Polish your skin

Polish your skin
Smooth skin all winter long!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Body Polish

Q. What is a body polish? I heard they are good for you in the winter?
A. You heard correctly. A body polish is a treatment for the skin. I like to call it a facial for the body. It is not a massage although there are some elements of massage in the body polish. A body polish can be done with a variety of products. The most common and most popular are salt, sugar and bran. Usually one of these exfoliation products is mixed with massage oil and some form of essential oil for aromatherapy. In most spas the procedure is followed by a shower and a rub down with some high quality body lotion.
During this procedure you are usually on a massage or treatment table. Your therapist will gently rub or exfoliate your skin. Your back, your arms, your legs and you feet are the primary areas that receive this exfoliation. Areas like your heals, elbows, and knees may get some extra attention because they tend to be very dry and rough. If your hands are dry and rough, you’ll want to point that out ahead of time to your therapist so that she will spend extra time with them as well. The rub should not hurt, it should be very relaxing and the aromatherapy should be a great part of it. Once exfoliated you should be able to shower off the rub. If your spa does not use a shower method then your therapist will wipe you off. Once the scrub is gone you’ll return to a clean table and receive a rub down with body lotion. I like to use sugar scrubs instead of salt. Sugar is much less abrasive but gets the job done well. Whatever your therapist uses be sure to let them know if they hurt you or rub too hard. Truly, this is one of my most favorite services. In the end your skin will feel very smooth and soft. It’s great for dry winter skin but wonderful year round. Your skin will glow. This makes the service a great one for brides or anyone who wants soft glowing skin. I guess that would be all of us!

Monday, December 27, 2010

massage when you're pregnant

Q. My wife is pregnant and I’d like to get her a spa gift certificate. Can she still do most of the spa services?

A. Yes. Most spa services are fine while you’re pregnant and some, like massage, are so wonderful they are often recommended by doctors. Dr. Manny Alvarez of Fox News posted to his blog a list of “Pregnant at the Spa Do’s and Don’ts”. I saved that list for future reference and you have just given me a reason to use it. According to Dr. Alvarez there are only a few don’ts. Most of these involve services that would increase the body temperature too high. He suggests pregnant women not get body wraps that include heat, that they not use hot tubs (warm baths are just fine), that they avoid saunas. He states that tanning beds are terrible for you even if you are not pregnant so he suggests you use the advent of your pregnancy to stop using them. He further states that while the actual tanning bed is to be avoided spray tanning, especially organic spray tanning, is just fine. He does indicate that you should not take tanning pills. The only other precaution he suggests relates to aromatherapy. Some essential oils such as juniper should be avoided. Jasmine, spearmint, lavender and chamomile are fine and offer relaxation and stress release. I suggest you check with your doctor before you have an aromatherapy treatment. Making Dr. Manny’s list of dos are all the popular spa services. The doctor states that any waxing or even laser hair removal is no problem. Well shaped brows won’t hurt your baby. Nail treatments are definitely fine. Just like when you are not pregnant you should be sure the salon you go to adheres to proper sterilizing techniques. Facials treatments are another great service do enjoy while you are expecting. The only precaution here is to avoid Retin-A. Facials can be a great source of relaxation in addition to the benefits they can bring to the skin. Massage is an absolute yes. Dr. Alvarez goes so far as to say in his blog that he actually recommends it to almost all his patients. Many spas specialize in prenatal massage and Dr. Alvarez suggests massage every two weeks for his patients. As a final note, the doctor puts to bed the myth that you should not have your hair colored during pregnancy. He states that despite a lot of confusion hair dyes are fine. Hair dyes use to contain formaldehyde but for many years they have not. Your wife should enjoy her spa services and not be worried but as I always do, I’ll make the suggestion that she check with her doctor if she has concerns. While pregnant women experience a lot of body changes and can experience a little anxiety and stress as well. A day at the spa or even a routine of spa services like bi-weekly massage can help. Give this gift and you and your wife can both feel great about it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sleeping at the Spa

