The Massage Den prides itself on supporting local businesses, but also businesses that are near and dear to my heart. Recently we have started carrying a wonderful line of soaps from my friend Shannon at Bean Tree Soap. Shannon and I are part of a magnificent, tight knit group of ‘Spartan Mothers’ as another friend calls us; lively, vibrant, intelligent, creative women who will lift a sister up or back a sister up depending on the need. Shannon lives and crafts her soaps in Georgia, but I feel like she’s never farther away than next door or across the street. When I decided to carry a line of bath and body care products I immediately thought of Shannon and Bean Tree Soap.

Not only are Shannon’s soaps yummy and delicious smelling, they feel incredible on the skin and are beautiful to look at, too!  She is a master at her craft and cares deeply about her clients, consistently working at creating the high quality and pampering products sold through Bean Tree Soap. She began making soap in 1997 “mostly out of curiosity” she says and confesses to “dreaming about blends and somehow, in my head, everything can be incorporated into a bar of soap.” I asked Shannon to tell me about her soaps, her business, and what she’d like my clients at The Den to know:

5 Reasons To Love Bean Tree Soap

  1. Your skin is the largest organ that you have and what you put on your skin gets into your body. That is why we use natural, wholesome ingredients.
  2. We are a small company that makes every batch by hand. This means we pay attention to detail and we can afford to use the highest quality of ingredients to be found on the planet.
  3.  We leave the glycerin in our soap, it keeps your skin moisturized. The stuff you buy at the grocery has had the glycerin taken out of and then it is sold to you in other products. Each bar of Bean Tree Soap is loaded with the natural glycerin that is formed in the process of becoming soap. One shower and you will see the difference.
  4. We believe that life is art. In every task, no matter how mundane, there is an experience to be enjoyed. So we create bath and body care products that reflect the art of bathing. We believe that bathing must never be boring and each lather should remind us that taking care of ourselves is where happiness begins.
  5. Allergen free bath care items. That’s right! We formulate items for those that are sensitive to nuts, dairy, soy and gluten! We make our soaps in a facility that is free from these items. We live with allergies and sensitivities and know how difficult it can be to find great body care items.

“We believe that life is art. In every task, no matter how mundane, there is an experience to be enjoyed.” I just love Shannon’s approach, dedication, and passion for her work! I feel like what drives me to create the best possible massage experience for my clients is similar to what drives her in creating her wonderful, high quality products. I’ve heard clients say things like “they smell yummy enough to eat!” and “the scent isn’t overpowering and it lingers for a long time.” With soaps and scents like Lavender Patchouli soap, Black Raspberry Vanilla glycerin soap, Vaniglia Shea Butter soap (a grown up, ‘sexy’ vanilla), and one of my best sellers, Homme; masculine all the way and completely yummy. Fresh, clean, and very sexy, every man should smell like this! The scent is rounded out by adding a bit of vanilla, heliotrope, dry wood, and grapefruit.  I can’t keep it in stock! Not only does Bean Tree seem to have a scent and soap for everyone, I have clients with gluten intolerance and it’s comforting to know that I can not only offer them all natural and wonderful products, but that I can also have complete faith in the purity of those products.

In addition to the soaps, I have teamed up with Bean Tree Soap to offer massage aftercare packs that will include a soap, an aromatherapy balm, and a bath tea soak. These will be offered in the themes of ‘clear head’, ‘relaxation’, and ‘uplift’. They are the perfect way to extend and enhance the benefits of your massage from The Massage Den.

The Massage Den holds each individual client’s health and satisfaction in high regard, it’s what drives and sustains us, and the reason why, when given the choice, we choose to carry Bean Tree Soap. So the next time you’re in The Den why not check out the soaps and give them a sniff? Better yet, try a bar and see if you’re not hooked after the first shower!

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A week or so ago I offered to send a friend and her husband for a couples massage. She declined, politely, though I got the feeling she’d prefer to stand in line at the DMV to renew her license, and THEN stand in line to renew her husband’s license, as well, rather than take me up on my offer!  The whole exchange got me thinking about what perceptions the mainstream public holds regarding couples massage.  Even worse, did she have a bad experience in the past?  Allow me to demystify what couples massage IS, and even more important what it COULD BE for you and your loved one!

