Health & Wellness – Shoji Spa & Retreat Asheville's premier Japanese inspired Spa Tue, 30 Mar 2021 18:17:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Health & Wellness – Shoji Spa & Retreat 32 32 Our New Medical Massage Chairs: Covid-Safe Self Care Fri, 12 Feb 2021 22:28:20 +0000 The world around us is constantly changing, but we’ve seen far more changes than ever before after COVID-19 decided to take reign. In a time where we’ve all been forced to take our health more seriously, businesses of all shapes and sizes have had to adapt and overcome the hurdles that COVID-19 has thrown at us. The spa industry is moving towards more hands-free services such as meditation pods, salt rooms, isolation tanks and medical massage chairs. The human race has found that even the most unexpected tasks and services can become automated, and technology is here to save the day! 

At Shoji Spa and Lodge, we take the utmost care to ensure that our guests can receive the care they deserve in the safest ways possible. We have taken extra safety measures for all hands-on massage to limit the chances of spreading COVID-19 in our peaceful mountain retreat. 

Extra precautions are great and have proven successful, but what about our guests who still aren’t so sure about hands-on contact at all? At Shoji, we know that you can’t fully indulge in self-care and receive the full benefits of our mountain escape without being able to feel completely comfortable, relaxed, and at ease . That’s why we’ve invested and provided a brand new hands-off medical massage experience in our new zero-gravity medical massage chairs. If you are looking for a safe way to get a wonderful massage, you’ve landed on the right blog post.

What are Zero-Gravity Massage Chairs?

They’re pretty much exactly what they sound like! In essence, they are massage chairs that hold you at a position in which the effects gravity has on the human body are minimized. While your body is tilted and stretched to this position, a full body massage is performed completely hands-free by the chair itself. The chair performs an entire full body scan to ensure massage is fit to each guest’s unique body type, and the chair has an easy-to-use remote control for any further adjustments guests may desire for their experience.

How do our massage chairs feel?

The massage experience from our zero-gravity medical massage chairs is comparable and similar to how a traditional hands-on massage would feel. The main difference is that it feels like multiple sets of hands are massaging you at once! As you’re enjoying the sweet release of pressure on your back and shoulder area, you’ll also notice an incredible sensation as the souls of your feet are kneaded and rubbed. There are air cells located on your arms, legs, shoulders, temples, and shoulders that inflate to apply the most pleasant amount of pressure, and then release. Just when you start to notice the pleasing feeling from one aspect of the massage, you find yourself indulging in pleasing massage elsewhere. 

How to have the best Massage Chair Experience

If you’re considering giving one of our medical massage chairs a try, you need to do it the right way! To maximize your relaxation and the soothing effects of this medical massage, we recommend taking a soak in one of Shoji’s hydrotherapeutic salt hot tubs prior to experiencing your chair massage. The heat from the tubs really helps loosen up any problem areas so that massage benefits are maximized and results are intensified. 

Aside from the physical aspect of soaking before a chair massage, soaking beforehand gives an incredible opportunity to connect with yourself and to check out from any mental blocks that might be causing you to carry extra stress. Come visit our beautiful mountain escape, only minutes away from down town Asheville, and practice nurturing your emotional well-being. Call us at (828)299-0999 for booking!

History & Benefits of Himalayan Salt Mon, 03 Feb 2020 21:07:14 +0000 After Alexander the Great’s horses discovered the ancient salt deposits as they were traveling through the region, people have used the natural salt to find relief from a variety of ailments from high blood pressure, to obesity and diabetes.

Himalayan salt contains over 84 trace minerals that cause its distinctive pinkish hue, including those believed to aid in good health and vitality. To this day, Himalayan salt is used in cooking, as a form of therapy in heated salt lamps and in salt stone massages which speak to its natural healing abilities.

Some Benefits of Himalayan Salt

  1. Promotes healthy blood sugar
  2. Helps lower blood pressure
  3. Supports a healthy respiratory system and sinuses
  4. Boosts bone health and prevents muscle cramps
  5. Improves circulation
  6. Relieves anxiety
  7. Lightly exfoliates the skin and is highly relaxing
  8. Emits negative ions when heated, delivering a variety of health benefits—from higher mental alertness to protection against germs in the air

During the massage, therapists use warmed Himalayan salt stones to apply pressure, using Swedish massage techniques. Over the course of the treatment, the minerals are absorbed through the skin leaving you with a profound sense of well-being.

