Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Susie's Spa Blog: Spa Sweep in Paris

Susie's Spa Blog: Spa Sweep in Paris

Spa Girl asks is 8 to 10 glasses of WATER a day enough?

Give me a warm summer day and a pool and I’m in heaven, but water is not just good to dive into, it is also important to drink water to maintain good health. I have not always found this easy, but there are some really good reasons why we need to top up our reserves on a daily bases. My Doctor tells me women are the worst offenders and pretend at times to be camels, so girls listen up and drink more water!

Each water molecule is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen, we all learned this in school right—H2O. In order to maintain good health your body, which consists of about 60 to 70% water needs H2O to regulate body temperature and to provide a means for nutrients to travel throughout your system to all your organs. Like a river of life it also transports oxygen to all your cells and removes waste and toxins from your system while also protecting your joints and organs.

The general rule of thumb is that we should drink 8 to 10 glass of water a day, but if you really want to know how much you should drink, take your body weight (in pounds) divide that number in half, and that gives you the number of ounces you need to consume in a day. A good reason to lose weight or float away! And if you exercise, and you should be, it is important to drink 8 ounces of water for every 20 minutes you are active. Your water intake should also match your alcohol consumption glass for glass. And if you travel as much as I do, the rule of thumb is to drink 8 ounces for every hour you are on board, 8 hour flight across the pond, 8 glasses of water. I also live in a semi arid climate where another two servings is recommended to keep you toped up.

Now that’s a lot of water and it can become tedious, so if you want a change add a bit of lemon or lime for a nice touch of flavour, or try some of the new flavoured waters, but read the label, some of them have far more calories than you want to add to your day. Only 20% of your water needs come from food, the rest you need to drink and water over all other beverages is still the best way to go, you consume less sugar and less calories. I also like herbal teas, just make sure they are not diuretic and juice, but generally I add half juice, half water just to keep my sugar intake to a minimum.

I have been researching water systems for my home and there are a lot of them to consider, and at varying prices. After much research, and some help from a really good friend, who knows her way around a water cooler, I think I have found a system that will work for me. I prefer water from a bottle rather than tap water for a number of reasons, but being “green” conscious a good home water system seems the best way to go. I’ll tell you more about it in another blog, in the meantime drink up!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Spa Girl loves HOT STONES on a cold morning! was really cold when I woke up this morning, left me wishing for a hot stone massage to warm me up. I have had a few hot stone massages and found them to be remarkably comforting and relaxing. Heated to120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit which is about 50°C the flat stones are placed on energy centers of the body in the palms of the hand and between the toes. The massage therapist may also hold the stones and use them to massage into those areas which are tense and tight.

Made of basalt, a type of rock that is rich in iron and magnesium, hot stones retain heat. River rocks are normally used because they have been smoothed over time by the river's current. The stones are immersed in water and heated. The heat warms and relaxes the muscles, which allows the therapist to apply deeper pressure, if desired. Using massage oil which assists the stones to glide over the surface of your skin, the massage therapist works from the toes to the head, repeating the pattern front and back as the moist heat of the stones penetrates the tissues increasing blood flow and circulation.

Rediscovered around 1994 stone therapy is an ancient healing art used by many civilizations. Egyptians used heated stones to assist during childbirth, First Nations peoples have widely incorporated stones in rituals and ceremonies and still use them today in Sweat Lodges and the Japanese have used heated stones for centuries to alleviate pain. Russians have used hot stones in their baths and the Hawaiians used volcanic stones for healing and burial ceremonies.

I love a hot stone massage especially in the winter when it’s cold and miserable outside. The hot stones sooth and comfort and help me to relax, enjoy the massage and forget about the snow storm outside. Let's hope the winter stays away a wee bit longer!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Spa Girl thinks some secrets just need to be SHARED!

Some secrets just need to be shared and this is an ideal bath blend to relax the mind, and make you feel sensual and jubilant. Now I ask you--is this not perfect for a Saturday morning!

Here’s what to do. Pour yourself a warm bath and add 5 drops of ylang-ylang essential oil, 4 drops of neroli, 3 drops bergamot, 2 tablespoons honey and 2 ounces of fresh cream. Then soak until exhilarated.

Oil of neroli is distilled from the flowers of the bitter orange tree. It has a very strong, refreshing, spicy, floral aroma. Neroli is also used in premium natural cosmetic preparations such as massage oils, skin creams and bath oils. Benefits include: calming, soothing, sensual.

Bergamot oil is cold-pressed from the peel of the nearly ripe fruit. The aroma of bergamot oil is fresh, lively, fruity and sweet. Benefits include: uplifting, inspiring, confidence-building.

Ylang ylang oil is distilled from the early morning, fresh-picked flowers of the cananga tree. Ylang ylang has an intense floral, sweet, jasmine-like, almost narcotic aroma. Benefits include: sensual, euphoric.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Spa Girls loves Sumishi but it’s not what you think!

Most people when they first hear the word Sumishi think it’s a fine delicacy in their favourite Japanese restaurant. Nope! It’s the ultimate toning machine heralded as a new kind of face lift called Sumishi Microcurrent Therapy.

For over the past 15 years doctors and physical therapists all over the world have been using microcurrents to heal injured muscles, tendons and other related injuries. Gaining in popularity Sumishi Microcurrent Therapy offers painless, non-invasive face rejuvenation for those looking for an anti-aging procedure.

