Alexis Talks Massage Therapy

Why massage is an integral part of your health care—

Massage is one of the oldest forms of healing in history. For thousands of years practitioners have been facilitating relief through hands on healing. Physiologically speaking massage assists optimal function of the human body’s main systems. Although relaxation is a very powerful aspect of receiving massage, it is just scratching the surface of the health benefits massage provides. 

Massage and the Circulatory System: Perhaps massage’s strongest effect is on the circulatory system and cardiovascular health. Through soft tissue manipulation, massage brings fresh blood to the body delivering fresh oxygen and nutrients while also flushing out toxins and metabolic waste. A healthy circulatory system helps the body regulate temperature and counterbalances the effects of prolonged sitting and standing.

Massage and the Musculoskeletal System: Massage alleviates pain and muscular tension. Part of this, yes, is affected due to the fresh circulation that massage brings to the body, but massage also breaks up muscular adhesions (knots) through applied pressure. Muscular function and recovery is improved by increased nutrient supply and decreased metabolic waste accumulation. Through passive range of motion techniques massage also increases and maintains healthy joint range of motion. All of this aids in recovery from injury and manages pain and muscular tension.

Massage and the Nervous System: Through the comforting, calming and rhythmic nature of massage, massage activates the Parasympathetic Nervous System (rest and calm) and deactivates the Sympathetic Nervous System (fight or flight) therefore bringing balance to the Autonomic Nervous System in the body. Massage decreases stress and increases Vagus Nerve activity promoting the body’s healing phase. This also enhances the release of dopamine and other neurotransmitters in the body. Simply put, massage helps you chill out, enhances mood, and stimulates the senses.

Massage and the Lymphatic System: The Lymphatic System is a fundamental component of the immune system and is comprised of lymph, lymph nodes and lymph vessels that carry fluid and waste throughout the body to ward off bacteria, infection and sickness. Massage assists the lymphatic system through reducing inflammation, swelling and sinus congestion, and promoting drainage of fluid and waste in the direction of lymphatic flow. Flush. It. Out. 

Massage and the Integumentary System: The Integumentary System houses the largest organ in your body, your skin! We love the skin you’re in, and massage is a great way to nourish your integumentary system. Massage moisturizes the skin, helps break up scar tissue, enhances tissue recovery and improves skin texture and tone.

At Bada our LMBTs integrate their extensive massage education and experience to specify each session to your individual wants and needs. We truly consider it an honor to be a part of facilitating health and healing in your life. Personally, giving and receiving massage has changed my life for the better and I see it in big and small ways every day. Whether you are new to massage or are a regular receiver of bodywork, we look forward to welcoming you into our space. Restore. Relieve. Relax.

 Take care of yourselves,

Alexis Dunn

Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist

Team Bada 

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Sauna Business

The sauna culture in Asheville North Carolina is about to be poppin! These last few months the grind has been full on, marketing projects, design choices, networking, it's exhausting! We got our building permits the first week of July and it feels like spring has finally sprung inside 230 short coxe ave with framed walls and a bit of fresh paint our little Bada Bastu dream is finally coming alive. 

It's been a heck of a process, Kate likes to point out my favorite saying, "oh it's not that hard" my optimistic, naive, entrepreneurial spirit talking. Without this way of thinking I'd never have taken on this project to begin with, this way of thinking has also induced a number of anxiety attacks in the middle of the night. I'm opening a company, with a pregnant wife, and separated shoulder that seriously limits my ability to exercise. Stress levels rising! If I consistently use my cold tank at home I don't get anxiety and I feel great, but recently I've been slacking on self care, and it's affecting my performance across the board. I need Bada Bastu! Before we started working on Bada Bastu I joked with my wife that if I built a sauna at home I'd never have the motivation to build Bada Bastu.

Soon! Oh so soon! Both guests and I will have a place to Relax the Mind and Energize the Body, a slogan I created that captures the benefits of hot and cold therapy in a short and absolutely true phrase. Here's why that phrase makes sense. After a few rounds of cellular stress created by the sauna and cold plunge brain waves become balanced and calm. The blood inside the body feels excited to be delivering oxygen deeper and more efficiently to muscles, joints, and organs. The lymphatic system has circulated fluid helping cleanse and detoxify the body by activating the healing powers of white blood cells. The entire system is a go! I personally have never experienced anything with such consistent results for both the body and mind.

