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! 


Staying Soothed and Sane this Holiday Season! November 09 2013

 

The holidays are a time of celebration, joyful reunions and shared meals and laughter...  However they can also be a time of traffic jams, long lines and high expectations.  For many, the weeks leading up to the new year can be the most stressful of the year.  Stress leads to muscular tightness, lowered immune system, headaches, insomnia, anxiety and depression.  Rushing around, tense and anxious, are not what the holidays are meant to be about... so make a pact with yourself that you will float through this holiday season feeling calm, peaceful and detached from the stress that so many in our society get caught up in.

Here are some of our best tips to help you stay physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy!

1/ Unplug.  Choose to turn off the television, talk radio and popular magazines that bombard you with the non-stop marketing of gift-giving. 

2/ Choose experiences over "things."  If you do participate in gift-giving, make a conscious effort to give meaningfully, not out of a sense of guilt or pressure from society.  Shared meals, experiences, outings... these things often mean much more than widgets.

3/ Pre-plan "you time."  This one is important!  The holidays are a time when many are running around like mad; it's very easy to let your health and self-care go by the wayside.  Now more than ever, it's important you take care of yourself, so schedule time for healthy activities like exercise, yoga, massages, and walks in fresh air.  Yes, that's right!  Pick up your planner right now and schedule in "you time" each week from now until the clock strikes 2014.

4/ Get your shopping done early.  Avoid malls and corporate America.  Shop local and buy from small businesses.  Waiting till the last minute and "door-busting" big business isn't good for your sanity or your community. By shopping local, you help keep money in your community, create jobs and get to know the people who are making your goods and providing your services.  You'll feel great knowing you're supporting people you actually know, and chances are you'll be much more appreciated as a customer than you will at the mall.

5/ Get a massage or two!  I know, I know... I can hear what you're saying: "I don't have TIME for a massage!"   But it is precisely because you're busy that you most need a massage.  Massage relieves stress, reduces anxiety and makes you feel like everything in life is that much more manageable.  By renewing your mind, body and spirit, you'll stay strong and healthy and better able to enjoy the true spirit of the holidays. 

From now through December 24, 2013, we're offering a special Give One Get One Massage Special to help make massage convenient and affordable for you, and a thoughtful and meaningful gift for a loved one or colleague.  For $99, you receive a 50-Minute Massage for yourself plus a 50-Minute Massage Gift Card to gift to someone special.  To take advantage of this special package, please stop by the spa or phone us at 707-843-3539.

Cheers to a beautiful holiday season!!


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!

 

 

 

 

 


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!

 


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!

 

 


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.