Did you know that last week was Spa Week? Dovetailing off of events like Fashion’s Night Out and Restaurant Week, Spa Week gives luxe spas in your area the chance to drum up business by offering samplings of their treatments and slashed prices. If you’ve been curious about trying a facial, massage or other kind of treatment, this is a great time.
But living a spa life doesn’t have to be limited to ladies of luxury possessed of deep pockets. Nor is it a frivolous waste of time, especially for lupus patients. A spa day can be had at home, with easily affordable items and can actually be a great addition to your lupus care toolbox.
Spa treatments can:
- Soothe sore muscles and joints and ease minor pains
- Help you unwind after a stressful day
- Help keep stress levels lower when done regularly
- Encourage better self-image and self-care
- Help soothe skin eruptions from lupus flares or sun exposure
I’m Sold – How Do I Get Started?
Probably the easiest way to start slipping a little spa into your life is by creating a spa box. Having a box of ready-to-go relaxation items will save you the time and stress of tracking down those slippers or that soap you bought last week. You can add to or change it as you see fit over time, or even have more than one box for quickies to day-long spa sessions. Here are a couple of examples of what you can put together to spark your imagination:
The Quickie Spa-in-a-box
- Massage oil in your favorite scent. If you can’t find any, or are worried about chemicals or the fragrances irritating your skin, go for Extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil or grape seed oil from your supermarket.
- Old bath towel or beach towel
- Scented candle and/or relaxing music
- Optional: A hunky masseuse (or your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/whatever)
How it works: Light the candle, play the music or whatever else will give you a mellow, relaxing atmosphere. Lay out the towel to keep from getting oil on your bed or bench, etc. Have your sexy masseuse gently rub your tension away, using the oil. If you’re really pressed for time, put a little bit of oil on your fingertips and massage your head and neck, especially around the temple area. If you have a little more time, you can give yourself a neck and shoulder rub, loosening up the muscles by gently rapping on your shoulders with your knuckles. Have plenty of time? Go the full monty, strip down and lavish some attention on your sore feet, aching calves or any other body part that needs a little love. If you’re using something natural such as olive, coconut or grape seed oil, you’ll also be nourishing your skin.
The Afternoon Off Spa-in-a-box
Everything from the Quickie, plus:
- Scented bubble bath, bath salts or a body scrub. There’s a lot of wiggle room in what you can use. Most commercial shower gels make great bubble bath in a pinch and you can make your own body scrub using kosher salt, sand or even sugar and honey. Sugar is the most gentle of the three, while salt, is said to help extract impurities from the skin (too much can sure dry your skin out, so moderate). Epsom salts are supposed to be an especially good soak for sore joints and muscles and might be a better choice for the lupus dude in your life.
How it works: Light a candle, play some music, set your mood. Fill up the tub, either with frothy scented bubbles or create a nice salt soak. The salt or sugar scrub can remove dead skin and increase blood circulation, helping prep your body to better receive the oils later. I prefer warm to almost-hot water, but do what’s comfortable for you – a little steam can help open up your lungs though. Soak and enjoy, rinse off and finish off with the massage mentioned above. Your body will be warm, pliable and relaxed from the warm water and it might be easier to reach any particularly sore spots. After the salt, your skin will really appreciate the moisturizing effect of the oils.
The Because-I’m-Worth-It Spa-in-a-box
Everything from both kits above, plus:
- Plushy bathrobe and slippers
- Optional toys and tools. If you have a massage pillow or heat packs, these are great things to treat minor aches and pains at home and help keep your body happy. Other items to consider are foot rollers (a must-have for chronically sore feet), eye mask, earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones or anything else that might relax you. Bed, Bath and Beyond actually has a huge selection of items worth trying, such as a pillow with built-in speakers, acupressure mat for your bed, or a high-tech head massager.
While it’s certainly fun to treat yourself, always remember that a price tag shouldn’t stop you from caring for yourself and a little creativity can replicate the same relaxing effect that any machine can.
How it works: I think you get the gist of it by now; soak and scrub. Break out the oils and soothe those sore spots. And – probably most importantly – wrap yourself in the robe, put your slippers on and relax. Read a magazine or book. Put the eye wrap on and just listen to music. Don’t rush back into your hectic schedule, but breathe deep, treating you mind and body to a little restful quiet.
So, what do you think should be in your spa kit?