Dry vs. Wet Heat

Heat can be a therapy option when looking to improve body aches and pains.  When heat is applied to the skin, it actually reduces the sensation of pain.  Thermo-receptors which block your body’s pain transmitters from sending pain signals to your brain are stimulated by heat.  An old fashion version of heat therapy was utilizing a heating pad.  You would plug it in and apply it to the area of pain.  This type of heat therapy is known as a dry heat.  When the heating pad is placed on the body it is removing moisture by drying out the skin.   It is a better option than not doing anything, but I am here to explain a better alternative to dry heat therapy and that is wet heat.

So why wet heat?

Water transfers heat more quickly than air, and it improves the expansion of the blood capillaries (vessels) to allow more blood flow.  The primary objective of heat therapy is to expand the blood capillaries so that blood flow is increased and the area of pain can heal quicker.  Moist heat is more effective than dry heat in providing deeper penetration of the tissue at the same temperatures.

Wet heat options

When looking for a superficial heating unit, look for one that says something like “moist heat”.  Kneaded Relief does provide a “moist heat” option.  Our Sonoma Lavender Wraps pictured here can be heated up in the microwave and then placed on the body.  These wraps create sweat which then transfers the heat quicker.  They are also equipped with Lavender which is an essential oil that provides a calming presence.

Sonoma Lavender Wet Heat Wrap
Sonoma Lavender Wet Heat Wrap

Bach Rescue Remedy – My Personal Story

My bottle of Bach Rescue Remedy
My bottle of Bach Rescue Remedy

It has been over 9 years now since I was introduced to Bach Rescue Remedy.  Honestly when I was first made aware of this product I really thought, “this is a bunch of bologna and it is clearly if anything a placebo effect.”.  Well that was at least my thought until this past fall.

What is Bach?

Bach Flower Remedies Limited utilizes flower essences to create products to help with a number of different emotional states.  Bach Rescue Remedy is a natural stress relief spray.  It provides a gentle, non habit forming stress relief by simply being sprayed in the mouth.  The product is homeopathic, vegan and gluten free.

Well as I was saying, I was introduced to Bach over 9 years ago and I purposefully had not used it.  I recommended it to guests and to my friends and family because I wanted to believe it would work, but I felt honestly that there was no way a spray was going to do anything for my mental health.

It was September of this past year when I was heading back to work after my maternity leave with my daughter and my son, who had just turned 2, was now going to go to daycare full time vs. part time.  I had convinced myself that he would be fine.  He would not be upset that he didn’t get to spend part of his week with his grandparents and he would totally understand why his mom had to go to work…you probably all know where this story is going.  Instead of having a well adjusted 2 year old I had a sobbing, clinging, frazzled, massively emotional 2 year old who I literally had to yank off my leg when I left him at school.  It was horrible.  Day after day he sobbed and I sobbed in the car on the ride to work because I felt like the worst human being alive.  I had no idea what to do.  He was 2 and emotional and I was a breastfeeding, mother-of-two, hormonal roller coaster myself.  There was no magic pill for this situation, but then as I was sitting at my desk I looked over to our retail shelves and saw Bach Rescue Remedy.  It was then I thought, “I have nothing to lose.”

Now on the bottle it did say that if you are pregnant or breastfeeding to consult a doctor and it also said that it should be not directed at children under 12, so I went to my doctor and told her what I knew and what this was.  Her personal advice was that it would be fine for me and for my kiddo to use (please advise your own physician when considering taking Bach).  So the next day I purchased some, and the day after that I tried the spray on my son.  His immediate reaction was, “that is spicy mama”, and he wanted nothing to do with it.  I went to Pam our Massage Department Manager and asked if there was any other way to apply it.  She suggested spraying some into my hand and then rubbing it on the back of his neck, so that was what I tried next.  It had been just over a week of using Bach and then it happened.  I asked my son when he got to school if he wanted “his spray”, he said yes and I applied it to the back of his neck.  He then took my hand, walked calmly into the classroom, gave me a hug and a kiss goodbye and said, “bye mom”.  I LEFT STUNNED!

