Category: Spa Services


The Star Brows Blog  Has Moved Please Visit this Link for the Post on the New Site. 

An Enhancement puts the luxury in “Luxurious Spa Services.” Enhancements are “mini services” you add to a regular spa service, like a full body massage, a facial, or an eyebrow design. They are specially priced and aren’t offered as stand-alone services. Spa Enhancements are sort of like a restaurant menu’s ala carte section, you get an entrée and depending on how hungry, or particular you are, you customize your meal by adding your favorite little extra things.

Spa experiences are like that for me. I don’t want “just a massage.” I want to add Deep Muscle Work, Essential Oils, and Hot Towels to my service. I like my guest to customize their spa experience as well. Choices are fun, and they make a service just-right-for-you!

While we are on the subject, when you buy skincare or makeup at Star Brows, you get Rewards that can be used to get free  Enhancements next time you come in.

Some examples of Enhancements:

Waxing Enhancements – Eyebrow or Eyelash Tint, Star Massage, Face Part Wax (chin, lip, cheeks, nostrils, etc.)

Facial Enhancements – Power Pumpkin, Salicylic Acid, Primary Alpha Peptide Resurfacer, and Star Massage

Massage Enhancements – Raindrop Therapy, Deep Muscle-work, Aroma Therapy/Hot Towels

See you at the new spa!

The Star Brows Blog  Has Moved Please Visit this Link for the Post on the New Site. 

Many of you have asked what Raindrop Therapy is, and some of you have already experienced and loved it! Raindrop Therapy is an Enhancement to any Massage. Young Living Essential Oil’s founder Gary Young pioneered this treatment. The Star Brows version is a little different, but the two proprietary essential oil blends, Aroma Siez and Valor, are from Young Living.

I have been using essential oils at home, and have offered this service for many years. When I first started using the oils, my staff and I underwent a rapid detoxification period for a couple of weeks. As the oils penetrate the system of the practitioner through the hands during application, we had to limit the number of treatments we did each day because good essential oils are natural medicines and are very powerful – we were “overdosing.”

The origins of the Raindrop Therapy technique are based on Lakota Native healing. Powerful antibacterial, antiviral oils are dropped along the spine and a sweeping motion is used to feather the oils upwards along the spine in imitation of the Northern Lights, which are revered for their healing energy (and seen really well in my homeland – Minnesota).

This treatment combines the science of aromatherapy with the techniques of reflexology and massage. The applications of essential oils are said to bring structural and electrical (energetic) alignment. The technique is designed to bring balance to the body, and the oils used are chosen for their unique anti-spasmodic effects.

Muscles and soft tissue are gently eased without using force or excessive pressure. When you combine the life-giving force of the natural medicine in the essential oil and the intelligence of the human body, an amazing healing process begins.

Nine Essential Oils of Raindrop Therapy

Thyme – strong antiseptic, antimicrobial, revitalizing and energizing

Oregano – highly antimicrobial and antiviral

Wintergreen – antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antiseptic; also eases bone, muscle and joint discomfort

Cypress- anti-infectious, antispasmodic, increases circulation

Peppermint – soothes digestion, improves concentration, promotes mental clarity

Basil – powerful anti-spasmodic which soothes and relaxes muscles

Marjoram – soothes muscles, calms nerves, antimicrobial, antiseptic

Valor – balances electrical energies in the body, promotes balance and alignment

Aroma Siez – relaxes muscles, soothes aching or sore muscles

 

The Raindrop Massage Experience

Raindrop Massage treatment begins with the feet. Drops of essential oils are applied on the reflex points of both of your feet. It is common to feel a sensation of warmth after the essential oils are applied to your skin. By the end of the foot treatment, you will start to feel relaxed and rejuvenated. The therapeutic benefits of the essential oils will begin to take effect, and you will feel immersed in the pleasant fragrances of the essential oils.

Following the foot treatment, the Raindrop Massage technique is applied to the spine. The sensation of warmth, tingling, and relaxation becomes even more pronounced as the oils continue to be applied to the spine and massage begins.

The massage technique feels very gentle and involves easy strokes, taps or rolling movements that are designed to enhance absorption of the essential oils, and stimulate the reflex points. This promotes the release of toxins and supports healing and balance, and it also energizes the body.

A warm compress is applied to your back to complete your Raindrop Massage treatment. Any back pain or discomfort you were experiencing prior to the Raindrop Massage will dissipate during treatment, and you will feel refreshed and energized. One of the most unique benefits of the Raindrop Massage technique is the long-lasting effects it has on the body and mood. The general sense of well-being that results from each treatment lasts for several days.

See you at the new spa!

