The Rhythms of Fall

Lower Your Stress to Enjoy Your Life

September offers an excellent time of year to take stock of where you are in your life. The rhythm of life starts to have a certain cadence with school starting back up and the summer activities slowing down. As we fall in step with this changing rhythm, it’s the perfect opportunity to make sure we are heading in the right direction!

Stress is a big factor for many people. Much of how deeply it affects our health and happiness is, surprisingly, decided by us. One of the goals we have here at The Spa is to help our clients realize that they have a good amount of control over how much stress hits them. While we admit there are things that are indeed out of our control, how much energy we spend worrying creates more stress.

How do you perceive where you are in your life right now? Are you pleased with the efforts you make and the results they bring? Do you allow yourself the time to relax and take care of yourself so that you don’t keep spiraling to being more stressed instead of less? If you really look at where you stand right now, most likely you’re pretty ok. Allow yourself to realize that and remember to try to be in the moment of where you are – not worrying about what is coming or what has already happened.

This September take a step back before the holiday season hits. Are you respecting and nurturing yourself in the big and small ways? If the answer is “I don’t think so”, make a plan to start. Do the little things first, make sure you dedicate yourself to them, and soon you’ll find that you have stopped walking the path of stress and started in the direction of wellbeing!

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Back to school: Is Your Child’s Skin an Added Source of Stress?

Going back to school can be an incredibly exciting time – and can also be a time filled with anxiety, insecurities and fear. Especially so for pre-teen and teenagers who are prone to acne. About 8 out of 10 preteen and teens have acne, and it’s consider a normal part of growing up.  Whether it is a mild case or a serious ongoing problem, no one is happy with it, and it can have seriously debilitating social consequences.

We parents do what we can – buying the latest products, reminding kids to wash their face, don’t pick, don’t touch, get your hair pulled back, stop eating greasy foods. Who hasn’t said at least one of those things? And what do kids do? Give you the look, roll their eyes, sigh and say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

The best thing I did for my son when he was 14 was to bring him to an esthetician for a Teen Facial. He wasn’t at all thrilled with the idea, but I told him if he wanted to get rid of the acne that had started on his face, he needed to talk to a professional. (Obviously, he wasn’t listening to my sage advice about washing his face and not eating so many French fries.)

The esthetician welcomed him and explained what acne is in words that he could understand. She simply explained that pores can get clogged up with extra oil, dead skin cells and germs. Germs are bacteria and can spread when touched. Pretty simple. Not his fault; it’s just something that happens and it can be improved without pain or spending too much time on it.

It made perfect sense to him that he needed to wash his skin to clean the bacteria and not to touch it to prevent it from spreading. She recommended a benzoyl peroxide wash and spot treatment for the tough areas. And that was it. From then on, he washed his face, he didn’t touch it and his acne problem was resolved. Sure, he still had occasional breakouts, but he knew what to do to keep it from getting worse. His was a fairly simply case, but it could’ve blossomed into something more severe if he hadn’t had the professional direction from someone other than Mom.

I encourage you to take your teen or preteen to an esthetician for direction and support. Consider giving a Teen Facial as a gift to a niece, nephew, or grandchild; it can really help relieve teen stress and increase self-esteem which is crucial in their defining years.

Wishing you a smooth back-to-school season!

Patti Rice,

Owner, The Spa ~ Los Gatos

New to Spa Treatments? Here are some answers to those tricky questions and concerns…

By Patti Rice

First-timers at a day spa can be downright scared by the unknown of what is going to happen to them. New environments and experiences, especially those that involve personal space, make people justifiably uneasy. So, in this article I thought I would put some minds at ease and go over common questions and concerns.

How much should I undress?

Massage therapists are professionals and are trained on draping techniques that cover you in a discreet way while allowing them to work your muscles in the direction and length of stroke that gives you the most benefit. For them to be able to do this, it is best that you are completely undressed. If that just sounds like too much for the first time, tell your therapist that you are somewhat uncomfortable with the nudity as it is your first time, and leave your underpants on. I think after you find out how well covered you really are, you’ll feel at ease without them on your next visit. Bras really get in the way and your breast will never be exposed during a massage, so go ahead and leave your bra in your locker. Many spas offer a thick, plush robe to lounge in between service times, so you are fully covered before and after. Just remember robes can gape, so be sure to sit like a lady in the common areas. Men, the gaping robe can also happen to you, so please keep those legs together!

 For a facial, you can certainly leave underwear on, but since many facials incorporate a neck and shoulder massage, and often times a light foot massage, you don’t want that hampered by bra straps or socks.

I don’t want anyone to see my icky body!

Again, therapists are professionals!  They are not there to judge you; they are focused on pain and stress relief, not how much cellulite you have on your thighs or how long it’s been since you last shaved. You’re fine just the way you are.

I feel uncomfortable speaking up if I want different pressure or style of massage.  I don’t want to offend them.

Remember this is YOUR time and nobody knows your preferences better than you.  The therapist is there to make you feel better, and they truly want to make the experience the best it can be. Therapists are grateful for your feedback and will never be offended at that type of request.

What if I snore?

Snoring is the biggest compliment possible to a therapist!  It means you have relaxed and are feeling safe and comfortable.

How much should I talk?

Talk only enough to make you comfortable.  Telling your massage therapist or esthetician about any concerns, pressure preferences, etc. is perfectly normal.  Do not feel compelled to carry on a conversation.  Take a deep breath, relax and be okay with the time being all about YOU instead of you catering to others. 

These are just a few of the most common concerns we see.  Should you have any other questions you would like to see answered, e-mail me at patti@thespalosgatos.com

Wishing you the happiest of holiday seasons and a New Year filled with joy, health, happiness and success in all your endeavors!