Our founder, Brenda Stansfield wrote a feature article in the January issue of ‘les nouvelles esthetiques & spa’. Click the link below to see what herbs to grow at your spa facility and some easy ways to incorporate them into your spa menu.
In the spa industry a customer certainly has many choices for treatments. Picking the right therapist, treatment and facility are important to your overall health and well-being and also to your overall satisfaction with your services. Of course the best way to be happy with your spa provider is to begin to communicate your needs even before you step through the door, and to continue to communicate with them to be sure your treatment goals are in line and on the same page with your spa professional. So, with that being said your ‘job’ during the treatment is to simply ‘breathe & receive’.
If you are new to the spa scene let us tell you a few ‘tips’ for receiving your best treatment. These are some tips straight from the Massage Therapists, Estheticians, and Nail Techs themselves. We are fortunate to get to chat with spa professionals all over the United States. Here are some of the things they’d love to tell you:
1. Don’t apologize to us before the treatments begin. We’ve seen it all and although personal hygiene is critical in our industry we don’t care if you didn’t shave your legs, have excessive hair, hangnails or any other small worrisome issue. We’ve seen the thinning hair, the bad surgeries and we’re okay with it. As long as you are clean and ready for our services, our job is to make you feel WONDERFUL. Come as you are – we want you to leave feeling amazing – your visit should transform you in some way. So let go of the superficial worries. We’re here because we want to make you feel wonderful.
2. Let us know if you’ve had a big change in life. This is so very helpful for any spa professional. If you have good news or bad, are elated with an engagement or grieving the loss of a loved one, believe it or not it can impact your experiences. The body remembers and responds differently to emotional needs. A client who may love deep work most of the times may be unable to tolerate it through a difficult emotional period. Sharing these ups and downs in life can help your therapist create a better treatment, offer you a service that may be a better fit or introduce a new modality – like aromatherapy, hot or cold therapies that may help your physical and emotional healing on a whole other level.
3. Tell us if it hurts. This shouldn’t even need to be said, but unfortunately many clients feel they need to tolerate deep work, so they suffer in silence. Let’s be clear, massage therapy can be intense but should never hurt. There is a difference between inflicting pain (‘Ow, get off me) and releasing pain (Ohhhhh, hurts so good). The former is an incorrect technique and the latter is deep tissue at it’s best. It’s common to feel some muscle soreness the next day. It would feel similar to going to the gym after a long absence and feeling the burn the next day. However, every client is different, so please, speak up. We always tell our new clients to use a scale from 1 to 10 – 1 being ‘are you even touching me?’ to 10 ‘GET OFF ME!’. Don’t make us guess what you feel, speak up. We do get clues when working on people, but you don’t need to suffer in silence. Every spa professional wants to get you results, but they want you to do so comfortably.
4. Let’s get ‘personal’. Most spa professionals have their favorite products in their facilities. It’s not uncommon for clients to want to bring in their own lotions, nail colors etc. Many spas will honor this, but it’s always a great idea to ask prior to the treatment. Your home facial care may not work with the estheticians equipment. Your massage therapist might require a lotion with more ‘slip’ than your body lotion you apply after a bath. We like to make your time with us special, but sometimes there are reasons we can’t honor your request. If you don’t like a product being used, simply ask if they have others available. You can also let them know your preference in music, warmth and lighting.
5. Ask us about the products we use. Many customers have a pet peeve about being strong armed about purchasing an entire expensive line of products and most technicians are aware of this. Although many facilities will try to sell you an entire ‘at home facial care’ system, the fact is if we turn you off from our facility because you felt pressured to buy, then we aren’t doing our job. We want you to have GREAT results at home, so if you DON’T want to purchase, it’s really okay to say ‘no’. A better option is to be honest with us. Perhaps you are happy with your skin care line, maybe you can’t afford the whole series of products in one visit, maybe you just don’t spend that much time on your skin care. Everyone is different. So, just ask us – ‘out of these six skin care items, which two will do the most for me and why?’. Your spa professionals KNOW their stuff, they take extensive training and learn the ingredients. Many do make a commission on the sale, but many would rather you buy your skin care from them and forgo a tip. Why? If you get great results, you’ll give us referrals. Referrals are the life-blood of our industry. We value our clients above anything else. If you look and feel great – we do too!
