Monday, February 9, 2015

Spa Girl explores the benefits of Flotation

I had the good fortune to visit the newly opened Metta³ Rest Spa in Vancouver and float in one of their deluxe floatation pods.

Metta³ Rest Spa, Vancouver

Flotation lets you disconnect from your busy life-style and often overstimulated régime by rebooting your human bio-computer freeing yourself from having to process light, sound, gravity, or moderate your skin temperature all by floating.
Floatation is known by a number of names: flotation tank, sensory deprivation tank, float tankJohn C. Lilly tank, REST tank, sensory attenuation tank.  However they are described, flotation consists of a lightless, soundproof tank filled with skin temperature salt water.  At Metta Rest Spa they prefer to think of flotation as sensory freedom, providing their spa guests the opportunity to rest and be free from the stress of constant overstimulation.

First known use of flotation dates back to ancient times. However it was more fully developed in 1954 to test the effects of sensory deprivation by John C. Lilly, a medical practitioner and neuro-psychiatrist during his training in psychoanalysis at the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). T0day floatation tanks are also used for meditation, relaxation, in alternative medicine and t0 study the origin of consciousness and its relation to the brain.
Peter Suedfeld and Roderick Borrie of the University of British Columbia began investigating the benefits of flotation in the late 1970s. They named their technique "Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy" (REST).
Additionally flotation therapy has been academically studied in the USA and in Sweden with published results showing reduction of both pain and stress. The relaxed state also includes lowered blood pressure and maximum blood flow.
Floating can be passive or active, depending on the intended outcome. For relaxation (passive) one simply floats and clears the mind. Active floating incorporates many different techniques.
Research indicates that one may perform  meditationmantrasand self-hypnosis, or utilize educational programs, etc. Active floating is when the body is relaxed and the mind becomes highly suggestible. Any action taken during these states will enter the information into the sub-conscious. Flotation therapy may also be used to complement other body work and healing methodologies.
The Library at Metta³ Rest Spa 
Similar to meditation it is common at the beginning of flotation to experience itching, while the later part of a float transitions from beta or alpha brainwaves to theta which is similar to before sleep and again when waking from sleep.  Theta state enhances creativity and problem solving.
During my very first float in the 1980’s while in theta state I could put a problem to myself and like a movie watch how it could be resolved. It was a very stimulating session where all my creative energy was released.
Many flotation spas were closed in the late 80’s and 90’s mainly for health and safety reasons and it became less fashionable for Spa goers.  Thankfully flotation it is returning with new highly regulated standards, exquisitely designed flotation tanks and a renewed interest in the benefits flotation offers in our all too busy lifestyles.
What they have to say...
Metta³ Rest Spa is a luxury boutique spa offering state of the art relaxation treatments.
Within our doors you will find; a far-infrared sauna, ladies and gentleman’s changing areas, a cozy library, boutique yoga sanctuary and (our favorite) seven Flotation Rest Therapy pods.

Our vision for the optimal spa experience utilizes the ultimate relaxation therapy. We believe that proper rest is essential to personal growth and healing. In our efforts to create a loving, kind and safe haven, we truly hope that each and every guest can let go and reconnect inwards.
Our motto has always been “Team work makes the dream work”, therefore it is our desire that all guests find themselves feeling as though they are a part of our metta³ community.
Want to know more...
Metta³ Rest Spa
Peter E Seudfeld - History of Float Tanks - Float Conference 2012 (video)
The Float Pod: Intro to Floating (video)
Float Nation (Full Movie) | HD (video)


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A wonderful new photo for Spa Girls Header

