New Pricing Changes, Effective August 15th, 2018

Since our inception, the massage industry has changed tremendously!  A decade ago when we posted an opening for a massage therapist, we would receive over 20 resumes from strong candidates.  Unfortunately, today, we generally get a handful of resumes and many do not have the experience or quality of touch necessary to work at The Wellness Center.  This is certainly a big indicator of how the industry has changed over the years and how important it is for us to retain our highly skilled therapists and ensure their longevity in the industry.

I am proud that we have created a safe, thriving and desirable place for therapists to practice.  Over half of our therapists have been with us for 3 or more years and about a quarter of them have been with us 6+ years!  This is a huge feat in the massage industry, where typically the burnout rate is high and the average massage therapist only lasts a couple of years in the business.  The physical and emotional demands on a therapist are strenuous, therefore, the proper equipment, training and down-time is a must! We understand this and have created an environment that honors these needs.

Where does this all lead?   We know that you value high-quality massages and your patronage demonstrates your awareness that a great therapist in a great setting means all the difference to your health and healing journey.  This focus, coupled with the increasing costs of doing business, means our massage prices need to change.

Effective, August 15th, 2018 prices will be increasing.

Our regular rate for a 60 minute massage (which has always and will always be a full 60 minutes of hands on bodywork) will become $109. 

Our One Hour Monthly Massage Membership Plan will be $84 per month benefits below:

  • Receive one pre-paid massage with your monthly membership fee
  • Additional 1.0 hr member massages will be $79; 1.5 hr member massages will be $118
  • One hour massage gift cards for friends and family: $99

Pricing changes are never fun, but I can confidently say that we are still the “best” deal in town for the caliber of therapeutic massage we offer and for the amount hands-on time during each session.

If you have any questions or concerns about this change, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our management team:  myself, Kris Wood, Director or Yosevine Heintz, Assistant Director.

Thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you soon!

In Health,

The Myth of consumer Self-Care

Today I was in yoga class and my teacher brought up living a life without excess, without extremes. To bask and embrace the mundane, steadiness of everyday life.  As humans we sometimes feel like we have to always be moving and always striving. There are a lot to just “being” in the world, there is profound healing in being “seen” in the world be someone else.

I talk about self-care often, and recently I read this post from Brianna Wiest in Thought Catalog. Where she discusses how self-care can often be a very unbeautiful thing. That many times people mis-interperet self-care as a way to “escape” your life and indulge by spending money, buying more things and living a life of excess. Advertisers have used manipulative advertising campaigns to try to convince you that self-care is all about spending money and extreme luxury. In Wiest words, this is “consumer self-care.”

True self-care is the exact opposite. Self-care is about creating a life that nurtures and feeds your soul. To love and accept exactly who you are in the moment, and in many ways to enjoy being normal and ordinary. Self-care is not about “fixing” yourself it is about supporting your life and living with intention.
If you are up to your ears in credit card debt, getting massages, going to expensive yoga classes, and eating out might seem like the right thing to do for yourself… but if you can’t afford it, then you are actually self-sabotaging yourself.
Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive, it can be…
• picking up a good book
• taking a bath
• going out for a walk and enjoying nature
• having tea with a good friend
• turning off your electronic devices at 9pm and getting a good night sleep
• cooking healthy meals at home, packing your lunch for work
• having time in your day, what I call “time margin” to talk to your neighbors or help a friend in need, to not feel rushed

The biggest gift we can give ourselves in this fast paced world, is time!  One of the best self-care gifts you can give yourself is the gift of time.  How can you create more downtime and margin in your life?  Rather than watch TV, can you choose to go for a walk instead? Rather than be on social media, can you call a friend you haven’t spoken to in awhile?  Rather than go on a shopping spree, take a nice hot bath and read a good book.  Making wise choices is at the root of true self-care and it requires intentional effort and discipline, but the benefits are infinite. 

Here’s to being “true” to your self-care journey. 

In Health,

Be kind and gentle with yourself…

Owning a business is like birthing and raising a child.  It needs A LOT of energy, care and attention at the beginning years of its life.  As the years pass, it gets easier.  Businesses are all about people, especially in service businesses, the people create the “culture.”