Image via Keswick Hall Hotel

The Star Brows Blog  Has Moved Please Visit this Link for the Post on the New Site. 

I started my dream business, Star Brows, in Arroyo Grande California four years ago, specializing in a unique “brow graphing” technique, which I developed at my Minnesota spa. Due to the success and popularity of that technique, I needed to expand, and now have a new home! Everything you know and love about Star Brows will stay the same, but better – I hope you’ll agree!

On April 15th I moved my eyebrow couture, skincare, massage, and body waxing spa to 1065 West Grand Avenue to Grover Beach (Shangri-La!) and have created a luxurious spa setting that I know you will love.

Originally, I really wanted to stay in AG, but then I found this amazing space with great exposure and plenty of room to grow. It’s across from Miners in Grover Beach. This location really fits my “brand.” You will truly feel like the star you are when you’re there. I wanted to create a more spa-like atmosphere so you could enjoy the full array of Star Brows services.

I’ve added two private treatment rooms with sound-proof walls and solid core doors :), a casual and open feeling makeup and waxing lounge, and an serene waiting area – and we’re closer to the beach! Who could ask for more? I’ll be posting pictures soon.

But, like any dream, there have been (and are) hurdles to overcome. In the end, though, it’s all worth it. I hope this encourages you to follow your dreams too. Turning dreams into reality takes guts, a lot of hard work, optimism, help from those who support you (thank you all!), and a generous pinch of the miraculous!

Next Sunday is Mother’s Day, and I am poised to help you celebrate. Hmmm, what would you really like? I come from a background of providing fabulous spa experiences, and now that I have the space and the environment for it, I’d like treat you.

Here is a sneak peek of a spa experience created to celebrate mom’s day, or “just because” – at the new location – offered for a limited time:

Spa Facial and Massage Treatment

Arrive a couple of minutes early so you can get settled and relax for a few minutes in the quiet environment of the new spa, and plan on staying for about an hour and a half.

When you enter the treatment room you will feel the warm air provided by state-of-the-art radiant heat. You’ll smell calming essential oils and be enveloped by the soft candlelight.

As you climb under crisp, clean, warmed sheets your body’s curves will be cradled by special contoured cushions.

Detoxifying and de-stressing drops of essential oils will be applied along your spine (Raindrop Therapy), to coax your body into a state of bliss and calm, followed by a back massage given at just the right pressure for you. When the knots are eased, you turn over and the Star Massage begins with Tu’el’s Cleansing Oils and Herbalizers chosen for your skin type. Puffiness, sinus pressure, jaw tension and all signs of stress dissipate from your face, neck and should – mmm, who knew it could feel this good?

Now the facial begins with warmed towels, gentle steam, and special masks and scrubs designed to alleviate your skin’s concerns.

And don’t forget those hard working hands and feet. They will be meticulously worked out, every finger and every toe rubbed until they are eased. Your feet will be wrapped in warm towel-like booties and a little Craniosacral work will be done to balance your body’s rhythms.

Later, plan on relaxing and drinking plenty of water with slices of organic lemons to complete a perfect experience.

Who knew Star Brows was about more than eyebrow couture? Now’s your chance to see! Limited spaces are available for this special offer, so call now – 805-722-8222  – and mention the Mother’s Day Spa Special. It’s not on the menu and is specially priced at $99. It expires on May 12th, but you can get a Gift Certificate for the service and use it anytime!

See you at the new spa!

The Star Brows Blog  Has Moved Please Visit this Link for the Post on the New Site. 

Birthday Discounts

This is my second annual March Birthday post! Here is last year’s.  Why do I do a blog post about birthdays, you ask? First of all, it’s fun. (And fun is one thing I need more of.) Second, did you know that during your birthday month you get 20% off the service of your choice. Just remind me. (That’s part of turning 56 this month: I need reminding.)

Seriously, I love birthday celebrations. The one I remember most vividly is my 18th, when I got a brand new VW bug from Mom and Pop. Wild times in ’73…too wild!

And of course there are the birth days of our four children, who will remain anonymous for the purposes of this post. I will simply talk about my pregnancy and birth experiences, hoping that, in sharing, I can speak to and help even one woman out there.

Birth Day Lessons

Birth #1

My firstborn’s special day was a medical “circus sideshow” – a scheduled Cesarean birth filled with IVs, monitors, lots of onlookers, needles, gloves, gowns, machines, and an abundant supply of powerlessness and inexperience on my part. (WHAT? I’m the customer – and isn’t the customer always right? It’s my body, my baby, my birth. You’re just helping, right?)  I had no power, not much of a voice (they called me “Mom” the whole time. Hello, I have a name), and very little choice at the hospital. (After all, this was the early ’80s.)

