Fall Detox

November 5th, 2015

Poor fall. It gets so shafted. Winter has twinkly lights and presents, the other two seasons have actual things named after them (hello, Spring Cleaning and Summer Vacation), but fall…it doesn’t even have its own identity. It has to share. With “autumn.” A word that exemplifies why the English language is so hard to master.

All of that’s about to change.

This is your official fall detox. Finally – an event that can be 100% claimed by the most leaf-crunching, pencil-sharpening season. We’re arming you with some simple, achievable steps to reinvigorate your mind and body as the year winds down. Who said resolutions are January’s turf?

apple-cinnamon2The first step in our fall detox is to do a quick inventory of autumn’s most abundant flavors. We’ve become so aware of the benefits gleaned from eating seasonally (think tomatoes in June or pears in December) that it’s only befitting to let nature dictate our detox. So cast those berries aside and load your diet up with apples (great baked or raw), root veggies (such as parsnips and sweet potatoes), squash (ever tried delicata, kabocha, or acorn? ‘Tis the season to get squashy…), pomegranate, and grapefruit. And while spices aren’t seasonal per se, our fall detox comes with very strict instructions* (*and by “strict instructions” we mean “super duper casual ideas”) to embrace the health perks of autumnal flavors in every form. Sprinkle cinnamon in your yogurt, for a nice antioxidant boost. A dash of nutmeg in your tea can brighten up your skin. And if you just can’t resist the PSL (that’s, Pumpkin Spice Latte), try adding some pumpkin pie spice to your cup of joe (don’t worry, it’s sugar free), pouring in some foamed skim milk, and voila – your fall detox beverage is ready: a Pumpkin Spice Not-te.


There’s a word we love to use when talking about a detox, and that’s “reset.” (And both of them sound way better than “cleanse,” in our opinion.) Turns out, fall is a great time to undertake a reset: the leaves are changing, the clocks turn back, and with thousands of kids returning to school, adding a few new routines doesn’t seem so difficult after all. (Hey, anything easier than chemistry.) So the next part of our fall detox is to Try One New Thing. Is it taking that Pilates class you always pass by, but haven’t signed up for? Is it nixing the snooze button for a day (which then becomes two, which then becomes two weeks, which then becomes “When did I ever need the snooze button?”)? Is it taking on a new health ritual, like trying a steam shower session, or committing to a vitamin regimen? Whatever you choose, make it something that’s manageable, that isn’t SO hard that you dread the thought of doing it, and that’s inspiring for your mind, body, or soul. One fall reset…you can totes do that.

skin2Step three in our fall detox sees a shift towards the preventative, specifically looking forward to the colder, drier, more eating-intense months ahead, and the steps we can take now to comfortably round-out the year (skin-wise, pants-wise, and otherwise). Fall is a great time to bump up your moisturizing routine – hair, face, lips, and hands. Slathering cocoa butter all over the day you wake up to a patch of dry skin isn’t nearly as effective as maintaining consistent dermal hydration. And speaking of, even though we’re no longer in the Schvitzy Season, our fall detox says this is the perfect time to bump up your water intake (which will also help as we inch towards Thanksgiving and Holiday Party Time…if drinking water regularly becomes your fall habit, those hangovers will have nowhere to camp out). Cooler temperatures also means you can take your workouts outside. Adding just one additional walking session a week can do wonders to keep those pesky December calories from becoming a January problem.

Well, fall, if you don’t feel a little self-esteem jolt from this Detoxifying Ode to Autumn, well, we really can’t help you. But even if fall’s a lost cause, we hope you’ll walk the walk (and detox the tox…hey now, see what we did there?) to make this harvest season as refreshing as can be. (Not-thinking-about-candy-corn, not-thinking-about-candy-corn…)

International Spas

August 7th, 2015

There’s a reason you can make the word “spa” from the letters in “passport.” That’s because international spa culture is such an incredible thing to explore. Whether it’s going to Bangkok for a true Thai massage (or, as they call it there, a “massage”) or indulging in a rejuvenating Venetian hot water bath, the spa-ternational world has so much to offer. Pack light, as we embark on this journey spanning the world of spa…remember, you’ll be filling your suitcase with inspiration! (Ooh, how touchy-feely of us!)

