Soulstice Spa Blog
Are your shoulders rounded and head jutting forward? Does your neck make snapping, cracking and popping sounds when you rotate it? Is your spine stiff, or back out of whack? If so, it may be time to visit the chiropractor.
Many common back and neck complaints are muscular in origin and can be treated by massage. But every so often we see a client who's clearly out of alignment or has subluxations, meaning they have vertebrae in their neck or spine that are out of position. We asked Dr. Jeannette Anderson of New York City's Anderson Peak Performance to answer some of our client's frequently asked questions about chiropractic.
1. How is Chiropractic different from massage?
Chiropractic removes spinal fixations (subluxations) to restore nerve function to the affected area and improve function, alignment and posture. It’s tuning up the engine so that massage can improve all the soft tissue covering the affected area, like waxing the car.
2. How do I know when I need to see a Chiropractor?
If you are suffering from pain and other symptoms, Forward Head Posture, scoliosis, TMJ, overuse injuries and chronic conditions.
3. Is Chiropractic for everyone?
Not necessarily. After an initial consult, exam and x-rays, the Chiropractor will make the recommendation for Chiropractic or prescribe another allied health professional.
4. Should I get Chiropractic care if I’m already getting massages and seeing a physical therapist?
Yes, I recommend receiving the benefits of care of a top notch medical team. This is the Olympic model and I follow it in my office.
5. Does Chiropractic hurt?
Chiropractic adjustments can cause short, temporary discomfort. As the body heals the acute stage lessens making the Chiropractic adjustment more comfortable for the patient. There are also over 20 techniques in Chiropractic adjustments, many of which are gentle and painless.
6. How many times should I expect to see a Chiropractor to get something fixed?
It depends on the severity of the problem.
7. Is Chiropractic just for neck and back?
No, wherever the nervous system goes, which is the entire body: the senses of the face, the organs, and all your muscles, joints and your extremities.
Massage Therapy: The Fresh Face in Corporate Wellness April 28 2014
More restful sleep? Heightened and sustained energy? A healthier immune system? These are just a sampling of the many benefits of regular massage therapy that can support a happier, healthier workplace.
With soaring health care costs and impending policy requirements for businesses, now is the perfect time for managers and business owners to put preventative health care measures in place for their employees. Keeping staff healthy not only improves their day-to-day work, but saves substantially on the company's bottom line when you factor in less sick days, chronic health conditions, worker's compensation claims and lowered health care premiums. It costs much less to promote health among your staff on a sustained basis than it does to treat illness and disease later via costly surgeries and prescription drugs. Managers and owners want very much to take care of the health of their staff, but sharp rises in carrier premiums and bureaucracy too often curtail the ability for small and medium-sized businesses to afford and offer traditional benefits. In many cases the co-pay required from employees is more than they can reasonably afford. Thankfully, new alternatives are available to help keep your hard-working staff healthy with real and meaningful preventative health benefits.
Massage therapy is an ancient health practice being rediscovered in modern times. As massage becomes more mainstream, greater numbers of people are experiencing its benefits firsthand. What was once considered an occasional luxury or a privilege of the wealthy is now accessible and available for under $2/day. Individuals are flocking to spas and massage centers for on-going services and driving the growth of this healthy practice and industry. In an effort to make massage therapy affordable and maximize its benefits, an increasing number of spas are offering Massage and Wellness Memberships. Similar to a gym membership or health club, individuals and employers may pay one monthly fee in order to receive discounted services and health products. Massage therapy in particular is a welcome employee health benefit - not only does it offer myriad positive effects on the benefits, it also feels wonderful to receive, promotes relaxation and eases overall stress.
Some of the benefits of massage are:
- Heightened immune response = less sick days
- Improved flexibility, mobility & circulation = less workplace accidents and prevents chronic injuries
- Overcome back pain and correct posture imbalances due to long periods of sitting at a desk, in a car seat or flying
- Ease jetlag due to frequent air travel
- Improved mood and energy = happy employees are productive employees
- Lowered anxiety and promotes restful sleep = sufficient rest lays a foundation for other healthy habits such as good nutrition and regular exercise
- Lessen the occurrence of debilitating headaches and migraines
Many employers have opted to create Health Savings Accounts or Flexible Savings Accounts (commonly known as HSAs or FSAs) for their staff that often allow individuals more flexibility in selecting their health care practices. For example, massage therapy, acupuncture and naturopathy may be applied to HSA savings, where they may not from a traditional private insurance policy. Management can help teach employees how to effectively use their HSA account, and in turn help themselves by creating and maintaining a healthy, vital workforce. Additionally, many companies are opting to offer corporate massage and wellness memberships to their staff or executive teams. For less than $2/day per employee (less than what many spend on a daily latte!), employers can provide a monthly massage and other wellness benefits. Massage therapy also makes for excellent employee incentives and rewards in the form of gift cards or company sponsored member accounts. On-site massage performed at a company's workplace is an excellent option during busy or high season when staff might be working extra hours and under increased physical demands. Nothing puts a smile on the faces of your staff like a midday massage break provided by the company; it's an excellent opportunity to take care of your staff's health and show you care and appreciate them.