I beg your pardon, truly, if you are in the medical profession – but puh-lease!

But, I digress. My first birth in 1981 cost over $20,000. Big business, huh? After that harrowing experience, I joined VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean), vowing that would never happen again. Wrong.

Birth #2

I thought I had grown so much smarter with the advent of my second child’s birth in 1986. I went into labor – a first! – and 48 hours later was still in labor (kind of). They had started to “pit” me (a stupid abbreviation for a Pitocin drip). Yeah, “failure to progress” they called it. I call it “I went to the hospital too soon.” The drug ravaged my body all night, and after two days of no sleep, the uterus (being artificially stimulated for so long), had lost its ability to expel the baby. (It’s a muscle, you know – the uterus, that is.) Uncle! I let them cut me wide open again.  (BTW, try getting a VBAC in Santa Maria today. What a crock.)

Now if you are reading this and have had a Cesarean, I mean no disrespect. Every woman’s journey is different and I AM NOT JUDGING YOU! I’m just telling my little story – that’s all.  OK, that’s that. Women don’t need anyone else weighing in on their personal birth story. After all, we all do our best.

Birth #3

For my third birth in 1988, I promptly told the hus that I would NOT be operated on again. (I’d rather die, I said.) D-r-a-m-a. I had a lay midwife at the house and tried to “sneak” in a home-birth (“Oops, honey, the baby is coming”), but Paul stopped making homemade chicken soup just long enough to pop in on Jeanne (my midwife) and me and find I was moving into “transition.” He got in his car and started honking. (I’m not kidding!) We had, after all, previously agreed that if I did a successful vaginal birth in a hospital, he would support a home birth next time. But I was so afraid to set foot again into those hallowed hospital halls.

When I got to the hospital, I told the nurse that she could do a physical check to see how much I had dilated – or not, once (pick your time) and that I would sign off on anything I needed to, but I wasn’t having any interventions.  The doctor showed up very late. (He was at the same Arabian horse show after-party that my dad was attending. Nice.) When he did show up, he promptly told my husband to speak privately with me about going with the program and not “rocking the boat.” But even though I had to assert myself pretty strongly (we’re not taught that as birthing women in this culture), voila, success at last!

Birth #4

Our last child was born in 1991. I was planning a home birth with doctor backup just in case. The lovely doc made it clear that it was a “secret” that he privately supported home births and that if his staff caught wind, he could not be involved.  One week before I was to go into labor, his staff “caught wind”.

That seemed a deal breaker for my husband, but dear old dad told him, “This is like climbing Mt. Everest to Linda. She needs to do it.” My husband idolized my dad, and pow! he agreed. Mom let me clean and cook for her to earn the measly $500 out-of-pocket expense for the home birth – a $15,000 savings from birth #1!

The Birthing Journey

The process of birthing is a journey. Mine was spread out over a 10 year period. (My oldest is 30 this year. My youngest is 20.) I went from the most costly and doctor/hospital-controlled birth to the cheapest, totally couple-centric birth ever. I’m not necessarily a home-birth advocate, but for me it was the right and only option in the end.

In this culture women give birth alone – not as a village. Our moms, aunties, and friends aren’t usually in attendance, and we aren’t at other women’s births either. We give birth in strange places in the midst of strange people (well meaning hospital staff). Try getting an animal to give birth under bright lights with all kinds of people around poking and prodding. You’d have to drug the animal to make that happen. They naturally choose a secluded spot.

What I learned about birth is this:

  • It’s your body and your baby. You know best.
  • You need to be surrounded with the familiar so you feel safe, relaxed, and secure.
  • Since our culture doesn’t teach us about birth, we need to educate ourselves.
  • You need to take responsibility. The outcome for yourself and your child is based on the choices you make, and it’s you who will have to endure the consequences of those choices. Others can’t and shouldn’t make the choices for you.
  • You are strong enough, brave enough, and smart enough to do what you need to do to facilitate the best scenario for yourself.
  • Have a Douala or Midwife around who trusts the natural birthing process and your wisdom, even if you choose a hospital birth.
  • Listen to other women’s birth stories and learn from them.

Pregnancy and Spa Service: The Perfect Pair-Up

Here are a few ways spa services helped me during my own pregnancies:

  • Spa services like massage empowered me and helped me learn about my body.
  • Facials kept me feeling beautiful and radiant through the arduous process of pregnancy and birth. The skin changes and really takes a beating during this whole process.
  • Working with and learning about essential oils for relaxation and good health helped tremendously – even after the baby was born.

How do the services at Star Brows support pregnancy and birth?

