FAQ: When should I come back?

A question we’re frequently asked is: How often should I get a (insert your favorite spa service here)? As far as how often you should get spa services, it depends on the service and why you are receiving it.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I GET A FACIAL?

  • For general relaxation and routine skin wellness: typically a monthly facial will suffice, though we understand sometimes you have to stretch it out to every other month or quarterly. As long as you are using the products your esthetician recommends in between visits you should be fine. At a minimum, each season it is good to get checked out in case you need to change your routine due to changes in the weather and your activities.
  • For peels or Minus 10 protocols: you may need to visit in shorter intervals (perhaps 2-3 weeks) based on the treatment goal and where in your skin cell turnover cycle your esthetician wants you to repeat the service.
  • For acne facials like our “Clear Relief” facial: a monthly facial to assess skin, perform extractions, and do a deeper cleanse along with recommended home care between visits is necessary until the acne clears up.
  • For Hydrafacial: Monthly is a great starting point, but if you your esthetician may suggest a period of more frequent visits to address certain concerns.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I GET A MASSAGE?

You can typically get massage therapy as often as you’d like, but any of us who have spent a day getting massage in school or testing massage students or job applicants can attest that there IS such a thing as too much massage! Your body will let you know when you’ve had enough! A few good suggestions for spacing your services:

  • General stress management and relaxation massages: These are fine in whatever interval you can manage with your schedule. We have clients in weekly (sometimes twice weekly), lots of every other week and monthly massage clients, as well as some who are able to treat themselves on special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.
  • Sports massage: If you’re training for an event, regular massage at weekly or every-other week intervals are helpful to prevent injury and keep you on your training schedule. The type of massage your therapist recommends during training, shortly before an event (1-2 days) and shortly after an event will have different session goals, techniques, and duration.
  • Injury or specific focus work massages: The frequency will vary for these services based on what you and your therapist are addressing. It is possible to overwork an area and for most kinds of massage, we don’t want to further inflame an area so your therapist will suggest rest periods between massage. Typically we’d ask a client to come more frequently at the beginning of treatment for a specific issue until it has subsided (2 sessions in a week is not uncommon at this stage), then maintenance massages. Your therapist will gauge frequency based on how long the benefits of the treatment seem to last. Sometimes even a quick 30 minute treatment here or there can help maintain progress.
  • If you are seeing multiple providers to treat the same condition: We often partner with chiropractors and physical therapists for greater treatment effectiveness. Do make sure your massage therapist knows all of the treatments you’re receiving for the injury or health concern (i.e. physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, etc…) and make sure your other providers know you’re receiving massage so you don’t over treat a condition and all providers are on the same page with scheduling service frequency.

HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO WAX?

Wax intervals vary greatly depending on the person, hair texture, ethnicity, hormones, and heredity play a role in how often you’ll need to book your follow-up waxes. It is important to grow hair to at least 1/4 inch before waxing to make sure the hair catches in the wax.

  • Facial waxing:Typically 3-4 weeks is common between waxing for brows, upper lip, and chin.
  • Brazilian/bikini, back and chest waxing: 4-6 weeks is a typical interval for Brazilian, back, and chest waxing.
  • Leg waxing: Leg hair needs a bit more time to grow in enough to wax, most people need to go 6-8 weeks once their hair is on a good growth schedule.

Are you ready for a rebook or looking to schedule your first service? Learn more and book online. Don’t hesitate to give us a call with your questions at (515) 309-2904.

Customized massage for mental health care

Years ago, I was seeing a spa guest for frozen shoulder pain. She’d been in a few times previously. This visit was different. I tapped at the door to see if she was ready, and she was wrapped in the sheet, standing and sobbing. I offered her some water and sat with her on the massage table. When she was able to slow her breathing, she explained that she was having a panic attack. She had just had an MRI for her shoulder a few days prior and had a panic attack in the machine. She said it was terrifying. When she put her face in the face cradle of my massage table, the same feeling washed over her and triggered a panic attack.

We decided we’d continue with the treatment, but we modified it to the sidelying position (think sleeping on your side) on the table with the sheet covering her, but draped lightly with her arms and feet out so she felt free to move. This position made all the difference and we did sidelying massage for the next few visits.

