How to get a great music festival massage

My hesitation to use these services due to my germaphobic mentality is usually overridden by alcohol. In more sober moments I have thought about what is being offered, and I can say I feel pretty good about the cleanliness of most of these spa services. Here is what you want to look for…

Lollapalooza Music Festival

I look forward to big music festivals every summer. Now that I am getting older, I find that VIP service is the only way for me to roll.  I’m a little old for the mosh pit, but I still prefer to get in close for some great live performances. Several years ago, events like Lollapalloza integrated a VIP experience to the festival experience and now it seems to be standard at most large concerts and festivals. Many of the perks are obvious, premium seating and view, unlimited food and drinks, sometimes air-conditioned tents to escape the heat, deluxe air-conditioned bathrooms, and of course spa services.

My hesitation to use these services due to my germaphobic mentality is usually overridden by alcohol. In more sober moments I have thought about what is being offered, and I can say I feel pretty good about the cleanliness of most of these spa services. Here is what you want to look for…

It is helpful to have a beverage while you wait in line.
It is helpful to have a beverage while you wait in line.

1) A giant vat of hand sanitizer. Usually services are provided backstage or in a tent, preferably in a more quiet area. Bathrooms and running water are not typically a feature of these mobile spas.  Also, check that the therapist uses sanitizer on their hands between guests. If no care is taken to make the area appear as clean as possible, skip it, and move on to the beer garden.

2) Paper towels. Typically used in the face cradle of chair massage or massage table to provide additional cleanliness. Hauling in towels and sheets does not usually happen. Watch the therapist. If they sanitize and wipe down the massage chair and use new paper towels for the face cradle between every guest, that is a good sign.

3) Washable surface. It would be my preference to be on a wipeable mat vs. a sheet that has seen one too many festival goers.

4) Appointment times. Who wants to miss the show waiting an hour or two for a “free” 15 minute massage? Get on a list, or move on, unless the chair is empty and ready to roll. Set an alarm on your phone if you think you may forget.

5) Pick treatments times in the morning versus afternoon. Therapists usually work in shifts, so you want to catch one at the begining of the shift. Heat is usually a factor at these outdoor venues so cooler temperatures in the morning or late evening make for a better treatment experience. Hot, sweaty, sticky clothes in the afternoon are not optimal for a great experience.

I wish every festival massage was set up like this tent that was at Floyd Yoga Jam.

 

Helpful hints:

Use sunscreen daily and skip the massage if your skin is too damaged from the sun.

Don’t forget to tip! If you received a great service, show some love. Many times these folks are voluntold by their spa or massage school to work the event and they have to deal with some ungrateful and many overserved guests. I like to tip prior to the service. I find that I get a better, and usually longer, service rather than the tired therapist who phones it in. If this is a three-day festival and you are sleeping in a tent, these people are life savers. You may want to repeat treatments daily, so asking a good therapist when they will return is a smart idea. They may just rebook you on the spot.

If you are day drinking, don’t forget to include water in the mix. Try to alternate between adult beverages and water or other non-alcoholic caffeine-free beverages to stay hydrated.

 

 

Golden Door, the best destination spas go beyond pampering.

I applaude Golden Door for making this video series available to everyone at no charge. I am reposting this video because this is exactly the type of passion and excellence that I look for when I visit a destination spa.

The very best spas in the world do much more than provide a great spa treatment. They understand our need to connect with something bigger than ourselves. They understand our place within nature. They provide the awe that inspires us to feed ourselves spiritually and grow within our own self care. Education takes place at these healing centers. If we are open to it, we have the opportunity to learn while we visit these retreats. This is why spa travel is my passion.

I applaud Golden Door for making this video series available to everyone at no charge. I am reposting this video because this is exactly the type of passion and excellence that I look for when I visit a destination spa. It is my wish to for others to see that a great spa can change the way you see yourself and the world. This video is a pure example of what the very best destination spas in the world actually provide.

Wikipedia suggests a definition of self care:

“In health care, self care is any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated. Some place self care on a continuum with health care providers at the opposite end to self care. In modern medicine, preventive medicine aligns most closely with self care.”