  • Special Body Contour Cushions are used to cradle the curves of an expectant mom. They allow you to lie face down through the ninth month – what a joy!
  • Pregnancy Massage addresses the special needs of each mother and her baby-in-utero.
  • The ligaments and muscles change as the baby grows within. Regular massage gives greater understanding to the woman of how to deal with and support these changes.
  • Facials and massage are nurturing, comforting, relaxing, and calming – needed to support a healthy, vibrant pregnancy.
  • Brazilian waxing is great during this time. Even those who shave may find it increasingly difficult to do so. One of my most popular posts of all time is Ladies; 10 Reasons why Brazilian Waxing Is Worth it.
  • Getting onto a good system for skincare – both face and body – is important to supporting the “skin” organ during a very stressful time.

See you at the spa!

I am so excited to bring you this month’s special Product Feature. (It’s a 2-fer!)  Tu’el’s Cleansing Oils and Herbalizers and the new Travel Pack, which includes the Tu’el cleansing system for A.M. and P.M.,  Hy-Drate,  (both in 1 oz. bottles), a sample of Peeling Cream and a sample of the appropriate evening moisturizer for your skin-type.

These products are a delight to use  because they bring “spa” home to you. I don’t choose to carry products at Star Brows on performance alone. I want to use skincare that inspires me, works, is as close to “natural” as possible, is a good value and is enjoyable to use.

Taking care of your skin is sometimes perceived as drudgery, but personal care can be renewing. It’s simply a matter of perspective. If you are in the former camp, are you open to thinking about skincare in a new way?

Last month we launched Star Brow’s Rewards and I couldn’t keep September’s feature, Youngblood’s Pressed Mineral Compacts, on the shelves! I ended up happily doing  rain checks!

I’m so glad you’re all enjoying the new Rewards perks.  I appreciate all of you!

The beautiful model in this picture is a friend and client,  Amanda De Bello. She brings the customer testimonial for this month’s feature:

“Linda was kind enough to answer many of my questions by simply “trying out” Tu’el products on my face, which ended in a purchase I do not regret.  The Cleansing Oil is such a relief to my skin (it even gently removes makeup!) & I can feel my face literally getting softer each day I use it.  The Herbalizer is like nothing I’ve ever tried before; my skin seems to “drink it up” and the herbs smell so good! I have been known to spend money on high quality, big name products, and honestly just wasn’t getting the results I was happy with. What I realized is that previously I was willing to spend whatever it took to “fix” what damage was done to my skin–and now I am on a preventive path to consistent care and nurturing my skin daily with the entire Tu’el cleansing system. Thank you Star Brows!”

The Product Feature(s) of the month give you Double Rewards. The Cleansing Oil and Herbalizer are each in 4 oz sizes and are $50 for the set. The Travel Pack (seen right)  is $48. That’s $5 in Star Brows Rewards regularly, but ($10 this month).  And who doesn’t love FREE spa services?

And as dear old dad says, “I didn’t just save $10, I MADE $10!”

As many of you know, I won an award for a new treatment called Star Massage which utilizes the Tu’el Hydrophilic Cleansing Oil System.  This link will take you to the YouTube I produced–as well as to Tu’el’s founder Lori Nestori’s YouTube–on the Oil and Herbalizer cleansing system.

See you at the spa!

STRAIGHTEN UP

Raised in the world of dance, I was always prodded (sometimes cruelly) and trained diligently to carry myself properly.

The study of ballet in particular revolves around the strength of the core of your body. Principally the belly, chest wall, spine, neck and butt must all be in perfect alignment and tone in order to hold the body in the air while balancing En Pointe.

My dear old dad also had the habit of telling me to stand up straight, while sometimes “lovingly” inserting a knee into the small of my back.

One of my greatest personal postural revelations happened when I was standing in church one Sunday. I remember it to this day as being pivotal in my endeavor to fight the 33 lbs per square inch of pressure gravity constantly exerts on the body.

That day in church, I looked around and saw not a single person standing completely straight with feet under the hips, arms at the sides, neck in alignment, and diaphragm region open. OK, no one was even standing with their weight on two feet, arms at their sides.

There were all manner of postural deviations: leaning into a hip, arms crossed, hands on the chair in front of them, legs crossed, etcetera, etcetera. Who passed my “postural pop quiz”? No one! Who came close? Kids did the best, men a close second. What’s my point?

Standing up straight while you”re doing nothing else (such as while in the grocery line) requires very little effort, and the return over time is amazing. It helps you teach your body how to stand correctly. Your neuromuscular (and sometimes genetic) pathways may have generated a slouching habit, and re-training them takes a very conscious awareness – and practice.

In my Bodywork and Massage practice I help you identify which muscles and areas of your  body are weak (i.e. under or over performing). This awareness or act of Simply Noticing jump-starts the retraining process. The intention to be healthier, stronger, and more beautiful by the simple act of standing straight will lead you to find a way of doing so that suits you perfectly.