The sidelying massage position is helpful for people who experience claustrophobia

Guests prone to anxiety or panic attacks may also benefit from shorter sessions and slower techniques until they get used to the idea of massage. Sometimes faster massage techniques can be too stimulating for someone who is already on alert. Taking slow, deep breaths before and during the session can help as well. It is also helpful to ask your therapist what you can expect during the session (I call this a “road map”) so you can relax your mind instead of wondering what is coming next. Know that you have the right to ask your therapist to stop or take a break.

Slower massage techniques are sometimes helpful for people who are anxious.

Some guests, especially those who have a history of abuse, no longer feel comfortable in their own bodies. Massage can be a safe way to experience touch and massage therapists can even share self-massage techniques to help with stress management and to reconnect an individual with his or her body (American Massage Therapy Association.)

Some clients who have experienced abuse feel more comfortable receiving services where they can be fully clothed. Treatments we offer that can be done without disrobing include foot massage, assisted stretching, Craniosacral therapy, acupressure, Shiatsu, and even facials or nail services. All of these include safe touch and allow guests to control the session. They can stop or modify the service at any time. It is important for guests to share their needs with their provider so their provider can check in more frequently to ensure comfort or see if adjustments can be made, allowing their clients more control of the session.

Many massage and spa services can be performed fully clothed. Talk to your provider about your comfort level disrobing. He or she should be able to modify the service.

Guests who experience PTSD also benefit from massage therapy. A 2012 study found that veterans who received massage therapy reported significant reductions in physical pain, tension, irritability, anxiety, and depression (Collinge et al, 2012). Again, it is important for massage therapists to ensure guests are in complete control of the session. Therapists should ensure adequate time to address questions before and during the session. Guests should feel comfortable speaking up, whether they need more or less pressure, a change in position or technique, or to take a break or stop a session entirely. At East Village Spa, we understand the need for massage therapy to address PTSD for our military personnel. We offer a specially priced “Military Massage” to make massage therapy more accessible.

Whether you are living with a mental illness or are anxious about trying massage therapy, know that modifications can be made to ensure your comfort. Your massage therapist is not a mental health counselor, but he or she should be a good listener, able to suggest or accommodate changes to your session so you feel entirely in control. If a therapist is unable or unwilling to honor your needs, or if you have had an uncomfortable experience in the past with massage therapy, consider trying it again with a different therapist. Communicating your needs and preferences before the session is essential to ensuring you will get the massage you deserve.

Learn about the our massage therapists here. If you’d like to discuss the options that would be best for you, feel free to call us at (515) 309-2904! We would be happy to help you find the best service and providers for your unique needs.

Resource: Collinge W, Kahn J, Soltysik R. Promoting reintegration of National Guard veterans and their partners using a self-directed program of integrative therapies: a pilot study. Mil Med. 2012;177(12):1477–1485. doi:10.7205/milmed-d-12-00121

Ending the Stigma: Cassie’s Mental Health and Massage School Story

I’ve never shied away from talking about my own mental health challenges. Starting from my early teen years (did you know half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14?*), I visited many doctors and GI specialists for digestive disorders that had become life limiting, to the point of agoraphobia (fear of leaving my home or comfortable spaces). I had to take uncomfortable tests that showed everything was fine. This caused more frustration because everything was not fine. Sorry if this is TMI, but I was eating Immodium like candy to survive high school.

The issues worsened in college, to the point that one year, I developed such an extreme fear and anxiety of being in the claustrophobic dining hall because of my digestive issues, that I ate only what I could make in my dorm room. It wasn’t until after college that I realized that all of the abdominal problems that triggered such panic were actually caused by anxiety in the first place. Once I managed the anxiety, I managed my digestive issues and got my life back.

Talking openly about mental health was a key to managing day-to-day life. In the late 90s and early 2000s, this was not the norm at school or work, even though anxiety disorders affect over 40 million adults (Anxiety and Depression Association of America). It wasn’t until I started massage therapy school in 2005 that I found a place where this was encouraged. In fact, we regularly checked in as a group on how we were feeling, how different types of massage techniques impacted our bodies and minds. It was normal and expected to share the changes and emotions we experienced. Some techniques alleviated anxiety, some techniques exacerbated anxiety.

Cassie teaching at Body Wisdom Massage School with colleagues.

