Easy Cuticle Repair Idea!

I will admit, I stopped biting my nails years ago, but excitement over the spa expansion has wreaked havoc on my cuticles which are somehow finding their way to my teeth.  Camille had her work cut out for her today, but my nails look and feel amazing so I won’t subject any massage clients to my rough skin!

She asked if I was using my CND Solar Oil (I feel like she busted me…it was obvious I had not been!) and then suggested I use the Farmhouse Fresh Honey Heel Glaze on my hands to dissolve the dry, dead skin around my nails.  It works on the thickest, toughest heel callouses, why WOULDN’T it work on my hands!

My hands after a REALLY good manicure from Camille.  I'll be testing out Honey Heel Glaze as an intense cuticle treatment!
My hands after a REALLY good manicure from Camille. I’ll be testing out Honey Heel Glaze as an intense cuticle treatment!

I’ll give it a try this week and report back!

If you have caught yourself biting your nails or cuticles, or trying to deal with the dry weather as the seasons change, book yourself a manicure at East Village Spa!  Camille, Cassandra, Cammie, Katie, Sheena, and Lydia are all happy to help!

What is a facial and why do I need one?

A very common question at the spa is “What IS a facial?  Why would anyone pay someone to just wash their face?”  The easy answer is you really have to experience one of our great facials and you’ll understand just why they (and our estheticians) are so popular!

An eye treatment upgrade during a facial at East Village Spa.
An eye treatment upgrade during a facial at East Village Spa.

What is an esthetician?

Estheticians are licensed skincare professionals who are able to provide esthetics services defined by the State of Iowa Board of Cosmetology code as:

  • Beautifying, massaging, cleansing, stimulating, or hydrating the skin of a person, except the scalp, by the use of cosmetic preparations, including cleansers, antiseptics, tonics, lotions, creams, exfoliants, masques, and essential oils, to be applied with the hands or any device, electrical or otherwise, designed for the nonmedical care of the skin.
  • Applying makeup or eyelashes to a person, tinting eyelashes or eyebrows, or lightening hair on the body except the scalp.
  • Removing superfluous hair from the body of a person by the use of depilatories, waxing, sugaring, tweezers, threading, or use of any certified laser products or intense pulsed light devices. This excludes the practice of electrology, whereby hair is removed with an electric needle.
  • The application of permanent makeup or cosmetic micropigmentation.
Hot towel wraps and steam help to remove products and open the pores.
Hot towel wraps and steam help to remove products and open the pores.

Not every esthetican is trained in every one of these services (above), but you can see that esthetics covers a broad range of skill sets!  In Iowa, estheticians are required to have the same amount of educational hours as massage therapists.

What is a facial:

A facial can range from extremely relaxing to pretty intensive treatments (the most intensive or uncomfortable facials would be those performed in a doctor’s office or medical spa, not at a spa like ours).  At our East Village Spa during a Wellness or EV Signature Facial, you can expect your esthetician to look at your skin health history and your skin to assess your skin type to determine the best products for you.

She will cleanse, exfoliate, steam, perform pore extractions (our estheticans do this manually with gloved hands as they do not want to cause scarring and want to make this as comfortable as possible), massage the face, neck, and shoulders (and depending on the facial may massage the hands, arms, scalp, and feet while your mask works!), apply a mask to the skin, and finish with eye creams and moisturizers for your skin type.

Yes!  Men do enjoy great and relaxing skin care...and because of the damage and irritation caused from shaving, men actually need facials MORE than women!
Yes! Men do enjoy great and relaxing skin care…and because of the damage and irritation caused from shaving, men actually need facials MORE than women!

It is certainly more involved than someone “washing your face.”  Also, our clients are shocked when they experience the incredibly relaxing and skilled massage techniques included in the facials.  Most people don’t realize how stress-relieving these services are.  Our receptionists and even massage therapists suggest facials to their clients who are experiencing jaw tension, sinus congestion, or just need major stress relief!  These massages are great to relax the muscles of the face reducing the appearance of lines and stress and are also important for boosting circulation and lymphatic flow.

Our estheticians can help  with all of your questions about products, self care, and can help you decide what is the best skin care regimen for your skin type and lifestyle.
Our estheticians can help with all of your questions about products, self care, and can help you decide what is the best skin care regimen for your skin type and lifestyle.

Another benefit of getting a professional facial is that our experienced estheticians can recommend the right products for you.  Before I owned the spa, I used to have drawers, cabinets, and a shower full of different skin care products.  Now that I have guidance from pros, I have streamlined my routine and only have about 5 products in my house and stick to a really easy routine with no guesswork and am not wasting my money on products that don’t do what I need them to!

If you want to book at facial at East Village Spa, or would like more information, visit www.evdayspa.com!


Gender Roles and Massage

I debated whether I should even discuss the topic of massage therapist gender on this blog, but I think we have enough questions and comments that it seems to at least warrant brief acknowledgement.  As a therapist of over 9 years and a massage educator, I work with massage therapists who are men and women.  Of course, a majority of licensed massage therapist ARE women, but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t an ideal profession for men as well.

