Why No Tips?

We decline tips.

We would much rather have clients use that money to see us again. Or, they may like to buy a gift certificate to share the Starshine experience. Even giving their tip money to a well researched charity is ok with us.

The truth is, the massage business is volatile.  One way Starshine can minimize the ups and downs is through repeat business. We just charge one reasonable rate for all our services without upgrades or memberships to offer each client the most effective treatment each visit.

We are committed to doing a great job for each client, and we are not judging anyone for not tipping because we just don't allow it. That means that we can approach each session with an open heart and clear energy for everyone. You aren't locked in by a contract, and our pricing is upfront.

Do we offer deals? Yes!

  • We offer $20 off to new clients.
  • We give a $20 credit for your referrals after they have their first appointment.
  • We offer a 10% discount when clients rebook when they checkout from their appointment.
  • We offer discounts for gift certificate purchases of five or more hours. 
  • Gift certificates may be purchased in bulk at a discount for employee incentives, client appreciation, and more.

Do we offer Groupons?

Not often. These promotions tend to be one time only and very transactional. When we do offer this type of promotion, it is usually for our classes or instructional massage for two sessions. These are a great way to build upon supportive relationships and introduce massage to those who may not be comfortable with a stranger.

Do we offer sliding scale?

For some clients, a sliding scale is the best way to ensure that they have access to massage therapy. We discuss this on a case by case basis, though we generally reserve sliding scale for those on a fixed income or making less than $40k a year.

Do we offer nonprofit, teacher, or nurse discounts?

From time to time, we have the opportunity to volunteer our services to the employees and clients of nonprofit or caregiving organizations. We try to offer Buy One, Gift One promotions so that our therapists can have a sustainable livelihood while doing this very important work. It helps us build community in a sustainable way. Let us know if you would like us to visit you!


For more on why the American tipping culture creates problems, check out this video from Adam. He ruins everything.

What is Your Relationship with Pain?

We are of the less is more school when it comes to massage and pain.  But, what is pain, any way?  And, when is it that a massage ought to be a little uncomfortable?  There isn't a one size fits most way to think about massage. Lymph massage is very light, but it can also make a client ill if they don't really need it!

In this short video, Thomas Myers from Anatomy Trains breaks down why massage (myofascial release therapy), exercise or any forms of structural integration therapy hurts. He gives some amazing insight on pain in general and why your perception of it might have more to do with that sensation.

 
 

In addition to regular, strategic massage, we recommend this CD set by Jon Kabat-Zinn.  His meditation method is taught by Susan at Starshine both online and in person.  The Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) that she learned to facilitate has been taught at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and Globally for over 30 years, with well designed and peer reviewed studies all the way.  The MBSR method is the basis for the vast majority of studies on mindfulness based medical and psychological interventions, and this has been used as a complementary therapy for high blood pressure, autoimmune disease, cancer, HIV, chronic pain, and anxiety disorders among many other conditions. Look for this title on our bookshelf.

Reorganizing the fibers of scar tissue will probably be unpleasant, and draining lymph when it isn't really necessary will probably make a client feel ill. Like lymph work, Myofascial therapy (MFT) and deep tissue massage are specific.  Check out this review one client gave after a couple MFT sessions.

I am 65 yrs old with two bad knees, and I play golf twice a week. I struggle to get out of bed after each round with those knees. I had a few surgical "clean outs", and I take Celebrex before and after I play. I met Susan, and her concern is my hamstrings, so off to work she goes. Four sessions later, I am not limping, according to my wife and business partner. I feel great, turning on the ball with full mobility and making some money in our Seniors golf group. My advice, check this acupressure out!  I tried meds, operations and physical therapy-- Starshine has been remarkable for me. 

Holi-DAZED?

What's mine doodle.jpg

Join us for an online class that directly and practically addresses healthy communication and boundaries just in time for the holidays. The class is called What About Me? Learning to Love Ourselves First.

In this six-week class, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Set clear intentions and learn to ask for what you want as you honor yourself and maintain your personal integrity.
  • Give yourself permission to make use of and celebrate the full range of your emotions.
  • Learn to detach with love as you stop living other people’s lives and stay on your own path.
  • Build healthy relationships where boundaries are respected and feelings are honored.

Where: Zoom, where we're visible to each other on video. It's like Skype but easier to use. You will need a computer with a video camera and high speed internet (5mg or faster).

