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!  

Five Fast Ways to Ruin a Great Massage January 11 2014

We talk a lot about the myriad and many amazing benefits of massage at Soulstice Spa.  Physical benefits include relaxed muscles, better posture, improved flexibility and range of motion and a more resilient immune system.  Mental benefits include stress reduction, a sense of calm and ease, a feeling of space and lightness, deeper sleep and improved mood.  And that's just for starters!   We encourage receiving a massage at least once per month to experience the ongoing and preventative benefits.  With each visit we'll help you optimize those benefits with self-care tips and advice, such as drinking more water, stretching and ways to stay fluid and flexible during your work day.

On the other hand, there are a few things to avoid before, during and after a massage, lest you risk diminishing its wonderful effects.  We recommend NOT doing the following... five fast ways to ruin a great massage!

1/ Drink alcohol excessively. Massage stimulates nearly all the systems in the body, and if you have had more alcohol than your body can handle or is used to, you can wind up feeling really lousy during and after your massage.  We recommend avoiding alcohol altogether the day you receive a massage, or limiting yourself to a glass of wine or single beer.

2/ Drink caffeine excessively.  If you're a coffee or soda drinker, try to drink those beverages at least 6-8 hours before your massage appointment.  The body can achieve a deeper state of relaxation during your massage if your nervous system is not jacked up on caffeine.

3/ Rushing to and from your massage.  Nothing ruins a massage faster than screaming in the door last minute or late, your adrenaline pumping, stressed to the max and muscles tightened up.  Or worrying about finishing exactly on time because you have to race out the door to your next errand or back to work.  Instead, schedule your massage at a time where you have plenty of time on either side of the session, arriving early and unrushed.  We want you to carry the state of calm created at your visit as far as you can throughout your day and hopefully longer!

4/ Get a massage while fighting with your significant other.  One of the goals of massage is to unwind and go inward...  hard to do if you're in the middle of a massive argument.  If you're having some personal problems (and we all go through them every now and again!) try to leave them at the door.  When you're finished with your massage, give yourself some time to soak in the relaxation and benefits of a quiet mind before jumping back into reality and the "outside world."  Make your massage time all about you, and you'll emerge from your session feeling calmer and clearer.  Take a break from your problems for a little while - you deserve it!

5/ Eating fast food before or after your massage.  It's never a good time to eat standard fast food, but it's especially ill advised to down a Big Mac and fries just before receiving a massage.  After a giant, salt & fat-laden meal you'll feel lethargic, bloated and uncomfortably full.  Massage tends to heighten or deepen our ability to feel and sense, so feed your body whole, clean, nutrient-rich foods before and after to get the most out of your treatment.  Your body will thank you for it!




Quick & Painless Feel-Better Fixes November 16 2013


At Soulstice Spa we see hundreds of customers every month and in the process we notice patterns showing up in people's bodies.  Tight hips, aching lower backs, creaky necks, swollen feet ....  these are just a few of the all-too-common symptoms we see walking through our doors.

Many of our daily life activities create or contribute to these issues, and with awareness and some minor fixes, they can be greatly improved with minimal effort!  The key is becoming aware of our bodies throughout the day and making small corrections consistently.  Below is a list of common things we see and our quick & easy fixes:

Stiff and Sore Muscles:  If you wake up stiff and sore, give your body time to warm up before leaping into action.  Every morning, be more conscious about moving more slowly, breathing more deeply and perform a few gentle stretches to begin the day.

Tight Forearms and Hands:  Many of us use far too much grip and pressure necessary, and this puts unnecessary wear and stress on the arms and hands.  Pay attention and relax the arms and hands when gripping the steering wheel, holding your children, and - most of all - while texting and typing!

Sore Lower Back and Inflexible Hips:  Don't sit when you can stand!  Many muscular and skeletal imbalances are created by too much sitting... in cars, on airplanes and at desks.  Too much sitting tightens hamstrings and hips, and can in turn lead to lower back pain and sciatica.  Whenever you have the choice of sitting or standing, opt to stand.  And if you must sit for long periods be sure to counterbalance by stretching to counteract its effects - strengthen your core and stretch/open hip flexors and hamstrings.

Swollen, Achy Feet:  Whenever possible, spend time without shoes... Many shoes (especially men's dress shoes and women's high heels) do a number on the feet, ankles and lower legs.  Symptoms of wearing unfortunate shoes are inflammation, plantar fasciitis, tight calves, and cramping in the lower legs.  When at home, give your feet room to breathe by wearing socks, slippers or going barefoot.

Creaky and/or Stiff Neck:  Most of us are staring over and into a computer screen, desk or reading material for a large part of the day. Parents are toting young children around, and many women are dragging around huge and heavy over-the-shoulder purses.  All of these things create postural imbalances and - in particular - a forward rotation of the neck.  (If you wonder if this is you, stand naturally then look at yourself from the side, in profile, in the mirror.  If you notice that your jaw and chin are thrusted forward, this is typical of an imbalance in your cervical spine.)  To correct this, take time throughout the day to check your posture by opening your chest, lowering and bringing back your shoulders, tucking your hips and keeping your neck held in alignment with your spine.  Keeping your posture in check will do wonders for your neck stiffness and immobility.

Minor changes, applied consistently each day, will help alleviate the most common aches and pains and help prevent them from turning into more chronic conditions down the road....




October Massage Specials at Soulstice Spa! October 03 2013

We're celebrating the season by offering our best specials ever at Soulstice Spa!
For one week only, you may receive one of the amazing 80-Minute Massages listed below for just $50.  These specials are available October 14th-October 20th only.  Must be reserved with a credit card. 24-hour cancellation policy applies.  One per person, please.  *Please note, appointments must be made by calling the spa directly.


Choose one of the following massages:


1/ Lavender Harvest Massage:  A blissful and restorative Swedish massage incorporating lavender aromatherapy


2/ Asian Fusion Massage:  A custom massage incorporating Eastern techniques such as Thai, Shiatsu, Reiki and more


3/ Warming Ginger Massage:  Ease, warm and soothe tired muscles with a relaxing massage incorporating warming ginger aromatherapy


If you've never received an 80-Minute Massage, this is a great opportunity to experience an extended session and more detailed work.  Please call 707-843-3539 to book!

Oh, Baby! September 30 2013

As many of our customers can attest, we've had babies on our minds at Soulstice with two of our therapists welcoming little boys in recent months!  We love taking care of expectant and new moms, and enjoy nurturing them during this special time in their lives.  Massage therapy is a safe and wonderful way to ease the body, mind and spirit through the many physical and emotional changes it is going through during the nine months of pregnancy. 

Body ~ Massage with rich, emollient natural oils can help keep skin supple and pliable, minimizing stretch marks.  It can also help ease the aching in the low back or hips that comes with carrying a growing child.  Sciatica - a very common and painful condition where the nerve is compressed - can send shooting pain down the hip and leg.  Massage can be very effective at loosening the tightened muscles and easing the discomfort of sciatica.  Lymphatic massage can improve swelling in the feet and legs as well as water retention and bloating.

Mind ~ Expecting a baby is a joyful time, but it can also be a stressful time!  Massage is one of the best stress-relievers around... it is very calming to the mind and nervous system, reducing anxiety and worry.  Feeling calm and balanced will help you feel more in control and grounded.  

Spirit ~ Massage therapy puts you in touch with your sensations and feelings.  This can enhance the connection between your heart, mind and emotions, and bonding with your growing baby.  Nurturing yourself makes you stronger and better able to nurture others, including your baby-on-the-way.  

Massage during pregnancy is safe for most women. Prenatal massage therapists are specifically trained to administer massage during and after pregnancy.  If you have any complications, it is a good idea to speak with your doctor or midwife if there are precautions you should take or if massage might be contraindicated.  During a normal pregnancy however, massage is a wonderful way to nurture and prepare yourself for motherhood.  

Depending on how far along you are, your prenatal massage may be completed while you're laying face up or on your side... whichever is more comfortable for you.  Additionally, we have a specially designed pregnancy cushion that can allow you to lay face down if you like, even during the latter stages of pregnancy! 

If you or someone you love are interested in receiving massage during pregnancy, please give our friendly staff a call.  We're happy to answer any questions you have! 


