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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

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

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

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

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

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Contact us

2nd Street District (spa + salon) |
Hill Country Galleria (spa + salon) |
Arboretum Market (salon) |


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.


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.


What Knot

November 8, 2011

Today, one of our expert 2nd Street District massage therapists discusses what is a “knot.”

What Knot

“What is that thing, anyway?”

I’m always getting asked this question. I’m a massage therapist, and “that thing” is a knot. But what’s a “knot”? The short answer is “I don’t fully know,” but I’m not fully convinced that anyone else does either. Given my experience and education I will try my best to explain what we’re talking about when we say “knot” in massage.

Embarrassingly, the word “knot” occupies a kind of conceptual no man’s land between clinical definition and common language. Basically, we know one when we see one, but no one really knows of what it is comprised, or what set of criteria its qualities must satisfy to be called a knot. There is no medical definition of a knot.

photo by woodleywonderworks

It would probably be more accurate for me to say that no one really agrees on every aspect of what constitutes a knot, how you get knots, and how to treat them. However everyone agrees that a knot forms in muscle tissue. This includes connective tissue such as fascia and maybe tendon. Blood almost certainly plays a role, as does our nervous system. They are raised from the rest of the surface, and sometimes they are tender.

Secondly, knots also tend to form in stressed or damaged muscle. Overdoing it in the gym or on the trail will certainly aid this, but most massage therapists I work with are more inclined to find knots in muscles associated with desk work. These associate with the commute and compute postural distresses of holding your head and arms away from your body for too long.

Knots, as we vaguely understand them, are also likely to form in stressed or challenged people. I don’t mean to overstep my scope of practice here, but I will simply observe that people undergoing emotional stress due to family, career, or other life events often are also going through emotional stress. I’m constantly hearing, “Oh I keep all my stress in my neck and shoulders.” And I often find knots up there.

In my experience adhesion between muscle fibers or muscles, trigger points, and/or some combination of the two commonly present as something we clumsily describe as a “knot.” The term is nonspecific and could refer to cases that are dissimilar in most other aspects, but knots of any variety are non-lethal. Massage, rest, stretching, detoxification, lifestyle changes all contribute positively to their mitigation, though there is some debate as to whether they can actually be removed. This is true for which ever classification of knot we describe.

Still, knots remain elusive to clinical definition. To my knowledge no one has tried to biopsy one, I don’t know if they show up in cadavers. Based on the indications for treatment from my perspective as a therapist, I suspect most knots are masses formed from thickened muscle tissue and attendant metabolic wastes and associate with the combination of adhesion and trigger points.

Some knots seem to invest more than one muscle tissue. Comprised of inflamed myofascial layers, and almost always including a concentrated degree of connective tissue, these knots feel gristly, and their size does not predict sensitivity to pressure. These knots tend to sound and feel “crunchy.” I’ve heard this crunchiness comes from either connective tissue build up or from calcium crystal build up. It may not even be associated with the muscle, but with the ribs underneath the tissue.

Knots that refer pain within the domain of a predictable pain pattern are more accurately described as trigger points, and I get the feeling that most practitioners and quite a few clients are really talking about trigger points when they are speaking about knots. Trigger points are germane to our weird little world where a phenomenon of objective anatomical pathology overlaps with the intellectual property of their namer, Dr. Janet Travel, but the medical field officially recognizes them.

Where knots are general, trigger points are specific, predictable, and often don’t even present as knots. I find the most common ones show up in the upper back and in the calves. Trigger points by definition form within tight bands of muscles in predictable locations, they grow in mass, sometimes produce greater heat, and are sensitive and painful to the touch. Frequently, the pain associated with a trigger point refer to other points in the body. In my opinion treating trigger points are clinically more significant than the general presentation of knots.

Most therapists will treat knots of any variety with localized pressure delivered directly to the knot. More sophisticated practitioners, whether from training or experience, will undoubtedly apply different techniques to your knots based on what they feel. Generally speaking, true trigger points respond better to direct pressure than the more gristly “adhesion” knots. Releasing trigger points in this way can relax the entire muscle. Adhesive knots seem to respond better to being “ironed” or “combed” out of the tissue. Sometimes separating one muscle from the other through movement can deal with those types of knots.

So, if you suffer from knots, be they trigger points or of a more general character, massage can certainly help. But keeping in mind that they seem to form in relation to how we use our bodies, I would also suggest taking the time to assess your lifestyle and how you inhabit your body throughout the day. You may be able to change a habit or arrangement so that you don’t form the knots as quickly in the first place.


