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Most massage enthusiasts in Conway, AR would say that the perfect massage time length is as long as possible. Unfortunately, massages can’t last forever. Schedules, therapist endurance, budget limitations, and wellness goals are often factors that influence the length of a client’s massage. However, these factors should never impact the actual massage time that the client pays for and receives. At our local spa, we make sure that each client receives the full time or service that they request. Sadly, some spas, especially massage memberships spas, require that at least 10 minutes of your 60 or 90-minute massage is reserved for consultation and dressing.

In this week’s blog, we look at why this practice is bad for spa clients and why The Spa’ah avoids it at all costs.

Hurry Up and Relax!

I’m sure that many of you have heard the phrase, “hurry up and wait.” Have you ever been told to, “hurry up and relax?” Many franchise or massage memberships based spas consider a 60-minute massage “50 minutes of hands-on service and 10 minutes for consultation and dressing.” The same logic is applied to a 30 or 90-minute service.

Consultation Confusion!

A proper consultation is essential for a great massage. During a typical massage consultation, your therapist should ask about your lifestyle, any focus or trouble areas that need to be addressed, as well as any medical concerns. Therapists should also be familiar with the client’s goals for their session which can include relaxation, increased mobility, pain relief and more.

Unfortunately, many spas require you to pay for your consultation as part of your service and limit consultation time. This means that the client is often forced to rush through an explanation of their ailments and preferences in an effort to get as much massage time as possible. This can be confusing for the therapist and result in a sub-par massage that may not address all of the client’s aches and pains.

Dressing Dangers!

To make matters worse, spas that utilize massage minutes for consultation also require that time to be used for dressing and undressing. The result is that the client is not provided with very much time to dress and undress before and after a massage. This can present some real issues for clients who may be in a great amount of pain or have trouble dressing and undressing due to muscular or joint abnormalities. In addition, if a client takes more time to dress and undress, their massage minutes are docked which results in less time with a therapist.  All in all, this practice is not good for clients and can make their massage experience a stressor rather than a relaxing experience to be enjoyed.

Get What You Pay For!

It is important to read to the fine print when seeking out massage therapy deals. Understanding what you are getting when you pay for a massage is very important to weigh the value of one service provider against another. In other words, what may appear to be a good deal at first glance could, in fact, end in a bad experience or more money paid per massage minute.

For example, a typical 60-minute Swedish massage at The Spa’ah in Conway, Arkansas costs $65. This includes a full 60 minutes of massaging from a licensed therapist with no interruptions. This is because we request clients arrive early to their appointments so we do not have to include consultations or dressing in their actual massage time. Other massage providers, like massage memberships spas, charge $50 or $60 dollars for a 50-minute massage with 10 minutes of rushed preparation that can ultimately result in unpleasant experiences. When you compare the two approaches, The Spa’ah provides a full 60-minute massage at nearly the same price as massage memberships spas plus additional preparation and consultation services free of charge. 

If you would like to learn more about The Spa’ah’s services or book an appointment online, click here!

What is microdermabrasion?

A lot of people know the word microdermabrasion, but not everyone knows exactly what the term means. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines microdermabrasion as, “a cosmetic procedure for the skin that involves the mechanical abrasion and removal of all or part of the stratum corneum (as by a high pressure spray of granular crystals) and is used to rejuvenate the skin and to treat skin blemishes or imperfections (such as scars or wrinkles).” In other words, trained professionals use a variety of different systems to buff and polish off the superficial layer of dead skin. Many of these professionals employ systems that use a diamond tip to “abrase” or exfoliate the skin to effectively remove dull, dead, and damaged skin cells from the face. There are many microdermabrasion side effects and benefits to consider when thinkin of incorporating this procedure into your skin care routine.

What are the microdermabrasion side effects and benefits?