Sun (check) Sand (check) Sea (check) Sunscreen and Hat (check/check)
 After a long hiatus Spa Girl is ready to post again--even on Spa Girl's own blog it's hard to follow David Suzuki (LOL).  
I hope many of you have been keeping in touch with Spa Girl on Facebook-where I post each week-well worth "liking" this page.
Kicking off Spa Girl's return is a brand new image for my header.  A wonderful photo of my stunning sister-in-law on a beach in Spain.  Pauline is the ultimate Spa Girl and definitely identifies with Spa Girl's motto--relax, rejuvenate and restore.
During my hiatus I have been dealing with post leukemia issues and while still working full time as the Executive Director of the Kamloops Art Gallery I have been much to busy.
However as a faithful Spa Girl I have tried to live my words, eating well, rejuvenating with visits to many great spas in Vancouver and the Island and here at home in Kamloops. 
I enjoyed a wonderful exotic spa experience at the Grotto Spa in Parksville on Vancouver Island which is designed to emulate a natural stone grotto.  A 2,500 square foot warm water pool infused with natural minerals and trace elements which help to detoxify the body. They offer a number of modalities and some delectable edibles.
Spent a magical afternoon at the Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa in their Pacific Mist Hydropath which offers the benefits of hydrotherapy including re-mineralization, detoxification, relaxation and a setting that evokes Vancouver Island's natural seaside elements.  
I took my 80 year old God Mother (going on 60) to have her very first facial, which was a joy and my husband who is such a good sport. Alan joined me in the Pacific Mist Hydropath with its many different water treatment rooms.
Found a delightful spa in Kamloops who has one of the best practitioner I have used for pedicures for my very delicate feet. Son Mai Spa is small and well appointed and this husband and wife team have a great love story to share.
And of course I continued to work with two amazing massage therapists one RMT who comes to my home and tries to keep all those knots in check, and the other a relaxation therapists who has magical hands and can read my body and its many needs. 

I have also just booked a floatation at the Metta³ Rest Spa in Vancouver. I have not done a floatation in years and thoroughly enjoyed the homeostatic experience at the time. 
There is a whole new world of floatation tanks out there and I am excited to try them out. 
Many facilities in the 1980's were closed because of problems with hygiene, these new "pods" are remarkable and deal with this critical concern, especially for those, like me with vulnerable immune systems.
It is very nice to be posting again and look forward to sharing my thoughts on some additional spa treatments I have enjoyed, a number of products I have tried out and love and of course some amazing spa cuisine.
Keep well and if you would like to get in touch you can email Spa Girl at
For more information:

Son Mai Spa, Kamloops
Grotto Spa
Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa 
Metta³ Rest Spa
About Floatation
8 Vancouver Spa Treatments to make you MELT

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Spa Girl is Speechless!

I always write my own posts for Spa Girl, but this one is so important I am including it as it was written and posted on the David Suzuki Foundation website.  

Listen up Spa Girls and pay attention to the toxic ingredients that may be included in your cosmetics!  More detailed info at

What comes to mind when you think of pollution? Probably not your shampoo, soap or hand lotion. But some of the chemicals found in personal care products aren't that pretty. U.S. researchers identified 10,500 industrial chemicals used as cosmetic ingredients, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxics, endocrine disruptors, plasticizers, degreasers and surfactants.
In the spring of 2010, the David Suzuki Foundation invited Canadians to pull back the shower curtain and participate in an online survey about toxic ingredients in cosmetics. We asked participants to check ingredient lists for 12 sets of chemicals — a Dirty Dozen ingredients linked to health and environmental concerns, including cancer, reproductive disorders, asthma and severe allergies.

The report What's inside? That counts: A survey of toxic ingredients in our cosmetics summarizes key findings from the survey, highlights weaknesses in Canada's legal framework governing toxic chemicals in cosmetics, and outlines recommendations for strengthening laws and regulations to better protect human health and the environment.
More than 6,200 individuals participated in our survey, providing information for more than 12,500 personal care products. The results are disturbing.
The Dirty Dozen 
1.     BHA and BHT: Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
2.     Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as "CI" followed by five digits. P-phenylenediamine is used in some hair dyes; other colours are used in a variety of cosmetics. Potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain.
3.     DEA-related ingredients: Used in some creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos. Can react to form nitrosamines, which may cause cancer. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
4.     Dibutyl phthalate: Used as a plasticizer in some nail care products. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
5.     Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives: Used in a variety of cosmetics. Slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer.
6.     Paraben, methylparaben, butylparaben and propylparaben: Used in a variety of cosmetics as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disrupters and may interfere with male reproductive functions.
7.     Parfum: Any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics. Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. Some harmful to fish and other wildlife.
8.     PEGs (e.g., PEG -60): Used in some cosmetic cream bases. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer.
9.     Petrolatum: Used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers. Can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer.
10.  Siloxanes: Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
11.  Sodium laureth sulfate: Used in some foaming cosmetics, such as shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer.
12.  Triclosan: Used in some antibacterial cosmetics, such as toothpastes, cleansers and deodorants. Suspected endocrine disrupter and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. 