Finding a Professional Massage Practitioner September 21 2013

When you're visiting a massage therapy center or spa for the first time, how do you know you'll wind up with a professionally trained practitioner and not Tony Soprano's cousin??
Here are a few tips to ensure you're calling a reputable, therapeutic massage center:
1/ Before calling the spa for an appointment, visit the spa's website.  Is it professional?  Does it provide a business address and contact information?  Search the spa online and check its reviews on sites like Yelp and Tripadvisor.
2/  Professional massage therapists must be licensed and certified to practice in the state of California.  When calling for an appointment, feel free to ask if all therapists working there are licensed and certified.  A legitimate establishment will answer in the affirmative, and often be able to tell you where the therapists were trained.
3/  Check the business hours of the spa.  If the spa is only open late at night, that is a red flag. 
4/  Ask friends and community members for a referral.  Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find a great place to go for your massages.
5/  Check to see if the spa is listed in business directories and community organizations, such as Chamber of Commerce, Rotary or Tourism Boards. 
6/  How does the business present itself over the phone?  Does the receptionist communicate in a friendly, clear and professional manner?  Does he/she ask relevant questions such as asking what type of bodywork modality you prefer, or the type of pressure you like to receive during a massage? 
7/ Who owns the spa?  A reputable establishment will freely share the name of the people behind the business.
The above tips plus a bit of research and intuition should help steer you in the right direction when looking for a fantastic massage!

Join our Massage Club and Save! September 08 2013

Receiving regular massage therapy is one of the best ways to improve your overall mental, physical and emotional health.  Everyday stresses can take their toll... lowering our energy, depleting our body's innate ability to heal and creating imbalance in the body and mind leading to aches, pains, anxiety and mood swings.  The benefits of massage multiply with consistency, and the best way to make the practice a regular healthy habit is to commit to a monthly massage visit.

At Soulstice we offer annual wellness memberships designed to make regular massage accessible, affordable and efficient.  With over 800 appointments available monthly plus evening and weekend availability, our therapists can accommodate the most demanding of schedules.  In addition to a discounted monthly massage, our members receive a discount on all retail offerings, VIP notice for events and specials as well as priority booking.

Here are a few frequently asked questions about Membership:

1/  Can I share my membership with my (husband/wife/BF/GF/colleague/child) ???

Yes!  You sure may...  You may share your membership with one other person and they need not be a relative.

2/  If I miss a massage one month, do I lose it forever?

No, if you can't make it in one month your massage will "roll over" into the following month.  You may use massages yourself, or turn them into gift cards to give to others...

3/  If I move or can't continue to receive massage, am I on the hook for the rest of the year?

No, we ask for a 30-day notice when discontinuing a membership.

4/ Can I prepay for a membership, or be gifted an annual membership?

Yes, you or a loved one are welcome to prepay for an annual membership rather than having it billed monthly on a credit card.

Our friendly staff is happy to answer any questions you have about Membership; give us a call (707-843-3539) today!


Harvest Specials at Soulstice Spa August 29 2013

Harvest season is upon us, one of our favorite times of year in Sonoma County!  Celebrate the season with us and our wonderful neighboring wineries...

Enjoy special savings on massages and complimentary wine tastings from our featured vineyards!

For just $139, you'll receive two blissful massages and complimentary wine tasting passes of your choice during the months of September and October.  (Retail value up to $199)

Featured wineries include:  Truett-Hurst, Rodney Strong, Peterson Winery, Dutton Estate, Amista Vineyards, West Wines, Amphora, Paul Mathew Vineyards, Siduri, Mercury, Hanna and Kokomo Winery.

Combine two of Sonoma Country's best and brightest - spa + wine! - and come celebrate with us at Soulstice...

Offer good through October 31, 2013.  By appointment only.  Massages are for two 50-Minute Custom Massages. Wine tasting passes are subject to availability, limited quantities.


Timing is Everything August 22 2013

Clients often ask us how often they should get a massage in order to receive the most benefit...

The answer is different for each client, and depends on a few factors:

1/ The current state of your health.  If you eat healthy, exercise, practice good posture, do yoga and meditate, your body will have different needs than someone who is nutrient-deficient, sedentary, over-worked/stressed/anxious and out of touch with what's going on with their body.  Give some thought as to where you fall on this spectrum...

2/ Problematic or chronic conditions.  Are you suffering from a specific condition?  Frequent headaches?  Or are you so stressed that anxiety is affecting your ability to function?  If so, more frequent massage at first might be beneficial for you...

3/ Time and money.  We want the best for your health, but realize you need to take steps toward healthy living in the way you're able to balance self-care with other life responsibilities.  We'll help you determine what your body needs, and work with your lifestyle and budget to help bring your body back to health and balance.

Many people thrive on weekly or biweekly massages, but the minimum we feel everyone should strive for is one massage monthly.  Our wellness membership is based upon this premise and makes it affordable (less than $2/day!) for everyone to receive massage twelve times per year.  Have questions about how massage can fit into your life?  Give us a call!



