‘Salon therapy’ reduces stress and boosts well-being

By Melissa Borgerding


Could a haircut reduce your risk of heart attack, or a massage protect against the common cold? An increasing number of clinical research studies show that a little self pampering goes a long way to reduce stress and improve your health and well-being.


The dangers of stress
A leading trigger of illness, stress can impair the immune system, prolong recovery time, cause premature aging, and lead to depression and anxiety, reports the American Psychological Association. An increase in stress hormones has even been linked to stroke, heart attack, and cancer.

While it may be impossible to avoid stress altogether, a German study recently found that the best way to minimize its harmful effects may be a day at the spa. Study subjects who indulged in spa treatment frequently showed remarkably less fatigue and stress than those who never treated themselves.

Benefits of salon therapy
Fortunately, you don't have to jet off on an expensive spa retreat to enjoy similar results. Treating yourself to something as simple as a wash and set at your favorite local salon may be just as beneficial.

"I absolutely believe there are health benefits to a little pampering," says Linda Thiele, manager of the Promenade Salon at Monarch Landing. "Sometimes a customer comes in, maybe not in the best mood. We do a scalp massage, chit-chat a little, and their mood lifts right up."

Thiele believes that looking and feeling your best not only reduces stress, but boosts your confidence and your sense of wellbeing. A regular at the salon, Virginia Salisbury agrees. "I just feel better when I have my hair done."

No longer a luxury
In addition to hair, the Promenade Salon offers manicures, pedicures, make-up, and a barber service. As Monarch Landing continues to grow, Thiele is constantly expanding the salon's menu and its staff. Currently, she is in the process of developing a therapeutic massage program.

Once viewed as a luxury, massage therapy is now recognized and covered by many health care providers for its role in treating illness, chronic ailments like arthritis, and, of course, reducing stress.

Convenience is key
However, Thiele believes that the best stress reducing service the salon offers is its convenience. "Even if there are 12 inches of snow on the ground, you still have to get your hair done. Here, you never have to leave the building."

Since moving to Monarch Landing just over five months ago, Elaine Prignano has never had to miss a cut and color because of bad weather. "It doesn't matter what it's doing outside. You don't have to go trekking through snow and ice." Or ruin your new style in the wind and the rain moments after leaving the salon.

Look good, feel good
Treating yourself isn't anything to feel guilty about, says Thiele, who hopes that more people will recognize the health benefits of a little self-indulgence. "Sometimes, you just have to do something nice for yourself."