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All About Vitamin A

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What it is:

Vitamin A can come in two forms: animal-based (fat-soluble) and plant-based (water-soluble).   Vitamin A derived from animal foods can be used directly by the body.  The fat-soluble or retinoids, includes retinol, retinal and retinyl esters, which are the most well-known.

A great example of the plant-derived vitamin A is retinyl palmitate, which is derived from beta carotene.  Beta carotene is recognized for its pro-vitamin activity and its metabolism takes place in a number of organs, including the skin.  With dietary supplementation, beta carotene can be further enhanced in the skin and the bioavailability of pro-vitamin A and retinol can be increased by essential fatty acid status.  Pro-vitamin A is acquired from fruits and vegetables that contain carotenoids.  Carotenoids are converted to retinol by the body after the food is ingested and are effective antioxidants. Dietary sources of Vitamin A include: apricot, beef, butter, broccoli, chicken, carrot, cheddar cheese, cod liver oil, eggs, fish liver, kale, milk, mangos, spinach, pork, peas, pumpkin, sweet potato and turkey.  The maximum recommended daily intake is around 10,000 IUs.

In the Body:

Vitamin A plays an integral role in keeping the body and skin functioning by boosting vision, as an essential component in the protein the absorbs light in the retinal receptors, stimulating the production and activity of white blood cells, helping maintain the health of the cells lining the body’s interior surfaces, taking part in remodeling bone, regulates cell growth and division, and improving the function of the immune system.

Skin effects of vitamin A deficiency affects epithelial tissue, increase keratinization, and facilitates delayed wound healing.  Vitamin A deficiency has been linked to keratosis pillars, sometimes referred to as chicken skin.  It manifests as pesky, red, inflamed bumps that appears on the back, arms, thighs, and even buttocks.  In more extreme cases, a lack of Vitamin A manifests into phyrnoderma, otherwise known as toad skin, which is more intense and includes raised plaques that can appear on all areas of the body.  Supplements high in Vitamin A can work on a number of different skin issues.

Vitamin A is part of the body’s natural repair system.  The body stores vitamin A, or retinol, for use in the production of new collagen.  As the body ages, its ability to produce and store vitamin A is diminished, making topical application all the more necessary.

History of Topicals:

Since its debut in the 1960’s, vitamin A has been a gold standard of the skin care industry.  In 1969, James E. Fulton, Albert Kligman, and Gerd Plewig, medical doctors at the University of Pennsylvania, developed the retinoic acid concentrations for the treatment of acne.  Researchers at the University of Michigan noticed that users in the study group also experienced a softer skin texture and fewer wrinkles.  This discovery led to Retin-A being approved by the FDA for use in the treatment of photodamaged skin, meaning skin affected by exposure to sun resulting in wrinkles, roughness, altered texture, decrease in collagen, hyperpigmentation and decrease of epidermal thickness.  Because of its tendency for irritation, this Retin-A formulation is available by prescription only in a strength of .01-.05%.

Gentler all-trans retinols, vitamin A palmitate and vitamin A propionate, are commonly found in over-the-counter products.  The skin has the natural ability to transform all tretinion into retinoic acid (Retin-A), but because the skin acts as a guard gate for the body, it is very partial about restricting large molecules with long-carbon chains from passing through the outer layer of the skin.  Vitamin A palmiate was commonly found for many years in over-the-counter cosmetic products and heavily marketed as the cousin of Retin-A.  It has a very large molecule and a 36-carbon chain that oxidizes quite slowly.  Poorly converted by the skin into retinoic acid, it is easily degraded by oxygen and sunlight.

In 1990, James E. Fulton patented vitamin A propionate.  It contains a 23-carbon chain and, with use over a longer period, this short-chain retinol gives similar results to Retin-A without the excessive redness and irritation.  Vitamin A propionate accelerates the body’s natural cell renewal cycle from 30 days to between 10-14 days.  With its shorter chain, the results are far superior to vitamin A palmitate.  In a strength of 1%, it is about as effective as a .01% retinoic acid, or Retin-A.

For the Skin:

Vitamin A is a pivotal player when it comes to treating acne.  It helps reduce the thickening of the skin due to retention hyperkeratosis, or holding onto too many skin cells, and it can help balance oil production.  Vitamin A reduces the process of hyperkeratinization, which is an abnormal clumping up of cells in the hair follicle, leading to impactions.  This reversal of comedogenesis, a primary factor in acne, can clear up acne and, with continued use, halt the acne process.

