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!  

Agua, Acqua, H2O... December 21 2013

Any way you say it, water is vitally important to our heath and vitality.  During the winter months, we're often less inclined to drink water... and at the same time we're consuming more caffeinated drinks to stay warm and alcoholic drinks at holiday parties. Most of us are already slightly dehydrated, and then coffee and alcohol make matters worse by further dehydrating the body.  Why is water so important to our health and vitality?  

1.  The human body is made up of over 70% water, and the body relies on adequate water for all its systems (metabolic, detoxification, digestion, elimination and circulation) to function optimally.  The better hydrated you are, the better your entire body will feel!

2. Water = energy.  If you're feeling tired, resist the urge to reach for an espresso or sugary snack... you may be feeling the effects of dehydration.   Just a 5% drop in fluids results in a 20-30% loss of energy in a person, so instead, first try a large glass of purified water.

3. Dehydration exacerbates inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.  If your joints are stiff and achy, reach for a glass of water before the ibuprofen.

4. Water lubricates the joints and allows for fuller range of motion and flexibility.  Better yet, drink water while doing ten minutes of gentle stretching each day - you'll be surprised at how much better you feel with just ten minutes a day of regular practice.

5. The brain is made up of over 75% water... amazing!  Memory, focus, brain function and health is optimized by consuming adequate water.

6. Water is crucial to support our liver in detoxifying our bodies and flushing waste from our systems through perspiration, exhalation and elimination.  Give your body a break and makes its job easier by providing it plenty of H20 support!

Feeling thirsty or having a dry mouth is often the last indictor of dehydration.  More common symptoms are low energy, fatigue, dry skin, back pain, joint stiffness and a general feeling of sluggishness.

How much water should I be drinking, you might ask?  Depending on your activity level and size, the standard "eight glasses a day" might not be enough.  You should consume more water if you're above average in height and/or weight, do a lot of exercise, have a physically strenuous job, or drink quite a bit of caffeinated coffee, tea, sodas or alcohol. 

To make sure you get your water levels back to an optimal level, we recommend initially drinking your body weight in ounces of water daily for one week.  You should notice a big difference in your energy level, skin, and possibly even your hair and nails.  Your digestion should be smoother, and you might find yourself sleeping better as well.  Give it a try!


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....