The top 4 reasons we switched to Himalayan Salt Stones

I admit to being a skeptic on lots of “new and exciting” products so I didn’t give Himalayan Salt Stones much thought when they started appearing in little pockets of the industry last year, replacing traditional basalt or jade massage stones. Fast forward to September 2016at the International Spa Association conference, when I was captivated by a bowl of warm stones that appeared to be glowing. Every day, I’d return to booth and play with varieties of warm salt stones, testing them for heat retention, heat consistency, overall feel. I could not get over these stones!

I ordered a set for the spa “just for fun” and after months of using them with our regular clients and for special events, we’re all hooked and have now changed over our Heavenly Hot Stone Massage sets to from jade to salt stones and are in the process of adding enough stone sets to include a few Himalayan Salt Stones in our EV Signature Massages in lieu of the basalt stones we have been using for 9 years.

We are so excited for you to try them and these are the top 5 reasons we fell for the Salt Stones:

4. The heat is consistent and unlike stones in water roasters, they won’t get TOO hot so there is less down time for your therapist making sure they are a safe temperature mid-session.

3. In the past, we couldn’t offer hot stone massages in the couple’s room because the roasting units generated too much heat and used too much electricity. With the new stones, we can FINALLY offer a couple’s hot stone massage! Look for this new service to be available before May 2017.

2. The salt stones will help us in our goal to be more environmentally conscience. Unlike the jade stones which require a couple of gallons of water for warming and cleaning, the salt stones warm on a dry mat and require only a safe EPA registered Thymol oil cleaner. PLUS, the salt stones have natural antibacterial properties.

1. The texture is AMAZING! Even our long-time hot stone regulars who loved the Jade stones were impressed by the slight hint of exfoliation with some of the salt stones. The texture allows the therapist to get a better grip to work a bit deeper as well because they have more control of the stones.

We can’t wait for you to try our new and improved Heavenly Hot Stone Massages, we know you’ll love them as much as we do!

Click here to book online or give us a call at (515) 309-2904!

What kind of massage should I book?

People always want to know which massage is the best.  It is a great question and not always the easiest to answer until we get to know someone a bit, but I hope this post helps you to sort through our four most popular massage styles to find one that suits you best!

THE EV SIGNATURE MASSAGE:

EV Signature Massage East Village Spa

This is our most popular massage for a reason: It is easy to customize for many preferences.  Our Signature Massage is usually full body, but can include more focused work on a specific area of tension.  Your massage therapist can vary your pressure from light to firm throughout the session based on your needs and preferences.  He or she will also incorporate a few warm stones on the back and feet (not to be mistaken with a hot stone massage, the stones are used for only about 5-10% of the treatment time in the Signature massage).

Your therapist will often blend some essential oils into your massage cream based on your health intake and he or she will also use a warm honey mask on your back with hot towels to soften skin (and the towels feel amazing).

If this massage was a vacation it would be: A trip to Colorado to take in some nature, great food, light hiking, and a visit with an old friend.

If this massage was a flavor of ice cream it would be: Neapolitan or cookies and cream

THE ATHLETIC EDGE MASSAGE:

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All of the therapists who offer the Athletic Edge massage at our spa have extensive training in deep tissue techniques or sports massage, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, and/or assisted stretching.  You don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from this service, it is for anyone with a busy lifestyle, injury, or chronic aches and pains.

Don’t book the Athletic Edge massage if you want to drift off to sleep, but when you want to feel like you and your therapist really accomplished something.  This massage is generally not full body, but is focused on a few areas of pain or injury.   Your therapist will incorporate a variety of techniques and possibly even stretches, products to warm or cool muscles to reduce inflammation, and might ask you to participate by engaging muscles or assisting with a stretch.

If this massage was a vacation it would be: RAGBRAI, a ski trip, or a week off work spent remodeling your kitchen.

If this massage was a flavor of ice cream it would be: A frozen fruit and protein smoothie or rocky road

TWO FEET DEEP BAREFOOT BARS MASSAGE:

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If you love firm pressure, but still want a full body massage that lets your mind drift away, this is a good choice.  Your massage therapist will stand on the table and use bars overhead for balance as she massages you with her feet.  Unlike a traditional deep pressure massage that uses hard surfaces like the therapist’s elbows or knuckles, the feet are softer and spread pressure evenly over a broader surface.  Your therapist isn’t “Walking” on your back, but rather using her feet to provide a massage that includes flowing and targeted strokes. This is a great choice for people with a more dense musculature or people who like to feel like the pressure is firm, but don’t like to feel sore the next day.

If this massage was a vacation it would be: A trip to Thailand or Bali

If this massage was a flavor of ice cream it would be: Dark chocolate chili pepper or Cherry Garcia

HEAVENLY HOT STONE MASSAGE:

The therapist uses a variety of different shaped warm jade stones as an extension of their hands to relax tense muscles.

