WHY I MEDITATE... FROM OUR FOUNDER, KAYSE GEHRET

As many of you know, I'm pretty passionate about massage therapy and bodywork, having dedicated much of the last couple of decades to this beautiful art, science and craft.  Soulstice Spa grew out of my own love of massage and individual practice of many years in San Francisco, a desire to make this meaningful work available and accessible to more people and wish to create a community where our clients and staff alike could relax, improve their health and well-being, and be cared for with loving kindness.  I've seen first-hand the power of touch and its ability to heal the body and spirit, and every day I pinch myself that I get to work alongside my incredible staff, do this wonderful work I believe in so much, and do so in two of the most gorgeous places on earth.

Since Soulstice Spa opened in Sonoma Wine Country in 2012, and more recently in Marin County in 2015, we have been blessed to have the most enthusiastic, appreciative and supportive customers.  Over the past few years we've listened and learned, cared for people through life's ups and downs, and tried to figure out what we can do to help bring more comfort, growth and happiness to people's lives.  Our answer is Meditation.

Personally, I've dabbled with meditation off and on over the past twenty years, but it is only in the last year or so of regular, daily practice has it had a remarkable effect on my happiness and well-being.  Massage Therapy has myriad, amazing physical and emotional benefits, but nearly all of us could use a mental "check up from the neck up," and this - more than anything else I've come across - is where meditation can change your life.

Here are a few of the reasons why I meditate:

- Meditation builds resiliency.  Research has shown that regular meditation is beneficial to brain health and healthy aging.  It keeps your memory sharp, your attention focused and ability to remain present in the face of distraction.  When you are mentally strong, you're much better able to handle and cope with stress and adversity.  You'll bounce back more quickly from disappointments and bring your best to your daily life and interactions.

 - Meditation yields equanimity.  Many people mistakenly believe that regular meditation numbs or sedates your emotions...  quite the opposite!  What meditation does provide is a little cushion of space between your emotions - and you.  Instead of feeling overcome by your emotions, you still feel them - purely and deeply - but no longer react to them so strongly.  Meditation allows you to feel calm, balanced and grounded, and you'll naturally notice yourself becoming more patient, tolerant and forgiving.

- Meditation, for me, has had an unexpected cleansing effect for both my physical and mental world.  Always sensitive, I've had a lifelong struggle of balancing a passionate personality with a delicate nervous system that gets easily overwhelmed with too much stimulus or stress.  I notice now that I need a lot less... of everything.  When you feel full - of love, of contentment, of peace - you don't feel the need to look to other people or to things (food or alcohol, shopping or consumerism) to fill the gap.  The gap grows more and more shallow with regular meditation; one day you'll simply notice yourself craving less of everything external as your inner self becomes fuller and fuller.

Meditation creates space and time in your life.  Many people I know are genuinely concerned about carving time out of their jam-packed days for the time it takes to meditate.  Trust me: a daily practice of just ten minutes a day will create more space, time and ease in your day and actually provide you with a sense of more, not less, time.  After months of regular meditation you'll notice yourself rushing less, stressing less, and doing everything more slowly and meaningfully.  Everything you do will deepen and lengthen very naturally, whether it's the pleasure of a meal, hugging someone you care about, even a simple hello and brief interaction becomes more significant.  It's not as though any of these things have changed; it's that your perception of them has now changed completely for the better.

- Meditation = increases joy.  For real.  I've always been an optimist to the point of idiocy at times, however I have a bit of a serious streak, a slight Scorpio intensity and tendency to take myself overly seriously at times.  Thanks to meditation, I am more light-hearted, swifter to see the humor in situations, prone to smile for no particular reason and by default more grateful and content.  When you aren't reliant on other people or external conditions for your happiness, you can be a more authentic and true partner, friend, colleague and lover.

Glowing Health.  I have never felt healthier, emotionally strong, physically healthy and comfy in my own skin than I do today, and I credit meditation as one of the daily foundations of a healthy lifestyle.  By decreasing one's perception of stress and anxiety, all of your physical systems - immune, digestion, detoxification - are able perform in concert and at their best, keeping you feeling good & strong.  Meditation helps keep you young, vibrant and resilient... mind, body and spirit.

Our fabulous team at Soulstice is excited to bring all of these benefits and more with the launch of our new Meditation and Mind/Body Studio in Sausalito.  Opening in November 2016, we look forward to offering diverse classes for beginning as well as advanced meditators.  Curious to learn more?  We invite you to visit our incredible team, view our class schedule online, keep in touch with us on Facebook and join our opening celebration.  We look forward to bringing all the health-affirming, life-changing and blissful benefits of meditation to our Soulstice community!

- Kayse Gehret

JULY UPDATES FROM SOULSTICE SPA

Happy July from all of us at Soulstice Spa! 