Himalayan Salt Stone Massage is part of our new Valentine’s Day package available through February at Shoji.

Balancing Mind, Body and Spirit Wellness Fri, 03 Jan 2020 18:27:47 +0000 Often, lofty goals and unrealistic expectations stifle progress when we want to see results. Start small – take time for yourself and put your mind at ease by celebrating the small wins.

So, let’s make 2020 the year we take control of our well-being!

In light of recent scientific studies providing evidence of the mind-body connection; taking charge of our mental health should be an integral part of anyone’s 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Maintaining a positive mindset has been proven to lead to improvements in your physical health as well.

“Where the mind goes, the body will follow.”

It’s not hard to see how this is true. Our outlook on life and the world around us will define how we act – how we act will define how we feel and so on. When we have self-destructive negative thoughts and negative internal conflict, it can result in an unhealthy lifestyle. Conversely, when we have a positive mindset, it can help create a healthy lifestyle for us.

A good first step toward maintaining mental health is recognizing the importance of taking time for yourself. Whether that means a quiet walk, a soothing motorcycle ride or embracing nature with a peaceful soak in the woods; the goal is to be in the moment.

Here at Shoji we strive to offer the space and setting to allow people to truly connect with themselves. It’s in this spirit that we are happy to announce our new spa package, KASHIKA (visualization). This package combines the mental and physical aspects of maintaining well-being by starting you off with a fresh cold pressed juice to help purify the body while you soak in your private salt hot tub immersed in the Blue Ridge Mountains; followed by a 60 minute Zen massage and your choice of massage enhancements*, you will complete your spa day with a second organic fresh cold pressed juice for the ultimate revitalization. 

Whatever your New Year’s Resolution is; this year it’s time to put YOU First.

*Warm Oil Scalp Massage or Jade Stone Facial

A Therapy As Old As Time Fri, 25 Oct 2019 20:42:29 +0000  In essence, this therapy involves alternating between hot and cold temperatures, typically in water like a shower or tub.

The heat allows blood vessels to open up (vasodilation), increasing blood flow to our extremities and causing connective tissue to become more flexible. This promotes a reduction in joint stiffness, pain and muscle spasms. Conversely, cold therapy (vasoconstriction) causes a reduction in blood volume to our extremities and increases blood flow in the core of the body. This cycle of tightening and relaxing effectively acts as a “pump” in the lymphatic system moving stagnant lymph around the body and strengthening the core of our immune system.

The lymphatic system’s main function is to cleanse the body and protect against disease but can easily become stagnant when it is overwhelmed with toxins. This can lead to not only impaired immunity but also fluid retention, chronic pain and swollen glands. Stagnant lymph may also be the root cause of swollen ankles and eyes, arthritis, upper respiratory infections and other chronic illnesses.

Here at Shoji, our guests enjoy the benefits of contrast hydrotherapy with the use of our 180°+ wet cedar sauna and cold showers as a part of our amenities pass or in combination with salt hydrotherapy tub, our private spa pass.

As with any treatment, you should always consult your primary care physician to discuss risk and/or benefits before incorporating contrast therapy into your health regimen.

10 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Day Mon, 24 Jun 2019 18:14:05 +0000

 Whenever you have free time, rather than Netflix, try some of these fun ways to make the most out of your day!

1. Catch the Sunrise

Start off the day by waking up early to watch the sunrise! The countless ‘overlooks’ on the Blue Ridge Parkway are excellent destinations to take in the view of the morning sun emerging from behind the mountains. Getting up early to greet the sun can help you gain more energy and begin the day in a positive light.

2. Practice Meditation

Meditation is a great way to practice self-care during your free time. Sitting still with your eyes closed may seem unnecessary, but this brief repose rejuvenates your mind, body, and soul in a very beneficial way. Focus on your breathing, and try to clear your mind. Think of this like a mental reset button!

