About Japanese Hot Stone Facials

Posted by on Jan 30, 2015 in Facials, Holistic Services | Comments Off

A Japanese Hot Stone Facial is one of the most soothing and effective treatments around. These unique techniques are easy to learn and can be gracefully integrated into other facial treatments. Japanese Hot Stone Facial Massage also rapidly stimulates the nervous system to increase blood and lymph circulation, which helps to restore damaged cells and improve appearance.

Japan is an island formed by rapid volcanic activity. Thousands of Japanese hot springs filled with rich minerals have been known as healing places since ancient times. Many traditional Asian healing arts were born and practiced around these healing springs, such as acupuncture, moxabustion, massage and hydrotherapy. Each spring is filled with a variety of valuable minerals, which are traditionally known to heal many illnesses.

The therapeutic water that bubbles in these springs is quite hot, often just below the boiling point. Small streams seep into and mix with the springs lowering the water temperature. However, it is still very hot by western standards (about 110-120?XF). Those who soak in the springs often place cold towels over their foreheads to prevent heat-induced fainting. The springs also contain basalt and other volcanic stones, which readily absorb the heat from the water. Traditionally, smaller stones have been used to massage the neck, shoulders, and other tense areas. The art of Japanese Hot Stone evolved from these ancient hot spring traditions and was developed to introduce the same therapeutic value into contemporary therapy environments.

The Japanese Hot Stone Facial was created and designed by Shogo Mochizuki, one of Japan’s leading educators of Shiatsu and Japanese Massage. This treatment uses traditional Asian stones known in Japan as yen stones. (Known in China as Pi stones). Yen means, ’rounded disk shape with a hole.’ Traditionally many Japanese forms of currency were made in this shape. This is why these stones share the name yen with the modern day currency.

In traditional folklore the donut shape of these disks is known as the symbol for heaven. (According to ancient custom when you anticipate upcoming problems in your life, rubbing these stones or massaging with them will prevent the problems from manifesting). Due to this ideology these stones became a favored object and have been formed from many materials into jewelry and decorations for thousands of years. Yen stones have been carried as good luck charms and used for massage since the beginning of Asian culture.

For the past 1500 years, practitioners of Zen Buddhism have often referred to these stones as a symbol for Karma and the perfect state of balance. This shape represents the natural tendency of the universe to reflect an individual’s energy back upon themselves and serves as a reminder of the old idiom ‘what goes around comes around.’ Therefore, if one is kind and generous good things will come to them and if they are mean-spirited and self-centered, ill fortune is the likely result. Many Shinto practitioners have adopted to the symbolic concept of this shape, and it is a common belief among them that these stones bring good fortune to their bearers.

We highly discourage the use of basalt stones on the face. The surface of basalt stones is far too coarse and will cause micro-scratches on the delicate facial tissues. Another drawback to using basalt stones on the face is that they are difficult to sanitize. The small pockets in their surface can collect excess facial product and bacteria, potentially causing bacteria to spread.

Why ‘Heaven’ Stones

1. Versatile Shape
During the creation of Japanese Hot Stone Facial Massage, Shogo experimented with many types of stones with varying shapes and sizes to determine which work best. After much testing, he determined that ”heaven” stones would be the superior choice. The main reason is because of the hole in their center. This central hole becomes extremely important and essential for a smooth application of facial massage. Rather than gripping the stones edge, which creates unnecessary tension and a rigid application, you can place the tip of one finger into the hole. This technique allows very precise, nearly effortless control and extremely fluid gliding. Guiding heaven stones in this manner insures that you automatically conform to the natural contours of the client’s face.

2. Nothing but Stone
”Heaven” stones are made from real gemstones, which retain heat well and are believed to have healing properties. A ‘heaven’ stone’s central hole also allows you to give an entire hot stone facial massage without touching the client’s face with anything but the stone itself. If you grip the edge of the stone, you are likely to contact the client’s face with your fingertips. Performing a hot stone facial massage

with nothing but the warm smooth stone greatly increases the subtlety, smoothness, and relaxing quality of the treatment.

