Massage & Bodywork

March/April 2013

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Lemongrass Engaging the Client Libby Staples, spa director at Omni Mount Washington Resort in New Hampshire, maintains an herb garden with basil, lemongrass, mint, rosemary, sage, and other herbs for clients at the spa. The spa's Herbal Cleansing Ritual and Herbal Body Treatment use herbs, grown from seed or purchased from nurseries within a 20mile radius, that the client selects straight from the spa garden, giving them "an authentic experience that is relevant to the area and its rich history," Staples says. Before each session, massage therapists walk the garden with clients, explaining the benefits of the various herbs and allowing time to enjoy the plants before clients select what they want to use. This orientation leads to a more educated client and greater engagement in the massage session. The experience also offers the therapist and client an opportunity to form a connection before the hands-on treatment begins. The herbs are used in aromatherapy steams or added to scrubs. Though the spa only offers these treatments seasonally (May through September are the peak months), Staples says it's worth the effort to plan and maintain the garden. 62 massage & bodywork Lemongrass grows in large clumps up to 3 feet tall and wide. The green foliage is strongly lemon scented, and the edible base of the grass stalks is used in many Asian cuisines. In the massage room, lemongrass can be soothing and stimulating at the same time, making it great for overall balancing. Try this: Steep fresh or dried lemongrass in warm water for a calming and unusual foot soak prior to a foot massage. Hint: Lemongrass will grow quickly from divisions, so try to pick up some starts from a fellow gardener instead of purchasing a brand-new plant. Marjoram While typically thought of as a culinary herb, marjoram also has therapeutic benefits for pain relief and easing tension, such as the kind that can trigger tension headaches. In the garden, marjoram is a prolific herb that takes frequent pruning and harvesting. Try this: Use marjoram in a pillow for headache relief when the client is lying face up during a session. You can blend it with lavender and rose petals for a soothing, pleasing scent. Hint: Marjoram prefers quick drainage, so grow it in a raised bed or container garden, or mix the soil with a portion of sand. march/april 2013 Mint The unmistakable fragrance of mint is familiar to many people and considered cooling, energizing, stomach-soothing, and stress relieving. Mint is popular in tea blends and potpourri. Try this: Create a custom mint tea blend to serve your clients after a massage to help them stay hydrated. Mint tastes good in hot or cold beverages. Hint: Mint spreads quickly throughout a garden space, so consider growing it in a container.

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