welcome to the nest: massage therapist alexis shanks

Alexis Shanks brings a lifetime of experience to Aviary. “My mother was a hospice nurse, and, as a young girl, I would go with her to patients’ homes and gently rub their feet and hands. In my family, I obtained the name ‘magic fingers.’ That nickname gave me the confidence and validation that I have the gift of loving intent and touch.” But this anecdote is only one of the things that sets Aviary’s newest massage therapist apart from the crowd. For the last 10 years, Alexis’ family has run The Stillpoint Center in Taylorsville, North Carolina. Here, she learned of everything from homeopathic remedies to different modalities of massage. To further this knowledge, Alexis enrolled in The Academy Of Somatic Healing Arts (ASHA) in 2009, becoming certified in Neuromuscular Therapy, Sports Massage, Therapeutic deep tissue and Swedish massage.

Her mission is to create collaborative relationships with her clients for the pursuit of optimal holistic wellness. She brings this, alongside 6 years of massaging privately, to Aviary, and we are thrilled to have her on the team!

Alexis will be working Monday, Friday and Sunday. Christine Legnon will continue to be available Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. To welcome and learn more about Alexis, as well as enjoy $10 off by booking your first appointment online, click here.

last-minute gift guide (don't worry, we've got ya covered)

As always, Christmas has snuck up on us and it being a mere week away doesn't mean we've got all of our gifts to give under the tree. Don't fret, though. We have something to bring a smile to everyone on your list. We promise. For the skin conscious - This is an easy one thanks to Clarisonic. The skin cleansing system who boasts the mantra, "Clearer skin is healthier skin," has been a favorite of ours for awhile. It works by using a patented sonic frequency of more than 300 movements per second, which, in turn, removes 6X more makeup and 2X more dirt than our hands ever could. There are options, too, with the Clarisonic Pro (perfect for the queen bee – as it is one itself – and is only available through estheticians), the Mia 2 (Pro's baby sister is the pick for the globe-trotter, complete with a handy travel case), the Clarisonic Opal (palm-sized and designed to help around the eyes) and the Clarisonic Face and Body (the ultimate all-over skin treat).

For the lock lover - A Mason Pearson hairbrush is one object every woman longs for. After all, we know the feeling. The not mass-produced, coveted brush originated in London in 1885 and hasn't changed much since – meaning it's an investment that will last for Christmases to come. The brushes come in four sizes, eight colors and three pads including Boar Bristle (for fine to normal locks), Boar Bristle and Nylon (for normal to thick locks) and Nylon (for those super thick locks) and promises to clean hair, stimulate the scalp and produce a healthy sheen. Yes, please, Santa.

For the one who has it all - Sometimes gift cards get a bad rap, but there's nothing bad about treating someone awesome to a hair cut or color, massage, facial or waxing complete with a therapist who will customize each treatment to address specific needs and wants. It'll even score them one of our favorite above mention gifts – without the stress of picking it out. And to that, we cheers the season of giving.

into the bottle: arnica

This week we’re revisiting the “E” word. If you haven’t taken Condition up on last week’s deal, we may know one of the things stopping you. Exercise can be tough so it’s natural that muscles start feeling tight and joints begin to get a little stiff after a rigorous workout. That’s where arnica, another ingredient we’re thanking the earth for, comes in.

Arnica is in the sunflower family and has been used for centuries to relieve pain, revitalize after-physical activity, and even promote flexibility. It’s believed that the plant contains derivatives of thymol, which has anti-inflammatory effects so even those with arthritis are use it to reduce pain and swelling in joints. It is also loaded with compounds like flavonoids, silicic acid, tannins, carotenoids, and essential oils. These compounds make arnica a fantastic healer for skin and its own process of renewal and self-cleansing.