3. One of a Kind Techniques
The heaven disk shape allows you to lightly grasp the stone between your thumb and index finger to administer rolling, wobbling, and percussion techniques not possible with any other stones. Turning the stones on their side to make use of the rounded edge is an important component of a hot stone facial. Being able to apply many types of stimulation and create different sensations greatly enhances your treatment. Rolling wobbling and percussion are excellent ways of stimulating the nerves increasing circulation and reducing muscle tension.

4. Smooth Flowing Heat and Easy to Clean
Unlike basalt stones, ‘heaven’ stones are highly polished to insure a smooth application and create the sensation of flowing heat. Other stones can be difficult to clean as they often absorb oil or other products. ‘Heaven’ stones are non-absorptive so they help conserve facial product and make clean up quick and easy.

How to Heat Stones

The best way to heat the stones is with an electric heating pad, layered with towels. The stones take approximately 10-15 minutes to heat. If you are doing an outcall, your stones should have ample time to heat while you massage the client’s neck at the beginning of the treatment.

You should not use hot water or a crock-pot to heat these stones for several reasons. First, this is an unsanitary method of heating. The combination of water and warmth facilitate the multiplication and spread of bacteria. This can be especially problematic when clients have acne or facial dermatitis. Second, wet stones repel oil and facial product. It is an unnecessary hassle to dry the stones and your hands each time you change stones. This creates undesirable interruption in the continuity of your treatment. Furthermore, ‘heaven’ facial disk stones are fragile and are likely to break if dropped. A common mistake when water is used is dropping the stones into the water and chipping or breaking them. Finally, the use of hot water increases the risk of accidental burns.

Likewise, never use a microwave to heat your stones as they will become brittle over time and break. Microwaving stones is one of the quickest ways to destroy them.

Some therapists purport that using a heating pad is undesirable because a heating pad causes electromagnetic interference. However, the amount of energy emitted by a heating pad is less than that required to heat water in a crock-pot. Furthermore, unlike basalt stones, which have been shown to retain some electromagnetic residue, the ‘heaven’ disk facial stones are extremely unlikely to hold much electromagnetic residue from the heating element because of their polish and makeup.

Adjusting Temperature Changing/ Stones

At the start of the treatment, be sure that the stone temperature is correct before contacting the client’s face. Remember that stones, which feel lukewarm in your hands, may feel too hot on the face. Practice by testing the temperature of the stones either on your forearm or your own face to determine how to proceed with your clients. With practice, you will develop a better sense of what temperature is safe and effective. Heat retention will vary depending upon the size of the stones, but each stone will generally hold heat for approximately two minutes.

The Importance of Practice

Practice each technique until you feel completely comfortable and can apply it with ease. Once you master each individual technique, you can create combinations for a soothing, seamless treatment. While performing one technique, you may think about the next, based upon the client’s needs and the goals of the session. As you become more experienced, your skill and confidence will steadily increase, offering wonderful sessions for you and your client.

It is important that you develop your own technique and style. In this way, Japanese Hot Stone Facial Massage will always retain its creative and inspirational element.

Ancient wisdom

Shogo Mochizuki introduces Japanese Hot Stone Facial Massage to the Western world not only as a form of massage, but as traditional art and ancient wisdom. It is one of the most powerful and therapeutic facial treatments available today. Modern students who study this art and respectfully preserve tradition will follow in the path of many past generations and will contribute to the knowledge and well-being of many generations yet to come.

About Shogo Mochizuki

Shogo Mochizuki is the grandson of one of Japan’s most legendary practitioners of Japanese medicine. The Mochizuki family has been practicing traditional medicine for over 250 years. Shogo is one of the leading educators of Shiatsu, traditional Japanese massage and esthetics. He is the author of many books and videos, including Anma: The Art of Japanese Massage, Kobido: Japanese Facial Massage and Hand Maintenance Guide for Massage Therapists.

How You Can Help a Friend Get Through The Loss of Their Home

Posted by on Jan 23, 2015 in Helping One Another | Comments Off

While this may be off topic as to what I do, it really isn’t. What I really do is help people or facilitate them helping themselves. Thus, this blog is how you can help a friend who has lost to a fire.

The morning of October 27, 1993, I left my little cottage in Laguna Beach for a business meeting in Los Angeles. While at that meeting my home and all that it contained burned to the ground. What I wore and was driving was all that remained.

The loss of the physical structure was traumatic; the loss of all the things that defined me and had memories was devastating. The sorrow reached beyond me to my family and friends. Everyone wanted to help but weren’t sure how.