the-palmsOur trip begins in an area already well-known for its relaxative qualities: the Caribbean. But at The Spa at Regents Palms Turks & Caicos “relaxative” takes on a whole new accent. Their 90-minute “Zareeba” (an African term meaning “protected enclosure”) is a whole-body detoxification ritual that uses therapeutic herbs in conjunction with herbal steam to Zen you out, head-to-toe. Your Zareeba ends with a cooling wrap and body massage to release the toxins unearthed in the steam session. We think you’ll be saying “Turks and OK-cos.”

wine-lodge4And while we’re in the western hemisphere, let’s hop down to Argentina, where just outside Mendoza City (right near the Chilean border) is Cavas Wine Lodge, an acclaimed hotel, restaurant, and spa most notable for its unique regional treatment: vinotherapy. Whether you opt for a “Crushed Malbec Scrub” or a “Torrontés Wine Wrap” (yes, those are spa services, not appertifs), this is an international spa ritual that we most definitely want to toast. Cavas embraces the restorative power of grapes, with their age-defying, free-radical-combatting qualities, and offers visitors four wine-inspired treatments (including a red wine bubble bath!).

four-seasonsAlright, it’s flight time. Jet with us across the Pacific as we swing into Thailand, or more specifically, Chiang Mai, the largest city in the northern half of the country. And on this (imaginary) international spaventure, we’re making the Four Seasons our home base, to try out their Chakra Blessings treatments. In Hindu tradition, a chakra (which is Sanskrit for “wheel” or “disc”) is an aspect of your spiritual self, as realized in your physical body. They are described as “energy points” along the spinal column through which our life force flows; having ones chakras in balance is said to indicate the pinnacle of emotional and physical health. At the Four Seasons Chiang Mai, the well-being of ones chakras is the primary goal of their services. Treatments include targeted chakra sessions (different techniques that focus on individual chakras, like the Heart Chakra, which combines a Himalayan salt foot wash with a poppyseed scrub and a tuberose soak) as well as chakra massages designed for specific areas of the mind/body. The concept of aligning ones chakras is by no means exclusive to eastern geography. (ThermaSol’s Solitude App, which requires no frequent flyer miles to access, bases its Chromatherapy system on chakras, assigning a color and a quality – like Courage or Perception – to each part of the body. However, an entire spa devoted to chakra health is most certainly out of this world (or, at least, out of this country).

veneziaCanals schmanals. Let’s start a new trend: going to Venice for their spa rituals! Like those found at the Venezia Spa at the Abano Grand Hotel  – a beautiful getaway featuring specialized treatments that embrace the topography and agriculture of the Venetian region. With seven rooms and saunas each named for a local area (like “Campo d’Argilla,” or “Clay Field”), Venezia Spa couples basic techniques, like dry heat rooms and steam baths, with natural elements, such as muds, salts, and black soaps, to provide guests with an organic spa experience that has a pure connection to the surrounding geography. Thermal water treatments, wooden saunas brimming with eucalyptus (a throwback reference to Venice’s maritime history), and mint-based aromatherapy rooms are just a few ways Venezia Spa gives international spas a great name.

While there still is no place like home (which is where, of course, you have your ThermaSol Steam Shower ready and waiting for you every morning/afternoon/night, ready to relax and rejuvenate you at a moment’s notice), the international spa scene certainly proves that there’s no place like, well, the world. Adventuring through international spa life can take you on an amazing journey that goes beyond clear skin, scrubbed toes, or aligned chakras; it is truly a window into the world, one that allows us to explore other cultures through an organic and wonderfully unique lens. Wine bath, anyone?

Pamper your Pop this Father’s Day

June 19th, 2015

Fathers’ Day. That special time of year when love comes in the form of painted macaroni collages, necktie-shaped ice cream cakes, and coupon books filled with vouchers for “One Free Hug” or “A Day Off From Killing Bugs That Come In the House.”

We have a better idea.

