To me, and I hope to you all as well, this pandemic has been an opportunity for self-care. Pre-Covid, I was always on the go and never had time to truly pamper myself, so this pandemic forced me to slow down a bit (a good thing in retrospect).
Over winter break I was in my hometown of Monterrey, Mexico for the holidays, so following the theme of slowing down, I took the opportunity to spoil myself with a lymphatic massage bamboo treatments at Casa Valka.
In a world of liposuction, plastic surgery, laser, cool sculpting and infinite other treatments promising its buyers their dream body, Casa Valka offers holistic, natural services to their clients that can bring the same results. Among their most popular, a non-invasive, machine-free, tech-free lymphatic massage done by hand with natural oils that promises its clients a deep massage that promotes the removal of toxins in the body. Casa Valka is a self-care haven located in the mountain city of Monterrey, Mexico, and was also opened by SMU’s own, Elba Oward (Class of ‘20). I personally got to experience the lymphatic massage.
Elba explained to me that our lymphatic systems can easily become blocked or slowed down as we are constantly bombarded with toxins, chemicals and other harmful products in everything from the dye in our clothing to the food we eat. If our lymphatic system is blocked or slowed down our body isn’t able to process those toxins and chemicals or get rid of them correctly and that’s where we see issues of inflammation, difficulty losing weight, lack of energy, etc. So, the lymphatic massages manually motivates our system to activate and get rid of all of those toxins.
The benefits of getting these massages done range from diminishing scars, stretch marks, inflammation & cellulite to helping with metabolic problems, migraines, stress and promoting natural weight loss. Elba and my masseuse at Valka explained to me that although someone may be doing really intense workouts and burning a lot of calories, they may be unknowingly storing fat that is stuck in their lymphatic systems which cannot be removed if the system isn’t activated and working properly.
Going into my experience at Valka, I signed up for 6 lymphatic massages with an added bamboo stick boost on consecutive days. The massages take about 45 minutes and consists of your masseuse activating your lymph nodes with their fingers, rubbing their hands quickly and deeply at the area generating heat with natural oils, then plucking at your skin with their fingers and pushing it all towards your center with their hands and the help of a warm bamboo stick. This motion is repeated about three times for each area of your body. I know what you are thinking, that doesn’t sound much like a relaxing massage, and to be honest, it’s not, but that means it’s working. The masseuse is activating and motivating deeply stored fat and toxins to move all by hand – a pretty intense job if you ask me. The feeling after getting the massage is sort of like a post-workout sore, the type of sore that you know just achieved something good. I started seeing results after the third day – I did not get as bloated after eating, I was peeing a lot more (TMI maybe?), I had more energy, slept better and overall felt more healthy not to mention how good it felt to know I was doing something amazing for my body.
Elba created Casa Valka when she saw an opening in the market for lymphatic massages in Monterrey after she had her own amazing results. Furthermore, she wanted women in Monterrey to have a holistic, natural way to achieve their most beautiful and healthy selves. Along with their famous lymphatic massages, Casa Valka offers services like energy alignment through crystal and chakra work, relaxing massages, face workouts, advanced light therapy, pre/postnatal massages, and other treatments that encourage their customers to invest in themselves. Overall, Casa Valka is an embodiment of the holistic, healthy, self-care centered lifestyle that Elba leads in her daily life and that is apparent in the attentive staff, variety of services and minimalistic yet beautiful decor.
For those itching to experience these fabulous massages and the overall aesthetic of Casa Valka – I’ve got some good news. Elba’s next business goal is to open another Casa Valka in the states, either in Austin or Dallas (fingers crossed for Dallas!). But until then, you can experience the benefits of lymphatic massages and a self-care lifestyle at home!
Elba explains that having a self-care mindset is the essence of Casa Valka and suggests that it can be as simple as you want it to be. Elba practices this mindset by incorporating dry brushing (a process that stimulates your lymphatic and circulatory systems) into her routine as well as keeping a healthy diet and working out regularly. Elba also states that self-care does not have to be a huge gesture, even lighting a candle, buying yourself a new pair of pajamas, or making a great home-cooked meal is a way to embody that Casa Valka mindset. It’s all about the “little everyday luxuries.”
Self-care makes us better people, it allows us to give back to ourselves and therefore be a better person for those around us. I definitely am glad I practiced a little bit of self-care through these lymphatic massages and I think we ALL deserve to spoil ourselves after this insanely different semester.
A special thank you to Elba Oward for sharing the behind-the-scenes scoop on her spa and lymphatic massages!
If you want to learn more about her spa you can find them on instagram @CasaValka/@elbaoward !