Yoga, dance, massage, walking, stretching, dancing, and working out are all helpful activities. But until you are aware of how you hold yourself in space at any given time, you will not change.

Just think about what you’ve already noticed as you’ve been reading this. I know even I have made postural adjustments numerous times, some twice, while writing this post: I’ve lifted my rib cage, relaxed my thoracic forward thrust, dropped my chin, spread my feet apart, put both feet flat on the ground, raised up onto my “sitting bones,” relaxed my shoulders, checked my breath for holding patterns, and so on.

Welcome to my world: a constant heightened state of awareness about how my body is feeling. Because of my past and present roles as dancer and  instructor, model, bodyworker, and even skincare therapist, I have cultivated and learned how to not only impart these lessons , but also incorporate them into my own lifestyle. My profession is riddled with carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injury cases.

Our bodies are always changing, and major adjustments need to be done around menopause — but don’t even get me started. We must keep the pathway of awareness open about how we hold ourselves from moment to moment. Too much work, you say? OK, fair enough. But remember the old adage, “Faut souffrir pour être belle.” “One must suffer to be beautiful.”

See you at the spa!

I’m excited to announce a new perk for being a loyal Star Brows customer. You, after all, are the Star at Star Brows!

Starting September 1, 2010, you can earn FREE spa services when you buy any skincare or cosmetic product at the spa.

It’s called Star Brows Rewards, and your part is as simple as 1-2-3.

Here’s how it works:

1.  Go to Star Brows Facebook and become a fan. There you’ll find special offers and other surprises. 😉

2.  Subscribe to my Star Brows Blog, where I give you beauty secrets, share health and wellness tips, and keep you up to date on everything that’s happening at Star Brows!

3.  Make a purchase of  skincare products or cosmetics at the spa.

Now it’s my turn!

  • I’ll give you a Star Brows Rewards punch card.
  • For every $10 you spend you get 1 punch, which is worth $1. Spend $100 and you get $10 in Rewards!
  • I’ll redeem your Rewards for a spa service Enhancement when you come in for a regular service. Service Enhancements are listed below. They  are also in my brochure and on the Star Brows website.

Update: It gets even better: I’ve added a Monthly Product Feature which offers double Rewards! That’s 20% in Rewards.

    Here are the Spa Service Enhancements you can receive by redeeming your Rewards:

    Waxing Enhancements – Eyebrow or Eyelash Tint, Star Massage, Face Part Wax (chin, lip, cheeks, nostrils, etc.).

    Facial Enhancements – Power Pumpkin, Salicylic Acid, or Primary Alpha Peptide Resurfacer.

    Massage Enhancements – Raindrop Therapy, Deep Muscle-work, Aroma Therapy/Hot Towels.

    Q:  What if I don’t do Facebook?

    A:  If you give me your email address, or send Star Brows an email,  you’ll get periodic updates to the Star Brows Blog and other special offers.

    Q:  Can I redeem my Rewards for regular services?

    A:  Rewards can be redeemed for Enhancements only, when receiving a regular Spa Service.

    Q:  What if I only have $2 in Rewards?

    A:  Redeem as many (or as few) as you’d like — anytime!

    Q:  Can I get a Massage Enhancement when I get an Eyebrow Design?

    A:  Yes. Although some of the Enhancements are easy to do in conjunction with any service, some aren’t. Chemical Peels, for example, need to be done with a Facial; Raindrop Therapy with a Massage; and Lash Tint with a Facial Waxing service.

    Q:  How much do Enhancements cost?

    A:  $10 to $30

    Q:  Will my Star Brows Rewards expire?

    A:  No. Your Rewards will remain valid until used.

    At Body Rhythms Spa and Salon in MN, I used this program very successfully. Customers were able to enjoy more great spa services while using the products they loved! I’m pleased to offer it again at Star Brows.

    See you at the spa!



    Part of my business  model at Star Brows is about helping people have healthy bodies and learn to relax.

    Most of you know that in addition to pursuing beauty by shaping eyebrows, doing makeup, waxing and giving facials, I love working with the body by doing massage and teaching dance class.

    I have been creating businesses around health and fitness for 35 years! What I bring to you today are 3 health and wellness tips that can change your life.

    1.) Study your food cravings: What stops the rampage started the rampage in the first place.

    You have a craving and are rummaging through the pantry looking for something to satisfy it. Take note. What satisfies that craving is what is causing the urge to satisfy it in the first place.

    Think about the possibility that the particular food or substance you crave is, or contains something that your body is sensitive to.