Sharing this information helped all of us gain a broader body of knowledge so when we saw clients in the real world, we’d have a basis for understanding their experience with massage massage therapy and we learned helpful modifications to sessions. By working on students with diverse health needs, we’d see things like a class partner having a panic attack and stopping a session in class, we’d learn other ways to position a client who feels claustrophobic with the head rest, or even how to fine tune our massage speed to help calm a classmate with a racing mind. When we encountered these sessions in our practices, they weren’t new or scary, and we were able to help provide our clients with whatever the needed to feel comfortable, whether that meant ending a session, changing a technique or position, or taking a break to just breathe.

Many of our massage clients live with mental illnesses or go through challenging mental health periods. We understand because these are issues that our providers or their loved ones experience too! In my next post, I’ll share some of the ways massage therapy can be beneficial for people struggling with mental health challenges, and how we can modify services to meet your individualized needs.

Massage techniques for anxiety and stress management at East Village Spa

Book your East Village Spa massage at www.EVDaySpa.com. Curious about massage therapy as a profession? E-mail us! EVSpaDesk@gmail.com. I’m happy to share about my own experiences and help you find a good school.

European Spa Tour Part 4: Rehabilitation in Switzerland

Just tuning into my European Spa Tour series? Click here to start from the beginning and catch up!

Of all the stops on our tour, I’m most appreciative of the opportunities to tour two rehabilitation centers and learn how massage therapy is integrated into the fabric of healthcare in some European countries. For our first stop, we toured the Reha Clinic in Bad Zurzach, Switzerland with our guides Thomas and Julia. Julia trained as a massage therapist in Florida 25 years ago, but that training did not qualify her to practice massage when she returned to Switzerland. In Switzerland, she practices the Trager method. In the United States, many massage therapists know this as one kind of approach to massage or techniques they integrate into their traditional settings. Some of the East Village Spa therapists integrate similar techniques into sessions. In Switzerland, it is a more widely-recognized therapy and according to Julia, it is 80% covered by insurance. (Click here for a brief explanation of the Trager approach).

American Massage Therapists and our Swiss Hosts Thomas and Julia at Reha Clinic

The rehabilitation clinic was in a complex with a large pool and sauna facility that was open to the public and used by patients. The clinic itself was for stays of 2 weeks to 4 months with some outpatient care. I would compare it to a place people would go in America after a joint replacement surgery or hip fracture when they needed intensive therapy but not long term care.  The facility employs 13 licensed massage therapists (Plus physical therapists, doctors, and nurses) and additional technicians to do wraps for patients being treated for lymphedema.

I was most excited to learn how massage therapy is covered by the national insurance plans in Europe. As far as I understood, medical massage is covered in treatments like the Reha clinic, but the massages are quite different than what my clients and the typical massage therapy client would expect and if I’m being honest, they are probably not what the majority of our clients would want for their routine massage therapy, but these sessions would be immensely helpful in a rehabilitation setting.

L-R: Thomas shows us how they make their saline towels for hot compress treatments, The massage treatment rooms in the new wing, and some of the treatment tables in the therapy center. Quite different than the atmosphere many Americans think of and prefer for massage.

Probably the coolest feature of the facility was their therapy garden. I initially assumed that this served as a place to practice physical and occupational therapy exercises or that the herbs grown were used in preparations, but I was absolutely delighted to learn that the primary purpose was chronic pain relief. According to our guide “Patients who are in pain forget the things that are not pain. They work in the garden to forget their pain and get new ideas.”

The following are the answers to my 3 most burning questions for our guides about what it is like to work as a massage therapist in a setting like their clinic.

Q: What kind of training is required for massage therapists in a facility like yours?

A: Typical is about 2 years of full-time (40 hours/week) study to become a licensed massage therapist. A relaxation or spa therapist can learn basic “feel-good” massage in about 2-3 weekends, but relaxation massage is not covered by insurance and isn’t licensed. Relaxation massages are out-of-pocket expenses. According to our tour guides, the licensed medical massage therapists respect the spa and relaxation massage therapists and see a need for their services as well.

Q: What type of services do the medical massage therapists offer and how do their services fit into the comprehensive medical treatment?