I have owned The Wellness Center for over 17 years, I will say that the day to day running of the business is 10 times easier today than it was 10 years ago.  I work less hours, I have more confidence in my management/leadership abilities, and I have amazing team of employees and practitioners that have been with me through thick and thin.  Longevity and trust are paramount to any successful endeavor, because they contribute to the cultural fabric of the organization.

The greatest lesson I have learned over the years, is that even though the “bottom” line is important in any business, being compassionate and kind is even more important.  This can be difficult for service businesses.  When a practitioner is sick or injured, it affects the “bottom” line, but at the end of the day if you show that practitioner compassion and kindness, especially when they are at their weakest, they generally will be loyal to you over the long haul.

Putting human needs over business needs is not intuitive to American capitalism and corporate ideology, where money and materialism rule.   I have personally found that being kind and compassionate is one of the best ways to run a business and a good way to “be” in the world.  To see everyone’s humanness, helps me to have even more empathy not only in those around me, but also in myself.

What is the message here?  Be kind, gentle and loving to yourself.  We are human, and imperfect beings.    When you are kind and gentle with yourself, you have more compassion towards others and you lead in a very different way.  Don’t get me wrong every business, family and organization has to set clear, reasonable boundaries and rules, but we make exceptions to the rules when “life happens.”

Happy Summer!

 

Get a massage on Friday, May 18th, 2018 and 25% of your massage will go to Lyme Warrior!

Join us in supporting Lyme Warrior a Non-Profit dedicated towards funding and finding solutions for those suffering from chronic Lyme Disease.  Come in for a massage on Friday, May 18th, 2018 and 25% of the massage proceeds will go to Lyme Warrior.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme Disease is caused by a bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, that is transmitted to humans through a bite from an infected insect. This can include all ticks, mosquitoes, spiders, lice, etc.  Symptoms can occur anywhere from days to years after the bite and can be wide-ranging.

It is estimated that approximately 300,000 people in the US alone are infected with the disease each year, but the actual number is probably significantly higher.

Lyme Warrior

Lyme Warrior is a team of individuals fighting Lyme Disease who all have fallen into different levels of disability by this condition and want to prevent as many others from being affected as possible. All funds raised by Massage Away Lyme and other programs go to research for a cure for chronic Lyme Disease and awareness programs.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease include but are not limited to:

fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain and swollen lymph nodes. In some cases, a Bull’s Eye rash appears.**Less than 50% of people with Lyme disease recall a Bull’s Eye rash**As the disease progresses, symptoms can include:

  • Severe headache or neck stiffness
  • Various rashes
  • Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly with the knees Loss of muscle ton or “drooping” of the face (Bells Palsy) Heart palpitation or an irregular heartbeat Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet And many other symptoms

Testing for Lyme Disease

Standard testing for Lyme Disease is 20-30% accurate, meaning most cases of Lyme are missed. Standard testing is highly inaccurate for chronic cases. Igenex is the most accurate testing currently available. However, chronic Lyme Disease is a clinical diagnosis. If you suspect chronic Lyme Disease, seek a Lyme Literate Doctor.

For more info, visit www.lymewarrior.us

Being at Peace with Your Choices and Your Life…

Manis/Pedis, Massages, Yoga, Gym Membership, Nice Dinners, Vacations… what do you choose?  Do you choose it all?   

When I was writing, “do you choose it all?” it brought back memories of the rah rah Tony Robbins or the Millionaire Mind motivational seminars, that I would go

to 10 plus years ago, where they teach you, “you can HAVE IT ALL!”  This thinking is very emotional and intoxicating, through experience, I know better.  Don’t get me wrong, I do think people can “have it all”, but not in the way the media portrays, where having it all means buying whatever your heart desires.   This may be attainable for Hollywood movie stars and rock stars, and hedge fund managers, but for the rest of us, our abundance is found in our choices.  When you know what your core values are, your spending habits will reflect them.  The need to “HAVE IT ALL” falls by the way side, because you make the choice to have exactly what you want. 

Life for me has been a string of choices… if I truly embodied the philosophy, “I should or deserve to have it all”… I would probably have nothing in savings and still be in debt.  Because that is truly what this type of, “you can have it all,” thinking teaches us, to continually spend on whatever we desire, because we deserve it or “have to have it.”