Once in the car with my jaw picked off my chest, I realized that this spray might have done the trick.  Driving to work that day was incredible.  I was happy and my stomach didn’t feel in knots.  Ever since I have been using Bach Rescue Remedy and telling everyone about it.  Not only that but I started to use it too.  I don’t use it everyday but I use it when I start to get stressed or I worry.  Having kids, a full time job and a busy husband there are a number of things that cause stress, so each time I feel that feeling coming on I just spray some Bach Rescue Remedy and I instantly start to calm down.  I became more rational, clear-headed and I worry A LOT LESS.

I was a non believer and I became a believer.  If this is just a placebo effect, well I don’t care.  It gives me a homeopathic option to help my kids not cry, and for me to worry less.  I will take that option any day. http://www.bachflower.com/

Dana Neal – Spa Manager, Group Fitness Instructor and Mom of two

Shellac Manicure for Winter

Shellac Manicures Available
Shellac Manicures Available

Shellac Manicures combat Winter Gloves

It is a balmy 2 degrees outside today in Fitchburg, WI.  Typical weather for this time of year.  It is also typical of me to question why I chose to live in Wisconsin every year at this time.  With a polar vortex in full swing, you can imagine that no one leaves their home without full body coverage (hats, scarves, jackets, gloves, long sleeves, long pants, thick socks and boots).  So when a guest comes in to receive a manicure, I slightly cringe because there is a specific dance that has to happen in order for the guest to put back on all of their layers, especially gloves after a fresh coat of nail polish has been applied.  Well that cringing is all in the past now due to a product called Shellac.

Shellac is a nail polish designed by Creative Nail to have zero dry time.  It is a 14 day high shine, high performance wear product that has fast removal and by the end of your service is completely DRY.  Let me say that again because I feel like this is so amazing.  At the end of your service your nails are completely dry.  No worries about grabbing your credit card out of your wallet, no worries about how you are going to put your jacket on, no worries about bumping a nail anywhere and no worries about wearing warm gloves in the middle of a polar vortex.

Shellac is a professional product and should only be applied and removed by a professional; otherwise, damage to the nails is possible.  At Kneaded Relief we offer a Shellac manicure and removal.  There are a variety of colors to choose from and the service only takes about 45 minutes.  To learn more about the Shellac product check out CND’s website https://cnd.com/.  There are F.A.Q.’s that you can read about or you can see a video on the process.

Just because it is freezing here (and that might be an understatement), does not mean that you shouldn’t be able to enjoy a manicure and have beautiful nails.  I promise you that once you try it you will be hooked.

Does Waxing Hurt?

OUCH that Hurts!

The simple answer to the question, “does waxing hurt?” is YES.

Waxing is an amazing service.  In a few swift pulls the entire hair is removed leaving the area smooth as a baby’s butt, and the likelihood of hair coming back becomes less and less if you stick with a consistent waxing routine.  The uncomfortable feeling though associated with hair being removed can make the experience not that enjoyable and so here is some information on how to reduce the pain or to at least help you understand why you might experience more pain then someone else.

Let us start first about talking about why you might be experiencing pain.

    1. Someone besides a professional is waxing you.  A professional should be the only person you trust providing you with a waxing treatment.  A professional looks at a variety of different things that perhaps your sister might not.  An Esthetician takes in to consideration, the direction the hair grows, the length of hair, where hair has already been removed, the heat of the wax and of course the type of wax that is used.
    2. The type of Wax being used.  At Kneaded Relief we use Nufree which is a safe organic liquid hair removal that completely uproots the bulb and entire hair shaft.  It never dries and will not stick to the skin, therefore there is less pain and no tearing of the skin.

      wax
      Nufree Liquid Hair Removal System
    3. Coarse hair or hair that grows in multiple directions.  If you have very coarse hair or hair that grows in multiple directions, it is possible you will experience more pain than someone with very fine hair that grows in one direction.
    4. Ingrowns (hair that is trapped under the skin and causing irriation).
    5. Length of hair.  Trying to wax hair shorter than 1/4″ or longer than 1/2″ makes waxing more difficult and that can hurt more.
    6. A topical product. Clients who are using Retin-A, Renova or other AHA’s need to discontinue use for at least 48 hours prior to receiving waxing treatments because they make the skin additionally sensitive and can cause the skin to tear.
    7. Taking Accutane.  If you take Accutane you cannot at Kneaded Relief receive a waxing service because Accutane thins the skin and again can cause tearing.
    8. Sensitivity.  Some people are just more sensitive then others, or perhaps the area you are waxing is more sensitive than another area.