Sumishi treatments aid in rebuilding the skin from the inside out and help increase circulation to the muscles thus building overall muscle tone. Sumishi uses an extremely small electrical current which pulsates and penetrates the cell wall balancing the electrical potential of the cell, where it stimulates circulation, cellular growth and reproduction, causing the skin cells to function and reproduce at a higher rate. Sumishi enhances muscle tone causing a lifting effect and improves the integrity of the skin producing a refined, firm and less lined appearance. It also improves skin colour. Clayton Shagal products enhance these results as they stimulate the same functions. And your skin will feel like silk after the hour long treatment.

It is recommended to have 12 treatments over a six week period for maximum benefits. These are followed-up with treatments once a month for another year. After only 5 treatments people kept telling me how great I looked--and I could even see the difference--not to mention it is a very relaxing facial.

Sumishi Microcurrent Therapy is used for a number of treatments including the repair of scar tissue, lymphatic drainage, reducing the appearance of stretch marks, scalp treatments, cellulite, and acne.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Spa Girl says get rid of STRESS

I try not to get too stressed out but once in awhile I have a really bad day, and this was one of them. I won’t bore you with all the gruesome details but suffice it to say my stress levels hit an all time high and my date with my masseuse is not for another three days. What to do?

Everyone has a little stress in their lives and for some people a little stress is a good thing, it gets you motivated. However while stress is a mental condition, it also affects you physically wellbeing as the stress hormones in your body build up in your muscles and they begin to clench. And if you are like me when you get stressed you also forget to breath properly.

So after some soul searching and good old fashion research, here are a few suggestions to help get rid of your stress. Try one or several.

Breath and I mean deep breathing where you concentrate on every relaxing breath in while pushing the stressful breath out. Try adding some easy exercises while doing this, like yoga or tai chi, or go for a good walk or to the gym and work out, exercise releases endorphins and they eat up stress faster than anything else.

Make a mental list, or write it down if need be what is stressing you out and eliminate all those things that are not essential. Then you can pin point the root cause of your stress and talk about it with someone you love and trust. It’s amazing what a good conversation can do for your wellbeing.

Book yourself a weekend get-away and find the explorer in you, go to an outdoor market and antique shop, the beach. What ever makes you happy! It’s all about taking some time for you.

Laugh about some silly joke or something stupid you did, it’s amazing what a good laugh and a smile will do for your mood.

Zone out with your favorite music or better yet, turn it up and dance, or forget about your troubles in the pages of a good book or your Amazon Kindle—oh I want one. It’s about re-channeling your mind.

Make sure to eat well and drink plenty of water, junk food won’t help; you need all those healthy anti-oxidants.

Try for 7 hours of non-interrupted sleep, as my mom always said, things look better in the morning and lack of sleep only adds to your stress levels.

As the famous saying goes, ‘just do it’ throw yourself into learning a new skill. You will be surprised at what it does for your overall wellbeing and self esteem and you never know you might just meet some interesting new friends. I started a blog as I love to research and write!

Learn how to meditate and relax your body and your mind, the stress will just melt away. I have this personal philosophy which I try to adhere to; if I eat properly, exercise my mind and body, and mediate, all will be right with my world. And when it’s not right, I will be in better shape to deal with it.

Spa Girl invites you to become a Spa Girl facebook FAN

Friday, September 18, 2009

Spa Girl loves to RELAX with Lavender, Geranium and Sage

Let’s face it, even the best time managers find that there lives can often spiral out of control, we are way to busy and the “to-do” list just keeps growing. It’s so important to relax, rejuvenate, and restore your body, mind and spirit.

Relaxation requires practice and often takes a back seat in a busy day. However learning to relax through yoga, tai chi, listening to music, exercise, meditation, or my favourite, massage offers many wonderful benefits. You can lower your blood pressure, slow your heart rate, increase blood flow to your muscle groups, reduce tension and chronic pain, improve concentration—you get the picture.

Learning to relax basically involves focusing your attention on something that is calming and increase your awareness of your body. And breathe! There are different types of relaxation such as autogenic, progressive muscle and visualization. These simply mean you pay attention to something from within yourself, a place of peace and slow yourself down within this quiet space, or slowly tense and relax muscle groups and build on your awareness of physical sensations from your toes to your neck and head, or visualize a journey to a peaceful, calming place. I always head to the beach and think about the sound of crashing waves, the salty smell of the air and how good the sun feels.

There are many “perfect” moments in life and the next time you find yourself in a “perfect” moment, memorize it and use that as your peaceful, calming place. It works! As you learn to relax you will become more aware of muscle tension, and stress. Once you know what it feels like you can practice a relaxation method the moment you start to feel these symptoms and not have them build up. I know, I know, practice what I preach and remember everything worthwhile takes practice.

I had the perfect lunch on Thursday; I went for a facial, now that’s a nice way to relax.

Here’s a mist you can use to help relax, spray it on before you start your relaxation exercises and see if it helps. It’s easy to make, just add 20 drops each of lavender, geranium and clary sage essential oil into 4 ounces of water and mist away.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Spa Girl loves Floral Waters

Ideal for long trips, especially planes, at work or in overheated rooms to rehydrate and freshen the skin floral waters (distillate waters) are an ideal pick-me-up. You can spray them directly onto the skin with an atomizer, or wipe your face with a floral water drenched cotton pad. They are also good for removing make-up and ideal for toning the skin after cleansing.

The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all used floral waters for healing and aesthetic properties.

