Wednesday, January 30, 2008

BizX is cool!

Hengst Studio has long been a part of the BizXchange network, a company whose slogan is "Improving business through trade." Recently, we arranged for the Little red Day Spa to become a part of that trading/barter network. This is really exciting for me. I love the idea of being about to use the barter system without having to find the exact person I whose services/products I want who also happens to want what I have to offer.

If you are a BizX member, you will be able to buy gift certificates and pay for spa sessions with BizX. If you plan on doing this please let us know when you are making your appointment so that we can have the appropriate forms on hand.

If you are not a BizX member and have a business, I suggest checking them out. We had all of our marketing materials printed out within the network and are quite satisfied. It's a good company based on a great idea and I am glad the Spa is a part of it.

(Consider this my token endorsement of the month.)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Ladies' Night tonight!

There is no snow left in the Eastlake neighborhood and the hot tub heat has been cranked up! We are definitely open for business.

See you tonight!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Power of Touch

Once upon a time, before I went to massage school, I was average on the touchy-feely scale for an American. I shook hands when I met people, hugged my family members, and occasionally, very good friends and I would trade back rubs. Most touching was reserved for a sweetheart. I think this is how most Americans relate to touch; we accept that it's not proper to engage in touchy activities unless there is a significant emotional bond.

During massage school, I learned an incredible amount about how important touch is to our health. Not only emotionally, but physiologically necessary for development through infancy and childhood and maintaining health as adults.

Somewhere in the schooling process, I became intimidated by touch and the power that it could invoke. I became more conservative in when and how I touched my friends and family. As I furthered my massage career, I became less "touchy" and wasn't even much of a hugger. I spent my whole work day touching people and the last thing I wanted in my time off was for more physical contact with people. Periodically, I would take an extended period of time off from doing massage, and I would notice a craving for touch return.

It wasn't until I took my first watsu lesson that I noticed what was missing from regular massage. During a watsu session, I cradle my guest in my arms and, at times, I will use other parts of my body to float or position them. It was these non-therapeutic contact points that created a loop. I was getting touch, too, instead of just giving it. I found that I could incorporate massage into my watsu treatments and not feel drained afterward. Giving a watsu treatment is just as relaxing as receiving one!

Learning watsu opened me up to touch, again. Now I am quite touchy in my daily life. With more touch coming in, I find it easier to give touch back out. Interesting that it is more important what kind of touch one receives that the amount.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


The first Ladies' Spa Night was quite lovely. About a dozen women filtered in throughout the first half of the evening. Quite a few women availed themselves to the mud and salt scrubs and another couple traded massage. Four women opted to buy a ten minute massage, which I waited until after 8pm to start those in order to get everyone settled first.

Everyone soaked in the tub and chatted, introducing themselves and each other to every new arrival. A very friendly evening despite the fact that many of the women had never met. I think having troupe members drop in helped because that meant everyone who showed up knew at least one other person, thanks to the diversity of the LRS troupe. One woman remarked that it was nice to chat, or not. That there was no pressure to interact. That comment alone makes me feel that it was a success that there was that level of comfort.

My brain is teeming with ideas for next week to make it better and flow smoother and less work for me. I found myself wishing I could jump in the hot tub and join in on more of the conversations. It was a little hard to focus on a conversation when I had half an ear cocked for someone looking for something or and eye on making sure the supplies didn't run too low. Once I started massaging, then it was easy to keep my focus and wonderful to connect on a deeper level. i think perhaps I will have someone trade off with me so that I can fully be a part of the fun, too.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Today is the big day!

The first Monday Ladies' Spa Night at the Little Red Day Spa starts at 6pm today. I have been getting ready for it all week and now I am down to the final touches before I can declare myself and the Spa ready.

Entry fee is $10 per woman. Besides the hot tub, there will be salt scrub, massage oil and body mists available to treat yourself or each other. Later in the evening, I will be doing 10 minute massages for $10 on a first come, first served basis.

I am guessing it is going to be a fairly relaxed evening with chatting, tea and chocolates. I'm so excited!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Creative Movement Spa Sessions!

