Archives for category: bodywork

There is nothing like the feel of hot stones on your back.

Wait a minute, hot stones?

Yes, hot stones. Once considered a novelty in the world of massage, hot stone treatments are now one of the corner stones of massage therapy.

What is it?

Hot stone massage, as the name suggests, utilizes warmed stones of varying sizes and textures. Larger stones are used for larger areas of the body (such as the back) and smaller stones are used on smaller areas. Stones can either be used during the massage or they may be left to sit undisturbed for a specific duration of time. Hot stone massage is used to encourage faster and deeper muscle relaxation during a massage session. The stones used are typically basalt (which has high iron content) and are warmed in sanitized water prior to the massage. This particular stone warms quickly and will retain most of its heat during your massage.

Benefits

The addition of heat during a massage can elevate the relaxation experience greatly. The use of heat through stones provides a unique ability for the therapist to work deeply into the muscles with less strain. Added heat will help to improve circulation throughout the body and if a coarser texture of stone is used it will also gently exfoliate the skin. The spine is not an area of the body that is massaged but allowing heated stones to rest on the spine can calm the central nervous system.

Alternatives

Hot stone massage therapy is well known but a lesser known version utilizes cold stones. This may seem like an odd choice but cooling stones can have wonderful benefits if you have any sort of inflammation that could be aggravated by heat. During the warmer summer months this could also be extremely relaxing to use cool stones instead of their heated counterparts during your massage.

Warnings

Hot stone massage is not for everyone. Pregnant and menopausal women should not get hot stone massage treatments. Certain conditions may be aggravated by hot stone massage such as heart or circulation problems. If you have any concerns, consult with your therapist prior to your appointment.

Find Your Local Spa

Visiting the Ann Arbor area and looking for a hot stone massage? Visit the “>Bellanina Day Spa!

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Just because you’re taking a break from reality doesn’t mean your skin won’t suffer the consequences. Whether you are heading to a tropical paradise or snowy ski resort, exposing your skin to the harmful elements can only lead to trouble. Be sure when you’re packing for your trip this holiday to include your Bellanina Basic Travel Kit.

Travel sized skin care products are small enough to carry easily in your purse or luggage and offer all the benefits of your home skin care regimen out on the road. Sun, cold wind, dirt and debris are all major causes of premature aging and skin conditions such as acne. It may seem like only a small break to you but every day matters in skin care and every day you leave your skin exposed is another step you’re going to need to take to repair the damage later on.

Bellanina Cleanser: A cleanser is the basic foundation of any skin care. Remember that soap can leave residue behind and therefore is not effective for truly cleaning your face and removing the build up of debris on your skin. Most soap actually has a drying effect on the skin and lead to dryness or flaking. A good cleanser should be non-abrasive and gentle remove residue without causing damage to the skin. Some cleansers contain a mild exfoliant (tiny beads or a grainy texture) that will remove dead skin cells at the same time.

Bellanina Toner: After cleansing use a clean cotton pad to apply a thin layer of toner over your face. Water has minerals that can be left behind and toner is the final clean up to ensure your skin is as clean as possible.

Botanical Moisturizer: Although removing excess oil and debris from your skin is essential to keeping it healthy, your skin thrives when it is well hydrated. After removing the natural oils it is important to rehydrate the skin with a light way, non greasy moisturizer. Using a moisturizer without excess grease and oils will prevent the skin from becoming clogged and leading to break outs. Bellanina moisturizer is great for all skin types.

Bellanina Body Lotion: Skin varies in different areas of the body and has different needs. Bellanina body lotion is a wonderful solution for dry hands, neck, chest, back and legs. Applying a thin layer after your shower or bath will rehydrate your skin and leave it feeling smooth all day long. The convenient travel size makes this easy to carry around during the day should you need a second application.

