By Lora Condon

A Guide to the Best Stress Relieving Treatments.

When life get’s crazy and you feel like you’re going to explode, many people wish they could just escape to a spa and get a massage.  While massage is amazing at relieving stress and giving you a quick pick-me-up, there are many other spa services that can relieve stress on a deeper level or can fix multiple problems in one session.  These four treatments might seem strange or make no sense at all, but they’re worth trying at least once and they might even become your new go-to treatment.

Reflexology has become more popular in America and was made so by so many women including it with their pedicures.  Reflexology will feel like a pressure point, foot massage, but the therapist is actually pressing on different points of the foot, toes and ankle that correspond to different body parts and organs.  The goal of reflexology is to break up the build up of toxins that have gathered in the feet.  The treatment creates a very deep sense of relaxation and is a way to resolve health problems without using medicine.  Some of the most popular maladies reflexology can help with are allergies, migraines, headaches and deep stress or anxiety.  I recommend finding someone who is specifically trained in reflexology, not just a pedicurist rubbing your feet and calling it reflexology in order to reap the full benefits.

Thai massage is called, “The lazy man’s yoga,” which is a perfect description.  To start, you lay clothed on a mat on the floor and the therapist stretches you in a way that actually helps to dissolve knots, make you more limber, increases circulation and definitely loosens your muscles and joints.  A session involves stretching not only the arms, legs and back, it also includes fingers, toes, ankles, and even walking on the back.  Traditionally, Thai massage therapists are highly skilled in body mechanics and can help a lot of different ailments.  Your first time may feel awkward, but once you feel how loose you feel right after, you’re sure to rebook.  I prefer going to a traditional Thai spa to receive this service rather than a Western spa in order to have the most authentic experience.

If you have deep-rooted emotional pain, chronic or acute pain and even PTSD, cranial-sacral therapy can bring incredible healing and release.  This is the only therapy that has ever worked for my sciatica attacks that are so bad I can barely drive.  During the session, you’re dressed, lying on a table and the therapist cradles your head to gently manipulate the cerebrospinal fluid.  The pressure is the weight of a nickel, so it’s very gentle, but direct.  They’ll move their hands along your spine and areas of pain.  By redirecting the spinal fluid, and releasing the emotional blocks that cause pain, the whole body system functions more efficiently.  At the end, you should feel a deep sense of relaxation and even sleepy.

One of the most unique and now my favorite kind of treatment is Mayan abdominal massage.  This massage concentrates on the abdomen, pelvic area, as well as the lower back.  It includes very deep and intensive stretching of the area from the diaphragm to the pelvis and the lower back.  It can be painful, but it’s amazing how much taller you’ll feel after that area has been stretched.   It can be quite invasive from a Western perspective, but that is also why it is so effective, since it is an area that is usually ignored.  Rosita Arvigo developed this technique in conjunction with a Mayan healer in Belize.  The goal is to realign the organs that have shifted in order to get the lymph, blood and energy flowing to relieve pain and illness.  This is a popular treatment for men and women dealing with medical problems in the pelvic area and reproductive organs.  Since this work is so deep, there are a few contraindications, so make sure to ask the therapist before booking if you’re a candidate.

These four treatments can be highly effective when more traditional massage or spa treatments don’t go far enough to reduce pain or stress.  At this point in my personal spa journey, these are my first choices before Swedish or deep tissue massage when I’m in need of acute pain relief.



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