Golden Door, thank you for sharing!

I have not been to Golden Door, but it is at the very top of my bucket list. This is my life.

How do I do it all? I don’t.

As a former hard-core, medical sales rep, learning to say “NO” was my first step to opening bigger, better doors. I’m sharing these wise words from my friend, Michelle Rogers Healthy Living.

Worth your consideration,

-Erin

How do I do it all? I don’t.

April 2, 2015 By Michelle Rogers 3 Comments

Like most other women I know, I’m busy. Between working full time, running a business part-time, doing this blog, taking care of my family and home, studying for my CPT, and trying to take care of myself, too — let’s face it, it’s hard to keep up.

I’m a list maker and Post-it lover, and that helps in terms of organizing. However, it can also be a source of stress to see a long list of what needs doing, knowing it’s hopelessly unrealistic to be able to get it all done.

This used to stress me out a lot, and sometimes still does. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not going to be able to get it all done…at least not in the timeframe I might like. And frankly, I’m weary of trying to keep up.

Maybe we just have to accept that we can’t do it all.

I’ve been doing some thinking lately about how to alleviate the daily overload. Some strategies I’m implementing include:

Say “no” more
Turn down additional work if I should, even if it means losing money
Be far more selective about the projects and clients I do take on
Be realistic about what I can accomplish
Refocus on the goals that are most important to me
Prioritize ruthlessly — decide what must be done today. Does a task actually have to be done right now, or is it just that I’d like it to be done?
Realize that some things on my to-do list will need to be late, or simply may not get done right now
Release guilt about not being able to keep up
Stop comparing myself to others
Let it go
Delegate
And most of all, I need to pare down my list. Life it too short to spend it just trying to keep up!
One activity I refuse to compromise on, however, is my daily workout. It’s non-negotiable, just like getting up or going to work. But how do I ensure that I can fit that in, with everything else going on in my life? By scheduling my workout for 5:30 every weekday morning. It’s simple, really: I do it first, and get it done. No matter what else the day throws at me, my workout is finished. Working out early, at a set time every day, has been a crucial key to my success at fitness and weight loss and to my physical and emotional well-being.

How do you keep up with your commitments? Do you try to “do it all,” or have you given up on this notion? Please share your thoughts and strategies in the comments!

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Busy Is A Sickness

This is a huge health concern! When I was fitted for my custom dental trays to deal with teeth grinding, filled my 1st script for migraine medicine and made my way into a shrinks to talk about stress, a light finally went off! I came to terms with this busyness business nearly nine years ago when I found my meditation practice. It is an ongoing process to continue this mindfulness. Thank you for the reminder and also spreading the word. This is a huge health concern. I no longer identify myself as busy “the medical sales rep,” or “the stressed out step mom.” I don’t take any slack for “sitting and doing nothing” either!!! I did a 180…nine years later my life looks like this http://www.enlightenedspareview.com…and I could not be happier.

How to pack a spa bag

So you’ve booked your room, and your spa treatments. But, are you really ready for an entire day at the spa? I’m guessing you are, but what about you’re partner? Typically, my husband and I will ask me to carry his swim trunks down to the spa. On the upside, he remembered to pack his trunks this time, but on the down side, who do you think carries his wet trunks back to the room?  He also likes to stop and have a drink on the way back to the room. Ok, in reality it is more likely several beers while waiting for me to finish all of my treatments 🙂  Hanging ones trunks on the bar is not very appetizing. In order to get a little more organized about our spa activities, lets take a realistic view about what you will need to bring for yourself and possibly others.

Why does my cat always want to help me pack?
Why does my cat always want to help me pack?

Let’s start with the bag. The satellite bag. That’s right, once your kids have graduated from the diaper bag, you still have to schlep the kids stuff or in my case, the hubby’s stuff. If traveling solo, you will still want to have some of these items with you. I have a couple of ways I pack for a day at the spa. I like to carry a large tote/oversized handbag for car trips. When I fly, I like to use very compact, thin bags that I can pack within my luggage. Taking a dry cleaning bag from the room to the spa pool, gym, or beach is not exactly chic, but in a pinch, it will work just fine.

