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!

 

 

 


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! 


Foil the Flu this Season! October 24 2013

 

Regular massage therapy is a wonderful way to boost and prime your immune system as we transition into the fall season, a time when cold and flu germs abound.  Massages reduce stress, relax the body and mind, and restore balance.  They improve circulation and stimulate the lymphatic system.  Finally, they help flush toxins from the body and create a sense of space, lightness and freedom of movement.

When you're stressed, the body's adrenals are in a constant fight-or-flight state and expend energy in an effort to manage your stress reaction.  By alleviating stress, you keep your body strong and better able to fight off bugs and infections.  Combined with plenty of purified water, deep tissue or Swedish massages enhance detoxification and balance in all the body's systems.

Other ways to keep your body strong and healthy:

- Minimize or avoid sugar altogether... instead, substitute stevia, a plant-based sweetener

- Break a sweat!  Cardiovascular exercise raises endorphin levels and, like massage therapy, relieves stress. 

- Wash hands regularly and often.

- Avoid crowds, especially if you're feeling run-down or tired.

- Drink extra water.  It can be harder to remember to consume as much water as we need during the colder winter months, but it's particularly important now, especially when we might be drinking more coffee or tea to keep warm.  Carry a large water bottle to work to help monitor your water intake.

- Get plenty of vitamin C and Bs - these antioxidants help fight off infection and keep the adrenals strong. 

- Consume leafy greens, lemon water and/or apple cider vinegar daily to alkalize the body

Finally, get plenty of deep, delicious shut-eye each night!  Give your body and mind all the rest they need during the darker, damp months. You may find yourself falling asleep earlier at night... or perhaps needing more hours of sleep than usual.  The body has its own deep wisdom and wants you to thrive and be healthy - listen to it!  

 

 

 


Choices, choices... October 07 2013

When it comes to massage therapy and bodywork, there are a range of styles (or "modalities," as we in the massage field like to call them) to choose from.  You have probably heard of deep tissue and Swedish massage... but might be less familiar with modalities like trigger point therapy or myofascial release.

Each of our talented massage therapists at Soulstice Spa brings a unique combination of skills, touch and training, and we encourage our guests to experience as many different styles of bodywork as possible as each has its own benefits.  Not all therapists practice all the modalities we offer - for example, some therapists practice prenatal massage and others do not - but as a group we offer an amazing array of styles and massages.

Here are some of the modalities we offer at Soulstice:

Swedish

Deep Tissue

Sports Massage

Eastern Modalities such as Thai and Shiatsu

Reiki and energy work

Myofascial Release

Reflexology

Trigger Point

Hot Stone

Aromatherapy 

Instead of attempting to put all these massage styles on a menu, we opt to keep things simple and utilize a *pricing system that is consistent and easy to follow.  In other words, we don't charge more or less for deep tissue, for example --- we want each therapist to have the freedom to customize their massage for whatever will best serve the client. 

(*The only massages that are priced differently are Hot Stone and Aromatherapy massages)

We encourage you to try different styles and practitioners... if you're stumped on which one to pick, let us know the answer to the following question:  How do you want to feel during and after your massage??   Relaxed?  Energized?  Nurtured?  Specific pain point addressed?  Emotionally balanced?  By giving us a description about how you'd like to feel, we're happy to recommend a modality that would best suit your goals.  Try something new during your next massage... give it a try!