Posts tagged #massage

Stressed About Your First Visit to the Spa? Don't Be!

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Starting your self-care regimen (or even just taking the opportunity to try something new) can be a little overwhelming, especially if you have never been to a spa. At the Pearl, we welcome all, whether you come every week or have never had a massage. For those who are entirely new to the spa scene, or just have some weird questions you’ve always wondered about, we are here to shed some light on the spa experience.

You have scheduled an appointment, and the day approaches.  Leading up to your appointment, notice some of these questions:

  • Where in your body are you sore, stiff, or holding tension?

  • What issues would you like addressed (during your massage/facial/nails/etc. appointment)

  • What is your goal for your appointment?

  • What are your preferences for your service? Do you like to chat, or would you rather have complete silence?

Keep these in your mind or-- better yet-- write them down to discuss with your provider.  This will help you maximize what you get from your appointment.

People often ask, “Should I wear anything in particular to my appointment?” My recommendation is to wear something you are comfortable in to maximize your relaxing experience. Most of our appointments will have you dress down so it’s not necessary to wear anything specific, but it does help to undress and dress quickly before and after. Remember, the spa is a place of relaxation, so anything that might cause you distraction or stress should be left at home or tucked out of sight. We request that cell phones be placed on silent out of respect for other patrons.  Upon arrival, you’ll check in at the Front Desk to fill out any necessary information prior to your appointment.

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Finally, it’s time for your appointment!  Your therapist, aesthetician, or nail tech will ask you some questions. Now is the time to bring up those points from earlier. Holding tension in your neck?  Speak up and let them know! Communication during your entire appointment is paramount-- after all, we aren’t mind readers. If the pressure is too light, too firm, the bed is too hot, your therapist talks way too much, don’t be afraid to speak up and make requests. We won’t be offended. In fact, we enjoy hearing from our clients so we can make their experience truly exceptional.

After your appointment, be sure to drink plenty of water!  Massages can loosen up soft-tissue metabolites and other substances within the body, so drinking more water than normal will help to flush these out of the system. Remember to check in again at the front desk, re-book another appointment, and enjoy the effects of your service!



Posted on April 23, 2019 and filed under Self-care, Massage & Bodywork, Skincare & Beauty.

4 Natural Ways To Treat Allergies

As most allergy sufferers know, an allergy attack can make your life miserable. During a typical nasal allergy attack, you may experience sneezing, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, malaise, shortness of breath and a headache. Before resorting to prescription or over-the-counter medication, though, consider the following natural ways to treat allergies.

1) Fish

Eating fish may curb your allergies. Fish contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), that reduce inflammation in the body. This is important because an allergy attack is essentially inflammation triggered by your body's immune system. By eating fish and other foods rich in omega-3s, you'll have an easier time managing your allergies. It's important to note that different types of fish have different levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, herring, and trout all have high levels, making them an excellent food for allergy sufferers.

2) Spa Treatments

Spa treatments also help with allergies. A relaxing massage, for instance, can lower your stress levels and, subsequently, promote proper hormonal balance in your body whereas aromatherapy can relieve sinus congestion and other common symptoms associated with allergies. Some spas even offer salt therapy treatments for people suffering from nasal allergies, skin allergies, and asthma. Additionally, many spas like the use of oils while treating their clients. This is a positive because essential oils can be formulated to be highly therapeutic, and will help you relax if your body has been particular high-strung due to allergies.

3) Bee Pollen

Assuming you aren't allergic to it, consuming bee pollen can increase your body's resistance to allergies in several ways. First, it promotes a healthy immune system by exposing your body to small amounts of new, harmless microbes. Second, it has anti-inflammatory properties that rival common drugs like naproxen and phenylbutazone. Third, bee pollen contains antioxidants that fight allergy-triggering compounds. Start by eating 1/4 teaspoon of bee pollen daily and gradually increase your dosage as needed.

4) Saline Nasal Rinse

Finally, rinsing your sinuses with saline may reduce the severity and frequency of your allergy attacks. Nasal allergy attacks are triggered by the presence of pollen, dust or other airborne allergens in the sinuses. Your body thinks these allergens are trying to invade it, so it responds by producing inflammation. A saline rinse, however, will flush allergens, irritants, and debris from your sinuses, thereby reducing the risk of an allergy attack while allowing you to breathe more freely in the process. As a side benefit, research has shown that saline rinses can shorten the duration of a cold infection.

Unlike antihistamines and other allergy medication, the natural allergy treatments discussed here don't have adverse side effects. Nonetheless, you should consult any new treatments with your primary care physician.