There are some expenses that are non-negotiable, food, health insurance, retirement and rent/mortgage, Welcome to adulthood!   I know, it can be hard to grow up!  Then there is the “extra” $ that we have a little more flexibility in how we choose to spend it, but we still have to choose, and choosing can sometimes feel like a sacrifice.   I still pout when I “choose” not to buy something, instead I opt to wait until I have the money saved.  Even though I know it is the right choice for me in the moment, the little 5 year old in me still wants it NOW.   I know what my priorities are, I generally choose to buy organic, fresh food and I have a yoga  membership, I like to travel and I get monthly massages.  BUT I have chosen not to get monthly pedicures (I do my own nails), we occasionally eat out, we never go to sporting events or concerts, when we go on vacation we rent our home out on Airbnb to offset our travel expenses, and I enjoy buying clothes and furniture second hand.

These conscious choices, have given me a “rich” life.  I still want to put a new deck in our backyard, eventually finish our basement and redo our kitchen.  I certainly understand that these things take time and money.  While my 5 year old brain wants to do all of these home improvements NOW, my adult self feels grateful to just be in a home in a neighborhood we love, the improvements can wait….  there are other things that come first. 

What choices are you making today?  Are they helping or hindering you towards living your best life?

 

Learning and accepting Chronic Illness…

Learning to Be Sick  {plus a prayer about able-ism}

by Rabbi Elliot Kukla

I became disabled overnight in a car accident. The car accident was a dream, but the disability was real.

I dreamed I was driving through the ravaged streets of Oakland at the end of the world. I turned the corner and careened inescapably into a white chemical blaze. I woke with a start, the white flash still burning behind my eyes, the worst headache of my life piercing my left temporal lobe.  I remembered my mother having a brain aneurysm years before, and knew the “worst headache of my life” was not to be ignored. My wife and I hurried to the hospital, expecting life to change forever. Once at the ER, things moved quickly: CT scans were ordered, crystal clear spinal fluid was drawn from my back. Eight hours later, I was told I was perfectly healthy.

What they meant, but wouldn’t say, was that they didn’t know what was wrong. Over the next weeks and months, it became obvious that I was far from well. The terrible headaches continued, I developed burning nerve pain all over my torso, I was wrapped in a thick brain fog, I sprouted constant mouth ulcers, I was crushed with exhaustion. I would open my mouth and be unable to speak. I could get lost in my own house between bedroom and bathroom, and forget my wife’s name.  I started having seizures.

By then, I had discovered that I was no longer trusted by my doctors about my own body or experiences.  I reported odd, terrifying, and sudden physical changes; they recommended Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Weight Watchers.  I felt exiled from the world of the well, isolated by thick walls of suspicion.  I’m used to feeling like an outsider; I’m the first openly transgender rabbi ordained by a mainstream movement (Reform Judaism). I am used to being rejected and told I should not exist. But nothing prepared me for the outsider status of being chronically ill. Think about that for a moment: approximately 0.6% of US adults identify as transgender, just under 0.2% of the world population is Jewish, and 100% of us will get sick, but it is being chronically sick that makes me feel like an outsider. That’s how much our society fears and rejects the core human experience of being ill, of having a body that gets sick, that ages, that is not controllable.

I went from doctor to doctor looking for answers, but overnight, I had gone from being a trusted rabbi and chaplain (who myself works with seriously ill and dying people on hospital medical teams) to a “hysterical” chronically ill person.  Though I had seen it happen to my clients, I now understood firsthand that being disbelieved is nearly universal for people with chronic illnesses, especially ones that are largely invisible and/or hard to diagnose. I had believed that as a healthcare professional, equipped with skills and advocates to navigate the system, I would be treated differently. I soon learned how hubristic that was.

Eventually, due to the tireless advocacy of my wife, I was diagnosed with Central Nervous System Lupus (an autoimmune disease which attacks the brain and central nervous system), as well as fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and complex migraines. My Lupus diagnosis would later be taken away and then given back countless times as suited the needs of health insurance and disability insurance companies in order to sort and manage me and decide how much care I was entitled to. The needs  of my body were virtually irrelevant in this process as my diagnosis become a monetized affair where I had to jump through increasingly difficult hoops to “prove” it.

