Winter: One Great Time to Get a Massage!

By Candace Lokken, licensed massage therapist, Sans Souci Massage

Winter is hard on our bodies. Everything from dry skin, which body treatments are good for, to physical aspects and stressors such as shoveling, different exercises compared to summer exercise, and yes even shivering, contributes to winter stressors. There are also holiday stresses that weigh heavily on many of us, from family visits to spending the holidays without a loved one. Holiday stress can affect us in so many ways—physically as the body tenses, emotionally sometimes as depression and exhaustion, and even in a dietary way as our eating habits are different.

This is the time of year that most of our clients like heat and warmth. We use different ways of warming our clients: our tables are heated, we use rice bags, and we use hot stones and different types of heated towels. As always, we do an integrative massage for each client that is detailed to meet their current needs. We definitely do more hot stone massages in winter. This type of massage is very warming, detoxifying, and can be relaxing or can be more of a deep tissue massage with heat to help the muscle tissue relax.

Essential oils are used throughout the year, but there are oils that can address dry skin and that can be warming. Make sure you or your massage therapist choose the right essential oils. Stay away from synthetic oils and look for therapeutic-grade essential oils. The top 5 essential oils you could have on hand for this time of year would be: frankincense, lavender, lemon, peppermint, and tea tree. If you are looking for specific oils for dry skin, geranium, lavender, neroli, rose, rosemary, myrrh, frankincense, and sandalwood are great. If you are looking for specific oils to help with warming of the body, try rosemary, myrrh, ginger, black pepper, and clove bud. Adding your essential oils to a carrier oil such as unrefined, cold-pressed, organic coconut oil is a good way you can apply them to your skin without any type of breakout. Some essential oils can be very harsh for your skin if applied directly. You can add the oils to a hot bath, diffuse them into the air, or apply them directly to the skin with a carrier oil.

Each Sans Souci massage therapist has at least fourteen years of experience and customizes each massage to the client’s needs and preferences. We do all different types of massage from individual therapists doing specific types of massage such as craniosacral, lomi lomi, ashiatsu, and thai yoga therapy. But also we always do a thorough health intake with our clients before the massage so that we know specifically what each client’s problem areas are, and then we work specifically on those areas.

Winter is a good time to get a massage, but it is good to receive massage throughout the year! Even a 30-minute massage gives us enough time to work on a specific problem area. It is not enough time for a full body massage though, but it can be helpful.

For the holidays, gift certificates for massage are always a great gift. We sell them in our office or they can be bought online and printed through our website.

For more information or to make an appointment, visit

Blue Ox Running: A Good Fit For Eau Claire

Although the grand opening of Blue Ox Running was a great success on Saturday, October 7, Adam and Alicia Condit, who are both runners, have been working on opening the business since March of 2017.

Adam explains. “No matter the size, shape, or speed of runners and walkers, we can all experience the same highs and lows and find a great sense of community when we connect locally.”

But what kind of shoe store is Blue Ox Running? Adam notes the three Ps of their business: “Our store has three main promises: 1) professional people—you’ll receive only the best customer service in an environment that puts people first, 2) personalized gait analysis—we fit shoes by seeing what your natural stride does with video gait analysis and make sure you have the support you need, and 3) premium products—we only carry products that we believe in to prevent injury and be durable to use day in and day out.”

Why is it so important to make sure your running shoes are right for you? Condit says, “Having the wrong shoes can lead to anything from blisters to stress fractures to planter fasciitis or other injuries. It can also just make running less enjoyable and keep you from wanting to be on your feet or get out for good exercise.”

So how can a runner determine the “right” shoes? For that, Blue Ox Running uses some helpful technology and some careful thinking. “We use our video gait analysis to see people walk and run with their natural running stride,” Adam explains. “From there, along with their shoe history, injury history, running experience, and other variables, we determine and choose a few brands and models that should be supportive of their anatomy and needs. But at the end of the process, it really is up to the individual to decide what brand and/or model is fitting their foot most comfortably and which they like best.”

Do the correct running shoes have to be higher priced? Condit says, “Having a ‘correct’ pair of shoes can mean a few different things. Quality shoes that last 400–500 miles will be priced higher than those that will break down and/or aren’t meant for runners or walkers putting them through the paces. But, being in the correct shoe means having the support you need—and most often it isn’t the stability (posting) of a shoe that drives the cost up, but the higher cushioning shoes tend to be more expensive.”

For hard-core race runners shoes can help you train better and win more? Condit says yes and no. “Better shoes can keep you injury free but at the end of the day, it is the muscular and cardio-vascular systems that will get you to the finish line quickest. Showing up on the starting line fit and injury free, and being in the right equipment will certainly contribute to that.”