Bellanina Eye & Throat Crème: The skin around your eyes and neck is especially delicate and prone to wrinkles. Apply this lightweight moisturizer with your pinky to avoid pulling at the skin and causing damage. Massage in thoroughly and it will help to prevent fine lines and wrinkles. **Bonus Tip: Excessive squinting or grimacing can lead to wrinkles and premature aging in the face – try to remember to avoid doing this habitually to keep your skin looking smoother and younger.**

Bellanina Advanced Protection SPF30: Whether you are lying on a beach or hitting the slopes you need to cover up! The sun is detrimental to the skin and although you may be in a cold environment the sun can still cause burning. Apply at least an SPF30 every two hours (or following a swimming or showering) to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Remember that a beautiful tan today is leathery wrinkles ten years down the road.

Organic Lip Balm SPF15: Keep your lips smooth with this great organic lip balm. Dry lips can occur at any time during the year and this spf15 lip balm is a great way to protect your skin and give your lips the hydration they need to stay smooth and beautiful

The Bellanina Basics Travel kit comes in its own bag and can be easily added to your luggage or carry on bag. Don’t leave for your trip without these great essentials. It also makes a great holiday gift for friends, co-workers and family!

Have you ever woken up in the morning, looked in the mirror and wondered what happened to your face during the night? It’s not just the lines on your face from a wrinkled pillowcase you notice but wrinkles on your cheeks and around your eyes and a puffiness that leaves you looking worse for wear despite a restful night.

Look at the culprit before you blame your age. Even youthful skin can fall victim to this common habit: poor sleep positions. Think about it in practical terms: if you are asleep an average of seven to eight hours a night (we can hope, right?), your skin is reacting to whatever position you assume during the night. Cramming your cheek into the pillow may feel most comfortable but stay like that for eight hours straight and it’s no wonder you wake up in the morning with wrinkles starting to form but on just one side.

Think there is no proof to back that up? Think again.

Side Sleepers

When we sleep on our side many things happen. Most important is a restriction of blood. Your skin thrives on blood and oxygen being distributed evenly thoughout the cells. Remember that your skin needs blood and oxygen to go through its normal process of developing new skin cells and exfoliating the old cells. Sleep is a great time for this process to occur because your skin is not being affected by external influences such as environment or being touched, scratched or wrinkled through normal everyday movements. When we sleep our skin and muscles relax, allowing them to rejuvenate the next day. When you nod off on your side you are placing pressure on one area of the skin and preventing this process from occurring.

Stomach Floppers

Some people can only sleep on their stomachs. There is absolutely no other way they can get comfortable and this is truly one of the worst ways to spend the night. Not only from a cardiovascular standpoint as sleeping on the stomach causes stress on the heart and chest but because it also restricts normal respiration. This impacts all areas of the body (not just the skin) and can have detrimental effects on your body and organs. If you want to think about what it is doing to your face it can cause puffiness, redness and because of the restricted blood flow, result in wrinkles and fine lines forming as early as your twenties. You will wake up looking like you just pulled a week worth of all night study sessions.

Back Drifters

This is truly the best position to sleep because it removes stress from the face and doesn’t place any undo stress on the skin. While a slightly tilted position isn’t the worst thing ever, the flatter you stay the better off you will look in the morning and in the long run. This will allow your skin to receive optimal oxygen and blood flow while releasing the normal tension the will create “blocked energy” on the face and release repetitive facial holding patterns many of us have during the day (such as furrowing the brows or frowning). It is these common behaviors that lead to prematurely aging skin and a disturbing image waiting for you in the mirror in the morning.

Simple Tricks

Many of us have one sleep position that is the most comfortable and no amount of research will change the fact that when we want to go to bed at night, it’s one way or no way. There are ways you can help “retrain” yourself to sleep on your back and start on the road to better skin.

Use pillows to hold your body in place. The body turns several times during the night so even if you end up falling asleep on your back you may very well wake up on your stomach. Try strategically placing a few pillows on your sides, around your legs or even your neck (beware any suffocation hazard if you are a heavy sleeper or take any medications that induce drowsiness) to prevent moving during the night.