Floral waters such as Rose or Neroli can be added to the final rinse in your washing cycle as well as used as a fragrant linen spray for ironing. Before I found a recipe I would buy rather expensive lavender ironing water which leaves a heavenly scent. Around the house, floral waters are ideal to freshen the air instead of using aerosols, and much better for the environment as well.

Here is a simple at home do-it-yourself blend. You will need a dark glass bottle, 4 ounces of distilled water and 30-40 drops of your favourite essential oil. A few of my favourite essential oils to use for floral waters include lavender, rose, geranium, rosemary, neroli, jasmine or chamomile.

Fill the bottle with one half of the distilled water then add your essential oil, cover and agitate well, then add the remaining water and agitate again. Let the mixture sit in a dark cool place for one month and then strain (I use a coffee filter) and it’s ready to use.

There are many really good books which describe the use and description of essential oils as well as a number of websites you can explore. Here is a brief description of those I have mentioned.

Chamomile, German The oil of German chamomile is also known as blue chamomile. The color of the oil is deep blue, turning green then brown with age and exposure to light. It has a sweet, tobacco-like aroma and is fruity and apple-like. Chamomile is a mild soothing oil and is popular in massage blends and other herbal preparations. Its benefits include: calming, relaxing, soothing.

Chamomile, Roman Roman chamomile contains only trace amounts of the intense blue component azulene, which gives German chamomile its color. It blends well with bergamot, jasmine, neroli and clary sage, lending a warm, fresh note when added in small quantities. The aroma is not long-lasting like that of the German chamomile but it is mild, soothing oil. Its benefits include: relaxing, calming.

Geranium (Bourbon) It has a powerful, leafy-rose aroma with fruity, mint undertones. Bourbon oil, from the island of Reunion, is considered the finest grade, and has the best staying power. It is used in skin care products for both its fragrance and its toning, cleansing properties. its benefits include: soothing, mood-lifting, balancing.

Jasmine Absolute Jasmine has a full, rich, honey-like sweetness. Great expense goes into producing pure jasmine oil. The flowers must be hand-picked before dawn when the essence is at its peak, and large quantities are needed to produce small amounts of oil. its benefits include: calming, relaxing, sensual, romantic.

Lavender Lavender oil is the most comonly used of all essential oils. It is used in baths, room sprays, toilet waters, perfumes, colognes, massage oils, sachets, salves, skin lotions and oils. It has a sweet, balsamic, floral aroma which combines well with many oils including citrus, clove, patchouli, rosemary, clary sage and pine. Its benefits include: balancing, soothing, normalizing, calming, relaxing, and healing.

Neroli Oil of neroli is distilled from the flowers of the bitter orange tree. It has a very strong, refreshing, spicy, floral aroma. Neroli is also used in premium natural cosmetic preparations such as massage oils, skin creams and bath oils. It benefits include: calming, soothing, sensual.

Rose Otto Rose oil is one of the oldest and best known of all the essential oils. The fragrance of rose is associated with love. It is warm, intense, immensely rich and rosy. A drop or two in a massage, facial or bath oil is luxurious and soothing. The oil is used in skin creams, powders and lotions. Its benefits include: romantic, supportive, gently uplifting.

Rosemary Rosemary is known as the herb of remembrance. The plant produces an almost colorless essential oil with a strong, fresh, camphor aroma. Rinses for dark hair often contain rosemary, as do room deodorants, household sprays, disinfectants and soaps. Its benefits include: clarifying, invigorating.

Spa Girl had a weekend of Decadent Delights

I spent the most delightful weekend in the heart of British Columbia’s wine country to attend the 90th birthday of one of Canada’s preeminent artists, Daphne Odjig. A truly remarkable woman—we should all live such a rich life and be surrounded by so many loving family and friends.

In addition to a myriad of vineyards the Okanagan has such a bounty of edible treats. I got up Saturday morning and went to the farmers market and there surrounded by the sweetest peaches imaginable, organic carrots and heritage tomatoes was a reflexology practitioner, a crystal healer, chakra balancing and energy healing—now that’s what I call a decadent outdoor market. And it went on for two entire blocks!

Reflexology is a method involving the practice of massaging or applying pressure to parts of the feet, hands and ears. The Reflexology Association of Canada defines reflexology as: A natural healing art based on the principle that there are reflexes in the feet, hands and ears which correspond to every part, gland and organ of the body. Through application of pressure on these reflexes without the use of tools, creams or lotions relieves tension, improves circulation and helps promote the natural function of the related areas of the body.

My mom, an amazing woman in her own right, studied reflexology and my feet enjoyed many hours of her training.

Known as Reflexology or Barefoot paths nearly every village in Taiwan has built special paths of pebbles and every morning at 3 or 4 o'clock, people walk barefoot around the pebble path for a half hour before they go to work. Hundreds, even thousands do this. It has become a way of life.

The Chinese tradition of "stone stepping" has undergone controlled testing at the Oregon Research Institute. Scientists found that older adult participants "experienced significant improvements in mental and physical well-being." These special paths have been built in parks, spas, condominium complexes and country clubs across Asia. In Germany and Austria, one embarks on a hike through nature with bare feet making contact with specially selected surfaces. Ideas of "acupoints" in Asia and "reflexzonmassage" in Germany tie walking to the health of the whole body.