What Self-Massage Can (And Can't) Do For You


Image courtesy of Go Moji

We've all experienced it - tight, achy muscles, tension in the neck or back areas, and painful cramps. Muscles that are over-worked, tense or even stretched can cause pain in so many areas of our body. A natural reaction to the pain is to massage the area. Self-massage helps to work out the cramp or tension, but there are many other benefits, too.

Destress

When the job becomes stressful, or kids are dancing on your last nerve, soothing strokes with your hands or self-massage tools can promote a feeling of calm and well-being. Try using your fingers to gently rake across the corded muscles of your neck while simultaneously moving the head from side-to-side. This relieves tension in the neck and helps you relax. Use some coconut oil mixed with a drop of lavender essential oil and rub onto your feet. With your thumbs, press into the arch of your foot, sliding your thumbs upward along the arch and over the bed of the toes for instant stress relief. You could also place a tennis ball on the floor and roll your foot over it for a great self-massage.

Energize

Instead of coffee or other caffeine in the morning, try an invigorating self-massage. Use coconut oil mixed with a drop or two of peppermint essential oil all over your body. Try quick, short strokes over your arms, down your legs and trunk. Be sure to use your knuckles to knead your lower back quickly. This type of massage will promote blood flow and oxygen. This helps you to shake off sleep and get ready for your busy day. The smell of the peppermint oil opens nasal passages and allows a cooling feeling to invigorate you.

Detoxify

Self-massage has another important health benefit - it helps you to detoxify. Think about it. Your skin covers your whole body, making it your largest organ. When you use self-massage daily, you are promoting blood and oxygen flow, which allows the built-up toxins in your body to be released. Your skin purges the body of these toxins, helping you to stay healthy and feel great.

 

While self-massage has many health and mental benefits, you can only do so much on your own. For a more relaxing and significant health-promoting experience, try a professional, full-body massage or similar spa treatment.

Posted on June 19, 2018 and filed under Massage & Bodywork, Healthy Living, Self-care.

Tips & Tricks for Healing After a Car Accident

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Car Accidents are scary and unsettling. Whether a fender bender or a major collision, car accidents can trigger a whole host of emotions. My son and I had what I have been calling a "medium car accident."  "Medium," because no one was critically injured. "Medium," because our car was totaled and smashed real good, and I sustained "Whiplash" (sprains and strains of the spine, rib attachments, and hip joints), smashed elbows, and my son and I were extremely shaken up.

I was in serious shock for 24 hrs, and still had pretty serious "brain fog" (difficulty focusing and reading) for about 2 weeks. I was very sensitive and worked up. My son was luckily O.K. He, too, had been shaken up and rattled by the crash. He was obsessed with wanting to look at the car and talk about the crash. He was irritable and extra sensitive (he is 3....lots of big feelings) for a week. This event left me sore and upset. It reminded me how little we can control.....Then, I felt really grateful!

Since the accident so many things have worked out well. I'm almost all healed up! We got another car and car seat. Good Reminder: A Car Seat That Has Been In A Car Accident Must Be Replaced! Many Insurance Companies Will Pay for a Replacement! And I feel increasingly grateful that we were not injured worse! Getting to this positive happy-puppy dogs-and-rainbows outlook did not happen over night, and has taken dedication to healing. Here are some important things you can do if by some unfortunate event you end up having an auto accident:

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1) Go to Urgent Care or see your doctor as soon as possible.                                      
If you are injured, even if it seems like just a little bit, a once-over by a doctor or nurse practitioner is not a bad idea. Many times someone can have a concussion and have no idea! Often we are not totally aware of what exactly happened to our body during a collision. We're a little preoccupied by trying to stay safe to notice if maybe we hit our head...or possibly have a minor break. Often, you can apply the cost of the visit to your claim, even if you go before you receive a claim number. Make sure the office knows it's due to an auto accident. They can help!

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2) Seek out a Chiropractor.                                                                           "Whiplash" A.K.A. Sprains and Strains of the neck, spine, hips, arms, legs, jaw, ect., are very common injuries after a car accident. At first I was in shock but as the day went on my hips and neck and ribs felt awful. You may not fully know how injured you are for a few days...possibly even up to 6 weeks. Having a good advocate who can help you is key! A chiro can directly help reset the body by aligning joints, which can lessen pain, help restore range of motion to the body and help reset the brain-body connection back to "normal." Chiropractors are also great resources because they can be a hub for referrals! Insurance likes you to be under a doctor's care and to have a doctor's referral to do most anything....and A Chiro Is A Doc! Yay!  Obviously keep in good contact with your insurance to be sure that all services will be covered. Dot those I's and cross those T's when it comes to insurance...Don't assume. Usually, insurance is good about helping. At your first Chiro appt, you can talk to them about a massage referral, and a physical therapy referral for down the road.

