Sunday, March 29, 2015

10 Important Massage Benefits You May Not Know About

Do you think having a massage is just about relaxation, pampering or relieving tight muscles? Yes massage is great for inducing a deep state of relaxation and providing some pampering 'me' time. And you know it is excellent for relieving tight, sore or cramped muscles and the associated pain that goes with it. But there are many other benefits and reasons for having a massage than you may not be aware of.

Because massage affects us on a mind, body and spirit level, it can release a cascade of beneficial effects on a physiological, chemical, emotional and mental level.

Here are 10 important massage benefits that you may not know about.

  • Easing pain medication dependence.

Due to the easing of sore and painful muscles and freeing up of joints, less medication may be required to keep you comfortable.

  • Enhancing immunity.

The Lymphatic System is part of our body's natural defense system and massage stimulates the efficient flow of lymph therefore enhancing our natural immunity.

  • Improving the condition of the body's largest organ-the skin.

Massage increases circulation to the skin cells, bringing more oxygen and nutrients and oils used can also feed and moisturize the skin.

  • Lessen depression and anxiety.

As a result of the sedating effect of massage the nerves are calmed and many of us are able to step back from our worried or anxious mind for a while and gain a more positive perspective.

  • Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue.

Scar tissue can be broken down thereby reducing restrictions and unsightly scars.

  • Reduce post surgery adhesions and swelling.

Internal adhesions can be freed and pooling of excess tissue fluids can be reduced by stimulating drainage.

  • Release of endorphins.

These are amino acids that work as the body's natural painkiller.

  • Relieve migraine pain.

Regular treatments can also reduce the occurrence of migraines.

  • High blood pressure patients demonstrate lower diastolic blood pressure, anxiety, and stress hormones.

By enhancing wellbeing and reducing anxiety, thus encouraging chemical and hormonal balance.

  • Enhanced sleep quality.

Relaxation promotes ease of getting to sleep and clients often report a deeper, more restful sleep.

There are many other benefits not listed here so don't just think of massage as a guilty indulgence, but as a very enjoyable maintenance program for this amazing machine we call the body.

John Herberte is a Massage and Bowen Therapist in Daylesford, Victoria.
If you would like more information on his services you can find it at

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

11 Benefits Of Being Outdoors

Even before I started to work in the outdoor industry, I loved being outside. I have many happy memories of doing my school studying outside whenever I could, even on cold days. Summer holidays were spent outside as much as possible, not necessarily doing anything specific; just being in the fresh air.

Maybe that all came from growing up in a city and feeling confined and constrained by the greyness, I don't know. Whatever the reason for it, the desire has stayed with me and I seek to be outdoors at any opportunity.

Since my childhood, I have looked a little more at why we should spend time outdoors and some of the benefits that it brings. Some of these have been well-researched and documented; others are merely anecdotal but seem to apply to a wide cross-section of people I have worked with.


Of the benefits, they can be split into those that are mental and those which are more physical in nature which is where I shall start. These are things where changes for good can be noticed in our bodies, be they sick or healthy.

Vitamin D

One of the well-documented benefits of being outdoors is the rise in the level of Vitamin D it provides. Sunlight hitting the skin starts the process that generates the vitamin in us. There are studies that suggest this vitamin might have protective effects against many things from heart attacks and strokes to cancer or depression. This is a big debate in Scotland at the moment, with people suggesting that supplements should be taken by the nation to counter the ill effects of so many grey days. However, it seems that you don't need to be outside a huge amount to top yourself up to a reasonable level - being outside for 15 minutes a day may be sufficient and if you take advantage of every sunny day you should be fine.

Obviously there is the downside of burning so we are told to religiously apply sunscreen which then prevents the vitamin-generating UVB light hitting us. However, with some common sense and a bit of balance it should be possible to avoid over-exposure but allow enough sun through to keep you healthy, if you go outdoors enough.


If you are outside then by definition you are not driving in your car or sitting on your sofa. This suggests that you may be walking somewhere or taking part in some form of more deliberate exercise. Assuming this is at an appropriate level for your general level of fitness, this is a good thing which provides benefits. Again, it doesn't need to be in huge amounts. There are guidelines as to what you should be doing and it will be best if you can follow them. However, if you don't normally do any exercise then I'm reasonably sure that graduating to doing 'some' is a great step forwards.

I know we can still go to a gym and exercise and there is no harm in that. However, my view is that the ever changing scenery outdoors is better than a TV on your running machine and the other obvious benefit is that the outdoors is free.