Now let us discuss things you can do to help the pain.

    1. Don’t apply any lotion or deodorant prior to waxing.  Though the therapist will wipe the area before waxing, lotion or deodorant will still be on the skin and make it difficult to grab the hair.
    2. Shower with a mild scrub daily starting a few days prior to the treatment.  By using a mild scrub you are opening up the pores allowing for an easier pull.
    3. If you have ingrowns, use a product to help rid the skin of these uncomfortable bumps.  This is the same as using a mild scrub.  The more open the pores are the easier and less painful it is to receive a wax.  We recommend Tend Skin to use between waxes.
    4. 1/4″-1/2″ hair (length of a grain of rice).  If hair is in the “sweet spot” of length the therapist has the easiest time pulling it.  Either wait until hair is this grown out or trim it back before your service.
    5. A pain reliever can’t hurt.  Taking Ibuprofen 45 minutes before the service can help lessen the pain overall.  Also taking Tums 20 minutes prior to the service can decrease the level of acid in the body and this too is said to help with the pain.
    6. Use a cold pack following the service.  Waxing can heat up the skin, so using a cold pack on the area takes down the heat and the pain.  Kneaded Relief can apply cold packs following your service.  We also use a product called Finipil (it is also available for retail) that has a cooling agent in it.  This cooling agent calms the skin the same way a cold pack would.

I hope that I was able to shine a little light on how to make your next waxing experience an even more positive one. Though the saying goes, “Beauty is Pain”, at Kneaded Relief we don’t think it needs to be.

Dana Neal – Spa Manager, Group Fitness Instructor and Hoping to make waxing not hurt.

Why Can’t I get in for an Appointment?

No Appointment Available

It is Monday morning and you realize that you have that huge presentation on Thursday that has been sucking the life out of you, or you remembered your wife’s birthday is this weekend and you still don’t have a gift for her.  You think to yourself, “I should call Kneaded Relief and make an appointment for this week.”  You meant to book an appointment weeks earlier but then life got in the way and you totally forgot.
At Kneaded Relief we understand all too well how frustrating it can be when you call for an appointment the same week and can’t get in. Heck, sometimes it’s several days, weeks, or months depending on your therapist and service needs. “Can they really be this booked?  Can’t they just squeeze me in?” you wonder. We know you don’t necessarily see what goes on behind the scenes, so we thought we’d give you a peek “behind the curtain”!
Our team arrives to work 30 minutes before their first scheduled appointment. Ten minutes before our appointments begin we have a mini-meeting called a “huddle”. The purpose of our huddle is to allow our team members to review daily goals, communicate strategies and promotions and develop their plan of action for the day in general. Then it’s time for the fun to begin.
Believe it or not, it takes a lot to orchestrate a typical day in the spa. Our guest services team is busy answering phones, booking appointments and taking care of you and their therapist team while our therapists are making you feel wonderful.  On average per day we have 12 therapists working.  We are open 7 days a week and most days from 9:00am-8:00pm or 9:00pm with an average service being 60 minutes of time.  If you think about it, that’s a lot of clients!  About 50% of our clients pre-book their appointments, which means they book their next appointment before they leave the spa.  If you can believe it, we have clients who are booked out for the rest of 2017!