Massage, Wellness

Zero Balancing: What is it and how does it differ from other massages?

October 12, 2011

by Giovanni Pescetto

milk + honey is home to a very special massage therapist named Tanner. He performs Zero Balancing for his clients who are looking to relieve body aches and pain, release restrictions in movement and provide lasting relief from emotional distress. There are many more great benefits from Zero Balancing. Call 512.263.1115 to schedule your session with Tanner today!

What is Zero Balancing?
Zero Balancing is a unique form of bodywork that recognizes the relationship of body structure and body energy. It is a body-mind therapy that uses skilled touch to address the relationships between the structure and energy within the body. It involves the use of finger pressure and gentle traction on the bones and joints to create a point of balance, or a fulcrum, around which the body can relax and reorganize itself allowing the receiver to let go of held tension and pain and experience a new level of integration.

How is Zero Balancing different from other modalities?
Forms of bodywork, such as massage, chiropractic, and Rolfing are mainly focused on improving the function of the physical body. Other modalities like acupuncture and Reiki work to enhance body energy. Zero Balancing engages both the body structure and body energy simultaneously allowing the person to come into balance with themselves and one another.

How will a Zero Balancing session work for you?
A session begins with a discussion of your current state of health and goals for that particular session. This conversation may range from reducing discomfort or tension in a specific area to improving energy levels to helping with stress relief. Next you will sit and then lie on your back, FULLY CLOTHED, unless it is integrated into a massage session. If you do combine Zero Balancing with a massage, please allow an additional 30 minutes when booking. Once you are on the table, the practitioner will assess your body for tension mainly held in the bones and joints. Then your Zero Balancer will apply gentle finger pressure or traction called Fulcrums into areas around the hips, spine, ribs, feet, and neck to support the body, allowing it to deeply relax and release held tension in these areas. This enables your own energy to flow in clearer, stronger fields and helps you to feel more in your body. The session typically lasts 30-45 minutes and can be combined with massage and other health regiments. After the session, you are given a few moments to rest or dress if needed. Then you will be asked to walk to integrate the work and to give you an opportunity to notice any changes that may have taken place during your Zero Balancing session. Zero Balancing can often take you into enhanced states of enlightenment similar to meditation, so it is helpful to walk or receive a hug. This helps to transition you back into the rest of your day.


Massage for Happier Healthier Life

September 28, 2011

Matt is one of our fantastic massage therapists at the downtown milk + honey spa. In this article, he discusses the benefits of massage, that have been around for a long, long time.

Massage for Happier, Healthier Life

I frequently encounter the perception that massage exists solely as a pursuit of idle luxury. Often even well-educated clients only “treat” themselves a few times a year, but anyone remotely interested in overall health ought to investigate the beneficial effects of massage first hand.

Many writings from our ancient civilizations describe the healing benefits of intentional touch. In our modern world you can still observe other social mammals, like dogs and cats, pack and cuddle up together. Our children come running to us for healing and a consoling touch after any playground insult or injury. For me, it deepens the impression that perhaps we have been using massage for as long as we’ve had hands with which to touch.

Judging from the sheer ubiquity, vintage, and variation of the massage craft now, I’m tempted to argue that there has been a style of massage for any given culture at any given epoch. Within our society countless forms of massage speak to very specific needs. That being said, the results are remarkably similar when one person touches another for the purpose of support and healing, no matter the external manifestation … the client leaves feeling better.

It is a misconception to think massage is only about your muscles, it addresses your entire body.

The most basic styles, such as Swedish, at the very least “feel good” and “get things moving,” and kind of “squeegee” out the gunk that makes your muscles tight and sore. This is because massage enhances circulation, decreases nervous system activity, promotes digestion, and even aids immunity functions. The traditional Chinese medicine theory asserts it moves our life force energy through sluggish and stopped-up areas, toning the whole of the system. Of course, directly working the muscles also relieves and rebalances the musculoskeletal body, that body you inhabit at work, at home, and at play, so as to safeguard you from overuse and stress. This is the sweet spot of massage: receiving therapy at the most basic, direct, one-sided, and lived-in level possible.

It seems those who receive massage regularly probably live with less pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia and blood pressure. They enjoy a greater sense of well being, greater flexibility and range of motion, and a relaxed state that is simultaneously revitalized. They probably get sick or injured less often. If you do not receive massages, you may not die of touch starvation but you probably will live longer, and might enjoy a higher quality of life, if you incorporate massage into your lifestyle. People have been doing it forever.