When: 6 Mondays, November 14– December 19th 5:00–6:30pm, Pacific time – the early time accommodates our East Coast friends.

Cost: There is no cost, and donations are gratefully accepted.

To register: email katherinerevoir@gmail.com and include your phone number.  She will limit the class to 10 people.

Facilitated by: Katherine Revoir

Mindful Parents. Mindful kids?

We have recently made an effort to curate a few books that we love and share them with clients. We included titles by authors like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Spencer Sherman, Elliott Dacher, and Dan Siegel. As meditation teachers, we are familiar with several great books for adults and many books about parenting. We started to wonder about what was new for the children in our lives.

 
 

With the holidays coming, this is a great time to think about fun gifts and teaching gifts for children. As we ordered and reviewed picture books, CDs, and workbooks for kids, we became really optimistic!

We wanted to buy and carry everything we saw. Our space is limited, of course. Some of our materials are new, some are recycled. We hope to have something at every reading level and life stage from fun emotional intelligence playing cards for teens to workbooks that parents can share with their children to picture books for preschoolers. 

These are a few titles that you can find floating around the shop.  Feel free to pick one up and enjoy a child's mind awareness the next time you come by for a massage or class.

 

 

The Hunt for Great Massage Products

 
 

We have tried a lot of massage products from pure oils to creams and lotions. We found that some didn't come out of our linens, making our sheets smell like a fast food fryer. Others contained phytoestrogens, common allergens, irritated the skin, or were not natural. Some absorbed too quickly, and yet others left clients feeling like they just swam out of an oil spill. Along the way, we also learned that having organic ingredients is not the same as being USDA Certified Organic. We were looking for therapeutic balms without petrochemicals, and it was not looking good.

When we tried Sacred Earth, we were really happy! Without nut oils, gluten, soy, or parabens, we thought oh, this isn't going to have the utility of the chemical containing stuff. What we found out was that Sacred Earth makes an ethical, healthy, and wonderful to use line of products that meet the needs of a wide range of clients.

 
 
 

The Sacred Earth Organic Massage Gel is our most versatile go-to product. In very small amounts, it is excellent for deep tissue and myofascial therapy. Just a tiny bit more works well for Swedish. Where we would use an ounce or so for a full body treatment, we only need less than half of this gel. Where we would buy two gallons of massage lotion, we only need a half gallon of the Sacred Earth Gel. The gel works well on all skin types, even those that quickly absorb lotions and cremes. Clients leave feeling that they are wearing a luxurious and organic body butter, and the gel comes out of fabrics easily.

For lighter pressure applications like light Swedish massage, the Sacred Earth Organic Massage Oil works well. The unscented oil and gel are both great with our aromatherapy essential oils, and we can tailor to the needs of each client without having a dozen blends sitting on our shelves going stale or pumped full of preservatives.

We like the Sacred Earth Warming lotion for hot stone work. The cinnamon and menthol crystals add the right amount of warming without skin irritation. We also love that we found something like other classic muscle balms that wasn't made with a petrochemical base!  With the heat of a stone, the Sacred Earth lotion only requires one application.  Less is more!

When couples come for massage lessons from one of our therapists, they take home with a free sample kit from Sacred Earth.

Hot or Cold Stones?

 

Each has unique therapeutic value and risks.

 

Hot Stones

Hot stone massage is a popular, luxurious treatment for deep relaxation. Stones, usually found near a volcano, are heated and used as a massage tool. Your therapist may also let stones rest on the body, providing deep penetrating heat. Many clients like to combine hot stones with aromatherapy oils like chamomile, cinnamon, and cedar.

Hot stone is a wonderful tool for relaxing massages where the goal is a deep sense of comfort. Many therapists use hot stones instead of their hands or elbows as a deep tissue tool, pressing the stones into tight muscles and fascial knots. Much of the connective tissue around muscles and tendons is a liquid crystal material, and the penetrating heat helps to change the phase of these tissues to smooth them out. The heat also increases blood flow to an area, encouraging healing by bringing nutrients and hydration. 

Hot stone therapy is not well tolerated by everyone. Even clients without health concerns may find that a full body hot stone massage is too intense for them -- like staying too long in a hot tub.  They become dizzy, sedated, and/or dehydrated. For those who do not tolerate hot stones, a therapist may use the stones to heat their hands and 'paint the heat' onto the client. This can give the soothing, relaxing massage a client wants while minimizing risks and unpleasant side effects.  

