Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Spa Girl jumps into a home made Seaweed Bath

Another bath blog—what can I say!

Not only a great way to unwind after a busy day but a nice hot bath is so good for your skin as the waters gently soften, revitalize and cleanse. From cupboard to face, your kitchen is a great source of natural ingredients to soften (yogurt), soothe (oatmeal & cucumber), and invigorate (citrus) to name but a few.

It was in Ireland that I first discovered seaweed baths, now they have become very popular and can be found in spas all around the globe. To my delight one of the baths I visited had take-away seaweed for home use.

It is important when having any type of hot bath to drink lots of water and best to jump in when you have an empty stomach. Seaweed baths are widely-known for there therapeutic value as the seaweed is rich in minerals—calcium, potassium, iodine, iron, magnesium, vitamin A & K.

I now buy seaweed at the health food store and add about 3 to 5 ounces to a very hot bath and let it steep until the water has cooled enough to jump in. Depending on the type of seaweed you buy (kelp, dulse, nori or a combination) you might want to put it into a mesh bag (you can also use old stockings) as you don’t want the seaweed to go down the drain when you empty the tub. Then simply soak until the seaweed gel released into the water starts to dissolve from your skin. Sometimes I will also add a mixture of carrier oil and several drops of my favourite essential oil depending on whether I want to relax or rejuvenate. Make sure to put your head into the water as the gel released from the seaweed is also very good for your hair.

Spa Girl Loves Ireland for so many reasons (seaweed baths & products)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Spa Girl says Happy Holidays Everyone!

‘Tis’ the season of utter folly, cars, cars and more cars, impossible parking, line ups for your organic turkey, last minute shopping, not to mention some pretty dreadful snow storms—sound familiar!

With all this seasonal activity buzzing around me I took the time today for my last spa experience of 2009. I had a facial and a massage—one of my favourite spa combos—ideal for all those sore muscles from carrying bags of holiday treats. I came away feeling relaxed and ready for all the holiday festivities still to come.

2009 was a remarkable year for the Spa industry which is changing before our eyes. Not only is it growing at a phenomenal rate (the number of spas in the U.S. grew at an annual rate of 21% from 1995-1999) the industry is also remodeling itself, incorporating overall health and wellness into the regime; so along with that great massage or body wrap you can expect splendid organic spa food, personal trainers, yoga and Tai Chi classes, water and land fitness programs, meditation and stress management sessions, to name just a few. Indeed the spa is becoming a place to regain peace of mind and pamper yourself back into (or maintain) total health.

The International Spa Association, recognized worldwide as the professional organization and voice of the spa industry, representing more than 3,200 health and wellness facilities and providers in 83 countries indicates that in 2007 there were 138 million spa visits. So Spa Girls we are not alone in this revolution to relax, rejuvenate, and restore.

The ISPA lists on their web site TEN THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY TO LIVE WELL. I have blogged about many of these gems of wisdom which include: get eight hours of sleep; eat and drink healthy organic fruits and veggies and water; exercise, Yoga, Tai Chi, Walking; meditate & breath; enjoy nature and beautiful things; nurture your body with a spa visit, massage, facials, body wraps; learn or teach someone else; volunteer, give back to your community and your earth; avoid negativity from yourself or from others; love yourself and others around you.

So as you begin to put together your to-do list for 2010 make sure your overall well-being is top of list! Happy holidays and thanks for supporting my blog.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Spa Girl says it is all a matter of BALANCE

I stood in line for over an hour this week waiting to post Christmas cards and gifts to various parts of the world and reminded myself that my overall well-being is all a matter of balance--and of course timing. If I had been more organized the cards would have been written and ready to post two weeks earlier and the lines would have been negligible.

In that hour I considered the whole issue of balance—the teadertodder between work and play and what is sensible or not! Women are particularly poor at creating balance as we are always looking after someone besides ourselves. Long ago I gave up the idea that I was super woman, but I do like to think that I’m someone who can multi-task while not turning myself into a pretzel.

Since I love posting aromatherapy recipes, I thought why not create a recipe to help achieve and/or maintain a critical life balance. After all, if we can understand how to balance our lives then we are in a better position to be content. Learning to juggle all the balls, or perhaps even deciding to give up a few might mean a more satisfying and manageable lifestyle. The alternative of course is irritability, exhaustion, headaches and total frustration! Problems will of course crop up, but if your life is generally on an even keel you are in a much better position to deal with whatever comes your way.