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Jen's Take

The conversation around health and wellness shouldn’t focus solely on mental and physical well being. It’s so much bigger and more connected. So businesses in this industry have a responsibility to address their environmental, social, and economic impacts.

So what about Bada Bastu, your new favorite hang out? Well, no one is perfect, and we certainly don’t claim to be, but we’re trying. Let’s spare the greenwashing schtick, I want to be honest with you about what we’re doing, where we’re going, and where we fall short.

The Environment:

I for one, love it. Don’t believe me, check my transcripts. But the cold hard truth is that spas use a lot of resources. We have a cold pool that holds over 400 gallons of water, 5 showers, heated furniture and a sauna with 2, 12 kilowatt electric heaters. That’s a lot of power and water. Adding solar energy to our building is in the cards, shooting for 2020 which will offset that consumption, but there isn’t a date set in stone.

In the meantime, we look for ways everyday to be a little more sustainable. All of our shower heads are low flow to reduce water use. There is no single use plastic in our facility, only compostables, which are picked up weekly and processed at a local, commercial composting facility. We have small cotton hand towels in the bathrooms to avoid paper towel waste or electric hand dryers, and all of our cleaning products are organic. Our landscaping is cared for by Clean Air Lawn Care. This company uses organic treatments and clean solar powered equipment to keep Bada Bastu neat and tidy without dumping harmful chemicals into the ground or emitting noxious gas fumes into the atmosphere.

I know these practices may seem like just a drop in the bucket when you think of the crisis at hand with rising global temperatures and trash islands floating out in the ocean. However, we believe that if every business and household made these same changes, the impact would be huge. Hopefully we can set an example for what’s possible and eventually for what will be expected from all of us in the near future.

Social Development:

We support and promote companies with similar core values, who use business as a means for good. Our shower products both come from Certified B Corporation companies, EO Products and Dr. Bronners. For those who aren’t familiar with B Corp standards, I’ll give you the highlights. They believe that you should conduct business with regards to people and place, not just profits. That business should not only do no harm, but benefit everyone by reducing inequalities, creating jobs, and working towards a healthier environment. The transparency and accountability required to become a Certified B Corporation isn’t a walk in the park, but these companies are committed to ethical business practices, and we aim to do the same.

Our Local Community and Economy:

I’m sure you’ve noticed that Asheville is going through a little bit of a growth spurt. Every road is under construction, housing projects are popping up all over, and there’s a new brewery every week. As a local business, we benefit from a strong local economy, so it’s in our best interest to contribute to it. Within the first month of operation, we became Certified Living Wage. Providing employment opportunities in the community that allows individuals to keep up with a competitive housing market is something we’re very proud of. Along with unlimited access to the bathhouse, our team also has the option of monthly massage or a gym membership. We believe that healthy social activities foster good relationships and encourage healthier habits outside of Bada Bastu.

We also offer a reduced rate on bathhouse visits to locals to make hot cold therapy more accessible to everyone, and have recently initiated a Corporate Wellness Program. This allows local businesses an opportunity to provide a wellness package to their employees at a lower cost. We believe that investing in the local workforce is one of the most effective ways to create a happier, healthier, more productive community.

As we continue to grow and expand, we’re looking for opportunities to give more, not take. It’s only been a few months, and so much has changed. Our operating systems, hours, prices, staffing, hopes, dreams, basement space, I could go on and on. However, the constant has been our commitment to do right by our team, community, and planet and we plan to keep that promise.

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Into the Sauna

My 1960’s San Francisco apartment complex is a treat, come for a visit you’ll likely experience déjà vu, or an acid flashback to a time you shacked up at motel 8 somewhere in the desert; just a crash pad for the night between long days behind the wheel. The building is shaped like an L, all the doorways facing the courtyard pool. The pool is 15 feet by 25 and 6 feet deep, in the 1960’s when everyone was smoking joints and tripping on LSD I can imagine this pool rocked the neighborhood to sleep. I’ve lived here two years, the only people using it are my neighbor Bob and his kids, I can’t believe its not been filled in.