This process has many great benefits for skin young, old, and anything in between. A few of the beneficial microdermabrasion side effects include:

Improves Aging Skin

Aging skin often presents some difficult issues that can require complicated solutions to remedy or lessen. However, microdermabrasion side effects can greatly impact the appearance of aging skin after a few sessions. This procedure is effective for removing or reducing age spots, sun damage, fine lines, and wrinkles as well as other types of discoloration associated with aging.

Reduces Acne Scarring

Similarly, microdermabrasion can impact the appearance of frustrating acne scarring that often plagues us long past puberty. the process of exfoliating and stripping the facial skin of old and damaged skin cells can reduce the appearance of acne scars. Although microdermabrasion has not proven effective for completely removing scarring, there is evidence that it is certainly an effective treatment for reducing its appearance.

Improves Pore Size

Another frustrating skin condition can be the sight of large pores. Minimizing pore size can help improve your skin in a number of ways. First, smaller pores generally mean a clearer and more smooth complexion which is a great thing all around. Second, pores that are smaller in size are less likely to get clogged and cause painful and unsightly acne. For this reason, microdermabrasion can actually help serve as a bit of an acne preventative.

What else should I know about microdermabrasion?

There is certainly a reason that microdermabrasion is one of the three most performed dermatology treatments in the United States. The microdermabrasion side effects are very mild especially in comparison to the very desirable results. In fact, this procedure is known as a “lunchtime procedure”, because it is noninvasive and does not require a long recovery. However, it is always recommended that you consult with a professional before trying microdermabrasion. If you have certain skin conditions you might not be a good candidate for microdermabrasion. If you have questions about your possible candidacy for microdermabrasion or would like to schedule an appointment today, contact The Spa’ah in Conway, Arkansas today!

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!

A licensed esthetician can help you look and feel great!

Keeping Bodies in Motion at The Spa’ah

Spas offer many services, ranging from massage to aromatherapy or even skincare offered by either therapists or an esthetician. While most people think of skincare as focusing only on the face, skincare can be used to treat all of the skin. Services offered can include hand and foot massages (reflexology), paraffin baths to soothe joints and soften skin, and the more commonly known facial. Some spas stick to the facials that massage therapists can offer, called relaxation facials. These are very basic facials, using warm, moist towels, and offer a simple skin treatment of cleansing, toning, and moisturizing.

While we do offer relaxation facials at The Spa’ah in Conway, Arkansas, we will soon be able to offer advanced skincare services that can only be performed by a licensed esthetician. A licensed esthetician goes through schooling specific to esthetics. Many dedicated estheticians are members of the National Coalition of Estheticians, Manufacturers/Distributors, and Associations (NCEA); this certification requires double the average number of hours of training that most estheticians have.

What does an esthetician actually do?

Licensed estheticians, unlike a massage therapist, have training in the evaluation of skin tone, skin issues, and are qualified to recommend skincare products to treat client’s trouble areas. Estheticians can also provide services like blackhead removal, peels, waxing, makeup application, and more. They are also trained in methods of sanitation, human physiology, skin care, and hair follicle growth and development so that they can offer a comprehensive set of skin care services to any and everyone. Etheticians spend a lot of time with each client to learn their skin care needs, and often perform skin care consultations in which they recommend the optimal skin care routine for your skin type. Please keep in mind that estheticians are not a replacement for visits to your dermatologist for medical issues and diagnostics, as they cannot provide prescription medications.

Stress doesn’t only affect your muscles, it can affect how your skin behaves. Hormone changes that occur during pregnancy or menopause can also cause skin changes that lead to acne or dry skin. Spa services by a licensed esthetician can help alleviate these symptoms. Getting regular facials, along with an optimal daily skincare regimen that is recommended by a licensed ethetician, can help your skin maintain its healthy glow and encourage good circulation, while mitigating the visible signs of stress.

When do I need a licensed esthetician?