    This is obvious in the case of toxic substances like alcohol, cigarettes, coffee, sweets and empty carbs right? But healthy foods can be the culprit too. As an example: I crave fruit – all the time. I’m beginning to believe I have a sugar imbalance issue that I need to explore.

    When you eat the substance you crave your body sends out histamines and endorphins to counteract the sensitive reaction. This gives you a natural “high.” But after that high comes a crash and your body will crave what caused the high. Pay attention to what that could be. What are the ingredients? You may even want to write them down.

    Next time you have a familiar craving, notice what the ingredients have in common? Avoid them and see if the craving ends. If you control the use of that “substance” in your diet, you will feel better.

    2.) Sleep. You know you need it, how much? That’s up to each individual.  I like 9 hours at night and 20 minutes during the day (on the floor, not the bed).

    Did you know that light inhibits the production of melatonin ( a sleep hormone)? Computer and television screens count as light. 😉 Have a period of time before you try to fall asleep of quiet darkness. Prayer and meditation is a sure-fire way for me to fall asleep!

    3.) De-stressing is the most important thing you can do for your health.

    When you are under stress, your body doesn’t know the difference between: you can’t make the deadline or you are being chased by a lion. Hormones flood your system, your blood pressure increases, lots of things are going on.

    A little of this is good, especially if you are being chased by something dangerous, but constant stress will tear your body down fast. If you are tired or irritable, your body is stressed and is telling you to relax.

    What relaxes you is different than what relaxes me. I have many activities and states of being that I cultivate for relaxation, here’s a few on my list (I’ve left out all the toxic forms of pseudo-relaxation):

    • Massage or spa service
    • Chiropractic treatment
    • Beach walk
    • Phone calls to friends/family
    • Laughing
    • Get together with a loved one
    • Take a nap
    • Eat something healthy and yummy
    • Rest
    • Play on the computer
    • Enjoy nature
    • Dance
    • Read
    • Prayer, praise and intercession

    Staying healthy isn’t just about avoiding harmful things. It means being proactive about your well-being. Your own body is the best source of health and wellness insight. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, what is it telling you right now? What do you need to add or take away in your life?

    See you at the spa!

    Photo credit

    Most massage/bodywork aficionados remember the uncertainty that came with their first service. What should I expect? Will I have to take off all my clothes? How much do I tip? Will the pressure be too deep or not deep enough?

    I got my first massage when I was 15 (40 years ago!). There were very few therapists then, and only elite health clubs or vacation retreat and resort properties offered spa services.

    In fact, the woman who gave me my first massage(s), later opened a school – and fast forward 25 years, I became a student there. 🙂

    So, hopefully  I’ve established myself as a veteran massage recipient turned provider – but don’t assume that I’m perfect at setting and honoring boundaries; it takes conscious attention and personal assertion – let’s begin!

    For newcomers to massage, the prospect of those first visits can be unnerving. Here are some basic bodywork/massage guidelines to help you choose a therapist, get the most out of your session, and create a healthy client-therapist relationship.

    If there are no forms, and no intake interview – in my estimation, the service is no good. Massage “on the cheap” is just that (and I’ll admit I have taken part –  in desperation!).  Reputable massage clinics, with skilled therapists, do intakes.

    Seriously – do you have athlete’s feet, herpes, high blood pressure, hypoglycemia, history of seizure? We’re  talking safety here!

    And what about your preferences? Do you get cold, are your feet ticklish, do you like light – medium or deep pressure, and so on and so on.

    And, in regard to the pressure used during a massage – more is not better people! (Is drinking a bottle of wine better than enjoying a glass?) There is a term called “Echo Point” I like to use. It refers to the point between pain and pleasure – as far as pressure, there is no benefit in going  beyond this point.

    Note: At Star Brows, I have a thorough intake/interview process.  Actually, it takes about 2-3 sessions for you to really get comfortable with a new therapist. It takes the therapist that long – and longer, to get to know you and your needs and preferences as well. Even if you only go a couple of times a year – go to the same person (once you find someone you like).

    • Punctuality = Full Session

    If you arrive 5 or 10 minutes early each time, you will start the massage more relaxed and focused, moving sooner to a place of healing calm. Plus, you’ll get your full time on the table!

    • Cancellations

    Most practitioners require a 24-hour notice to avoid fees. Outside of an emergency situation, last-minute cancellations or missed appointments usually result in paying a fee. Your therapist reserved that time for you and may have turned away other clients.

    • Honor Your Body

    Figure out what you like, and communicate it. Yes, the therapist is trained to do her job – but it’s YOUR body. Be in charge!  The therapist should provide a  comfortable atmosphere for you to express your needs and preferences. They should be checking in with you, asking questions about likes and dislikes – and if they aren’t, you need to – as my dad  says, “wiggle your lips”. 😀 If they don’t listen, end the service – and don’t go back.