We call this massage “Heavenly” for a reason.  This is our most relaxing massage.  Your therapist uses warm jade stones of different shapes and sizes to provide a massage that is extremely relaxing and boosts circulation.  He or she will use a combination of long, flowing strokes and quicker, focused techniques with the stones to increase blood flow while warming and relaxing the muscles.  While this treatment doesn’t use heavy pressure, the heat of the stones works deep to relax the muscles for the muscles.

If this massage was a vacation it would be: Relaxing on a beautiful beach with a cocktail and a great book.

If this massage was an ice cream flavor it would be: Mango sorbet or a hot fudge sundae with a toasted marshmallow

Ready to schedule your massage? Click here to book online at East Village Spa!

Why we call our hot stone massage “Heavenly.”

Just typing “Hot Stone Massage” makes me melt a bit.  The lovely forecast calling for a high of -3 degrees tomorrow shall serve as my blog inspiration tonight!

A hot stone at East Village Spa is quite unlike the stock photography you see everywhere showing a row of stones sitting directly on a client’s back and no therapist in sight. All the photo below is missing is an orchid growing out of her ear.

NOT what a hot stone massage looks like!  (Photo courtesy of wikimedia commons)

NOT what a hot stone massage looks like! (Photo courtesy of wikimedia commons)

What clients CAN expect is for their massage therapist to work with his or her hands to assess the muscles and tissue and then massage primarily with heated stones as an extension of their hands.  Our therapists can also do a hybrid of hands-on techniques to address trigger points or specific areas of pain and hot stone massage for general relaxation.

The stones are heated to between 120 and 130 degrees and the therapist is able to safely hold them with bare hands and should keep them moving until they have significantly cooled off before placing them directly on the skin and leaving them. The heat from the stones will help to boost circulation, relax tight muscles, and quiet the mind.

The therapist uses a variety of different shaped warm jade stones as an extension of their hands to relax tense muscles.

The therapist uses a variety of different shaped warm jade stones as an extension of their hands to relax tense muscles.

stone massageStill not convinced of how awesome a stone massage is?  This video is a perfect little example of some of the techniques massage therapists can use with different shaped warm stones (note, this is not a company we endorse or have used, but their video provides a great example of just some of the many stone techniques a therapist might incorporate.)

As wonderful as hot stone massages are for most clients, there are a few times we don’t advise them including for clients who are pregnant, clients who have burns, skin conditions or are undergoing radiation.  People with fragile thin skin or who are diabetic, paralyzed or otherwise unable to sense heat are also not good candidates for a hot stone massage and would benefit more from a traditional session.

A cold week like this one might be the perfect opportunity for you to change up your massage routine and try out a hot stone massage with one of our experienced therapists.  Click here to book yours!

Proven benefits of massage therapy

In the nearly 10 years I’ve been a massage therapist, it has been really fun to see the shift in attitudes about massage therapy.  It used to be viewed as more of a luxury, or something to do only for fun or a special occasion.  While massage therapy is still an awesome way to celebrate an anniversary or birthday, more people are using it as a regular part of their health and wellness routines.

Groups like the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami have published great studies on the benefits of massage therapy.  The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is another great resource for good, solid FACTUAL information.

Findings from massage therapy research is well summarized on an article at MassageTherapy.com and highlights include the following benefits of massage:

  • alleviate low back pain
  • Shorten labor, reduce labor pains, and reduce hospital stays after delivery
  • Exercise and stretch weak, tight, atrophied muscles
  • Help people working to ease dependence on pain medications
  • Increase joint flexibility
  • Help after surgeries to reduce adhesions and swelling
  • Reduce scar tissue
  • Reduce anxiety and depression (there are great studies on the effects of massage on people undergoing cancer treatments and the effects of massage to reduce their anxiety about their diagnosis)
  • Reduce migraine pain and frequency

The Mayo Clinic lists other benefits including:

  • Help with digestive concerns
  • Help reduce insomnia related to stress (I can personally attest to this!  A hot stone massage does the trick for me!)
  • Reduce pain from TMJ
  • Help recover from sports injuries
  • MORE!

Really, the best way to see if massage can help you is to book one.  Not every kind of massage is beneficial for every condition.  For relaxation, circulation, and stress reduction, a Swedish or Hot Stone massage might be the ticket.  For recovery after a sprain or strain, a myofascial or sports massage is best.  If you’re struggling with migraines, a cold stone massage, craniosacral massage, or other focused massage could help.

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Also, because massage therapy can serve to help so many conditions, it is important to note that not every  massage therapist specializes in every type of massage or in work with every type of injury.  Our clients who are happiest and benefit most from their treatments have 2-3 therapists at the spa they see based on their needs.  They might see Tiffany during their pregnancies and Justin for sports therapy.  They might see Clair for deep tissue and stretching work, but Teresa for migraine help using Craniosacral techniques.  All of our therapists are very flexible in their treatments, but they also are very familiar with what their colleagues specialize in so are always happy to make a referral.  And NO!  You aren’t cheating on your LMT if you try a different style of work!

We have a little quiz (not super scientific, more for fun and info) to help guide you in choosing the best spa massage for you to try for your first time, or you can call and ask Kelly at the front desk what she recommends based on your needs!