Those with autoimmune disease, high blood pressure, heat intolerance, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular problems, or taking certain medications find hot stone therapy makes them feel ill for hours or days after their massage. In cases where there is local inflammation from an injury or a client has autoimmune problems, the body already has too much fire chi (inflamed). Adding heat, even though it feels soothing, may make an issue worse!

Cold Stone Therapy

Cold stone is a wonderful alternative or addition to hot stone therapy. Cooling fire chi with water chi in the form of ice or cold stones on key acupressure points or knotted up muscles can be refreshing and surprisingly relaxing.

Cold stones are applied in the same manner as hot stones, and many clients are surprised to find that the chilly discomfort of a stone only lasts 60 seconds or so. The rush of the cold, like jumping into a cold plunge pool, can create a mild feeling of euphoria, rejuvenation, and peace. Clients choose aromatherapy oils like lemongrass and grapefruit.

The cold acts as an anesthetic, making deep tissue in hypersensitive areas possible. A therapist can better feel exactly where this connective tissue is adhered to itself because the liquid crystal structure of fascia behaves more like a solid when it is cold. Cold tissues contract, forcing out unwanted fluids that may be stagnant. As the tissue warms, new blood arrives with fresh nutrients to promote healing. This is excellent for treating recent injuries where swelling may cause nearby tissues to die because blood cannot get in to feed healthy cells.

Cold stones are also excellent for use on the face to help relieve the fluid retention that causes puffiness around the eyes and jawline. This is also a great choice for those suffering from migraines, TMJ, and clenching.  For the face, we combine cold stones with a deep cleansing olive oil to both enliven, refresh, and hydrate all skin types. The oil we use contains an ingredient that allows the oil to be removed almost completely with just a warm towel. This is wonderfully hydrating for mature skin, and many who suffer teenage or adult acne find that the inflammation reducing cold and lightly moisturizing treatment help to balance overactive sebaceous glands and soothe the skin.

The biggest risk with cold therapy is leaving the stone or ice on the body for too long. Temporarily contracting tissues can provide great benefits. However, returning blood flow is important to feeding healthy cells. Those suffering from osteoarthritis may find cold stones placed near joints to be unpleasant.

Combination Hot/Cold Therapy

Hot and cold stones can be used in sequence to really get fluids moving!  In a Japanese community bath house, you may notice hot saunas next to cold plunge pools. Visitors often move from one to the other every ten to twenty minutes to encourage the circulation of fluids and blood in the entire body. It is medically proven to be the equivalent of a cardio workout for the heart, lungs, and vascular system!

At Starshine, we use this concept with hot and cold stones to relieve painful joints and chronically tight muscles that other techniques may not be helping. First, the cold addressed the pain-spasm cycle of a nerve leading to a muscle, and then the heat address the overworked muscle tissue.

This combination therapy is often a part of a highly targeted massage session rather than a full body massage.  Athletes and those experiencing recent injuries may choose this therapy. Clients prefer aromatherapy oils like cinnamon, wintergreen, eucalyptus and clove with combination hot/cold therapy. Unlike other liniments balms used by athletes and those suffering the aches and pains of age, we choose natural, preservative free bases for our balms rather than the petroleum bases of most off the shelf products.

Plan Ahead

Hot stone requires some time to heat the stones, and a Starshine therapist will need to know well ahead of time that you would like this technique as a part of your massage. Unlike other therapists and spas, we never charge more for hot stone therapy or aromatherapy. We are happy to serve you a cup for tea or water in our sanctuary-like reception area if you need to wait fifteen to twenty minutes before driving.

Money Matters

We have seen a huge swell in the need for healing in the past few weeks, and we get it. I see the legitimate confusion and panic about a troubling spike in hate crimes, worry about loved ones or schoolmates being deported, and the deep disappointment in our democratic process many are feeling.

Money has been on my mind this week.  The last time we had a President of the United States without experience in elected office, the military, or as a legislator AND one party with majority control of all three branches of government was in 1928/1929. Within eight months of Hoover being sworn into office, the stock market crashed, and the US entered the Great Depression.

Yikes.

