Soulstice Spa Blog

Pain, Pain Go Away... January 18 2014

Pain.  Physical pain is what brings most people in for their first massage initially...  Chronic back pain, headaches, sciatica and neck/shoulder tension are the most common types of presenting pain we see in our clients at Soulstice Spa.  Depending on the severity of the pain, and how long you've had it, it can take one massage to a series of sessions to experience relief.  Remember, in most cases it took months and years to accumulate the tension in your body;  give yourself time, space and plenty of nurturing to "undo" those knots... 
Massage therapy is a safe and natural form of healing and a wonderful complement to other health care including acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy, energy balancing, cardiovascular exercise, weight training, yoga, dance and pilates.  Regular massage enhances the immune system which allows you to heal more readily and easily.  It can amplify the effect of other wellness practices and motivate you to continue a well-rounded healthy lifestyle.  A great massage will put you in touch with your body, your feelings and your breath... and the more regular massage you receive the more you will become self-aware on a daily basis.
Massage is a great natural alternative to pharmaceuticals, many of which have unfortunate and long term side effects.  Instead of covering up the pain with acetaminophen (potential liver damage), ibuprofen (possible stomach issues), alcohol (cognitive impairment and dependency issues) and sleeping pills (habit-forming), try weekly massage for 4-6 weeks and notice if your pain lessens naturally.  Massage therapy works to dissolve the source of the pain, not simply cover it up... and it just so happens to feel wonderful in the process!
Finally, massage encourages you to "tune into" what your body is telling you --- the place where your pain lies in the body can often provide great insight and serve as a catalyst for healthy life changes.  Before receiving your massage, let your therapist know not only where your pains are, but also "how" they feel...  For example, does the pain feel like a knot?  Is it burning?  Stiff?  Does it hurt all the time, or only in the morning?  Does it hurt when you move one way, but not another?  Does the pain occur all day long at work, or only at home?  All of these things will provide clues to your therapist and help them be the best partner they can be in your healing process.
Our ultimate goal as massage practitioners and bodyworkers is to help you feel as healthy and happy inside your body as possible.  If you've been experiencing muscle pain and chronic tension that effects your daily life or prevents you from sleeping peacefully, give massage therapy a try!  

A Match Made in Heaven December 29 2013

Massage Therapy is a dazzlingly varied health practice.  From Shiatsu to Esalen to Reiki to trigger point, you can find a dizzying number of treatment modalities on a typical spa massage menu.  How do you know what is the right type and therapist for you?  We have over a dozen massage therapists at Soulstice Spa and encourage their individuality and unique practices.  By sharing a bit of information with us, we're happy to suggest what type of massage might presently be best for you.  Here are some pointers to help you find your perfect match.

1/  What do wish to get out of your session? (Out of pain? De-stress and unwind?  Detoxification?  Meditation?)

2/ How do you want to feel? (Ironed out?  Nurtured? Soothed?  Stretched out?  Calmed down?  Energized?)

3/ Have often do you receive massage? (Never?  Once in awhile?  Monthly?)

4/ What kind of touch do you prefer? (Gentle? Medium?  Firm?  Very hard or deep?)

5/ Is there anything specific going on in your life or body?  (I have a migraine, I'm in the middle of a move, Just quit my job, Have sciatica...)

Reflect on the questions above before phoning to book your appointment.  While scheduling your appointment it can also be helpful to provide some additional information about your lifestyle or body type over the phone, especially if it will be your first visit to the spa.  Examples of this would be...

"I drive a lot for my work"

"I sit at a computer all day"

"I'm a big guy/tall guy"

"I'm tiny/petite"

Also be sure to let us know if you are under 18, pregnant, have mobility issues or any chronic health concerns so we can be sure we're able to accommodate you, make special arrangements if necessary or advise you if massage might be contraindicated.

If you are brand new to massage, please don't hesitate to say so!  We love working with clients new to massage therapy and introducing them to its many health benefits; by letting us know you're new we can take extra time to show you the ropes and make you feel completely comfortable.

Whether you're brand new to massage or it's the first time you're visiting us at Soulstice Spa, the more information and clues you can give us, the better! 

A Cure for the Common Brain Pain November 23 2013


Headaches are a pervasive problem for many individuals. Ranging from an occasional painful nuisance to chronic, debilitating migraines, massage therapy can be an effective remedy for both episodic as well as chronic headaches.  The source of headaches is often related to the nervous system, which is why headaches often stem from overstimulation, noise, and stress.  The trigeminal nerve in the head provides feeling for the eyes, sinuses, face, scalp and teeth; imbalance in any of these areas can manifest in headaches.

There are three primary types of headaches:

1/ Migraines - An especially debilitating condition where pain can manifest in specific areas of the head or may occur all-over the skull.  The sensation is typically a throbbing pain that may cause vomiting, extreme sensitivity to light and dizziness.  Migraine sufferers tend to have an especially sensitive nervous system, and prone to becoming overstimulated quite easily.  These individuals should take extra care to keep themselves in balance through exercise, limit sugar and caffeine intake, relax through massage, meditation and yoga, and avoid crowds, violent films and environments that jar the nervous system.

Migraines can also be triggered by diet (red wine, monosodium glutamate, nitrates and artificial sweeteners), PMS, lack of sleep, hormonal changes, and weather/atmospheric changes and may last up to three days in worst cases.

2/ Tension Headaches - The most common type of headache, tension headaches can be occasional or chronic in nature.  The sensation of a tension headache feels like pressure or squeezing against the skull and can last up to a week.  They may be accompanied by sensitivity to noise and light, but not to the debilitating extent that migraines are...  They are often linked to stress, repressed emotions, feeling overwhelmed and not getting enough sleep.

3/ Cervical (back of the skull) Headaches - These type of headaches originate from tension or imbalance in the neck, spine or surrounding muscles.  Pain is most often felt in the base of the skull, but may also radiate up and over the head or along the sides into the temples.  Pain can also manifest behind one eye and be accompanied by blurred vision and dizziness.  Accompanying symptoms are restricted neck mobility, extremely tight neck and shoulder muscles, and a rigid jaw.

Studies have shown that regular massage therapy can improve and reduce the severity of all of these types of headaches. By relaxing the neck, shoulder, scalp and facial muscles you may lower the incidence of cervical headaches.  Specific trigger point and myofascial work on the neck and scalp may release tension headaches.  And by relaxing the overall nervous system you can reduce the onset of migraines and tension headaches.  Massage is also a more natural alternative to over-the-counter and prescription drugs, many of which have unfortunate side effects.  Chronic headache sufferers should try to receive weekly massages for 6-8 weeks and then assess their improvement.