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The Shell versus Stone Debate…

September 1, 2015

When thinking about adding a heated implement to your massage therapy, there are now several options beyond hot stones, including shells and bamboo. While all are popular treatments for promoting deeper muscle relaxation, improving circulation and managing stress, I am often asked what the main difference is between our self-heating hot stones and Lava Shells.

The most obvious answer is the shape and appearance. Hot Stones resemble black basalt river stones. Lava Shells are either natural Tiger Striped Clam shells or porcelain replicas. You may choose one over the other just based on the location and esthetics of your spa/salon. Is your spa a tropical, beachfront oasis? Then Lava Shells are a beautiful signature treatment! Or, is your spa nestled among tall pine trees and a retreat for snowbirds? Then hot stones may be a more fitting massage for your treatment menu.

In regards to shape, Lava Shells have a unique anatomy when compared to stones. The hinge, the small rounded knob on the back of every Lava Shell, is great for stimulating pressure points and working deep into small, deep knots. The crown, the smooth, carefully polished surface is ideal for long broad strokes. The edge is carefully sanded to a smooth surface and is excellent for working narrow areas and is valuable as a dragging tool.

Fortunately, Lava Shells and hot stones are both non-porous and will not absorb oils or bacteria. Both tools will also act as an extension of the therapist’s hand, allowing them to work deeper with less strain to their hands.  These two attributes alone make either option a wonderful addition to any massage.

Show of Hands?

August 17, 2015

Are your hands a tell-tale sign of your age? Age spots, loss of fat, prominent veins, texture and contour changes all contribute to the hands looking older. Fortunately, there is a non-invasive solution to reverse the negative effects of sun, wind and other environmental factors on the skin. Even better, it only requires a trip to the spa and not a doctor’s office!

A paraffin treatment can be conveniently added-on to any spa/salon service, giving tired hands a well-needed pick-me-up. Paraffin has a beneficial, restorative effect on the skin. Our exclusive Nourishment+ formula protects the skin against free radicals while promoting cellular renewal, helping to reduce the signs of natural aging. The unique properties of Swiss Apple Stem provide a powerful anti-aging boost to the skin. A quick ten minute treatment will give you instant gratification, providing noticeable improvement in skin texture and elasticity with just one treatment.

Is it time you showed your hands a little TLC?

 

Hot Stone Massage Benefits – Stressed to Relaxed in 10 Minutes

July 27, 2015

Hot stone massage therapy is a popular treatment for promoting deeper muscle relaxation, improving circulation, managing stress, and allowing for better sleep. The premise behind hot stone massage is that the direct heat of the stones allows the therapist to penetrate deeper into muscle layers, release tension, ease sore muscles, and promote relaxation.

Self-heating hot stones, which take approximately 8-10 minutes to warm up, are used to employ a customized massage versus placement therapy, customary with traditional basalt hot stones.  The use of hot stones will offer enhanced benefits to both the client and therapist.  For clients that suffer from the ailments of fibromyalgia, arthritis, and carpal tunnel, hot stone therapy can be a useful treatment in decreasing pain and muscle spasms, curbing chronic stress and tension, and allowing for better mobility.

Therapists will also reap the benefits of hot stones. The heat will help make muscles pliable, ultimately allowing for deeper manipulation. The therapist is able to use the stone as an extension of their hand, giving their own hands and wrists a well needed rest.

Pre-treating muscles with self-heating hot stones is an ideal way to take your client from stressed to relaxed in a matter of only minutes!

Spa Safety and Sanitation with Hot Stone Massage

July 15, 2015

In an industry where we are always “hands-on,” sanitation is vital to the health of both the therapist and client. Properly cleaning and sanitizing hot stones, as well as their heating unit, is a crucial, and sometimes laborious, component of offering Hot Stone massage treatments.

Traditional hot stones are porous and will absorb oils and bacteria. In between clients, these stones must be scrubbed with hot, soapy water, specifically an antibacterial cleanser, and thoroughly dried. The drying step is crucial to keeping the stones sanitary as the heating unit is a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses to grow. This occurs when stones are stored wet or oily from a previous treatment. In addition, the water in the heating unit should be changed after each use. Massage Magazine has some great tips for cleaning hot stones here.

Keeping in mind the set-up/clean up time involved with offering hot stone massage, therapists can charge more for this specialized massage service. If your biggest complaint is not having enough time in between clients to clean the stones, there are solutions. One option is to have a second set of stones/heating unit available if performing back-to-back stone massage treatments.

A more cost effective approach is switching to self-heating stones that do not require a heater. Porcelain self-heating stones are heated using all natural minerals activated by a saline solution. The porcelain material is non-porous and does not absorb oils or bacteria.  They can also be quickly sanitized using an anti-bacterial cleaner. This significantly reduces the clean-up time associated with offering this type of massage.

Whichever method you choose, proper sanitation should be just as important as the services you provide.

Leave the Stone Edge Behind and Create a More Robust Bottom Line

June 27, 2015

Okay, you’ve mastered the hot stone massage modality, now what? Reimaging how you manage your massage stone practice can quickly, and easily, free up the amount of time spent preparing and cleaning the hot stones, ultimately improving your bottom line.

