Category: Massage/Bodywork


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!

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!

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!

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