FAQ: Who is your BEST massage therapist?

If I had to pick one question that makes the front desk cringe the most, it would be “But really, who is your BEST massage therapist?” First of all, asking me that question is like asking someone with kids “Which one is the best, surely all of your kids aren’t good, right?” Second, this is a totally subjective question and the therapist that is best for me one day is not best for me another day. And the therapist who uses a style I’m least fond of may be our most popular.

I liken it to music. If I asked 100 people at random to tell me the best band that ever played at Wells Fargo Arena, answers would range from The Eagles, Garth Brooks, Drake, Lorde, Slipknot, Green Day and more… Some people would be annoyingly passionate about their response, believing it to be the One True Answer.Also, musical tastes change over time and even from day to day. Just because you had an incredible experience for your first massage (which is what we hope for every single massage client anywhere, ever!) doesn’t mean it is the only type of massage for you. If this were the case with music, I’d still be listening exclusively to New Kids On The Block (Anyone else think Jonathan Knight was underrated?)

Our music tastes change with our immediate circumstances. My background work music consists of mopey 90s grunge while my run mix includes songs I’d NEVER admit to having purchased on iTunes. Same for massage styles. Sometimes you need a relaxing, nurturing hot stone massage. Sometimes your chiropractor sends you to a massage therapist for focused work to rehabilitate a shoulder injury. Sometimes I want a therapist to let me wallow and cry when life is stressful, sometimes I need a therapist to encourage and motivate me to keep up with my workouts.I hope this makes sense. While all of the massage therapists at East Village Spa can offer a relaxation massage, or can focus on your back/neck/shoulders (This is what 90% of our guests request, I promise we’re all skilled at this!) we might go about it differently. Think of Taylor Swift’s 1989. Love it or hate it, when Ryan Adams covered the album in his own style, her songs gained a new fan base who otherwise would not have listened. Same songs, totally different approach.

I hope this encourages you to branch out. I seek diversity and skill in my massage therapy team. I love all of my providers, but for different reasons. If you aren’t thrilled with one style, it’s fine to “change the station” and try something new, but do remember that just because a style is best for you, or your friend, it isn’t perfect for everyone and that’s ok!

Ready to try a new style of massage, or a new therapist? Click here to learn about our licensed service providers and click here to book!


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.

Get to Know Justin Behanish!

Justin has been a Full Time therapist at East Village Spa since 2013 and has been voted Des Moines’ Best Massage Therapist in 2014 AND 2015!  Not only is he a great therapist with years of experience, his enthusiasm for knowledge and learning about new treatments and massage techniques, he’s also a mentor and trainer for his colleagues at the spa.  Justin is popular with both clients seeking sports massage and injury relief, but he’s also awesome at providing a quiet relaxation massage.

How long have you been in the industry and what are your licenses?

I graduated from the College of Massage and the Healing Arts and became an LMT in 2006. I’ve also taken coursework at DMACC.

What are your specialties?

I’m most known for therapeutic and sports massage, but I give a great relaxation massage too. I’ve taken advanced training in myofascial therapy, Thai massage, sports massage, medical massage, and deep tissue techniques.

Why did you choose this field?

Honestly, I studied massage on a whim and it worked out really well.

Describe your style in 3 words or phrases:

Flow, range-of-motion, versatile

What is your favorite spa service to give?

Sports massage sessions. I enjoy the problem solving that comes with figuring out what a client needs to get back to doing what they like to do. It allows me to combine a variety of techniques and tailor sessions to a client’s individual needs.

What is your favorite spa service to receive?

“Two Feet Deep” Barefoot Bars. It is far more relaxing than I would have guessed before experiencing it for myself. The broad steady pressure of the foot is actually relaxing and I usually find myself struggling not to fall asleep in the middle of the session. The nature of the work allows for a flow and experience that manages to be uniquely relaxing, tet effective and familiar at the same time. I recommend it for people who want to try something a bit different.

What is your favorite spa retail product?

Rapid Fire, a locally made pain relief spray.

What do you do in your free time?

Brazilian martial arts like Jiu Jitsu, cooking, snowboarding, and spending time with my dog.

What are your favorite home care tips for clients?

One of my favorite suggestions for people who have foot pain is to keep a 1 liter bottle of water in the freezer.  When your feet hurt, sit down and roll the bottom of your foot over the bottle.  This will help reduce pain and swelling.  You can also do the same thing with a golf ball.  The texture provides a nice foot massage.

Why should clients visit YOU?

Of course, Justin was is too modest to answer this one…so I (Cassie) will! Justin is a problem solver. His clients adore him and he genuinely cares for them. He’ll even ask me to check up on regulars who haven’t been in for awhile or who have been going through a rough patch. He’s a good role model for his colleagues and we’re lucky to have him on our team!

What are Justin’s clients saying about him?

“Justin is the best sports massage therapist ever! He keeps me on the road and the trails so I can train for and complete my ultra marathons.”

“Justin provides a great massage experience. He takes the time to explain the service and asks if there are any areas he should concentrate on. He asks about pressure. I drive downtown from West Des Moines and have referred people to Justin. He is great!”

“Justin is so professional and I have never had a better massage!”

Want to schedule a massage and find out why Justin was voted the best?  Click here to book online! If you wish to make a specific request to see Justin, please select “Specific Therapist” and his name from the drop down menu.