While vitamin A is a highly effective treatment for acne vulgaris, it is also an incredibly potent anti-aging treatment.  As it ages, the skin’s cell turnover rate begins to decline rapidly, leaving a dull and devitalized skin tone, as well as visible fine lines and wrinkles.  Vitamin A can help speed up skin cell turnover rate and create a smoother, more even skin texture.   In the skin, retinol is converted to retinal and then to retinoic acid.  Retinoic acid modifies gene expressions and influences cellular processes in both the dermis and the epidermis.  Vitamin A influences epidermal variation, controlling growth factors, inhibiting sebacecous gland activity, and suppressing androgen formation.  Severely photodamaged skin has an abnormal thickening of the stratum corneum, or outermost layer of the epidermis.  Applying a topical vitamin A normalizes this.  This reduction of keratin cells in the stratum corneum gives the skin a rosy, healthy glow and reduces the appearance of fine lines.  The thinning of the stratum corneum also enhances the ability of topical products to better react with the skin.

Retinyl palmitate will increase collagen and enhance DNA, skin thickness and elasticity.  Retinol boosts collagen production and increases cell renewal.  Prolonged application of topical vitamin A derivatives have been demonstrated to increase dermal thickness and stimulate collagen production, significantly reducing facial wrinkles for a youthful complexion.  Believed to aid in exfoliation, topical retinol products can also be sensitizing.  Advise clients when first starting with this to use once or twice a week initially to up the skin’s tolerance.  Vitamin A is an extremely effective ingredient for anti-aging.  It diminishes fine lines and wrinkles, significantly improves uneven skin tone, smooths and refines the skin surface, and increases the appearance of firmness.  Vitamin A is a smart addition to your night regimen.

Check out our awesome Vitamin A products!

Retinol Night Creme, Matrix Oil, Vit A & Retinol Night Masque

The three most important things about starting your massage practice: set clear goals, understand your budget and create a professional image.

Your Goals:  Write down specific concrete goals you would like to accomplish and the specific time period in which you would like them to be completed.  Some goals would be:  What amount of income you’d like to make by the end of your first year, any additional certificates you wish to earn, and other business related goals.  Also, write down what is standing in the way of you achieving these goals, and what steps you need to take to overcome these obstacles.  Seek advice from a mentor or successful colleague and try to connect with them regularly.

Your Budget:  Create a realistic budget before opening your business.  Make sure you consider your living expenses while you grow your cliental.  Being self-employed doesn’t always mean you will bring home a paycheck.  Figuring out your break-even point is crucial; what are the costs and overhead you need to stay afloat.  Depending on your location, keep in mind rent, utilities, internet and phone, furnishings, equipment, licensing, insurance, taxes, supplies, advertising, etc.  It’s always good to keep a plan B in mind.  If you need to book 18 services a week to break-even but are only booking 13, then you are losing money.  Most people can’t continue on without hitting or exceeding their break-even point.  Remember, you still haven’t even paid yourself at this point.  For example, if your expenses total to $1200 for the month and you charge $65 per service, you would need to perform at least 19 services that month just to break-even.  You also need to keep in mind your personal living expenses, rent/mortgage, car payment, insurance, credit card payments, utilities, phone and cable, child care, groceries, etc.  If your personal expenses, for example, total $2800, added to your business expenses would equal $4000.  This would mean, just to break-even you would need to provide at least 62 services at $65.  This means you would need to do about 15-16 services a week.  Again, this wouldn’t result in any salary of your own, nor would it account for any vacation time or adding unexpected expenses.  Make sure you’re realistic about the ability to sustain your business before you begin your transition to self-employment.

Your Image:  Create your image from day one and keep that in mind with all aspects of your business.  This image you present will be represented in many ways, not just the look and feel of your location but also in the way you and your staff dress, your logo and the way in which you market your business.  For example, most people don’t know what LMT means, consider spelling it out (Sarah Johnson, Licensed Massage Therapist) to ensure clarity.   You can also bring out the style you like to convey but still show the public who you are with your business name.  For example, Sarah Johnson Massage Center, Sarah’s Day Spa, Johnson Medical Massage Therapy or Sarah’s Mind & Body Healing; all of these have a clear message but convey very different atmospheres.  Remember not to use a vague name, like Sarah’s Center, people need to know what services you are providing.