If you're interested in making Massage Therapy part of your company's wellness plan, give us a call at 707-843-3539 - we look forward to learning how we can help you keep your company healthy!
Curious About Cross-Fit? March 07 2014
Chances are you may have heard of CrossFit, an exciting new fitness trend sweeping the country. Our friends at CrossFit Northgate in downtown Santa Rosa have generously offered a complimentary fitness evaluation to our customers at Soulstice Spa. Below, founders Shannon Vandewalle and Ryan Parker answer some frequently asked questions about CrossFit... Read on, and check them out online HERE. They have a great community of wonderful people, and we encourage you to check them out!
1/ What is Cross-Fit? Do I already need to be in great shape to do it?
CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program performed in a dynamic group atmosphere. You do not need to be in great shape to do it, you just need to have the motivation and commitment to be there. CrossFit North Gate caters to all fitness levels, from beginners to high level athletes.
2/ I'm interested in losing weight. Will I lose weight doing Cross-Fit?
CrossFit is not a “quick fix” to losing weight. However, with a commitment to a consistent fitness program and good nutrition, weight loss is imminent. We like to think of CrossFit as a “healthy way of life”.
3/ I'm a runner and afraid of bulking up from lifting weights. Is Cross-Fit a good fit for me?
Endurance athletes, especially runners, will benefit significantly from our strength and conditioning program. We focus heavily on proper movement, technique work and mobility work. “Bulking up” should not be a concern.
4/ How many days a week should I do Cross-Fit for best results?
We recommend 3-4 times per week.
5/ I play other sports such as cycling, golf, going to the gym... Can I also do Cross-Fit along with my other activities?
Yes, Crossfit is a great compliment to any sport. We provide customized programming for our members to ensure they are getting what they need to accomplish their fitness goals. We also offer personal training.
6/ I'm a woman and have never worked out at a "gym." Do other women work-out at Cross-Fit?
Yes, our membership is approximately 50/50 (men/women).
7/ Will I be working out alone or with a group? Can I work out with a friend?
The majority of our members attend our group classes. We encourage working out with a friend and its likely you will make a bunch of new friends as well!
Re-boot Your Resolutions with Reps! February 21 2014
A Note from Our Founder February 13 2014
Seven Ways to Shake Off Stress February 02 2014
Stress. It takes a toll on the physical body, resulting in painful knots, headaches, chronic neck tension and more. A stressed mind is tired, forgetful, distracted and worn out. A stressed spirit might be anxious, down, sleepless, full of worry or feel hopeless. Stress is a root cause of many of our most-common physical and mental ailments, and managing your stress level is one of the greatest gifts you can give your health: body, mind and spirit.
Here are seven ways to keep stress at bay and help keep you feeling your best:
1/ Get enough Zzzz's.... Over the next week, commit to an earlier bedtime than usual, and 10pm at the very latest. The vast majority of Americans do not get the proper amount or quality of sleep each night, and once you do you'll be amazed at how much better you feel. Everything will feel more manageable once you experience proper rest.
2/ Ditch refined sugar! Sugar has a multitude of negative effects on the body, stressing the body and lowering our immune response. For one week, sate your sweet tooth with natural fruits or stevia and see how much calmer you feel on a daily basis.
3/ Breathe deeply. Most of us unconsciously maintain a stressed, shallow breath throughout the day... Take five deep breathes --- all the way in, and all the way out --- each morning upon waking and feel the difference it makes.
4/ Slow Down. Being perpetually late and in a rush stresses you out as well as everyone around you. Make a conscious effort to slow your movements (walking... driving... eating... talking) throughout the day.
5/ Take a B-Vitamin supplement. In addition to a nutrient-rich diet, taking a B-vitamin supplement will help support your adrenals, which are one of the first lines of defense against stress. Strong adrenals give us energy, will and resilience whereas weakened adrenals make us feel sluggish, anxious and prone to colds & flus.