More detailed info at

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Spa Girl says “A houana ka ka” -- thank you very much!

There are some days I look at my "stash" and laugh. I could open my own skin and body care store from all the goodies I have either purchased or been given. 

Many of my friends know I author Spa Girl, so I often receive little goodie bags in the mail full of great products they have discovered on their travels to all kinds of exotic places.  I am also a great one to pick up this and that to try, especially if it is organic, made from the sea, or all natural ingredients.

Always on the outlook for fabulous skin care products and anything to help my very dry hands, I recently purchased a tube of hand cream and it has quickly become my number one favourite.  It's call Out of Africa Hand Cream and is made with 20% unrefined organic Shea butter. And I'm a big fan of Shea Butter, using it in many of my own home made products.

Out of Africa's Hand Cream goes a long way and leaves my hands smooth and silky.  It is 100% natural with no parabens, it is eco-friendly and cruelty free, in other words, it ticks all the right boxes for me!

The company also has an interesting story...

Victor Lulla, a native New Yorker living in Los Angeles, has long nurtured interests in healthy lifestyles, the environment and social responsibility. After briefly considering an early retirement after the sale of his electronics firm in 2002, he instead created California Inside & Out, a manufacturing and distribution company that developed and marketed natural skin and body care products, based in Venice, CA. 
Gilles Adamon, owner of Natura Sarl, headquartered in Benin, West Africa, attended the 2005 Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA hoping to find a distributor for his shea butter cosmetic products. As luck would have it, Victor was at the Expo looking for an interesting opportunity to help expand his product line. 
The two men found that they shared not only an interest in natural products, but in social responsibility as well. A friendship ensued and Out of Africa was founded later that year as an exclusive joint venture.
The founders agreed that Lulla would purchase state of the art production equipment and raw materials, while Adamon’s team, in collaboration with a West African women’s cooperative, would supply locally-source pure unrefined shea butter. The company-owned factory in Benin now produces 200,000 bars of soap a month, along with an expanding array of other shea butter products. The products are shipped to California Inside & Out for distribution under the trademarked brand Out of Africa. 
Out of Africa’s shea butter products nourish the skin with 100% pure unrefined shea butter direct from Benin, West Africa. A natural moisturizer and emollient, shea butter contains antioxidant vitamins A, E and F and beneficial fatty acids that leave skin feeling restored and refreshed. 
The Out of Africa line includes organic shea butter bar soaps, hand and body washes, body butters, lip balms, lotions, body oils and pure unrefined shea butter tins. The natural scents used in our shea butter products are also available in the Out of Africa line of aroma fragrance reed diffusers. 
Producing premium quality skincare products is only half of our story. Lulla and Adamon’s partnership supports several women’s cooperatives and helps to create jobs in democratic Benin, West Africa. Out of Africa shea butter skincare also sponsors a groundbreaking project in Benin called SCHOOL CHILDREN UNITE. A portion of all sales is being donated to this global leadership initiative.
Thank You! Your purchase helps to support education and local enterprise in Benin, West Africa. “A houana ka ka” *, thank you very much.
Shea butter is an all-natural product. It is a creamy-colored fatty substance made from the nuts of karite nut trees (Butyrospermum parkii or "butter seed") that grow wild in the savannah regions of West and East Africa.

