Month: April 2019

Spa Treatments with CBD for Pain Relief and more.

So I recently wrote about using CBD oil to manage my MS symptoms. Since I started adding CBD to my daily regimen, I experience less brain fog during the day, less anxiety, and almost no debilitating fatigue. However, there hasn’t been any improvement in my chronic pain or spasticity. I initially wanted to try a topical CBD product to alleviate these symptoms. However, Brandi Bovell of Affordable Spa Services had a better idea: try spa treatments with CBD products!

I like spa treatments! And I like CBD products! This makes sense! I will make time for this self-care!

Let’s Recap: What is CBD?

CBD (Cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive component of industrial hemp. (Translation: CBD does not get you high.) It affects the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in regulating a variety of physiological and cognitive processes, including but not limited to pain-sensation, mood, and memory. CBD products have been shown to soothe anxiety, stress, pain, and insomnia. The ingredient has soared in popularity over the past few years, and it can now be found in a number of products, pain creams, moisturizers, gummies, teas, beer, ice cream, massage oils, and dog treats, just to name a few.

My initial experience with CBD products was good – so much so, that I continue to take CBD oil to this day. I have more focus and energy, and less anxiety. I consider it a tool to help me deal with my very, very stressful life. However, it has not helped me with my chronic pain – which is mainly due to my MS, but I can’t help but think that being a 42-year-old woman who is stressed and busy and spends a lot of time in front of a computer is contributing at least  partially to my pain issues. In other words, it’s very easy to blame everything on a chronic condition, but it may not be completely fair.

When Brandi offered me the opportunity to have a CBD-infused spa day, I was all in. We’ll call this my CBD Spapertunity! 

Spa Treatments with CBD: Mineral Bath

This is the bathroom at Affordable Spa Services (Richmond, VA) where I relaxed in my CBD-infused mineral bath.

I arrived at my appointment and was taken to a room with a super-cute clawfoot tub filled with water and soaking salts. Affordable Spa Services uses the Empower® brand of soaking salts, described as, “a luxurious brand of Epsom, Dead Sea, and Pink Himalayan salts, carefully infused with a proprietary essential oil formula and third-party, lab-tested, domestically-cultivated, 2014 Farm Bill Compliant hemp-derived Cannabidiol (CBD).”

That ticks all the important boxes. As you know, quality is extremely important to me.

So, I stepped into the super-cute clawfoot tub. I will spare you the bathtub pics.

Let me just say:

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

I felt relief! After a few minutes, my pain had subsided – from where I typically am on the 1-10 scale (a 5-6) to a 2-3.

I soaked and soaked. It was wonderful. My only wish was that I could soak the side of my face more , since my MS causes trigeminal neuralgia, and the water level didn’t quite reach as far as my face. They call it there “hydroponic” treatment. TEE-HEE!

My time in the tub was up. On to the next part of my CBD Spapertunity!

Spa Treatments with CBD: The Massage

Now I have had massages before. Every massage therapist has his or her own technique. And as a general rule, I don’t like massages. I find that they are not effective, or cause me pain and discomfort. I usually walk out of the massage therapist’s office feeling as if I have wasted my money. And there is always the caveat that you have to keep going back to see a real difference. Well, why would I go back if I didn’t receive any benefit or enjoy it the first time?

This was not the case with my CBD-infused massage.

Massage room at Affordable Spa Services

My massage therapist was an imposing figure who towers over me (as many people do) and has enough muscles in her arms and hands that she could potentially break me in half. But attached to those arms and hands are fingers of MAGIC. Over the course of the massage, her magic fingers worked knots out of several areas, including my back, shoulder, and neck.

So What Makes it a CBD-Infused Massage?

The experience was enhanced with the use of CBD-infused massage oil by a company called apothecanna, based out of Denver. CO. Their mission is simple: to spread the wisdom of traditional plant medicine. (OK, I’m on board with that). According to their website, they, “thoughtfully source organic and wildcrafted essential oils from their native regions of the world… do not use artificial ingredients, fillers, parabens or GMO ingredients.”  The company does not test their products on animals, and strive to create products with uncompromised purity, quality, and functionality.

The massage lotion contained a combination of arnica, peppermint, juniper, and cannabis (CBD). Each ingredient is designed to provide a specific therapeutic element:

  • Arnica: heals bruising and relieves sprains
  • Peppermint: relieves pain and soothes skin
  • Juniper: reduces swelling and soothes nerves
  • Cannabis (CBD): anti-inflammatory and relieves stress

It may have been the relaxing mineral bath that I took before the massage. It may have been Ms. Magic Fingers who was working away my knots. Or it may have been the pain-relieving CBD cream. Maybe it was a combination of all three. But I can say that this one of the best (read: therapeutic and effective) massages I have ever received.

Spa Treatments with CBD: Skin Care

Oh, but we can’t forget about this face, can we?

Dr. Jess Norris sitting in the lobby of Affordable Spa Services, Richmond VA

I know what you are thinking: Why mess with perfect?

Truth be told, some of the medicines that I have taken over the past few years have really done a number on my skin. Cystic acne, dehydration, and hyperpigmentation have all been my nemesis since my MS diagnosis and subsequent change to my prescription medicine regimen. Alas, any skin care treatment that I have received in a spa has made things worse.  And there is always the caveat that you have to keep going back to see a real difference. Again. if I come out of the facial looking worse than when I went in, why would I come back?

And so I prepare for my skin treatment with Amanda Roberto, an aesthetician with Affordable Spa Services. Amanda knows her stuff. Also she has met Sylvester Stallone. Neat. She explained each step in the process, including the cleanse, exfoliation, serum application, and hydration. This process included applications of two CBD-infused products, including the same extra-strength lotion used during my massage (which was wonderful for my trigeminal neuralgia), and a CBD-infused facial serum.