Here are some of the things that helped:


Shopping for new things, even with the generous discounts offered by all the stores, was overwhelming. Many times I would wander through a store just to get the basics and walk out unable to decide or overwhelmed by the cost and just not liking to have to explain my situation once more. After several days of seeing me in the same cloths a girl friend went shopping with me. She helped mellow out my craziness, keeping quantities small, purchases appropriate and served as a buffer. She also could find the car after we were done.

Making Lists

One of the immediate requirements is to remember what you had and write it down. This is another painful and overwhelming process. Friends had me over to their home. Big yellow writing tablets were in every room. We began in the kitchen standing in a familiar room that would be equipped similarly helped me to remember things that I had like spices. Being with friends allowed me to be wacky or cry or both. As a team project, it’s not so overwhelming.

Throw a Shower

My elderly aunts gathered up family and friends, and gave me a shower. After everyone was settled my aunts asked me to tell the story – that way, I only had to tell it once. The story was over and we moved on to opening gifts for my new life. I still have many of those household items each time I see them they warm my heart.

Honor the Person

I was active in a business group. The president of the group called to say that they were holding a luncheon in my honor. Everyone showed up. Again, I was asked to tell the story – once to 40 people. Then, over lunch, each person stood and gave a short talk about what they liked about me and how I had unknowingly added to their life. The message was, even though my stuff was gone, I wasn’t and I have some value to a lot of people. It was a beautiful gift.

Have a Memorial

After a week or so, a group of fire friends got together at each one’s place. Some wrote poetry, some sang, some had things to say, some just attended. We talked about the place. The person who lived there talked about what they liked about the place, what brought them there, what they miss and what they didn’t miss, memories and things. We placed flowers, cried, hugged and when it was done had a picnic.

Support Groups

Encourage your person to get with a support group as soon as possible. These groups not only understand but there is a world of information that can be shared from insurance to rebuilding to health.

Gather Photos

Search your photo albums, encourage family members to search theirs, gather up photos, reproduce them and put them in an album. Be happy to go through the photos and all those memories.


Change the Topic

Sometimes you get stuck discussing the traumatic event. Gently change the topic. Perhaps some harmless gossip or a small joke.

“I Love You”

If appropriate, it’s a lovely thing to hear in a time of crises.



Posted by on Jan 16, 2015 in Holistic Services, Reiki | Comments Off

Currently, I am a certified Reiki practitioner in the Usui line and am working toward my master’s designation with my Sensei. I plan to tell you some things about this practice. But, for those who are unfamiliar, some education is in order.

Reiki pronounced “Ray´-Key” is healing and balancing energy transmitted through the hands that lifts your spirits and allows one to come into balance. When one is balanced one is less stressed. So, Reiki is relaxing.

Reiki, developed in the mid-1800’s by Dr. Usui in Kyoto Japan, is the art and science of activating and directing universal life force energy to promote wellness and balance with a sense of peace and connection that resonates from within.

The Japanese characters represent the concept of “universal life force energy” Rei, meaning universal and Ki, meaning life force energy. Combine the two and you have a very powerful balancing and healing potential.

Reiki energy is whole. It is safe to use any time – any place. When in balance we have access to authentic self expression on all levels of body, mind and spirit. Our life path unfolds before us as we live true to ourselves.

Benefits of Reiki:

  • Helps lift the spirits and bring balance.
  • Benefits the receiver and the giver.
  • Safe to use at any time on anyone.
  • Works to heal the cause to eliminate the effect of imbalances.
  • Not a religion and will not conflict with religious beliefs.
  • Reiki may be combined with other therapeutic and healing techniques.
  • Reiki does not conflict with medical procedures or medication.
  • May be used on pets, plants and spaces.
  • Beyond relaxation, Reiki brings a sense of peace and being centered.
  • Used regularly, Reiki helps to lessen the affects of daily stressors.
  • Once you are attuned to Reiki, you are attuned for life.
  • Reiki is a simple, easy and safe way to help yourself and others.

Next time I’ll write about the levels of Reiki then about Reiki sessions.


