Happy Spa Week! Letter from The Editor

Beautiful Girl With White Scarf on The Beach

That moment your body touches the massage table. The lights dim and your eyes seal shut, smiling still. The calming melody of spa music urges your mind to wander off to no place in particular. With every long, deep, sweet inhale, the aroma of fresh and powerful essential oils massages your insides from nose to toes. Your whole body begins to breathe, with no constraints, cozy and liberated under soft towels and spa blankets. As though a bouquet of colorful helium balloons is whisking you away on a perfectly secluded beach. Your shoulders and legs and feet and scalp tingle in anticipation. You taste bliss about to begin.

OH, how I love that moment. That feeling of longing. Knowing something so wonderful is about to happen and knowing you are going to feel so good for the next hour or two, and then even better in the long run.

It’s sort of like Spa Week. Today marks first morning of Spa Week Spring 2012! It’s that wonderful week where people all across North America get to experience moments like this in affordable abundance. We’ve been planning for months and months, but right now, it’s the calm before the calmer. And just like a good massage about to begin, I can’t wait for you to experience all the delightfully rich benefits of the spa lifestyle.

One of the reasons? Because in that delicious moment before your treatment, it just so happens your massage therapist is just as excited as you are.

“It is a very beautiful and powerful experience that I can create harmony and balance between my hands and people. I am exceptionally honored that I have this skill and can be rewarded every day for doing what I love.” — Soyoung Abbate, AVEDA Red Bell Spa in Hicksville, NY

It couldn’t be truer: All You Knead Is Love. Massaging hands come with passionate hearts. News broke earlier this year about massage therapy making the list of top 10 professions in 2012 (it’s the best job on earth!), so we celebrated with a blog series to celebrate the people with those magical hands. “What do you love most about your job?” we asked. The quote above was just one of over 50 we featured.

From combatting stress, migraines and insomnia to helping clients suffering from sciatica, cystic fibrosis and cancer, massage therapists share that they are all in this for one reason: To heal. To touch not just bodies, but lives. I strongly encourage you to read all 13 massage therapy blog posts if you haven’t yet. I have learned so much! These life-changing experiences are what make massage therapists as passionate about giving as we are about receiving.

What an incredible honor it is to be part of this industry. This week, savor every moment with your massage therapist or esthetician. Ask questions. Let them not simply pamper you; let them help you. Let them heal you. That’s why they’re here.

Enjoy, show your GRATITUDE (15%-20% of the original treatment price is standard Spa Week tipping!), and have a beautiful Spa Week.

Yours truly,

Michelle Joni Lapidos

PS. Tell me below what treatments you’re getting!

Massage Therapy: The Ultimate Stress-Buster


We are winding down to our final benefit of massage (although we feel like we could go on forever), and this one is our favorite, and also the #1 reason people worldwide go to the spaMassage is a serious stress buster.

There are endless sources of stress in our daily lives and you may not realize it, but stress could be causing more than just a heavy foot on the gas. Poorly managed stress is one of highest causes of physical and emotional ailments. The signs and symptoms of stress overload can be almost anything. Stress can drain the joy from your life, lead to heart disease, cause inexplicable fatigue, and leave you less able to enjoy your relationships and the things you once enjoyed.

Massage therapy is one of the best antidotes for stress. Stress shows itself in the form of firmness and stiffness in muscles, and massage can remove this tension. Prolonged periods of tension weaken the muscles and can bring about a state of chronic fatigue and tiredness. Massage also brings in fresh nutrients and helps in purging the body of toxins accumulated due to long periods of stress and tension. It causes more oxygen to flow in the body, which helps the body to revive and rebuild itself. With this flow of fresh oxygen and nutrients to the entire system, the immune system is strengthened. Additionally, massage clears your mind of exaggerated anxiety and makes you capable of thinking with an unclouded mind. When you are bodily and mentally relaxed, you are capable of taking a more balanced and fresh perspective of your life situation.

This emotional release and improved balance in body, mind and emotions, will not only reduce stress, it will increase energy and improve your outlook on life. Coupled with modest changes in nutrition and activity levels, massage can be the start on your road to wellness.

