Health lessons from the spa

Ahead of my birthday and amid final paper stress, I decided it was time to treat myself to a massage and facial. I dressed in black yoga pants – the ones I never wear because they attract my white cat’s fur – and headed out for a relaxing morning at Habitude (go there. They’re great!).

My healthy treat came with a side order of shame that I’m spinning into motivation. I like acing what I do. Like when the cardiologist said, “why are you here?” Unfortunately, my massage therapist and esthetician didn’t say that.

Massage therapist: You have extremely tight hips and tight shoulders. You sit too much. You should do yoga. It’s true. I’ve been sacrificing workouts lately in favor of completing school assignments. As a compromise, I’ve been trying to put my work desk in standing position more often. A study found that people who stood 6 hours a day burned .15 more calories per minute than those who sat. My goal is more to stretch out than to burn more calories. When I stand, I wiggle around more, bumping one hip out to the side to stretch a bit or balancing on one foot. All I have is anecdotal evidence that it helps my hips, but apparently not enough. Maybe I’ll try some morning yoga before work. Unfortunately, science says my standing desk might be hurting my back since I often wear heels to work. There’s always something.

As for my shoulders, that’s something my trainers have told me time and time again. Two trainers and one shoulder injury ago, I was instructed to buy a therapy ball (or a racquetball works fine, too) to roll out my tight shoulders against a wall. I also love laying on a foam roller like Amanda shows here, but I need to do that more often to compensate for the hours I spend working in front of a computer.

Then was the facial. Haven’t gotten one of those in years and was looking forward to it. The esthetician pointed at my chin, “this third shows your lifestyle,” she said. Pointing at the middle third of my face: “this third shows your genetics.” And finally, my forehead: “this is your stress.”

She told me I had problems in all three areas. Grrrreat. Plus, she told me I was dehydrated.

It’s true, my skin hasn’t been especially not happy in the last two weeks. For eight weeks, I’d been focusing on eating a cleaner diet and my skin looked clearer as a result. But in the two weeks since that focus on clean eating ended, I’ve been consumed alcohol, chocolate, pizza, and burgers (in moderation!). I’ve loved every bite and sip, but the processed, high-glycemic foods show on my face. Plus, I love to pull the covers up to my chin when I sleep. I’m sure that’s causing some breakouts in that region.

So I have some things to work on to ace my next spa day test.

Published by Candace

I’m a journalist, nutritionist, doting auntie, one-time bobsledder, and wannabe health nut (who loves chocolate and pizza too much to fully commit). I don't want you to think my life is perfect. It's not.

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