More on Serums

Posted by on Jan 9, 2015 in Products, Skin Care | Comments Off

Header_products-150x79Serums are intensive treatment products that are applied, in small amounts, after cleansing and toning, to the entire face and neck twice daily. Serums should be followed with the appropriate sunscreen moisturizer in the daytime and nourishing moisturizer in the evening. Serums can also be applied before a mask.

In addition to serums that are just darn good for the skin there are specialty serums. That is, serums that treat specific issues such as hyperpigmentation (discoloration), antioxidant protection, skin strengthening, sun damage, fine lines, redness and acne.

By now, most of us know that vitamin C, when taken internally is a strong antioxidant and may help in the prevention of colds. Vitamin C applied topically in serum form offers antioxidant protection to the skin while helping to repair visible sun damage, minimize fine lines and strengthen the skin.

What may be generally unknown is that vitamin C is extremely unstable meaning that it can quickly lose its effectiveness especially when exposed to the air. Because stabilizing vitamin C is an expensive and scientifically challenging process not all vitamin C products are created equal.

The vitamin C topicals that I carry are all stabilized. If these products are used by their expiration date they will be as effective from first drop to last.

So now you know a little more about serums. Let’s find out which are best for you.

The Reiki Session

Posted by on Jan 2, 2015 in Holistic Services, Reiki | Comments Off

Reiki is an ancient, totally non-invasive therapy that helps the body heal itself by working on mind, body and spirit. Even if you are in good health, Reiki offers a pleasant way to relax, relieve stress and to increase energy and vitality. A natural therapy, Reiki can be given even if you are already on conventional medication.


Traditionally Reiki is carried out on a therapy couch. However, a treatment can easily be adapted for a seated recipient. There is no need for the recipient to remove any clothing. To be comfortable, you should wear something loose and comfortable.

Before the treatment I ask questions regarding how you’re feeling or if there are any specific concerns. It’s just a friendly conversation where I gather information so that I may serve you where needed.

The treatment usually begins with the client on their back. The practitioner will either start the treatment at the head or the feet. I usually start my treatments with an essential oil or two to calm and soothe or perhaps address a given situation. I work mainly with the recipient on their back, however, at some point, I may ask the recipient to turn over depending on where I feel that the energy needs to go.

Reiki is a powerful healing technique that will continue to work long after the treatment is over.


A ‘full’ session lasts 60 – 90 minutes. If time is limited or we’re being very specific, a modified session could be 30 minutes. Just so you know one session is not going to set you totally right. I recommend a series of six sessions twice a week then maintenance sessions.


You may feel heat, coolness or tingling from my hands or within your own body or you may feel nothing at all! Whatever you do or do not feel, you will receive exactly what you need.


There is no reason that these services cannot be combined. In fact, adding the Reiki will enhance these treatments by calming muscles and easing tension. Your entire body will glow as the Reiki goes where it is most needed!

Assisting An Elderly Family Member

Posted by on Dec 26, 2014 in Health, Helping One Another | Comments Off

IMG_0356My friend who is an administrator at a local senior care center sent me this list of things that you can do to help an elderly family member during a visit to their home:

  1. Look in the refrigerator… is there outdated food in it?
  2. Drive their car… check the state of the tires, oil, and antifreeze.
  3. Take a peek at the mail… keep an eye out for any unpaid bills.
  4. Investigate the bathroom…check for cleanliness.
  5. Take a note of how the pets are doing.
  6. Talk to the neighbors… a bonus is establishing a relationship with the neighbors and also someone to keep an eye on their home and them, even if just from the outside.
  7. Identify some benchmarks… consider marked declines from the previous year.
  8. Go to the source… This is probably the most important ‘next’ step. Take the time to sit down with your parent, listen to their concerns, worries and perceptions. Ask what you can do to help. As when dealing with any of life’s difficult situations, oftentimes an individual (young or old) needs time to process a conversation, suggestions, etc. Give your loved one time to let your conversation sink in. Then, after the holiday, you can (as a family and ‘team’) engage in devising a plan for solutions that meet your parent’s needs.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Reflexology

Posted by on Dec 19, 2014 in Health, Massage, Reflexology | Comments Off

How Does Reflexology Work?

Reflexologists understand that reflexology helps release stress, which in turn helps the body heal and regenerate itself.