The real key to keeping your skin healthy, glowing and youthful is generous and consistent hydration.   And no ingredient is better at lavishing every skin type with pure and natural hydration than the 100% organic, unrefined shea butter found in every Out of Africa product. 

Check out their website...

Monday, May 27, 2013

Spa Girl spotted at Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa

It was one of those weekends we just didn't want to end, so on route home from Vancouver my husband and I decided to take a detour to Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa.

The drive off the main highway into Harrison was stunning, cutting through mountains, crossing rivers overflowing with the spring run-off and landing at the resort which sits at the foot of the majestic lake Harrison.

In and around Harrison, a small quaint town, there is a lot to do if you like hiking, biking, water sports of all kinds, from a lazy cruise or jet boating on the Lake, to bird watching--autumn is famous for its influx of migrating bald eagles.  And I heard from another guest, one of the best gelato parlors outside of Italy along the board walk. 

The resort itself includes over 300 rooms, both newly developed in and around those from the original stately building with wide corridors and tall ceilings.  We stayed in the old section and the room was barely big enough to 'swing a cat', as my mom would have said.

However the real charm is the location, in addition to the lake view, the grounds are magnificent and include five different hot-spring-fed mineral pools, each at a different temperature and located both indoors and out.  We were there on a long weekend so the place was fully booked, we got one of the last three room available.

The resort was hopping with families, lots of kids running about and those out for a good time.  Not something I would recommend if you are looking for a quiet get-away.  

The medicinal properties and rejuvenating effects of the hot pools, used originally by the Coast Salish First Peoples has been attracting visitors for years.  Included amoung its guests, Clark Gable, John Wayne, Michale Buble, Robin Williams and Liam Neeson.  Gable was a big fan of British Columbia, also honey mooning at a remote fishing camp near Kamloops which still operates.  I spent a few days there with friends, it was rustic and heavenly right down to the ice boxes, still chilled by chunks of ice cut in the winter and stored for use during the summer months.

The Spa at Harrison Hot Spring Resort is nicely laid out, not a big space overall, however the treatment rooms are spacious and well appointed and the spa offers a variety of typical spa treatments: relaxation, shiatsu or reflexology massages; facials; manicures; and pedicures.  The one outstanding exception is their private healing mineral hot springs pool free from all the chlorine required in the public pools. 

The Spa offers everything from their five hour Grand Indulgence package priced at $465 to a 25 minute relaxing massage priced at $70.  Because it was fully booked, I took the last spot of the day, a 25 minute deep tissue (back only) massage, priced at $75.

Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa has it's charms, however I did find it a bit pricey, for the one night (in the old section) with an evening snack, breakfast and one spa treatment, we spent just under $400.

The Spa

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spa Girl is a big fan of sea-based products

I had the good kismet while in Vancouver last week to run into a lovely Canadian from Palestine who recently established a business selling SEACRET™ Minerals from the Dead Sea.  I have tried these products on several different occasions and loved them, so it is apt to be able to write a post for my Spa Girl Blog supporting another great sea-based product and a new business entrepreneur. 

The Dead Sea lies below sea level and because of this has unique climatic condition.  This micro-climate makes areas of Dead Sea the largest natural spa in the world and that definitely works for me!

The Dead Sea has been well-known since the late nineteenth century,  its waters, the saltiest in the world and the historic and cultural sites and the surrounding wild landscape make it one of the most beautiful places on the globe.

For those seeking healing waters, the Dead Sea is one of the best natural healing sites in the world for various illnesses. In recent decades treatment centers have been developed which utilize the comprehensive medical know-how accumulated to the area's natural healing qualities. A large part of the Dead Sea salts and minerals penetrate the skin and this makes the Dead Sea the only area in the world in which the natural healing modality of climatotherapy is applied for treatment of various diseases.

One of my favourite products in this abundant product line is  SEACRET™'s Salt & Oil Scrub.   Enriched with Dead Sea Minerals, the Salt Scrub gently exfoliates the skin thus stimulating cell renewal. SEACRET™'s Dead Sea Salt has a unique blend of refreshing natural oils that moisturize your skin for a healthy, rejuvenated glow. I use this product almost daily on my hands, which are extraordinarily dry, and use it in the shower a few times a week to exfoliate my entire body.  The dual action of exfoliating mixed with the wonderful natural oils leaves my skin soft and silky smooth.

