Rachel Rodriguez • Lifestyle
Rachel Rodriguez • Lifestyle
The Spa Experience
A gift for Mother's Day = Serenity. Zen. Relaxation. 90-minutes of pure bliss from a well-needed massage.
Serenity. Zen. Relaxation.
Three words that come to mind whenever I step into a Spa.
It’s almost like magic… you open the door and walk to the front desk and instantly your mind knows you’re here to relax.
The mind starts to slow down, it begins to quiet and enters a state of pure relaxation. At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself all morning.
My husband and son bought me this gift for Mother’s Day and I’m here to relax! …As Ross from Friends emphasizes on his shirt “Frankie says relax!” …I’ll be doing just that! Thank you very much.
Breathing for Massage
Mid-afternoon is my appointment so I made sure to have my protein smoothie late enough, but early enough before this appointment. And then plan to eat lunch right after.
I blocked my schedule. Turned off my phone. Nothing in the outside world mattered for the next two hours that I’ll be here. I was ready to put on their comfy, fluffy robe and soft slippers! Grab cucumber-melon-infused water and quiet the mind.
The seating area is lit up with candles and there’s a new smell engulfing the atmosphere. I instantly sit down and grab a cheezy magazine, and think to myself “they still have these around!” I rarely have time for them now…I sit and read (if you’d call it that).
The chair is big and you sink right into it and let out a deep breath.
The breath is one of the strongest indicators of telling you and even your massage therapist how you’re doing. I like to focus on deep, full breaths that fill the belly and then slowly exhale.
By doing this at the beginning I start to become present.
I see my massage therapist, I’ve been going to her for years! Absolutely love her flow and techniques. Walking down the stairs into our room, 90- minutes of pure bliss awaits.
Relax is all over my mind, relaxing the body and the mind is key I tell myself. Again and again! I don’t think you can tell yourself too many times at this point. It’s almost as if you’re programming yourself to do so once you lay down.
My therapist always does full-body, but this time I want her to focus more on my neck and scalp. The brain needs some TLC today! Even my hair needs to decompress a little.
Colors for Massage
Years ago I was a massage therapist for a popular spa called Burke Williams. Since retired. But I worked for 6 years and put myself through school during that timeframe. Once I graduated I was off to the nutrition world ready to be a dietitian.
Although, while working there I learned more about customer service than in any other job I had. The energy, wants, demands, and needs of clients came from all different angles.
It was my job to remain mentally relaxed. I gave some of my best massages during finals week. I was beyond being stressed and had to focus my studies on sometimes 3 finals at a time. I had to learn how to control my emotions and energy... It worked too!
Even though my mind was full of calculations, definitions, and systems; I had my routine down to a science, and the more in intune I was able to get with the client, the better I would focus.
Now I learned I was in flow and could focus my attention and just give. It was a fun time, I met so many people; celebrities, CEOs, athletes, and even a writer for Scream 4.
Anyways, during the pandemic, I researched a lot about energy and read up on chakras. I’ve known other massage therapists that practiced Reiki and loved getting Shiatsu, which focuses on the meridians to increase energy and blood flow. Chakras are right up that ally and wanted to know more about it.
Now that my son is in school colors have become a big part of my day and why not bring colors into the mind when you’re getting a massage as well.
It’s a simple trick to not only focus the breathing and focus the mind on colors and bring attention to the breath at specific points in the body. I like it, it might be something worth trying at your next session.
I’ll breathe in deeply and focus on the color red, which is at the base of the pelvic bone. Then you work your way up to white which is at the top of the head; stopping at each chakra point and focusing there.
Switching from breathing to the colors of chakras helps my mind stay present. In the event these two don’t work I have one more in my back pocket- a body scan.
Body Scan for Massage
I love the sense of touch. A warm embrace. A high-five. A nice pat on the back.
It was one of the main things that I missed during the pandemic.
Once I noticed businesses started opening up again I quickly booked my next appointment.
As a matter of fact, I think I had some saved and used them all up rather quickly. As a result, I will gladly take a massage as a gift anytime!
The hardest part of laying face down is turning off the mind.
My thoughts start to kick in and the ever-evolving to-do list creeps in as well, which is why I force my mind to focus on where my massage therapist is currently at.
Another practice I use is scanning the body while the therapist is working on a particular area.
I tend to switch back and forth from colors to body scan depending on how tight the muscle might be.
It’s almost as if I’m doing meditation while laying there.
Then I focus on where her hands are and if she finds s a knot. I’ll breathe deeply in that area to get more blood flow there and help break up anything that’s clustering together. Along the same lines, if I notice that my breathing has slowed down or need to shift my mindset I start picturing colors. Always switching between these 3 strategies.
I try to make a mental note during the body scan of which areas I need to stretch out more the next day. My upper back and feet were probably the two areas that stood out the most. That makes sense, as I finished the half marathon not too long ago and my feet took a beating.
I love when the mind goes into a deep trance where you’re almost at the point of falling asleep, the mind drifting, but not quite asleep yet. That’s when you know it’s a good massage! I remember more times than I could count how many clients fell asleep during one of my massages. It was like clockwork!
Smash Your Grape
Yesterday, my mind was too focused on all three of these that I never drifted off. I was present and utterly relaxed!
Those 90-minutes of pure bliss flew by too fast!
There are so many benefits from a massage that is good for the body, immunity, and muscles.
What I love the most is the sense of touch, connection, and relaxing the mind.
The best Mother’s Day gift you could give!