The crystal sage indicates that from as far back as the days of the lost city of Atlantis, through the ancient Mayan and Hebrew civilizations, and including Far Eastern and Native American cultures, crystals and gemstones have been used both in spiritual rituals and as aids to physical healing. Last year I started to make necklaces and recently have incorporated gemstones in my designs, which are not only beautiful but a powerful adornment.

Since I picked up a big juicy basket of peaches I did some research and found that peach juice is a natural astringent and helps to unclog pores and banish blemishes. It's also very emollient and helps to replenish moisture in your skin. When used regularly, in time, it is said to lighten age spots and to plump up skin, reducing the look of fine lines. So for that "peachy" complexion make yourself a peach facial mask at home.

Peel and cube one peach, mix with the juice of one lemon and add a sprig of peppermint. Simmer until the mixture is completely soft then mash into a smooth paste. Cool and when barely warm, gently massage into skin and rinse completely with warm water, gently pat skin dry. Your face will feel like silk!

The joy of diverse spa treatments can happen anywhere, at home—at the market—on a beach or in a park and of course in a purpose-built facility. Spa Girl says it’s good to be unrestrained!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Spa Girl says pay attention to your FEET

I’m so happy it’s almost the weekend, my feet hurt from wearing shoes rather than my comfortable summer sandals. It reminds me of my childhood, I didn’t wear shoes all summer, then the first days back to school my feet would ache after a day in my new saddle shoes, really good shoes, but none the less my feet were not happy campers.

Uncomfortable shoes, and let’s face it, there are lots around, or standing for extended periods of time can be demanding on those tender tootsies because it creates a buildup of lactic acid that cause aches and pains.

I recommend a fabulous footbath which will leave your feet feeling reinvigorated, smooth and ready for bed, or maybe evening dancing!

Here’s what to do: mix together in a bowl ¼ cup of Epson salts, ½ cup Dead Sea salts, 2 ounces of almond oil (or your favourite carrier oil), 8 to 10 drops of grapefruit essential oil, 5 to 7 drops lemon essential oil, 3 to 5 drops each of red mandarin and lime essential oil, 18 to 20 drops of rosemary essential oil and 1 sprig of fresh rosemary leaves, chopped finely.

Soak your feet in a lovely basin of warm water for 10 to 15 minutes then rub mixture onto feet paying special attention to areas where the skin has hardened. Enclose your feet in plastic and then wrap in a towel to maintain the heat. Leave for 15 to 20 minutes then gentle rinse the feet with warm water.

Just reading this make my feet happier…enjoy!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Spa Girl says it’s time for a Bath in a Copper Tub

What a day! The kids are back to school, the fall is settling in and everyone is taking out their blackberries and making appointments, arranging meetings and organizing lunches. It’s all too much for those of us still wondering where the summer went! Its fall, it’s a made house and it’s time to remember to be good to yourself. Remember my motto: relax, rejuvenate, and restore and indulge in an evening salt soak and let all that stress go.

If you are lucky you will be plunging into a magnificent copper tub. Copper has been used for bath tubs for centuries in Europe. Copper and its alloys, brass and bronze are naturally antimicrobial. A recent hospital study in the USA indicates that when hospitals switched to copper (sink fixtures, toilet seats and push plates) the copper had 95% fewer germs on their surfaces. This study promoted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to register copper and its alloys as the first solid materials as antimicrobial.

It is also believed that copper restores movement of the body's joints and connective tissue, an effective anti-inflammatory. As we age, our skin thins, we develop lines, wrinkles and age spots because our body is slower to produce collagen, elastin and glycoaminoglycans. Copper plays an essential role in skin health by helping restore the skin's ability to repair itself. Copper is a powerful collagen and elastin important in the production of glycoaminoglycans. This essential mineral also works as an antioxidant to protect the skin against damaging free radicals. So as you slide into your heavenly evening soak in that elegant copper tub, remember it is also providing you many additional benefits.

Soaking in Epsom or Dead Sea salts has a tranquilizing effect on the body. They are also mildly detoxifying as they induce perspiration to help eliminate toxins. Clary Sage essential oil with its wonderful nutty aroma adds to the calming effect and is considered one of the most powerful sedatives for stress. It blends nicely with Lavender essential oil whose mellow scent helps to relax and is also great for the skin.

Evening Salt Soak

Fill the bath with warm water and pour 1 pound of either Epson or Dead Sea salts into the water. Add 4 to 5 drops of Clary Sage essential oil and 2 to 3 drops of Lavender essential oil and stir the bath to disperse the salts and oil. Always be extremely careful getting into the tub. Then soak to your hearts content 20 to 30 minutes. Make sure to drink lots of water as the salt will dehydrate your body.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Spa Girl says a great big THANK YOU!

I awoke this morning to a big silver bucket left on my doorstep full of heavenly spa goodies from a friend who shares many of my own passions—a welcome gift for my dive into the blogosphere. We are both voracious collectors of almost everything, aesthetics who love life and of course we are Spa Girls! I am always amazed, humbled and so touched with these remarkable gestures of kindness, it will surely make me smile the entire day and then some. I'm heading to the bath, bucket in hand.

...imagination and friendship, what wonderful gifts

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Spa Girl loves her Pedicures but are they fishy?

Pedicures are on my ‘to do list’ to keep my feet healthy and happy. This is really important as I’m not a socks person and love wearing all kinds of sandals and flip flops in the summer. There is nothing better than sinking into the massage chair while the esthetician bathes, chisels, files and paints my toes. Oh yes and massages my feet and lower legs, how heavenly is that!