One theory is that reflexology works with the central nervous system. This theory builds on research done in the 1890s by Sir Henry Head and Sir Charles Sherrington, who began to show through their research that a neurological relationship exists between the skin and the internal organs, and that the whole nervous system adjusts to a stimulus.

According to the theory, the reflexologist’s application of pressure to feet, hands, or ears sends a calming message from the peripheral nerves in these extremities to the central nervous system, which in turn signals the body to adjust the tension level. This enhances overall relaxation, brings internal organs and their systems into a state of optimum functioning, and increases blood supply (which brings additional oxygen and nutrients to cells and enhances waste removal). It positively affects the circulatory, respiratory, endocrine, immune, and neuropeptide systems in the body.

Another theory that may also explain how reflexology can produce pain relief is the gate control theory, or, more recently, the neuromatrix theory of pain. This theory suggests that pain is a subjective experience created by your brain. The brain does this in response to the sensory experience of pain, but it can also work independently of sensory input and create pain in response to emotional or cognitive factors. Thus things that influence the brain, such as your mood or external factors like stress can also affect your experience of pain. According to this theory, reflexology may reduce pain by reducing stress and improving mood.

Yet another theory holds that there is a “vital energy” in the human body. If stress is not addressed, it leads to congestion of energy, which in turn causes bodily inefficiencies, which can lead to illness. According to this theory, reflexology helps keep the energy flowing.

What about zone theory?

The recognition of reflexology as a specific type of treatment began with Zone Theory, in which the body is divided into 10 vertical zones. Each zone corresponds to fingers and toes all the way up to the top of the head. For example, if you are standing up with your hands on your thighs (palms facing down) the thumbs and great toe would be zone 1. On either side of the body, the index finger and second toe would be zone 2, etc.

In reflexology theory, every organ, valve, muscle, etc. that lies within a zone can be accessed via a point or area on the feet or hands. For example, working between toes 2 and 3, or fingers 2 and 3, the eye point is found. These pathways between pressure points and other parts of the body are thought to be connected via the nervous system, as described above.

The zones are similar to, but not the same as meridians found in Chinese medicine. However, there are some correlations with some meridians and the location of organs on the feet and ankles.

What are the guiding principles in reflexology?

There are several principles that guide reflexology practice.

Reflexologists do not heal clients; the body repairs itself. The reflexologist acknowledges that he or she is a participant in the session, rather than “the healer.” As with all healing arts, it is important for the practitioner to center and ground themselves and then “get out of the way.” This is an acknowledgement that reflexology is offered to help bring the person back into balance so that the body can nurture and repair itself. A reflexologist knows that the purpose of this work is to help the client’s body come into alignment with its own energy and ability to heal.

Humans consist of a physical and emotional body, with a mind and spirit. These are interdependent. The reflexologist takes into account all aspects of the client’s being: body, emotion, mind, and spirit. A relaxed body induces calm emotions, a serene mind, and an integrated spirit.

The body responds to touch which allows healing on all levels. Frequently, clients will think they have to “focus” or “concentrate” to feel the benefits. While being quiet will frequently induce a deeper feeling in the novice, the client needs to have no special skills or habits for reflexology to work. As long as the reflexologist has knowledge, stays centered, and allows the flow of energy to occur, the client will respond positively.

It is possible for practitioners and clients to feel energy move. A reflexologist can sometimes feel the energy move from a point of pressure on feet, hands or ears throughout body. For example, when working on the spleen and gall bladder points, the practitioner can access the points at the same time, and actually feel a flow of energy. Frequently, due to the power of these two points, the client can also feel the flow.

Special thanks to the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality & Healing for originally posting on this topic.

Essential Oils in the Garden

Posted by on Dec 12, 2014 in Essential Oils, Health | Comments Off


I became interested in essential oils because of love of good fragrance. Soon I learned that there was more to essential oils than good clean smell. 

