Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spa Girl asks are You a Midnight Hedonist?

It's after midnight and I am wide awake!  So instead of fretting, I'm heading to the Spa.

I once wrote about the city that never sleeps--of course I was referring to New York.  And now leading the way NY, Hollywood, London and Singapore (among others) are offering midnight manicures, late night Lomi Lomi massages and night owl facials for all of us hedonists.

I am devoted to being happy and going to the Spa is blissful, it is also relaxing and oh so good for you.  And no matter the time of day or night, having a facial relaxes me to the point where I fall asleep--you see, I have method in my midnight madness!

Flex hours are popular in any business as we continue to work all kinds of crazy shifts, fly hours into the future and of course for all those night owls out there.  Having spas join these dedicate service industries is fabulous! 

Spa fun..."Conan feels fried and visits a beauty/day spa to relax"

Whether it's a late-night Turkish Bath, a Russian steam , pedicure, manicure, or massage, here are some great late night Spas.

Red Market Salon32 Gansevoort St., nr. Hudson St.; 212-929-9600 This bright, 2,400-square-foot loft in a commercial walk-up is helmed by two Fekkai alums. The salon houses six stylists, a small bar stocked with free wine, products by Davines and Phyto, and a sound system manned regularly by local D.J.’s; you can get a blow-dry and a buzz till 10 p.m.

Homme Spa465 Lexington Ave., nr. 45th St.; 212-983-0033 This massive, 15,000-square-foot pampering spot is open till 3 a.m. on weeknights and midnight on weekends. Hot-towel massages and Dermalogica facials are signatures, but the place also encompasses a full-service barbershop and couples' rooms with Jacuzzi s. 
Hair Party 24 Hours76 Madison Ave., at 28th St.; 212-213-0057 This Seoul-based chain offers a full pleather-bound menu of services 24 hours a day. The offerings include mani-pedis, waxing, massages, facials, cuts, coloring, makeup application, and even eyelash extensions. Conventional daytime hours are still the busiest, but deals are offered for appointments between 6 a.m. and noon. 
Cleo II Spa258 Third Ave., at 21st St.; 212-260-0600 This casual Gramercy-area nail salon serves customers until midnight every night except Sunday. The mainly Korean and Nepalese staff apply all-natural creams from Switzerland, and more than 350 Opi and Essie polish colors are on offer.

Osaka Health Spa50 W. 56th St., second fl., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-956-3422 One of the city’s best one-hour Shiatsu massages is at Osaka 56, which stays open until 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Before treatments, many opt for a complimentary hot-cold hydrotherapy ritual using the spa’s steam room, sauna, and ice-cold baths. 
Tribeca Beauty Spa8 Harrison St, New York, NY 10013, (212) 343-2376
Exceptional manicure / pedicure experience last night at Tribeca Beauty Spa.

Links to late night Spas in the Big Apple, San Francisco and Singapore

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Spa Girl asks what are your Vitamin D levels?

 For those of us living in the northern hemisphere where the weather continues to cool  and  sunlight is dwindling fast, it's time to increase or start taking Vitamin D.

Known as the sunshine vitamin, we produce Vitamin D naturally in the summer months when we are exposed to the sun light, however as winter rolls in our vitamin D levels drop and we become more susceptible to viruses.
The immune system's front-line defence are T-cells, which are latent until they are set in motion detecting and killing infections caused by viruses and bacteria. A Danish study recently found that the first stage of T-cell activation involves Vitamin D.  When a T-cell detects a virus or bacteria it sends out a signal to search for Vitamin D in the blood. Without Vitamin D, T-cell activation is jeopardised.

I have my Vitamin D levels checked two or three times a year with a simple blood test. It's an expensive test, so you might have to talk your Doctor into it! My Vitamin D level in my last test was 154, the normal range is between 75 and 200.  The first time I took a Vitamin D test, it was in the spring after a long, cold, dark winter, my level was 27!  It took me almost a year to build it to 100. 

Why do we need vitamin D?

·       It is crucial for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous, which have various functions, especially the maintenance of healthy bones.
·       It is an immune system regulator.
·       It may be an important way to arm the immune system against disorders like the common cold, say scientists from the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Children's Hospital Boston.
·       It may reduce the risk of developing multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis is much less common the nearer you get to the tropics, where there is much more sunlight, according to Dennis Bourdette, chairman of the Department of Neurology and director of the Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Center at Oregon Health and Science University, USA.
·       Vitamin D may have a key role in helping the brain to keep working well in later life, according to a study of 3000 European men between the ages of 40 and 79.
·       Vitamin D is probably linked to maintaining a healthy body weight, according to research carried out at the Medical College of Georgia, USA.
·       It can reduce the severity and frequency of asthma symptoms, and also the likelihood of hospitalizations due to asthma, researchers from Harvard Medical School found after monitoring 616 children in Costa Rica.
·       It has been shown to reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis in women.
·       A form of vitamin D could be one of our body's main protections against damage from low levels of radiation, say radiological experts from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
·       Various studies have shown that people with adequate levels of vitamin D have a significantly lower risk of developing cancer, compared to people with lower levels. Vitamin D deficiency was found to be prevalent in cancer patients regardless of nutritional status, in a study carried out by Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, suggested in the March 2007 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that taking 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily along with 10 to 15 minutes in the sun and a healthy diet could reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer by two-thirds. The same authors found that breast cancer rates were 50 per cent lower in people with high levels of vitamin D in their blood, and suggested that the average person could maintain those levels by taking 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily and spending 10 to 15 minutes in the sun.
Vitamin D has acquired its health-cult status because many studies have found that people with more of the nutrient circulating in their blood have lower rates of some cancers. As well, other research – based on epidemiology or the study of disease distribution in large populations – has found that there is more cancer, diabetes, and other chronic ailments among those living at northern latitudes than among people living further south.
Katie Couric speaks to Dr. Jon LaPook about the benefits of vitamin D and the best ways to get it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Spa Girl says "OH MY" feet

As I desperately try to hold on to summer, it's becoming painfully clear--as temperatures continue to dip--it's time to put on the socks and shoes and pack away my wonderful summer sandals.