Getting the Most out of Your Massage (Part 2 of 2)

July 21, 2011


This is part two of two. The first entry is available here. It focuses on preparing and communicating. Part two focuses on receiving and resting.

Whether this is your first time on the table or your 52nd of the year, you can get the most out of your massage by preparing, communicating, receiving, and resting.

You can enhance your massage by breathing and consciously “letting go.” If your stresses are really are so important, you can pick them right back up on the way out. Breathing, in particular, helps. Center yourself by exhaling gently, and allow your belly to take in new air on its own. If the session presents you with a particularly sensitive or challenging area, focusing your breath there. Asking yourself to relax around that area can be surprisingly helpful. But only go along so far as you feel comfortable. If at times you find yourself breathing too hard, you may need to communicate to your therapist that less aggressive techniques would be appreciated.

Some massage includes stretching and movement, and it may be tempting to help or even resist such efforts. Of course, this usually just slows or thwarts the good intentions of the therapist. Receiving well means inhibiting the inclination to play a part in controlling your limbs, of course within reason.

If you already listen to your body, let me validate your common sense. Take it kind of easy the night you get your massage. Avoid vigorous exercise, work, or partying. You’ll want to drink plenty of water to help flush your system, and there’s nothing wrong with gentle movement and stretching. A quiet walk, a nutritious dinner, and a detox bath can all help. This is also a good opportunity to check in and see what you notice. The massage may have given you a new awareness that will be helpful to you going forward.


Getting the Most out of Your Massage (Part 1 of 2)

July 14, 2011


This is part one of two. The first entry is available July 14. It focuses on preparing and communicating. Part two is available here. It focuses on receiving and resting.

Whether this is your first time on the table or your 52nd of the year, you can get the most out of your massage by preparing, communicating, receiving, and resting.

Like any activity a little preparation goes a long way. As far as physical preparation is concerned, gentle movement and stretching prior to the massage will enhance just about any experience. Coming directly from a hard work out, on the other hand, will narrow what is possible in a massage. You may find all but the briskest and lightest touch too painful, or you may just curse your therapist the entire next day!

You also won’t want to eat or drink a lot before your massage. Every person’s metabolism is a little different so a little self knowledge is helpful here. All the same, it will be obvious to anyone lying on the table that the mimosas and pot of coffee with your eggs Benedict just before your massage was a bad idea. Massage promotes both detoxification and digestion, so choose wisely. A lightly satisfied stomach from your favorite staple (fruit and nuts, some rice or veggies) will do the trick and is a good idea.

Preparation also includes knowing what you want from the massage. Whether you know it or not, you’ll be bringing unconscious expectations and assumptions along with your body to the massage table. To get the most out of your massage, take a moment of time and attention to get quiet and shift these feelings into conscious, attainable goals. You’ll be able communicate to your therapist clearly what you hope to accomplish or experience from your massage. You’ll also be able to better accept whatever comes out of working towards those goals.

Diplomatic communication with the person who will be putting their elbow in your back is a skill worth developing. If you’ve done your homework you’ll be able to convey the information that aids the cause, and you’ll know when to speak up during the massage. For instance, “I am having trouble looking over my right shoulder when I drive because of the pain in my neck” is a little more useful than “I feel beat up.” Likewise, being able to say, “It’s nothing personal, but I don’t want to talk or deal with a lot of intense therapy. Please do what you can to help me relax and sleep better tonight,” is totally fair and respectable.

Communication may continue into the session, as your therapist can only get better at guessing what your massage feels like to you. If you and your therapist constitute a good match, you may only need to moan your appreciation now and again, but even the best partnerships can require a little fine tuning. Should you require your therapist to adjust either approach or quality, you’ll need to speak up. Just remember that your therapist is trying to help.

Part 2 (receiving and resting) is available here.


Massage is an Effective Treatment for Back Pain

July 5, 2011

From a story on NPR:

study in the July 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine shows that massage is an effective treatment for lower back pain. In some cases, researchers report, the benefits of massage lasted for six months or longer.

After 10 weeks, the results were dramatic: Nearly two-thirds of the patients who received either type of weekly massage said their back pain was significantly improved or gone altogether. Only about one-third of patients receiving the usual care experienced similar relief.

Read or listen to the full story here.

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