I have loved having my toes painted since I was a child when my aunt would patiently and lovingly apply all the colours of the rainbow. Now my preference is an elegant French manicure on my toes.

A pedicure involves grooming the toenails, exfoliating dead skin that may have become dry and hard, tending to the cuticles, calluses, moisturizing and polish. The word pedicure comes from the Latin words pedis, which means of the foot, and cura, which means care. Regular pedicures can help prevent nail diseases and nail disorders.

Before booking your pedicure check out the salon and make sure they adhere to proper etiquette in keeping their tools clean.

The newest phenomenon in spa pampering is to dunk your tootsies in a tank of water and let tiny toothless carp known as garra rufa or doctor fish nibble away at the dead and flaking skin. First used in Turkey, they have become popular in some Asian countries and a few spas in North America. Fish pedicures are apparently great for getting rid of calluses. After the fish munch way for 15 to 30 minutes customers get a standard pedicure. If you are naturally ticklish, this may not be the treatment for you!

Well I’m off to the spa for a pedicure!

Spa Girl loves a good Salt Glow & Wrap with a Vichy Shower

Salt glows are one of the most popular spa treatments especially in Thalassotherapy spas, in which the body is rubbed with a mixture of salt and essential oils. The salt scrub helps exfoliate leaving your skin smooth and glowing and is a great way to detox the body. There are a variety of salt glow recipes but the very best are mixtures of Dead Sea salts and essential oils which are massaged into your moistened skin. The friction from massaging the salt into the skin helps to remove impurities. Once the treatment is complete you are wrapped to warm the body and enhance detoxification. After the treatment the esthetician will rinse the salt off your body to remove the salt and any excess impurities. For a complete treat, rinse off using a Vichy shower which is also extremely relaxing. You should avoid having a salt glows if you have any sores, wounds, rashes or sunburn, and definitely do not shave before treatment or the salt will sting.

Thalassotherapy comes from the Greek word thalassa, meaning "sea”. The properties of seawater are believed to have beneficial effects. Thalassotherapy was developed in seaside towns in Brittany, France during the 19th century. Trace elements of magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, and iodide found in seawater are believed to be absorbed through the skin. The therapy is applied in various forms such as showers of warmed seawater, seaweed baths, application of marine mud or algae paste, or the inhalation of sea fog. This type of therapy is common in the Dead Sea area or coastal towns.

It is very easy to do a salt rub at home; here are a few recipes you can whip up yourself.

Lemon Salt Glow: Sea salts bring a healthy glow to dull, dry skin which may benefit as much from the antioxidant properties of lemon as the rich nutrition of almond oil.
• ½ cup sea salt
• ½ cup sweet almond oil
• ½ tsp finely grated lemon zest

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Before showering, swirl ingredients together with fingertips to reintegrate then apply to body in firm scrubbing motion with hand or soft washcloth. Step into the shower and let the power of the water stream rinse off the mixture.

Basic Salt Glow:
• 2 cups fine sea salt
• 4 cups grape seed, apricot or almond oil
• 20-30 drops essential oil of choice

Place salt in a widemouthed jar and cover with grapeseed, apricot, or almond oil. Scent with essential oil. To use, dampen your entire body. Using either your hands or a loofah mit, vigorously but gently massage the salt and oil mixture into the skin. Begin at the feet and work upward in a circular motion. When you have massaged the entire body, rinse with warm water. Finish with a dry-towel rub.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Spa Girl has some favourite Spas to recommend

Over the past 30+ years work and pleasure have taken me to over 364 cities in 15 countries and whenever possible I look for a spa experience to wash away the jet lag, rejuvenate my spirit and ready myself for whatever the day ahead may bring. On a few occasions my day is the Spa. Here are a just a handful of the Spas I have visited and would recommend-in no particular order of preference.

Hotel del Coronado, Coronada, California

Also known as the ‘The Del’ to local residents, Hotel del Coronada is a beachfront luxury hotel in the city of Coronado, just across the San Diego Bay from San Diego, California. It is one of the few surviving examples of an American architectural genre: the wooden Victorian beach resort. It is one of the oldest and largest all-wooden buildings in California and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977.

When it opened in 1888, it was the largest resort hotel in the world and the first to use electrical lighting. It has hosted presidents, royalty, and celebrities throughout the years. The hotel has been featured in numerous movies and books.
This classic beachfront respite has long been heralded as one of America’s most beautiful beach resorts. A pronouncement underscored by its designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1977. Today, The Del offers guests a unique combination of modern luxury touched with the charm and grace of this fairytale castle. When it first opened in 1888, the Hotel del Coronado was considered the premier vacation and health destination, where the sea-swept air was both preservative and restorative.

Although early visitors certainly appreciated the therapeutic effects of saltwater bathing and fresh ocean air, these weren't the seashore's only allure. Victorians were also drawn to the soul-satisfying aesthetics the seascape provided. The Del's unparalleled oceanfront location gave early visitors the chance to enjoy one of nature's most inherently beautiful landscapes: sand, sun and sea.

More than a century later, the timeless Pacific tides and breezes of this San Diego spa resort still have the power to restore the mind, body and spirit. The new state-of-the-art facilities feature 21 massage and treatment rooms, hydrotherapy tubs, a relaxation area for both men and women, steam rooms and California spa treatments. Guests are able to unwind at the Spa's expansive private terrace with a fire pit and vanishing edge pool overlooking the magnificent Windsor Lawn and the Pacific Ocean.