    Some people have a hard time even considering massage because they are so unhappy with their body. This is primarily a female issue. It may be  hard thinking about getting naked, lying on a massage table having a virtual stranger touch you, as a pleasurable experience.

    For those dealing with self-esteem or body image issues, massage therapy and bodywork can be produce anxiety. But developing trust and rapport with a skilled therapist can be transformational!

    • Shower Up

    Common sense? Not always. 😉

    • Consider Talking and Confidentiality

    Sometimes massage sessions can bring up intimate issues about yourself, an issue,  or a relationship. The spirit, soul and body are one – so integration of these realms can bring miraculous healing on a physical and emotional level. But, keep in mind – massage therapists are typically not trained in professional psychology. Some issues will require a referral to a skilled professional. An ethical service provider will refer if professional help, such as a counselor, seems needed.

    To stay safe, only share what you want to share. Quietness is preferable overall – you should lead the way if there is going to be conversation.

    Sometimes people become chatty because they are nervous. Keep your focus on breathing – and speak only when you feel the need.

    Just know, confidentiality is an ethical code that therapists ascribe to.  It’s best to get to know the therapist before disclosing intimate life details, until you have developed trust.

    If there is unwanted conversation happening, simply say something like; ” I would like to have quiet so that I can relax”. Remember – it’s your dime!

    • Sobriety, Please

    If you’re on vacation, at a resort – you may be drinking. But, the last thing you want is to have alcohol in your system when you get a massage.

    Alcohol wreaks  havoc with the body’s systems. Combine that with the increased circulation from massage and you have increased absorption rates, potentially making you nauseous or outright sick. That’s no fun and a waste of good time and money.

    Water, before and after is what the body really wants.

    • You’re Human

    The body can have a lot of responses to therapeutic massage. While avoiding food at least one hour before your massage, not drinking the night before, making sure your bowel is empty, and drinking plenty of water the day before will help, there’s still the chance that you’ll have bad breath, tummy gurgles or pass gas (excuse me is all that’s needed).

    Note: I don’t see male clients unless it is a referral from an existing client, primarily because of the sexuality issues involved. Advice for those  who get “accidental erections” – don’t get professional massage (especially from a woman) if you are that sensitive, and control your thoughts while you are on the table – where your thoughts go, your body follows.

    • Tipping Tips

    When it comes to gratuities, it’s ultimately the client’s decision whether or not to tip. Like in other service industries, providing a tip is usually done in response to excellent service. According to CNNMoney.com, the tipping norm for massage and bodywork services is 15-20 percent.

    That said, I don’t see tipping as a way to compensate an under-paid employee (which in some clinics is the case). You paid for the service – if it was above and beyond your expectations, then a tip is appropriate. Sometimes the fee for service is all you can spend – this is understandable. Sometimes people tell me, “I would love to give you extra, but I only have enough for the service itself”. I understand, I’ve been there.

    See you at the spa!

    Cleansing the skin correctly is so important!

    I have gone back to a cleansing system from Tu’el I had at my spa in MN 15 years ago.

    It is the foundation of the launch of a new service called Star Massage utilizing the Tu’el Cleansing Oil System:

    The service when combined with an eyebrow design is the Ultimate Brow Experience! It is a 20 minute face, neck and scalp treatment using aesthetic and massage techniques. The treatment clears sinuses, reduces puffiness and brightens skin-tone. It is customised to each individual skin-type and also releives swelling, waste in the tissues and holding patterns that create tension and lines in the face.

    Let me introduce you to hydrophilic cleansing oils which are water loving and water soluble.  I know – it seems counter intuitive (especially if you have oily or acne prone skin). You may be imagining a pore clogging, grease slick, that you are smearing on your face – am I right?

    So, trust me, would I lead you astray? Instead I’d like you to imagine a Zen-like spa experience at home. Think fresh smelling mandarin oil, calming chamomile extract, healing extracts of arnica and purifying grapefruit extract. Imagine sitting in a comfortable, cozy spot and giving yourself a soothing facial massage.

    Nothing cleans the skin like a hydrophilic oil. Why? Let Lori Nestore, Eva’s CEO and founder of Tu’el tell you!

    As skin cells die, they lose moisture, flatten and migrate to the skin’s surface. The face excretes a very sticky substance known as sebum that bonds to dead skin cells. In order for these cells to be released, this oily sebum must be dissolved.

    When the hydrophilic Cleansing  Oil is massaged into the skin, it bonds with the sebum and releases the dead cells. This release of the dead layer of skin achieves exceptional pore cleansing, decongestion and a more refined skin appearance.