It seems from a study carried out in Pittsburgh that having access to natural light is beneficial to patients recovering from spinal surgery. Other studies have shown the benefits of patients being able to see trees and countryside rather than simply brick walls. I know when I was incarcerated in hospital recently, just for a few days, the fact that I could look out the window at something other than buildings was great. Now, this is not specifically about being outside but surely the advantages of seeing these things can be multiplied by actually going out there too, maybe even touching nature. It is no surprise to me that for years long term patients have been wheeled outside into hospital grounds and gardens as part of their convalescence.


Particularly important for children, the outdoors provides more space. How many times have you noticed a child who is itching to run around but is too constrained indoors? Remove the shackles and they are off, whether that is hurtling around a small hall in the building, getting under people's feet and falling into table corners or playing aeroplanes, football or simply running outside. Children are so much more active outdoors and I suspect that is largely because there are fewer boundaries to slow them down and make them conform. They need to be allowed out to let off steam - just ask a primary school teacher on the third wet day in a row!

Fresh Air

Finally in the physical section, I am a firm believer in the idea that living all of our days in our hermetically-sealed, double-glazed, centrally-heated or air-conditioned boxes (at work or at home) is not overly healthy. I know just by watching myself that fresh air helps me sleep better and gives me fewer problems with the condition of my skin. Maybe that is true for other people too, that they simply need to breathe fresh air sometimes. Yes, cold draughty houses are not good either but I suspect there is some middle ground to be found, which may come from frequent visits to the big, fresh-smelling, outdoor world.


There is another body of work that looks at what impact being outside has on our mental wellbeing. Whilst there are few conclusive studies, it seems that a number of pieces of research are quite convinced that there are psychological benefits to be gained by going outside. On top of all this scholarly research, I am currently able to speak from personal experience as well. Stuck inside with a ruptured achilles tendon, even a short ten minute walk down the street makes me feel better inside. In this case it particularly alleviates my feelings of entrapment and monotony. These and other ideas are elaborated on below.


Light makes you feel better and generally there is more of it outside than in, even on days that you would not class as 'bright'. If you are not sure, just look at the number of people suffering in the winter due to the seasonal lack of light. Whilst your job may enslave you to a routine indoors that means arriving and leaving in the hours of darkness, a five minute walk at lunchtime might overcome the issue enough to make you feel better.


The natural green colours you find in the countryside tend to exhibit a much more calming effect on your brain than the blacks and greys of city life. Even in the confines of an inner-city park, the greenery there is more appealing to the eye. You may not live in close proximity to green open spaces (which is a shame given the apparent benefits of that) but when you want to hopefully you can find them and make the most of them - even a dandelion growing in some cracked mortar is a start.

It also seems to be a generally held view that one of the most calming sounds you can hear is moving water. Whether that is a stream or a wave or a waterfall, the sounds make us feel better somehow, in a way that a dripping tap just can't. You don't need to go and camp on the beach or climb up to a mountain stream - even the brook running through the village green or the fountains in the park can give the same effect.


Sometimes I think you can feel trapped by being inside all the time. Particularly at work where you can already feel like you are simply part of a system with no escape, having to sit in the same seat day after day just provides a monotonous outlook on the world. By going outside, the vista opens up, even just looking down a city street. Add the advantages that are provided by stepping even a few metres above the crowd and the sense of being shut-in can lift, however temporarily.


They say variety is the spice of life and that a change is as good as a rest. In that case moving, however briefly, from an indoor existence to a period out of doors must be of benefit. If we can go somewhere new into the bargain then it will be even better. It doesn't need to be exotic, however hard the travel agents try to convince you to the contrary. Walking down a different street in your own town may be sufficient. Going to a different park or a new footpath will provide even more benefits.


It seems that people, and particularly children, suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can benefit from being outside. If they can counter their 'nature deficit' by going outside (as described by Richard Louv in his book 'Last Child in the Woods') then their concentration improves. The research on this is primarily on these children but it's not wild conjecture to suggest that the same may be true for all of us. When I worked in a Darlington office complex, I used to take ten minutes at lunchtime just to walk around the block every day. It did wonders for my ability to concentrate in the afternoon. With flexitime in place, I was even at liberty to do it again halfway through the afternoon should I require it.


Finally, I believe that there is benefit in being outdoors for the new appreciation it gives us for our area. Taking time to look around you in a natural place, whether it is perceived to be beautiful or not, will allow you the chance to see what is actually there. You don't need to move far. Simply sitting outside with things growing around you will present a multiplicity of objects to be observed. On top of that, there may be wildlife, such as birds or small mammals, as well as the weather as it impacts on the land or sea. When observed with open eyes, it is hard to be unimpressed and this can only heighten an appreciation for the place you are in. When this is your homeland, it can fill you with a sense of pride by association. Even if you are far away though, it is still possible to gain a sense of wonder and satisfaction - to have the privilege to live in such a diverse world is amazing.