The summer sun is a'blazing!  Protect your skin with our fave organic suncare line Coola, now 30% off at the spa through July 31st.  Effective, vegan and available in three delightful variations (cucumber, plumeria, unscented) while supplies last. *Offer good at spa locations, only. 

Please welcome our new manager at Soulstice Spa - Sausalito, Christina! Hailing from Petaluma, Christina is enjoying Sausalito's temperatures, beauty, and vibe quite a lot!  Meeting people for the first time and facilitating a match with our exceptionally talented therapists is what she enjoys most.  She welcomes new games of Words With Friends - Petaluma Rose. 

You asked, we listened!  Soulstice customers may now receive appointment reminders and confirmations by text message.  Over the next few weeks, we will be phasing out confirmation phone calls and instead be emailing and texting you appointment reminders.  Please bear with us as we tweak our software to accommodate your preferences - email, text or both!  If you need no reminders, you'll be able to opt out of these convenient features. 

While we are closed on Mondays & Tuesdays until we grow a bit more in Sausalito, we do have seven-day-a-week reception for both spas.  Sausalito customers are welcome to call any day to set your appointments; our amazing team in Santa Rosa (La Reina, Paula, Shannon and Lexi) will take great care of you on Mondays & Tuesdays.  Don't forget, Soulstice Membership is good at both locations - we encourage you to visit our sister property and meet the other half of our team! 

Many of you are fans of our vegan & non-toxic nail polish, Soulstice Nail Colour --- we're very excited to announce our newest collection has hatched and will be available at the spa.  Joining our Sonoma County color collection, our newest 18 shades are inspired by the unique, beautiful cities of Marin County.  We can't wait for you to try them! 

Free Massages???  Yes, please!  Did you know many of you can have your massage memberships covered by your Workplace Wellness Benefits?  It's true!  The County of Sonoma, Coppola Winery, Sonic and many more local employers cover massage as part of your benefits and flexible spending accounts.  Be sure to check with your employer; we're happy to help get you set up.  More massage = a healthier you! 

Time flies!  As we head into summer, we celebrate our 4th anniversary in Santa Rosa and our 1st year anniversary in Sausalito - we can't thank you enough for all your support, enthusiasm and appreciation we feel from each and every one of you.  Our customers are the best, you really are!  Whether it's our caring, vibrant desk team or our talented, friendly massage therapists, our goal is to do the very best we can every day to care for you body, mind and spirit.  To remind each of you to take space, connect and share, and get in touch with your soul.  In the crazy whirlwind of an election year, traumatic global events, and an unpredictable economy, it's important to remember we're all in this together.  Coming together as a community is the surest way for us to feel connected, empowered and lift each other up.  We hope, in our own small way, we help you feel cared for, soothed, balanced and hopeful.  We appreciate you, and are grateful to be part of your world!  

xoxo All of us at Soulstice Spa

EMBRACING CHANGE IN YOUR MASSAGE EXPERIENCE

When it comes to massage therapy, your rapport with your Massage Therapist is a meaningful part of your overall experience.  In order to fully relax - both mentally and physically - it's important to feel at ease and place trust in your therapist.  Each individual therapist brings their own unique skills to the table, but they also bring their own energy, personality and communication style as well.  It is our job at the reception desk to try to match each client to the very best therapist for them on any given day - this massage matchmaking is perhaps the most important part of our job!

Sometimes a perfect match is made on the very first visit; other times it might take a bit more 'shopping around' and trying different therapists and massage styles.  Once a client really 'clicks' with a particular therapist, they frequently prefer to request that therapist for all of their future visits.  For weeks or months, the client will love coming in, typically seeing amazing progress on whatever issues originally led them in --- their rotator cuff shows greater mobility, their knee is less inflamed, their sciatica flare has disappeared --- until hopefully the issue is completely resolved. 

This is ideal, but it also might mean you're ready for a new massage therapist!

When we are growing, we are changing... and with those changes come changes in our individual bodywork needs.  For example, the physical issues that originally led you to massage therapy may now be much improved, but now you're experiencing anxiety or mental stress more than physical pain.  While all massage therapy will benefit you, each therapist has different strengths and excels at working with different types of people and issues.  One therapist might be a wizard with neck work, while another is magical with migraines.  As your body and mind change over time, so may your needs and therapist.

How do you know when it's time for a change??

If you've been receiving regular massage from the same therapist, over time you may experience feeling in a rut, a plateau or strange disconnect from your therapist.  You may not leave feeling the same euphoric feeling you have left with in the past.  You usually won't be able to quite put your finger on why, but you may have an innate feeling that your body needs to mix it up or try something new.  More often than not, your therapist is feeling it too!