6. Ask about ‘homework’. If you are having regular treatments for a chronic condition please ask what you can do at home. We are dedicated to getting your body to maximum wellness, but often we rely on YOU to do some of the work. Often it’s stretching, exercises, body mechanic changes, even changing a sleeping position. If your therapist suggests something – give it a try – they are looking after your long term health and you might actually need to see them less. And that’s okay. A good therapist will get you results, and they know you’ll be back when you need them, they also know you’ll happily send others. We love those clients.
7. Ask about Loyalty Programs. In an age of Groupon and ‘deep discounts’ a true spa professional has to compete in ways they didn’t before. Those programs do not pay your therapist a living wage and many do so at the expense of regular clients. A better approach is finding a spa partner whom you like and building a relationship with them. One innovative spa offers ‘Loyalty Rewards’ and forgo the discounted services. ‘We value clients that value us. We have packages that will save them on a series of services with a particular provider, give birthday gifts and also keep regular clients service fees at the last service rate prior to any increase for a year.’ says the owner. We think this out of the box thinking is the way to be sure the client and the spa workers are valued and happy.
8. Let us know if you need to cancel. Many spa professionals come in by appointments booked, even if it’s 15 minutes before you are to be there, it’s nice for us to know how to use our time. Even better if you can give us a day or several hours notice. We can often book another client. Many spa workers are only paid when they are working on a client. A ‘no show’ will cost them not just time, but money. If your spa professional is using a babysitter to watch children and you didn’t cancel – it’s a double whammy.
9. Breathe and Receive. Allow yourself to just ‘be’. Allow yourself to receive. You can talk. Or not. You simply should ‘let go’ once you enter our doors. You are in the best care. Every therapist, esthetician and spa professional is truly dedicated to you. Allow us to make your day!
5 Easy Ways to Proper Breathing
1. Concious breathing – Become aware of how you breathe during different parts of the day. A practical tip for this is to let your phone alarm go off every hour or so and check your breathing each time it does. Are you breathing relaxed, rhythmically, silently and deeply through your nose? Is there room for improvement in this particular situation?
2. Breathe through your nose – A closed mouth, with the tongue placed up the palate ensures that the breathing happens in and out the nose. If your nose is stuffy, do a sinus rinse.
3. Extended exhale – An extended exhale increases the relaxation and makes the inhale deeper and more rhythmical. For optimal breathing the inhale should be 2-3 seconds, exhale 3-4 seconds followed by a pause for 2-3 seconds. The extended exhale also has a positive effect on the inhale which gets deeper.
4. Straight posture – An upright posture gives a deeper breathing where the diaphragm gets more space to work. Your thoughts and feelings are affected in a positive way and at the same time it gets easier to breathe through the nose.
5. Body consciousness – Be aware of your body and how tense or relaxed it is in different situations. A relaxed body makes it easier to keep a rhythmical and relaxed breathing.
Moving to the midwest in 1988 was a bit difficult for me. Although I was born in Buffalo, New York, my family moved to Florida when I was in first grade. I grew up in the tropical beauty of St. Petersburg. We had a home on the water, fished off the dock and even had monkeys as pets! It was idyllic. When I married, my husband and moved our family back up north to Ohio. I had no idea what hit me, it seemed like every single bit of pollen had it out for me. Since I couldn’t take over the counter medications without nasty side effects, I began to research natural therapies. They don’t call this area ‘sinus valley’ for nothing! It was at this time in my life I studied Aromatherapy, discovered massage and began what would become Clear My Head. It was truly born out of desperation for myself and family.
Now almost 20 years later, I’ve learned a thing or two, three or four! I’ve been treating my clients for sinus and headache pain for years with a variety of modalities. It’s about time (no, it’s WAY OVERDUE) that I shared that knowledge and experience with other therapists. It took me 20 years to develop proven techniques and almost 6 months to do the presentation, documentation, peer review and everything else that goes into creating a modality. I am proud of my work. I’m also humbled that the response so far has been overwhelmingly positive.