A: Medical massage therapists work as a treatment team with the physical therapists, doctors, and nurses to deliver rehabilitation treatments including aquatic therapy. They can offer hydrotherapy baths and exercises, and also perform treatments with tens units and lymphatic drainage machines. Therapists use saline (salt) wraps and hot packs. Our guide said “Massage therapists decide when a patient needs treatment like a tens unit. The massage therapist will call up the doctor and suggest it.”

Left: Warm water pools for aquatic rehabilitation. Right: Hydrotherapy tubs that massage therapists could use for treatments.

Our guides said that the types of treatments are generally prescribed by standard guidelines depending on the condition they’re being referred for (i.e. how many hours of massage, aquatic therapy, exercise, physical therapy, etc…). For example, before a patient comes to the clinic to recover from a hip replacement, he gets a plan of care. The treatment team meets weekly for an hour to discuss about 30 patients in their care and their schedule of therapies. Massage sessions are typically 25 minutes long except for lymphatic drainage therapy for lymphedema which usually consists of a 30 minute morning session and a 60 minute evening session.

Q: What kind of ambiance (lighting and music) do you provide for massages?

A: (Confused looks from our guides). “Why would we play music?” We laughed. The massage rooms are stark and brightly lit, patients bring the sheets from their rooms with them to the massage therapy room unless they are paying extra out-of-pocket for special care. I love the idea of “why would they need extra sheets? They have sheets on their bed!”

Q: What is a typical workday like?

A: Perhaps a team meeting to discuss patient care, a full day of back-to-back prescribed sessions with about 2 minutes in between to do notes and clean your table and supplies, a short lunch break. A typical day for a massage therapist in their clinic is far busier and more fast-paced than for most American massage therapists I know, especially because the sessions are so short and they see so many patients.

My takeaway:

I LOVE that massage therapy training in Switzerland is so comprehensive! I have always wished that we had tiered licensing in the United States for therapists who wish to progress into a more medical/treatment oriented setting v. therapists who wish to provide relaxation and stress-relief massage only. I was glad to return to our clients and report that “Yes, massage IS covered by their national healthcare, but not the kind of massage therapy that you are accustomed to and only when prescribed for a particular ailment.” I suppose a benefit of not having massage covered under American insurance is that we can completely customize treatments for our clients and make sessions relaxing, therapeutic, and exactly what our clients want on a given day.

Overall, because of the amount of training for therapists in the medical settings and the very low requirement of training in the spa and relaxation settings, it is hard to accurately compare Swiss and American massage therapists or make accurate professional comparisons, but this tour was probably the highlight of my trip and I’m glad our hosts were able to take time out of their busy therapy schedules to visit with us!

Click here to keep reading! Part 5: Austrian “Kur,” Radon Pools, and Spa Massage

 

 

Managing Workplace Stress

One of my best friends had been solidly in the “Massage is weird, I’ll never get a massage” camp for years. He finally confessed that this year he tried massage and has been getting them regularly ever since. I asked him what prompted him to try, when all of my prodding for years didn’t convince him. His reply “work was getting to be too much and I didn’t know what else to do to manage it.”

Even if you love your job, work can be stressful! In fact, 65% of Americans cited work as the #1 contributor to stress in their lives (2012 APA’s Annual Stress in America Study). The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has increased focus on stress as a workplace safety and health concern.

Even working in a spa, which would seem to be a low-stress job (to people who don’t work in a spa!) requires our team to carefully monitor their emotions and manage stress levels, both at home and at work. We see people at their most vulnerable and need to be sure we can be calm and present with them so we’ve become not only experts in relieving stress for others, but in practicing self care to keep our stress at bay and not absorb the stress from clients we’re working with.

At the spa, we hear anecdotal evidence from our guests that stressful issues at work (unclear demands, limited growth opportunities, time management concerns, supervisors, even workplace bullies) are a main reason they visit the spa. While our providers can’t change your work situation, we can offer coping mechanisms. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) studied the effects of massage therapy on ICU nurses and found statistically significant benefits to nurses who received massage therapy to manage stress over those who did not.

A Canadian pilot study of seated workplace massage showed short-term benefits of 20 minute weekly seated massage on employees in stressful work environments and suggested further research is needed to see long-term benefits of such a program. The Touch Research Institute of Miami showed that a 15 minute chair massage was more beneficial than a typical 15 minute break in reducing anxiety and also improved cognitive performance. Forbes recommends that executives regularly receive massage to reduce workplace stress, increase productivity, and increase sleep.