3. Get Crafty

Arts & crafts provide enjoyable opportunities to express yourself! Start a watercolor painting, take up pottery, or stylize your favorite clothing. Not only will you be refining your artistic skills and hand-eye-coordination, but you will have a creative outlet for your emotions and experiences. Pinterest is a great tool for finding inspiration for your next craft!

4. Plant a Garden

It’s not too late to start a garden! It is such a wonderful feeling to watch your little babies grow until healthy plants. Gardening connects us with Mother Earth, provides nourishment, and teaches us valuable life lessons. A healthy garden requires hard work, love, and patience, skills that carry into our everyday life. Also, when you grow your own food, you help the planet and your budget!  

5. Nurture Relationships

What good is time if you spend it all by yourself? When we connect with others, we’re able to reflect on ourselves and grow. Take a moment out of your day to reach out to a family member, nurture a friendship, or rekindle an old one. Visit, call, text, or if you really want to surprise someone, write and send them a letter!

6. Get Outdoors

Summer is the perfect time for going out and reconnecting with nature. Surround yourself with nature simply by going out for a walk in the park or a hike in the forest. There is no better way to take in the beautiful summer scenery than to be immersed in the great outdoors. Since daylight hours are longer in the summer, there is plenty of time to do a variety of exciting outdoor activities!

7. Discover New Methods of Healing

The rush of our daily schedules makes it easy to ignore the physical and emotional pressures put on us by life. Take time to relax by discovering new ways to relieve your body from stress or pain. You can spend the summer solstice getting rid of built-up tension with massage therapy or acupuncture. Here at Shoji, we offer a select number of massage options to put both your mind and body at ease.

8. Read a Book

When was the last time you read a book from start to finish? If it has been awhile, let’s change that! Reading is not just entertaining – it improves our vocabulary, lengthens our attention span, and expands our worldview. If you are on the go, pick up a book on tape! You may also have book clubs near you related to some of your favorite topics.

9. Host a Gathering

Invite friends and family to a gathering with a meal full of fresh ingredients from a local farmers market! You can quench your thirst by mixing up some herbal teas and flavored lemonades for everyone to enjoy. Pot lucks are also fun, when each of your guests brings an item to the gathering. Gatherings like these strengthen relationships and remind us of all of the positive things life has to offer.


10. Volunteer

Volunteering is a wonderful way to connect with and improve your community. If you don’t know where to start, reach out to your local city government or search on a volunteering opportunity database like VolunteerMatch. Not only does volunteering help your community, but it also improves your mood and sense of wellbeing.

What are some of your favorite ways to make the most out of your day?

6 Ways to Relax (for People Who Don’t Meditate) Wed, 15 May 2019 19:22:28 +0000 May 15th 2019


1. Going on a Walk (or a Hike)

Just getting outside and taking a walk can do wonders for your mental health. Focus on the nature around you, your footsteps, and try not to let you mind trail off. Just enjoy the moment and keep yourself as grounded as possible.

2. Arts & Crafts

Arts & crafts time isn’t just for kids, it can be great for adults as well! Working with your hands is a great way to get your mind off the stresses of the day. It’s important to divert your energy into other things instead of letting it just build up inside, thus causing you more stress.

3. Journaling

Writing things down can be a game changer when it comes to managing the day-to-day stresses of life. It is a great way to collect your thoughts and sort out things weighing heavily on your mind. Plus, revisiting your journal entries later on down the road can be fun and a great way to reflect.

4. Stretching

Our bodies hold so much tension, and stretching is great method of release. Stress and anxiety have a tendency to manifest itself in our bodies, making us feel worse than ever. So, next time you’re feeling stressed, take a moment to stretch and release all of that built up tension.

5. Get Active 

Repetitive exercise can be a great relaxation technique. Biking, running, and swimming are all good examples of repetitive activities that can induce a meditative-like state. Others may refer to this as a “flow” state.. Doing something repetitive helps you live in the moment and just focus on the task at hand. Think of it like giving your mind some rest before or after a long, stressful day.

