I just came home from my ritual monthly spa day! For me, spa days are a necessity for the long hours that I spend working. Without self-care routines, my body starts to talk to me saying “sore shoulders, cranky neck, tired eyes, tired low back.” All of these are symptoms of stress.
As a society, Americans have learned to reduce the pain of stress through both positive and negative routines. Some good routines are regular exercise, eating well, meditation, massage, tai chi, qi gong, reiki and all forms of energy healing. The negatives routines are the ones that suppress or mask pain. Alcohol is one method many people chose to reduce stress and it’s easy to see why. It’s highly social and accepted, it dulls most pain, and it heightens the senses. But after the euphoria of alcohol dies away, the stress can come back and feel more acute and alcohol elicits depression as well.
The whole earthy crunchy tactic is stabilizing for many, but may not be appealing to all! I have many routines that I pick and chose. I love pedicures, facials, body scrubs and whatever is close by will often be sufficient when looking to destress. Locally, I run to Sugarhouseday Spa, I highly recommend the loving hands of Audrey Anne, but be aware, she is very different from the type of massage that I give!
I love a great Ayurvedic treatment called Abhyanga. An Abhyanga treatment is a two-part treatment, first part is dry and the second part is herbal oil. The dry rub is prepared according to your skin and body type, the sesame oil also has herbs added. Using a silk glove the therapist will rub the dry mixture on the skin helping stimulate the lymphatic system and it also increases the circulation helping the skin to detox. Then the therapist wipes off the dry rub and begins to soothe muscles into deep relaxation.
I tried this treatment when I visited Kripalu. I left the massage, headed down to the sauna and let what was left of the oil and dry rub sink deeply into my body. It was a great recovery from 3 days of intense snowshoeing in Vermont! Rest and recovery come in many different forms and varying treatment of stress is a wonderful self-exploration!
Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences!