Tuesday, September 25, 2007


In 2 days, I leave for a vacation to visit family and hopefully, work in a little bit of spa research. (Really, it's important for me to know what it's like to visit other day spas in other states.)

I will be scheduling very few appointments between Friday, September 28th and Wednesday, October 3rd. Mostly due to the fact that most of those days are already booked. The other reason is that the Hengst studio offices will be moving out of the spa lobby, and we are expecting everything to be a shambles for a few days.

Please be patient with me if you attempt to contact the spa and I don't return your phone call or email quickly. I will be answering the phone and returning calls daily.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A 2 Hour Sculptural Mud Spa Session

The Mud sessions are my favorite sessions to perform. At least right now. I had a very pleasant session with a woman visiting the spa for the first time last week. It is a great illustration for what I am hoping to accomplish in my work at the Little Red Day Spa.

In these sessions, I usually start out getting my guest comfortable in the space and into a robe. Perhaps sipping tea or nibbling chocolate. I proceed with washing and massaging her feet in a Rosemary foot bath. The soap makes a great massage lubricant. There is a sweet woman at a local open air market who makes soap in all different flavors. Right now I am using the one she calls the Good Karma Bar with Red Clay, Shea Butter and essential oils.

After drying her feet, we move to the massage table for a Roman Body Brushing. The brushes are soft, natural fibers and it feels like the gentlest back-scratching, soothing and enlivening at the same time. I leave her covered with a silk cloth while the shower warms up. (A rinsing in the shower is mandatory before entering the hot tub. State law and common sense.)

Before we start the Watsu, she enjoys the jets that encrust the "throne" while I massage her hands and wrists. This seat has jets that direct streams of water at the base of the neck, top of shoulders, all down the back, arms, lower legs and feet. When you sit in it, you immediately understand why we call it the throne. I describe how the Watsu is performed with the use of the floats on her lower legs, to help maintain buoyancy and balance, while I cradle her in my arms. It's always so difficult to capture such a sensory rich experience in words. Luckily, within minutes of starting to float her, her body let go of all the unnoticed tension that we all hold in our daily life, and began to move in the water like seaweed; anchored by my hands and arms yet still moving gently and easily with the movements of the water.

Ending the Watsu portion of the session is often a little sad. The prospect of a full body mud mask is usually tempting and intriguing enough for most people not to dwell on the end of the Watsu, though. We use a fine potter's clay with essential oils and water mixed in to give it a thick, soupy consistency for application. I use my hands to massage it into her skin, the fine grain of the clay providing texture. Once she is thoroughly coated in clay and it is starting to dry, making her look a bit like a statue, I warm the shower again so that she can take full advantage of the dual shower heads to rinse all the clay off.

While applying the warm, scented oil to complete the treatment, she murmured, "You could single handedly create world peace doing this," and let out a long, happy sigh. It was quite difficult for me not to bounce around in joy. (As that would hardly be relaxing.) I am putting this down in memory as one of the highest compliments I have ever received in massage or spa work.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A real reception area!

The Hengst Studio offices are moving to the new building on Dexter and Harrison. As of October 1st, I will have a real waiting/ante room for the spa. I am very excited. It has always been a little awkward to greet guests to the Spa in a bustling office space.

Jeff has promised to decorate it right away, making it feel just as elegant and relaxed as the main spa room. Yay!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Not your average Spa

One of the most common questions I have to answer revolves around what we do and don't do. A lot of people who find out that we don't have hair stylists or skin care specialists on staff are mystified as to what could possibly go on in a day spa that doesn't involve getting a facial or dying one's hair. Add in the fact that we only have one appointment at a time, and you can bring your sweetie in with you for a couple's session, then the questions start pouring out.

The short answer is that we focus on delighting the senses. Relaxation and pleasure. Everything that we offer at the spa is because it's fun. Sure, there are health benefits behind all of our treatments, but we sincerely believe that pleasure has it's own rejuvenating and rewarding benefits. Being inside Jeff Hengst's painting studio really lends to that rejuvenating spirit. The space is soaked in creative energy from his art-making and past Little Red Studio performances. The atmosphere is both relaxing and inspiring.

If we have really done our job right, guests who come visit our day spa leave feeling a new lease on life. They are inspired to enjoy their lives more than they have been. A few people have even joined the Little Red Studio as troupe members after getting a massage or spa session at the Little Red Day Spa. To date, the most exciting result is the gentleman who called the next week to thank me for his session and reported that he had just bought 3 new canvases to start painting again!

That's what we do at the Little Red Day Spa. Sometimes it looks like someone is just being floated in a hot tub, but it's usually something more sublime.