I like to always keep a thin, lightweight bag in my luggage to use at the spa, pool, day trips, or for additional luggage.
I like to always keep a thin, lightweight bag in my luggage to use at the spa, pool, gym, day trips, or to use as additional luggage.
This is the bag I prefer to carry when taking car trips and I don't have to worry about size or weight of my luggage.
This is a bag I prefer to carry when taking car trips and I don’t have to worry about size or weight of my luggage.

I am hoping that you are staying at a fancy resort that has pool/beach towels, a vat of sunscreen, and a cute towel boy at the pool. But if you are not, the bag needs to be at least large enough to hold a towel.

Don’t forget your sunglasses! I can’t tell you how many times I was just going to get a massage, then end up sitting out by the pool or on a patio for hours. Not having your sunglasses is a total bummer.

Pool cover up, change of shoes and or clothing, bathing suit, hat, sunglasses, and maybe a towel.
Pool cover up, change of shoes and or clothing, bathing suit, hat, sunglasses, and maybe a towel.

Wallet, room key, and cash. Cash is king when it comes to tipping.

I prefer to use a business card carrier for my room key, credit card, and business cards. It is also easy to put into an evening bag for a night out on the town.
I prefer to use a business card carrier for my room key, credit card, and business cards. It is also easy to put into an evening bag for a fun night out.

Sunscreen is a must if you will be enjoying the outdoors for an extended period of time. Many high-end resorts will have some sun block in the locker room  or at the pool. Or, they will sell you some very expensive sunblock. Tuck your favorite brand in your bag and don’t sweat what kind of coverage you will be getting.

If you are booking a facial, you may also want to pack a hat. Sun exposure after a facial is not a good idea.

I am always impressed when the spa offers really nice hair care products and real brushes. Those little “man combs” that are usually provided are pretty worthless. Keep a large tooth comb or vented brush in your bag and you will be able to fix your hair much easier. Ponytail holders, clips, or a headband can be handy. Worse case scenario, you packed a hat, right?

I don't always carry this much product, but it is nice to have what you need if you are not going directly to your room or home, after your treatments.
I don’t always carry this much product, but it is nice to have what you need if you are not going directly to your room or home, after your treatments.

Bring your bathing suit. Pack your own and enjoy the coed whirlpool or pool without having to buy one or worse, use a “loaner suit.” Sorry, it’s a nice idea for a service, but I’m a germaphobe about certain things.

The dry cleaning bag from your room or a plastic bag. I use these to put my wet suit(s) in, to keep it from dripping or getting everything else wet.

Ok, those are my bare basics for a trip to the hotel spa. Here are some other items I like to have with me.

A book, magazine, or tablet/smart phone.

Extra stuff I like to have if I am spending an entire day at the spa.
Extra stuff I like to have if I am spending an entire day at the spa.

Your iPod (yes, I have a spa playlist).

A compact for light make-up coverage, if we are not going back to our room or home.

Lipstick. I don’t leave the house without applying lipstick. Why would I leave the spa without some on? After a great facial, this may be all the product you need.

A notebook and pen to write ideas or make lists. I find a lot of inspiration in the quiet of a spa and I need some way to remember these ideas. Typing on your smart phone may not be the best way to capture these thoughts, as cell phone usage is generally frowned on in a spa.

I like to keep a small pad of paper and pen to jot down all those incredible revolations that occured to me in the meditation room.
I like to keep a small pad of paper and pen in my robe to jot down all those incredible revelations that occurred to me in the meditation room.

If I am staying at a budget spa/day spa for an extended day, I may bring my own cover up and spa shoes. Don’t get me started on “spas” that don’t provide robes!

If I am working out in the fitness area, I will usually wear my workout clothes and sneakers to the treatment. If you don’t want to be an outfit repeater after your workout, you will want to bring a change of clothes. Expert note, wearing Spanx (which are awesome) right after a treatment is a struggle, don’t do it! It will kill a good spa buzz.