A number of years ago I participated in a professional development workshop with two physiologists. The foundation of the week-long program was undertaking the Myers Briggs test, a questionnaire designed to measure knowledge, abilities, attitudes, and personality traits. In other words, to better understand how people perceive the world and make decisions. I mention this as it was instrumental in understanding (as a manager) how to create balance and achieve goals when dealing with so many different workplace personalities. Even now I find myself reflecting on what I learned in this workshop and how it relates to my own ability to understand and achieve personal balance. Don’t get me wrong, I still have days when I am exhausted and frustrated, that’s when I head to the spa!

I was telling friends at dinner tonight that I was writing this blog on balance and the general consensus was balance requires paying equal attention to our emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual well-being. With this in mind, here is my recipe.

The first ingredient in creating balance is to know you’re self, take the time to reflect and determine new paths. It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.

Learn to say NO. This is very difficult for me as I love to say yes and figure it out as I go—it’s almost a challenge. Being aware of this trait I now try to think about it and decide if with will help or hinder.

Make sure you get enough sleep; if you are constantly tired even small problems can become overwhelming.

Make sure to do something that you personally enjoy, like having dinner with friends, having fun relieves stress and reminds us that life does not have to be serious all the time.

Exercise & eat well—what can I say!

Take a ‘time out’ just for your self, meditate, pick up a good book or magazine, whatever brings you contentment.

Enjoy one day at a time and love the one you’re with. Nurturing those we love has so many benefits.

And lastly go to the spa! Remember Spa Girls motto: relax, rejuvenate and restore!

We do not stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing." Unknown

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Spa Girl says YES to seducing the senses with devine design

I was surfing the bookstores and came across this beautiful book. I’m the first to admit that although I have way too many books (is that possible?) and not enough time, I have a deep passion for books. I think it’s their tangible nature that attracts me. I also think there is nothing better than sitting in front of a roaring fire or on a sunny beach with a good book. A friend once remarked that if you like reading you will never be lonely.

Books that have a sense of their own aesthetic are also high on my priority list—so well designed that you slide into them like a comfortable pair of shoes.

I am also an enthusiast of great architecture, so a book that marries architecture and spas, well Spa Girl thinks this seduces the senses! The title of the book is Architectural Interiors: Spas and this is what they say…

This stylish volume showcases page after page of spa aesthetics in a delightful manner that is bound to capture the interest of spa operators, designers, architects, the design-savvy public, and spa worshippers.

A handbook of real-world interiors
A comprehensive reference resource of inspiration, fresh thinking, and new ideas
A visually stunning array of eye-catching photographs

The spas of today are fuelled by a holistic awareness that is fast becoming a given in today's fast-paced society. As more people are getting in touch with their inner well-being, spas are the top-choice destination for those after a balanced lifestyle. From inner city spas catering to busy executives to luxurious resorts dotting the fringes of exotic islands, each spa featured in Architectural Interiors: Spas was designed for the ultimate relaxation and pampering of the mind, body, and soul, with some even picking up awards along the way.
Published in 2007 (ISBN: 28889348)

Only one click away Spa Girls!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Spa Girl is all a glow ♥

It’s definitely winter out there and not one my favourite times of the year especially when you live in cold climes. I am also on holiday so what better way to liberate one self from the chills than to go the Spa.

So off I went for a blissful salt glow & wrap with a Vichy Shower which I find totally relaxing and is one of my all time favourite spa treatments.

Salt glows are an ideal way to exfoliate & hydrate your skin; first the estition prepared a mixture of sea salt and essential oils which filled the wet room with a heavenly scent. Depending on the spa, you might be lying on a massage table covered with a towel or sheet or a thin piece of plastic, or on a wet table, basically a big shower room with a table covered in plastic and a solar blanket to wrap you up in. Some spas offer disposable underwear but I find I am quite comfortable with just being covered with towels.