Benefits of Regular Massage August 06 2013

Many people initially come to massage for a specific injury or problem area...  A sore back, chronically tight shoulders or the zinging pain of sciatica.  Massage therapy can be very effective for all these issues, but it isn't until you begin receiving regular massages that you'll experience the many other amazing benefits. 

Physically, massage enhances circulation, eases digestion, improves range of motion and relaxes tight muscles.  It can help improve posture, prevent and ease chronic overuse conditions and enhance flexibility.  You will feel lighter and more "at home" in your body after a great massage.  Mentally, massage lowers stress, relaxes the nervous system and mind and gives you a moment's pause in our fast-paced and overstimulated world.  Many health conditions are brought on by stress, and controlling stress levels will go a long way toward disease prevention and enhancing your overall health.

Regular massage feeds a healthy habit cycle... When you feel great, you naturally want to exercise more.  When you exercise more, you sleep better.  And when you sleep better, you're more likely to reach for nutritious foods rather than the quick fixes of sugar and caffeine.  You may be surprised at the wide-ranging impact massage can have on your well-being and health.  For less than $2 per day, you can incorporate massage therapy into your life on a regular basis --- come visit us at the spa and ask about our Wellness Memberships! 

It's Not Easy Being Green. July 30 2013

Thinking about getting your first massage?  Or maybe you've only had a handful, or one back on that honeymoon in 1989.  Fear not, we therapists love working with you newbies and our friendly staff is here to help every step of the way.

There are a great many types of massage therapy - Swedish, deep tissue, Shiatsu - and some have some pretty weird names... it can be confusing!  A great place to begin is to let the receptionist know the following:

1/ Pressure:  When a loved one gives you a shoulder rub, do you tend to like a gentle, nurturing touch, or do you prefer a firm to deep pressure? 

2/ Problem spots:  If you're experiencing occasional or chronic pain in a specific area, that is great info to let us know.  For example, frequent headaches, neck pain, overall aches and pains or sciatica are all common complaints that will help us match you with your therapist.

3/ Concerns or questions: Will I get completely undressed? Will my therapist be male or female?  Will the massage be painful?  Let us put your mind at ease by answering your questions or concerns over the phone.

If you're relatively new to massage don't be afraid to let the receptionist know that at the outset - we're here to help!  Don't be shy about communicating to your therapist what you like or don't like, if the pressure is too light or deep, or if you're too hot or cold.  Finally, keep an open mind - there are many types of massage, so if you're not crazy about the first one you received back on that honeymoon, don't give up!   Once you get comfortable and matched with the perfect therapist, you'll get the hang of it and begin to experience massage's many amazing benefits.

Making the Most of your Massage July 28 2013

In the course of our busy days, it can be difficult to carve out the time to take care of ourselves.  For this reason, it's important to schedule healthy activities and nutrition into our lives.  Proper sleep, a nutrient-rich diet, regular stretching & exercise, and a monthly massage are a vital part of keeping your mind and body functioning optimally.  When hours in the day are limited, it's especially important that you maximize your relaxation time...

Here are some tips on how to get the very most out of your monthly massage:

1/  Choose the best day and time. Try to book your appointment when you won't be rushed to get to your appointment.  If possible, try to take a soothing bath or shower before leaving for your session to warm the muscles and unwind your mind.  Leave early and arrive in plenty of time in order to feel relaxed and unrushed.  Ideally you won't have anything scheduled immediately after your session, leaving yourself free to absorb the feeling of deep relaxation and stay in your bliss-state as long as possible. 

2/ Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  Before your session, drink plenty of water and refrain from caffeine 4-5 hours before your session.  Dehydration can lead to dry skin, headaches, sore muscles and a weakened immune system.  Try to drink 24-48 oz of water in the hours following your massage, especially if you enjoyed a deep tissue session.  This will help your muscles recover, eliminate toxins and cleanse your body from the inside-out.

3/ Clean the Slate.  Try to get your work, chores and errands out of the way before your massage so you can free your mind from running through the things you still need to attend to that day.  A relaxed mind allows for a relaxed body.

4/ Un-Plug.  After your session, try to unplug from unnecessary stimulation like email, crowds, television or other burdens to the mind and nervous system.  Instead, try a bath, spending quiet time with the one you love, cuddling a pet, gardening or walking in nature.

You will feel the effects of a great massage for days to come, especially if you prepare yourself to receive and allow yourself the space to absorb all its amazing benefits.