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Massage

Which Massage Style Is Right For You?

July 11, 2017

Today, 2nd Street District massage therapist, Monique, gives us the 411 on the differences between three individual massage techniques.

Massage therapy is a vast field with a variety of different techniques and treatments. If you’re not a massage therapist, it can be a bit difficult choosing what type of technique is best for you. Well, take a deep breath. I’m going to break down the differences between the Big Three: Swedish, Deep Tissue, and Sports Massage. 

To start, Swedish, Deep Tissue, and Sports Massage are all massage modalities.  Within each of these modalities, I’ll use different massage techniques to help you achieve your individual goals. I like to tell my clients to think of massage as a blank canvas. The primary colors are the basic techniques of Swedish, Deep Tissue, and Sports, which provide the foundation for any session. By mixing these colors, or techniques, you get different variations and modalities. All of these different massage techniques can be incorporated into your session so that it caters to your unique and individual needs.

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Massage

5 Ways to Relieve Body Stress and Tension

June 4, 2017

From sitting at a desk all day and active wear-and-tear to heavy-lifting and unexpected tweaks, we’ve all experienced some degree of muscle, joint, and body pain. In an effort to help you relieve it, our massage therapists share their five top tips.

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Austin, Massage, News

Everything You Need to Know About Rolfing

January 4, 2016

“It is gravity that is the tool; it is gravity that is the therapist.”

— Dr. Ida Rolf

What is Rolfing?

rolfer_client2_lg

Rolfing is sophisticated system of manual therapy and movement education that — over a series of sessions — help restore and improve structural alignment and functional movement. From this treatment, clients enjoy improved uprightness and range of motion. Many have reported that they experience an increase in energy, ease, and lightness within the body. In a way, it’s a life hack to better performance and quality of life.

Is Rolfing painful?

Rolfing can and does get more intense; though, many usually described it as a “good” pain. It’s important that the Rolfing massage therapist know how much intensity the client’s nervous system can accommodate in order for this treatment to remain safe and effective. Some Rolfers are known for the white-light pain they cause. I am not that kind of Rolfer, but I do understand that this may be what some clients want and expect. Regardless, the experience differs quite a bit from massage, but still feels good for the most part. Furthermore, every intervention has a purpose — structurally or relationally — it’s not random.

How does a Rolfing series work ?

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Most Rolfers model sessions to follow one another in a progressive and thorough series. Traditional Rolfers tailor a Ten Series to meet their client’s needs. Each session may have its own goal, but this series will ultimately aim to align your body vertically within gravity. Many of us believe that it is gravity and its effect on our structure and nervous system that produces the incredible effects of Rolfing.

Dr. Who?

The story of Rolfing is inseparable from its founder. In the 1920s, Dr. Ida P. Rolf began working as an associate in the chemistry labs at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York City. There, she first began to study fascia. Fascia is the archetypical representation of our bodies’ connective tissue and is the basis of Dr. Rolf’s work.

Later in life, she began remarking on body’s plastic nature, its ubiquity, and its tensile strength. During her study, she found she could elicit astounding changes in posture, function, and stress. During the 1960s, Dr. Rolf was invited to demonstrate her work at Esalen Institute, where she codified her work into a teachable body of craft that she called Structural Integration. Her students and clients called it ‘Rolfing.’ In 1971, she left Esalen and established the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration in Boulder, Colorado where students could learn to become Rolfers.

What are the benefits of Rolfing?

Rolfing is good for people too healthy to receive a diagnosis from a doctor, but not quite as vital as they would desire. It can delay surgeries and it can help people recover faster from surgery. It makes an excellent support for people making a fresh start, people beginning a new fitness regime, or even a new commitment to mental health. It is good for feeling a little younger — for personal “spring cleaning.” It simply helps people to realign themselves in gravity. Obstacles dissolve and people discover what they need when gravity can flow through them in a healthy manner.

Massage, Wellness

How Can I Treat Jaw Pain?

December 28, 2015

Today, one of our expert 2nd Street District massage therapists, talks jaw pain — and how to ease the tension we create for ourselves.

Young Woman Holding the Side of Her Face in Pain --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

 

Many of my clients experience jaw pain and tension — it’s very common. Too often, we clench and grind our teeth as a response to stress, a habit that occurs when we try to concentrate, or sometimes, it manifests itself as a subconscious holding pattern we’re not even aware of.