Q. I have a lot of trouble falling asleep. Will a massage help me or cause me to be more awake after?

A. Massage in general is relaxing but some elements of massage do increase circulation. There is a new trend in the spa industry catering to clients who suffer from insomnia or other sleep disorders. In these modern times most of us over fill our schedules and we often rob from our sleep time to add to our work time. In Europe and Asia many corporations allow their employees to take 15 - 20 minute power naps. Results show it increases afternoon productivity. The spa industry has jumped on board that concept and many spa services are being introduced that really do help with sleep issues. Even if you can’t find a spa that’s on board with this new idea you can use what they do offer in ways that will help you. First, let me fill you in about some new services that are specifically targeted to help induce better sleep. Spas use techniques that include the use of essential oils to help you relax. Most are a blend of chamomile and lavender. The scent from the oils stay with you even when you leave the spa and once relaxed you can go home and go right to bed and to sleep. Massage that is geared to help you sleep will concentrate on arms and legs, scalp and the face. The back is given a little less attention. Avoiding the trunk of the body helps keep the metabolizing effects of massage at a minimum. Many people have trouble sleeping due to leg pain or jumpiness or pain in the shoulder area. Massage of these parts directly before sleep can help. Massage of the scalp, head, shoulders and face is very relaxing and calming. When you add the essential oil element these services help a great deal. Jumping on board with the power nap trend many big city spas offer relaxation massage that cuts some of the massage time and instead offers the last 15 to 20 minutes for a power nap. The client is gently awakened after the nap time is over and allowed to sit in a peaceful waiting area, drink some juice or water and gradually wake up before leaving. My spa will soon offer what we will call the Night Cap, a relaxing massage given at the end of the day that will allow our clients to go home and get a great night’s sleep. We will also be offering the Cat Nap massage which will allow for the 15 or 20 minute power nap and recovery. If your spa of choice does not offer services like these you can create it yourself. You can opt for the last appointment of the day and request less time on your back with more time on your legs, arms, neck and face. If they don’t have essential oil bring your own. You can give yourself a power nap service too, after your massage take a 15 minute power nap in you’re warmed up car. Just be sure you are in a safe area to run your car so you won’t risk carbon dioxide issues. You can also bring home some great essential oil. We sell it at our spa and it’s very popular. Then you can have your husband or wife or one of your children give you a simple relaxing massage to the feet, hands and face and then slide off to sleep. Return the favor the next night, it’s Christmas after all... the season of giving.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Men at the Spa

Q. I would love for my husband to have the same great spa experience I have. He thinks men don’t go to the spa, can you help me let him know they do. I see men there all the time when I go.

A. A growing number of men go to the spa, with and without their wives or girlfriends. According to the new statistics published from the International Spa Association men now make up nearly one third of all spa goers. In my spa I see the number of men growing every year. They don’t just come in for massage anymore either. Men are enjoying the full range of spa services; massage, facials, pedicures, manicures, and body waxing. Many times men will visit with the women in their lives first but once they have that initial visit, the stigma is gone and they are hooked. What man does not love to have his back massaged or his feet rubbed? Feeling good and looking great are not experiences limited to women. Once men know that they are welcome at the spa and realize that other men visit the spa they are usually thrilled to be there. Massage remains the most popular service purchased for men and it’s a great first spa service experience. If you buy a couple’s massage for your man or a Holiday Spa Package for two he will be more at ease during his first visit. Plus, the added benefit of a couple’s package is that you get to enjoy the spa too! It’s a win/win and a great time to buy. Most spas, including mine, have all the popular services on sale for holiday gift giving!

Monday, November 29, 2010

What is Shiatsu Massage

Q. I am interested in getting a massage and I found a listing for shiatsu massage. What is Shiatsu massage?

A. Shiatsu is a form of massage developed from the ancient style of East Asian massage. Shi literally means finger and atsu means pressure. Similar to acupuncture shiatsu practioners work with the 361 points along the 12 meridians of the body as described in eastern medicine. Shiatsu is comparable to the very trendy modalities of massage called yoga massage or assisted yoga. The Oprah magazine and The Today Show both have recently highlighted these massage trends. Shiatsu is comparable to both of these popular massage trends. In our spa the client lies dressed in loose comfortable clothes on a futon on the floor. The practioner will use her hands, fingers, elbows, knees and feet during the massage. The techniques include gentle stretching, yoga postures, rocking and rotation movements, percussion and vibrations. The client does not need to know or be able to do yoga. Even clients with a limited range of motion can have and benefit from shiatsu massage. The treatment is usually 90 minutes long. As with many massage modalities this type of massage is not intended as a replacement for medical care but it can enhance the body’s own healing capabilities. Shiatsu can help with relaxation, stress relief, relief from tension and anxiety, increase of blood flow, ease feelings of depression, and much more. If you are looking for a massage experience that is unique and different I would highly recommend you try Shiatsu.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Paraffin hand dips... for men?

