As a busy working mom of 3 very athletic daughters, I’m often asked how I do it all, and how I stay balanced. I’m not going to lie, trying to keep up with everything is stressful. Packing lunches, commuting to work, the dinner rush, housework, training for Ironman 70.3, and trying to remember to chauffeur the girls to their various sports and practices is overwhelming. Sometimes the thought of it all makes me want to just curl up in a ball, wave a white flag and scream UNCLE!
Ok – I admit that every Saturday night I may have 1 or 2 glasses of wine (or more). While wine is fun, it doesn’t take care of my stress quite the same way as a great massage does, so last week I headed over to Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa in Burlington with my best running friend to chase my stress away with a massage.
From the moment I arrived I felt instantly relaxed. The atmosphere is very calming and the staff were friendly and courteous. I’ve been greeted before at other spas where I’ve felt rushed, and almost like an annoyance to the front counter staff, but Hand & Stone was different. I was offered a seat on one of their comfortable chairs to fill out my new client form, and was offered glass of fruit infused water a minute or so later. I was given enough time to fill out my form without feeling rushed and had an opportunity to soak up the friendly atmosphere.
Hand & Stone lobby… Did you notice the bowl of chocolate?!? YUM!!
My Registered Massage Therapist’s name was Ali. He was very polite, kind and soft spoken. He immediately made me feel at ease. He asked me a bunch of questions to find out what I was hoping to achieve through my massage. He taught me how to get up on the massage table and told me how to roll over before the massage started so that I could do that comfortably when the time came. I had added an extra 10 minute exfoliating foot massage for my weary runner’s feet to my massage package, so we discussed when I wanted that – after massaging my legs or at the end of my massage etc. I chose to have it added after he massaged my legs so that it would flow with the rest of my massage. I told him that I was looking for a deep tissue massage to help my body absorb the waste materials from a hard training cycle. I had run 10k that morning so I was sure there was some lactic acid to be flushed out. Once we discussed my preferences, Ali left the room so I could change and get up onto the massage table.
No detail is missed at Hand & Stone. The massage rooms are painted a light brown and have a very relaxing atmosphere. The room temperature is just right, and the soft relaxing music was the perfect volume as well. If you want you can also add aromatherapy to your massage and there are several aromas to choose from. I didn’t add any to my package though.
Ali returned with a soft knock and waited for me to allow him in. I’ve had quite a few massages before, but this was one of the best I’ve had. I do have to mention here that my brother’s girlfriend Collette is in school at Sutherland Chan to become an RMT and her post-race massages are also fantastic (yes – I’m spoiled having a future RMT as part of my family). I digress…
Ali started with a general light touch on my back, then slowly began working deeper into the tissue and focused more on specific muscles. I like that he applied some mobilisation techniques to my scapula, shoulders and SI joints. As an athlete those joints can have a tendency to get very stiff. In my past life I’ve treated adhesive capsulitis of shoulders so I’m well aware of how important it is to keep the mobility of joints through massage and stretching. After my shoulders, back and hips, Ali massaged my IT band, hamstrings, achilles, and peroneals. During my exfoliating foot massage he massaged my plantar fascia – another area that frequently gets tight in runners. I try to get a massage once a month because of how well it can help to prevent injuries. I haven’t had an overuse injury since incorporating massage into my regular self-care.
After massaging my legs and feet, I rolled over so that Ali could massage my arms, neck, and upper chest. I always find it amazing how much tension I carry in my neck and through my jaw. Ali did an amazing job of massaging my neck (sternocleidomastoid), around my ears and the muscles of my cheeks/jaw. Unfortunately after my neck massage, my massage was done. I was really sad it was over and was VERY reluctant to get up. I laid on the massage table and relaxed for a few minutes after Ali left. I slowly got off the table and got dressed. I was very surprised after to find Ali waiting patiently with a bottle of water for me. This was a very nice touch, one that I have never experienced before at a spa.
Overall I was very happy with my massage experience at Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa in Burlington. The next time I go for some much needed Mommy RnR I want to experience one of their facial treatments, my best running friend said hers was amazing! Taking an hour to yourself for a massage or a facial is a great way to keep the stress away and to help you be the best that you can be.
Question/Sharing: What is your secret way to stay balanced?
Disclosure: I was invited to try a massage at Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa however my treatment was not free, nor have I been compensated for this post. This is my honest review of my massage experience.