3) Seek out a Massage Therapist                                                                           

With referral and claim information in hand, you have what you need to find a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT). Up front, let whomever you're talking to know this treatment is related to an auto accident. Many LMT's, clinics, and even our Pearl Day Spa, can bill an auto claim for treatment. Massage is a wonderful and supportive way to heal form a motor vehicle accident, though I may be biased as I am an LMT of almost 13 years. I have personally aided many clients through auto accident injuries. Massage helps restore range of motion, reduce inflammation, soothe the autonomic nervous system, support joints staying aligned, and is a supportive place to feel safe and validated while you're healing and possibly feeling vulnerable. I have been receiving great care from a friend whom I work with at the spa. She has really helped my hip specifically. Over time she has helped all the muscles to calm down, loosen up, and helped my pelvis to remain aligned. If, as you heal, your notice you're still not quite getting over the hump, physical therapy may be in the cards.

4) Seeking out a Physical Therapist.                                                                       

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Once again, have that claim number and referral ready. And once again, make sure they know this is due to a motor vehicle accident. Then let the PT do their magic! I have yet to see my PT. I have an upcoming sequence of appointments set up and am looking forward to all of them! PT offers something really amazing. PT is another way to support the mind/body connection. Often after an accident, weakness or over firing (over compensating) can occur in certain muscle groups. This can in turn cause imbalance and pain throughout the body. A well-trained PT has the training to muscle test. This allows them to see what muscles are not doing their job, or which muscles are overworking themselves. After they take you through many muscle tests, stretches (such as having you flex your bicep with a little resistance or isolating the hamstrings to see how they are or are not working) then the real work begins. The PT gives you very special exercises and or stretches that continue to support joint stability, alignment, reduce pain (though, through PT you may have some soreness in the beginning), and increase strength.

5) Other Useful Tips                                                                                             

ICE! ICE! ICE! And Rest! It's easy to get impatient and feel like, "Hey! I'm busy! I don't have time to slow down and rest..." But let me say, Yes You Can! And your body will thank you for showing it a little grace while it's healing. In fact, proper rest from exercise and house work...for a few weeks...and a good icing routine can expedite healing and support the work you're seeking out. Allow those adjustments and massage time to do their job. I fully understand how difficult this can be. I'm a busy working mama...lyin' low is a challenge for me. But, I took 3 weeks off from the gym (Not easy for me!) and let some house work take a back seat while I let myself rest...and even squeezed in a few naps. Let me say, it Made A Huge Difference! 

I, of course, hope you are never in an auto accident, but if you or someone you know has the unfotunate luck of getting into one, I hope these tips can help you or your loved one heal faster, feel better, and help you to feel more informed and empowered with your care.

May you be well,

Lily

Developing a Healthy Body Image through Bodywork

Body Image

Learning to Love Who We Are

The statistics are alarming. The majority of U.S. women–some estimate more than 80 percent–are unhappy with their appearance. At least 10 million young women, and 1 million young men have an eating disorder. Girls as young as 6 and 7 are expressing disapproval of their looks, and most fourth-grade girls are already diet veterans. Most unsettling is the fact that more women, and girls, fear becoming fat than they do dying.

Combating the Images

How do you see yourself?

Are you content with the person looking back at you from the mirror each morning or do you frown in frustration? Unfortunately, many of us are unhappy with the person looking back. Whether it’s lamenting about having a pear-shaped figure instead of an hourglass, or exhibiting more serious, self-hating body dysmorphic disorders, body image is under siege in our celebrity-fixated society. While Madison Avenue continues to airbrush photos of svelte, 120-pound supermodels for magazine covers, others are trying to teach young girls to love their bodies, beautiful imperfections and all. One way to combat the Hollywood hype and to create an appreciation for the bodies we have is through hands-on massage and bodywork.

Why Massage Affects Body Perception

Being unhappy with our bodies has serious, and sometimes lifelong, ramifications. Feelings of unworthiness and self-loathing can set up a lifetime of self-deprecating behaviors. What regularly scheduled massage allows us to do is “get back” into our bodies and reconnect with ourselves. Massage can help us release physical and mental patterns of tension, enhancing our ability to experience our bodies (regardless of their shape and size) in a more positive way. Just as it facilitates our ability to relax, massage also encourages an awareness of the body, often allowing us to more clearly see and identify destructive behaviors, including overeating or purging.Massage also creates a sense of nurturing that is especially powerful when it comes to poor body image. Accepting the nonjudgmental touch of a trained therapist goes a long way toward rebuilding an appreciation and respect for your own body. If we find acceptance for who we are and how we look, we are giving ourselves permission to live comfortably in the skin we have.The Value of Massage

Research shows that touch is a powerful ally in the quest for physical and mental health. Not only does it help us be more in tune with our bodies, it can also helps restore a sense of “wholeness” that is often lost in our segmented, over scheduled lives. When we regain that connection, it’s much easier to remember that our bodies are something to be cherished, nurtured, and loved, not belittled, betrayed, and forgotten.Valuable for every age and every body type, massage and bodywork have innumerable benefits. Here are a few:

– Alleviates low-back pain and improves range of motion.
– Decreases medication dependence.
– Eases anxiety and depression.
– Enhances immunity by stimulating lymph flow.
– Exercises and stretches weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
– Increases joint flexibility.
– Improves circulation by pumping oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs.
– Releases endorphins–the body’s natural painkiller.