The practitioner who developed and performs the Creative Movement sessions, Cody, is back in town and available for appointments tomorrow, Friday the 18th and Saturday the 19th. If you have ever been curious about this particular session, I highly reccommend it.

Creative Movement session incorporates dance and stretching into your spa session. You will soak in the hot tub and enjoy a hot oil treatment, as well as engaging in a unique, therapeutic touch using slow, intentional contact dance. This movement therapy is based on our practitioner's training in yoga, dance. Clients report that their time was healing, relaxing, and led to a sense of connection and true enjoyment of being in the body. This is unique experience benefiting the body, mind, and spirit.

Call me at (206) 963-0772 for scheduing and information.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A continuing theme.

While cleaning my desk the other day, I found an old business card of mine. What makes that remarkable is that it had a slogan I used for a few years before abandoning as too unwieldy.

"Using Touch as a Tool for Transformation."

I still feel very strongly about this statement. The underlying idea that two people interacting with each other can be psychologically or spiritually uplifting is under recognized in American culture. For a year, I worked solely with people going through psychoanalysis or counseling and saw first hand how much touch and massage helped each of my patients work through their emotional healing process.

It makes me happy to see it this principle reflected in all the spa treatments we have created.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Pomegranate season isn't over, but it's trying to be! Last night, I found a small stash of pomegranates, enough to keep me for at least another month or so. The Winter Warming Spa session featuring a warm river stone foot bath and the pomegranate-tangerine salt scrub is still available!

Today, after my sessions, will find me watching movies, snuggled on the couch surrounded by dismantled pomegranates and seeds. Then, the house will be filled with the sound of the blender and my giggles.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Uh oh!

I am running out of the pomegranate tangerine salt scrub and pomegranate seasons appears to be over. While this is a good thing that the product has been so well received, it is a bad thing as I thought I had calculated enough for 3 months. I had very much wanted to have this be the featured salt scrub through the winter. I may have to change the Seasonal Offering sooner than I expected.

With the Ladies' Night starting in a little over a week I am going to have to either find the last of the winter's pomegranates or develop another scrub. Pomegranate juice could be substituted for the actual fruit. This would give the scrub it's distinctive color and smell, but not the added texture. I think I will do a bit of product testing before diving into making a new salt scrub recipe.

Yet another reason why my job is so fun with all this experimenting.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

No more Craig's List for me.

For some time, I have posted on Craigslist in the therapeutic services section as a way to advertise the Spa. It kept the phone ringing and was free. Unfortunately, I often ended up taking calls from people looking for more than we offered. I find it very frustrating that while I can accurately describe the lush and relaxing services we offer, there are other postings using the same language to infer that a sexual service will be provided.

As an experiment, I stopped posting on Craigslist just before the holidays. The phone didn't ring as often, but with the holidays, I expected that. Last week, I put the second part of the plan to gauge the impact of Craigslist postings on our call volume. In the two days that followed that new post, I fielded 4 phone calls where the caller was disappointed when I made sure to mention that a "full body massage" did not include the genitals. That settled it for me and I won't be posting there anymore. It's not worth it to waste my time and the caller's time.

I wish there was something similar that would work better for getting the word out about the spa while we finish developing our marketing campaign. I have discovered Biznik and that is a great networking resource. Please let me know about anything else along these lines of internet, grassroots marketing that you use and like. (Not looking for spam, please.)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Ladies’ Spa Night starts 1-21-08!

Every Monday 6- 10pm, starting January 21st
Cost: $10
Little Red Day Spa
1506 Franklin Ave. E. Seattle

The Little Red Day Spa is now offering a Ladies' Spa Night. The first one will be held on January 21st, and every Monday night thereafter, with drop in hours from 6pm to 10pm.

These nights are designed to be a casual and social evening. There will be a practitioner present to make you feel welcome and facilitate use of the spa's equipment. For an added fee, one can get a 15 minute massage during the evening. Another massage table will set up for guests to massage or do salt scrubs on each other. This evening will cost $10.

More to come soon, including the addition of staff such as an esthetician and additional massage therapists. For more information, please go to or call 206-963-0772. No reservations required at this time.