*There are amazing health benefits derived from these essential oils. Essential oils can help with things like headache, burns, upset stomach.
*Are you aware that there are oils that you can use in cooking. Try adding a drop of an herbal oil to that recipe instead of the herb in a bottle.
*My newest discovery – essential oils in the garden. Essential oils can help rid the garden of pests and weeds as well as make a healthy compost. Spring is the time to rekindle our relationship with the garden. Whatever you’re growing it’s important, whenever possible, to keep harsh chemicals away from your plants. Harsh chemicals harm the environment and can be harmful to your family and pets. Here are some tips that can help you grow a beautiful garden with green essential oils. 1. For an effective bug repellent, fill a 24-oz spray bottle with water and add 2 – 3 drops of oregano, basil or thyme essential oil. To add zip to this green bug repellent, blend a clove of garlic and add to the solution with 2-tsp. insecticidal soap (add soap last). Spray this solution on or near infected plants. 2. Apply cinnamon essential oil as an herbicide to get rid of weeds. Take care to apply only to the weeds. 3. If you grow lavender, add the cuttings to the compost heap. Its a wonderful compost material and soil amendment.

Three Signs of Premature Aging and How To Fight Them

Posted by on Dec 8, 2014 in Corrective Treatments, Facials, Products, Services, Skin Care | Comments Off

Article is excerpted from Image Skin Care

Everyone thinks of fine lines and wrinkles as just evidence of aging. In fact, unprotected sun exposure, the weather and lack of skin care can all lead to skin aging. There are three major signs of aging. Learn how to combat their effects for skin that looks well cared for and youthful.

Fine Lines and Wrinkles One of the first signs that women in particular notice is fine lines around the eyes. The thin skin around the eyes is especially vulnerable to lack of moisture and sun damage. Anti aging products such as Image MAX Eye Creme and Ageless Total Eye Lift Creme can help tighten the skin around the eyes. I can help you choose an eye cream that contains moisturizing and natural ingredients to prevent future lines.

Skin Tone and Texture Another sign of skin that is aging prematurely is dull skin tone and rough skin texture. As we age, our cell turnover rate declines. This can lead to uneven coloration and dry spots. Choose anti aging products such as a daily face cleanser and face cremes that can resurface your skin. Ageless Total Facial Cleanser gently exfoliates to remove dull skin. Ageless Total Retinol A Creme works to rejuvenate skin texture by restoring collagen and moisture. Sagging Skin Sagging skin is often associated with aging, but it can occur earlier due to sun damage or weight loss. Preventing and repairing this damage is accomplished by using anti aging products that contain glycolic and retinol compounds to restore elasticity. Retinol (Vitamin A) is essential for aging skin as it helps to stimulate the fibroblasts which produce collagen. It is a key ingredient of the Ageless Total Repair Creme, which works to firm skin by combining both hydrating hyaluronic acid and Shea butter.

Overall Care The best defense against preventing the signs of aging is to begin a daily skin care regimen. Daily exposure to the elements and loss of collagen are unavoidable, but using the right cleansing and moisturizing products can maintain your skin’s radiance. Schedule a consultation  so I can help you choose a cleanser, anti-aging and repair cremes that work in combination to provide rejuvenation, resurfacing and repair.

Lips and the Aging Process

Posted by on Dec 1, 2014 in General, Health, Makeup, Skin Care | Comments Off

stock-illustration-14031328-set-of-lipsWithout proper care, lips can age faster than other areas of our skin. Think of your lips as a sponge. “When exposed to moisture, they absorb water and plump up. When dehydrated, they dry out and shrink,” explains Bruce Bart, M.D., a dermatologist at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. Because our lips are always exposed, they’re prone to dehydration, particularly during the cold, dry, winter months.

A major culprit of premature aging around the mouth is smoking. Besides the damage caused by the toxins in the smoke itself, smokers are more likely to develop lines around the mouth because of the repeated use of the perioral muscles to hold the cigarette. Smoking increases the hits of aging free radicals by about a million per inhalation. Generally, heavy smokers age 10 years earlier than their non-smoking counterparts.

If that’s not enough, smoking decreases the secretion of oestrogen from the ovaries, and it also is thought to make the liver destroy oestrogen supplies (nicotine activates enzymes in the liver that metabolize sex hormones, speeding up the rate at which they are removed from the body), causing possible, early onset of menopause.

Our lips need more moisture and conditioning as we age. The cumulative damage to the lips and the skin resulting from years of overexposure to the sun, cold air and harsh weather pay their toll. The negative effects of the environment frequently result in the drying, chapping, and cracking of the mouth, and there’s increased risk of inflammation, infection and burning sensations. Greater care of your lips can reverse the signs of aging and trauma.

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