This Fathers’ Day, why not take care of dad in a totally different way? As in, bring a whole new meaning to the phrase “give the guy a break”? We’re talking about treating dad to a spa day. Because anyone can book a round of golf for the old man. It’s time to pamper our pops and do something great for their minds, bodies, and souls…the way they’ve always done for us.

greenhouseThe good news is that spas around the country are offering unbeatable Fathers’ Day specials to make a Day-With-Dad as relaxing (and manly!) as possible. Greenhouse Holistic in Brooklyn, New York, renowned for its yoga programs and Shiatsu techniques, is taking special time out of its regular routines to take care of dads, by offering tremendous deals on its signature massages, including Swedish, sports, deep tissue, and hot stone relaxation sessions.

mrcHead west a few thousand miles to Mr. C Spa & Beauty in Beverly Hills to, as they say “spoil dad with a full day of relaxation.” Their customized Fathers’ Day package (available for most of the month of June) includes a 30 minute eucalyptus steam session, a specially-designed men’s back, face, and scalp treatment (crafted to target tired muscles), a back massage, and more, all culminating in a shaken-for-dad gin cocktail – the perfect way to eke out some good old fashioned fatherly advice!


ritzAnd speaking of cocktails…The Ritz-Carlton South Beach in the heart of Miami knows that there’s only one way to get a less-than-enthusiastic spa-going dad to relax and enjoy the pampering: beer. Their “Mucho Macho MANicure & BEERicure” Fathers’ Day special includes a full mani-pedi and a choice of craft brews to sample. Spa technicians will even use beer-based exfoliants to hydrate Dad’s skin during the treatment. (And as always, their Gentleman’s Deep Cleansing Facial, part of their regular men’s menu at the spa, will be available.)


Of course, even cowboys need a little R&R. Which is why we love what Dallas’ Hiatus Spa + Retreat has on their agenda to celebrate Dad. They’re offering three unique packages for fathers at all levels of spa-ed-ness. For dads who need a little Relaxation 101, their “Frosty Mug Men’s Retreat” is a great way to ease Pop into the world of spa treatments. The “invigorating full body scrub with organic hops, barley and malt” ends with a chilled stone massage and a pint of a local Texas IPA. For dads who know their way around a spa, their “Best Dad Ever!” package, featuring an 80 minute stress-fix massage, a reflexology session, and a “Well-Groomed Men’s Facial,” is dad-finitely the way to go. And for those dads who just have to get back to the barbecue before the afternoon’s up, Hiatus’ “Dad’s Essentials” lets Dad choose two signature spa services to revitalize and recharge just the way he needs.

While Spa-thers’ Day, ahem, we mean Fathers’ Day, can be all about the bells and whistles, don’t forget that sometimes all Dad wants is a quiet afternoon at home. ThermaSol makes it so easy to turn your home bath into a spa paradise. A customized steam shower at your fingertips means that a spa day for Dad might be as close as a walk down the hall. Load up Dad’s iPod with his favorite tunes (which he’ll play through ThermaSol’s Serenity Light & Sound System), deck out the bathroom with manly scents (think candles scented with leather, tobacco, or mesquite), and fire up the grill for some hearty post-pampering eats. Thanks for everything, Dad. We’ll kill the bugs today.

Spas for Men

April 14th, 2015

Though the lumberjack style of bearded man reigns supreme, it has become quite evident that this is simply a front. Today’s men are becoming more and more enthralled with the concept of self-pampering and are now attending spas in record numbers. Indeed, while you see these tough-looking fellows marching down the streets in their flannel shirts and blue jeans, flexing their muscles, looking oh so comfortable, the stark reality is that they haven’t just chopped down a 50ft tree to construct their new log cabin; they’ve been at the spa!

Truth be told, spas are wonderful facilities that offer all sorts of comforting and relaxing activities that not only rejuvenate the body, but also set the mind at ease. Traditionally, they offered a bit of respite for women and allowed them to indulge in all sorts of pleasing and soothing practices; mud baths, massages, steam rooms, saunas, and placing cucumber slices over their eyes. All these practices have been refined over the years to help preserve youthful beauty and place the mind in spiritual wellbeing.

Modern man has taken note. Of course the men of today have become more focused on their appearance, and with research into the benefits of mental stability and overcoming anxiety and stress, placing your mind at ease has never been of more importance. Past practices like drinking and smoking to calm a man’s nerves have been clearly ousted as unhealthy and liable to cause all sorts of health problems. Spas bring about calm, naturally soothing refreshment, and they are catering more and more to male customers.

The Gendarmerie Boutique and Spa

Normal procedures like massages, steam rooms, and saunas are still commonplace, but these male spas also offer extended options like hair grooming, hair removal, hand and foot care, as well as a wide variety of body treatments. One popular spa in West Hollywood is the Gendarmerie, featuring big-screen TV’s and overstuffed leather chairs catering to masculine style. Popular services include hair waxing, facial enhancement, body treatments, and of course, massage.