But Blue Ox Running is not just for the runners who race. Condit stresses that the casual jogger and others also need shoes that fit them well. “Often times we hear the ‘I’m not a serious runner’ or ‘I’m just walking’ as a reason for a person to not think they need to be properly fit,” Adam notes. “The truth is that joggers and walkers put the same amount of miles on their shoes eventually, and with every stride or step they are putting just as much impact on their feet—sometimes more impact and stress per step, with how some land on their heels and/or roll through their stride at slower paces. We fit shoes for many, many walkers and really for anybody that needs support throughout the day, including nurses, teachers, and folks on their feet all day.”

How long—or how many miles—can a person expect a good pair of running shoes to last?

Adam advises: “A good pair of walking/running shoes should last between 400–500 miles, depending on how you use them and/or how aggressive your stride can tear up the tread. Also, even if the tread isn’t yet worn down as much, they should be replaced at least every 6–9 months as the cushioning materials will start to break down and not provide the cushioning or relief to all of the pounding.”

“We LOVE Wisconsin and Eau Claire in particular. We are excited to be face to face with people in the community and share what we find so valuable in our lives!

For more information visit, call (715) 514-0898, or stop in at 417 S. Barstow Street, Eau Claire!

Connecting with the Why: Achieving Lasting Change in Exercise and Nutrition

By Dave Hildebrandt, FitELITE, IGNITE, FE24 Fitness

Have you ever been on the roller coaster of exercise and nutrition and found yourself doing a particular program for a while and then fall off? Thousands of individuals do this every New Year. You set your intention to make this change, and it seems to fade just a few months later. We ALL strive for lasting change.

Well, the New Year is not yet here, and we don’t need the New Year to make a permanent change. That “someday is today.” Let me explain. I’ve been in the fitness industry going on twenty years. Lifestyle, health, and fitness is my passion—rather, helping individuals find their path to becoming the best they can be in all areas of life is what I truly set my intention for, why I do what I do.

Going back to lasting change, I truly believe change in anything you set out to do has to start with your mind. Your thoughts lead to decisions and decisions lead to actions. Many of us have set the goals to change that are more surface laden and not deep rooted and concrete. Over my twenty years, I have had many clients come to me and set the goal of weight loss. I truly honor this, but I challenge all of my clients to get more concrete and specific as to what they want and “WHY” they want their goal. I believe with absolute certainty you need to be specific about what you want and why you want it. Your goal has to be mapped out.

What is the key ingredient to lasting change? What will this specific weight loss do for you in your life? Will this weight loss bring you renewed energy to get down on the ground and play with your kids? Will this energy bring you the self-confidence that you may have been wanting for so long in your life? Will this weight loss give you the vitality to enjoy your retirement in the coming years? Answering these questions shows you how specific you need to be. What does it truly mean from deep within you to obtain the goal you are after? What is the internal (personally for you and you only) and external (for family or another external reason outside of you) meaning as to why you NEED and WANT to conquer the goal you set out to accomplish?

Once you established your “WHY,” make it a concrete statement and place the goal in front of you where you read it on a daily basis and as a constant reminder of the importance of conquering this goal to make it lasting. It is a constant reminder of how badly you truly want lasting change. Put it on your bathroom mirror, in your planner, your fridge, etc.

Just like nature has seasons of change, so does life. It is inevitable that you will encounter the winter and with it the trials will come, but you will have the power of your “WHY” to help guide you through to find the springtime and ultimately your lasting change. Truly anything and everything that leads to growth in your life comes through challenge.

So, the next time you set out to establish the next area in your life of personal development, take the time to reflect “WHY” it is so important to you. Make this “WHY” statement concrete, very specific, and get in depth within yourself to find the importance of conquering it for lasting change. Just like in the weight room, to make a muscle grow, you have to continually do repetitions just like we do in the personal development area of our minds. Read your “WHY” statement through daily repetition. You become what you focus on.

Yuck, I Have the Flu — Now What?

By Ann Bischel, Mayo Clinic Health System

Got the flu?

Don’t worry quite yet. There are ways you can self-manage:

  • Hydrate. Be sure to drink plenty of liquids, such as water, juice and warm soups, to prevent dehydration.
  • Rest. Catch up on your sleep to help your immune system fight off the infection.
  • Medication. Generally, you’ll need nothing more than bed rest and fluids. You also may consider an over-the-counter pain reliever to reduce some of the aches associated with the flu. But in some cases, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication. If taken soon after you notice symptoms, the medication may shorten your illness by a day or so and help prevent serious complications.

If infected with the flu, it’s important to take certain measures to ensure it doesn’t spread to others around you:

  • Wash your hands. Thorough and frequent hand washing or an alcohol-based sanitizer are effective ways to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Contain your coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth or nose when you sneeze or cough, and wash your hands after. To avoid contaminating your hands, cough or sneeze into a tissue or the inner crook of your elbow.
  • Avoid crowds. By avoiding crowds during the peak of flu season, you may reduce your chances of infection and spreading to others. If you’re sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever subsides to lessen your chance of infecting others.

If you do get the flu, remember these tips to help get over it quicker and avoid spreading it to others around you.

If you have flu symptoms and are at risk of complications, see your doctor right away.

Ann Bischel is a nurse practitioner in Express Care at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.