You may think some of this is hard to believe, or that it doesn't apply to your situation or the geographical area you frequent. However, having spent most of my working life in outdoor contexts, I have seen many of these concepts in action, and helped people develop their thinking whilst outside. I couldn't put numbers to it but I would hazard a guess that everyone that has come outside with me over the years has benefited in some way from the experience. which begs the question why we don't go outside more often - it's obviously good for us!

Nick Smith is an Outdoor Life Coach and Trainer. Within his company, Square Pegs Coaching, he uses outdoor experiences to help people develop themselves. By walking and talking together, people discover how they can take further steps in their journey of life. Although working mainly in Glasgow and the West of Scotland where he is based, Nick also travels around the UK - if you want to be coached by him then get in touch through his website at There is more information there to help you understand the concepts of outdoor life coaching, background on Nick and the opportunity to book coaching when you are ready. The articles Nick writes appear first in his regular newsletter - to sign up to receive new articles and other offers, go to He also posts other thoughts and challenges on his blog on the website.
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Monday, March 23, 2015

4 Fascinating Ways That a Hot Stone Massage Benefits Our Minds

Hot stone massages can benefit your mind as much as your body. We usually think about the benefits of these massages for our bodies. For instance, hot stone massages can:

o improve our blood circulation
o reduce pain
o release toxins
o relax our muscles

These benefits are certainly important, especially after a stressful day at work or school. However, we should not disregard the mental benefits of massage. Maintaining sound mental health is equally as important as maintaining sound physical health. Here are some of the most important mental benefits from a hot stones massage:

1. Improves our ability to think calmly

When our minds are stressed-out, we tend to react to situations in an irrational way, and to make irrational decisions. The results could be disastrous. For instance, "road rage" can cause us to drive aggressively and make various irrational decisions. That could include running a red traffic light, cutting off another driver, etc. Indeed, remember the old adage "cooler heads will prevail." A hot stone massage can help to relax your mind, allowing you to think rationally and calmly.

2. Encourages a relaxed state of alertness

My Little League baseball "career" lasted one season, after I got a black eye on a pop-fly ball. However, we can apply the baseball lesson of "keeping your eye on the ball," to virtually every aspect of our lives. It is important that we are constantly alert throughout the day. We must be alert to operate a vehicle, listen to the instructions of bosses, teachers, and so on.

Hot stone massages can increase our state of alertness. They become a form of meditation, clearing our minds of the worries of the world. When our minds are not bogged down with these thoughts, we can focus on our day-to-day lives. Also, when our bodies our relaxed, we are physically ready to spring into action when in "fight or flight" situations.

3. Improves our ability to be creative

It is difficult to write a poem or song lyrics, when our minds remain focused on other matters. However, by clearing and relaxing our minds through a hot stone massage, we get our "creative juices" flowing, and can then produce extraordinary creative works.

4. Lowers mental stress

Typically, when we think about stress, we think about the physical effects that it has on our lives. However, we should not overlook the impact of mental stress. A low-to-moderate level of stress in our lives is good. However, when our lives experience too much stress, this can be overbearing on our minds. We continuously fret about the difficulties in our lives, causing our minds to feel as disorganized as an unsolved jigsaw puzzle. Fortunately, a hot stone massage can help to reduce our mental stress, making our minds at peace.

When we think about the benefits of hot stone therapy, we typically focus on the benefits to our body. However, we should not overlook the benefits to our minds. Hot stone massages can help to unleash the power of positive thinking!

To find a quality hot stone massage for treating neck, back, and other injuries, visit us at today.
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Friday, March 20, 2015

Don't Miss Out on Our March Special!


$15.00 off any package for two



$10.00 off any individual package

Expires 3/31/2015

36 Oaks Country Retreat, nestled in a grove of majestic oak trees on Gibson Canyon Road, is an oasis of relaxation and natural beauty in the Vacaville countryside. A lovely country cottage setting on two and a half acres with wild ferns growing in the shade, deer wandering through, and even an occasional fox or raccoon.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Birthday - Anniversary or "Just Because" Package

  • A five hour stay 
  • One hour massage 
  • Body Polish (an exfoliation treatment) 
  • Herbal facial massage 
  • A decadent candle lit tub soak 
  • Moisturizing body wrap 
  • Fruit and cheese plate 


36 Oaks Country Retreat, nestled in a grove of majestic oak trees on Gibson Canyon Road, is an oasis of relaxation and natural beauty in the Vacaville countryside. A lovely country cottage setting on two and a half acres with wild ferns growing in the shade, deer wandering through, and even an occasional fox or raccoon.

