When Massage May Not be Enough

If you’re reading this you’re likely already well acquainted with the many benefits of massage therapy including decreased pain and tightness, improved mobility, reduction in headaches, increased circulation, lowered blood pressure, heart rate and stress levels not to mention the fact that it just feels really good! Generally speaking, massage addresses the muscular layer within the body and helps to lengthen tight muscles, relieve trigger point pain and tightness as well as their referral patterns, encourage spasms to let go, flush out lactic acid build up and improve lymphatic circulation as well as organ function.

tree roots
Much like the roots of a tree, our fascia reaches deep within our body, supporting and supplying function to all of our muscles, nerves, organs, blood vessels and cells.

There is however another tissue in your body that is an often overlooked culprit of pain, tightness and dysfunction called your fascia.

‘”Fascia is a specialized system of the body that has an appearance similar to a spider’s web or a sweater. Fascia is very densely woven, covering and interpenetrating every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein, as well as, all of our internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord. The most interesting aspect of the fascial system is that it is not just a system of separate coverings. It is actually one continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. In this way you can begin to see that each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia, like the yarn in a sweater.

In the normal healthy state, the fascia is relaxed and wavy in configuration. It has the ability to stretch and move without restriction. When one experiences physical trauma, emotional trauma, scarring, or inflammation, however, the fascia loses its pliability. It becomes tight, restricted, and a source of tension to the rest of the body. Trauma, such as a fall, car accident, whiplash, surgery or just habitual poor posture and repetitive stress injuries has cumulative effects on the body. The changes trauma causes in the fascial system influences comfort and function of our body. Fascial restrictions can exert excessive pressure causing all kinds of symptoms producing pain, headaches or restriction of motion. Fascial restrictions affect our flexibility and stability, and are a determining factor in our ability to withstand stress and perform daily activities.”* Continue reading “When Massage May Not be Enough”

April Specials at Heidi Ella Wellness and Massage Therapy


This month we are highlighting Cesarean Awareness Month at Heidi Ella Wellness and Massage. Did you know that massage therapy and yoga during pregnancy can help with a better labor and recovery time? Both Heidi Ella Wellness and Massage and The Wellness Center offer a wide range of holistic health options for pregnancy and beyond, from massage therapy to yoga to acupuncture.

Prenatal Special

In April we will be introducing our Prenatal Wellness Package. This package will support you through your pregnancy with monthly, bi-weekly and then weekly massage from the 2nd trimester through the end of the third. You will be billed monthly with payments of $135.00 per month for 6 months. You save 10% off of the regular price. Join during April and you will get a free 30 minute massage for your partner.

Postnatal Special

Postpartum can be a wonderful time, but it is hard on the body. This package helps restore your body and prepare you for the joys (and rigors) that motherhood brings. You will get one postnatal massage with assessment, one follow-up postnatal massage, a one hour postnatal yoga private session and a package of our soothing sitz bath. This package is $250.00.


Prenatal Events At The Wellness Center

We have two exciting prenatal events at The Wellness Center this month!

Free Screening of “It’s My Body, My Baby, My Birth”

April 22, 2017 at 3:00pm-4:00pm.

This movie follows the birth stories of 7 women. As we watch, we see how transformative and empowering birth can be. We will have a short discussion about birth options in the Northern Virginia area after.

Prenatal Nutrition Workshop

April 30, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm

Eating healthy is more important than ever when you are pregnant, and also when you are preparing to become pregnant! Come learn about proper nutrition during pregnancy to nourish your body and your developing baby. This class will discuss the changes in calorie and nutrient needs, the importance of hydration, safe supplementation and herbs. We will discuss foods to include and avoid. You will also receive a 3-day meal plan and cooking tips. Whether you are currently pregnant or planning to be a mommy soon, this class is for you! As a mom and nutritionist, Elizabeth Owens, will walk you through the steps to optimize prenatal nutrition!

$40 per mom or mom-to-be

$60 per couple, because we know a strong support system is key to being successful! (this is only for spouse/partner/significant other)

For more information or to sign up, click here.

Product of the Month: Soothing Postpartum Sitz Bath



This custom blended herbal sitz bath contains calendula, lavender, uva ursi and a special salt blend to soothe and restore sensitive areas after birth. Each package contains enough for 3 sitz baths.

$10.80 (10% off regular price)

(What is a sitz bath? It is a bath in a small basin that allows you to soak after birth. It can relieve tears, abrasions, hemorrhoids, etc after birth. You may be given one as part of a postpartum kit from the hospital or you can purchase them on Amazon. Find out how to use one here. You will need to prepare the sitz bath mixture with boiling water, strain and then place in the sitz bath basin.)