Work stress is serious! Don’t take it from us, take it from the American Psychological Association. This is a great article on tips to manage your work stress from the pros.

When it feels like too much, sometimes a visit to the spa can help you feel like yourself again, whether it is a stress relieving massage, facial, or both. Learn more about our services or schedule time to refresh and de-stress here.

 

5 “Awkward” summer issues to mention to your spa provider

We’ve all been there, you show up for a spa service and realize you are wearing your stinky sandals, or you spent a day at a pool party and got some extra sun a couple of days before your massage. The good news is it is fine, and expected, for our guests to mention these and other common summer issues to their provider BEFORE the session so we can make accommodations!

Stinky Feet Situations:

If you are worried your feet are not as fresh as they could be and it is going to bother you so much that you can’t just relax, it is fine to mention it to your provider before hand! While you’re getting ready, they can prepare some hot towels with tea tree oil to freshen up your feet so you can relax into your session! Other spas and massage therapists are likely to have solutions as well.

Plantar Warts:

Tell your therapist if you have plantar warts, especially because some rooms are pretty dark and we don’t always see them. While plantar warts are not super likely to spread between people in a massage situation, we don’t want to spread on your feet and we know they might be painful to massage. Your therapist can also do deep compression work on your feet or hit reflex points through a sheet over the immediate area (assuming it isn’t painful) so not to worry, you’ll still get a great foot massage and we promise we won’t be weirded out! (Get more info about plantar warts here.)

Post-sun flaking skin:

Summer is the season of “bonus exfoliation” in massage treatments. Dry, sun-exposed skin will sometimes ball up as we massage the back, but fear not because we have a solution. Once this starts, we’ll add some extra oil to the back and buff it with a dry towel, this usually takes care of the layer of dead skin so we can get back to massage! If you suspect this will happen, let us know in advance so we can start the session this way and your massage can have a better flow to it. If you have big pieces of peeling skin or a serious burn, that is different. In that case, it is best to reschedule your massage with plenty of advanced notice or ask your therapist to avoid the area.

Foot or nail fungus:

Let your therapist know before the service starts. While people with a healthy immune system have better luck avoiding person-to-person infection from a fungus, people who are pregnant or who have certain health concerns may be especially susceptible to infection so they will want to avoid the area or work with gloves. If you are booking a nail service but have a nail fungus, your nail technician can complete all of the service safely except that if you want polish, you will have to bring your own or purchase a bottle of polish and any base or top coat you wish to have used for the safety of other guests. Unfortunately, a pedicure can’t cure a fungal infection. Learn more here.

Mystery Rashes:

If you have a rash that is more than on just one small area of the body away from where your therapist or esthetician will be working, please reschedule your service. If you have poison ivy, you definitely need to reschedule! The risk of transmitting poison ivy to your therapist and to many clients they see is too great. Please give as much notice as possible and believe us, we’ll thank you for rescheduling. Click here for our blog post on poison ivy.

Whew, see, that wasn’t so awkward, was it? It is important to have an open dialogue with your massage therapist, esthetician, and nail technicians. They are experts at what they do and are eager to help you feel comfortable, but they need good communication and feedback from you to make that possible. Ready to schedule a visit? Click here!

 

What your massage therapist is REALLY thinking!

Awhile back, a client asked me to blog on things that clients are too embarrassed to ask their massage therapists and wanted me to ask our therapists what they are *REALLY* thinking during potentially awkward situations.  Here goes:

Q: Do you prefer clients rest with their eyes open or closed when they are laying face up?

A: Closed! 100% vote closed. If your eyes are open, we worry you’ll be looking up our nose when we’re doing neck work and when we are doing a relaxation style massage, most of the time we’re in a zone and it is awkward if someone stares at us.

Q: Should I shave before a massage? Will you judge me if I don’t?

A: We don’t care. Honestly. We don’t shave for each other.  I personally say “Why should I shave my legs for my massage therapist if I’m not going to shave them for my husband?” Also, we are totally fine massaging people who have back hair. We’d far prefer to massage someone with a hairy back than someone who just attempted to shave their back and has cuts and ingrown hairs we need to work around.

massagethoughtsQ: My feet are gross, will my therapist judge me?