When costing out a hot stone service, it is necessary to account for the labor costs of setting up the stone heater, placing the stones in the heater, adding water, adjusting the heat to achieve the correct temperature, not to mention another 30 minutes or so for cleanup.

Keeping these issues in mind, while also keeping sanitation a primary goal, we reimagined the self-heating technology used for the PerfectSense Paraffin system to create a self-heating massage implement.  We truly wanted to “leave the stone age behind” and develop a product that would allow therapists the ability to incorporate heat into their treatments, whether mobile or in a spa setting, without needing electricity or batteries.  Self-heating stones allow for many freedoms…the elimination of a heater, the reduction of long clean times with porous stones, as well as the need for many stones to perform a single service.

Almost universally, massage is the most popular spa service.  Creating upgrades, and especially making them easy to add-on “in treatment”, is one way to increase your spa’s profitability.  With an activation time of only 8-10 minutes for a self-heating stone to get warm, a hot stone upgrade can now be incremental revenue for your spa, with much less hassle.

Improving the Spa Massage Experience

June 15, 2015

“You don’t get paid for the hour.  You get paid for the value you bring to the hour.” – Jim Rohn

How do we improve the spa massage experience?  It’s a question definitely worth asking in an effort to retain current clients and expand.  Whether it’s adding a new spa service, or making some simple changes to an existing service, narrowing the gap between customer’s expectations and the service they receive is the ultimate goal.

Finding an innovative way to enhance your client’s massage experience is a worth-while approach.  Enter hot stone massage.  Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP), report that more than 83% of their 81,000 massage and bodywork members list hot stone massage as an important treatment of their professional practices.  Continuing to gain popularity, hot stones do not replace human touch, but are an effective modality for deeper relaxation.  So, how can we make it better?

Increasing your “hands-on” time with the client is an obvious solution.  Traditional basalt hot stones require a massage stone heater and cool quickly during the massage.  If offering a dedicated 60-minute hot stone massage service, the stones must be continuously swamped out.  Each time this happens, the therapist/client experience is hindered.

A simple switch from “heater bound” stones to self-heating hot stones will increase your hands-on time with the client… while also eliminating the need for electricity (mobile hot stone massage, anyone?!)  In addition, self-heating stones are non-porous, making sanitation quick and easy.  Self-heating stones will stay warm for up to 45-minutes, which means less time spent searching for the right sized stone at the bottom of the heater.  In an industry where every minute counts, a continuous, uninterrupted massage service may make all the difference between you and your competitor.

Entering the “Pro-Age” Era!

April 7, 2015

Who would’ve thought that my hair would be this year’s trend? Not me certainly! I was on the high maintenance path for many years—coloring my hair every four weeks, in an attempt to remain youthful looking. Until….I made a conscious choice to get off that crazy merry-go-round of endless effort and allow my natural color, which is gray, to shine through. My mantra today is: “what you see is what you get.”

I’ve heard it referred to as the “silver tsunami” because my generation is the fastest growing demographic.  But also, young individuals are actually dying their hair gray/silver in an effort to be trendy. It does appear that we have entered the pro-age era instead of anti-age. Why not embrace the natural processing of aging, and do it with grace, style and pizazz?

Manuka Honey Benefits

March 16, 2015

Like most things today, not all honey is created equal. As a rule of thumb, you get what you pay for—read the label. On many grocery store shelves today, what is being promoted as honey is actually not even generated by honey bees, but from a laboratory.

Probably the queen of honey bees feed on the Manuka bush in New Zealand. Among the many known therapeutic benefits is its ability to improve skin tone and texture. It works marvelously for acne and eczema clients because of its antimicrobial, antibacterial and healing properties.

We know it’s delicious in our tea, and now an effective face wash as well? Sweet!!

Drink Up…but Don’t Forget the Suncreen!

February 3, 2015

Yay for coffee! Did you know that a new study by the National Institute for Health has added an additional benefit for coffee drinkers?

It appears that higher coffee consumption is linked to a lower risk of skin cancer. People (me) who consumed at least four cups of caffeinated coffee daily had a lower risk (20 percent lower) of malignant melanoma when compared to those who consumed less than one cup per day. Spa-goers will be thrilled to know that there is one more way to protect skin against the damaging effects of the sun.

This is the first large-scale study to look specifically at malignant melanoma, which is the fifth most common cancer in the US and the leading cause of skin cancer deaths.

So, drink up my friends—but don’t forget the sunscreen!

Healing Crisis…

January 20, 2015

Here’s something you already know…it’s cold and flu season! But, did you also know that if you receive a massage while you are battling a cold or the flu, you not only expose your massage therapist to the illness, you also risk becoming even more ill (initially)?

It’s called “Healing Crisis” and does have a benefit—it can flush the toxins in your body more rapidly (meaning you will get better more quickly). But, the downside is that you will feel worse before feeling better, while your body is working overtime during the flushing process.

Be informed and be considerate—your massage therapist wants you to feel better, but not at the expense of her/his own health! Perhaps a detox bath and/or detox tea (at home) is a better solution for everyone involved…..

 

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