By Erin Pittman
Our PWL sleep issue wouldn’t be complete without some hot spots in Prince William designed to help you relax and unwind. From yoga to meditation and acupuncture to spas, Prince William is full of destinations to explore to achieve your most Zen year yet.
Getting poked with needles might not sound like the most relaxing technique, but those who receive regular acupuncture treatments will frequently attest to the general peace and relaxation that comes during and after sessions. And an article in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
citing research studies backs them up. These studies show that acupuncture appears to be successful in the treatment of insomnia — and delivers results without the side effects of common sleep medication.
Acupuncture involves the use of very thin needles inserted into specific points throughout the body and to various depths. The stimulation of these points is said to balance a person’s energy, or chi, which in turn leads to balancing and healing within the physical body. Acupuncture is most well-known for the treatment of pain but is increasingly being used for overall wellness and to reduce stress.
In Prince William, try Health Healing Hands in Manassas, Gainesville Acupuncture and Back to Health Chiropractic and Acupuncture in Dale City.
A day at the spa sounds heavenly on its own, but specific spa treatments can improve your sleep even more. Husband and wife Walt Kuhn and Colleen Quintana, Owners of Woodhouse Day Spa in Gainesville, have a variety of Woodhouse Rituals designed for those who are working to achieve better sleep. These rituals include a series of services including soaks, massages, dry brushing, scalp massages and aromatherapy. Guests can choose their package based on the amount of time they wish to stay. They also offer a specific sleep massage.
“Our Woodhouse Signature Restorative Sleep Massage helps our guests to enjoy a deep relaxation and restful sleep. A blend of essential oils guide this highly restful, therapeutic massage that encourages more fulfilling sleep and helps to get your sleep back on track,” they said.
Massage can potentially improve the quality of your sleep in two ways: by reducing stress and decreasing pain in the body. Massage affects hormones within the body, specifically reducing cortisol, the stress hormone, and increasing serotonin and dopamine, the hormones that stabilize mood. When we’re able
to feel more even keel, it’s easier to settle down and drift off at bedtime. Additionally, when our bodies aren’t in pain and it’s easy to find and stay in a comfortable position, the quality and duration of sleep may improve.
And essential oils seem to be popping up everywhere these days. In body care, candles, and definitely in spas. So, what benefits could you reap from their use? Look for deeper relaxation and a greater sense of calm, reduced anxiety, a decrease in muscle tension and more, depending on the oils used.
From massages to facials, soaks to aromatherapy and simply to escaping the noise of the everyday, a trip to the spa can allow the mind and body to relax and unwind, granting you the peace and tranquility you need for more restful sleep.
In Prince William, try the Woodhouse Spa in Gainesville, Dansk Day Spa in Occoquan, Tranquility Day Spa and Salon in Haymarket and Escape Salon and Day Spa in Manassas.
You don’t have to be an accomplished yogi or a contortionist to reap the benefits of yoga. Everyone can benefit from gentle, restorative yoga practices.
“Often, sleep issues are due to the inability to slow our minds down. We go to bed ruminating on our to-do lists, thinking about work projects, worrying about loved ones, etc.,” said Niecia Bullock, Owner & Business Manager of Rooted Yoga in Woodbridge. “Yoga, also known as moving mediation, draws your full awareness to your body and requires focused attention on the breath. Deep, slow, steady breaths signal the parasympathetic nervous system to relax. When your brain and body are relaxed, it’s much easier to fall asleep.”
When practicing yoga for sleep, Bullock recommends remembering to keep the movement gentle, take long inhales deep into the belly and slowly exhale through the nose or mouth. Consider inhaling for a count of five, then exhaling for six.
“Before bed, I like to move through Cat and Cow poses using this breath. After repeating 4 to 5 times, I rest in Child’s Pose and continue to breathe until my mind and body feel calm. It’s good stuff!” she said.
Often, people feel a bit intimidated by giving yoga a try, but Bullock focuses on community as much as the practice of yoga within her studio. She also emphasizes just how many benefits there are to taking up a practice.
“There are so many beautiful benefits of yoga, improved sleep being one of them. Others include less anxiety, lower blood pressure, increased strength, increased mobility, and better ranges of motion. Be encouraged to give it a shot — you’re worth it!” she said.
Learn more at rootedyogacommunity.com. Looking for a class closer to you? Try Bedrock Yoga in Manassas or Soaring Spirit Yoga, originally in Occoquan, now online.
Erin Pittman is Editor in Chief of Prince William Living. She loves dogs, kids, books and all of those things piled in her lap on the couch. Reach her at email@example.com