Couples massage IS:  Two people on two separate tables receiving massage simultaneously from two separate therapists.  Before the massage you can communicate with your therapist(s) and tailor the session to suit your shared and individual preferences; from music to lighting to how light or firm the touch.  It is way to share the massage experience together while having specific individual needs met. Whether or not you and your partner choose to converse during the massage (as your therapist I find these conversations between couples quite entertaining at times!) or to just focus on silence and relaxation, couples massage is a wonderful way to connect.  The experience is therapeutic and an enjoyable way to nurture your relationship. I can’t think of a better gift to share with the person you love most than the benefits of massage!

That being said, couples massage isn’t just for two people who are romantically linked. Any two people can benefit from it; couples, family members, friends, etc.  Couples massage is a perfect way to show someone how much you care or to say thank you.  You can book a couples massage with your maid of honor before the big day, time out with your favorite sibling, or as a way to spend time (QUIETLY) with your mother or mother in law.  Giving the gift of couples massage for any occasion is an unexpected, clever, and creative way to celebrate a favorite couple in your life.

What kind of massage and atmosphere you choose will depend on who you are sharing couples massage with. The Massage Den has thoughtful therapists on staff for this service. We spend a lot of time and effort in creating a comfortable and inviting space to receive body work with your friend or loved one.

And, with Valentine’s Day coming up now is the time to focus on that special someone in your life! As an alternative to many of the traditional and expected ways to show you care, consider the thoughtful, relaxing, and enjoyable gift of massage from The Massage Den with your best guy or gal. Service will also include sparkling water, chocolates, and time afterward together to relax.

Now that DEFINITELY sounds better than waiting in line at the DMV to renew your license!

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Year Of The Phoenix

January 7, 2013

The Chinese Zodiac says 2012 was the Year of the Dragon, but here at The Massage Den it was the year of the Phoenix.

When you spend your life working hard in a career you love, investing your time and energy into building a business, only to see it all go up in smoke…. needless to say, it is devastating. Early in 2012 the business I had built, The Massage Den, burned down. To nothing. Just like that all the hard work and effort was reduced to a pile of rubble, ash, and soot.  The Den was completely water logged and just…gone. What’s worse is not only had *I* lost everything, the therapists I had on staff were suddenly out of work as well.

In the immediate aftermath I called a meeting with my friends and colleagues.  Over pitchers of beer and through tissues and tears I shared my determination with them to rebuild immediately. I looked at a few places and explored my options.  Eventually the shock wore off and I was just stunned.  I felt immobilized.  It is so hard to lose what you worked so hard for!  A recurring theme in my life since moving to Louisiana has been learning how to recover from loss.  I thought I was past all of that…and experiencing it again was faith crushing. I lost my momentum for re-building and replaced it with self doubt; I questioned myself, my abilities, my calling, my vision. All at once it just seemed too hard and my idea of creating a business that provides a respectful working environment and a living wage for all involved seemed like an impossible endeavor.

I had to keep working and serving my clientele and started The Massage Den up at home, back where I had started it the previous year. Grateful for a space, it still was far from ideal.  Sure, I could keep working, had to, but the stress was incredible. I mourned the loss of my professional space while trying to balance home life and work life. Through the tension headaches and hours of worrying about how I would continue on, serving my clients became my saving grace. Able to provide the therapy they needed and called upon me for became my impetus for re-building. As I grew more confident and had some distance from the devastation of the fire, a voice of reason (yes, this voice was my significant other) spoke to me and said, “Maybe it was just a wiring issue and poor building management?”

Maybe. Just maybe… Maybe it wasn’t a sign from the Universe that it was all impossible and I shouldn’t continue to try, but just faulty wiring (duh, it’s not always all about me!). I was hopeful to see the situation in a new light.

Shortly after that I received a text from a close friend and client; there was a nurse practitioner who worked in the building I worked in that burned down. The nurse practitioner decided to move out TWO weeks before the fire hit.  Her reason?  The wiring had blown out an expensive piece of her equipment (ding! Ding! It really WAS the wiring, maybe I AM supposed to do this work!).  She decided it would be best if she bought her own building, and she now had a space to rent.  My friend gave her a glowing review of The Massage Den, the connection was made, and I was on my way to a new space!