Boosting Your Digestive Health

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Increasingly, research is finding that our “gut” functions as almost a second brain. It has also been found to be an important site for immune health. Despite this, many people over look their intestinal health. But there are simple and easy ways to make sure you boost your immune health every day!

Food for Gut Health

 A healthy diet full of fiber rich foods that is low in sugar and light on meat-based proteins offers the best mix for a healthy gut. Avoiding all fats is not necessary or recommended; just make sure you are getting the healthy fats and not processed ones. There are specific foods that help to bolster gut health:


Getting probiotics from a supplement source or foods like yogurt or kefir can help to support a healthy gut. You should look for a shelf-stable probiotic supplement or opt for plain yogurts. Here is a good run down of probiotics for every need.

Fermented Foods

Fermented foods offer probiotic benefits, as well. Sauekraut, kombucha and kimchi are some of the most common ones that you can find ready made in the store. When it comes to sauerkraut, not all are fermented, so you will need to read the label. You can also make your own at home. Find out how here.


Prebiotics are fiber-rich foods that help to encourage the growth and proliferation of the good bacteria in your gut. Onions, artichokes and asparagus are some foods that contain prebiotics. You can eat them raw or cooked and get the benefits. Some foods and supplements also contain prebiotics like inulin.

Bone Broth

Bone broths are an excellent compliment to a healthy diet. They add nutrients and minerals and amino acids that help soothe and protect the digestive tract. While you can purchase ready-made versions, it is always best to make your own.

Lifestyle Changes for Gut Health

One of the biggest lifestyle changes that you can make to improve gut health is to add more exercise into your daily routine. Many of us have sedentary lifestyles due to work, etc. Make time each day for some vigorous exercise (a brisk walk, 12 Sun Salutations, etc) and you will benefit your digestive and lymphatic systems. Move either an hour before or after you eat. Exercise and a full stomach do not mix. Here is a yoga practice dedicated to improving digestive health.

Increasing hydration can also help with digestion. It keeps your digestive tract supple and moving freely. Hydration is also key to helping to remove toxins from your system. Some of our digestive problems also stem from tendencies to overeat. The body often shows its want for water by signals more common to hunger. Rather than a snack, reach for a glass of water. If you are still hungry after, a simple snack of fruit or nuts can help you with your digestive health goals.

Product of the Month: Digest Zen


This month we are highlighting digestive help. You can use our Essential Oil of the Month: DigestZen by doTerra to support your digestive health goals. This oil can aid in digestion, soothe occasional upset stomachs and help reduce gas and bloating*. In addition to the essential oil blend, doTerra also has a full line of DigestZen products. We are offering them all for 10% off for the month of March. (Some items may need to be specially ordered.)


Essential Oils Contained:

  • Ginger Rhizome/Root
  • Peppermint Plant
  • Caraway Seed
  • Coriander Seed
  • Anise Seed
  • Tarragon Plant
  • Fennel Seed

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Massage Specials for March



This month we are highlighting how to promote good digestion and a healthy microbiome. More and more research is pointing to the importance of establishing healthy gut flora and its effects on the body. We want you to feel good from the inside out!

March Special

15 Minute Abdominal Massage Add-On (Can be applied to any session 60 Minutes or More)

Abdominal massage utilizes gentle massage, castor oil and essential oils to clear stagnation and toxins from the body. Your therapist will also use soothing heat packs to boost the absorption of the castor oil and increase its ability to gently cleanse your system.

Book online today!


Elizabeth Owens and The Wellness Center will be offering her popular Spring Cleanse workshop again. Be sure to sign up to learn how to introduce a gentle detox and clean eating into your daily routine.

You may have a bad taste in your mouth when it comes to the word detox — literally — but what if there was a different kind of detox? A detox that was gentle enough to rid your body of toxins, but robust enough to escalate your energy while nourishing your body. Bring a friend or five and register for the 1-hour workshop where you and your friends will walk away with a 3-day detox plan and recipes along with a wealth of knowledge to enhance your detox journey.
Whether you have digestive issues, suffer from fatigue, experience joint pain or have a few pesky pounds to shed, this cleanse, lead by Certified Nutrition Specialist Elizabeth Owens, is designed to kick-start the improvement of your symptoms and lighten the toxic burden your body faces daily.

It’s more fun with a friend! We encourage you to bring a friend/spouse/neighbor so there’s a solid support system heading into the detox, plus you save on registration!

You + friend = $50 total.
Plan on attending solo this time, $30 to register.

