Posts

What is cupping, anyway?

Our owner and lead therapist, Michelle Christen, recently received her dry cupping therapy certification. The Spa’ah in Conway, Arkansas is proud to announce the new therapy offering as it is an exciting procedure that dates back to ancient times

Cupping therapy is an ancient technique that can be found in one of the oldest medical textbooks in the world. The Ebers Papyrus details how the ancient Egyptians used this therapy as early as 1550 B.C. This procedure is particularly exciting and unique, because it involves the use of a controlled flame to remove the oxygen from inside of a cup. The cup is then quickly applied to the skin in a troublesome area for the patient. A vacuum will then suck the skin up slightly under the cup. This causes the skin to redden as the blood vessels in the patients skin and muscles expand thus allowing greater blood flow.

You can watch a video of Eastern Medicine Guy, Tim Sullivan performing cupping on an individual with an old sports injury to get a better idea of what this actually looks like.

Who can benefit most from cupping therapy?

Many people can benefit from this therapy. Just like paper, concrete, and breath mints, this ancient relic is still around and thriving for a reason.

Cupping therapy has been used for a huge list of ailments including:

  • Chronic Pain
  • Allergies and Asthma
  • Chronic Stress
  • Inflammation
  • Body Toxins
  • Troublesome Skin
  • Cellulite
  • GI Issues
  • Migraines

In fact, this therapy is often used by Olympic athletes to treat injuries. During the Olympics in Rio, rumors that athletes like Michael Phelps had contracted Zika began circulating largely due to the “mysterious” circular purple bruises on their bodies. However, those bruises were not a result of disease. Cupping therapy was to blame!

Is there anything else I need to consider before trying this therapy?

Although cupping therapy is not painful, it does leave large circular bruises where the cups were placed for 3 to 4 days. So, it is a good idea to think about events you might have to attend. For example, if your wedding is tomorrow, we would not suggest a cupping session unless you are okay with cupping bruises in your photos. Although, it would be a great way to relax before the honeymoon!

Contact us at The Spa’ah in Conway, Arkansas to find out more or schedule your cupping therapy session today!

May you have peace, happiness, and wellness!

What is Gua Sha?

This therapy is a method used to remove stagnant blood and lymph from the subcutaneous fascia. It uses rounded smooth edged tool to repeatedly stroke over an area of the body, allowing the body to metabolize cellular waste and promote fresh blood and cells in that area. In other words, gua sha is an effective way to promote blood flow to areas that were previously getting less than the necessary amount of healing blood and oxygen. This treatment is very effective at relieving pain.

What does our interviewee have to say about her Gua Sha experience?

Why did your therapist suggest an additional treatment for you ailments? Was the therapy in addition to another treatment?

Michelle suggested Gua Sha because I carry a lot of stress in my shoulders, neck, and upper back. She had been working on those muscles for 45 minutes, before the Gua Sha, with deep tissue massage. She knew that the Gua Sha would help relieve those muscles even more and start to draw the toxins out of my body.

What was your impression of Gua Sha before receiving treatment, and how did your view of the therapy change once it was complete? 

I was hesitant at first. I had never heard of it before and I really wasn’t sure if it would make any difference in the tight muscles and pain I was having. Immediately after she finished with Gua Sha, I knew it had made a difference. I felt instant relief.

Did Gua Sha help with your pain, inflammation, or other chronic ailments? 

Yes, it made a huge difference on the stress and pain that I was carrying in my neck, shoulders, and upper back. The pain and inflammation were instantly gone. It took several days before I began to feel any discomfort return after the treatment, which is very unusual for me. After a normal massage, I tighten back up within a day or two.

Would you return to The Spa’ah specifically for our Gua Sha services? 

Yes! I scheduled a second appointment before I left The Spa’ah that evening.

Would you recommend this therapy to a friend of family member? Please explain why. 

Absolutely. I have been raving about Gua Sha since Michelle used it on me. I suffer with chronic upper back pain and stress carrying, and I know many other people do, as well. This treatment is something that everyone should have to help with those symptoms. The instant relief was incredible and I could not be more thankful for how it continued to work for several days after treatment. I am very thankful that Michelle recommended this treatment to me!

You can find out more about our different services including gua sha, here!

May you have peace, happiness, and wellness!

What is hot stone massage therapy?

This therapy has a long history and has been practiced by ancient civilizations all across the world. According to a Massage Magazine article, “Both verbal and written history confirm the Chinese used heated stones more than 2,000 years ago as a means of improving the function of internal organs.” Hot stone massage was even used as a means of healing in North and South America, Africa, Europe, Egypt, and India.