Another hip LA location catering to men is Hammer & Nails, also in West Hollywood. Similarly themed chairs and TV’s speak to the masculine nature of this place. Additionally, each chair comes with a pair of headphones, allowing visitors to jam to whatever music they so choose, so long as they don’t keep rhythm with their hands or feet, because here is the store’s point of business. In this trendy location, men can have their hands and feet tended to through manicures and pedicures without feeling out of place as they would in a typically female-oriented nail salon.

Across the country in New York City lies the Kiehl’s Spa 1851, with a focus on precision shaves complete with moisturizing oils and creams, and even a eucalyptus-scented towel for softening the hairs in between lathering. The spa also offers body treatments and waxing, as well as a wide variety of nourishing lotions and products to enhance a man’s features and preserve a youthful appearance. Inspired by an apothecary in the neighborhood during the mid 19th century, Kiehl’s Spa 1851 strives to provide nourishment of more modern times, to men.

The stigma that surrounded a man treating himself to a day at the spa has seemingly vanished as more and more men discover just how wonderful and beneficial this experience can be. Just a few years ago, male visits to spas made up just 10% of the total clientele; now that number has expanded to more than a third of all spa visitors!

There’s no shame these days for men seeking the relaxing enjoyment of attending a spa, and as greater numbers of facilities gear themselves to cater to male visitors, the practice will only become more common. It’s really a surprise that men have withheld themselves from such pleasing delights for so long, but as our population strives for further gender equality, men are discovering things historically reserved for women that can benefit them too. It’s quite evident that the modern spa is one which caters to both sexes, offering the same relaxation and mood-enhancing experiences to suit both the man and woman of present times.

Steam Shower vs. Soaking Tubs

February 23rd, 2015

Most of our Daily Basis Choices are pretty easy. Coffee or tea, subway or bus, sweater or jacket. You know, the “nice” decisions. And then, there are the Big Massive Home Choices. The ones we toss-and-turn over. Stainless steel or ceramic, wood or tile, EGGSHELL OR BUTTERCREAM??

(Sorry. We got a little out of control.)

Wouldn’t it be nice if some of those Big Massive Home Choices came with a little cheat sheet? Well, here you go: your insider’s guide to one of the biggest decisions about your bath – should I soak, or should I steam?

Steam showers and soaking tubs are two of the most popular bathroom upgrades, and with good reason. They both offer a luxurious spa experience from the comfort of one’s home, and can increase the value of one’s remodel. But which is the better investment? What nets you a better return? And which offers more utility?

First, what is a soaking tub, and what is a steam shower? Soaking tubs are deep bath basins – usually crafted in slightly different dimensions than traditional tubs (in addition to the greater depth, soaking tubs typically feature a narrow taper, and can come in an oval or circles shapes). Most often free-standing, so they’re rarely connected to a shower hookup. And they range from simple, basic varieties, sporting only a faucet and spigot, to more ooh-la-la versions, with tingly jets or built-in lighting. Available in a bevy of materials (from economical acrylic finishes to luxurious stone-crafted vessels), soaking tubs are beautiful, relaxing, and spa-esque, but don’t provide many more benefits (beyond that of size) than what you get out of your traditional bathtub.


Oh, did someone say benefits? Why yes, Steam Shower, over there, waiting to be defined, we DID say benefits. When it comes to health and wellness perks, steam showers rule. The unit itself consists of a generator (which can be housed either in your bathroom or, in certain cases, farther out for convenient installation, like ThermaSol’s generator units, which can live up to 50 feet beyond the bathroom) that delivers steam through your stall shower. Set your desired time and temperature, turn it on, and the generator delivers a luxurious stream of steam that envelops the stall, and invigorates your body. Steam showers are proven to have myriad medical benefits for your skin, your muscles, cellular recovery, and so much more.

