Travel Tuesday: Spa Treatments to Fight Jet Lag

Medically referred to as desynchronosis, jet lag is a physiological condition which results from alterations to the body’s circadian rhythms after rapid long-distance transmeridian (east–west or west–east) travel.

Jet lag may last several days until one is fully adjusted to the new time zone, and a recovery rate of one day per time zone crossed is typical. The symptoms of jet lag can be quite varied, depending on the amount of time zone alteration, time of day and individual differences. They may include the following:

  1. Migraines and headaches
  2. Fatigue, irregular sleep patterns, Insomnia, grogginess, irritability
  3. Dehydration
  4. Body aches, swelling and pain
  5. Constipation or diarrhea

Luckily, spa treatments are a fabulous remedy for jet lag, so now you have the perfect excuse to head straight to your hotel spa after landing. Here’s our guide to the best jet lag spa treatment for you:

1. Migraines and Headaches:
The symptoms of migraine headaches are debilitating: stabbing head pain, nausea, stomach cramping and migraine auras. This can leave a sufferer feeling weak, tired, and depressed long after the migraine attack has subsided. While a migraine attack can last for days, the psychological aftermath can be perpetual. Migraine ranks in the top 20 of the world’s most disabling medical illnesses and about 36 million people in the United States suffer from migraines. There are numerous methods used to try and help ease the unbearable symptoms. Conventional medicine and prescription drugs offer little relief from the condition some people cannot rely on pills, like pregnant women. Many are turning to alternative methods of treatment in order to manage the pain. Massage therapy is often used to complement other traditional medical migraine treatments or other alternative treatments. Tense muscles and stress can aggravate migraine headaches. Visiting a massage therapist for a massage while a migraine is in progress can reduce muscle pain and tension.

2. Fatigue, insomnia, irritability:
There is a simple correlation between sleep and massage: insomnia is associated with a lack of serotonin and massage increases serotonin levels. Studies have demonstrated the necessity of serotonin for healthy sleep. Serotonin is a precursor to the body’s rendering of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone released by the brain to quiet and reset the part of the brain that directs your body to prepare for sleep. Many over-the-counter drugs have melatonin in them, but why not encourage your body’s own production? The chemistry of sleep is relevant to massage because massage can directly influence the body’s production of serotonin and, in turn, melatonin. Massage therapy can improve the quality of life by not only relieving the pain; it can also impact mood and induce positive sleeping patterns. By relieving the pain that keeps you up at night tossing and turning, your body will get the much needed time it craves to restore and to heal. Additionally, lowering anxiety and improving mood can help a person get their life back in order. Massage therapy offers both immediate results, as well as long term.

3. Dehydration
There are two ways to fight dehydration at the spa: one is to hydrate your through your skin with water treatments, the second is to infuse rejuvenating oxygen into dehydrated cells on a nuclear level. Water treatments: A Vichy Shower is a unique aquatic therapy that invigorates your body while laying flat under powerful water jets, inspired by treatments used in the French city, Vichy. Watsu, short for Water Shiatsu, is a massage performed in a warm, shallow pool.  The water gently cradles the guest so the massage therapist can work the full 360 degrees of your body and your skin reaps the benefits of being saturated in water throughout the entire treatment. Oxygen treatments: Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber Therapy, which dissolves oxygen in the blood plasma and all body cells, tissues and fluids at up to 10 times normal concentration—high enough to sustain life with no blood at all. Oxygenating facials are also increasing in popularity, as oxygen continues to secure its reputation as the #1 skincare essential.

4. Body aches, swelling and pain:
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 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.

Another spa treatment option to target swelling and aches and pains is Electro-lymphatic drainage (ELD), which uses gentle electric currents, massage, and heat to increase circulation and stimulation along the body’s lympathic pathways. The lymphatic system helps clear excess fluid from the cells and distributes powerful immune cells which work 24/7 to heal and repair your body. ELD treatment boosts immunity, relaxes the whole body and mind, reduce pain, evens skin tone, and increases energy.

Acupuncture was developed 3,000 years ago and is based on Taoist philosophy. Like the treatments above it focuses on energy meridians and permits the body to “heal itself.” It does involve inserting fine needles into key points of the body that relate to different organs in order to relieve muscular, neurological and arthritic problems, cure disease and relieve pain. Acupressure has been practiced in China for centuries and is believed to improve the flow of chi (energy) throughout the body. This massage releases muscle tension and promotes healing by applying pressure to “energy points” or “meridians” in the body. Pressure is applied to these points with the finger for a deep tissue feeling.

Cupping is a healing therapy that uses suction on the skin’s surface to “suck” stagnant blood from deep beneath the surface, mobilizing blood flow and delivering a range of benefits. Bottom line, it greatly improves circulation—the holy grail of spa benefits. Similarly, Gua Sha offers holistic healing, but is different in method and strength. Unlike the scraping technique of Gua Sha, traditional Ancient Chinese Cupping employs a glass dome that becomes a suction cup after a flash of fire. Scraping mobilizes blood just beneath the surface, while the mighty suction of cupping is able to stir up blood deeper within the body.

5. Constipation or diarrhea
The idea behind a colonic is that food enters the intestine and a lot of it doesn’t get flushed out (especially if you’ve overindulged on food and alcohol while on vacation), causing toxins to accumulate, which can result in illness. Especially in today’s world, where we’re breathing polluted air and consuming pesticides, our bodies are overwhelmed trying to get rid of it all. So a little “push” now and then from a colonic can really helps the digestive system do its job better. Colonics allow the nutrients and vitamins to be properly absorbed into the body again. If you have a sluggish colon (AKA are constipated often), a colonic gets the muscles moving, making your colon stronger and more effective at disposing healthy, solid waste. It is also believed that a clean colon helps your body fight disease, because instead of focusing on expelling built up toxins in the colon, it fights toxins elsewhere.

 

 

Massage Therapy: The Ultimate Stress-Buster

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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!