Many industry leaders, authors, and pioneers are men. 50% of the 2015 Massage Therapy Hall of Fame Inductees are men.  Men with a natural caring nature, or those who come from sports, engineering, science, or medical backgrounds are often drawn to massage as a profession or a career change.  I know two male doctors in Des Moines who also have a massage therapy license!  There are even men in the area who have created a niche as prenatal therapists because of their great respect for the pregnancy process.

That being said, discrimination goes both ways.  While the vast majority of clients who have gender requests ask for a female therapist, we do have clients without a good understanding of massage techniques or body mechanics who don’t believe women can provide enough pressure (definitely false!) or who see men as more “scientific” or “medical” which drives our science-minded female therapists crazy!

It is  quite rare we have someone request a therapist of a specific gender due to past history or religion (for example, I have taken courses with an Orthodox Jewish married couple who could only work with same-gendered classmates, clients, and instructors per their religious beliefs).

Mostly, I think people have body image issues or subscribe to outdated assumptions about gender and career roles, or aren’t 100% clear about the therapeutic nature of massage.  We’re constantly told by society how we should act or look as men or women and it is hard to tune that out.  I understand that no matter how many times your massage therapist works to assure you that he or she is not judging (or even noticing your “imperfections”) because your therapist is focused more on how well you and your muscles are relaxing, it is hard to believe if you aren’t a massage therapist.  At one point or another, all of our massage therapists were massage clients with no understanding of massage therapy at all!

It also surprises people to learn that when a guest discriminates against a male colleagues for non-medical or non-religious reasons, that male therapist’s female colleagues feel sad, as though they were chosen not for their skill as therapists, but only because of their gender.  A strongly stated gender preference (that is not attributed to religion or past history) also raises a therapists’ concern that perhaps a guest doesn’t fully understand that massage is strictly therapeutic and perhaps the guest is confused about the nature of their treatment.

All of this being said, we do respect our guest’s choices and certainly don’t require an explanation if you state a gender preference in your massage therapist, but I wanted to at least give you this post as “food for thought” because so often a client calls in desperate pain and we CAN help…but the therapist open is not the preferred gender so the client decides to wait a couple more days in pain until the therapist of their preferred gender is available.  Or perhaps a client’s health issue could be better solved by a therapists with specialized training in that area, but the client would rather see a therapist who is less skilled with that particular condition (and therefore not get the desired result) solely on the basis of gender.

A client just sent this nice message to me the other day and I thought I’d pass it along:

“Never really thought much about a male LMT, but Justin is AMAZING! Really, I haven’t had a bad massage at your spa but Justin made a lot of aches and pains melt away and did a number of great stretches that really worked my hip. I’m so glad I made it in! Already made my recovery appointment as well! Thank you & big thanks to Justin as well.”

We have male clients that see male and female therapists and female clients that see male and female therapists.  Most of our clients do not have a preference and trust that all of our therapists are highly skilled, ethical, and well-educated people who love their careers and are looking forward to helping you feel your best!

Justin and Mallory wowed the "Women who Wine" group with chair massages in 2014
Justin and Mallory wowed the “Women who Wine” group with chair massages in 2014

Breast Cancer and Spa Services

According to the American Cancer Society’s 2013-2014 Breast Cancer Fact Sheet, a woman living in the United States has a 12.3% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.

At East Village Spa, our trained and licensed providers have experience working with individuals undergoing cancer treatments and research has shown that massage therapy can be helpful in combating side effects of breast cancer treatments.

  • This study showed a statistically significant reduction in nausea and vomiting related to breast cancer treatments in people who received foot reflexology treatments.
  • 2003 research from the  University of Miami has showed massage therapy to be more beneficial than progressive muscle relaxation in combating depression among people undergoing breast cancer treatments and that massage was also effective in reducing treatment related anxiety and anger.
  • Lymphatic Drainage massage can be helpful in people who experience lymphedema after surgery (it should be used as a complement to lymphedema management done by a licensed lymphedema specialist like an Occupational or Physical Therapist).

Massage can be modified to help people relax during all phases of cancer treatment and most physicians are accepting of massage provided by experienced and knowledgeable practitioners during cancer treatments.  The Mayo Clinic has even opened a spa in their hospital!

Some modifications need to be made to ensure that clients receiving spa services while receiving cancer treatments are safe and that the services are most beneficial.

  • Sidelying massage techniques (similar to those used in prenatal massage) may be necessary after surgery
  • Lighter to medium pressure may be needed as opposed to heavier pressure which could be contraindicated due to the treatments
  • Treatments with heat, like hot stone massages, are not advised for individuals undergoing treatments like radiation, which can cause inflammation and burns on the skin.
  • Facials are fine and a great way to relax and help skin feel soft and hydrated, so long as the products are gentle.  Facial peels would not be advised.
  • Your esthetician and massage therapist will avoid ports or other areas of concern like burns
  • Waxing may be contraindicated due to changes in your skin from certain cancer treatment medications.

This is a great simple article from cancer.org about massage for people with breast cancer and I agree with all of their points.

Courtesy of ABMP
Courtesy of ABMP

If you are considering spa services as a way to de-stress and help reduce the negative side effects of cancer treatments, we’d love to visit with you.  We always encourage people to share any complementary services they are receiving with their medical providers and we welcome any suggestions from your physician as well.