2015 is the YEAR of the ‘i SHiFT’ Course! What is it you ask? It’s a six hour class using multi-modalities to address Sinus/Headache w/Inflammation, Fatigue & Tension (SHIFT). It’s a treatment we will take nationwide so no matter where you travel you will find a skilled therapist who can assess your symptoms and give your quick relief. The modality is 15-20 minutes and will also give you, the client, tips for self care as well.
What is an ‘i SHiFT’ massage like? We combine advanced massage maneuvers for the head, neck, shoulders and back, we use aromatherapy, Clear My Head products and thermal therapies. It’s a wonderful experience and we’re excited to have trained our first 15 therapists in just the first month. We’re traveling to resorts to train entire staffs and working with with accredited massage schools as well.
We hope you’ll look for this new modality at a spa or wellness center in the near future. It’s an exciting time for us and it brings a new dimension to our company. I’m so thrilled to be back teaching again! I forgot just how much fun it is and how fulfilling it can be to share my expertise. It also reinforces my view that massage therapy is so much more than just a luxury – but a true part of health care. I plan to help mentor new therapists and keep educating the public. 2015 is a new year and we’re ready to rock it!
They say there is a fine line between pleasure and pain, but there is no pleasure in those who have chronic pain or stress. As someone in the industry I often trade services with other massage and body work professionals to keep me in tip top shape. The past several months have been stressful ones (I won’t bore you with the details, but lets just say we kept getting hit again and again with situations out of our control that certainly piled up, literally, on my shoulders!). I did my ‘usual’ stress reducing plan: eating healthier, getting regular massage, heat packs and dry heat sauna, and of course my aromatherapy baths that usually melt me into a little puddle of joy… but this time, the pain upon my shoulders would not cease. It felt like a constant 50lb bar was being crushed into them non stop. Anti-inflammatory medications had little effect on me. What to do? Well, I believe that our bodies need to be ‘shaken’ up a bit – that’s why it’s a wonderful thing to experience a different touch or modality when your tried and true isn’t quite enough. A different approach at times, can truly make a difference in your body’s ability to heal itself. So lucky for me that I ran into Tzu, a fellow massage therapist that has now begun to offer cupping in her practice.
Cupping for those of you unfamiliar with the modality, is an ancient Chinese method of causing local congestion. A partial vacuum is created in cups placed on the skin either by means of heat or suction. This draws up the underlying tissues. When the cup is left in place on the skin for a few minutes, blood stasis is formed and localized healing takes place. My session was done with the assist of a machine to which my therapist could control the suction strength.
The theory behind this practice is that the application will open up the chi (or the meridians), release toxins, increase and activate the lymphatic system and can penetrate deep into the muscles, similar, yet different to a deep tissue massage. The treatment is most often sought out for treatment of pain, congestion, coughing, and a variety of other issues.
Upon entering the office, Tzu warmly greeted me and took me to the massage room. There were no special instructions that I needed to follow. I told her that I was mainly looking to ease the pain and muscle adhesion that was plaguing across my neck and shoulders for the last two months. Since much of my pain was stress induced and as the stresses were finally beginning to ease, I felt this would be a good adjunct therapy to get me ‘back to good’. I was excited to try it. I laid down and Tzu began on my back, placing one bulb and then the other on either side of my shoulders and adjusted the suction as needed. She moved them at different intervals across my back on either side of my spine and my neck. She increased or decreased the suction as required. As with regular massage much of my pain was referred pain from another area. This is quite evident when getting a cupping session because you are often left with marks (slight to medium bruising) that gives you a map of your soft tissue distress. The procedure wasn’t too painful – although I did have some ‘hot spots’ that flared up quickly. Mostly is feels as if someone is pulling at your skin, once the skin is released you can feel an immediate lightness in the surface area. At one point the therapist creates the suction on the spine and moves the ball up the spine. This was my favorite sensation of the actual cupping treatment. Tsu also combines heated pillow massage and a gentle muscle manipulation massage along with the cupping session, this brings her treatment to 90 minutes.