The Spa at The Del was recently named one of the Top 20 Hotel Spas in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine.

Naramata Heritage Inn & Spa, Naramata, British Columbia, Canada

Opening the doors of the Naramata Heritage Inn & Spa, you’ll be swept into a world where time stands still. Nestled in the midst of Okanagan wine country, 19 km north of Penticton, BC, lays the luxurious Naramata Heritage Inn & Spa. Originally built in 1908, the once "Hotel" has been lovingly restored to provide guests an exceptional experience during their visit.

Wrap yourself in the pampering care of the Aveda Concept Heirloom Spa. The Heirloom Spa approach combines pure aromatic products with services that produce results. Your holistic spa experience is enhanced with touch and breathing techniques, selected specifically for you that relax your body & mind and naturally activates the body’s repair & recovery mechanisms. Your spa therapist will design a treatment for you based on the Aveda Elemental Nature philosophy.

Willow Stream Spa, The Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff, Alberta, Canada

A precious moment on top of the world where the purity of oxygen fills the spirit to the very core, intoxicating with its strength. Sweeping vistas of mountains, sculpted by time and ice, rise to embrace a clear blue sky. Rolling green valleys cradle glaciers, rivers and emerald lakes. And the land, with its power to heal, bubbles to the surface.

Reminiscent of the hot springs that beckoned travelers over 100 years ago, the pulsating waterfalls and the mineral pool in the heart of the spa rejuvenate tired muscles and soothe troubled spirits. The intensity of oxygen inspires clarity of thought and renews strength of purpose.

Willow Stream brings to life the unique healing powers of the alpine air, the sacred waters and mountain magic. Drawing energy from the mountains, the quiet sanctuary helps balance the rhythms of your body to reawaken your senses. It's nature at peak performance.

InterContinental Seoul, South Korea

With excellent access to the COEX Convention and Exhibition Center and the Korean World Trade Center, InterContinental Seoul is an ideal destination for business customers. Travelers have easy access and leisure time options such as Bongeunsa Temple, Gyeongbokgung Palace and the National Folk Museum of Korea only a short distances away.

The Cosmopolitan Fitness Club offers weight training equipment, aerobic classes, an indoor pool, outdoor whirlpool, sauna, a relaxation area with large screen video screen and golf practice room. The health club offers a variety of spa services and has a great spa tub, sauna, and a steam room with adjacent bathing area with both warm and cold pools. Guests have access to the adjacent Grand InterContinental with additional spa facilities.

Casanova Wellness Centre at the Hotel Cipriani & Palazzo Vendramin
Giudecca 10, Venice, Italy

Venice’s most famous hotel is neither a landmark palace, nor several hundred years old, and it stands not in the city proper, but across the lagoon on Giudecca Island. Nonetheless, the Hotel Cipriani is as synonymous with Venice as the Piazza San Marco. We suppose it has to do with the founder Giuseppe Cipriani, whose 1931 Harry’s Bar sated Hemingway’s legendary thirst, as well as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, Noel Coward’s and Gertrude Stein’s.

The Palazzo Vendramin, formerly a 15th-century aristocratic residence, now forms a part of the Hotel Cipriani, and consists of seven luxury suites and three double bedrooms with private butler service, and of course the incredible views of St. Mark’s Square from over the lagoon. However, other than the addition of the Palazzo, not much has changed since the Cipriani opened in 1958. There’s Walter, the barman, a permanent fixture who makes the best Bellinis in town (invented by Cipriani, by the way).

The romantic Casanova Wellness Centre is named after the legendary lover who once held clandestine trysts in the fragrant and colourful gardens of the Hotel Cipriani. Imagine a welcoming, relaxing and rejuvenating atmosphere especially designed for your well-being and skin care by Maria Galland and Aromatherapy Associates.

Specifically devoted to Couple Massage, there is a brand new cabin for those wishing to share a massage together with a partner, best friend, mom, or daughter. You can choose between a side by side spa pedicure or a special ritual which includes a bath with essential oils and a foot bath. One of the treatment rooms is equipped with Dolby surround system and aquatic coloured fiber optics on the ceiling.

The Westin Resort & Spa, Los Cabos, Mexico

Healing properties of the desert meet the cleansing nature of the sea at The Spa, where guests may sample any one of our varied therapeutic treatments designed to relax the mind, lighten the heart and soothe the body.

A member of the prestigious Starwood Spa Collection, The Westin Resort & Spa Los Cabos, promises a divine retreat from the outside world. Whether you seek quiet repose on an overstuffed settee, a skin-rejuvenating Heavenly Body Wrap or an endorphin-rich workout, The Spa is your destination. Opt for cutting-edge spa treatments or time-tested traditional therapies, but do take time to care for yourself.

Culloden Estate and Spa, Holywood, Co Down, Northern Ireland

Built for a Bishop.....Fit for a King

The Hotel Culloden is a stunning five star hotel and stands on the wooded slopes of the Holywood Hills, overlooking Belfast Lough. It is only 7 km from the city center of Belfast and a ten minute drive from the Belfast International Airport. This beautiful hotel is a member of the exclusive Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
Originally built as an official palace for the Bishops of Down, the Culloden stands in 12 acres of beautiful secluded gardens and woodland. Palatial surroundings, fine antiques and the highest levels of personal service combine to give the Culloden a unique air of sophistication.