What they have to say...

Discover the unique, beautifying benefits of the Dead Sea with SEACRET
Let the honest, pure and potent power of the Dead Sea bring out your natural beauty. SEACRET’s collection of skincare and spa products are extracted from the ancient, and some say mystical, muds, salts and minerals found only in one place on earth, the Dead Sea.  In a cosmetic world that often relies on half-truths and hype, and temporary solutions we believe everything we do must embody and reflect the same purity that originates from the Dead Sea, not only in our products, but also in our ongoing relationship with our customers. 

SEACRET products are manufactured in Israel with supreme care, using the latest technology and best chemists. We offer our products with the promise that they will enhance your own unique beauty.
Learn first of the Dead Sea. Then learn of our high-quality skin care products. Try them. We believe you will quickly see and value their restorative effects.
  •  We promise never to compromise the quality of our product line.
  • We promise to serve you with exceptional Customer Service. 
  • We promise to conduct business with honesty and integrity.

Visit their website to learn more...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Spa Girl gives a shout out for National Heart Health month

February is all about hearts.  Cupid's delightful Valentine's Day, where I hope you headed to the spa for a chocolate facial or fabulous couples massage; and February is also National Heart Health month,

Together, heart disease and stroke remain the principal causes of adult deaths and unhealthy behaviours places everyone at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, hypertension and strokes. A shocking four out of five Canadians over the age of 20 have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke--and that is four to many!

If you haven't already done so, it is definitely time to change our habits in order to live longer, happier and healthier!  And while it seems simple enough, it is hard to break old patterns, but do it for your heart!  So, get active, eat healthy, preferably organic balanced meals because a healthy diet equals a healthy heart, if you smoke, STOP, keep your blood pressure in check, maintain a healthy weight for your age and build, reduce stress, meditate, and limit how much alcohol you drink.
Moderation, moderation, moderation!

The Mayo Clinic, some of the most respected health professionals suggest eight steps in taking care of your heart. 

1. Control your portion size--How much you eat is just as important as what you eat.
2. Eat more vegetables and fruits--Vegetables and fruits are good sources of vitamins and minerals. Vegetables and fruits are also low in calories and rich in dietary fibre.
3. Select whole grains--Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health. 
4. Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol--Limiting how much saturated and trans fats you eat is an important step to reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease. 
5. Choose low-fat protein sources--Lean meat, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, and egg whites or egg substitutes are some of your best sources of protein.
6. Reduce the sodium in your food--Eating a lot of sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease 
7. Plan ahead: Create daily menus--Create daily menus using the six strategies listed above. When selecting foods for each meal and snack, emphasize vegetables, fruits and whole grains. 
8. Allow yourself an occasional treat--Allow yourself an indulgence every now and then. 
The link below from the Mayo Clinic staff provides  important details surrounded these eight points, and offers suggestions on what to eat, the best oils to use and many other worth-while initiatives to maintain your heart health.

Enjoy February, spring is just around the corner and remember to remind yourself everyday that good health and beauty are no accident--you need to be diligent, because as the old adage goes... If you haven't got your health, then you haven't got anything.
The good news, generally you can turn the ship around by following these great suggestions on heart health.

Although you might know that eating certain foods can increase your heart disease risk, it's often tough to change your eating habits. Whether you have years of unhealthy eating under your belt or you simply want to fine-tune your diet, here are eight heart-healthy diet tips. Once you know which foods to eat more of and which foods to limit, you'll be on your way toward a heart-healthy diet.

Public Health Agency of Canada

Heart Healthy Lesson Plans provide elementary teachers with a resource which promotes participation in physical activity. Each plan is tailored for a specific grade, from kindergarten to grade eight, with suitable lessons and activities for kids of all ages.