A: Most of us are in need of a good pedicure.  Don’t stress about chipped nail polish, calluses (shoot, runners and walkers NEED calluses!), or cosmetic issues. Feet are feet. They contain 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 muscles/ligaments/tendons.  Things are bound to be wacky!

Q: I’m breastfeeding, what happens if I leak?

A: Don’t worry! We LOVE pampering new mamas.  We have plenty of towels, don’t be afraid to ask for one. We also have many tables that have breast cut-outs that are softer so please feel free to mention this at booking so we can ensure you’re scheduled in one of the rooms with cut-outs.

Q: What happens if I pass gas?

A: We won’t mention it if you don’t! And it just means you’re relaxed. We won’t go telling everyone because we likely won’t remember it by the time the session is over. P.S. Your therapist is afraid of passing gas during your session too!

massagethoughts2

Q: Do male clients ever get an erection?

A: Sometimes, it is natural. Usually the client is asleep and I’m guessing they don’t notice it. We prefer that if it happens, our client doesn’t bring attention to it. We certainly will not point it out.  We use sheets and a thick blanket for modesty. Please do not let this fear keep you from getting a massage.  Like passing gas, it is one of those things that if you don’t mention it, your therapist will have forgotten it by the time the session is over.

Q: What does “Undress to your comfort level” really mean? What does my therapist prefer?

A: We are fine with underwear off or on.  It is best if women remove bras.  If men leave on *longer boxers, we aren’t able to do some kinds of massage on the upper legs. If women have brief shape wear style underwear that go up farther on the back, it will make low back work trickier, but we can work around anything.  Glute work is easier sans undies, but if it makes you uncomfortable, please keep them on!  I’d say personally my clients are about 50/50 everything off/underwear on.

massagethoughtsNow that we’ve hopefully put your fears to rest, it is time to book your massage at East Village Spa! You can learn about our services here and when you’re ready to schedule, call (515) 309-2904 or 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!

massagevacation

 

Can spa services offer benefits for Raynaud’s Disease?

Some people experience periods of time when their fingers or toes turn color to white or blue and go numb.  This phenomenon is called Raynaud’s disease and it is fairly common, affecting 5-10% of the population.

What is Raynaud’s Disease?

My typical post cool weather run "trick" when a couple of my fingers turn white and go completely numb."

My typical post cool weather run “trick” when a couple of my fingers turn white and go completely numb.”

Raynaud’s disease is a condition characterized by periods of time when the fingers or toes (sometimes nose and ears) turn color and go numb due to an interruption of blood flow to the extremities due to a vasospasm (Mayo Clinic).  Often they will turn white, sometimes blue, and then red when blood flow returns.  Typically people with Reynaud’s feel numbness in the affected areas during an episode and may experience pain when blood flow returns.  The most common cause of a flare up is exposure to cold, though sometimes people experience the phenomenon during times of stress.

Raynaud’s may be primary (meaning it isn’t due to an underlying cause) or secondary (the phenomenon is due to a condition such as nerve damage, carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.).  According to Mayo Clinic, some medications can also cause the Raynaud’s phenomenon.

The majority of people who experience Raynaud’s symptoms do not report it to a physician, (Raynauds.org) but it is worth noting at your next medical visit as occasionally Raynaud’s disease presents before a more serious disorder.

Nails may turn blue during an episode and over time,  nails might develop ridges related to Raynaud's.

Nails may turn blue during an episode and over time, nails might develop ridges related to Raynaud’s.

Can spa treatments help with Raynaud’s disease?

While I could not find research on spa services and Raynaud’s disease, some services may help with some of the causes and help to reduce some of the symptoms.

  • Deep tissue or orthopedic massage may be able to help people with wrist, arm, and hand injuries (like carpal tunnel) that may be contributing to the Raynaud’s phenomenon.
  • Hot stone massages will likely feel great and boost circulation for individuals who are perpetually cold, but aren’t going to “cure” Raynaud’s phenomenon.
  • If you notice an increase in Raynaud’s phenomenon at times of emotional stress, you might consider regular massage or spa services you enjoy that have been shown to lower stress.
  • If you are self conscious about the way your nails look as a result of Raynaud’s disease (sometimes nails can become “spooned” or develop ridges) a professional manicure and application of a shimmer or glitter polish can help to disguise any nail disfiguration due to the Raynaud’s.
  • Products like Kneipp mineral baths are great to purchase for an at-home spa experience to warm up during a flare-up.  I personally use the Kneipp mineral baths after every cooler-weather run to relax my muscles and bring blood flow back to my hands and feet.