6/ Get moving and shake off stress by practicing regular exercise; anything that gets your heart rate up counts! From brisk walking to yoga, cycling to dancing, you're more likely to commit to exercise if it is something you look forward to every day. Instead of meeting a friend for lunch or drinks, grab a hike instead. Take the stairs. Park in the last row and walk to the entrance of the store. Exercise is less daunting when you work it into your daily life in easy, manageable ways.
7/ Get regular Massage Therapy. Receiving massage on a weekly or monthly basis feels great and complements all the other healthy practices, such as healthy eating, better sleep, daily exercise, and maintaining a tip-top immune system.
There's no such thing as a stress-free existence, but we *can* control that stress and limit the effect it has on our body, mind and spirit. Give these seven tips a try and in a few weeks you'll notice a calmer, healthier you!
Pain, Pain Go Away... January 18 2014
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!
Small but Mighty - Amazing Avocado January 02 2014
We all know avocado is delicious (what goes better with football season than guacamole & chips!), but did you know the avocado packs an amazing nutritional punch? Amy Bowman, co-founder of Avohaus Avocado Oil, shares the scoop on this small-but-mighty gift of nature...
1) What vitamins and nutrients can I get from one serving of avocado and avocado oil?
Avocados are one of the most nutrient dense fruits on the planet, packed with more than 25 vitamins and minerals. Both avocados and their oil are high in potassium (more than twice the amount in a banana) as well as vitamins A, E, D, and Omega-3’s. Additionally, avocado oil has been found to have the highest concentration of monounsaturated fats, which are the “good fats” in our diet, which also help balance cholesterol levels.
An essential nutrient for bone and cardiovascular health, the magnesium found in an avocado is known to reduce migraines and prevent type II diabetes while the antioxidants and Beta-Sitosterol found in avocados help to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and block cholesterol absorption.
2) How is Avocado Oil made and what makes Avohaus so special?
Avocado Oils like this don’t come around every day. Avohaus is made from only New Zealand Hass Avocados using a cold pressed method allowing us to capture the flavor of the avocado in the oil just like the day it was bottled. We use 14 large Hass avocados in every bottle so it’s “packed with nutrients."
Avocado Oil production is a tedious process and requires unique steps to ensure air and light don’t come into contact with the Avocado pulp during the extraction process. Avohaus is the only producer of Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Avocado Oil who takes special care in the production and storage of the oil to produce this high quality best tasting product.
We use large Hass avocados and wait until the day they are ripe, just like you would eat at home, remove the skin and seed and cold press the flesh, retaining all 25+ vitamins and minerals of the fresh avocado in the vibrant green nectar. Our oil is also Raw, Vegan, and GMO Free.
3) I've heard avocado oil is also good for the skin, hair and nails. Is this true?
Absolutely! Did you know that Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Avocado Oil is a natural sunscreen of 8 to 15? Due to the high absorption rate the oil penetrates to the third layer of skin, moisturizing all three layers, which keeps the skin from burning. Cold pressed Avocado Oil retains all the vitamins and nutrients of the fresh avocado, delivering Vitamin E, Omegas, Sterols, and many other nutrients deep down to the third layer of skin providing a microbial layer of moisturizing protection. It’s anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, used to treat eczema & psoriasis, and as a natural treatment for diaper rash.
4) How do I know which avocado oil to buy? Can I also use the same for all my skincare needs?
Always look for an Extra Virgin Cold pressed Avocado Oil in a dark bottle…..never buy refined! When an oil is refined it has either been treated with heat or chemicals, which depletes the nutrients in the oil. Yes, when you find a good Organic Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Avocado Oil like Avohaus, you can use it not only in your kitchen, but also use it for all your skincare needs as well. Avocado Oil is what we call a “Functional Food!" Remember, your skin is your largest organ, so you wouldn’t want to put anything on your skin that you couldn’t ingest!
5) What are some of the benefits of using avocado oil?
Avocado Oil has been used in commercial kitchens in Europe and Asia for quite some time now because of its versatility. It has one of the highest smoke points of any oil on the market. We call it a “Drizzle to Sizzle” oil because you can use it in a simple salad dressing or cook at high temperatures.
You always want to use an oil that can withstand the temperatures that you are cooking. Why? When an oil goes above its “Smoke Point” it burns and starts to form carcinogens. These carcinogens get into your food and ultimately into your body, causing inflammation, which is known as the root cause of many of our diseases.