 

The Context

Let’s start from the beginning. In orthopedic medicine, there is a prevailing idea that the mandible (jaw bone) and the pelvis “talk” to one another. Both of theses bones are directly connected to one another via the spine. The jaw connects to the hyoid bone, which dictates posture and alignment in the neck, along with the atlas. And, on the pelvic end, the pelvis and the sacrum work in tandem to balance us in an upright position at the base of the spine. In short, jaw tension can throw off your entire posture — and it can even cause both hip and lower back pain.
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The Culprit

Tension in the jaw can lead to lots of symptomatic pain in the body. For example: did you know that your Masseter muscles — muscles that run from your cheek to your jaw — can exert upwards of 250 pounds of pressure per bite? Now, if you think about that kind of semi-constant tension in your head, it makes sense why those who suffer from chronic jaw tension experience headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and whole-body misalignment.
Another culprit of jaw tension, pain, and TMJ is Malocclusion. Malocclusion is when your teeth meet in a misaligned way as the two dental arches approach each other as the jaws close. Almost everyone has some form of malocclusion, and, generally, orthodontists are only interested in your malocclusion if it causes you pain.
Many orthodontic surgeons think that the best way to treat severe malocclusion is through surgery, believing that night guards, retainers, and other dental applications will not help. What many orthodontist don’t take into consideration is that chronic jaw tension is more often than not a symptom of anxiety and high stress. More importantly it’s a postural choice we make. Whether we are aware that we are making that choice is another question entirely.

Make Yourself Aware

Body awareness is a somatic skill that must be honed in everyone, but especially when you’re dealing with chronic pain and stress. Meditation and physical practices like yoga, pilates, dance, or sports can help you become aware of the inner machinations and connections between your body and mind. See if you can catch yourself in the act of clenching and grinding your teeth.When this happens engage in the mantra, “soften jaw and breathe.” Notice the breath in your body when your teeth are clenched: is it deep or shallow? Rapid or slow? Notice the position of your shoulder blades. Inhale deeply, shrug your shoulders up by your ears tightly, then exhale and drop them completely. Do this several times to allow all of the muscles in your shoulders to release.
Remember you are in control of what you are aware of. Where awareness goes, energy grows.

The Solution

In a spa setting, chronic jaw tension and TMJ pain can be addressed, as long as the client is consistent with massage appointments. Regular-focused masseter, pterygoid, scalp, face, and neck massage can relieve built-up tension and pain. Therapists trained in Craniosacral Therapy can address jaw pain and tension via manual adjustment.
The spa environment, and even the act of carving out time on a consistent basis solely for self-care and self-love, is a huge step toward managing stress. Often, massage therapists and other spa employees are a lot like ESS (Emergency Stress Services). Ideally though, we want our clients to live their best, pain, and stress-free lives. In this day and age, massage and other self-care services are not luxury experiences, but necessary investments in overall well-being and health.
If you are experiencing chronic jaw or if you suffer from TMJ, know that you have support from milk + honey. We have an amazing team of massage therapists who can help you if you are experiencing acute discomfort, and we can refer you to other wellness professionals in the area who can help you tackle the issue from a multidimensional approach.

Massage, News, Specials, Treatments

Valentine’s Day Specials For That Special Someone (Just Sayin’)

February 11, 2014

Don’t think about it as one day out of the year where your love is on blast. Instead, look at it as the perfect excuse to treat yourself — and the ones you love — to something unbelievably relaxing and well-deserved. We’ll make it easy on you. Limited-time only Valentine’s Day packages are just the thing to make this Friday anything but dreaded.

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Valentine’s Mini Retreat
Signature Facial OR 60-minute Lux Massage
m + h Manicure
Buy Gift Certificate
$129

Cupid’s Retreat
60-minute Lux Massage
Signature Facial
Buy Gift Certificate
$179

Valentine’s Ultimate Retreat
Ultimate Massage
Ultimate Pedicure
Buy Gift Certificate
$259

Valentine’s Dreamy Retreat
90-minute Lux Massage with Exfoliating Back Scrub and Hydrating Hair Mask
Signature Facial
m + h Manicure and Pedicure
Buy Gift Certificate
$319

Date Night
60-minute Couples Massage
Side-by-Side m + h Pedicures
Buy Gift Certificate
$279

Enhance Your Retreat:
These services can be added to any treatment or package.

  • Blowout, $45
  • Blowout with Makeup Application, $75
  • m + h Manicure, $30
  • m + h Pedicure, $50

Couples Treatments:

Couples Retreat
milk + honey is one of those things that is even better when shared. You’ll each enjoy a 60-minute Lux Massage in our couples room, a Signature Facial, and a m + h ManicureAbout 3 hours for $449.
Buy Gift Certificate

All Time Favorites:

Lux Massage
A customized, luxurious Swedish-style massage for relaxation that treats your problem areas and releases stress from your muscles. 60 minutes for $100, 75 minutes for $120, 90 minutes for $140, 120 minutes for $170.
Buy Gift Certificate

Lux Pedicure
Yum! Warm foot bath, exfoliation, a warm essential oil wrap, aromatherapy foot massage and hot towel compress. Finish it off with nail maintenance and polish. 60 minutes for $70.
Buy Gift Certificate

