Monday, March 31, 2008

Busy! Busy! Busy!

I am amazed at what we keep packing into the Spa these days. Last night was our first Men's Night and it is off to a great start! Richard had more than a dozen men come in, most of them enjoying the whole evening at the Spa.

For our weekly line up we have:

Sunday 7-10pm for Men's Spa Night ($10)
Monday 6-10pm for Ladies' Spa Night ($10)
Tuesday 7-10pm for Jeff's Art Talk Night (Free)

While this does put a dent in the Spa's availability for evening appointments on these days, we feel that these weekly events make the Spa more accessible to more people. If you have any questions about the schedule please don't hesitate to give me a call at 206-963-0772.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Men's Spa Night starting March 30!

Gentlemen, due to popular demand, I present Men's Night at the Little Red Day Spa.

Every Sunday, 7-10pm
Cost $10
1506 Franklin Ave. E. Seattle

Join certified watsu and shiatsu practitioner Richard Jessup at the Little Red Day Spa, starting Sunday, March 30 from 7-10 p.m., for a men's spa night!

This men's night will continue weekly every Sunday night. The doors will open up to enlightened men of all ages, orientations and backgrounds for an admission fee of only $10. The beautiful art-filled spa, with its soft candlelight, spirit-filled music and welcoming atmosphere, will give all men a chance to soak, chat, exchange massage, do a mud and salt scrub treatment, all while sipping herbal tea and noshing on healthy snacks.

Richard will provide free demos of the watsu style upon request, and will also offer 15 minute shiatsu massage treatments for just $10. If there is enough interest, he will also lead a group 30 minute shiatsu massage, where you will learn some basics of giving, while also having the opportunity to receive the technique. Towels, water and natural snacks provided. Just bring your willingness to socialize and relax with other like-minded men. Call Richard for more info at (206) 370-0423. Or just show up at the door at 1506 A Franklin Avenue East on the 30th!

Sunday, March 23, 2008


If there is one thing that is constant in our world, it's change.

This post is an excerpt of a recent email from Jeff Hengst, owner and founder of both the Little Red Studio and the Little Red Day Spa. I found it exciting and settling and thought you might enjoy a peek into the driving force behind the spa.

There are some rhythms worth noting. One year ago we moved into our new home on Harrison Street. After a long search and nearly crazy making wheeling and dealing, we found our current location, got financing together and signed papers. In early February we had a magical "blessing of the space" ceremony. I can still hear Nan's shamanic screams as we wound our way through the cavernous, gray empty dirty space we would soon call "home." "Our new home." Rose pedals were tossed in all directions and incense was thick. We even attempted to bring a bit of Jack, the "ghost" that lives in the upper studio at Franklin, to come to the new home. (It doesn't seem to
have worked.) The place was filthy and dark but seemed to be full of potential. And the presence of our group seemed to fill it with hope and possibility right from the start.

Three years ago I was able to cobble together enough financing to commit myself for the month of February and March to design and paint the large triptych painting that then went to SEAF (Seattle Erotic art Festival) in early April and then hung in the lower studio, aka the Spa, at Franklin since then. Some of my fondest memories of our last year or so of LRS at the old space are of seeing Mishabae and Bev and sometimes others doing performance yoga in the near dark in front of the painting, the audience all crowded around and sitting on the floor looking for all the world like the whole scene had just spilled out of the painting.

(And people wonder why I don't get excited about having my art in gallery shows!)

Well, the painting has been in the lower studio (now devoted almost exclusively to the spa) until this past winter solstice when it moved to the Fremont's annual winter solstice feast. After that it moved to the Harrison Street space. It sat, propped against a side wall since then. Today, Alex, Kim and I installed it on the main north wall where I will finish it at last. It is only about 75% finished. And of course we will fashion a cover for it so that it does not have to be on view except when it is intended to be so. For the meantime it will be covered with a big curtain.

Admittedly these paragraphs and this already lengthy e-mail don't really address any of the important business of what is going on at LRS. And believe me, there is much going on! However, I wanted to share these thoughts with you because they get closer to a truth about how I am running LRS and what you might expect from me than a report with bullet points. (Don't worry, I will get around to that too.) Instead, what I am hoping you will abstract from these thoughts is that I move fast at the same time that I move slow. There are different wavelengths for different aspects of LRS. It took a long time to find the building and get the financing together, but once we had it we moved fast. We were in our new home and doing shows within three weeks. In a couple of months we were settling in. In one year we are fine tuning. And all of this on a tiny budget. And with the painting, I designed and painted all of what is there in two months, but I have patiently waited three years to have it situated in a place where I could properly finish it.