So when it comes to a better investment for your body, steam showers have a significant edge. But let’s talk about that other kind of investment…the wallet sort. Like most things, soaking tubs and steam showers are available in a range of prices and qualities. Soaking tubs can be procured for as low as $500, and as high as $8,000, based on size and material. And while a soaking tub itself requires little maintenance, it can put a strain on two things: space and your water bill. Unlike a steam shower, which can be installed in a space as small as four feet by four feet, a soaking tub is an additional element in your bath. Which means that if you have the space, great – by all means, soak away. But if you’re lacking for room, wedging a soaking tub in a tiny bath not only limits utility (of the basin and the bathroom as a whole), it isn’t ideal for resale. And then, there’s the H20 factor. Because soaking tubs are deeper than traditional bathtub vessels, it’s very time-, energy-, and water-consuming to regularly fill a soaking tub…and your water bill will reflect this usage. (Plus, the million dollar, ahem, million gallon question…how often will you REALLY spend a half hour to fill and use your soaking tub?)

Steam showers are a different story when it comes to the quality of their investment. With a steam shower, your initial overhead is a little higher than that of a soaking tub. If your bath already has a stall shower, any modifications needed to make it steam shower-friendly are usually pretty minor. And the steam shower components – typically a generator and a controller – are available at a mid-point of around $3,500. So while you might spend more at the outset, post-installation, there are very few lingering costs. ThermaSol’s MicroTouch and Temp Touch technology, for example, has the power to generate heat and steam within seconds; and water usage for a 20 minute steam shower consists of a pretty memorable amount: ONE GALLON. Which all boils down to this: steam showers have a significantly lower impact on your water bill and your electric bill.

The spa-nalysis: in the short term and the long run, the better bang for your buck is a steam shower. The slightly-higher initial cost is well-worth what you get back. A steam shower is an upgrade that provides unique health and wellness benefits (versus a soaking tub, which has such limited advantages over your already-existing bathtub), a space-conscious luxury add-on – proven to be a hot resale amenity – an eco- and bill-friendly installation, and a piece of equipment that can be initiated with such speed and efficiency, you’ll actually use it. Our take: join Team Steam!

Spa Diet

January 29th, 2015

The candles are lit, the slippers are ready, the steam shower’s minutes from being activated…but, but, you’re hungry! Embracing a spa lifestyle goes far beyond knowing your exfoliants from your aromatherapies. It’s about feeding all aspects of your body, from skin to stomach, with smart, fresh, healthy resources. So back away from the bath (just for a minute, we promise!) and let’s journey into the kitchen to explore the wonders of the spa diet.

To say we’re constantly bombarded with food-centric propaganda is the understatement of the century. Every day it seems like there’s a new trend, a new diet, a new cooking technique guaranteed to make us weigh less, have more energy, and give our skin the glow of a thousand suns. Spa cuisine is, how shall we say this lightly…the polar opposite of all of that blather. In the same way that we encourage you to treat your body with pure, natural elements and health-inspiring techniques, we hold an equal standard for what we put inside it.

First of all, our spa diet, it should be noted, isn’t a “diet” in the most frequently used sense of the word, aka, “a short term plan you embark upon to instantaneously lose weight before you seen an ad for Olive Garden’s Never Ending Pasta Bowl and all good intentions are lost.”

Or something like that.

Our spa diet is really a “spa eating lifestyle.” You won’t eat like this 100% of the time (we know…it’s called “Sunday brunch”). Instead, we’re laying out a set of parameters and types of food that comprise a balanced, healthy way of eating to complement the balanced, healthy way you use other spa elements (like a steam shower) in your life. Taking cues from the Mediterranean diet, consistently deemed one of the smartest, most heart-healthy eating plans on the planet, our spa diet relies on real food and fresh choices.

And we’re starting, with water. Water is the hands-down key to fueling a smart spa lifestyle. It’s necessary before or after a massage or a steam shower. It’s vital to rejuvenate skin and keep cells hydrated, inside and out. Hate it from the tap? Infuse a pitcher, a bottle, heck, even a glassful with cucumber slices, orange wedges, strawberries, mint leaves – anything to get you to drink more. Prefer tea? As long as it’s caffeine-free and herbal, down it! Just promise us you’ll skip the pre-packaged, pre-sugared water options because they are, in fact, not water.

So we’re hydrating, we’re hydrating…time to eat! Our spa diet mentality works like this: in any given meal or snack, are you getting Protein, Fruits/Vegetables, and Grains (and are you doing so without extraneous Fat and Sugar, or relying on Processed Foods)? If so, ding ding we have a winner! From this formula, it’s easy to form any meal or munchie.