Like most of us, I had been raised to see Illness as something temporary:  a stopover on the way to recovery or to death, not a place to live. But weeks, months, and then years passed, and I did not get better. My doctors, and even some friends and family, suggested that I could get better if only I tried harder, relaxed more deeply, thought more positively. I became a lightning rod for others’ fears of disability, dependence, and fragility. In a political moment where healthcare is treated as a luxury, and hurricane victims are blamed for their own disasters, an ethic of personal responsibility reigns. But sometimes, sick people just stay sick.  And there’s no meditation, medication, positive outlook, exercise, or smoothie that can magically fix it.

Eventually, I stopped hoping to be well, or even pretending that I lived in that future-heavy land of hope anymore. I stopped trying to “overcome” my body, and started living a present tense life in chronic illness. As the pace of my life slowed, I could appreciate sensual pleasures in a new and heightened way: sunlight out my bedroom window, my dog’s velvety fur, a cool breeze in my garden, richly colored flowers. On days when my brain was too fogged to do anything, I let myself float in and out of a rich, infinitely layered dream world.

With great difficulty, I learned how to accept care.  A child of neglectful and absent parents, I had been fiercely independent for most of my life; now, as fatigue gripped my body, I needed help preparing food, showering, doing laundry, managing my medications. This demanded a difficult, profoundly spiritual vulnerability.  I realized that if I were truly to see myself as equal to my seriously ill clients, and not performing a kind of “charity” in my work, I had to come to terms with the necessity of interdependence.

We are born needing care and die needing care, and I am no exception.  At brief moments in the middle of life, we hold the illusion of independence, but we are always driving on roads we did not build, eating foods we did not pick or raise. Allowing the illusion of my own independence to drop away unmasked a fundamental truth of being human.

Like many people, I had once measured my worth by my capacity to produce things and experiences: to be productive at work, share responsibilities at home, “show up” equally in my friendships, and rack up achievements. Being sick has been a long, slow detox from capitalist culture and its mandate that we never rest. Slowly, I found a deeper value in relationship beyond reciprocity: an unconditional love and care based in justice, and a belief that all humans deserve relationship, regardless of whether we can offer anything measurable back. In these discoveries, I’ve been led by other sick and disabled people, whose value had always been apparent to me.  Amidst the brilliant diversity of power wheelchairs, service dogs, canes, and ice packs it’s easy to see that we matter just as we are.

Eventually, my body did change. I am now able to stay awake longer, and my pain has receded to a dull throb. I can leave the house more; I can visit my clients and mentor my hospice volunteers, for which I am grateful. But I don’t see myself as cured, nor do I imagine a cure will come. This is merely another chapter in the life of my body. If I’m lucky enough to get old, my body will change again. Due to my illnesses and family history, I’m more likely to develop dementia. As I age, my body and mind will surely become more disabled. I will lose cognitive and sensory capacities. My skin and muscles will sag and disintegrate. I will depend more and more on other people. I will not be able to control my bowels or my surroundings as tightly. I will lose teeth, hair, and precious memories. This is not a tragedy. This is what it means to be human. 

Mi Sh’berach for Ableism

Rabbi Elliot Kukla

Creative Valentine’s Day Gifts Denver

March 1, 2018 will mark The Wellness Center’s 17th birthday!  It is hard to believe how far alternative health and massage has come.  17 years ago, massage was relatively new and considered a luxury treatment only for the wealthy, or a massage “parlor” that um…maybe wasn’t the most professional place to get a massage.  Today, there is a massage center or spa on almost every corner, much like coffee shops. Previous to 2008, anyone could hang a shingle out and call themselves a massage therapist, now massage therapists are now required to get a license in the State of Colorado before they can practice.

The industry has come a LONG way and it much more affordable to the average American. Massage is really a perfect gift this Valentine’s Day, or any special occasion.  Here is why:

Massage relieves stress and boosts your mood: 

Massage calms the nervous system and assists the release of feel-good chemicals and hormones. A Valentine’s Day session might include energy work such as reiki or polarity therapy, which will add a level of deep relaxation to your time on the table.   Massage has been shown to aid the release of oxytocin, a feel-good hormone, which leads to feelings of social bonding. It also increases production of serotonin and dopamine.