Some things may appear to take forever at LRS. While others may seem to be going so fast you can not keep up. You are probably right about both sensations. I imagine that this must be frustrating at times. I appreciate how well you as individuals and as a troupe have come to deal with this potentially maddening combination of wave lengths. And while we are at it, I might as well say it, this is not going to change anytime soon.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Anti-Stress Essential Oils

There is a treasure trove of information on the interweb about anything you can think of. However, when it comes to the web, just because someone wrote it, doesn't mean they have a lot of experience with said subject. For example, while searching for studies linking cancer treatments and essential oils, I found the Cancer Blog.

Over all, it has good information, though some of it is incomplete and therefore misleading. Such as:

Bergamot elevates the mood and is good for alleviating anxiety and depression. The fragrance has a refreshing citrus aroma. Reported to increase white blood cell count. White blood cells fight foreign invaders in the body. Also reported to relax brain waves when inhaled.

Being in the citrus family, Bergamot can be phototoxic. Meaning that exposure to sunlight results in irritation after application. This oil is best saved for evening baths or application of lotions/oils, or in winter.

Chamomile relaxes both the mind and the body with a sense of inner peace and is good for headaches and insomnia. The fragrance might remind you of apples, as it did the Greeks who called the chamomile flowers earth apples. Chamomile leaves are said to bring peaceful dreams during sleep.

Chamomile is also very expensive, $25 and up for a 5 mL bottle.

Rose Geranium brings the mind and emotions back into balance. It is said to be able to stabilize blood pressure, although I don't know if this is based on any scientific studies. The fragrance is a combination of citrus and rose.

Actually, there have been scientific studies done on the effects of essential oils on blood pressure. Here is one published by the Touch Research Institute. Rose Geranium was not one of the oils in this study, and none of my reference books say anything about it's effects on blood pressure. It's fabulous for balancing the adrenals and reducing anxiety states through a sedative effect, though.

Jasmine sedates the nervous system while stimulating the brain and can relax tense muscles caused by tension, relieve headaches, and elevate the mood. According to one study, computer operators made fewer mistakes because of the scent of jasmine. Stress will lead to more mistakes, as will the mental distraction of stress.

Pure essential oil of Jasmine is almost impossible to find, and if you do, it's extremely expensive ($24 for 1 mL) due to the demand by the perfume industry. Absolutes are a step down from essential oils in refinement and more affordable.

Lavender is possibly the most common and widely-known as a stress reducer able to bring relaxation to the user and it is attributed in a long list of ability to promote calm. The fragrance is sweet and floral. Lavender is known to relieve muscle pain, ease headaches, fight inflammation, and supports the immune system. Research has proven lavender is the number one essential oil in relaxing brain waves and reducing stress.

Lavender is also known to amplify the effects of other essential oils so that the sum of a blend is greater than its parts. High altitude Lavenders from France or Italy are generally considered higher medicinal quality. Lavender is also one of the essential oils that has the widest variety of scents based on where it was grown, so if you don't much care for the smell, sniff around, you might be surprised. I personally dislike the smell of all Lavenders, except for the Italian High Altitude Lavender.

Sandalwood relaxes brain waves and is very calming for the nerves, lessening irritability, anxiety and tension. It is also an oil reported to increase white blood cell count. White blood cells fight foreign invaders in the body.

Sandalwood is incredible for nervous tension and stress related complaints. It has documented bactericidal and antiseptic properties. It is very small step in logic to say that when something is antiseptic, for example when you inhale Sandalwood, it increases white blood cells. I can understand the author not wanting to go out on a limb. After all, Sandalwood is famous for its effects on the respiratory system specifically.

If you are interested in more information, I recommend the The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils by Julia Lawless and the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy. I prefer to buy my oils from their associated company, Original Swiss Aromatics.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Art Talks on Tuesday Evenings.

The Little Red Day Spa is richly decorated with paintings by owner, Jeff Hengst. I am fortunate enough to have most of the art changed out seasonally, allowing me and the spa patrons to delight at the variety of styles Jeff's work spans.

Starting today, Jeff is going to be hosting a free Art Talk every Tuesday evening at 7pm in the Spa. Jeff has an incredible education and skill in the visual arts. If you have enjoyed the paintings and sculptures that decorate the Spa and Little Red Studio, avail yourself to the wonderful opportunity to talk to Jeff about art and look at works in his collection.

Art Talk Night is mostly going to be an informal affair with Jeff pulling out paintings from his vast collection to illustrate themes and topics of each talk. There will be plenty of time to ask questions, engage in discussions and contemplate any number of pieces.

Please note, because this is a new weekly event, there may be some variations of the start time due to previously scheduled spa sessions. This irregularity is temporary and starting the first Tuesday of April, Art Talk Night will always start at 7pm. Please call (206)328-4758 for any clarification or questions.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ladies' Night Protocol

There really isn't a set protocol for Monday evening's Ladies' Night. All the Spa's accouterments are out all evening for anyone's use throughout the evening. The hot tub is open, with the temperature higher than we keep it for Watsu, set at about 100 degrees. The salt scrub at the ready in the shower. The mud basin, filled at the moment with terra cotta clay and Rosewood and Lavender essential oils, perched on it's wrought iron stand close to the heat lamp. The massage table set up and the warmed oil at the ready.