For more information please visit

Saturday, March 14, 2015

How to Improve Your Life With a Hot Stone Massage

In hot stone massage, the therapist places the flat, smooth and heated stones on particular point of the body. The heat from the stones penetrates deep into the muscles and clears out negative energy and restores our normal alignment of the body, mind and soul.

Nature of the stone

Volcanic basalt stones are heated to a temperature of 120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit or about 50 degrees Celsius in water. The hot stones are never rough and may vary in size and shape. In order to prevent from bacterial contamination the stones are kept in hygienic.

Since Basalt stones are rich in iron it has innate ability to absorb and retain heat that will relieve stress and tension in muscles and enhance circulation. The warmth of the hot stones also calms the nervous system.

Where the hot stone massage apply

The massage therapist will always hold the stones in your hands before applying them to your body to make sure that they are not too hot. The key points targeted with hot stone massage are located in the toes, back and hand. The therapist moves the stone over the body by applying right pressure. The temporary placement of heated rocks on these areas relaxes the muscles. However this type of massage is painless and feels to be relaxed after completion.

Don't eat much before taking this massage. During this massage therapy, the client must lay on the bed by facing down. The client must communicate with the therapist if the stones are too hot or too much of pressure is applied. This type of massages may take 60 to 90 minutes long.


· Increase blood circulation and accelerating the healing process.
· Promotes peace of mind, which reduces depression and anxiety.
· Reduces stress and strains on the joints of the fingers, thumbs and hands.
· Deep sleep for several days after receiving the massage


Since our modern life is stressful, it is best to follow our ancient method of hot stone massage. Most people are free to get their hot stone massage. However, those who have infectious skin disease, those who just came out of surgery are also advised to stay away from getting massages. Meanwhile, if you're pregnant, it's very important to get your doctor's approval before indulging in the massage. The best way to know this massage is to try it and experience the relaxation and pleasure that no other massage can give.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"Best of Spa" - What a Wonderful Surprise

What a wonderful surprise!!!
"Best of Spa" from the Daily Republic!!!

My first reaction was "Wow - how did I get that??"  And then, "Oh my gosh, what do I need to do now??"   I  love creating and improving the property.  Every day when I go outside I can hardly wait to attack another project that will transform into another nook and cranny to relax in and enjoy.  The funny thing is, what I do is what I love to do:  Nurture, Pamper and create an environment that is serene and healing. We all have "bumps in the road".  Some, pebbles, some huge boulders, and some jagged mountains to get past or traverse through.  It is a normal part of life. 

 I just want to say, creating what is now 36 Oaks Country Retreat, came about from getting over my "bumps in the road" by working in the gardens and out in nature. 

 It is most important to say, I couldn't do it by myself.  I have a wonderful team I call "Team 36".  It is a joint effort and I am most appreciative of each and every "team member". 

Ooops, I am getting carried away here!!  I just want to say once again, thank you for enjoying this space at 36 Oaks to find your peace and serenity and for voting 36 Oaks Best of Spa Solano County.  

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Our March Specials


$15.00 off any package for two



$10.00 off any individual package

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Thank You for Voting 36 Oaks the Daily Republic's "Best of Spa"!

A  very special thank you to my valued clients for voting 36 Oaks 
"Best of Spa"  by the Daily Republic 

Best spa: 36 Oaks Country Spa and Retreat

rc spa 36
Sue Watkins sits with a cup of tea at 36 Oaks in Vacaville, Jan. 8. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)



In Vacaville: 6963 Gibson Canyon Road

Phone: 447-8037

Hours: Open 7 days by appointment only

The 36 Oaks Country Spa and Retreat must be doing something right, because readers voted them the best spa in Solano County.

For the past 15 years, owner Linda Tipton has been offering a relaxed, inviting atmosphere to her clients.

“We are different than a commercial spa because we are in the country,” Tipton said.

Relaxing in a hammock or sipping tea, one might catch a glimpse of deer or other wildlife while enjoying the California sun.

“We have a lovely cottage-like setting,” Tipton said.

The day spa offers massages, facials and body wraps. The name, 36 Oaks, came from an actual counting of the oaks 30 years ago.

Article Source: Daily Republic 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Acorn Becomes Oak Tree In Timelapse Video

The growth of a tree takes place so slowly that, in real time, it's impossible to observe. British filmmaker Neil Bromhall decided to speed up the eight-month process of an acorn becoming an oak with timelapse photography.