You should, also, consider your image when it comes to your marketing.  This day and age people automatically assume all businesses have a website, this is crucial for your business and now websites are typically pretty cheap to make and maintain with many easily accessible templates available.  Offering your full menu, appointment booking, gift cards, and social media links, like Facebook, on your website can be a great way to maintain current cliental and intrigue new clients.  Again, don’t forget about your image when it comes to your online presents.  If you have a modern urban spa feel at your location, don’t put pictures of beaches throughout your website.  Business cards are also very important.  A great way to expand your business is to go to local establishments like banks, boutiques, cafes and hair salons asking if they would display your card, this is great free advertising.  Also, carry your business cards around with you at all times to hand to potential new clients.  Another great way to advertise in an inexpensive way, is to make reusable bags or t-shirts and wear/use them around town as you do your usual errands.  Consider your logo in this regard, keep your image in mind.  A logo of business card that includes a board certified image gives an entirely different feel than one with a yin yang symbol.

Lastly, think about what you and your employees should wear regularly to continue the image you are looking for.  Are you more medical?; then go with scrubs.  Or maybe you like a spa feel; consider a semi-casual all black look, this helps the focus stay on the client without being overly formal.  Whatever you choose, remember, cohesion is key.

In conclusion, set concrete but achievable goals, budget carefully and realistically, and create the image you want to make your business successful.  There are many visions of success, make sure this one is defined by you.

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Beyond a caring touch, how you interact with your clients is key to generating repeat business, referrals and add-on sales! Do you carefully plan each customer experience?  Chances are your focus is primarily on the massage itself and not on your conversation with your client which can make the difference between an average experience and a great one.  Conveying your caring and concern about your clients’ well-being will generate both repeat visits and referrals.  So take a cue from other businesses and don’t leave anything to chance. Many companies script their employee/customer interactions. For example, you might hear “would you like to try our new mocha latte today?” in your local cafe. Although you are not selling coffee, you are in essence “selling” a wellness experience and can create your own scripts to follow depending on each customer’s need.

For example, you are always concerned that your clients receive the helpful benefits of the massage you give them so why not let them know how they can extend those benefits when they go home.

“You can extend the benefits of your massage today by…….”

Another key message is to let your client know that they may experience some discomfort a day after the massage and what they can do to manage it.

“Although everyone reacts differently, it is normal to feel some discomfort after your massage. It can be like a workout at the gym for some muscles. Also, massage increases the blood flow and releases built up toxins into your blood stream. If you feel any discomfort, I recommend you……..”
spa mineral bath
You may opt to retail foam rollers, massage balls, creams, Bellanina Spa Mineral Bath etc. to recommend to your clients as a way to stretch and soothe at home. This is not hard-core selling, it is simply suggesting ways to help.

“Many of my clients have had success with this foam roller in helping them stretch at home. Let me show you how it works.”

Lastly, always have a script to book your client’s next appointment.

“Would you like to make your next appointment today or do you want me to call you to book one later?”

In addition to your hands-on work with them, scripting is a great way to make sure you verbally communicate that you care for your clients health and well-being.  Having your own standard phrases for your key messages will ensure you are consistent and thoughtful in your communications with your clients.  Create the scripts that will work for you, write them down and use them every time.

Myofascial. You’ve seen it advertised but have you ever really stopped to learn what it is? Odds are good you haven’t, unless you’ve suddenly found yourself in need of this type of service.

Like most therapies or practices that are available but not well known, myofascial release is a specialized practice that can be learned by massage therapists. It is used to treat somatic dysfunction and the accompanying pain and restriction on movement. The primary goal of this type of therapy is to relax the contracted muscles, increase circulation, increase venous and lymphatic drainage and stimulate the stretch reflex of the muscles.

Back to Basics:

If you are confused, don’t be embarrassed. Understanding the nuances of massage therapy and what it can do for the body is a specialized practice that many people spend years studying and perfecting as a technique.

Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue that supports and protects most structures (including muscle) in the human body. This tissue can become restricted over time due to a number of factors including: psychogenic disease, overuse, trauma, infectious agents, or inactivity. This can lead to pain, muscle tension and decreased blood flow to the affected areas. The result inflammation can occur and this is where myofascial release is utilized by therapists.

Myofascial is defined as a chronic muscle pain around sensitive areas called “trigger points”. This type of pain can be felt as headaches, jaw or neck pain, lower back/pelvis pain or in the arms and legs. This is not a temporary pain caused by working out or physical exertion – it is a chronic condition that persists over long periods on time.

There are two main types of myofascial release used: active and passive. In active therapy the client provides resistance, while in passive therapy the client remains relaxed. These can both involve direct and indirect techniques.

Direct myofascial release (also known as “deep tissue work”) works on the restricted fascia. This intensive method works on relaxing the contracted muscles utilizing the therapists knuckles, hands and other specialized tools. The therapist will work slowly through the layers of fascia until the deep tissue is reached.

Indirect myofascial release focuses on gentle stretching and allowing the fascia to “unwind”. This allows for the body to heal itself with the assistance of mild therapeutic techniques to assist in the process.

Consult with your doctor to determine what type of treatment will be best for your myofascial condition. Depending on the location and level of discomfort your doctor may recommend physical therapy, medications or certain injections. Do not receive treatment from a therapist without first consulting with your health care provider. Ask questions if you are uncomfortable or unsure about this technique.

Myofascial pain is a difficult condition to bear but can be helped several ways. Talk to your physician today and learn if a myofascial therapy treatment may be your next step towards pain relief.

Have you ever tried to nod your way through a conversation without really understanding what someone is talking about?

It is not your job to understand every skin treatment available but when you receive a service at a spa it is nice to understand what the heck they are doing and why. Paraffin wax is one of those delicious spa terms we hear all the time but may have no clue about what it truly means.

Why is it important to learn? The same reason it is important to read instructions before you take a medicine. Anything that touches or enters your body will have an effect on it and as a wise consumer it is important to know about what a product is doing, why it is being used and most important – any possible side effects.

So what’s the skinny on paraffin wax?

In the simplest terms, paraffin wax treatments are utilized in spas to moisturize and soften the skin. They are usually reserved for the toughest areas of skin on the body such as the hands and feet. Many spas will offer this treatment as part of or as an optional addition to manicures or pedicures.

Paraffin waxes are different from other types of waxes used in spas in that it is softer (due to paraffin oil). It melts at a much lower temperature than other waxes and will not burn or blister the skin when it is submerged. In many spas, the wax is heated in special vats prior to a treatment.

So what does the treatment entail?

Paraffin wax is designed to coat the skin and left to absorb for up to half an hour to see the full benefits. An esthetician or beautician may have the client submerge their hands or feet several times in container of this wax to create an even coat over the surface. The hands and feet would then be wrapped in plastic (or some other type of non absorbent material).

After the treatment the wax is removed in a single piece. Because of the oil, this wax does not bind to the skin and can come off easily without pain. Skin should feel soft and smooth following a paraffin treatment.

When would I get one done?

Paraffin wax treatments can be done all year but they are especially ideal in the winter (colder climates particularly) since they can help to repair dry and cracked skin. Remember the skin needs moisture to stay smooth and during the winter it can lose a lot of moisture throughout the day without being properly replenished.

Who should avoid this treatment?

People with diabetes tend to have trouble with submersion of the feet into warm liquids so this treatment is not recommended.

Pregnant woman can receive this treatment but should remember that chronic foot swelling is common and a treatment that utilizes heat will not benefit this condition. Try looking for treatments that use cold or cooling methods to ease this problem.

If you have any type of foot condition such as fungus or athletes foot it is important to tell your therapist prior to treatment. To avoid contamination of the wax they may need to prepare an alternative way of applying the treatment.

Final Thoughts

Trying out a new treatment is always an exciting prospect at the spa. Paraffin wax is an excellent and soothing choice for those seeking an effective solution for dry or rough skin. Call your local day spa to set up an appointment. Go with confidence now that you know what you need to know!

Other Choices:

After receiving your paraffin wax it is important to maintain that soft and silky skin. Why not try a baby smooth foot creme to keep for toes and heels looking great all year! For your hands try the soothing touch hand cream – guaranteed to keep your fingers luxuriously soft!

The teen years are filled with emotional and physical change, some good and some bad. As your teen grows and develops it is natural, as a parent, to want this experience to be as stress free as possible. Dealing with acne can be a difficult process for both you and your teen. By working together and developing a strategy however, you can help your teen through these awkward years with much less “angst”.

You may find that the most difficult aspect of treating acne is speaking with your teen about the problem. It is natural for people to become sensitive or angry when a skin condition is “called out” and this may create more stress for your teen. Remember that your teen is not unaware of the problem and acting as though they cannot see the acne will not help you communicate better with them. Open up a dialogue where you suggest trying different methods to treat the condition but respect your teen’s boundaries if they are defensive about the topic at first. Don’t exasperate the situation by yelling or forcing your child to confront their problem.

Once you have both agreed to find a sensible solution that will be effective and affordable, now it is time to learn the underlying root of the condition. Believe it or not there are several factors that may be affecting your teen’s skin, not just new hormonal changes (although that is a HUGE factor).

So what may be culprit of this skin care conundrum?

Changes in the body (such as hormones) are one of the primary influences of acne during the teen years. Any informational guide will explain that hormonal changes impact the bodies normal functioning, including the skin. During adolescence a teen’s oil production (the sebum gland) can go into overdrive and produce more oil than necessary. The skin’s normal regulation of this process cannot compensate and thus oil clogs the pores causing acne.
Proper skin care is important, even for teens. Make-up, sweat and general grime build up on the skin’s surface and need to be removed properly. If you’re teen is just using soap and water daily (or maybe not at all sometimes) this will be a major reason why acne is starting to take over their face. Developing a daily skin care routine designed for younger people with oilier skin will go a long way towards alleviating your teen’s condition and reducing future occurrences.
Stress. Stress. Stress. As a parent there is nothing you can really do to combat the stress and emotional changes your child is undergoing but be supportive and helps them through this difficult time. Remember that stress affects the body just as much as anything else and can inhibit healthy body processes (including the skin).

A Call to Action!

Gaining control on an existing or ongoing flair up is crucial for the first step. This does need to be combined with developing a longer skin care regimen that will aid in reducing existing outbreaks and prevents new ones from developing.
Try a “spot treatment” such as this excellent Blemish Fix for existing acne. This will target the existing problem and provide extra strength to those areas that have already developed blackheads, whiteheads or red pustules. There are several over the counter brands for mild to moderate acne or it may be time to consult with an esthetician or dermatologist for more intensive treatment for severe acne.
Take control by developing a simple skin care routine for your teen to follow every day. Set a schedule (wake up, going to bed) and guide them through the steps they should take. Cleanse, exfoliate, tone, correct, moisturize and protect. These are the six hallmarks of any great skin care routine that will keep their skin looking fresh, clean and clear.
Search for products geared towards teen, oily or acneic skin. These will use less oils (no need to add to the problem) and target reducing oily build up on the skin. Don’t forget to emphasize the importance of using a good daily moisturizer to replenish the skin with necessary hydration. If you take it all away without putting any back other skin conditions (dryness, flaking). This step will be crucial in helping your teen maintain clearer skin with greatly reduced acne occurrences.

A Final Thought on the Matter

Acne is no fun for anyone and can be an embarrassing condition to face. Your teen may struggle with peer judgment, self doubt and a general dissatisfaction overall while combating this problem. Be patient with your teen and remember that full results take time (up to 3 months in many severe cases). Reassure your teen that with patience and dedication their skin will clear up. Don’t let acne be what your teen remembers about their high school years –take control today!

Lotions, lotions everywhere but which one should you choose?

Have you ever stood before an aisle with over a hundred different types of skin lotions and felt that gnawing sense of being in over your head? Just like people are not the same, lotions are not the same either. A body lotion that is meant for your legs and arms has no business being spread across your face and a lotion meant for your eyes won’t have the results you want for dry hands.

Take the time to learn about why different lotions are available and which type to use for your skin. Remember that knowledge is the first step towards becoming a smarter consumer and one step further on the road to better skin care.

Body Lotion

As the name suggests, body lotion is meant to be applied to the larger areas of your body such as your arms, legs, stomach and chest. This area is generally covered by clothes and protected from the harsher elements of nature and sun (this of course changes in warmer months) and does not show signs of aging as quickly as the face, hands or neck.

