in partnership
(Image: Still Spa)

There are massages, and then there are CBD massages

I’ve discovered a life hack recently that has been particularly game changing for me. I’ve realized that, instead of waiting until you are on the verge of existential collapse to take time for yourself, you can actually PROACTIVELY book chill time to recharge your batteries before they die. Crazy, right? Who knew?! This might involve me hopping into a restorative yoga class, buying myself a nice candle, or making plans with my husband to order takeout, watch the entire "Austin Powers" trilogy in one sitting, and not talk to anybody for the entire day (a real thing that happened). Life is about balance, people!

I felt my batteries beginning to drain a few months back (pre-COVID, if you can even remember that time) and knew that I was due for some self-care. As the self-proclaimed CBD expert of Seattle, I was thrilled when the Still Spa at Kirkland’s independent boutique Woodmark Hotel invited me into their newly renovated space to try their signature CBD massage. Despite CBD being all the rage these days (I saw it for sale at the airport!) it’s surprisingly difficult to find CBD-centric wellness services in Seattle. Surprisingly, massages are something that I get asked about most frequently; particularly now that it feels like everybody is six degrees of separation away from somebody who had some terrible lifelong ailment cured by CBD.

According to Harvard Medical School (a bit more legit than your great-aunt who buys gas station CBD, huh?) CBD may have some anti-inflammatory properties, which could have some benefits for massage - much like ibuprofen. My neck is almost always inflamed after a gnarly car accident a few years back, so the idea of a topical anti-inflammatory really appeals to me. As I’m sure you can imagine, adding CBD oil to the already relaxing nature of a massage has the potential to be incredibly relaxing.

Kirkland, admittedly, is an area that I often forget about. My visit to the Woodmark was on a rare sunny day, and as I drove along the waterfront I found myself thinking, almost angrily, why don’t I come here more often? Recent renovations at the Still Spa include a plush wall of pedicure seats along waterfront windows and a large private tranquil waiting area for pre-treatments. I didn’t visit Still Spa before the renovation, but the updates were thoughtful, subtle, and incorporated the dreamy blues of Puget Sound waters.

While I waited for my appointment I cozied up with a book (currently reading "All You Can Ever Know" by Nicole Chung - HIGHLY recommend!). I contemplated dozing off, but was in just a bathrobe and worried I would starfish myself out in my sleep and accidentally flash all the hotel staff. Rather than absentmindedly shopping Amazon for your skincare needs (raises hand) the spa also had a thoughtful selection of natural products including skincare, bath products, and more.

I don’t think that I need to describe to you in much detail my delight at being invited to Still to test out their new CBD massage. I was STOKED. Like anybody over the age of 14, I have my daily aches and pains. This discomfort typically manifests in a lingering rice-krispie like feeling all over my body, particularly in the mornings. Hours at a desk make my back throb. Sleeping with a different pillow for a night can throw me off kilter for a week. Essentially: I’m an adult human. I was feeling particularly crunchy when I stepped foot into Still Spa. My massage therapist, Kelsey, suggested trigger point massage with a medium to firm pressure. I was fully onboard.

Kelsy immediately was able to identify where the tension in my body was (what up, left shoulder blade!) and started working on relaxing it which felt truly magical. As she worked her magic on my back I felt myself uncoil. It’s no secret that stress stores itself in the body, but it never ceases to blow my mind when I see that tension relax in real time. The oils used were a mix of CBD oil, arnica (another proven anti-inflammatory), and light essential oils. A few friends asked me if my massage had the distinct earthy aroma that some hemp products do, and the answer is NO. It smelled like a spa.

Perhaps it was a placebo, but after a full body CBD rub-down I did feel noticeably more relaxed. My body felt like it does after a hot yoga session: bendy, refreshed, and generally blissed out. I finished my day at Still Spa with a warm shower to rinse off my massage oil in the private women’s waterfall shower. The whole afternoon was an absolute luxury, and I fought the urge to immediately get back to work or respond to emails. I gave myself a moment just to enjoy the act of treating myself well.

I’ve realized that we often don’t feel like we deserve a spa day. It’s as if it’s something that needs to be earned, to be really worked for, we have to be on the brink of death before we have the AUDACITY to consider doing something kind for ourselves. That’s bonkers! It’s bananas! My day at Still Spa was a gentle reminder of the importance of recharging my batteries and unplugging.