6. Visit the Spa

Spending a day at your favorite spa is a great way to balance your mind, body, and soul, even if you don’t like meditating. The services we offer at Shoji, like hydrotherapy and bodywork/massage, have been tried and true for thousands of years. We all deserve to treat ourselves every once in awhile!

See? You don’t have to sit cross-legged and say “ohm” to meditate. There are many ways that you can calm your mind and find relief from the day to day stresses of life!

Four Fabulous Health Benefits of Hot Tubs Tue, 29 Jan 2019 15:00:28 +0000 Our breathing deepens, our muscles loosen up and we let our troubles dissolve away. It’s not all in our heads either… taking a soak has been proven to have quite a few health benefits. Here’s four of them!

1. Lowering blood pressure

plastic heart display

According to the Cleveland Clinic, a hot tub soak causes blood vessels to slightly dilate, thus lowering overall blood pressure. Soaking in warm water can cause internal body temperature to increase slightly, in turn blood circulates more efficiently and blood pressure decreases. As always, consult with your physician before engaging in any form of self-therapy, including hot tub use and hydrotherapy for high blood pressure.

2. A better night’s sleep

baby sleeping

A Study in the journal, ‘Sleep,’ showed that soaking in a hot tub prior to bedtime will not only help individuals fall asleep but will also provide a deeper, more relaxing sleep as the body cools.

3. Aid in weight loss

bubbly hot tub water

It’s estimated that sitting in hot water burns about 3% more calories than sitting on your couch. It may not seem like much but, let’s be honest, every bit helps when it comes to losing weight!

4. Ease muscle tension

tight knot

Any physical therapist will tell you that heat from water penetrates the body better than any other type of heat. While heat increases blood flow to muscles and accelerates healing, buoyancy eases the built up pressure in your joints and muscles.  Additionally, hot tub jets provide therapeutic massage, stimulating the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain and stress diffusers.

man relaxing in outdoor hot tub in asheville

Which benefit will inspire you to hit the tub? If you are interested in learning more about other health benefits of tub soaking, spa therapy, or sauna, subscribe to our monthly newsletter or follow Shoji Spa on social media!