Here are some final stories from Spa Week spas’ massage therapists and their love work of healing both body and mind.

“All clients have different needs and wants they seek from the massage. Helping clients relax for an hour, sleep or just forget about their stress is rewarding on its own. We all need R&R time.” — Rebecca Scallan, Rejuv Massage Therapy Center in Metairie, LA

“Being able to provide relief and renewal to stressed out Americans is very rewarding. Just the other day I gave a massage to one of our frequent spa visitors and was using her favorite essential oil, eucalyptus, giving her an aromatherapy face massage, she would breathe deeply and express relief. She then told me that every time I would apply more eucalyptus she could see colors. This simply is a testament to how massage and aromatherapy affect us physically and mentally.” Jennifer Robles, Rio Spa in Las Vegas, NV

“Recently I had a woman who was under extreme stress. After the massage she said the massage was like having a friend who listened to her whining and irritating complaining, but no judgment was rendered. For me whenever I hear something like that, it gives me a sense of relief. I know I not only fulfilled my job as a massage therapist, but also I was being human in the most compassionate way I could.” Dareyth Thornton, Rio Spa in Las Vegas, NV

“I love being a massage therapist very simply because I get to make people feel good…for a living! And to be a part of something that teaches people how to manage their stress and their health & fitness goals is tremendously satisfying! Bodywork has been an amazing journey for me.” Angi Kempken, Well Spa in Indian Wells, CA

All of these massage therapists will be massaging for $50 during Spa Week next week, so be sure to click through to each spa to see which massages are being offered, and take advantage of their magic hands!

Massage to Get Moving. (Again!)


An object in motion stays in motion, but sometimes you can’t get the object moving! Being unable to do the things you once did due to joint and muscle pain is a frustrating limitation on the quality of your life. A decrease in mobility can occur for reasons including age, injury or illness. Some conditions that can contribute to joint pain include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatic, lupus and gout. Massage therapy has shown much success in relieving pain and increasing mobility. Who knew laying on a table could get you up and moving?

Massage can eliminate muscle tension and improve joint mobility by stimulating the flow of synovial fluid. This also helps to free adhesions, break down scar tissue and decrease inflammation. As a result, massage can help to restore range of motion to stiff joints.Massage also helps to prevent and relieve muscle cramps and spasms and helps to the circulation of blood and lymph. Circulation carries oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and carries waste away. Improved circulation can result in decreased muscle tension and soreness, and reduced swelling from injuries or illness. Additionally, massage improves muscle tone and balance, which will also reducing the physical stress placed on bones and joints.

Physicians are increasingly prescribing therapeutic massage as a complement to traditional medical treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. As always, make sure your massage therapist is aware of the sjamie doughertyource of your pain and any preexisting conditions you may have. Here are some experiences with mobility from massage therapists from Spa Week spas.

“My most memorable client was a woman with spina bifida. Her previous treatment methods provided little relief. She could barely walk, but after administering deep tissue massage over time, she greatly increased her mobility while decreasing pain.” Dalesa Trent, Body Retreat Day Spa in Bedford, TX

“When you lose the ability to do something as simple as tie your own shoes, massage therapy may be your answer. My client came in and could hardly walk or tie his shoes. Forty five minutes on my table and he walked away with full mobility and great relief.” Jennifer Nolan, Spa On the Square in Southlake, TX

“I have received a lot of positive feedback from my clients who have suffered some kind of pain. I have healed some clients who have frozen shoulders and some who could not move their necks and some who could not straighten their lower backs, etc. Some clients even told me that my massages were more effective than physical therapy!” Hong Sun, The Women’s Club Fitness Center and Day Spa in Chatilly, VA

Oh, The Nerve! Massage Therapy for Sciatica


The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. This nerve is also a source for a lot of discomfort in a lot of people. The nerve! Sciatic nerve pain, known as sciatica, can create pain in the lower back, buttocks and down the back of the leg. This pain is variable and it can be sharp or dull, constant or intermittent, isolated to one area or it can run all the way down. The type and severity of pain depends on where the pressure takes place on the sciatic nerve.