I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

TRI study on aromatherapy and stress.

The Touch Research Institute in Miami, FL has been conducting scientific studies on the effects of touch and massage since 1992. When I was in massage school in 1994, everyone was hanging on every word of every press release, reveling in the facts that proved why becoming a massage therapist was so important.

During a periodic revisit of their website, I noticed that they had abstracts on Aromatherapy studies. This one linking the inhalation of two specific essential oils to decreased cortisol levels was especially pleasing to me, since Lavender and Rosemary are the scents I employ most often in spa treatments.

From TRI's Abstracts page:
Atsumi, T. & Tonosaki, K. (2007). Smelling lavender and rosemary increases free radical scavenging activity and decreases cortisol levels in saliva. Psychiatry Research, 150, 89-96.

METHOD: Free radicals/reactive oxygen species are related to many biological phenomena such as inflammation, aging, and carcinogenesis. The body possesses various antioxidative systems (free radical scavenging activity, FRSA) for preventing oxidative stress, and saliva contains such activity. In the present study, we measured the total salivary FRSA induced after the smelling of lavender and rosemary essential oils that are widely used in aromatherapy. Various physiologically active substances in saliva such as cortisol, secretory IgA, and alpha-amylase activity were found to be correlated with aroma-induced FRSA. The subjects (22 healthy volunteers) sniffed aroma for 5 min, and each subject's saliva was collected immediately.

RESULTS: The FRSA values were increased by stimulation with low concentrations (1000 times dilution) of lavender or by high-concentrations (10 times dilution) of rosemary. In contrast, both lavender and rosemary stimulations decreased cortisol levels. A significant inverse correlation was observed between the FRSA values and the cortisol levels with each concentration of rosemary stimulation. No significant changes were noted in sIgA or alpha-amylase. These findings clarify that lavender and rosemary enhance FRSA and decrease the stress hormone, cortisol, which protects the body from oxidative stress.

I feel like I want to stand with my hands on my hips and proudly say, "I've known that for years." It's nice to have impartial research to back up my experiences and training.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

Thank you to everyone who came and visited the Spa in 2007. We had a successful year that engendered a lot of growth. Not only in the volume of business, but more importantly in our philosophy. Jeff and I spent most of the year evaluating and refining our vision of what we wanted to accomplish by offering our services at the spa.

Changes have been put into motion, though some of them will not be apparent right away. The most obvious change is that the large altar piece painting, "Suffering Change", has been moved out of the Spa to the Little Red Studio building on Harrison St. While I miss having this incredible work of art in my daily life, the Spa feels lighter for it. The painting is powerful and heavy, both in theme, content and color scheme. Over all, a bit intense for a place with a goal of rejuvenation and pleasure.

Inspiration has already struck Jeff for a new painting for the Spa. It will feature a person being floated in a watsu session in the center panel and figures bodypainting and applying clay to each other in adjoining panels. I have seen the preliminary sketches which evince a softness and spiritual nature that will set a lovely stage for spa sessions.

The Ladies' Spa Night is coming along quite nicely. It's looking like the first one will be held in the middle of January. They will be held on Monday nights with drop in hours of 6pm to 10 pm. These nights are designed to be a casual and social evening. At this time, there will be only one practitioner present to facilitate use of the spa's accoutrement, not to provide services. I am thinking that this practitioner will be one of our massage therapists so that, for an added fee, one can get a 15 minute massage during the evening. Another massage table will set up for others to massage or do salt scrubs on each other. Eventually, I would also like to bring in an esthetician to do facials as another "add on" to the evening's fare. More than likely, this evening will cost $10. More info to come soon.

Starting soon, the Spa will move to a 6day week instead of a 7 day week. We have decided that the Spa should be closed one day a week to allow for a concentrated day of maintenance. This will be much more convenient than trying to squeeze in service calls between sessions. The day has not been decided upon, as of yet. It's turning out to be a difficult choice as to which day of the week we should be shut down.

There are more changes in regard to management that I think will make the Spa run smoother, but hopefully, the implementation will remain behind the scenes.

Here's to a healthy, prosperous and most importantly, FUN new year!