I realise this stuff is common sense, but I cannot tell you the number of people I see who carry in their huge luggage/briefcase/enormous make-up bag into the spa. It kills the vibe when it looks like your luggage exploded all over the shared locker room. Most hotels/spas will gladly store your bags for you if you have already checked out, or are just a day guest. Do us all a favor and have your satellite bag. I always keep one in my small carry on. It can also serve as additional luggage if you end up having a little retail therapy while traveling.

Did I miss anything? What’s in your bag?

How to book a great spa treatment

Solid research pays off!
Solid research pays off

Why is it that I always get the best therapist when I go to the spa? Several of my friends call or text me when they get a treatment and either rave about it or lament the service. I would much prefer to hear your rave, rather than the rant, so here is my two cents.

Do some research in the area. Look for big brands like hotel spas, bed and breakfast spas, day spas, medical spas, Ayurvedic spas, healing arts centers, and unique retreats. Know all of your options. Ask trusted friends for input and read online reviews.

Narrow down your choices based on personal preference. Brands of spas or products, types of treatments, overall vibe, on-site or off-site treatments if you are traveling will help you make your choice.

Consider your cost-to-benefit ratio. If you will feel guilty about the amount of a service, you won’t be happy. If you only like luxury or “green” services, again, take this into consideration. Consider overall value. Can you stay the entire day by a pool? Can you workout or have lunch on-site pre or post treatment? Will your insurance cover a medical massage? The benefit of spending a day at a resort pool can offset the idea of higher priced treatments, particularly while on vacation.

Canyon Ranch Spa pool at the Homestead in Warm Springs, VA
Canyon Ranch Spa pool at the Homestead in Warm Springs, VA

When booking, I prefer to call and speak to a person. I skip online booking, even at my local salon. Ask if they have any specials or packages.

Ask for the best available. Definitely consider getting a male therapist! I know many people have a preference for the female therapists, but you are missing out on some very talented male therapists. If you prefer deep tissue massage, definitely let the staff know when booking your appointment.

Ask if a “master therapist” or a “master esthetician” is available. Many large resort spas will have this option. A small upchange may occur ($10-15 dollars seems to be a standard charge), but it is always worth it in my book. If money is a big concern, check to see if a gratuity is built into the service. Sticker shock at check out will kill a good spa buzz.

Consider the time of day for your treatment. What will you need to do after your treatment? I prefer to do any exercise like working out or golf, prior to services. Avoid smudges to manicures and pedicures by booking those appointments last, during a full day of treatments.

If you have to be dressed up after your treatment, consider adding a blow out and or make-up application to follow your treatment. Large spas usually have a full range of beauty services, but even your local day spa will offer a make-up touch up for no additional charge for facial appointments. Ask!

Professional make up application is always a good idea :)
Professional make up application is always a good idea 🙂

Speak up when you meet with your therapist. Know ahead of time that you will be having a conversation with them and make it count. Therapists and estheticians always ask you if you have any problem areas, medical issues, or allergies, even if you filled out a form. This is the time when you mention that you prefer deep tissue or a lighter pressure. If you don’t like oil, ask for lotion. If you don’t like chatting during a treatment, let them know. If you want to learn more about skin care and the products used, let them know. It can be aqkward to answer questions or bring up requests once you have your face pressed into a cradle and you’re undressed.

Seriously, its best to speak up about preferences.
Seriously, its best to speak up about preferences.

If this is your local spa and you visit it regularly, be a generous tipper. These are the people who can really help you out in a pinch. You will get more samples, better services, and even extended time or add-on therapies as a bonus.

A thoughtful gift from the staff at the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans.
A thoughtful gift from the staff at the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans.

Remember, these professionals chose their career because they are sensitive and truly want to help people. They are not mind readers. If you recieve a great service, ask for their card. “Spa brain” will no doubt make you forget their name. Referring friends is always appreciated.

Did I leave anything out???