Massage Reduces Pain and Induces Relaxation:

Massage alleviates pain. Massage makes a body feel better by increasing circulation, improving flexibility and releasing those knots and crinkles that can seem rooted in muscles. Massage has been shown to reduce low- and upper-back pain, neck pain and headache, and to be effective for chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia and arthritis. When combined with aromatherapy, the pain-relieving effects of massage can be even more profound and long-lasting.  Massage therapy is a gift to the emotional heart, as it has been shown to reduce anxiety and increase feelings of well-being. According to an article published by the American Psychological Association, the relaxation response is “a physical state of deep rest that changes a person’s physical and emotional responses to stress”—and massage therapy is one practice that induces this response.

Massage increases connection: 

Massage fosters self-connection. Even those that are single, should treat themselves on Valentine’s Day. Booking a massage session reinforces that you love yourself and allows you to become fully present and blissed-out while receiving care and nurturance. A massage session offers a deep respite from everyday stress, and sends the body the message, “I am taking care of you.”

This year give the gift of massage to yourself or the one you love! You are worth it.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

Living an abundant life full of “Wealth”

The other day as I was winding down for the evening, I was struck with a feeling of gratitude, a feeling that I truly live a “wealthy” and “rich” life. 

As I was reflecting on why I felt this way, I came up with the following reasons:

1) I felt great over the weekend, I had a lot of energy, which made the busy weekend flow much smoother. We take for granted how feeling good can make a huge difference on our experience and outlook on life.

2) I spent time in community with others. This past weekend was exceptionally social, as we marched on Saturday with 150,000 other people, then I hosted a surprise birthday party for my husband Ross, who turned 40! We got to hang out with wonderful friends and we took some time to Facetime with our families since they all live out of state.  My cup felt “full” of joy by the end of the weekend, amazingly I did not feel exhausted.

3) Spent time giving back to others and helping when I could. Something as simple as helping to watch my friend’s son for the weekend, or buying coffee for all the volunteers who helped out at the Women’s March.

It is interesting how money and material possessions was not on the top of my list for why I felt so “rich” by the end of the weekend. I am not naïve, I certainly understand how if you are struggling to pay your bills, that certainly affects your life in a BIG way and money is the #1 stressor for families. Often times, as Americans we live beyond our means.  We buy a house, where the mortgage was a bit of a stretch for our monthly income, we own nice cars (typically 2 or more), we go shopping for expensive clothes, furniture and the latest tech gadget.  There are an abundance of ways to spend money in our culture.  We end of racking up credit card debt.

Awhile back, I read the Millionaire Next Door, I was struck by how simply many Millionaires live, now I am not talking about actors, Hollywood stars, the Oprah’s of the world, but your everyday American working class families, that have made conscious choices in how they live and spend their money.

Here is a quick overview of the book: When Authors Tom Stanley and William Danko went to investigate on how people get wealthy, they found something odd. Many of the people who live in upscale neighborhoods and drive luxurious cars do not have extreme wealth. Many people who have great wealth do not even live in upscale neighborhoods, they do not drive luxury cars, typically do not buy new cars and hang onto their cars for many years.
During the author’s investigation, they discovered seven common denominators among the people who become wealthy

  1. They live well below their means
  2. They allocate their time and money efficiently, in ways conducive to building wealth.
  3. They believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status.
  4. Their parents did not provide economic outpatient care.
  5. Their adult children are economically self-sufficient.
  6. They are proficient in targeting market opportunities.
  7. They chose the right occupation.

I think the biggest thing on this list is living well below your means and valuing financial independence more than going out to expensive dinners, driving fancy cars, taking luxury vacations or buying designer clothes and jewelry.  These items are nice, but if it straps you financially it only creates more stress in the long run.  When you live within your means, you know what is most important to you and your spending reflects that.  Things can be taken to the opposite extreme, where a family  or person never spends any money because they are so afraid they are spending too much.  There is a happy balance between these 2 spectrums.  When I realized how peaceful I felt when I finally paid off my last credit card (after being in debt for 10 years), I knew I never wanted to go back to that life.  So when I feel like “over” spending or feel like buying something expensive that I don’t need, I remind myself the gift I am giving myself in exchange for not spending money is peace, and a “wealthy” life not based on material items but based on what I value most, time, health, freedom and community.