prebook your appointment
Prebook Your Appointment

As you can see, that leaves us with very limited availability. In order to accommodate as many clients as possible, we “book tight” leaving little to no room between appointments. Most gaps are only 15 minutes.  It might also help you understand why we ask our clients if they need to cancel for 48 hours notice.  We can sometimes have a line of clients on our pending list and those openings are few and far between.  The more notice we have the better off we are at getting someone else in.  This is also the reasoning behind why we have to charge you for an appointment when you do no-show or late cancel.
So while our Guest Service Representatives are highly skilled at moving and manipulating books, the truth is there’s no benefit for both you and your beloved therapist to try to squeeze you in last minute.  For the investment you’re making, you owe it to yourself to have a time scheduled that is most conducive to your schedule.  Our front desk and therapists will do everything imaginable to get you in. They might suggest other services that could benefit you that you might have not thought about.  Or they might suggest a hydrotherapy service that has more flexibility to it since there is no service provider.
In the end though, the best option if you don’t have a schedule that’s as flexible as you’d like is to set up your next appointment with our Guest Service team during your visit to the spa.  This guarantees you have your pick of time and day. We would rather be at the mercy of your schedule, instead of the other way around.  We want to keep you relaxed and happy, and if you do have a time that arises that just couldn’t be planned for and we don’t have something available, we do have gift certificates available instantly online or sent to you in a gold box with ribbon if ordered over the phone.
We hope this provides you with a little insight into the Kneaded Relief workings, and provides you with some solutions to getting in for an appointment within the time frames you have available.

Dana Neal – Spa Manager and Group Fitness Instructor

Sandals All Year Round

It probably makes a lot of sense that in the midst of a snowy day or the few days after that when coming to Kneaded Relief we would have you change into a pair of provided sandals.  Clearly most everyone can understand that tracking water through the spa could be a pain for those to clean up or a potential hazard to their fellow guests.  And it probably goes without mentioning the potential of squeaky shoes that the winter brings, however at Kneaded Relief regardless of the time of year, we offer all of our guests (except those getting a pedicure and bringing their own sandals) to change into a pair of ours.

Part of the ambiance of Kneaded Relief is the attribute of “pure quiet”.  Voices are lowered to max a whisper, phones are turned off and put away (even the sound of clicking keys can be heard), and doors are so ever carefully shut.  To also help achieve that whisper of a sound atmosphere, we ask that you change your shoes to our sandals.  Squeaks are eliminated, high heels clicking across the floor are gone and heavy footed walkers lose a bit of the “clomp” as they come down the hall.   We know for some it is a pain to change your shoes and maybe even potentially an uncomfortable situation because our sandals might be a little too small or too big or maybe you find yourself with a pair that has the massagers on them and they hurt your feet.  In these cases, we ask you to bring a pair of your own sandals to put on.

In the end, though the quiet is restored due to the changing of the shoes, what we are really hoping for is that our guests find additional relaxation and serenity from stepping out of the outside world and into ours.  So next time you head to Kneaded Relief and a Guest Service team member asks for your shoe size let them know what size shoe you wear, slip off your shoes and cares, and slide into the Kneaded Relief relaxation foot apparel.  You will be providing yourself and those around you that extra little bit of “spa…ahhh”.

Dana Neal – Spa Manager, Group Fitness Instructor and Sandal Wearer

Exfoliation – Chemical & Physical

As the winter weather looms in the near future (very near future), the thought of dry, cracked skin becomes a daily concern for some of us.  Regular exfoliation can be the answer to this daily concern.  Exfoliation is a necessity for healthy skin.  Dead skin cells build up on the surface of our skin (your skin turns over every 4 weeks) giving your appearance a dull look.  Throw in winter weather, old make-up, dirt and oil and you have a combo that will only create a lackluster appearance.  To combat it, practice a simple 1-2 times per week exfoliation process.

There are two main types of exfoliation available – Chemical and Physical.  Either way will improve the appearance of your skin and maybe even shave off a few years of aging.  Who doesn’t want to look 25 again?  So what is the difference between chemical and physical exfoliation?

Chemical exfoliation uses a variety of chemicals.  Most commonly used are several types of enzymes, including fruit enzymes, alpha hydroxy acids like lactic or glycolic, and beta hydroxy acids such as salicylic acid.  Though the thought of chemical exfoliation might sound scary, it really isn’t.  Think of your skin like bricks and mortar.  Chemical exfoliators break down the mortar between the bricks which then allows the bricks (dead skin) to be whisked away.