Manly Retreat
Your body works hard for you, so say “thank you.” The Manly Retreat includes a 60-minute Sports MassageMen’s Deep Clean Facial, and Manly ManicureAbout 2.5 hours for $259.
Buy Gift Certificate

The Spa Partisan
The signature milk + honey body treatment. Body brushing opens your pores before the skin is polished with a blend of brown sugar, coffee, crushed almonds, and dehydrated milk. Next, a steam treatment moisturizes, and a 60-minute Lux Massage with body butter completes the relaxing treatment. 100 minutes for $190.
Buy Gift Certificate

Contact us
512.236.1115

2nd Street District (spa + salon) | concierge@milkandhoneyspa.com
Hill Country Galleria (spa + salon) | galleria@milkandhoneyspa.com
Arboretum Market (salon) | arboretum@milkandhoneysalon.com

Massage

This February, Only at Hill Country Galleria: Stress-Fix Massage

February 6, 2013

Reduce your stress with a Stress-Fix Massage. Try our newest massage sensory experience available this month only at Hill Country Galleria.

Clinically proven to reduce feelings of stress, the Stress-Fix Aroma is infused with organic lavender, lavandin and clary sage. The Stress-Fix Massage incorporates Swedish and deep tissue massage, along with foot reflexology, acupressure points, and a guided meditation to calm and rejuvenate you.

60 minutes for $125, plus a free take home gift. Call 512.236.1115 to schedule your Stress Fix Massage today.

Massage

Focusing on Your Head, Hands, and Feet

December 11, 2012

Matt is one of our fantastic massage therapists at milk + honey 2nd Street District.

There really isn’t anything like a proper back rub. A quick session on the shoulders and neck at any given time does wonders, too. Some people really do keep all of their stress there, but what about the neglected head, hands, and feet?

After all, these three features all but define our humanity, if not our human form. Only humans have feet shaped to accommodate bipedal motion for long periods of time. Our hands, sensitive and dextrous, allowed our ancestors to shape our environment to our purposes. Over time camp sites became villages, and villages became cities. With these hands we carried and cared for our young, for much longer periods of time than other mammals. Human children require longer periods of dependence on their parents than other mammals, thanks to the size of their brains. We have huge heads relative to our bodies. Starting from within, the eyes are the windows of the soul. Our face carries our past while, to some, our palms describe our future. Many of us never consider these unsung heroes, but they have allowed us to accomplish all that we have, and define us as individuals.

The more poetic expressions of medical practice intuited and explored the importance of our head, hands, and feet, most famously, the doctors of traditional Chinese medicine. They understood the head, hands, and feet are doorways through which they could gain entry to the rest of our body. Here the ears symbolize and relate the fetal body, and acupuncture treatments can focus solely on this area. Furthermore the eyes, tongue, face, and pulse all inform a TCM practitioner’s diagnosis. The aruvedic traditions of India privileged the hands and feet with special importance. They understood that the minor chakras embedded in the hands bore a special relationship to the heart, and those of the feet related to the root chackra, almost like ambassadors. Other wellness practices, such as reflexology, have grown from a similar synecdoche. Reflexologists treat the entire body, focusing on major body structures and organs, by manually manipulating the feet and hands.

Relying on a more direct connection, Rolfers and structural integrationalists target the hands and feet for some of their most significant fascial interventions. These body workers avail themselves of the collagenous network that forms the warp and weft of our body, connecting us from tip to stern. The arches of our feet contain fibers that connect, blend, and piggy back all of the way into the reaches of our diaphragm, our pericardium, and the inside of our heads. The hands too, share a fascia that stretches inward, relating wrist to elbow to shoulder before diving inward toward the torso.

One of the strongest connections these extraneous structures have with the rest of the body resides in our brain itself. Our bodies show an enormous degree of enervation and sensory intelligence in our head, hands, and feet, disproportionate to the rest of the body. Nervous tissue arranges in a series of one way streets, motor neurons travel from the central nervous system and sensory neurons travel toward it. Sensory input goes back into the brain, the greater detail of which, is the greater effect. Therapeutic, supportive, and sympathetic touch in these areas will go far to calm the mind, and thus the body.

The common image of the sensory homonuculus anthropomorphizes the sensory motor cortex, basically correlating the devoted sensory cortical space of our brain to the size in those structures in the human body to the homonuculus. Photo by Beth Scupham

In short, one cannot avoid affecting the entirety of the body when only working the head, hands, or feet.

Often we neglect these in practice and in memory. I find that most people are unaware as to how much tension they hold in their hands, feet, jaw, scalp, and so on, until another human works those areas.

I find it intriguing that, regardless of whether one favors a physical, structural relationship, or a more poetic and energetic one, that the very structures of our bodies that help us relate to and alter the outside world, in turn have the richest relationships to the core of our being … our hearts and minds.