There is a lot of self-love that comes from making good choices for yourself.

In Health,

Accepting What IS

Recently, Kris our Director of The Wellness Center, said that she is “accepting what IS” in her life right now.  I really appreciated this sentiment.

This is a powerful mantra for life, Accepting What IS.  Sometimes in life, we may want something TODAY, but in reality the timing isn’t right, or we just can’t afford it yet.

This reminds me when I was in my 30s and was ready to settle down and get married, but for one reason or another the men I was dating just were not the right ones for me.  Finally, when I turned 36 I had to come to terms with “accepting what IS” and for me it was the possibility that I could be single well into my 40s.  I had to be OK with that.  This letting go was one of the best things for me personally.  It took the pressure off and allowed me to totally accept who I was and where I was in life.  I also embraced the mantra that I would rather be happy and single, than unhappily married to the wrong person.

Accepting What IS, this mantra has guided me in many other areas of my life.   Currently, I am being attacked by a former massage therapist.  She has falsely accused me of forging her signature and breaking the law.  Of which I have done neither.  I have put up a good fight defending my position, but there is a certain point where I have had to be ok with the final decision that a Judge will make.

This year, we wanted to make some improvements to our home, but the reality is that it may not be in the cards, since I am paying a hefty sum in legal fees and depending upon how the judge rules in the case that has been brought against The Wellness Center by this former therapist, there could be expensive changes that need to be implemented.  Accepting What IS, which being more fiscally conservative is the best thing to do.

What in your life do you need to, Accept What IS?  I know accepting reality is hard for our human brains, but it is so liberating to Accept What IS, rather than feel bad about what you don’t or can’t have.  Instead, Accept What IS and be grateful for all that you have today.  Because life is a spectrum, there is always someone with more than us, and there is always someone with less than us.  Being grateful for ALL THAT IS.

Happy New Year!

In Health,

Conquering Cultural Stress

I recently heard Dr. Murad speak at a conference about conquering cultural stress and he also gave away his book. Conquering Cultural Stress, The Ultimate Guide to Anti-Aging and Happiness. I thought the book was a great reminder of how to stay sane in this high paced, never ending “to do” society.
Cultural stress is man-made, meaning it comes from the evolution of our environment and our reaction to it. Cultural stress is a collection of the daily events ingrained within people’s habits because of the perception that these rituals are needed for everyday subsistence. They include daily long commutes to work, watching the news, the pressures of work, managing health issues, being “on time” and over scheduled, technostress, social media, emails, texts etc. Internally cultural stress can cause sleep issues, hormonal imbalances and accelerate aging. The good news is, is we can manage and control cultural stress.

The things I found most valuable in the book: 3 pillars of the Fountain of Youth:

#1) Give yourself permission to live a more imperfect, playful life, in the pursuit of happiness and total well-being. As we get older we tend to lose that joyful inner zest, that we had when we were children. It becomes hard to keep a positive attitude given life’s trials and our exceedingly high expectations of ourselves. The irony is that we expect more and more from ourselves and strive to be perfect, we simultaneously fail to put ourselves first and really take care of our bodies from the inside out.

#2) Watch what you put in your body. Adopt a water eating plan, which means eating more water-rich foods. We absorb water in food more slowly because it is trapped in the structure of the food. That slow absorption means that water in food stays in our bodies longer, with a multitude of additional benefits. A cucumber is a great example of this. Because cucumbers are 96% water, eating a three-ounce cucumber is almost the same as drinking three ounces of water, but better.
#3) Take time to be mindful every day, which could mean mediating a little each day, or just taking time to be quiet in nature or at home. Get outside and go for a quiet walk or take a yoga class. Don’t have time for any of that? Just remember to take deep breathe, when you are in the car, before you have a meal or a drink of water. Take a moment to take a few deep breaths, it will calm your system and bring you into the present moment.

Click here to read more.  

In Health,

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