The one redeeming aspect to my motel home is the sauna, the architect who decided to instal the sauna is gentlemen and a scholar who deserves only the best this world has to offer. The sauna has become my personal sanctuary. All that was required was the creation of a few mental blocks against the horrible visuals I experienced of the funky business that went down in the 60’s. With a typical interior all wood box, complete with hot rocks heating unit, 15 minute sand timer, and temperature gauge I can’t think of anything to make it more perfect. The light doesn’t work but a small square window in the door lets in just enough to see once your eyes have adjusted. This dreamy environment adds real cognitive benefits to the sauna sessions.

Putting aside all the health benefits of the sauna which you can read about some place else, great things have come out of the sauna. In a dark room above 200 degrees strange things happen to conversation, I’ve listened to first hand refugee camp stories, how to roast the perfect coffee bean, discussed many life goals, business concepts, and epic adventures on a number of occasions. The sauna forces your body to survive in extreme temperatures and maybe this makes people want to discuss what makes them feel most alive? I couldn’t be positive but it sure seems that way, I’ve shared so many great sauna sessions over the last few years and I can say with certainty some of my best thinking, most honest, and exciting conversations happened in there.

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Into the Cold Plunge

Chronic pain, headaches, sleep deprivation, a living nightmare for my friend. His resume of doctors, clinics, and attempted therapeutic practices is more impressive than most pro football players or ultimate fighters. A decade ago we battled on the lacrosse field where he received two serious concussions. (the suspected villain in the story) Ten years later his go to remedy for silencing the pain? Cold plunges. Yep, cold cold water. After thousands of dollars of treatment the only thing that provides daily relief is a long cold shower, or submersion in cold water.

5 years ago he invited me to try it, I wasn’t excited. It takes me quite some time to get into a pool thats 75 degrees, sub 60 degree water, yikes. The Challenge: 30 days cold showers or cold plunge.  Cold water sucks, you can’t sugar coat that, it’s horrible.

My first time: I hopped into the cold shower, I shook and started to hyperventilate, as I spun around cursing the gods I could hear my loins cursing back at me. My brain raced to string together magical combinations of curse words. This sick, sadistic experiment was going horribly wrong. Wiggling around like a worm on wet asphalt in the hot morning sun, I could not escape it. This lasted about 45 seconds, and then the birds began to chirp, flowers bloomed, rainbows exploded out of the shower head, equilibrium had been restored. This dramatic euphoria lasted a few minutes and wasn’t really as wonderful as nature, spring time, or rainbows but it was a hell of a lot better than the first 45 seconds. Breathing deeply into my stomach I was able to relax and accepted the cold water. Time slows down, relaxation sets in. When I got out my shoulders were purple, I was shivering, humbled, but proud I didn’t give up.

Note if you want to try this and you live somewhere warm, your cold shower isn’t that cold you big baby, get ice and fill your tub, 3 minutes for the rookies. Also if you have cardiac or other serious conditions please talk to a doctor first.

To Start: Find a good friend, and make a wager. Doing something with someone else, and making a significant financial wager has proven to increase success. So if you really want it, try it this way. Entertain yourself by searching the internet for strange wagers or ways to stay accountable you’ll find plenty of great stuff.

My Review: I’m hooked. After 30 days of cold water I feel excellent. With absolutely no medical testing to back this up I feel better. Inflammation: I’m an active guy so reducing inflammation in the body increases recovery, I noticed I can go harder and more frequently with less pain during off days. Mood: I’m not as moody, and I sleep better. Doing the cold submersion really calms the brain down. (It’s hard to think about all your stress at work when your shivering.) Could it be that mood & sleep are related? In the past I’ve had troubles with depression and stable moods, and I’m convinced without a doubt cold therapy works for mood stabilization. Weight: I wasn’t looking to lose weight but I can tell you my skin tightens up, and it also makes me hungry. Research shows it’s good for weight loss and significantly increases your metabolism, I strongly recommend listening in with Ben Greenfield, from Ben Greenfield Fitness, Tim Ferriss, and the rocket scientist who worked at NASA Ray Cronise. So take a listen right here.

What is actually happening? When you get in cold water your brain sends signals telling the body to save itself from freezing to death (in short). In order to do this it pumps all the blood into the vital organs. I imagine it as the flushing of my internal toilet. By staying submerged inflammation is forced out of joints, and sore muscles. After you get out and warm up all the new oxygenated blood returns to muscles and joints.

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