Skincare needs often change from season to season (a moist summer requires less moisturizing than does a dry, cool winter). This means that your skin care regimen should also be evaluated as the seasons change. A licensed esthetician can help you determine your skin type (which can sometimes vary between parts of your face) and give recommendations as to what products would benefit your skin in whatever conditions you may find yourself. The products recommended by estheticians are most often their “tried-and-true” products and are the same products they use on their own skin.

The epidermis (skin) is the largest organ in the human body so it is important to treat your skin kindly. Like any other organ, certain things can be done to make sure it functions at its best. Giving your skin the proper care (moisturizing, cleansing, etc.) can help you to maintain a healthy, youthful appearance. A licensed esthetician can assist you in finding the best skincare regimen for your skin type. Your skincare regimen should be regularly reevaluated for optimal performance and an esthetician can help you make the correct choice for your skincare and budgetary needs.

Skincare needs extend beyond just the face, however. An esthetician can help you with things like back acne and other locations on your body. Backs can really be beautiful expanses of skin, but sometimes they need a little help to look their best. The back equivalent of a facial may be just what you need to keep your back ready for those sweetheart tops, or for showing off the toned arms you’ve been working on for months. An esthetician can help by doing extractions as needed and by helping you to improve the overall condition of the skin on your back.

Spa Treatments and Esthetics at The Spa’ah can help you look and feel great!

Paraffin wax can also be used on the hands and feet to soften the skin, ease any joint pain, and aid in moisturizing some of the most often neglected parts of the body. Moisturizing and paraffin treatments can help fight the effects of aging on the skin. Hands that are well-taken care of give a great, youthful appearance. A good pampering on the feet can add some pep in your step, and there’s nothing better than soft feet in clean sheets back at home. Let us help you enjoy the skin you’re in!

Quality of service is paramount to The Spa’ah so that we can better serve the skincare needs of our clients in the Central Arkansas area. We can’t wait to be able to expand our already comprehensive selection of services offered at Spa’ah to those services that only a licensed esthetician should provide. The next time you’re fighting a breakout or feeling the stress of daily life, come on in to the Spa’ah! We can help you and your look and feel amazing!

We offer diverse massage and spa treatments at a convenient location with great prices!

The Spa’ah is located on Amity Road in Conway, Arkansas just off of I-40. The establishment opened in December 2014 and is the brainchild of licensed massage therapist and owner Michelle Christen. Since its opening, the spa has enjoyed success and growth, including the addition of more massage therapists and services. The spa features couple’s massage rooms, individual massage rooms, whirlpool tubs, and a rain shower to enhance services and the customer experience. To remain up to date on current practices and safety standards, all massage therapists employed by the Spa’ah are licensed and maintain a membership with Associated Bodyworks and Massage Professionals which is the leading massage therapy association in the United States. Our highly qualified massage therapists provide a menu of diverse and convenient spa treatments and service at The Spa’ah in Conway.

The Spa’ah offers a wide range of spa treatments in a gender-neutral atmosphere which allows for both men and women to feel at ease while receiving their services.

The Spa’ah offers a variety of massage options.

Examples of Massage Options:

  • Swedish Massage (Effle’Ah): Available for individuals or couples, Swedish massage focuses on relaxation by releasing muscle tension and increasing circulation. It is the most common form of massage therapy.
    • Deep Tissue Massage (Kinetic’Ah): Deep Tissue massage uses firm to deep pressure and slower movements to release tight tissues, working down into the fascia, tendons, and deep muscles. It is particularly useful for removing knots in the muscles, chronic muscle pain, and injury rehabilitation.
    • Lomi Lomi Massage (Ah’Loha): A Hawaiian technique, this method uses rhythmic movements and an abundance of oil to break up fibrous deposits, improve circulation, and eliminate toxins.
    • Thai Massage (Thai’Ah): Thai massage uses pressure point compression, gentle rocking, and passive stretching to increase flexibility, reduce migraines and anxiety, and improve sleep. Thai massage can be done on a mat or table and remaining fully dressed in loose-fitting clothing is an option.
    • Prenatal Massage (Ma’Ah): Prenatal massage is done in a side-lying position with supporting pillows as needed. It can help improve circulation, decrease common maternal aches and pains, and reduce stress and fatigue. Massage has been shown to encourage shorter, easier labors and reduce hospital stays.
    • Hot Stone Massage (Stone’Ah): Basalt stones are heated and used along with oil to massage the body. The heat relaxes the muscles and allows for a deeper massage while maintaining a relaxed state.