    Adding the correct Herbalizer, a sugar -based extract with essential oils, creates a custom cleansing system. This unique method balances the skin and eliminates the need for astringents or toners.

    Let’s talk about the do’s & dont’s of good basic facial cleansing:

    Don’t

    • Use soap. Why? It strips the skin’s PH balance and leaves a film. Note: Suds = stripping.
    • Over exfoliate. Why? The facial tissue is delicate and easily inflamed.
    • Skip morning cleanse. Why? The skin has been repairing and working all night – debris needs to be washed away.
    • Skip nighttime cleanse. Why? Uck! The skin should be sent to bed in a clean relaxed state  in order to optimize the healing that it does while you rest.

    Do

    • Use cleansing oils for your skin type. Why? Oil dissolves oil.
    • Spend time massaging the skin 2-3 times per week. Why? To exfoiliate, relieve swelling and waste in the tissues, and relax holding patterns that create tension and lines on the face
    • Have a gel based or treatment strength alternative cleanser available. Why? The skin sometimes needs an AHA for aging or an acne treatment cleanse. I always have 2 or 3 cleansers available for myself at home.
    • Always follow with moisturizer, & sunscreen for day use. Why? Cleansing is only the first part of the all important two-part system for great skin, “cleanse and protect”.

    There are 4 different Oils and 5 Herbalizers, each for differant skin types:

    1. The Vitamin Family hydrates the skin, stimulates sebaceous oil production and seals in moisture. This skin type is primarily characterized by small pores, is not product sensitive, lacks the ability to produce sebaceous oil and easily becomes dehydrated. It may have underlying congestion and may also be flaky.
    2. The Azulene Family balances sebaceous oil production, hydrates and calms. This skin type shows two different textures covering 1/3 to 1/2 of the face, and appears to have medium to large pores. It may be congested and dehydrated due to improper home care. It needs balancing of oil production without dehydration.
    3. The Purifying Family acts as a germicide to target impurities while keeping skin feeling and looking great. Impure skin can be dry, combination or oily, and any age with visible and constant breakouts.
    4. The Chamomile Line calms while gently improving, maintaining and enhancing the skin. This skin has some of the same properties as dry skin – small pores, possibly congested, easily dehydrated and irritated – and also reacts to products.
    5. The Regenerative Line stimulates cell production, hydrates, nourishes and firms. Mature skin is dry, combination, oily or dry-reactive that has aged. Tanned skin at any age is considered mature.

    What’s in them?

    VITAMIN CLEANSING OIL
    Sunflower Seed Oil, Mandarin Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate(Vitamin C), Chamomile Extract, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbic Acid. 4oz $27

    VITAMIN HERBALIZER
    Purified Water, Glycerin, Carrageenan, Extracts of Arnica, Cucumber, Elder Tree, Mallow, Ivy, Pellitory, Dandelion, Bladderwrack, Hops and Soapwort, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium
    Sorbate, Fragrance, Caramel. 4oz $23
    REGENERATIVE HERBALIZER
    Purified Water, Glycerin, Carrageenan, Extracts of Lemon, Hops, Pine Tree, Horsetail, Rosemary, Coneflower and Hydrocotyl, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Fragrance,
    Caramel. 4oz $23

    AZULENE CLEANSING OIL

    Sunflower Seed Oil, Grapefruit Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Grapefruit Extract, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbic Acid. 4oz $27

    AZULENE HERBALIZER

    Purified Water, Glycerin, Carrageenan, Extracts of: Burdock, Ivy, Lemon, Sage, Soapwort, Watercress, Comfrey, Parsley and Agrimony, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Fragrance, Caramel. 4oz $23

    PURIFYING CLEANSING OIL

    Sunflower Seed Oil, Eucalyptus Oil, Lemongrass Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Chamomile Extract, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbic Acid. 4oz $27

    PURIFYING HERBALIZER

    Purified Water, Glycerin, Carrageenan, Extracts of Horsechestnut, Arnica, Ivy, Red Vine, St. John’s Wort, Witch Hazel, Mistletoe, Urtica, Garlic and Goldenrod, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol,

    Potassium Sorbate, Fragrance, Caramel. 4oz $23

    CHAMOMILE CLEANSING OIL

    Sunflower Seed Oil, Chamomile Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Chamomile Extract, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbic Acid. 4oz $27

    CHAMOMILE HERBALIZER

    Purified Water, Glycerin, Carrageenan, Extracts of Chamomile, Cornflower, Lime, Marigold, St. John’s Wort, Coltsfoot, Fenugreek, Basil, Green Tea and Thyme, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Fragrance, Caramel. 4oz $23

    See you at the spa!

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