However, it is interesting how the evening has developed as more people become regulars. Most women start out soaking in the hot tub, despite the time they arrive. There is often lively conversation with an atmosphere that is inclusive and friendly. With candles burning softly in lanterns and warm tea, it's easy to melt away stress.

After the first hour, women who arrived early start gravitating toward the mud basin. The energy in the room is mellower, but the slathering of mud on self and others brings it up a little making the room feel a bit lively and fun. Those who choose to forgo the mud lounge in the big, soft chairs and futon. While the mud dries, the conversation gets quieter, with some women lying or sitting in meditation.

This is usually the time of the evening when I do massages or blend essential oils for those who have signed up at the beginning of the evening.

Next the showering and salt scrubbing. Women rotating into the shower in a parade of various shades of brown and exiting the shower with softly glowing skin from the scrub. This is one of my favorite times of the evening, with the smell of strawberries heavy in the humid air of the studio. After the first few showers, even the women who didn't mud up feel the desire to use the fresh made body scrub.

The evening always trails to an end of women in towels or wrapped in robes, looking at art books, talking quietly is smaller groups or resting, eyes closed, and enjoying the blissful relaxation. Slowly, the studio empties of women, who leave in ones and twos. Everyone always says good bye to the room; the camaraderie is authentic and welcome. And evening that ends in sleepy, satiated smiles is a good one, indeed.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A partner in crime!

Chef Kim helped me choose the ingredients of the Strawberry salt scrub. Since he does all the shopping for the Little Red Studio, I asked him to pick up whatever was plentiful and in season. I told him not to worry, that I was letting fate decide the main ingredient.

He choose strawberries, which, interestingly enough, I had decided on and then second guessed myself as to the appropriateness of the timing. He assured me that this was the time for strawberries, that they heralded spring. Then I sat him down and showed him how I choose the essential oil to accompany the fruit. He had a great time sniffing different combinations and I loved the detailed feedback he gave about each blended smell.

Finally, I knew I had it and eagerly held up the bottle of Ginger essential oil with a berry for him to sniff together. He closed his eyes, inhaled deeply, held it a moment and popped his eyes right back open.

"This is it!"

Due to the juiciness of the berries, I didn't add as much sunflower oil to this batch. The result was a thinner, more soup-like consistency. I was a bit concerned that would affect the efficacy, but it did not. In fact, during it's trial run at the last Ladies' Night, it was given the "thumbs up" for being more luxurious than the Pomegranate scrub. Slightly less scratchy, which is cause for rejoicing for the people who had to decline the Pomegranate scrub because of delicate skin.

Kim just sent me a note that he has ideas for summer's salt scrub with coconut. He has also promised me a menu for catered spa sessions. It is quite exciting to be able to work with someone with a keen sense of smell and a gift for blending foods to create a sensuous eating experience.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Spring Forward!

In honor of changing to Daylight Savings Time, and the maturation of the Strawberry Ginger Salt Scrub, I offer you the Little Red Day Spa's Seasonal Offering for Spring:

*insert fan fare here*

Spring Thaw Spa Session

Feel yourself uplifted by the light scent of Peppermint while getting your feet washed and rubbed in a warm foot bath. After a light Roman Body Brushing, you'll be floated into oblivion in our spacious hot tub by your attentive practitioner until all your stress is drained away by the swirling water. After being deposited back on dry land, you'll bask under radiant heat while enjoying your hot oil body treatment with specially scented oil. Fresh Strawberry Ginger Sea Salt scrub will enliven your skin, which you will shower off in our custom shower, emerging refreshed and rejuvenated. Singles or Couples: 90 minutes - $150. 120 minutes - $200.

Call (206)963-0772 for questions and appointments!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Now that SEAF is over, back to the grind!

Though, luckily my grind is a lot kinder than others. Tomorrow, I'll be enjoying the relaxing atmosphere of Ladies' Night after a big weekend of an Little Red Studio Gold show and the Seattle Erotic Art Festival. I will give a report on those events after I have had a chance to catch up at the Spa.

As always, I will be in the Spa with doors and hot tub open from 6pm until 10pm. Drop in anytime between these hours and soak in the hot tub, play in the clay, scrub yourself until you are polished or lounge in the sumptuous atmosphere with interesting women. Cost is $10 per woman.

Massage is available for an added $10 for ten minutes. I am going to have my aromatherapy kit with me, too. Essential oil custom blends will be an extra $5 if you bring your own oil or lotion, or $10 if you choose to have your blend added to a 4 ounce glass bottle of the spa's base massage oil of choice, sunflower oil. Really, I can scent any product you would like, or just bring in an empty glass vial or jar for a pure essential oil blend to be used as perfume.

Little Red Day Spa
1506 Franklin Ave. E. Seattle, WA 98102
6pm - 10pm

Call for information or directions.