Let’s start with breakfast. Protein could come from fat-free plain Greek yogurt (sprinkled with pomegranate seeds!), egg whites, turkey, or tofu. Happy morning fruits and veggies include everything from melons to mango, and grains taste great in the form of a whole wheat English muffin or a bowl of overnight amaranth (sweetened with a handful of blueberries). So if a menu along the lines of an “egg white omelette with spinach and tomatoes cooked in a touch of olive oil and a whole wheat English muffin next to a glass of caffeine-free green tea” sounds good to you, you’re ready to spa diet.

Lunch and dinner are just as easy. Proteins mean tuna (canned = cannot be easier. Just mix it with mustard or Greek yogurt instead of mayo!), grilled chicken or shrimp, and chickpeas or black beans. Veg it up with leafy greens (kale overload? Try chard or purple spinach!), portabella mushrooms, eggplant, bok choy, spaghetti squash, Brussels sprouts – more of these, less of the corn and potatoes (youknowwhatwemean?). Then, bulk it up with grains – brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, even polenta (aka cornmeal). And before you know it, you’re sitting down to a plate of grilled shrimp over polenta (made with chicken stock instead of butter, natch) with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts dotted with diced persimmons.

Snacking is also a breeze, because of course you’re going to keep an easy-to-access supply of cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, and baby carrots on hand for those munchable moments. And you’re going to be happy as a clam dipping them in salsa (homemade is best, but when time is of the essence, grab one that doesn’t have any added sugar) or Greek yogurt mixed with cucumber, garlic and lemon (hello, you just made tzatziki). Really on the go? A handful of almonds is perfect (yay for good fats!) as are a few apple slices sprinkled with a dash of cinnamon.

Pure inside, pure outside. Our spa diet that truly reflects the tenets of the spa lifestyle – a healthy, smart, clean approach to living. And much like any spa device or technique that promises a too-good-to-be-true-quick-fix-to-all-your-problems solution, the same is true for an eating plan. So take in what you want to project, and fill yourself with real foods for a real rejuvenated you, inside and out. Cheers! (With water. Rosemary cantaloupe water!)

All About Foot Spas

January 23rd, 2015

We attentively moisturize our faces, lovingly manicure our hands, condition each and every strand of delicate hair, but for all the devoted care we lather on our physiques, goodness gracious…what about our feet? Why do we ignore them so? It’s not like we use them for hours a day, or that they’re burdened by the weight of our bodies, or that they get us from here to there and back again. Or anything like that.

With these words, we intend to make feet a touchy subject. As in, “it’s time that we learn to touch our feet.” Because underneath our ankles sit two little chapped heels, ten little squished toes, and a couple of soles in desperate need of some TLC. And so we present, your guide to the wonderful world of foot spas. Which will start with…the act of not leaving your house.

That’s right! Did you know you essentially live in a foot spa? (Or, you will in about three sentences.) Like so many spa treatments today (think ThermaSol’s in-home steam shower systems), pampering your feet can easily happen from the comforts of your casa. Let’s start with the most basic part of foot care: the soak. It’s what every pedicure begins with, and there’s a reason. Soaking one’s feet – a practice that we should all employ much more often than we do – is the first step in relieving our poor peds, and giving them a chance to relax and recharge. Power up a warm water soak with a cup of Epsom salt (or, as scientists like to call it, magnesium sulfate – a compound ideal for its toxin-clearing properties and effectiveness in increasing circulation and minimizing joint pain) and let your toesies chill (well, in warm water) for up to 15 minutes.

And like other spa treatments, infusing your at-home foot soak with essential oils (lavender, a natural pain reliever, and wintergreen, which provides an organic anesthetic quality, are amongst the most popular) will increase the benefits and effectiveness of your foot soak. Follow your sole bath with a generous slathering of moisturizer (you know, with that bottle of foot lotion you got in that gift pack that one time that’s been sitting under the sink for two years…it’s time to break that sucker out!), and wrap your piggies in a clean pair of breathable cotton socks. And tomorrow, you’ll be walking on sunshine. For real.

Ready to go beyond the basics? Bling out your home foot spa with a pumice stone (cheap, light, and available at almost any drug store) and a tub of shea butter (remember: buttered toes, not buttered toast), to take extra special care of dry heels and callouses. And if you’re really serious about putting your best foot forward and creating an ideal in-home spa experience, a portable heated foot bath (make sure it makes bubbles!) is well worth the splurge.