Physical exfoliation on the other hand is a product that contains a rough material (sugar, salt, ground nuts, oats, etc.) that by being rubbed on the skin manually removes the dead skin cells.  Either option could potentially work for you and most of the time it ends up being a personal preference.  The important thing to do is to partake in the exfoliation process at least 1-2 times per week.  And this process should take place wherever you have skin, so not just the face.  I don’t know about you, but the lower half of my legs in the winter take on the appearance of an albino snake.  I did include here a before and after of my left hand.  This is a before and then after using Trillium Organic Body Polish.  You can see how much better color I have after a few minutes of exfoliation as well as a softer appearance of the skin.

Hand before Physical Exfoliation
Hand before Physical Exfoliation
Hand after Physical Exfoliation
Hand after Physical Exfoliation

Save your skin this winter and start an exfoliation process today.  It is a great habit and will only benefit you if you stick with it (even when it isn’t freezing cold outside).

Here is a list of Chemical and Physical Exfoliators that we use and recommend at Kneaded Relief.

Chemical:

  1. Bioelements Quick Refiner and Quick Refiner for Eyes
  2. Bioelements Kerafole
  3. PCA Body Therapy Lotion
  4. PCA Dry Skin Relief Bar
  5. PCA BPO 5% Cleanser
  6. Farmhouse Fresh Honey Heel Glaze
  7. Tend Skin

Physical:

  1. Trillium Organic Body Polish
  2. Bioelements Pumice Peel
  3. Bioelements Measured Micrograins
  4. Bioelements Cactus Cloth
  5. Bioelements Face Brush
  6. Farmhouse Fresh Body Scrub

Dana Neal – Spa Manager, Group Fitness Instructor and Exfoliator Extraordinaire

Should I get Naked?

Do I go Naked?
Do I go Naked?

It has happened!  You walk in for your spa appointment and the woman at the Guest Service Desk asks, “Would you care to change into a robe today?”.  You immediately think, “um, well what does that mean?.”  The Guest Service Rep then explains that you can change into a robe or change in and out of your clothes within the treatment room when the therapist has stepped out.  You end up choosing the robe and head to the locker room and then panic sets in.  You think to yourself, “Am I suppose to get naked?”, “Should I leave on my bra, underwear?”, “What about my socks?”.  You think about the message keeping or taking off your clothes will send to the therapist.  You think about whether you shaved your armpits, legs, toes (yes sometimes people worry about their toes).  You think about laying on a table NAKED!  Well I am here to help you make a decision that feels appropriate for you and to provide you with some much needed information on the services and the providers to help ease your thoughts.

First and foremost, during any service you receive at Kneaded Relief, our professional staff is trained to properly drape you.  Nothing will show that shouldn’t be shown.  Your privacy is well respected at all times.

Secondly, regardless of the service (except for waxing), the therapist is paying no attention to whether or not an armpit, leg, toe or anything else has been shaved or waxed.  With or without hair the therapist is able to perform the service.

Third, if you are requesting in a massage service for an area to be worked on, the therapist can and will work around a clothing item; however without it there the therapist does not have to make the adjustment for the clothing being on the body.  So if you feel comfier having it on, keep it on, but if you take it off then the therapist will be able to work a bit more seamlessly without it.

Next, because we always appropriately drape the body, the therapist does not care if you leave on or take off your underwear.  They aren’t judging your style of undergarments or lack there of.  They are there to provide a service that helps your wellness.

When it comes to hydrotherapy services, all of our hydrotherapy units are private.  Swimsuits are then a personal option but not a necessity.  Also, all of our hydrotherapy units are cleaned and sterilized between each use.

Finally, as a client, you should feel comfortable during a service and not thinking the entire time about whether or not you should be wearing your undergarments.  So do whatever will allow you to relax the most.  There is nothing worse then spending your hard earned money on a service and instead of focusing in on the experience you find your mind circulating on the fact that you kept your socks on.

My hope now is for every guest who walks through our door to field the robe question with much more confidence.  And if you still are unsure, ask your therapist or a guest service member what is the main focus areas in that type of service you are receiving (i.e. back and shoulders in a 30 minute massage, or face and neck in a facial) and they can let you know what will most likely be exposed and then you can make a quick shift if necessary.