Seriously, my skin glowed after this facial. And with the added benefit of the CBD-infused products, my face actually felt some temporary pain relief.

Spa Treatments with CBD: the Bottom Line

CBD-infused spa treatments are rapidly becoming more popular, and for good reason. Throughout my spa treatments, I experienced relaxation and pain relief. There is no doubt that I will continue to add CBD-infused products to my self-care regimen – at home and at the spa!

It’s important to remember that, when it comes to CBD products, quality counts. And unfortunately, CBD is being produced without any regulation, resulting in products that vary widely in quality. Brandi and her team of professionals have carefully vetted the CBD-infused products used at Affordable Spa Services. It is clear to me that customer safety and product quality are among their top priorities – and this is KEY when choosing any aesthetician or  massage therapist. When it comes to self-care, be sure to set your standards high.

Let me know.

8 Common Skin Care Mistakes & 8 Easy Peasy Solutions!

Affordable Spa Product Line

Have you tried all the things? Purchased all the expensive products? And still can’t find a happy place with the skin on your face?!?! The answer may be simpler then you think!

Below I’ll talk about some common at home mistakes consumers make and simple ways to break the cycle and love the skin you are in.

  1. Over or underuse of products.

Yes, using too much or too little can seriously do harm. Too much can clog your pores, leave behind a residue, or even decrease efficacy because a barrier gets created preventing absorption of the good stuff as intended. Using too little may not allow your skin to get even benefit across your whole face.  Follow this diagram below (and the instructions on your product label) to ensure you are using the correct amount.

Cleanser– use a pea sized amount, lather well

Toner- about a dime sized amount if a liquid toner on a cotton ball or a pea sized amount rubbed between clean hands if a gel toner

Serum– about the size of 2 sunflower seeds

Exfoliator– a dime sized amount

Mask- a dime sized amount

Moisturizer– About the size of 2 sunflower seeds, 4 if your skin is extremely dry

Sunscreen– 2 sunflower seeds

2. Not allowing products to dry or absorb before applying the next product.

We are all rushing from place to place, meeting to meeting. Life is busy! Don’t let it be at your skins expense. Set aside 10 minutes per day after your shower for your face. Wash your face in the shower. Apply your toner, wait for it, wait for it, wait for it to completely dry, then apply your serum, wait again for it to dry. Once your skin feels as though the serum has dried, it means your skin has slurped up the quench of vitamins, hydration, and all the juicy stuff! Next apply your moisturizer (I like a good oil moisturizer myself, but whatever your jam, do you), then once you no longer feel the tackiness, rub a little sunscreen between your 2 hands and pat gently on top. Or bonus if you use a moisturizer with sunscreen already inside, in which case you can skip the last step.

3. Washing your face with water that’s too hot!

We all know that hot water feels amazing on our bodies, but it’s not the best option for your face. Many gel cleansers now say on the bottle “rinse with cold water” or “remove with cool water” because many cleansers contain fruit acids or enzymes that should not over penetrate the epidermis. Hot water and steam dilates your pores, and that combined with over penetration of acids or enzymes can cause hyperpigmentation. Follow the instructions on your bottle.

4. Applying products in the wrong order.

Because products change the PH of your skin, and some are meant to absorb and some are meant to sit on top of the skin and protect, applying in an incorrect order can be very detrimental, and expensive. Most products clearly state on the label which order they should be used in, however if you are using products from more than one product line this can get confusing because some product lines may include 3 steps and some may include 6, for this reason if you are not a skin expert or acting on the advice of a specialist it may be best for you to stick one product line. Typically below is the correct order for most product lines:

  1. Pre-cleanse (make up remover or an oil cleanser)
  2. Cleanser (usually a gel or foaming cleanser)
  3. Exfoliator (if needed, usually once a week or once a month is enough)
  4. Mask (typically only needed once or twice per month)
  5. Toner (be careful some can over strip your skin, if you feel too dry, try
  6. Serum
  7. Moisturizer

5. Washing your face too much or too little.

Washing your face too much can cause a breakout just as fast as poor hygiene. Going crazy washing your face 4 times a day and have acne? Your skin is probably over processed. Try cutting back to twice a day, or even once a day, and try a cream cleanser during the day, and only use a foaming or gel cleanser at night before bed. If you are ready to cut back to once a day, do it at night before bedtime. Washing your face in the morning is not usually really necessary unless you sweat a lot while you sleep, or if you are a mouth breather and drool on your face while you sleep. If you aren’t washing your face daily and you have acne, try washing once a day in the evening, or twice a day using a gel or foaming cleanser in the evening and a cream cleanser in the morning.

6. Not following manufacturer’s instructions.

The specialists that designed and manufactured the skin care products we use typically have an extensive amount of knowledge and education in regards to the ingredients, use, and efficacy of them. So read the labels on the skin care products you use and follow them, usually there is also a customer service number on the bottles in case you have questions. Which is great source for free help with a products use.

7. Not drinking enough water.

The human body LOVES water. Your body is supposed to be 70% water. If your skin is dry, irritated, or you have acne, your skin may just be thirsty. Try to drink at least (8) 8oz. glasses per day, a few more if its summer or you work out a lot. Drink up!

8. Know when to see a professional.

If what you have tried is not working consistently, schedule an appointment with a Licensed Aesthetician or a Dermatologist. We all love a good DIY approach, but sometimes we need a professional. I certainly wouldn’t try to change the oil in my car myself. We all have our strengths.