Hot stone massage is a massage therapy technique that involves positioning warm stones along key areas of the patient’s body. Flat and oblong river rocks are often used in hot stone massage therapy. Due to their high iron content, the river rocks maintain adequate temperatures throughout the duration of the session. The hot stones can either be used as stationary pockets of heat to target trouble areas or as deep-tissue massage aides. Stones are used in a variety of other therapies as well including facials, pedicures, manicures, meridian therapy, and more.

There’s no need to worry about the “hotness” of the stones during hot stone massage therapy, however. There is always a barrier between a client’s skin, and the stones unless the therapist is moving the stone. There is no need to worry about safety or discomfort during hot stone therapy if it is performed by a trained professional.

What benefits does hot stone massage provide?

Stress / Anxiety Reduction

A survey that was conducted on May 18th in 2017 found that 77% of adults regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress. Hot stone therapy can help reduce stress by lowering your heart rate and increasing your body’s natural “feel good” chemicals called endorphins.

Aides Sleep

According to an Examined Existence article, “Stress is one of the main factors causing insomnia and other sleep disorders. When stressors are present, the body naturally heightens its response system, thus, leading to wakefulness.” Hot stone massage helps the body sleep by decreasing the body’s cortisol (stress hormone). High levels of cortisol impede the production of melatonin (sleep hormone).

Boosts Immunity

Hot stone massage can have a marked impact on the body’s immune system.  Researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles found that, “people who received a 45-minute massage had an increased number of lymphocytes.” Lymphocytes are white blood cells. These white blood cells play a large role in defending the body from disease.

Relieves Muscle Tension / Pain

Generally, muscle tension or pain is the main complaint of massage therapy clients. Hot stone massage is especially suited to relieving these ailments. The heat of the stones stimulates that body’s circulatory system which allows stiff muscles to receive rejuvenating and oxygenated blood. The heat from the stones can also treat painful muscle spasms and particularly troublesome knots.

What else should I know about hot stone massage therapy?

While hot stone massage therapy is wonderfully beneficial for most people, be sure to check with you massage therapist before scheduling an appointment if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Pregnancy
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart Disease
  • Nerve Damage
  • Sun Burn

These conditions do not preclude anyone from receiving a hot stone massage. However, we recommend that you disclose this information before your session.

If your trained massage therapist does not think you are a good candidate for hot stone massage, there are many other treatments and therapies at The Spa’ah in Conway, Arkansas that can alleviate almost any ailment. You can view our full list of services here.

May you have peace, happiness, and wellness!

What is Lymphatic Massage?

To answer the question, “What is a lymphatic massage?”, you must first understand your body’s lymphatic system. According to a Live Science article, “The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials.” In other words, the lymphatic system is essential to a healthy immune system and proper nutrient absorption.

The lymphatic system is made up of fluid or lymph, fluid transportation vessels, and organs that contain lymphoid tissue (i.e. lymph nodes, spleen, and thymus). Each of these serves a specific purpose within the lymphatic system. The fluid or lymph contains nutrients, oxygen, hormones, and fatty acids, as well as toxins. Fluid transportation vessels transport the lymph to the cardiovascular system. Lymphoid tissues monitor what is in the lymph / fluid, and produce nutrients to be transported by the cardiovascular system to other parts of the body.

Lymphatic massage, also known as Manual Lymphatic Drainage, is a gentle non-invasive technique designed to increase the movement of lymph and interstitial fluid. As you can imagine, an under functioning lymphatic system can wreak havoc on your ability to fight infection. A compromised lymphatic system can even impact your body’s healing process and energy levels.

How do I know if I can benefit from a Lymphatic Massage?

This therapy can be beneficial for many ailments or illnesses. It relieves chronic inflammation associated with conditions like acne, eczema, and allergies. Lymphatic massage is also great for individuals who are recovering from surgeries, because it is known to reduce swelling. Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia suffers are also great candidates for lymphatic massage.

Rejuvenating the lymphatic system can have some more surprising benefits as well. Often times, breastfeeding mothers find relief in lymphatic massage, because it helps reduce fluid retention and plugged ducts. Lymphatic massage can also help with cellulite, migraines, and sinus congestion.

Almost everyone has one or more of these ailments that can be managed with lymphatic massage, and would be a great candidate for this revolutionary therapy!

I’m convinced. Now, where can I get a Lymphatic Massage?

The Spa’ah in Conway, Arkansas now has a Manual Lymphatic Drainage Certified massage therapist on staff that would be delighted to assist you. If you choose to schedule a lymphatic massage with The Spa’ah, there are a few things that you can do to get the most out of your session.

Before your Lymphatic Massage at The Spa’ah in Conway, Arkansas, you should:

  • Think about increasing your intake of antioxidants to aid in the detoxification process.
  • Drink lots of water in the days leading up to your appointment.
  • Avoid alcohol or recreational drugs so that your lymphatic system is not compromised during           your session.
  • Plan for a short period of gentle movement after your session to support lymph transportation.

May you have peace, happiness, and wellness!