Every Shape and Size

No matter what a client weighs, massage and bodywork therapists are trained to appreciate all bodies, without judgment, and to deliver the best care possible. As in any session, a therapist’s goal is to create an environment that feels safe and nurturing for clients, all while delivering much needed therapeutic touch. For heavier clients, some minor adjustments might be needed in the delivery of the bodywork, but its nurturing, therapeutic, nonjudgmental role will remain unchanged.

Through the Scars

We also have to remember that a negative body image is not necessarily about those few extra pounds on the hips. It might instead be tied to the scars of past injuries and surgeries. Massage can help here, too. For burn victims, research has shown massage can help in the healing process, while for post-surgery breast cancer patients, massage and bodywork can reintegrate a battered body and spirit. In addition to softening scar tissue and speeding post-surgery recovery, massage and bodywork for these clients is about respect, reverence, and learning to look at, and beyond, the scars.

Finding the Stillness

Experts say that when the tissues start to let go and relax under a massage therapist’s hands, profound shifts occur emotionally and physically. A softening happens, and the brain and body begin to integrate again. The chasm between body and mind that created the eating disorder, or fueled the negative body image, begins to narrow. In her book, “Molecules of Emotion,” Georgetown University Medical School professor Candace Pert explains that the body is the “actual outward manifestation, in physical space, of the mind.” She says that if we generate negative energy in response to our appearance, it can eventually find its way into reality. Self-acceptance, then, is paramount for living well, and massage/bodywork is a healthy path to get you there. Finding the stillness in a massage session allows you to just “be,” without judgment. Partner that with the comfort that comes from allowing your body to be nurtured by someone else, and we begin to remember our value, regardless of our outward appearance, or what we perceive it to be.

Posted on December 22, 2017 and filed under Self-care, Mental Wellness.

Raindrop Inspired Massage, Awaken the Senses

Whether the weather be cold, whether the weather be hot, we'll weather the weather, whatever the weather, whether we like it or not.... I think I'll stick to my day job. 

The changing of seasons can bring spring showers or a winter downpour, but the beauty of either is the sweet and soothing sound of those raindrops. They awaken, inspire, and lull the senses. And, like our beautiful and invigorating friend, the rain, Raindrop Inspired Massage enlivens, invigorates, and soothes the mind and body.

Raindrop Inspired Massage is our own unique and tailored spin on Raindrop Therapy. It's called ''Raindrop" because the therapist drops essential oil directly onto your skin through a delicate and deliciously crafted recipe of specific essential oils. All delivered individually and rhythmically massaged into the body, the oils are coupled with hot towels and hot packs to draw the beneficial properties of the oils into the skin and muscles.

Raindrop Inspired Massage essential oils and their benefits are:

Valor Essential Oil- balances the energies of the mind, body, and spirit. 

Thyme-energizes the mind, and clarity in direction of energy flow, and clarity of the mind.

Basil-soothes tired and overworked muscles.

Oregano- cleansing and soothing

Cypress: beneficial for troubled skin, spiritually grounding, aids in feeling emotionally secure.

Wintergreen- soothes head tension and muscles after exercising. 

Marjoram-relaxes tense and fatigued muscles, nervous system support.

Peppermint- promotes clarity, stimulates the brain, soothes and aids digestion.

Aroma Siez- an essential oil blend, soothes tired muscles, helps reduce stress and discomfort, Especially lovely for head, neck, and tired feet. 

During the treatment, essential oils, hot towels, and hot packs are applied to the feet, back, legs, and neck. Layer upon layer of aromatic oils melt into the skin to relax the mind, release toxins, and reduce inflammation, thus creating a full-bodied bouquet of aromas.

It's said that the anti-inflammatory and healing benefits of the oils can aid in spinal alignment and support physical and emotional balance. Everyone I have given this treatment to has said they feel incredibly relaxed and over the moon with how heavenly they smell. Speaking for myself, the intoxicating and stimulating qualities of the oils leaves me feeling awakened, invigorated, and nurtured through the rest of the day. I often wake the next day with the sweet aromas still greeting me with the sun.

May You Be Well,

Lily

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