But sometimes, our precious peds need more than just an Epsom bath. And for that, it’s time to delicately strap on your comfiest shoes and turn your toes over to a professional. Brick and mortar foot spas – practices solely devoted to foot care – are amongst the hottest new businesses popping up around the country. Dedicated to the art of reflexology, foot spas go beyond the pedicure to help rejuvenate tired walkers. Outfitted with unique foot-friendly chairs (these are not your typical massage tables, but instead nap-inspiring loungers dressed with uber-thick cushions, allowing you to recline while giving your technician total toe access), foot spas typically offer herbal treatments and invigorating reflexology massages. Warning: those who have ticklish feet need not apply (seriously, it’ll be more discomfort than enjoyment). But if you can handle the sensation, your feet will forever thank you. Reflexology induces pressure points, relieving our insteps and in fact our whole legs.

So as we enter a new year, and dutifully make our resolutions, why not add “Take Better Care Of My Feet” to the list? (Because chances are you already have “Be More Active” on there and, well, happy feet make for happy exercising.) Give your tootsies the loving care they deserve, at home or under the toe-telage of a foot pro, to make every step count, comfortably.

The Korean Spa Experience

January 12th, 2015

Traditional Korean spas, also known as “Jjimjilbangs,” are trending right now in Los Angeles. These full-service spas offer facials, resting areas and even dining rooms. But what makes these hot new spas different from your average ones?

Korean spas are well-known for having a variety of multi-temperature spa rooms. Each dome-shaped room has a different theme and is equipped with a thermally insulated chamber that produces different temperatures – like an oven. In addition to the traditional sauna room, there is usually a hot steam room, as well as unique rooms featuring charcoal, red clay, salt and jade. These rooms feature walls plastered with their respective minerals in order to convey a sense of Zen and keep customers relaxed and stress-free.

Because most Korean spas are open 24 hours a day, they are appealing to a wide variety of people. Customers can range from stay-at-home moms to business men who just got off work. These hours are also appealing to young adults (the fastest growing customer base) who are looking for relaxation after a long night of partying.

The biggest difference between Korean and Western spas is the lack of privacy. While the sexes are separated, all the rooms and areas inside the spa are public. Guests can access and enjoy all of the facilities whenever they want, even if the specific room is occupied. Because of this openness, it’s common that customers arrive in groups and spend an entire afternoon or evening at the spa. Korean spas are popular “girls day out” destinations, as friends can catch up, relax and pamper themselves with scrub massages, facials and manicure sessions. Without the premium of private treatments, the cost of Korean spas is also significantly cheaper than that of traditional Western spas.

If you’re looking to try a Korean spa, they’re popping up all over the USA – especially in Los Angeles. The most popular LA spas are located in Koreatown – Wi Spa  and Crystal Spa. Of course, if you’re looking for absolute privacy, nothing beats a residential steam shower. Companies like ThermaSol produce high-quality steam generators that can be used to turn your existing shower into a steam shower, giving you a 24/7 customized steam experience and a perfect day at the spa.


The Perfect Spa Vacations

December 3rd, 2014

Vacation. Who doesn’t love vacation? A time to relax, a time to unwind, a time to…oh, we’re going to this museum and then dinner and then a club, all before tomorrow when we’re hitting the beach and then shopping and then lunch and then another museum and WHY IS THIS VACATION SO EXHAUSTING?

What if you could do vacation without doing yourself in? A vacation where you don’t come back feeling like you need, you know, another vacation. Not saying we’re psychic or anything like that (we totally are), but we see…a spa vacation in your near future. Imagine getting away and actually getting away – away from the clutter, away from the chaos and noise of every day life – without losing a beat of an amazing travel adventure. Incredible views, great food, luxury accommodations…and no exhaustion.

So where to start. No, literally, “where,” to start. With a spa vacation, your destinations are practically limitless. Which means that whether you’re a sun goddess, a ski bunny, a world traveler, a nature fiend, or anything in between, if you can get there, you can “spa” there. Jonesing for the Caribbean? The Body Holiday in St. Lucia (www.thebodyholiday.com) is the place to be. The stunning Grecian-inspired resort specializes in physical health and harmony, offering myriad activities from yoga to Pilates to water-skiing to golf, all culminating in the property’s five-star Wellness Center, an exclusive relaxation mecca designed to restore and rejuvenate through treatments, exercise, and diet.

