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Get Your Spa On

When was the last time you went to a spa? When was the last time you allowed yourself the opportunity for some self-healing? If the answer isn’t ‘recently,’ read on.

In our fast-paced, overscheduled lives, we are constantly putting ourselves in situations that cause stress in our bodies. A little pressure can be good. It can get us through some tough times. However, too much stress over a sustained period has been shown to adversely affect our health. Stress can raise blood pressure, cause us to lose sleep at night, and bring us headaches, hair loss, upset stomachs, and chest pain. And yes, possibly even wrinkles! And as if all this wasn’t bad enough, according to the World Health Organization, the top five diseases will all have the underlying contributing factor of stress.

So what can we do to relieve some of the stress? Many answers range from diet to aromatherapy and exercise to massage. We already know the extraordinary benefits of eating right and healthy diet choices. We already know the importance of integrating activity into our lifestyle. But did you know many stress-fighting treatments are available at spas?

woman at spa

Until recently, spas have been associated with pampering and getting ‘special’ expensive treatments above and beyond what is considered ‘necessary’ (think: caviar facials, carrot and sesame body buff). But in the past few years, the perception of spas has changed. More and more people are taking the time to invest in themselves and their health by visiting spas to ‘regain balance’ and allow themselves an opportunity to ‘pause’ their hectic lives. The International Spa Association says, “Spa treatments may not only relieve existing symptoms, but they also provide the tools for long-term prevention of the elements that create stress in your life. The spa experience can assist you in living a life of greater health, energy, happiness, and well-being. The psychological benefits of the spa, often referred to as “well-being,” are immense.”

So, what treatments can you look for to reduce the stress and increase your well-being? First and foremost, take the time to get a massage. Massage therapy has been shown to lower your heart rate and blood pressure, relax your muscles, and increase the production of endorphins (your body’s natural ‘feel good’ chemical). Serotonin and dopamine are also released through massage, resulting in a feeling of calm relaxation that makes chronic or habitual stress and acute or short-term stress much more accessible to overcome. Massage alone can decrease anxiety, enhance sleep quality, improve concentration, and even aid injury prevention and recovery. One study found that a single 50-minute massage led to a noticeable reduction in cortisol, a stress hormone in the blood, and an increase in white blood cells that fight infection. Another study in 2010 compared the effects of a 50-minute massage to light touch and found that the participants who received massage had a significant decrease in a hormone associated with stress and aggressive behavior. Bottom line: get a massage!!

Other stress-reducing treatments available at spas can range from aromatherapy to acupuncture to thermotherapy. Aromatherapy can be incorporated into a massage treatment, and scents such as rosemary and lavender have been linked to reducing cortisol levels. Eucalyptus oil has also been associated with stress reduction and, because of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, can be used in massage therapy to treat muscle pain.

Acupuncture has long been touted as a highly effective method to combat stress. A single treatment can stimulate the release of endorphins and lower stress-related cortisol levels – so much so that clients have been known to fall asleep on the table during treatment. Acupuncture allows the mind to become calm, and at the end of the treatment, clients feel profoundly relaxed and removed (at least temporarily) from their stress.

Thermotherapy: stressed muscles and tense bodies respond well to being warm. To aid your de-stress, try to incorporate heat into your spa experience. Thermal treatments such as saunas and steam rooms increase your body’s internal temperature, which tricks it into thinking it has a fever. Your body thereby increases the production of white blood cells, and this helps boost your immune system. Steam rooms have also been beneficial as they can reduce your adrenaline levels and increase endorphins. If possible, take at least half an hour to ‘warm up’ before having a massage to enjoy extra relaxing benefits.

woman at spa

There are so many factors that cause stress. Still, stress is ultimately a ‘perceived’ reality in that it can vary from one person to another. What one person considers stressful might not affect another person similarly, and vice versa. Stress is not about what happens to you. It’s about how you react to what happens to you. So, take action to change your reaction. Besides eating a healthy diet and exercising, allow yourself moments of meditation and relaxation. During the day, visit a spa for a massage or any treatment that will give you peace, comfort, and the confidence to move forward feeling less stressed. While you’re there, ask if they can give you a skin treatment using SilcSkin wrinkle treatment pads. Thousands of spas carry SilcSkin medical-grade pads, so while you’re getting that much needed facial, you could be treating the wrinkles and fine lines on your chest. SilcSkin pads work by creating an environment on your skin, helping to increase the hydration, resulting in smoother skin. Fighting wrinkles and having younger-looking skin is one less thing you must worry about or make time for. So take action today: visit a spa (you may find one by going into the Locations tab on the website: www.silcskin.com/stockists), or order your SilcSkin pads from the website, and reduce the stress in your life. Take action so that when you look at your reflection in the mirror, you see the proof, feel the value, and radiate the peace of investing in yourself.