Soulstice Spa Blog
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....
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:
Eastern Modalities such as Thai and Shiatsu
Reiki and energy work
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!