Today I was lying on a wet table draped with a towel as she massaged this delightful fusion of sea salt, oil, and aromatics (lemon & lavender) into my skin, one side then the other. Once she completed the salt massage I was wrapped up like a mummy in order for my body to heat up and absorb the rich mixture of salt and essential oils. For the next 20 minutes as I “baked” I got a face and scalp massage, now Spa Girls, this is just over the moon! Having someone massage your face—especially my eye brows and chin—releases all the stress and stain from your day.

The last part of the treatment was having a Vichy shower, which is a special six or seven-headed shower parallel to the table. There is something magical about having a horizontal shower. The hot rain-drop like shower puts me into a meditate state and don’t want it to end. I highly recommend it.

Having a salt glow & wrap leaves your skin feeling rejuvenated and velvet like but don’t book an appointment if you have just had your hair done, you are soaked from head to toe!

I learned something else today. Prior to heading to the spa I went to a staff Christmas lunch and I was not all that comfortable lying on my stomach as I was full from a not so great meal. So better to stick with those wonderful spa cuisine receipts I posted and have linked below.

Stay warm Spa Girls and enjoy the salt, essentail oils and Vichy shower!

Playing on the salt flats.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Aura Cacia - high quality essential oils and ready-to-use natural and organic personal care products

Aura Cacia - high quality essential oils and ready-to-use natural and organic personal care products

SpaFinder’s Seventh Annual “Top 10 Global Spa Trends to Watch in 2010”

President Susie Ellis Names 2010 “The Year of the Hammam”—Predicts Hybrid Spas and the New “P” Word Will Change Industry

NEW YORK, NY – December 8, 2010 – SpaFinder, Inc., the global spa and wellness resource, today revealed its “2010 Spa Trends Forecast,” naming global spa trends that will influence spa experiences for both consumers and the industry in 2010 and for years to come. Now in its seventh year, SpaFinder’s annual forecast is widely anticipated by the $255 billion-plus global spa and wellness industries and the business community.

SpaFinder President, Susie Ellis, previewed the trends at a special online presentation attended by press and industry professionals, held in association with The University of California, Irvine, Spa and Hospitality Management Program.

1) The New “P” Word
Goodbye, pampering. Hello, prevention. Well, not so fast. It’s more like, move over, pampering; hello, prevention. Against the backdrop of a global healthcare crisis, prevention is poised to be the new “it” word of the spa industry in 2010 and beyond. But rather than replacing established industry concepts like pampering and wellness, it’s a sharp (and smart) refocusing of the conversation. Pampering, after all, speaks to the stress-reduction, relaxation goal of most spa-goers, and that in itself is preventive.

2) Year of the Hammam
With spa-goers increasingly seeking authenticity, tradition, and that magical spa experience that also offers true results, the Middle Eastern hammam (hamam in Turkey) represents one of the hottest trends for 2010, albeit with a distinctly modern expression. This is the year in which people who have never heard the term hammam will learn its meaning, and those already familiar with it will discover new places to experience it.

3) Not “Going to,” But “Belonging to” a Spa
No longer a place where you infrequently “go” for the occasional treatment, spas are being creatively re-imagined as places of “belonging”—not only through the big rise in membership programs, but also in the diverse ways spas are being recast as social or communal hubs—contributing the additional, although unspoken, benefit of emotional health.

4) The Online Spa
2010 will be a watershed year for the spa industry’s virtual presence. Consumers are already online searching for spas, booking treatments, joining online weight loss and coaching groups, and embracing social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. (Some even play the online Sally Spa game.) But there’s more to come.
Get ready for gaming while you exercise, for having health information (like your blood pressure and heart rate) automatically uploaded for access online by your spa or doctor, and for spas to use yield management software that—much like the airlines—enables price variation, so spas can offer a less expensive massage on weekday mornings, compared to Saturday afternoons. And in early 2010, you’ll be able to stroll down any street in the U.S. and check your iPhone to pinpoint the spa nearest you, thanks to the upcoming SpaFinder App.

5) The Hybrid Spa
The modern spa is increasingly a “hyphenated” affair, with spas incorporating far more fitness, fitness centers incorporating more spa, hospitals incorporating spa elements, and spas bringing in more medical doctors and specialists. The era of the spa/fitness/integrated-health-center/hospital/spiritual-retreat/wellness-center/beauty-clinic is on a serious upswing. It’s one integrated human body, after all, and the “pure” spa is on the decline, while the hybrid spa is busy inventing new you-name-it plugged-in hybrid models.