Can spa services trigger Raynaud’s phenomenon?

Spa services aren’t likely to trigger Raynaud’s phenomenon unless you get cold.  It would be wise to let your provider know any concerns.  Options to make sure your hands and feet don’t get too cold:

  • Ask if you can keep your socks on during a massage until the therapist works on your feet (I usually do this!)
  • Ask for an extra blanket on hand in the room.
  • During pedicures or manicures, after a soak in water, ask for your foot or hand to be wrapped in a towel so it isn’t exposed to air
  • Cut the toes off of a pair of old socks and bring them to put on before your nail technician polishes your nails.  While your toes will be exposed, at least your feet will be warmer while your polish dries.  You can cut the finger tips off of an inexpensive pair of “one-size-fits-all” stretch gloves for a winter manicure.
  • After a service like a body wrap or hot stone massage, make sure to have plenty of warm clothes and gloves (especially in winter) or grab a cup of hot tea to hold after your service so you aren’t shocked by a temperature change.

If you are one of many of us who experience discomfort from Raynaud’s, don’t be afraid to speak up when getting a massage, skin care, or nail care service!  Your provider will be happy to make adjustments because he or she wants to make sure you can get full enjoyment and benefit from their work without worrying about your fingers and toes going numb!

Resources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/raynauds-disease/basics/causes/con-20022916

http://www.raynauds.org/

http://www.nailsmag.com/article/82109/what-is-raynaud-s-disease

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3721961/

What is your favorite muscle to massage and why?

I took a little survey of our massage therapists to find out what muscle or muscle group they love working on and why.  The answers may surprise you!

Teresa Sage: Neck/cranial base release because it is such a nurturing area and because the tension ebbs and flows from the neck to the upper shoulders, almost always laden and heavy with tension on most people, especially females in my experience.

Teresa Sage demonstrates Craniosacral Massage techniques

Teresa Sage demonstrates Craniosacral Massage techniques

Allison Peterson: Erectors because of how they run the entire length of the spine and when they relax, we notice that surrounding larger muscle groups will open up with more ease.

Tiffany Jackson: The neck muscles because I think that is when people relax the most.

Jamee Koopman: The Psoas!  For more information about psoas massage, click here.

Many muscles in the abdominal area contribute to pain and tension, including the psoas and diaphragm.

Many muscles in the abdominal area contribute to pain and tension, including the psoas and diaphragm.

Clair McClintock: The Diaphragm!  It is often a place that gets left out of treatment for many different ailments.  For example: radiating pain across the ribs, breathing issues, trauma from an accident, and more.  It is not the most relaxing massage but I’ve had so much instant improvement in people’s back pain or some people that have come in with pain they’ve been dealing with for years.  It can be a huge emotional release spot for people.

Cassie Sampson: The Piriformis.  People who have severe pain from sciatic nerve issues can often find relief with massage to the piriformis and surrounding glut and hip muscles.  It wasn’t until I had injured myself and experienced the horrible pain caused by a sciatic nerve issues that I knew just how limiting and painful sciatic nerve issues could be and I liked knowing ways to help.

The piriformis and gluteal muscles can be accessed directly on the skin with proper draping, through sheets or clothing. Gluteal and piriformis massage is extremely beneficial.

The piriformis and gluteal muscles can be treated directly on the skin with proper draping, through sheets or clothing or via stretching. Gluteal and piriformis massage is extremely beneficial.

Justin Behanish: The quadratus lumborum (QL) muscle because it it is the cause (or partial cause) of pain in at least 1/4 of the people who have back-pain.  I think it is too often neglected by massage therapists.

The QL is a small muscle in the lower back that is the root of many peoples' back pain.

The QL is a small muscle in the lower back that is the root of many peoples’ back pain.

Kristiana Moore: The muscles in the feet because many of us stand all day and people find it the most relaxing.  When I get to the foot massage at the end of the session, so many people tend to fall asleep!

If any of our therapist’s responses are tempting you to book a massage to relax your sorest muscles, click here to schedule online!