Another great fact about avocado oil is that its “High Monounsaturated Fats” (76% compared to 69% in Olive Oil) not only help to lower cholesterol, but also allow 15 times more nutrient absorption from your food due to better digestion.
6) What's your favorite recipe that includes avocado oil?
Wow…that’s a tough one because I use it on everything! It’s amazing how much better your dishes taste when you finish it off with a little drizzle of Avohaus Avocado Oil. I love to top off my soups with a drizzle of avocado oil because it makes them so rich and velvety. I also roast my brussel sprouts in our Garlic infused, toss my salads in the Lime infused and make a homemade hummus with the pure, buttery Extra Virgin.
Back to my Southern roots, here’s an easy, healthy & versatile recipe that you can whip up in minutes!
3 cans Black Eyes Peas (drained)
7 Jalapenos (seeded and finely chopped)1 bunch Cilantro (finely chopped)
1 bunch green onions (finely chopped)
2 Tomatoes (finely chopped)
1 Green Bell Pepper (seeded and finely chopped)
1 Yellow Bell Pepper (seeded and finely chopped)
3 Avocados (cut into small chunks)
1/4 cup of your favorite flavor of Avohaus Avocado Oil
Toss all the ingredients together and serve! It’s great by itself, added to a spinach or kale salad or over a bed of Quinoa.
For more information about Avohaus or to purchase, please visit them at www.avohaus.com.
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"
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!
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!
Fave Foods from the Trendy Vegan! December 12 2013
Moving to a plant-based diet can work wonders for your health and well-being. And if you think a vegetarian food is dull, think again! One of our favorite vegans Yonni Wattenmaker shares her imaginative & tasty food faves...
Favorite Cereal: Body Fuel Nutritionals Crunch. I’m the creator of the recipe for this vegan, no gluten-added cereal. Nuts, seeds, oats and a little touch of sweetness combine to make a well-balanced breakfast or snack. I eat it as is or just add a bit of almond milk. You can learn more about it at www.bodyfuelnutritionals.com (but bear with the website as it’s under construction!)
Favorite Breakfast That Isn’t Cereal: Banana with Nut Butter. I always have some sort of nut butter in my pantry at home and my snack drawer at work. Peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower – I love them all. After a workout, I love a tablespoon spread on a banana to go along with my coffee.
Favorite Prepared Food: Whole Foods Vegan Chicken Salad. When I’m running late to work and want to grab a quick lunch, I stop into my local Whole Fods and spend $3 on a little container of this vegan mock-chicken salad with tarragon and a touch of black pepper. The tiny serving is more filling than you’d think!
Favorite Healthy Fat: Avocado I eat avocado almost every day. I’ll be honest, the fat content used to scare me, but I’m over it. I dice it into salad, add it to a hummus wrap, put it on a bagel with cucumber slices and tomato and, of course, mash it into a fabulous guacamole.
Favorite Thing To Eat With Avocado: Corn Tortilla Chips. Again, you can easily find these to be both vegan and gluten-free and there are so many varieties. They are my go-to snack with some of my famous guacamole, or with a great salsa (or even on their own!) Just watch the ingredients – some have hidden milk products when they flavor the chips so read the labels carefully.
Favorite Salad Ingredients: Sundried Tomato and Beans. Take any lettuce – I prefer romaine and kale – throw in some sun-dried tomato (I choose the ones without oil) and some beans – garbanzo, black, cannelini – add some vinegar or dijon mustard, and your favorite oil and you have a perfect, well-rounded meal. Sweet, savory, low fat and packed with nutrients.
Favorite Protein: Lentils. Enjoy these cold or hot, in scrambled tofu at breakfast over a salad for lunch, in a soup for dinner. They boast protein and fiber and play well with others, like onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms and more!
Favorite Veggie: Brussel Sprouts. I know – they might be the most hated of the vegetables, but they are so misunderstood! Steam them and shred them and mix them with carmelized shallots and slivered toasted almonds, or roast them with a little extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt and a drizzle of maple syrup. It’s like candy – leafy candy, but it’s true!
Favorite Cracker: Kame Sesame Crackers. Gluten-free, low fat, low calorie and super crunchy. Eat them alone, with some spreadable cheese or hummus or babaganoush. Seriously – I think there are 16 crackers to a pretty guilt-free serving!
Favorite Cheese to Go On That Cracker: Daiya. It’s hard to find a good vegan cheese but I think Daiya does pretty well. I love their shredded cheddar in my mac ‘n cheese or atop my bean chili, and their sliced provolone isn’t too shabby on rosemary & olive oil crackers.