6) The Price Is (Still) Right
2009’s headline spa story was the industry’s aggressive response to the global recession and the near-universal focus on deals, deals, and more deals. While there’s (cautious) consensus that the economy is in recovery mode, there’s great news for consumers in 2010: The spa bargains will continue apace, not only straight discounting, but also more innovative incentives smartly designed by spas to drive incremental revenue and retain loyal customers. And keep an eye out for savvy new spas combining less expensive treatments and facilities with a touch of glamour, hitting a sweet spot between nice and price.

7) Wellness Tourism Wows
We’re familiar with people seeking spas for wellness—and also with “medical tourism,” crossing borders for medical procedures (often plastic surgery, dentistry, knee replacements, etc.). Well, make room for “wellness tourism,” a new term describing travel across borders for preventive services, diagnostics, spa and well-being vacations, even stem cell banking. The concept not only dramatically broadens the appeal of the medical tourism model (which has suffered from its narrow association with plastic surgery), it’s increasingly poised to become the way we define our time away from home and work in the future.

8) Scary and Silly Spa Stories Drive Evidence, Science, and Standards
The fallout from heavily publicized spa horror stories—and the recession-driven consumer insistence on no-gimmick treatments with real, measurable benefits—will quicken a rising industry trend: the demand for evidence-based therapies, stricter industry standards, and greater transparency/resources to help spa-goers separate the wheat from the chaff. As spas move into the health and wellness sectors, facts, evidence, and science that support industry approaches will move front and center, even at the cost of a few diamond facials.

9) Diversity at a Tipping Point
For years analysts have discussed how the spa industry has been attracting new demographics (men, teens, seniors, new ethnic groups). But in 2010 diversity has reached a tipping point: It has fully arrived, and it’s here to stay. Spa-going has become so mainstream that the face of the spa-goer will now continue to reflect the wider global population. Every spa region has its unique “diversity story,” and around the globe far more men, younger and older generations, and ethnic groups are hitting the spa. And spas are taking note, with offerings that cater to these diverse groups’ needs and wants. Set to explode: In the U.S. alone, where approximately 78 million baby boomers are poised to enter their 60s, watch for “silver spa-ing” to really take off.

10) Stillness
The modern human experience is an unprecedented amount of sensory overload, noise, and media stimulation. We’re wired to the gills, spending nearly all waking hours in front of TV and computer screens—bombarded, texting, tweeting, clattering away—now even on airplanes. With the spa as one of the last remaining sanctuaries of silence and serenity, look for the industry to put a new emphasis on stillness, on slowness, on silence. From totally silent massages/treatments or using white noise and subtle nature sounds instead of music; to silent walks, hikes, and dinners at Red Mountain or Rancho La Puerta; to Six Senses Spas’ focus on a “Slow Life” approach; to an upswing in meditation offerings and programs, spas will help clients move from busy-ness and overload to quiet, to stillness. “Sounds” awfully good.

Bonus Trend: Celebrating Celebration
In a recent survey, travel agents reported the #1 emerging spa travel trend was people increasingly hitting stay spas for special occasions like the big ’0s’, anniversaries, weddings, retirement parties, etc. And after the severe downturn in spas’ corporate/meetings business (which, because of virtual conferencing, will continue to decline), the industry is aggressively incentivizing group celebration travel to revitalize lost business. This concept was born at the day spa (with its long tradition of bachelorette, graduation and “girlfriend” parties), and its rapid migration into the travel arena in 2010 is one great reason for the industry to celebrate.

LEARN MORE: To learn more about SpaFinder’s 2010 Trends Report, or to speak to SpaFinder president Susie Ellis, contact: Betsy Isroelit, (213) 300-0108 or

About SpaFinder, Inc.:
The world’s largest spa media, marketing, and gifting company, SpaFinder, Inc., connects millions of wellness-focused consumers with thousands of spas worldwide. SpaFinder’s media properties include the award-winning, the Spa Enthusiast newsletter, and the annual Global Spa and Wellness Directory. SpaFinder and its new gift division, Salon Wish, offer spa gift certificates and cards that are redeemable at a combined network of over 9,000 spas and salons worldwide and are available at thousands of retail outlets. The company’s technology division innovates new solutions that help spas build and streamline their businesses, including the popular SpaBooker online booking system. SpaFinder Europe and SpaFinder Japan offer regional spa marketing and gifting programs, including localized, native-language websites. Founded in 1986, the privately held company is headquartered in Manhattan./p>

Copyright © 2008, SpaFinder, Inc. Information and data extracted from this press release is to be accompanied by a statement identifying SpaFinder (Inc.) as the publisher and source.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Spa Girl says indulgence is devine!