Am I looking at my portfolio and biting my nails? Heck. No. I used Spencer Sherman's workbook, The Cure for Money Madness, a couple years ago, and I was (mostly) cured of my money anxiety and the urge to make financial moves based on scary news and speculation.

After reading Spencer's book, I was able to look at my money without the baggage of shame or the emotional power that money had come to represent for me. I was no longer afraid to take off my blinders and really see what was going on with my money. Since then, I have also watched several wonderful films like Inside Job, Inequality for All, Boom Bust Boom, and The Long Short. And, I still feel pretty sane.

I came by my views on money honestly, the way we all do: growing up around adults who had inherited their own money madness. Is there a way to pass on my newly found money sanity to the kids in my life?

When I was introduced to Ron Lieber at an event, I was really impressed with his practical strategies for helping kids learn to work with money. He likes to use three big categories: give, save, and spend. I asked him about a category for investing. This, for him, is like teaching kids to gamble. 

I never liked to gamble with real money, not even pennies. I'm more of a crockpot investor. So, before I move my money into lower risk investments, I have to ask myself What am I betting on? In one scene from The Big Short this really came home for me. Brad Pitt's character admonishes the young investors who just won big on the real estate crash of 2008 to consider the implications their celebratory tone. They just won a bet against the American Dream.

Here is another thing I learned from Spencer: invest in the future you want to see. Investing in causes and companies I care about is better than a Kickstarter because when I get my money back, I can do good all over again. Our money can be the change. This is also one of my most treasured puns, and that makes me happy. Right now, my bet is that you're smiling.


These books and other timely titles on anxiety for adults and kids are available for purchase on our bookshelf.

Doggy Deodorant, Upholstery Freshener, and Bug Repellant

My very cute and somewhat stinky half Blue Heeler, and half Shiba Inu.

My very cute and somewhat stinky half Blue Heeler, and half Shiba Inu.

I really like the Fall.  The flavors of the season are amazing, and Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. What I can do without is the stuffy house! Especially with a dog, the house smells can get to be a bit much. I like to open windows when I can, though the air is getting a bit too chilly for that. My dog also gets the chills easily if her fur is damp from a bath, so I bathe her less in the cold months.

I was researching plants for our yard that would be drought resistant, insect repellant, and be non-toxic to the puppy (just in case she decided to eat all my landscaping). I used the ASPCA database of toxic and non-toxic plants and various gardening websites to make the nerdiest spreadsheet I could muster. Some of them were culinary, and if the dog runs through my garden, she will at least smell good!

I was also using commercial, chemical, and heavily fragranced products to freshen our rugs and upholstery. I was wondering if I could use essential oils to make a dog-safe version with all of the water saving, bug repelling, non-toxic qualities of my garden plants. The short answer is YES!

One thing I learned is that dogs have smaller organs than we do. So, using the amount of essential oil that I would for a baby, even if the essential oil is non-toxic to dogs, is the best approach. The essential oils have physiological effects, and smaller bodies can only take small amounts. I look up the oils every time I make this just in case the database was updated with new information.

The next thing I learned is that a tablespoon of baking soda in a spray bottle makes a very effective deodorizer for the home and dog. The baking soda acts as a dispersant, helping the essential oils mix with the water.  

A little apple cider vinegar is great for a between grooming refresher, and the essential oils help to balance the vinegar smell. I only use this for deodorizing the dog. It is gluten free (for me), and I always have it on hand.

24 oz of water
2 tablespoons of baking soda
5 - 15 drops of organic essential oils (optional)
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (optional)
In the spray bottle, mix the oils with the baking soda and then slowly mix in the first 2 oz of water. Close and shake vigorously. Then, top off with the remaining water.

Finally, some dogs (and cats!) have had unpleasant experiences with spray bottles. I like to spray an old wash cloth and then wipe down my dog's fur. This is much more like being pet, and for anyone who lives with a breed that disapproves of water like mine, this is just much more fun for everyone. I have also been spraying her bed and the bottom of the couch, where most of the stink lingers.

  1. Check the ASPCA database for dog, cat, and horse toxicity every time

  2. Thoroughly wash and reuse a spray bottle, or get a reusable one

  3. Use baby amounts of essential oils

  4. Baking soda makes the all the magic happen

  5. Spray onto a recycled washcloth to wipe onto fur