Q. My husband and I have a spa package together. One of the services we are receiving is a paraffin hand treatment. What is that exactly and will my husband think it’s not intended for men?

A. I am really not sure what your husband will “think” about the treatment because I am not sure how it will be presented in the spa you are going to. He should not hesitate to have the treatment because it is wonderful for both of you. In my spa it’s not presented in a way that would make men feel uncomfortable. There are many variations in spa paraffin treatments but here are the basics. Paraffin wax is a colorless wax that can be melted and warmed to be used in treatments. Paraffin can absorb and retain great amounts of heat. The wax is applied to a body part, the most common being hands or feet, by dipping or brushing on. Once the wax solidifies the heat from the wax is transferred to the part of the body that’s been dipped. Usually several layers of wax are applied and then a plastic bag or plastic wrap is applied to the area to hold the heat in and make it easy to remove after it’s cooled. Sometimes the wax is infused with aromatic essential oils to further enhance the treatment options. I love using paraffin in treatment because it’s a method that works and it’s a pleasant and enjoyable experience. Paraffin treatment can enhance the look of hands and feet or any body part. The heat works to open the skin pores and then penetrate deep into the tissue. It can help eliminate dry flaky skin and produce much smoother healthier skin. It improves blood circulation to the skin as well and thus improves skin tone. The heat makes it an outstanding treatment for sore aching joints. People with arthritis, osteoarthritis and bursitis love this treatment. It’s also very effective in relaxing tired, over worked hands and feet. Muscle relaxation occurs as the heat helps loosen stiff tight muscles. Many people experience better range of motion in the hands and fingers after a paraffin dip. Hands that have been constantly exposed to cold harsh weather as well as tired, sore, stiff or dry hands all benefit from this treatment. You should not have a paraffin treatment if you have open wounds, sores or fresh burn injuries. I personally use paraffin treatments for hands, feet, faces, and whole body wraps. As in your case, paraffin is often part of a spa treatment but it can be a stand alone treatment as well. In my spa you can also add it to any other service and it’s very inexpensive. You and your husband should relax and enjoy your spa package and look forward to the paraffin therapy. Have fun.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Nail Polilsh that lasts

Q. I heard about a new nail polish that will last for 14 days, is that for real?

A. Yes, there is a new technology in the market for super long lasting nail polish. It’s really a nail treatment and polish combined. Several companies are promoting a version of this treatment. The version I like the most is made by a company called Creative Nail Designs. They call their product Shellac for nails. It is a combination of gel and polish, but it goes on thin and smooth like a polish. You don’t use this product to lengthen the nail. It is available in colors and a French style pink and white combination. I like this company’s version best because it goes on just like polish, really does last a long time and stays shinny and smooth the entire time it’s on. It also comes off very easily and quickly when it’s time to remove the color. The science behind the product uses a monomer and a polymer, much like gel nails but it is free of formaldehyde, toluene or DBP and is hypo-allergenic. The company boasts that the product has 14 day wear time, zero dry time, is off in minutes, has a mirror finish, and does not chip or smudge. That is the hype; I personally found all of it to be very accurate except the wear time. For some people 14 days is realistic. Others, who are harder on their nails, should expect about 10 days... still a really long time for polish to last and stay looking great! It is not available for home application and must be put on by a trained professional. I love this new product. I recommend it often. It’s especially great for brides who what perfect looking nails and who are often leaving right away for a honeymoon. The polish will last the whole time and stay picture perfect. This also makes it great for anyone going on vacation. At our spa we only charge an additional $10 for the shellac polish so it’s worth it for anyone who wants to keep that “fresh from the spa” look on their nails for 10 to 14 days! Its great when something new really does live up to the hype. This product is does.