Massage is both a natural and effective way to treat nervy pain. Massage can improve circulation and decrease inflammation in the body. Massage can help relax tense muscles that may be putting pressure on the nerve. A lot of treatments for sciatic include stretching and a massage may even serve the sole purpose of relaxing you muscles in order to stretch more efficiently. Plus, you’ll have a better range of movement, feel more relaxed, sleep better, and you’ll be in a better mood too!

Massage therapist Dexter Cabasug of Rio Spa and Salon in Las Vegas has had a lot experience treating pain associated with nerves.

“An older woman came to see me for low back pain and sciatica. The problem started in her late 20s. She had seen several doctors and specialist but nothing was working. She had been diagnosed with scoliosis. Her muscles on the left side of the spine just above the hip bone is much larger the opposite side. I found that the key was her psoas muscles are very tight. I worked the psoas and used stretches plus relaxing the surrounding muscles. After five sessions her sciatica is almost completely gone. It took months to work through the scar tissue, but it was worth it because on the left side, the size was reduced a lot. She is working with a personal fitness trainer to build muscle on her weaker side. And now she is doing well without pain.”

In addition, Dexter also found the benefits of massage therapy for nerve damage in much the same way as treating sciatica.

“One of my clients came into the spa with pain in the palms of his hands. His doctor told him he had nerve damage, he was told there were nothing else that it could be done, and it will only get worse. He asked if I could help. One week after the first session he returned, held out his hands and said it helped a lot, because he can open his hand with little pain. After several sessions the pain was gone.”

You should not rely solely on massage to treat sciatica or pain associated with nerve. There could be important underlying factors that are responsible for back pain and sciatica such as muscle imbalances, poor posture, or other personal habits that may need to be addressed. Massage should be used in combination with other treatments.

Massage Therapy: The Best Job on Earth

There is nothing in the world more rewarding than helping someone heal, whether that be physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. –Lisa Ianiro, Cure Spa in Malibu, CA

Do you feel like you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders? This expression embodies how the stress of life can literally lead to physical pain. And while your honey may give you a quick shoulder squeeze to ease off a rough day, sometimes you need to turn to the hands of a pro. But who are the professionals behind these healing hands? Massage therapists are trained to help you feel better, and the even better news is that many of them are happy to do so. US News recently ranked massage therapist as one of the best careers in 2012. Not only does this profession have a promising outlook for the future, but massage therapists do it because they enjoy their often physically demanding line of work.

Many feel a connection with their work that goes much deeper than deep tissue massage. Ann Marie Burns of Daryl Christopher Wellness Salon and Spa @ HealthPoint in Waltham, MA has been a massage therapist for seven years and reflects on what she thinks makes her successful massage therapist: “I have learned that the passion within you, to help others heal, relieve pain, clear the mind, reduce stress, all comes through the powerful tool, The Hands. If the passion within is not present, success may not be there.” Making their client feel better is key, but are their hands capable of more than just calming sore muscles?

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article Don’t Call It Pampering: Massage Wants to Be Medicine, which highlights recent studies that back the benefits of the back rub, and the list isn’t short. Evidence has shown that massage decreases the hormone levels of both arginine-vasopressin, a hormone that normally increases with stress and aggressive behavior, and cortisol, a stress hormone. In addition, massage has even shown signs of decreasing cytokine proteins related to inflammation and allergic reactions, and boosting white blood cells that fight infection. Massage can help treat the symptoms of many conditions and improve general health.

Marion Bendfeldt of The Women’s Club Fitness Center and Day Spa in Chantilly, VA recognizes the realm of problems that bring people to her. “I have realized that they lay on my table for many different reasons. My greatest gift to them is to remain present so that the universal energy and love may flow through me and allow them to begin their healing journey with grace and ease.” For many, massage could be the light at the end of years of pain.

As the benefits of touch continue to unfold, it is predicted that the profession will continue to grow substantially. We’re happy being treated and they enjoy their job, everyone wins! (Except sore muscles.) In addition, when you’re paying someone who is happy to be there, you’re going to get better results. A happy masseuse means a happy customer.

