A Pleasant Experience
While on vacation in Virginia Beach, my oldest daughter treated me to a spa day. After filling up on our favorite sushi, we ventured to the Ambiance Salon &Day Spa for some girlie pampering. I started imagining the wonderful relaxation while still in the parking lot. With my muscles sore from a car ride from the Midwest and a honeymoon period with a Wii, I could hardly wait for the sacred, alone time away from the children…God love them.
The receptionist greeted us with professional enthusiasm that immediately put me at ease and started my experience off on the right foot. She led us to the relaxation room that allowed us to fill out some new client paper work in an ambient, peaceful environment. I wondered which of the two services we had scheduled would be first. Following a shower with a special cleanser that deeply cleaned our pores and prepared our skin for the body wrap, our therapists escorted us to individual treatment rooms.
Feeling Comfortable With the Service Provider
The massage therapist, Christine, started the Set Me Free Body Wrap by measuring my body. The spa guarantees that clients will lose 4-12 inches from the detoxifying and fat cell shrinking treatment. I’m a positive person so I rallied for the whole 12 inches. I chose to go braless during this treatment, which I highly recommend, as most of your lymphatic system is located in the neck and chest area. Christine was professional and had a kind spirit that made me feel comfortable for the potentially embarrassing nakedness. Making small talk with the therapist while she painted on the special aloe vera mixture helped to ease tension, as well. She assured me that in their field they see all shapes and sizes…nothing new in the booby department.
It’s All in Your Head
Clad in my Glad Wrap suit, I laid on the massage table comfortably seeking the Zen of the moment. I could either dwell on life’s not so pleasant issues or proactively attempt to make the most of the rare trip to the spa. Fortunately, I chose the latter. While in a darkened room with gentle music soothing my overused auditory nerves, I envisioned various colors of ribbons flowing through my body, each hue had a different task in the project of cleaning and detoxifying my body. This was a way of distracting my mind from slipping back to stressful thinking.
Ask and You Shall Receive
Following the pleasant body wrap, I was all set for a one hour Swedish massage that primarily focuses on relaxation and muscle detoxification. Every massage therapist uses similar basic techniques likely learned in school but don’t be surprised if you have totally different experiences if you spa hop. As I did with Christine, you should feel comfortable enough to express your specific needs. If they are not using enough pressure or they are killing you with a heavy hand, then you must speak up. They are not mind readers. My communication paid off as my therapy was just perfect. I was also pleased that Christine used the “Energy Work” technique, as she called it. With a
series of pressure and release moves on my head area, she was able to balance my body’s chi (energy).
The Detox Dilemma
Though my spa experience fulfilled my expectations and left me with renewed energy and a feeling of balance, there was an unpleasa
nt aspect. The sudden release of stored toxins can cause a light-headed sensation or even temporary nausea. My daughter experienced some slight discomfort following her massage and I had a minimal headache. These healing crisis symptoms are perfectly normal and should be welcomed as a part of the process. Allow your body time to complete the cycle naturally. Rest, water, and happy thoughts aid your system in efficient cleansing in a timely manner. If you can, resist using Tylenol or other pain aids during this time as they will only hinder the healing process.
Tips from the Massage Therapist
I had the opportunity to speak with Christine to about how women can make the most of their spa experiences. The firs
t thing she shared was the importance of arriving 10-15 minutes early to your appointment to enable time to fill out paper work and mentally prepare for the down time. Also, wearing loose clothing and minimal jewelry will save energy and time. “Drink lots of water before and after to help your body rid itself of toxins,” she said emphatically. “Lactic acid builds up in muscles and causes that sore feeling. Massage therapy releases it.”
A Deeper Healing
We discussed the importance of using your mind to increase the potency of the treatments. “Picture inhaling light and exhaling dark as you breathe,” Christine said. “Controlled breathing is also a key.” Our bodies are subject to the mind’s leading ideas. You can literally visualize what you want to happen. If you have depression or anxiety, then picturing them leaving your body while in a relaxed state can definitely help. The body’s healing abilities are limitless when you tap into the power of the mind. Using these meditation techniques during physical treatments has a two-fold purpose. You not only maximize the effectiveness of the service but you also increase the chances of experiencing a deeper inner healing because of the state of relaxation that is hard to accomplish without help.
Not All Massages are Created Equal
When booking your treatment, ask about the various services available. There is a difference between a Swedish massage and a deep tissue massage. Discuss your unique needs with the therapist prior to the service to maximize your time on the table. This is also a good time to point out sore spots due to Arthritis or Fibromyalgia. If you enjoy the services of a particular therapist then stick with him or her. Like the relationship that you have with your hair stylist or nail technician, you can benefit from ongoing communication that allows them to understand your specific needs.
Pampering: A Must for Women
If paying spa prices is not an option then trade out a DIY spa day with a friend or family member. My 13-year-old daughter and I sometimes give each other facials, pedicures, and manicures to save money. It can also be a good time to bond. Also, ask to be informed about upcoming specials and promotions. The Ambiance Salon & Day Spa that we visited offered $40 massages on Tuesdays and even 10% off for military personnel on Fridays. This was definitely a great deal considering most massages range from $50- $100 an hour depending on where you are. The point is, treat yourself to this special time whether you splurge on a day spa or just simply soak in a tub of frothy bubbles. We women are constantly taking care of other’s needs and forget to take care of ourselves. The benefits are worth any time and money you spend for pampering. Remember, you deserve it! By the way, I lost 8.5 inches from the body wrap!
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