It’s time to clear out the body cob webs and start improving how you feel from the inside out. You can register here.

The Healing Power of Touch



Throughout the day we have many interactions with other human beings. We meet a friend for coffee; have a meeting with our boss. We may have a chance to talk with our family members over dinner at the end of the day. Each of these interactions, while meaningful and important, often represent something that is missing from our society at large. Positive touch.

Tiffany Field, a pioneering researcher into positive touch and the benefits of massage therapy, has long held that American society is a touch-deprived one. In missing out on this positive touch we are missing a key element for bonding. We value personal space over intimacy. But this is not an either/or situation. We can see benefits to our mental and physical well-being by inviting positive touch into our lives.

Touch can foster a number of physical benefits within the body. Touch can soothe the vagus nerve response and help calm cardiovascular stress. The immune system responds positively to touch by producing more white blood cells. Touch also signals the body to release the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is responsible for helping the body to relax. It is also called the hormone of love and bonding. The benefits of positive touch extend beyond the physical. Research has found that positive touch can help to foster trust in individuals. It is also linked to lower levels of depression and greater self-esteem.

Touch can come in many forms. Massage therapy is also a way to introduce positive touch into your life, but it is not the only way. You can increase the positive touch in your own life by adding a 10 second hug to your goodbyes with your children in the morning.  Touch can become a way to increase the non-sexual communication between you and a partner. This bonding facilitates trust and helps sustain the feeling of teamwork necessary for successful relationships. With so many benefits, it is time to buck the American trend and embrace positive touch.




Tiffany Field on Massage Research:


8 Reasons We Need Human Touch More Than Ever:


Oxytocin: The Hormone of Peace and Trust:




Product of the Month: Herbal Tea Sampler


A cup of tea can be a soothing ritual at the end of the day or a bright beginning to a new morning. We have now started offering our Herbal Tea Sampler. Each sampler contains 5.5oz (by weight) of our custom blended teas. Each 3 tin sampler is available for $12.00 for the month of February. (A $15.00 value)


A soothing blend of chamomile, rose, lavender, lemon balm and catnip to bring you sweet dreams day or night.


An uplifting blend of holy basil, peppermint, lemon balm and licorice to raise your spirits.


An herbaceous blend of red raspberry leaf, red clover, lemon balm, nettles and lavender to balance you body and soul.

February Specials at Heidi Ella Wellness and Massage




February Special

Couples Massage Package (Available Fridays and Saturdays)*

Looking for the perfect Valentines gift? We are offering 15% off of our new Couples Massage Package. You and your partner can choose a 60 or 90 Minute massage package. Add therapeutic foot soaks for two to your session for the ultimate in relaxation. Book here for the package!


*Offer can be purchased through February 14th. Purchased offers will be available for use through March 31, 2017. Limited availability, so buy today!

Creating a Home Yoga Practice with Janet Brown



Many people love going to a yoga class, but get overwhelmed when it comes to a home practice. They often rely on trying to recreate classes they have attended with varying levels of success. Today we hear from Janet Brown, one of the yoga teachers at The Wellness Center and a massage therapist with Heidi Ella Wellness and Massage to learn more about how to establish a home practice.

How do you recommend people start?

I always start by asking people what their goal is. From there you can build a sustainable home practice. You can also create one that will result in measurable outcomes based on their expected goals. If you were hoping to improve your core, it is less productive to work on multiple hip opening sequences, etc.

What should people expect of a home practice?

First and foremost, a home practice is not the same level of intensity and focus as a class would be. That is another thing I feel is important to bring up when working with private clients. Home practice is for you. It is maintenance. It keeps you present and able to decide to challenge yourself in the safer environment of class where you have a second set of eyes trained to check your alignment.

What style of yoga is best for a home practice?

Again, this goes back to their goals. I encourage people to practice a variation on what they do in class in order to maintain a certain level. But I find that it is difficult for some to integrate some of the more challenging (power or ashtanga) yoga styles into a home practice without years of experience. That is not to say it cannot be done. It is just a reality that you do not work solo the same way you would in a class setting.

Do you have any tips for sequencing for a home practice?

I would say, unless you are coming up with a series of  routines that you will work through, creating a full body sequence is more important that targeting one specific area. Also, like creating a home practice based on a goal, it is important to think about time of day you will be practicing. A gentle practice may be more appropriate for the end of the day. While a more intense practice may lend itself  to an early morning session. You know your body best. Listen to it.

Janet Brown and Alicia Cross teach group  and private yoga classes at The Wellness Center. Each are available to work with you to develop a home practice that will be safe and effective. For more information, check out the Yoga page of The Wellness Center.