“Can massage therapy and spa treatments really help me?”

The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) has a growing body of research showing that massage not only reduces stress and muscle tension, but can also help with medical conditions such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, high blood pressure, and migraines. Of course, massage also can increase range of motion, encourage better sleep, help with anxiety, and ease joint pain. National Institute of Health (NIH) studies have shown Swedish massage, conducted just once a week, to be optimal for knee pain from osteoarthritis.

Other research shows that massage can be beneficial in patients who suffer from chronic lower back pain. In a survey done by the AMTA, 88% of consumers view massage therapy as “beneficial to health and wellness,” and 56% were recommended to massage therapy by a medical professional. Formerly regarded as a luxury service, massage is moving into the realm of health maintenance with 50% of people today get massages to help with medical issues or injuries, and 28% receive massage services to improve their mental health by reducing stress and aiding relaxation.

Clients also sometimes want a little something extra, or some special attention paid in one area. Clients can enhance their experience with add-on spa treatments.

Examples of Spa Treatments:

  • Facials: This treatment cleanses and exfoliates the face with a hot, moist towel treatment. It also includes the application of a mask, toner, and moisturizer.
  • Hand and/or Foot Paraffin: Paraffin treatments use warm, melted wax to provide pain relief to sore joints, while softening the skin. It also increases range of motion in the joints.
  • Reflexology: Reflexology is based on the principle that parts of the body are connected to specific locations on the hands and feet. Application of pressure in appropriate locations can contribute to the natural function of the related area in the body. Reflexology also helps relieve tension and improve circulation.
  • Gua Sha: Gua Sha is an Asian method used to remove stagnant blood and lymph from the fascia. Focusing on one area, this technique allows the body to metabolize cellular waste and promotes the addition of fresh blood and cells in the area.
  • Cupping: Used in traditional Chinese medicine and brought into the mainstream mind by Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, cupping helps to treat pain, muscle knots, swelling, and deep scar tissues within the muscles.

“What’s in Conway, Arkansas anyway?”

Located in the heart of Conway, Arkansas, the Spa’ah offers a wide range of spa services that, if not right in your backyard, are in the heart of a wonderful getaway location. Conway offers big city amenities with a small-town feel. Make a date night (or lunch) of your time and visit local favorites such as Mulan’s (buffet-style Chinese/Japanese), Tacos 4 Life, or even Mike’s Place, if you’re feeling a bit fancier. Enjoy a night away from home at the Hilton Garden Inn Conway, located right across the street, or the Hampton Inn Conway. After your service, you can enjoy some shopping at the shopping center right around the corner. Regional chain favorites such as Target, Belk, Old Navy, and Dick’s Sporting Goods are located all in one convenient location.

Or, if you’re more inclined towards the outdoors, enjoy all of the beauty of Faulkner county by visiting Lake Beaverfork or Lake Conway, the largest man-made game and fish commission lake in the United States, or walk the trails near the Arkansas River at Cadron Settlement Park, with facilities on the National Register of Historic Places.

Massage therapy and spa services can contribute to overall health and wellness, especially when received regularly. Practicing good health practices doesn’t have to be un-enjoyable. We hope you will consider the Spa’ah to help you with your health and wellness needs, as well as the indulgences you want and deserve. Be sure to read our “What to Expect” page on our website to prepare for your first visit to The Spa’ah in Conway, Arkansas!