Detox for the Season

During seasonal transitions clients are always interested in ways to “manage” the changes that coincide with a changing of the season.  Being a born and bred Wisconsin girl, I know that with the season change comes a number of factors to consider:

  1. What to wear
  2. Time to leave the house to get anywhere due to construction, snow, ice, rain, etc.
  3. What products I should be using to either bring moisture to my skin, or to give myself a tan or to protect myself from the sun, etc.
  4. Illnesses – prevention and/or dealing with an illness
  5. And the list could go on and on

One suggestion that I always hear my team members make to deal with the number of things above is to schedule a detoxing service at the beginning of each new season. By having a detox service, the body is able to better handle the large amount of changes that a new season brings. It essentially is a way to start fresh, clean slate and prepare your body and mind for the new things to come.

If you are someone who has a difficult time dealing with change then this is especially for you, but really a detox service can be even helpful for those who flow smoothly from one thing to the next.  One detox service that I highly recommend is our Cleansing Mud Steam Shower.  It is focused not just around physical detox but mental detox.

Cleansing Mud Steam Shower
While enjoying an Aura Cacia Inspiration infused essential oil steam, you will partake in a self-guided mud application.  You will be given Sedona Clay infused with Vitamin E., Grape seed, Bladderwrack, Irish Moss, and Sage Essential oils.  Begin your treatment by applying this magnesium and vitamin-rich mud blend to your body, then relax in the wet heat of the steam, and lastly remove the mud with the available shower.  When completed your skin will be left glowing and your mind will feel encouraged to be creative.

Try a  Cleansing Steam Shower
Try a
Cleansing Steam Shower

By partaking in a detox service such as our Cleansing Mud Steam Shower, you hit your internal reset button. If spa services don’t work for you, think about increasing your water intake and/or taking a hot yoga class. Just find something that can push out the old and allow for the new to come in.

Dana Neal – Spa Manager, Group Fitness Instructor and Seasonal Detox-er

Why 30 minutes early?

It is one of the questions we get asked the most, “Why do I need to arrive 30 minutes early for my appointment?”.  Upon scheduling an appointment for the first time, you will receive the instructions to arrive 30 minutes prior to the start time of your appointment.  Taking the hint from being asked the question multiple times, I decided to explain the reasoning behind the policy.  In the end it is our goal at Kneaded Relief to provide a first class experience, and we feel this feeds that experience.

Arriving Early…why?

    1. Intake Form: Our intake form is like no other out there.  At Kneaded Relief we provide anything but a cookie cutter service.  We tailor each and every session to your needs and we start this by getting an extensive background on your wellness on our intake form.  We then write S.O.A.P. (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan) notes following each appointment so that regardless of whom you see each time, we are able to customize your service to what your requests are and what each therapist has seen and worked on.
    2. Amenities:  Upon arrival, guests are offered robes and sandals to change into (we do not offer robes to clients solely receiving nail services or waxing services due to the nature of the service).  Our robes and sandals are meant to start you along your journey to pure relaxation.  It also allows you to take less time having to change in and out of your clothes within our treatment rooms (if the service requires this), so there is more time on the table.  We also have a locker room available with a shower, restroom facilities and product amenities.
    3. Relaxation Retreat (and this is probably my favorite reason):  Kneaded Relief provides a heavenly retreat to utilize before your service.  Filled with comfy chairs, a couch, water, tea, snacks and magazines, this space immediately relieves any stress or frustrations you might be carrying.  The view overlooks a serene prairie and waterfall and you are immediately transported to another world (even though you are just steps outside Madison).

      View from Relaxation Retreat
      View from Relaxation Retreat

I understand that 30 minutes early (especially before a waxing service) can seem a little crazy to arrive for an appointment, but I promise you that by giving yourself that time you are allowing your body and mind some much “kneaded” wellness, and your experience here will be that much more enjoyable.

Dana Neal – Spa Manager, Guest Service Rep and Fan of arriving early for my appointments