So what did I think? Well, I am glad that I tried it and the results of my treatment were similar to a very deep tissue massage. I can’t say that my pain is gone, but it feels like the tightness has subsided a bit. My husband was appalled at the way my back looked with little circles of various colors of bruising from minor to a bright purple – even after I had shown him pictures of what to expect prior to it – it was unsettling to him. My body feels like it’s had a change in structure to the underlying fascia, which is what I had hoped. Although I do think I expected a deeper and more immediate relief than I experienced, I think this should be considered as another natural alternative to chronic pain and that others may have different results depending on what is being treated.
Would I recommend it? Yes – I believe that our bodies are capable of tremendous self healing and a good therapist can assist you with a treatment plan that is right for you. Since every therapist brings a different skill set and a personal philosophy to their table, it’s important to connect with different modalities when your tried and true are limiting your scope of healing. Cupping touts many benefits, some that I believe and a few I think are a bit far fetched depending on the research. You simply should do your homework and ask the questions before your appointment and convey your needs and expectations to your therapist. You know your body better than anyone and you know what is right for your body. As the ‘leader’ of YOUR health care team you owe it to yourself to try non-invasive treatments to assist with your quality of life. Also, on that note, as the leader of your health care team it is ALWAYS within your power to stop a treatment that is not what you expect or is painful. Listen to your body, listen to your intuition. Be pro-active in all aspects of your health.
Where can you find it? Cupping is available by Licensed Massage Therapists or Acupuncturists. Look for those who are accredited, licensed and certified in the practice. As with any health care, be it holistic or traditional, you should check with a physician or other trusted health care provider to be sure that the treatment is safe for you.
In the Dayton area you may wish to contact Tzu at www.massagerx.co for a cupping session. She is a consummate professional and will take great care of you. Tell her Brenda sent you!
‘Taking the Waters’ – what a quaint and lovely saying. At the turn of the century people flocked to natural mineral springs, bathing houses and the sea to rejuvenate their souls and cure their ills. Back then it wasn’t unusual to spend 6 weeks or more doing just that – frolicking among nature and indulging in bathing rituals in the name of health! How wonderful does that sound? Amazing I think, until I imagine just what my business would look like if I took off for 6 weeks! Like me, I bet that might not be the best business decision for you either. So we struggle with taking care of business and taking care of our selves. Anyone feel like they’re on this tightrope with me? Yep, a true balancing act for sure!
But what if… we took BACK the waters? We might not get to go to those mineral springs, but we sure can create them for ourselves! Simply by elevating our evening bath to an art form. How? Treat yourself like you treat your clients – with a sensory experience that releases sore muscles, relaxes or re energizes your mind, softens your skin and leaves you feeling at peace. Here is my favorite at home bath that never fails to transform me to a kinder, gentler being.
Milk & Honey Bath for Therapists
2 cups Powdered Milk (Not liquid)
½ cup Raw Honey
1 ½ cup Epsom Salt
1 cup Mediterranean Sea Salt
6 drops essential oil (Lavender – Relaxing, Peppermint – Energy, Sandalwood – Sensual, Melissa – Focus, or Ylang Ylang – Sleep) Mix & match if you wish, no more than 6 drops total.
As warm water fills the tub add all ingredients. Let salts dissolve completely before entering tub. Float fresh herbs and flowers on the water, dim the lights, light a candle or read a good book but you must: Disconnect the phone and put our your own ‘In Session’ sign on the door. This is your sacred time. It’s time to take back the waters, and take back your life! Enjoy
Brenda Stansfield, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Clinical Aromatherapist
Clear My Head Ltd
We post many self care tips, spa trends holistic care news etc on our facebook and pintrest pages:
Announcing a versatile, detoxifying herbal bath bag from the makers of Clear My Head aromatherapy.
Wrap Me Up from Clear My Head provides a versatile detoxifying herbal wrap treatment or in spa bathing ritual that eases breathing, improves circulation and softens the skin. With Wrap Me Up, a 20-30 minute wrap is the ideal “wellness” offering in any spa or clinic.
Rosemary, peppermint, lavender, comfrey and eucalyptus highlight some of the body cleansing ingredients that fill Wrap Me Up’s convenient bath bag, with no messy loose herbs to contend with. Use as a rejuvenating wrap at the spa, in a soothing bath or as a pain-relieving compress, either hot or cold. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties make this unique herbal mix ideal for arthritis sufferers, athletes or anyone who may experience chronic pain. The SPA Professional pack includes 12 ‘double’ bags suitable for herbal wrap treatments and is available exclusively to spa professionals.
Spa professionals can also offer clients the opportunity to enhance their wrap experience in between visits with Wrap Me Up herbal bath bags. Each attractively packaged Wrap Me Up in- home treatment includes two bath bags for continuing the detoxification process at home for the next two days. Suggested retail price of $15.00 each.
- Increased Blood & Lymph Circulation
- Tighten and Tone Skin
- Soften Skin
- Ease Pain of Sport Injury and/or Arthritis
- Relaxation & Reduced Anxiety
- Helps Skin Appearance with Acne, Eczema & Psoriasis
- Increase Energy & Metabolism
- Possible Weight Loss
- Easier Breathing
One of the many pleasures about visiting a spa is that from the moment you step through the doors you are enveloped in sights, sounds and smells that begin to transport you immediately to a state of relaxation. We love this concept and believe that everyone can enjoy the spa life at home or even work. We call it:
The Lush Life.
“Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.”
Henry David Thoreau
Create a sensual palette for living life fully
Sight: Using colors to evoke a mood is nothing new to interior designers, but perhaps you’ve never considered the impact it can have on your daily mood. If you have a high impact fast paced work environment, a soothing calming color at home can truly begin the relaxation process. Reds, orange and yellows can be warm, exciting or hostile, depending on the hue. Blues, greens and gray can be cooling, calming or depressing. Working with a color wheel or a design professional can be helpful in choosing the tone you would like set for your home. Weaving the colors through your home with contrasting and/or monotones throughout can infuse different moods to maximize your enjoyment.
Sound: Berthold Auerbach once said: ‘Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.‘ We love the sounds of the spa’s we visit. Carefully chosen music enchants from room to room. A water fountain babbles, a breeze waifs through a cabana… sound inviting? Close your eyes and you can imagine yourself there. Turning the volume down in life is often a necessity for many of us. Too connected to television, our phones and the Internet, when you do ‘unplug’ – what fills the space? Exploring music to create a home that functions better is a great project. Music can energize (for getting chores done), relax and soothe (bedtime rituals) and seduce (no explanation needed here!). Download new music – Amazon has many free songs for download and many new artists will offer them for the sampling. Ask friends for new artists too. Create many different playlists to help you unwind, rewind or windup!
Touch: Silky softness. Ahhhhh – another gift the spas can teach us. A perfect thread count on our sheets can make a difference so when purchasing items of clothing, furnishings or bedding or towels go for the softness. Envelope your body in things that simply feel great! Soothe your skin with lotion and oils to layer on the softness. Give your partner a back rub, use feathers, sisal scrubs, and items that cool or heat the skin. Closing your eyes will allow you to intensify the experience and get in tune with your body and help you delve further into relaxation.
Smell: Our sense of smell is so powerful and so connected to our well being it always amazes me that people don’t think twice about using it to their advantage emotionally. Create a welcome home fragrance – moving beyond the synthetic candles and toward the healing aromas of essential oils. Essential oils not only can evoke mood for you, they can help keep you healthier with their antibacterial & antiviral properties. Lavender & Ylang Ylang help quiet you for sleep, Lemongrass & Rosemary are great for bathroom, Citrus scents are wonderful for children rooms and kitchens are benefited by spice blends and herbal notes. Room fragrance profiles are wonderful ways to engage your senses and to enhance a feeling of comfort in every home.