The exclusive Spa offers a full range of health and leisure facilities and a full range of ESPA spa therapies and is one of Northern Ireland’s premier Health Clubs, and is a place where you can achieve inner peace and outer perfection.
With its fitness suite, heat and water experiences and modern treatments, it’s a place where you can improve the body, and indulge the senses.

Ten Spa, Fort Garry Hotel, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

A luxury health spa encompassing the entire tenth floor of the prestigious Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Ten Spa offers a full complement of therapeutic and rejuvenating facial and body care treatments. Spa visitors are treated and pampered in elegant surroundings beginning at reception, where you are given Italian spa slippers, and a plush Turkish robe.

All treatments have been developed from years of research at several of the world’s foremost spas, as well as at hard-to-find ethnic parlors. Please explore our treatment options customized from folk, scientific and old-school European traditions, then come to Ten Spa and escape for an hour, two hours or the whole day.

Ten Spa’s luxurious men's and women's change rooms feature state-of-the-art steam rooms from a leading German manufacturer, complete with aroma and light therapy. Experiential showers provide cold fog and tropical mist sprays. French L'Occitane body care products, hair dryers and the appropriate sundries are available for your use.

The Hamam at 10 Spa is a modern reinterpretation of this ancient hot air bathing ritual. The facility is co-ed and can be enjoyed either as a party room or booked individually. The Hamam is maintained at temperatures between 45 and 50 degrees with mild ambient steam. Ten Spa offers a selection of hamam treatments that will leave your skin scrubbed clean and rejuvenated. As in ancient times, regular visits to the hamam will not only cleanse your skin but will detoxify your body, strengthen your immune system and deliver a healthy feeling of well-being.

The Magnolia Hotel & Spa, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

The Magnolia Spa is conveniently located near Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Stroll to a magnificent waterfront and discover boutiques, restaurants, attractions and galleries. Everywhere you look in this hotel is an unexpected touch. Fresh flowers and fruit in the lobby, Aveda products in your bathroom, gourmet coffee, tea and bottled water in your room. Complimentary Continental Breakfast each morning.

The new Spa Magnolia is now open. Nearly doubled in size, boasting an elegant street entrance, seven treatment rooms, and a spacious lounge. Guests discover an oasis of tranquility upon entering the spa, leaving behind the stress of deadlines and hectic schedules. The power of touch is the cornerstone of Aveda spa philosophy. Synergy between ancient wisdoms with modern science creates an integrated path toward health and well being. Every treatment is customized to each person’s specific needs recognizing the body’s instinct to choose aromas required to restore balance within the body.

Spa Girl wants to know what you are reading

Magazines for Spas, Travel & Healthy Living

A selection of magazines that will help you find the best spas, plan your spa vacation, and lead a healthy lifestyle.

Allure Spa: How good is Allure Spa, a magazine devoted to spas and spa therapies by media giant Conde Nast? It had both triumphs and blunders on its first time out.

Luxury Spa Finder Magazine Luxury SpaFinder: A luxury lifestyle magazine covering travel, home design, fashion, beauty, and treatments and medical spas.

Spa, Facial Skin Care: Over 10,000 SPA treatment products and amazing facial packages.

Spa Magazine: Devoted exclusively to spas and the spa experience at home. Covers healthy living, travel and renewal.

Body and Soul: Consumer magazine on healthy, balanced living.

Healing Lifestyles & Spas Magazine: Covers health issues, yoga, spa travel, and products.

Yoga Journal: Devoted to improving your life and yoga practice.

Natural Home: Bi-monthly on home design, earth friendly decor and the latest "green" products and services.

Organic Style: Lifestyle magazine for people who want organic food, home, and beauty products.

Condé Nast Traveler: The Gold List, the Golf Poll, Travel Features plus the Essential Guide to Destinations Worldwide

Spa World: Provides a fascinating insight into traditional and alternative therapies, nutritional advice, as well as a comprehensive directory of the best spas in the UK and rest of the world.

SpaFinder: Offers a comprehensive listing of spas including day spas, vacation spas, medical spas, and spa treatments.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Spa Girl asks what are your reasons to go to the SPA

After a hard day at work, nothing beats the spa...

1. "For the relaxation and well being. It is really good for your health and keeps you away from the doctor, along with feeling wonderful. You can close the door for an hour and forget about everything and de-stress."
- Lynn Buss-Kem, owner of Renaissance Day Spa, Peoria

2. "A spa is very healthy. People need that right now."
- Stacey Sanders, co-owner of Jenerations Salon and Spa, Peoria

3. "Most women consider it a luxury. It really is a necessity for facials and treatments like that. Everyone is doing the anti-aging treatments. Women are starting younger and younger to take care of their skin, then they won't need to go to the needle (Botox)."
- Lisa Abraham, owner of L.A. Styles, Salon and Day Spa, Peoria

4. "In these economic times, you still need to take an opportunity to treat yourself."
- Carrie Moore, owner of Identity Salon & Day Spa, Peoria Heights

5. "We all should take time for ourselves like we deserve (without cell phones). Spas help with self image and confidence, aging skin, stress relief, migraines, improves circulation, sleep and overall health."
- Britnie Dugger, owner of Artistic Touch Salon Spa, Bartonville

6. "When someone comes in here, it is all about them. If they want to talk about their cat that ran away, we are not just making them look good, they have my undivided attention. ... We make it individualized and make them feel good."
- Jill Andrews, medical aesthetician, Skin Dimensions Day Spa, Peoria