If you find your curiosity piqued, or simply want to verify or deny my ramblings, know that milk + honey offers the distinct service of focusing on the head, hands, and feet. You can also request your therapist to spend more time in these areas yourself, wherever you enjoy massage.

 

Massage, Wellness

Finding the Balance With Your Massage Therapist

November 14, 2011

Matt is one of our fantastic massage therapists at the downtown milk + honey spa. In this article, he discusses the benefits of finding a balance with your massage therapist.

Finding the Balance With Your Massage Therapist

When it comes to massage, it really does come down to different strokes for different folks. The give and take inherent in any bodywork exchange reminds me a lot of a dining experience. The menu outlines your options, for which you have a provider, and you mostly understand what to expect. But the entire exchange is predicated on those expectations. Generally speaking, a successful exchange occurs when a chef’s expectations match or exceed that of the diner.

Have you ever gone to dinner with a friend, ordered the same thing as one another, and had totally different reactions to the experience? How did that happen? Presumably the same hand is behind the creation of both dishes, presumably creating from the same ingredients under the same conditions of production.

I bring it up because something similar plays out throughout the entire duration of any service at the spa. I do not mean to suggest there is no such thing as objective standards in the realm of massage, or facials, or dining, but I would like to point out that the energies playing out during any service in the spa is subject to the influence of both the personal preferences and expectations of the client and the practitioner.

Basically, though it would be pretty rare and represents an extreme case of the phenomenon, you could have a wonderful service and thoroughly hate it at the same time. The case of harmonizing expectations or assumptions is a constant factor for any exchange between a client and a provider. You and a given therapist may never really click, but an intelligent consumer of services may be able to control the quality of the service they receive to the extent that they can identify this constant.

I only bring this up because of how it enable diplomacy. I think most people live their lives based on assumptions. We have to base our actions on assumptions because we would never get anything done if we didn’t.

If we begin at the most convenient case, it would be a case where two people have mutual goals for the exchange. In this case let us assume that the practitioner and client both want the client to receive a great massage. The practitioner assumes a great massage satisfies certain requirements, and the client does as well. Those assumptions may or may not match, and that will create an experience of harmony or disharmony.

Different Strokes for Different Elefolks courtesy of w00kie

What the two parties are selecting for their wish and action could be as separate as day and night. Some of this is inherent in the vagueness of the language. Take a client that “just wants to relax.” If I work on them the way my body would need to be worked, they may not be happy. I cannot relax if someone is just petting me like a cat and talking my ear off. I want quiet, variety, medium deep pressure, and if I’m honest, I want some knots worked. Swedish isn’t relaxing to me, but I find conservative deep tissue massage extremely relaxing, while too much is … simply too much.  I also do not think it is that relaxing to have an overly clinical massage that doesn’t have any art in it. I like a little yin with my yang, and I feel like a good massage leaves me feeling better for the week, not just the day.

Not all of my clients agree. Some of my clients want to be worked briskly and lightly, others want to feel like they are stepping down from a raft that has been gently bobbing up and down when they’re done, and on occasion my clients cannot relax unless I bury my knee in their back.

Practitioners can vary the speed, depth, rhythm, approach, priorities, and techniques in a given session. They can even change the music or temperature of the room. Most of them cannot read your mind, and even your body language may be hard to read.

The client on the other hand, may be rightly concerned about hurting the therapist’s feelings, which contributes to the quality of work they do. So, what should be done if their expectations fail to harmonize?

If it is in the beginning of the session, you can wait and see. I have seen many therapists change their “tone” for lack of a better word, based off what they feel. Personally, I will not go deep into muscle tissue without trying to warm it up a bit first. If the session is not meeting your expectations, identify what it is you would rather not experience, and then lie about it.  No really, “That feels good, but…” Then reveal the truth in the form of a question, “Can you slow it down?” Basically what you will be doing by adopting this approach is building rapport with your therapist in such a way that it builds harmony. I mean, if you’re nice about it.

You are allowed to reiterate or clarify your goals, “I appreciate the attention to that area, but it’s a little overwhelming, and I really just want to zone out.” You are also allowed to change your mind about what you want, and you can redirect your therapist based off of what you have felt so far. “It feels really good when you work that area like that, will you hang out there?”

Actually, you are also allowed to be really abrupt, abrasive, or obnoxious about it, and a good therapist will try to comply. Let’s face it though, honey’s better than vinegar.

I know it can be tough catching the therapist at the right moment, but I think it is worth the effort to get what you want. There will probably be a small period of adjustment, but if you make the assumption that your therapist wants you to enjoy this, and is talented enough to adjust what they are doing, you may better approximate your experience at the table so that you won’t have to complain about it later.

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