Taste: The new concept of ‘Slow Food’ is really not so new at all. Slow Food is the concept of using locally grown food and preparing them simply. It supports local farmers and fosters fair trade. It also allows us to enjoy the freshest fruits and vegetables of the season. There is a huge taste difference, as any gardener will tell you, when you eat a ripe tomato fresh off the vine vs one that has been shipped, perhaps weeks ago via a truck to your grocer. Embrace the concept by buying smaller quantities of fresh meats and produce. Simplify your cooking with sautes in olive oil with fresh herbs. Simple pasta’s and grilled foods are easy to prepare and clean up after. Scout out farmer markets and ask the farmers the best way to prepare their offerings.
Live simply that others might simply live. ~Elizabeth Ann Seton
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Clear My Head Herbal Care Products Announces Linen Mist Aromatherapy Line
Clear My Head Herbal Care Products has bottled their classic aromatherapy into a pump spray mist to be applied directly to spa linens or released into the air. While most linen sprays contain a floral scent, like lavender or jasmine, Linen Mist offers three original Clear My Head formulas.
The Linen Mist 2go Formula contains the original Clear My Head aromatherapy sinus blend. Ache Linen Mist offers the classic combination of scents, ideal for relieving tension headaches. Finally, “Sky High,” adds a refreshing touch of lemon to the 2go Formula.
“Some of our customers set our herbal inhalation jar on the floor, beneath the face cradle,” says Brenda Stansfield, founder and owner of Clear My Head. “The Linen Mist line lets the client experience the full benefits of our aromatherapy, up close.”.
Linen Mist from Clear My Head comes in a 4 ounce pump spray and retails for $15. Eight-ounce, SpaPro bottles are also available. For more information, contact Clear My Head Herbal Care Products by calling (937) 847-2222 or go online to www.clearmyhead.com.
Clear My Head goes Pink to bring help and hope to women with breast cancer by providing resources, awareness and sales through spas nationwide.
DAYTON, OHIO – Clear My Head Ltd announced today their support of the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) by raising awareness and funds through the sale of their signature product, Clear My Head. For the months of October, November and December, their trademark green jar will turn pink and a portion of the sales will be donated by Clear My Head to NBCF. The product line is sold nationally at fine day and destination spas.
“We believe as spa owners and professionals that we have a unique role in the way women feel about themselves,” said Clear My Head founder Brenda Stansfield. “We have an opportunity to raise awareness and to educate in very personal ways; we felt the jars were just one way to do that.” Ms. Stansfield said that in addition to the limited edition jars, the spas who participate would also have fact sheets and resources to share with their customers and will be encouraged to host Pink Events during October. “Having been in the spa industry for so many years, we know our customers and they trust us. We have unique opportunities to talk to them one-on-one during a treatment or with an event. We’re going to encourage our spas to raise awareness in what ever way they feel comfortable. We hope that this first year will be an amazing catalyst to get more businesses involved and create something that goes far beyond our own company’s efforts.”
Clear My Head has often supported local charitable foundations, but felt it was time to give back on a national level since they have a national presence in spas. “Almost everyone I know has a mother, friend, lover, sister, mentor or co-worker who has been affected by Breast Cancer, including our own family,” Ms. Stansfield said. “I partnered with the NBCF because they give help and hope through research, support and mammograms. Their online resource, Beyond the Shock®, is an amazing place for anyone to start getting information, whether they are a patient, caregiver or part of a support team.” Ms. Stansfield also blogged about her reasons for supporting the NBCF at http://www.clearmyhead.com/blog/ – there, she shares her unique perspective from a spa professional’s point of view and some personal experiences she has had with her own clients.
About Clear My Head Products:
Clear My Head manufactures spa products that are natural/organic alternatives for sinus and headache relief. The limited edition jar (for sinus relief) will have a beautiful etched National Breast Cancer Foundation logo on the top with the pink band. To find a spa near you or to order the jar online during October, November and December, visit www.clearmyhead.com.
About the National Breast Cancer Foundation
Founded in 1991, the NBCF is committed to spreading knowledge and fostering hope in the fight against breast cancer. By funding free mammograms for women who could otherwise not afford them and supporting research programs in leading facilities across the country, the Frisco, Texas-based foundation helps inspire the courage needed to win this monumental battle. To learn more about the NBCF, visit www.nationalbreastcancer.org.
Clear My Head, Ltd
422 East Dixie Drive
Dayton, OH 45449