7. "Go to pamper yourself. From time to time, you just have to take care of you. At a spa, everything is about you: making you feel good, making you look good, and letting you get away from the world for a while are what spas are all about."
- Cassi Crum, Day Spa Manager, of Day One Laser Solutions & Day Spa, Dunlap

8. For an hour or a day it's your moment. You can shut off the rest of the world and be in your own little world here."
- Paola Hinton, owner Five Senses Spa & Salon, Peoria

9. "The client can experience a rejuvenation of the body and mind in a way he/she could not get elsewhere in a rather short period of time. It's like a mini-vacation, after which the client will go back to her normal life a healthier and less stressed person ... mom, wife, employee, etc."
- Karen Walters, manager of Natural Concepts Salon and Day Spa, Peoria

10. "A common myth is that spas are just for wealthy women. They are for everyone, not just the wealthy. Everyone benefits from it. We've found that no matter the economy or situation, we still want to feel good about ourselves."
- Kelly Grosenbach, spa director, Skin Dimensions Day Spa, Peoria


I went for a facial treatment today and my skin feels like silk. The facial was an hour long and so relaxing I feel asleep. The esthetician used Clayton-Shagal products.

Clayton-Shagal is a brand of skin treatments that emphasize the key ingredient collagen, which is stated to be 99% pure in these products. Other primary components are Elastin, Hydrocomplex, Proteoglycans, Cytokines, Placenta and Hynoderm. Clayton-Shagal skin care products endeavor to restore collagen levels, prevent wrinkles, battle fine lines, improve firmness and assist with the aging process.

Clayton Shagal products are unique because they effectively penetrate the natural protective barriers of the epidermis and let the implanted collagen fibrils work deep into the connective tissues.

For the last twenty years with its facilities in Europe, North America and Asia, Clayton Shagal has been renowned for its outstanding skin care line of products.

Gel Lotion Cleanser: a one-step, non-perfumed cleanser, suitable for all skin types, so complete and non-irritating that it is recommended by medical and aesthetics professionals.

Once the skin surface is properly cleansed and ready to absorb precious nutrients, we are now ready to attack the most critical aging offender: the loss of in-depth moisturizers.

Collagen Gel: plays a key role in effectively hydrating the dermis (Second layer of skin). Collagen is the skin’s principal moisturizer. Over time and with age, the skin loses its strength and therefore the collagen fibres weaken. Skin tissues are no longer well fed, will gradually thin and dry out therefore unable to continuously hydrate the skin.

Collagen accounts for up to 90% of the connective tissues, or the dermis. It fortifies the skin's foundation and improves the suppleness of the skin. Collagen gel should be applied in the evening and used before any creams.

Elastin Gel: a natural complement to collagen that influences the elasticity and firming of the skin. It also plays a crucial role in skin hydration. Clayton’s Collagen and Elastin are in the form of gels and extracts that favours a deep penetration. Elastin gel should be applied in the morning and used before any creams. Clayton Shagal’s Elastin and Collagen work synergistically with each other.

Creams: Moisturizing, Hynoderm, Placyderm and Hynopiderm
Surface lubrication is the last crucial operation of skin care management. Clayton Shagal’s light and creamy surface moisturizers are brimming with emollients and precious nutrients which are designed to parallel the normal moisturizing factors of the skin and give it that baby softness.

After one to six months use of Clayton Shagal skin care products, here are some noted results and benefits:
• Improves moisture retention
• Reduces fine lines and wrinkles noticeably
• Improves elasticity and softens skin texture
• Tightens pores & improves toning
• Gives a brighter complexion
• Enhances skin protection
• Promotes healing and scarring

You can find more information about Clayton Shagal’s products by visiting the website at

Spa Girl loves History

Modern spas have their roots in ancient towns famed for the healing powers of their mineral waters and hot springs. Travelers would come to "take the waters" and restore their health. The practice of bathing in hot springs and mineral waters dates at least to the Babylonians and Greeks, and knowing people, probably much sooner!

In the 19th century, Europe's great spas were destinations for the wealthy, who went there to "take the waters." Water treatments are still considered the heart of the spa experience in Europe. Today massages and facials are by far the most popular spa treatments in America.

Today’s spa is an interesting combination of ancient traditions and modern mechanical wonders. However, the heart of the modern spa, just as the ancient spa, is water and the rituals that evolve around it. The rule of thumb for the typical spa ritual is cleaning, heating, treatment, and rest. The first step, cleaning, should be a visit to the shower to purify the body. The second step is to heat the body. Many spas offer heated whirlpools, saunas, and steam rooms. A short visit to each or any combination can heat the body (caution: this step should be eliminated for people with certain medical conditions). The third step is the treatment such as a body scrub and massage. The last and equally important step is rest. Today’s ritual is very similar to the spa ritual used at the Roman thermae.

Today’s spa is a center for healing and nourishing mind, body, and spirit. People go to spas for fitness, stress management, peace of mind, pampering and pleasure, and health and wellness. Spas offer a wide variety of techniques and services - traditional and modern, from the East and from the West - to meet the diverse needs of their clients: Swedish, Japanese Shiatsu, and Thai massage, European facials, acupuncture, Dead Sea salt scrubs, Moor mud wraps, thalassotherapy, aromatherapy, reflexology, microdermabrasion, endermologie, reiki, aura imaging, watsu, rasul, hypnotherapy, classes in nutrition, meditation, journaling, yoga and Tai Chi, state-of-the-art fitness centers with personal trainers, and much more.