swimming, chasing grand kids) following an injury or surgery. I’m thankful for a job where I can help people get back to “normal” life when dealing with an injury like frozen shoulder. One of the best compliments I can get is someone telling me they can do something without pain anymore or they don’t have to take pain meds or muscle relaxers to get through the day.

Lindsay: I love customizing things to meet someone’s needs so I get to do something different almost every treatment or service.

Conny: I get paid to be relaxed!

Kelly: I am thankful to work with like-minded people who happen to all be amazing. I love my team.

Cassie: I’m so thankful I found a career where I can be my true self and I get to see other people reveal their genuine personality too. Every day I work with caring people and witness incredible acts of kindness and compassion. In our stressed-out world, we get to see people at their most relaxed. It is truly a gift.

Visit a wellness provider who lives his or her career, I promise you’ll notice the difference! Click here to book your appointment with any of our incredible licensed massage therapists, estheticians, and nail technicians.

The scoop on scrubs

I’m watching the snow fly on October 12th in Iowa. Dry skin season is approaching faster than we’d like. When the weather gets cold, there is nothing better than a warm, nurturing body scrub at a spa or at home in a steamy shower

Why do a body scrub?.

A scrub is a product containing a “gritty” exfoliant like salt, sugar, or ground up materials like fruit pits or seeds, mixed with nourishing and hydrating oils. Scents may be added for extra feel-good benefits. Exfoliating with a body scrub helps to remove dead skin cells, boost circulation to the skin, and leave you feeling cleansed and refreshed. A benefit of removing dead skin cells is that your skin can better absorb hydrating products like lotions or oils. When you get a scrub at a spa, you’ll also enjoy incredible stress-relieving and muscle melting benefits. You’ll lay on a warm table and enjoy not only the sensation of exfoliation, but hot towels and light, circulatory boosting massage.

Depending on the type of scrub you you use and your skin type, you can exfoliate 1-3 times weekly, but don’t overdo it! A gentle exfoliation is sufficient, you don’t need to give your body the power-sander treatment.

What’s the difference between salt, sugar, or other ingredients?

Sugar: Sugar is one of our favorite exfoliating ingredients because it is gentle and a natural humectant, meaning it attracts and attaches moisture to skin. It is the best choice for sensitive skin. This may be a finer sugar, or a larger crystal sugar for different levels of exfoliation.

Salt: Salt is mineral-rich and gritty, making it a popular choice for scrubs, especially for dry heels, elbows, etc.. Using a salt scrub on freshly shaved legs or on cracked hands might sting a bit.

Seeds and pits: Ground apricot pits are a common exfoliation ingredient, along with other natural seeds. Look for these to be powdered, if they aren’t ground finely enough, they can be jagged. We don’t recommend this in facial scrubs.

What are our favorite scrubs?

Camille, our Managing Esthetician, swears by the Farmhouse Fresh Shea Butter Scrubs. Camille’s favorite Scent is Triple Shot Caramel Coffee. “The shea butter is hydrating, you can never get enough of that this time of year. Plus, the coffee scent helps me wake up in the morning!”

Kelly, our Spa Director, loves the Farmhouse Fresh Watermelon Vodkatini Sugar Scrub because it smells delicious and leaves her skin dewy and soft.

My personal favorite are the Body Bliss custom Aromatherapy Blended scrubs. The sugar crystals are finely ground (so they don’t fall everywhere in the shower) and it is super rich and hydrating so a little goes a long way. I like using the aromatherapy app to customize a scrub recipe for things like muscle aches, sleep, or more. What is a body scrub like at East Village Spa

Curious about booking a body scrub? We offer a fun and therapeutic aromatherapy body scrub. First, you’ll meet with your massage therapist or esthetician to use our custom aromatherapy app to create a perfect essential oil blend for your needs. Your therapist will blend your recipe into a nourishing antioxidant and vitamin rich oil base. She’ll then use a milk and sugar blend to gently exfoliate your skin and boost circulation during the service. You’ll be treated to heavenly hot wet and dry towel compresses to remove the scrub and ease sore muscles. As a special gift, you’ll get to take home a jar of scrub in a matching essential oil blend to turn your shower  into a mini-spa retreat.

Book a scrub and see for yourself how wonderful they are, especially when the weather gets cold. I recommend adding an additional 30 minute back massage or 30 minute facial on for extra TLC, you won’t regret it!

Which massage should I book?

On October 1st, we debuted our new, revamped massage therapy menu that offers more flexibility to help you get exactly what you’re looking for. Because the expanded menu means more choices and more customization, this post will help you sort through your options to pick the best service for your needs from the options that are the most popular:

EV Signature Massage: This is a 60 or 80 minute full body relaxation-oriented massage with a few fun upgrade options including a variety of hydrating Farmhouse Fresh products in rotating scents. Choose from a warm hydrating honey back mask and a few hot stones incorporated into your session OR a back scrub to boost circulation and a hot towel compress. Available with every therapist. Best for:

  • Total stress relief
  • Light to firm pressure
  • Feeling pampered and relaxed
  • People who love fun scents, warmth, a circulatory boost

Targeted Therapy Massage: This is a 30, 60, or 80 minute massage focused on a few areas of pain to help you achieve your wellness goals. Your therapist has the flexibility and discretion to incorporate more specialized orthopedic techniques, stretching, tools for myofascial work like massage blades or cups, heat or cold applications. Only available with sports or orthopedic trained therapists. Best for:

  • Athletes looking for pre or post event work
  • People seeking to enhance athletic performance or improve activities of daily living
  • People who have a specific injury or issue to focus on (i.e. frozen shoulder, plantar fasciitis)
  • People seeking specific results
  • Pressure can be very firm, but this isn’t necessary for some of the most effective techniques.

R&R (Relax and Recover) Massage: This 60 or 80 minute massage is no frills, all skills. A full body moderate to firm pressure massage. Think of it as the happy medium between the EV Signature Massage and the Targeted Therapy massage. All of our massage therapists offer this service. Best for:

  • People who prefer a totally unscented massage lotion
  • People who want to “feel” the massage but still just zone out and relax
  • Full body work, with perhaps a bit of extra focus in one spot.

Learn more about all of our massage therapies, watch videos of our services, and book your massage online at www.EVDaySpa.com!

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

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

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

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

2. Let your partner relax without judgment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dads Need Day Spas!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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