We asked massage therapists from our Spa Week spas across North America – ALL of which are offering $50 massages for Spa Week…

What do you love most about being a massage therapist?

I put my heart and soul into each massage trying to pass my positive soothing energy to each individual that I touch. — Juan Morillo, Details Salon Spa in Springfield, NJ

I love that a person can come in feeling run down, tired, sore or even moody and leave a different person. — Leigh Olander, Elixir Mind Body Massage in Denver, CO

I feel fortunate to be in a career where a total stranger can feel a connection that goes beyond the tension in his muscles and have it affect not only himself but the people who love him. — Ann-Marie Sevigny, Bella Santé in Lexington, MA

It’s the relief, the relaxation, a smile with a glazed look in their eyes; it’s the transformation that happens to a person who walks in with stress, muscle tension and pain, experiences a massage and it’s as if they left all that stress they brought in with them, in that room. — Wathena (Nena) Armstrong, Beyond Beaute Day Spa and Wellness Retreat in Deer Park, TX

I think everyone needs a friend and a very good massage therapist too. I can be both. — Lucy AKA Junquioa Lu, Zen Spa – Carmel Mt in San Diego, CA

As a therapist, I love educating others regarding options they have to make their life better, easier, happier, healthier! Some people just need a mini-vacation, a little down time. Others may need to relieve the “joys” of being a weekend athlete while others may just need to feel “taken care of.” Massage is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle! — Kate Moore, Spa Esoteric in McKinney, TX

Sometimes emotions that have been stored in the body due to everyday life overwhelm the client and they just want to lie there and cry it all out. That is when I feel the “Therapist” in “Massage Therapist” really comes out. — Nickm Charuworn, Riviera Spa in Dallas, TX

It allows for a unique working relationship where the their bodies do the talking and my hands do the listening for deeply theraputic outcomes. –Riich Attridge, Andrew Michaels Salon and Spa in Salem, MA

It is a very beautiful and powerful experience that I can create harmony and balance between my hands and people. I am exceptionally honored that I have this skill and can be rewarded every day for doing what I love. — Soyoung Abbate, AVEDA Red Bell Spa in Hicksville NY

That’s what makes my profession worthwhile; helping someone and then seeing them blossom. The process of deep healing is what I love most about my job. — Tania Dzleiri, La Vita Bella Salon & Day Spa in East Norriton, PA

I actually go into a peaceful state of mind relaxing, that way, they can feel my calmness and my energy so I can release it onto them. — Zakiya Clark, Tirra Salon & Spa in Chicago,IL

After some nurturing, they leave feel re-energized, they walk a little bit taller and they have this overall sense of positivity that everything will be okay. — Marisol Fitzgerald, Namaste Organic Spa in Ridgewood, NJ

Personally, I love the scent of aromatherapy oils, of fresh linen, and the sound of soothing music as I prepare to help and heal the person lying on my table. — Linda Mclver, Smooth Synergy Cosmedical Spa in New York, NY

Having someone come to me in pain and taking them through the journey back to good health and being pain free is a very rewarding experience. — Maren Hockenbrough, All About U Salon, Spa & Boutique in McKinney, TX

As a provider I am constantly searching and growing. Scientific knowledge is a perpetual evolution; it finds itself changed from one day to the next. Proof is the beacon that gives direction, but can never be reached; the excitement for me is in the trying. — Dareyth Thornton, Rio Spa and Salon in Las Vegas, Nevada

What I love most about being a massage therapist is that I get to be an instrumental part of changing people’s lives on a daily basis. Massage therapy has enriched my soul. — Christopher Ruhulessin, Elements Therapeutic Massage in Orland Park, IL

What I love the most about being a massage therapist is the bond that I have access to create with people. Clients are always in need of relaxing their bodies in pain or their mind, and through all this time being helping my clientele I can say, there is nothing more rewarding that hearing: “You are the best.” — Gisela Moncada, Massage Envy in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Stay tuned through the next two weeks for a full Massage Therapist blog series, where you’ll learn all the wonderful benefits of massage and meet many more of these magic hands!