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Massage--A Touchy Subject
by Christie Pugliese

Imagine some of the most memorable moments in your life. Now think back to the words exchanged. If you are anything like me, a lot of those moments had little or no words exchanged, and rather the physical experience and reciprocity of human touch. Watching the sunset and leaning back into my husbands body on the warm sands of Islamorada while on our honeymoon. Hugging my parents like we were in a pre-game team huddle at my Grandpa's memorial. Holding my niece on my chest as she drifts off into her tiny slumber. All of these moments left an impression in my heart that will last a lifetime, and yet no words were spoken, and the positive human touch that occurred reflected well more than a thousand words.

Touch is the first sense we acquire. There are numerous studies about the positive effects and health benefits of non-sexual human touch. Teams that have higher interactions of positive touch have been linked to studies that proved increased team relations and overall team success. Couples that hug, hold hands and share regular intimacy are happier and more successful than those who do not. People who self soothe by rubbing their ears, or touching their hair during stressful times can actually decrease their blood pressure and cortisol levels. What's more is that the giver of the hug, handshake or pat on the back can receive as much physiological and psychological benefits from that transaction as the receiver. As a Certified Massage Therapist, this makes so much sense to me. I often had clients laugh when I would thank them after a massage, but I meant it whole heartedly. Massage is a such a profound gift between the therapist and client. It really is like an epic, hour-long hug!

Physically massage is proven to reduce blood pressure and cortisol, increase oxytocin (the hormone of love and attachment), increase circulation in the blood and lymph systems as well as ease the nerve system. It can improve range of motion and lengthen muscles. It releases tension and reduces stress and anxiety. Massage can align your skeletal system, increase joint mobility, break down scar tissue, regulate muscle imbalances and decrease inflammation. As it brings oxygen to the skin, it actually encourages cell regeneration and a deeper connection to, and awareness of, your breath. It also stimulates digestion and elimination. Massage promotes a healthy body awareness and relaxation that can even heal emotional trauma and increase well-being. Behold, the wonder hug!

As the new Assistant Manager at Spa Moab, it has been a complete joy to watch customers walk in as strangers, and leave as friends. That is because of the positive ambiance and quality bodywork that is regularly taking place here. As the aspens yellow and we transition into Fall, Spa Moab is offering 3 Seasonal treatments, in addition to our other wonderful services to truly experience Autumn. Our current Facial special is an Autumn Vitamin C Facial Peel for $95 – 50 minutes. Our featured massage is a “Fall into Relaxation” Massage that includes seasonal massage oil to support the immune system and relieve stress and a hot stone back massage for either $85 – 50 minutes or $120 – 80 minutes. For those who want happy feet, we've got a Nourishing Pumpkin Pedicure for $75 - 50 minutes. Call Spa Moab at (435) 259-7726 to book your appointment or check us out online at
Please mention that you read about it in Moab Happenings.

Death over Dinner

This November, Grand County Hospice (GCH) is honoring National Hospice and Palliative Care month by asking the community to join them for dinner. The meal, to be prepared by GCH volunteers, will be warm and hearty. The intended focus of conversation? A free-flowing and comfortable discussion of wishes, expectations, fears and experiences related to death and end-of-life care.

The Grand County Hospice event is the local effort inspired by a larger, national grassroots movement, Death Over Dinner. The goal of Death Over Dinner, as explained by founder Michael Hebb, is to address and shift the stigma of fear and discomfort associated with talking about death and end-of-life wishes with family, friends and loved ones. Hebb told NPR earlier this year that the project’s beginning was motivated by two statistics: The vast majority of American bankruptcies are related to medical expenses, especially those related to end-of-life care; and while 75 percent of Americans say they want to die at home, only 25 percent actually do.

Grand County Hospice hopes to provide an inviting space for community members, whether friends, families or unfamiliar faces, to discuss anything from fond memories of passed loved ones to thoughts on funeral or memorial services wishes; there is no conversation agenda. However, discussion prompts will be placed at each table if attendees would like topic ideas or suggestions. The evening will begin with an introduction and welcome from GCH staff and volunteers, including a short presentation on hospice and information on the Advanced Directives workshops that GCH will begin offering to the community this winter. Dinner will be served buffet style – and there will definitely be dessert! The event is free to attend; however, there is a suggested donation amount of $35 as Grand County Hospice is a non-profit organization and relies on donations to help cover services and operations.

Death Over Dinner will take place Friday, November 13th at the Schafer House on the Youth Garden Project campus, at 6:30pm. Seating is limited, so please RSVP at your earliest convenience. For more information or to reserve your place, please contact Grand County Hospice Director Jessie Walsh at (435) 719-3772 or by email at More information on the Death Over Dinner: Let’s Have Dinner and Talk About Death movement is available at

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