The Den reopened the week after Hurricane Isaac.  I had nothing but my table, some sheets, massage oil, and my hands. What I also had was my faith in my vision restored. I was able to explore the possibilities of my business and once again ask the questions that led me to this work; how many more lives can I touch in a positive way?  How much more healing can I facilitate in the world?  And after so much loss, is it still possible?  I think so, yes. In the darkest of moments we must still be willing to see the light. In the darkest of moments everything is still possible.

2012 closed out at The Den much different than how it started, and business is better than ever! While I cannot go so far as to say I’m ‘glad’ for the fire, I am happy to have had the chance of renewed faith in my vision, for not only my own business, but for the massage industry as well. The fire was a huge loss, but to know that I can rise from the ashes and continue to do what I have been called to do:  Serve my clientele and one day provide a respectful and viable working environment for my colleagues has been the greatest gift.

The Massage Den wishes you and yours a happy and healthy new year!

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Stillness

July 15, 2011

When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself.  When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world.  ~ Eckhart Tolle

In the daily grind of modern life we get lost within our computers, cell phones, video games, and cubicles.  Four years ago while sitting at my desk working in a high paced, high stressed position as a Senior Account Executive for a major sub-prime mortgage lender, I nearly had a nervous breakdown.  I had lost myself in the world.  I remember just sitting there staring at my computer screen dreading the hard work that was spilling all over my desk.  Considering the economic conditions of the mortgage industry at that time, my interactions with people were not always positive.  I took a vow right then and there that I was going to pursue a new career.  I wanted to pursue a way of life that was more in line with who I was on the inside.

So I did.  And I learn more and more about myself every day.  Each client that comes into my vicinity is a huge blessing as I learn how to navigate the healing work I offer.  In school I was being taught that in order to give good bodywork I had to find my center and be grounded.  In theory it sounded good.  But in the chaos of raising kids, dying family members, financial crisis, and failed relationships, what in the world was stillness?   I was so used to having to rush from one activity to the next: swapping my student hat for the waitress hat for the mom hat then back to the student hat and oh yeah the kids need to eat…. oh wait, I don’t have any food in the fridge, quick put the waitress hat back on, go get money, go buy food, feed the family…  sleep.  Sleep?  Yeah, right.  What is that?  In the midst of all of life’s trials and tribulations I forgot how to self soothe.  I lost myself in the world.

I have struggled with finding this stillness, this empty yet fulfilling warmth that gently washes over my soul.  And this is precisely why I do what I do.  I find it while providing it.  I can feel the breath of my client become deep and slow, I can feel it when they finally give in to the relaxation and allow the stresses of life to be released out into the Universe.  The delicious nothingness of being at peace.  And within this nothingness we are reminded of who we are.

Who are you in this world?  Do you know?  Are you able to float in the stillness long enough to find out?

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy The Silence

July 6, 2011

Have you enjoyed the silence lately?  Seems the only peace and quiet I get these days is in session with clients.  Between dogs barking and crying all night, kids playing airsoft wars and xbox, and the constant flow of all of life’s worries chattering in my head, I can’t seem to find much solace.  Although, once I begin the preparations for receiving my first client of the day all the noise starts to dissipate.  The chillins know to turn the TV down, put up the loud toys, and speak in hushed tones.  The calm magically spreads to the dogs (all four of the “crazies” we call them!) and they settle down to soak up the peaceful energy that slowly unfolds throughout our home.  I find the answers to life’s worrisome chatter while effleuraging and kneading and digging into the tissues of someone else’s tension.  Like a giant wave of relief, both therapist and client are lulled into a better state of being.  Albeit a brief exchange, the 30, 60, or 90 minutes of silence and healing is a welcome retreat not only for you, my client, but for me as well.  Once again, thank you for coming into my life today!  I love my job.

Daily Gratitude

July 6, 2011

I may not make a ton of money, but the thanks I get from my clients every day for the healing I offer them is priceless.  Through something as basic as human touch, I am able to affect a difference one person at a time, one moment at a time.  Clients ask if my hands get tired or if I ever feel like I “can’t” do the work I set out to do.  I know I am doing my life’s work when I don’t even need to hesitate to answer.  Of course I get tired, but the fulfillment I receive from creating a space of peace for others is energizing nonetheless.  I love what I do!