I started my holidays last week and I decided since I wasn’t going away I would check out a few spas in the area and kick start my R&R into high gear. I was also beginning to feel human again after a rather nasty encounter with H1N1 so the idea of heading to the spa really appealed. There is nothing like a little pampering to remind yourself of all things good in your life.

I can’t remember the last time I felt so relaxed. I started the week in a hot salt water pool enjoying a Watsu session which frankly left me feeling like a bowl of jelly and I slept for 10 hours that evening! Then it was off to one of my favourite little places for a wonderful pedicure and French polish, don’t you just love your toes! I ended the week with a Clayton Shagal facial and hot oil massage which not only left my skin feeling like velvet, but I was so stress-free when we started I experienced a whole other level of relaxation. It made me think just how much stress we carry around with us, often without even realizing it!

With Christmas decorations to organize and presents to wrap I cannot think of a better way to start your holidays than a little spa indulgence.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Spa Girl says cupboard to face works for me!

I love to research, in fact I can spend hours just picking my way through material. I spent a delightful afternoon last week carefully looking through a book that was in one of my many bookselves. It's old and very fragile, and came to me from my mom's library, and most likely her mom's library before that. Its a 1904 edition of a 1887 White House Cookbook that describes itself as "A Comprehensive Cyclopedia of Information for the Home" published by The Saalfield Publishing Company.

The web is another amazing source of information and between the two here are a few fun ideas that take you from cupboard to face.

Milk: The lactic acid in milk serves as a gentle skin exfoliant while its natural fat content acts as a moisturizer. Add a gallon of whole milk to a tubful of warm water and soak. For a fragranced bath, add 10 to 20 drops of an essential oil such as lavender.

Eggs: Are high protein content and help to improve hair's resilience and luster. Whisk together 1 egg, 2 tablespoons coconut oil which is rich in moisturizing fats and 2 tablespoons sesame oil. Apply the mixture to dry hair and wrap a hot, moist towel around your head. Relax for five to 10 minutes. Without wetting hair first, work in a handful of shampoo, and then rinse and condition your hair.

Apple-Cider Vinegar: Its high acid content makes skin inhospitable to blemish-causing bacteria. Place a handful of parsley, a skin-clarifying herb, into a French press and cover it with 1/2 cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes, and then plunge and let the liquid cool. Transfer to a spray bottle along with a splash of vinegar and four drops of tea tree oil which is an antiseptic and shake well; spritz on a freshly cleansed face. Store the spray bottle in the fridge.

Oatmeal: Soothing and anti-inflammatory, oatmeal contains beta glucan a soluble fiber that creates a thin, moisture-retaining film on the surface of the skin. Place a handful of whole oats in a clean washcloth and immerse it in warm water and squeeze the bag four or five times. Once the water is cloudy, splash it on your face and then air-dry.

Avocado Oil: Its abundant fatty acids help balance skin's moisture levels and the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E protect skin from damage. Combine equal parts avocado oil and evening-primrose oil, which supports collagen synthesis with its gamma linoleic acid, in a sealable bottle and shake to blend. Massage five or six drops into clean skin, and then cover your face with a warm washcloth for a minute to help the oils sink in.

Walnuts: Rich in oil walnuts make for extra-gentle sloughing. Blend 1/4 cup shelled walnuts, 1/2 cup olive oil, for extra emollients, and a tablespoon of honey to seal moisture into your skin in a food processor creating a fine-particle scrub. Work the mixture thoroughly over your skin for a couple of minutes. Rinse with warm water.

Oranges: Cut a fresh orange in half and squeeze the juice of one half into a bowl. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup olive oil and then blend into a moisture-rich scrub. Rub the exposed side of the other half of the orange over knees, elbows, heels, and any other dry spots. Last, rub in the sugar mixture to slough off dead skin. Rinse with warm water and pat skin dry.