For us, arnica’s all natural soothing action along with its skin benefits makes it a superstar ingredient. Dr. Hauschka uses arnica as the main component in their Birch Arnica Body Oil and Sircuit in their refreshing gel moisturizer, Cool Aid. The best way to utilize arnica’s benefits is the massage it into the skin after exercise or those other strenuous activities. It’s soothing warmth will bring those muscles and joints back to live… so you can exercise again tomorrow.

into the bottle: grapeseed oil

Last week’s post about dream product Lavish inspired us to start exploring the natural ingredients that actually make up our favorite products. After all, it is the inside that counts. By going into the bottle, we’ll start seeing what makes our beloved products tick, what our skin responds to oh, so well, and even more importantly, why. We’re opening up one of those nine essential oils in Lavish that we also used (think back) in our very own Oh, Honey! Purifying Cleansing Oil. We introduce to you her majesty, grapeseed oil.

With its fine, non-greasy texture, grapeseed oil is one of the best natural moisturizers around. Emma Stone even uses it exclusively as hers. The trick is how it has the ability to moisturize without clogging pores. It actually helps regulate oil production making it a supreme fit for all skin types. Yes, even oily and acne-prone. But where grapeseed oil really shines is when we hit those dry patches (from winter curses to all-nighters). Partly due to its abundance of omega-6 (brings balance) and vitamin E (all powerful antioxidant powers), grapeseed oil is just a master of nourishing the driest of skin without irritation. Applied directly, it even offers a soft and satiny finish.

What makes grapeseed oil even cooler is that it’s eco-friendly. As a by-product of wine making (yum), grapeseeds are found, of course, in the vineyards. They’re also typically thrown away. But with 50 kg of grapeseeds being required to obtain one liter of oil, that’s a lot of grapeseed saving. And with its long list of benefits, we are more than happy to do so.

jo jameson, the aviary's newest massage guru

I recently read that “healthy things grow” and we are certainly growing here at the Aviary.  Our newest member is a massage therapist with fifteen plus years behind him.  An Atlanta native (bonus points here), he’s worked with some of the city’s most respected salons and spas including Natural Body, Lux Studio, and re-treat.  We sure are glad to have him now.  And as a family man, musician, AND master of massage... well, we had to ask questions. Besides the art of massage, I understand that music is something that is very meaningful to you.  What would you consider your greatest musical moment? Well, I don't know how great it is, but one of my favorite musical memories was playing a two set show with Kelly Hogan. We had prepared all this music and had a blast during the first set, but Hogan was upset that she hadn't remembered to bring a change of clothes for the second set. We looked at each other and decided to trade clothes... she got my brown suit and I got her black dress (with wing tips). It was loads of laughs for all.

Any music that you like to massage to? I feel that music is an important part of massage. It helps you to really zone out. I have had this one record since I was in massage school, back in 1996, it is called el-HADRA, the mystic dance. Amazingly, it never gets old!

As a native of Atlanta, you must have some favorite hidden spots.  What are some of your go to restaurants? I don't get out to the better restaurants as much now, but, boy do I love going to SAUCED!

What about outdoor spots with the family? My wife and I used to go to Cator-Woolford Gardens when we were just getting to know one another. You know, during our courtin' days. We would get some take out breakfast and have a morning picnic there. I still love to go there with both of my girls.

What do you find the most rewarding about your job? I always say "I love my work because it is so very rewarding.". It really does feel great to help people. Be it physical help or emotional help I can offer someone, it always feels good.

Do you have a favorite quote or mantra? I do have a little mantra I like to say at the end of every massage... "May this person go with peace, love, strength and clarity, and may he/she face the day and the season with a smile..." One day I would like to have that tattooed on me.

If you were a bird, what bird would you be? I'd like to think I'd be something cool like a hawk or a peregrine falcon, but I may be something more like a penguin... You just never know.

Touch Therapy is Good!

I LOVE this article in last week's New York Times about the benefits of massage. There are so many reasons to experience touch therapy and this recent study goes far in proving that massage isn't just for sore or tired muscles. Another incredible and captivating read on touch therapy is aptly titled, Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin by Ashley Montagu. Skeptics beware: After reading this book, you'll want to check in with Aviary CMT Christine Legnon.

Thanks to our inspired client, Jennifer DeVault, for sharing her NY Times read!