In the market for a quicker escape? Skip the whirlwind double-decker bus tour and say “Hello” to a metropolitan pick-me-up! San Francisco’s Cavello Point (www.cavallopoint.com) is the perfect non-passport destination for a spa vacation. Touting views of the city’s most classic icon – the Golden Gate Bridge – from almost every room, Cavello Point has something (relaxing!) for everyone. With modern and rustic lodging options, and an incredible spa offering services far beyond massages and body treatments (they specialize in Integrative Medicine treatments and Healing Arts services, including acupuncture, energy work, and hypnotherapy), Cavello Point is the getaway that isn’t far away. And with two on-site restaurants (and a wine director!), you can enjoy the best of a big city…without the big city exertion.

And if you just can’t decide where to go, plan your spa vacation around exactly what relaxified (that’s a word, right?) experience you want. Thailand’s Chiva-Som Resort (www.chivasom.com) is renowned for it’s skin treatments, while Stowe Mountain Lodge (www.stowemountainlodge.com), nestled in the Vermont mountains, is a locavore’s dream – the prime spot for a spa-seeking foodie.

A spa vacation truly is the best of all worlds…in every corner of the world. It’s the perks of travel (a new location!) without the demands of being a tourist (why is this bus/boat/train/subway so crowded!). It’s the opportunity to discover new kinds of relaxation and connect with a destination in a unique, organic way. So pack your yoga mat (sorry high heels…you’re staying at home), and take a vacation…from your normal vacation.

Pet Friendly Spas

October 9th, 2014

As you can tell from our previous post, spas have gone to the dogs. Literally. We’re talking gourmet pet menus, custom canine walking trails, and puppy massages.

Enter the latest trend in the world of relaxation – pet-friendly spas. And why the woof not! If a dog is a man’s best friend, doesn’t it make sense that you’d want to share all the comforts and Zen of a spa experience with your BFF? We definitely think so. And we’re not alone.

Spas and hotels around the country are quickly becoming havens for both two- and four-footed creatures. And we’re not just talking about resorts that allow pets to stay in their owners’ rooms. These spots have our tails positively wagging with pet perks. Vermont’s Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa is the perfect place for the active pup (and their human). Located on 60 acres of beautiful terrain, doggies go nuts for the Stowe Rec Path, a five mile trail through the property’s woods and farmland, complete with stops at swimming holes so Rover can cool off. The hotel’s rooms and townhouses are pleased to welcome canine guests, giving the furrier amongst us a spot to relax while you take in the spa and four-star dining at Stoweflake.

But if you’re looking to pause your paws and enjoy some pampering in the great indoors, La Quinta Resort & Club just outside of Palm Springs, California is the place to go. On the menu: an hour-long relaxation massage for your dog…or the opportunity to enjoy a “Pupples Massage,” where you can receive treatment at the same time as your pet, from your guest room! La Quinta’s mission isn’t just about on-the-spot relaxation; they take interested owners through the steps of the canine massage, showing you how to implement techniques they practice at the resort.


Back on the east coast, at the Inn by the Sea in Crescent Beach, Maine, it’s a toss up as to whether their furry guests get even better treatment their tail-less clients. The stunning property is like a coastal vision from a storybook. And with their “INNcredible Pets” package, the picture perfect scene gets even better. You get two nights in one of their gorgeous suites; Fido gets an Inn by the Sea dog bowl, a personalized LL Bean puppy bed, a 30-minute in-room doggie massage, selections from their gourmet pet menu, and nightly pet turndown service (featuring, of course, a locally made seasonal dog treat). Cue lots of slobbering.

And, if you happen to be more of a cat person (we did NOT say Cat Lady. Those were your words.), never fear…the pet-friendly spa world loves you too! Like The Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach, whose spacious rooms open their arms to dogs and cats alike, even offer massage services for both pups and kitties. (And if your little Garfield will stay on a leash, you can even walk your cat around the lobby!).

So next time you’re wondering, “To board, or not to board?”, pack up the water dishes and BYOP (that’s, Bring Your Own Pet) along to the spa. We know they’ll love it as much as you do. (Disclaimer: we cannot be held responsible for excessive amounts of purring or puppy kisses due to exposure to relaxing pet spa experiences.)

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