If you have been experiencing a lot of transition and change in your life, our goal as therapists is to meet you where you are in any given visit.  Many of our clients worry that if they want to try a new therapist that they may hurt the feelings of their current therapist - you won't!  Our therapists understand that people's needs change over time...  Moreover, our therapists work as a team, respect each other's talent immensely, and encourage clients to experience the unique skills and healing touch that everyone brings to the table.  The goal for all of us at Soulstice is for you to get the perfect care you need as your body, mind and spiritual needs grow and shift over time.  If you need help, our caring reception team is here to help your bodywork and massages reflect the needs of evolving you...    See you soon!

LET FREEDOM RING! ~ MIND, BODY + SPIRIT

Massage Brain.  Massage Daze.  Spa Stupor.  We jokingly call it many things, but the contented, blissed-out state that our clients emerge from their sessions in are an important opportunity to soak up all the amazing benefits of massage.

A great massage reorganizes your senses and brings you into touch with your body.  It's not unusual during the course of a massage to be surprised by how tight or stressed certain parts of your body really are...  Likewise, you may suddenly feel neural sensations or energetic connections from one part of your body to another, leading you to feel a brand new sense of wholeness.  As overworked muscles and knots are unwound, your entire body will shift to accommodate this newfound sense of freedom and ease of movement.  Once your focus shifts from the processing, thinking, analytical mind and deepens into the physical, intuitive, heart-centered realm of the body, you will experience what it means to really be "in your body."  At times and for some, this sensation can occasionally be a disconcerting feeling.

Touch, more than any other sensation, holds the key to bringing us into greater physical awareness and wholeness.  It's that head-to-toe warm fuzzy feeling you feel when holding a brand new baby, snuggling your beloved pet, or while in the embrace of an amazing kiss.  Most of us dwell in our minds most of our waking hours - thoughts of the past, present and future flow together in an unending stream.  Touch can lead us deeper, beyond the plane of mental chatter, and open us physically, mentally and spiritually.

All of the positive effects of massage - enhanced mobility and range of motion, freedom in your joints and tissues, a spacious and peaceful mind, a calm, contented heart - will be prolonged if you can create space following your session.  

Whenever possible, schedule special free time to follow your massage where you may continue to feel and experience these shifts and changes.  Give yourself space, freedom and time to absorb and integrate the transition.  Here are some tips from our team of therapists: 

1. If you live near the coast or a body of water, plan a gentle stroll nearby.  Natural elements - water, soil, sand - soothe and calm the spirit.  Being outdoors in nature, catching some natural sunlight and fresh air will nurture your massage's effects.  

2.  Don't. Do. Anything.  The best thing you can do is just, well, be.  Take a few minutes to sit and remain in a state of non-thinking.  Listen to your breath.  View the clouds, the trees, the landscape and just feel.

3.  Ground yourself.  The sensation of truly being in your body and feeling at a deeper level can leave you feeling out of sorts, confused and unable to think clearly.  It's a great time to kick off your shoes and ground yourself to the earth, perhaps in your garden or a nearby park.

4. Schedule at least an hour of nothing after your massage.  No phone calls, no meetings, no tv or reading.  Just let your mind remain in the "off" position a little longer.

5. Embrace silence.  Feeling fully in your body will make you feel whole and complete in a way you may have never felt before.  The more you're grounded within yourself, the less outside stimulus you will need to feel fully - colors will be more vibrant, tones will be richer, feelings will be deeper.  Enjoy the new level of internal sensitivity that comes with quieting your external surroundings.

 

HEALTH FROM THE INSIDE OUT! ~ OIL PULLING

Reducing inflammation in the body through diet and daily practices will help keep you strong and healthy.  Oil swishing (also known as oil pulling) is an easy & effective way to reduce inflammation, beginning at the source - in your mouth!

Eris Cusher, of Eat Clean Nutrition, shares more about the practice below...

The Health Benefits of Oil Pulling by Eris Cushner, co-founder of Eat Clean Nutrition

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic detoxification practice. It involves swishing oil around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes (note: if you’re a beginner, start with 5 minutes and build up from there). There are potentially many benefits to oil pulling, or oil swishing as it’s sometimes referred to, such as strengthening your gums, whitening your teeth, reducing inflammation and bacteria in the mouth, re-mineralizing the teeth and reducing plaque. My personal favorite oil to use for oil pulling is coconut oil with essential peppermint oil (Skinny Oil makes a great version). Coconut oil has anti-viral and anti-microbial properties and, as an added bonus, it tastes and smells good too!