If you absolutely cannot sleep on your back and need to sleep on your side, try switching to the softest fabric available for your pillow and sheets. Course fabrics will be more prone to damaging the skin and holding it in place. Smooth fabrics will free movement provide less stress on the skin.

Give your skin a running start by maintaining good hydration during the night. Dry skin is a common root of wrinkles so properly moisturizing before turning in for the night is a good way to prevent future damage. Try a light weight, oil-free moisturizer such as the Calendula Oil-Free Moisturizer to prevent the build up of uneccesary oils in the pores.

Remember that “beauty sleep” can be just that. Sleep is your body repairing and restoring itself for the day to come. Your skin needs to relax just as much as your tired feet or back so don’t overlook how you sleeping. Try to maximize your sleep so you wake up feeling and looking as refreshed as you want to be.

You don’t know quite when it happened but one day you see it in the mirror staring back at you: little dimples on the back of your thighs. Sometimes compared to as “cottage cheese” in texture, it can be a woman (or man’s) worst nightmare. Although you’re not alone, as much as 95% of the female population develops cellulite at some point in their lives, it can still be a difficult burden.

There are three layers of fat beneath the surface of your skin. Cellulite occurs in the subcutaneous (top) level of these layers. Within this layer there is a structure of connective tissue called the septae and is composed of compartments that store fat cells. These help to insulate the body and offer structural support for your skin. When cellulite occurs the subcutaneous fat cells are pushed upwards and the septae move downwards and – ta da – the dimple effect.
Many women know that as we age, our skin becomes thinner and more transparent. Although cellulite can occur in girls as young as fourteen, it becomes even more visible as we get older. Cellulite can develop in the thighs, buttocks, neck, stomach and the upper arms. Although men can develop cellulite, it is a much rarer occurrence due to a different structure in the subcutaneous layer of the skin.
Cellulite is not simply a “fat person” problem. It actually can be the result of a variety of factors, some beyond an individual’s control. Believe it or not, some women are genetically prone to develop cellulite, regardless of their weight (although excess weight will be a major factor). Other sources include hormones (when and where it develops); pregnancy, stress, sedentary lifestyle, smoking and obesity are all major contributors to this condition.

What is happening to the body when cellulite develops?

It is actually a five stage process whereby blood circulation and lymphatic drainage activity to the cells is drastically reduced. As the weakened cells that results from this begin to leak blood into surrounding areas, there is also an accumulation of lymphatic fluid. This leads to a pressure on the cells which will begin to swell and push upwards, creating an initial bumpy texture on the skin. As the cells become more deprived of oxygen they begin to thicken, worsening the cottage cheese appearance. Over time, these cells become trapped and have such poor circulation; fat continues to build up in these cells and cannot be removed (even with diet and exercise).

Treatment

While there are is no sure fire “treatment” for cellulite, it is important to remember that it is not a disease. Cellulite occurs in all types of women and all body shapes. It can appear in extremely thin women just as easily as obese women so don’t blame your eating habits for those unsightly bumps.
Over the past decade the market has become flooded with cellulite solutions and although some may be more effective than others, no one product will work miracles on everyone. Creams have become especially popular and utilize a variety of ingredients (including caffeine) to smooth the texture of your skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite. Remember though, cellulite may never truly go away but it is possible to minimize the appearance.
Exercise may not get rid of cellulite but toned muscles will certainly help mask its appearance. Skin lying over taught muscles will have a smoother appearance than skin lying over layers of excessive fat. Target the areas of your body most prone to cellulite to see more effective results.

Don’t give up!

Cellulite may seem like the end of the world and although it may never completely go away, maintaining a regular routine of exercise and daily moisturizing with specially designed creams will help in the long run. As with any skin care plan, patience will be your greatest ally and an important motivator when nothing seems to be changing. Remember, as previously stated, cellulite is not the result of bad behavior – sometimes it just happens and since so many women deal with it every day, you’re in good company. Think positive and don’t let the development of cellulite keep you from feeling confident and beautiful!