Although there are many different brands and types of body lotion available, most have similar ingredients and characteristics. A general body lotion (not targeting any one specific skin type) will have more water than specialized lotions and can be used all over the main part of the body on a daily basis.

Facial Cremes

Unlike body lotions which offer the same benefits no matter where it is applied on the body, facial cremes are designed to target very specific problems and skin care issues. Since the skin on your face is thinner, it is more prone to premature aging and other skin issues.

Facial cremes are typically designed for a skin type and concern. If you had oily skin you would want an oil free moisturizer to hydrate the skin without adding excessive oils. If you had naturally dry skin you would want a thicker lotion with added oils designed to rehydrate those cells.

Mature skin that has developed fine lines and wrinkles or sagging tissue requires specialized ingredients designed to penetrate the outer layers and stimulate collagen production and restore elasticity. Although this will take time and dedication, a good skin care routine can help to minimize these issues.

Eye Creme

Even more specific is eye creme. This is usually a light-weight formula that should be applied very delicately. The tissue around the eye is very thin and delicate.  In addition, there are no oil glands directly beneath the eyes so greater moisturization helps keep wrinkles and fine lines at bay.  Select eye cremes with anti-oxidant protection to help with free radical damage from the sun.

Conclusion

Take the time to learn about conscientious skin cares and choose your products wisely. They will not do any good sitting in the cupboard when you realize they are not the best match for you so make an investment in the products that will keep you looking your best!

Are you looking for better ways to care for your skin? As the skin matures it loses elasticity, slows collagen production and can become less smooth to the touch. Fine lines and wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process but can be minimized with the help of high quality skin care products designed for aging, mature or damaged skin. As we move into a progressively more health conscious mind set it becomes more important to seek out natural or organic products to stay healthy and look our best at any age. Learn more about the healing and restorative benefits of Gotu Kola and Coconut Serum with Alpha Lipoic Acid.

What is Gotu Kola?

Vitamins, minerals and plants have been used for their restorative and health benefits for thousands of years. Ancient cultures relied upon different herbs and mixtures to cure disease, increase life span and heal wounds. Its no wonder that today many products still rely on those same natural ingredients to help restore and maintain the body.

Gotu Kola (centella asiatica) is a small plant that is native to several areas of the world including India, Sri Lanka and parts of Asia. It is a tasteless and odorless member of the parsley family.

How does it benefit the skin?

Gotu Kola (not to be confused with cola nut) has many uses in health and skin care. Some of the most important benefits for your skin include boosting circulation, improving the collagen foundation, improving firmness and increasing elasticity. This is beneficial for all skin types, including mature skin.
Gotu Kola serum is applied topically to the face and is worn beneath standard moisturizers and make up. It can be used in place of moisturizer for extremely oily skin types. Typically you would apply 2 to 3 drops on the face and rub in thoroughly. Remember that Gotu Kola, along with all other skin care products, will be most effective when used as directed. Patience is important when using any product and maximum benefits may take anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months to be seen.
When used consistently and as directed Gotu Kola and Coconut serum can have wonderful restorative and repairing capabilities for the skin. This unique free-radical fighting blend of natural source vitamins and botanicals are delivered in a potent base of Alpha Lipoic Acid and DMAE that works on a molecular level to redefine and revitalize skin.

Why is Gotu Kola used specifically for skin care?

When selecting ingredients to use for skin care it is important to understand how certain ingredients affect the skin. Remember that different vitamins, minerals and plants will provide different benefits and should be selected carefully. Gotu Kola is used primarily for its impact on the metabolism of connective tissue, thereby stimulating the collagen production of the skin.

Precautions and Warnings

Your skin will absorb whatever products used on it and understanding potential risks and side effects is essential. Gotu Kola is an organic product but that does not mean that some people should not use Gotu Kola or that people with certain conditions should not consult with a doctor before use.
Consult with your doctor or pharmacy if you have liver disease, high cholesterol or diabetes. Children should not use Gotu Kola. The effect of Gotu Kola on unborn children is not known at this time – if you are pregnant consult with your health care practitioner before using products containing Gotu Kola. Consult with your doctor immediately if you develop any reaction or symptoms following use of products containing Gotu Kola such as rash, irritation, nausea, upset stomach, itching or swelling.

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!

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!