How to Oil Pull:

  1. First thing in the morning, before you brush your teeth or drink your lemon water, or have your cup of coffee, put 1 teaspoon – 2 teaspoons of coconut oil in your mouth (I would start with 1 teaspoon and build up gradually).
  2. Gently swish it around for 15-20 minutes ideally, but if you’re just starting out then 5 minutes might be a good goal. You will feel the coconut oil melt in your mouth as you do this. You can be doing other things that are a part of your morning routine as this helps pass the time along.
  3. Spit the oil in your trash can!  Don’t swallow the oil as it’s full of bacteria and toxins, and don’t spit it out into the sink as it may clog your drains.

This art may take some practice getting used to, but similar to flossing, once you get in the habit of doing it, it becomes part of your daily oral health routine. To find out more about Eat Clean Nutrition and their different offerings, please visit eatcleanmarin.com.

OUR "BEST" MASSAGE THERAPIST

“So, who is your best therapist?”

Our “best therapist.”  As the founder of Soulstice Spa, I get asked this question pretty often, and it still makes me smile nearly four years after we opened in Santa Rosa with just four therapists.  We didn’t have a “best” therapist then, and today with over two dozen therapists in two locations… we still don’t!

In our competitive and achievement-oriented society we like to rate and rank, well, just about everything.  As kids we’re awarded stickers and stars, then given grades and ribbons… As adults we’re conditioned to judge people by their degree, their alma mater and their title, as if these things signify meaning, value, or importance.  We weigh, we analyze, we think-think-think.  We’re influenced to look for superficial markers of success and stamps of approval – degrees from top-rated schools, certifications for all kinds of specialties, and an assumption that things that cost more are better and more worthwhile.  The problem with all of this weighing and ranking and thinking is that it gets in the way of what the human experience is all about = being and feeling in the present moment.  It’s impossible to go deeply within, relaxing the body and opening the heart, while constantly judging the external with our thinking mind. 

Individuals come to massage therapy for all kinds of reasons… Some reasons are physical (pain, discomfort, range of motion limitations and muscular knots) some are mental (stress, overstimulated nervous systems, anxiety) while others seek a spiritual connection (deeper self-awareness, connection, healing.)  There is no one “best” therapist because what is “best” will be different for each and every person, and it will change over the course of one’s lifetime.

Traditionally and historically, spas have offered a menu of services where guests can choose between types of massage like Swedish, sports massage or deep tissue.  It’s more about the process, and less about the person.  A client’s choice from a menu tells us a little bit about their preferences in a massage, but is only one page of a larger, more important story.  We have a different philosophy at Soulstice:  we listen and focus on the type of massage each client is seeking, but we also want to know who you are.  We strive to create an experience that addresses how you feel, not only what you think.  And for each person this is going to be unique, personal and vary in any given moment.

How do we learn who is the “best” therapist for you?  By listening.  You can help us learn what and who is best for you by giving us time with you and sharing a bit of yourself with our caring staff.  We believe massage therapy has a special, meaningful role in everyone’s life.  To be silent, still and connected to another person who has no intention other than to provide you with caring, healing and love is a special thing.  We can provide you with your best experience – and the “best therapist” for you – the better we know the authentic you.  Thank you for trusting us to care for you… mind, body and spirit!

SOULSTICE... WHAT WE'RE ALL ABOUT!

Here are a few questions we've been asked recently by our new & established customers, hope this helps answer many of them!

Is my Soulstice Membership good at both locations?

Yes, absolutely!  Whether you sign up in Santa Rosa or Sausalito, you're welcome to visit and use your Membership at either location interchangeably.

I'm not a Member yet, but I'm curious...  How does it work?

Soulstice Membership is a fantastic way to receive all the benefits of massage on a regular basis at an affordable price.  Plus, it's as easy as pie!  Please click on the "Membership" tab above to learn more...  You may become a Member online, or in person while visiting us at the spa. 

I'm new to Soulstice?  What are you guys all about?

We offer customized, quality massage therapy and bodywork at affordable, accessible prices.  We're passionate about massage and its amazing and many healthy benefits for the body, mind and spirit.  Our therapists are talented, skillful, diverse and kind.  Whether you're recovering from a rotator cuff injury, had a stressful week at work or going through a challenging time in your personal life, we are here to care.  Our hope is that your visit with us will be a consistently safe, warm and loving place where you're encouraged to be yourself, relax, unwind, laugh, heal and leave your troubles behind for awhile.

Do you provide facials, nail services or anything else?

Now that we've been at this for a few years, we're convinced more than ever that massage & bodywork is the heart of what we're about.  We want to focus on the inside - on your heart and soul - and believe that we can best serve our community and customers by staying true to the heart of our purpose.  We purposely don't have a complicated menu of services because we customize every massage for each of you;  no cookie cutter massages here! 

Let's face it, life is complicated enough.  We want to be one place you can always come - no matter what curves life may throw at you - and receive genuine care, kindness, good vibes... and a terrific massage.  Whether you're celebrating the highs, or need support through life's challenges, we are here to help and care the best we can through the healing power of touch.