My feet get cold very easily so most of the winter I am looking for solutions to keep these tiny tootsie warm.  I have wonderful handmade wool socks from Newfoundland, terry cloth foot warmers with lavender and sage fillers that can be heated in the microwave, and my favourite, a binder full of recipes for some great foot soaks.

In preparation, I had a spa pedicure this week.  I asked the esthetician to cut my nails nice and short (don't you just go crazy when your toes go through those expensive tights) and my favourite French pedicure polish.  Pedicures keep your feet happy and healthy and should be part of your regular overall body care routine.

One of the best foot soaks combines the cooling effects of peppermint essential oil with the soothing, relaxing and subtle sweetness of lavender.

Peppermint & Lavender Tender Tootsie Soak

 4 TBL dead sea salts
4 TBL baking soda
4 TBL citric acid
4 drops peppermint essential oil
4 drops lavender essential oil
1/2 teaspoon 

Peppermint oil, which dates back from 1000 BC, contains menthol, which is great for skin as it nourishes dull dry skin and helps improve blood circulation.  Peppermint is native to the Mediterranean region, but is also cultivated in Italy, USA, Japan and Great Britain.

According to Greek mythology the nymph Mentha was hotly pursued by Pluto, whose jealous wife Persephone, trod her ferociously into the ground, whereupon Pluto then turned her into a herb, knowing that people would appreciate her for years to come.

Lavender is native to the mountainous zones of the Mediterranean where it grows in sunny, stony habitats. Today, it flourishes throughout southern Europe, Australia, and the United States--and in my garden!

The name lavender comes from the Latin root lavare, which means "to wash." Lavender may have earned this name because it was frequently used in baths to help purify the body and spirit. 

One of the most widely used essential oils, lavender has many therapeutic properties which include healing, pain relief, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and many more. It is often used to treat minor cuts and scrapes, burns, acne, respiratory disorders and insomnia.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Spa Girl "From Cupboard to Face" it's all about Pumpkins

It's that time of year again, when witches, goblins, and ghosts prowl the streets basking in the glow of fabulously carved pumpkins. 

In addition to Halloween decoration, and so many wonderful pumpkin recipes, pumpkins can be used as a great spa treatment. 

Spa Girl just loves the power of this delightful fall produce.

The enzymes in pumpkins will remove skin cell build up and stimulate cell regeneration without stress or irritation to the skin. High in Vitamin A, which is great for the skin, Vitamin C, a well known  anti-oxidant, AHA's, beta-carotene, Vitamins E, Alpha-carotene, zinc, and lutein, pumpkin bitg soothes, and nicely moisturizes the skin.

In general, new skin cells require twenty-eight days to rejuvenate. As we age, this renewal process slows and is further hindered by environmental factors, stress, and lack of sleep. Fruit enzymes and Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA’s) help to increase the skins natural turnover rate.

Pumpkin makes an excellent face mask ingredient for all skin types, especially environmentally damaged or sensitive skin.

Pumpkin Pie Face MaskIngredients2 teaspoons cooked or canned pumpkin, pureed (see above for benefits)one-half teaspoon honey (humectant, regenerative)
one-quarter teaspoon milk (or soymilk)(alpha hydroxyl acid, enzymes digest skin cells) 
Optional Ingredients For Dry Skinone-quarter teaspoon heavy whipping cream (moisturizing; alpha hydroxy acid)
one-half teaspoon brown sugar (exfoliates, moisturizes, alpha hydroxyl acid)
For Oily Skinone-quarter teaspoon apple cider (tonic action promotes skin circulation; alpha hydroxyl acid; regulates pH).-or-
one-quarter teaspoon cranberry juice (high in antioxidants critically important to the utilization of essential fatty acids to maintain balanced, nourished skin. 
Combine the ingredients for your facemask. Mix gently and apply to your face avoiding the eye area. Rest and relax for 10-15 minutes while your pumpkin pie facemask gently exfoliates, nourishes and conditions your face. Rinse with warm water and apply the appropriate moisturizer for your skin type. 
Read more: 
Pumpkin Facial Mask  
2 teaspoons cooked or canned pumpkin 1/2 teaspoon honey 1/4 teaspoon milk (or whipping cream, if your skin is very dry)
1. Combine ingredients and apply to a clean face with gentle circular motions, avoiding the area around your eyes.2. Allow mask to remain on skin for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water, pat dry, and apply your usual moisturiser. 
Pumpkin, Sugar, and Spice Scrub 
1/2 cup cooked or canned pumpkin, pureed1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1. Combine ingredients in a bowl.2. Stand in a tub or shower stall and use a damp washcloth to scoop some of the mixture up. Apply to body, starting with your feet and working your way up, but avoiding your face. Scrub gently using circular motions.3. Rinse with warm water and pat dry with a linen towel. 
Read more: 
Did you know... Pumpkins are believed to have originated in North America. Seeds from related plants have been found in Mexico dating back to 7000 to 5500 B.C.

More about pumpkins...