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What is Hydrotherapy? Sun, 08 Jul 2018 14:51:12 +0000 When I was six, I loved to soak in a huge old bathtub for hours, especially in the dead of winter.Then, only under duress, I would emerge, leaving my yellow ducky to bob about while I sank into slumber. What happened to one of the best rituals of life? One of life’s little pleasures, delicious and almost free, a ritual full of things I so need in my stress filled adult life.
Back then, I soaked in a tub because it left me feeling wonderful. I knew nothing of the Japanese passion for soaking, or that the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates promoted the healthful effects of bathing, or the German’s Nineteenth Century studies into the benefits of hydrotherapy, or that this universal fad would finally start to catch on here in my own country, long before I made my self-discovery. 
No one knows for sure just how profound the health benefits of hydrotherapy are (also known as balneotherapy), probably because the cultures who indulge the most are the least concerned with the science of the act and focused instead on the ritual and simple trust of knowing how good they feel during and after the pleasures of a long hot soak.Western culture asks for proof of the benefits (“Show me”), and to this end, let’s look at some of the data that documents what the Greeks, Romans, and Japanese have known fora thousand plus years, that soaking offers a feeling of physical well-being, relieves the pain of physical wounds or aching muscles, calms the mind, and nourishes the spirit…that the spirit of soaking transcends the act of getting clean.
A look at the data through randomized single and double blind controlled studies from around the world documents medical improvements in patients with low back pain, spasticity, improved range of motion, benefits for ventilated patients, psychological and emotional improvements, improvements with varicose veins, quality of life improvements, and a cadre of other physical gains and self reported psychological benefits.
Studies ranging in size from thirty to two thousand five hundred subjects document the benefits of hydrotherapy and suggest that it is a valuable adjunct to other forms of physical and drug treatments. Some studies even note a reduction in the need for other therapies. The addition of hydrotherapy to a rehabilitation program is repeatedly shown to be advantageous. Studies also document that mineral water, used instead of tap water,can heighten the longevity of beneficial effects. These studies document what has been known or assumed since humans began the ritual of plopping into geothermal springs only to discover relief of some sort. That said, we are not all living with the luxury of volcanic (or geothermal) springs at our back door, but we can enjoy various other types of spas.
Hydrotherapy (or balenotherapy) is the use of water in various states and temperatures to maintain health and promote healing. Steam, ice, hot, tepid, and cold water are all used in a number of ways alone or as part of a therapeutic regimen. For example, ice is applied toa sprained ankle or sore muscles are soothed by soaking in a hot tub. Most forms of hydrotherapy have become accepted remedies. Many are universally prescribed by both conventional and alternative health practitioners.The basic properties of water allow this nontoxic and readily available substance to be used in numerous ways. Hydrotherapy takes advantage of water’s unique ability to store and transmit both cold and heat. Cold has a “depressant” affect, decreasing normal activity, constricting blood vessels, numbing nerves, and slowing respiration. Heat-based hydrotherapies, such as hot tubs, have the opposite effect. As the body attempts to throw off excess heat and keep the body temperature from rising, dilation of blood vessels occurs, providing increased circulation.
Contrast therapies, such as immersing in hot and then cold water, are used to dramatically stimulate circulation. For example, a thirty minute contrast bath beginning with soaking for four minutes in a hot tub and then dropping into a cold plunge for one minute, repeated for a total of thirty minutes, can produce a 95 percent increase in blood flow. If you are looking for a natural high, this may be it!Water-based therapies in spas are currently used throughout conventional, complementary, and alternative medicine. Hydrotherapy itself is used by almost all physical therapy centers. Numerous techniques using water are considered standard methods of treatment for rehabilitation and pain relief, including exercise in hydrotherapy pools, whirlpool baths, and swimming pools. These standard techniques are now being combined with treatments such as Watsu (water Shiatsu, a massage while being held in the water).
Clinical benefits aside, westerners are catching onto the secret that the ritual of a long luxurious bath or soak offers a multitude of special pleasures.Instead of racing to the shower to get clean to go out for the night, the shower can be a prelude to an evening soak. Another distinction between Eastern and Western bathing rituals: in the Japanese culture, one would never enter a tub dirty. Their idea is to get clean, then soak the soul. Westerners regretfully soak in their wash water (making us want to get in and out), which fact might explain why we see bathing as a means to an end. But once we adapt to the separateness of the two experiences, washing versus soaking, both seem more enticing. The West may never convert to the ritual of sitting down on a stool to scrub prior to soaking, but we might accept the separation of the two acts.So treat yourself and your loved ones to the time-revered pleasure of a hot tub soak. Your body and your soul won’t regret it!
Roberta Jordan has a Master’s degree in rehabilitation administration from the University of San Francisco. Roberta and Carl Mott own Shoji Spa, a new Japanese style outdoor hot tub day spa in Asheville, which offers contrast therapies including sauna, cold plunge, private hot tubs, and massage therapy. They can be reached at 828-299-0999 or
Lavender Chai Tea Recipe Sun, 08 Jul 2018 14:29:56 +0000

The spice of cloves, ginger, and other spices mixed with the floral notes of lavender make this tea a delight for the senses!

Lavender Chai Tea 


    • 3 1/4 cups water
    • 3 black tea bags or 3 tablespoons loose
    • 1 large or 2 small cinnamon sticks
    • 8 whole cloves
    • 6 peppercorns
    • 1 teaspoon culinary lavender
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger or 1/2 inch piece fresh, sliced (optional)
    • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom or 3 whole pods, lightly crushed (optional)
    • dash of nutmeg
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Bring 3 cups water to a boil, add tea, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, lavender, ginger, cardamom and nutmeg, turn heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn of heat and let cool 10 minutes. Remove tea bags. Add vanilla and maple syrup, give a good stir. Strain out the large ingredients and place in container of choice.In a glass or mug/cup, pour tea concentrate to about 1/3 – 1/2 full, fill remaining with water or milk.

Serve warm or iced.

Store leftover tea in the refrigerator, use within one week.

Makes about 4 – 6 servings.

Recipe courtesy of The Simple Veganista