Archive for 2009

What is Balneotherapy?

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Healthy WaterThe term balneotherapy refers to any spa treatment that you might get that is associated with water, assuming there is a medical benefit to the treatment. This means that the term “balneotherapy” is generally applied to everything that we usually experience during our spa treatments, since the majority of spa treatments do have mental and physical health benefits.

Everything you do while your at the spa, that has a medical benefit and involves water, from drinking water at the spa, to soaking or taking a steam bath all fall under the umbrella of balneotherapy. It even encompasses various kinds of mud and sand facials that are used in spa treatments. The only time you wouldn’t lump a spa treatment into this category is if the treatment is for entertainment value only or if it does not involve some type of water or liquid. This means that nearly all spa treatments are also known as balneotherapy.

Balneotherapy can be used to treat a variety of illnesses and ailments. The most serious illnesses that use balneotherapy to relieve symptoms include cardiovascular disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, anxiety, insomnia, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, spinal cord injury, spasticity, stroke, acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, lichen planus and scleroderma. Other benefits from balneotherapy treatments include the reduction of pain, acceleration of collateral blood circulation, elevation of cellular fluids, relaxation of muscles as well as numerous healing benefits from the absorption of minerals and botanical substances.

Many spas in resort towns base their treatments on their local thermal or mineral water which they use for their treatments as they offer an additional health benefit due to their mineral rich makeups. The belief in the holistic and medical powers of mineral water goes back to prehistoric times and are popular world-wide, but are especially popular in Europe and Japan.

Some typical minerals that can be absorbed through spa treatments include: silica, sulfur, selenium, radium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, lithium, potassium, manganese, bromine, and iodine. Some typical herbs that are used in balneotherapy include rose buds, lavender, peppermint, strawberry leafs, Clary, tea leafs, rosemary, raspberry leaf, orange petals, orange peels, lemon grass, chamomile, rosemary, sage, rose hips and more.

Balneotherapy isn’t just an age old theory and therapy, but one that focuses on alternative medicine, health and wellness benefits. So next time you go to the spa, take comfort in the fact that while it might be extremely enjoyable, it is also good for you and part of a larger category of therapy known as balneotherapy.

Enjoy a Spa on your Winter Vacation

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Now is the time of the year that people are taking, or planning their winter vacations. We thought that we would remind you that a great way to ensure that you get some rest and relaxation is by visiting a spa while you are on your travels. We all know that vacations (especially family vacations) can often be less relaxing than we would prefer, no matter where the location. But if you take some time out of your day to hit the hotel spa or a nearby day spa you will at the very least reduce your stress so you will not need a vacation from your vacation.

Alps Thermal Spa

Alps Thermal Spa

For those of you that are visiting the Alps during your vacation you’ll no doubt take part in skiing, snowshoeing and wine tasting activities. When your muscles get sore, or even just to break up all the winter activities make sure to visit the spas and the natural hot springs in your area. With the right balance of spa time you can have an active vacation that is also extremely relaxing and memorable for all the right reasons.

In any United States city you can pair your daily activities and sightseeing with amazing spa treatments (for when your feet get sore).  As one of the locations of SpaWeek, New York City is one of the best cities to enjoy a spa day.  When you’re in the Big Apple you have got to go to one of the amazing luxury spas in Manhattan if your wallet can handle it. If you’re in Los Angeles there are plenty of places that you can enjoy when you have some down time for a lot or even a little money (Chinese foot massages are amazing and very affordable in LA). If you are vacationing outside of a city take a look at the local spas, you might just find a beautiful, rustic spa that will become your favorite part of the vacation. For more posts about spas in California or Arizona click the links: California Spas & Arizona Spas.

If you are visiting a country in the Eastern part of the world, you will be vacationing in a land that may have invented the ancient holistic and spiritual healing treatments offered at the spas. Asian spa treatments are designed to restore inner calm, improve memory, balance emotions, refresh the body, enhance skin complexion and more. Some of the treatments you can expect to see at these types of spas include traditional Chinese medicine, gem therapy, crystal therapy, aromatherapy, chromatherapy, sound therapy and other Asian spa treatments.

For those of you that visit the Tropics during your winter vacation, if you take some time away from the beaches and the scuba diving to try a spa you may be pleasantly surprised. Often spas in tropical locations are right on the beach at the water’s edge and offer everything from body scrubs and wraps to manicures, pedicures and facials, allowing you to enjoy being pampered in a beautiful, calm environment.

Many of us just can’t get away this year for a winter vacation. If you are part of this “vacationless” club that might be taking a staycation this year instead of a real vacation, don’t fret, for you too can take a spa day for yourself! Many people are staying home this year, and this means that you may find your favorite spa busier than usual so be prepared and book ahead. Also, this year we are seeing more people taking their vacation money and putting it into remodeling their master bathrooms to transform them into their own, personal home spa. This is a great alternative to a vacation, because with your own home spa you will be able to escape to your own personal retreat any time you’d like while increasing the value of your home.

Whether you are planning an elaborate vacation in the French Alps, or if you are planning on taking a day off from work for a spa day, we hope you find everything you’re looking for and enjoy the rest and relaxation you deserve.

Wrapper’s Delight – Latest Trends in Body Wraps

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

While most people spend the holiday season wrapping gifts, wrapping up to-do lists, and wrapping newly minted Snuggies around their shoulders to stave off the winter chill, we’d like to turn your attention to a wrap of a different sort: the body wrap. So what’s new about this ever-popular (and tightly wound) spa menu staple? Here’s your very own “wrap sheet” on body wrapping’s latest trends:

Cuckoo for Cocoa Wraps, Attention chocoholics. Looking for a spa treatment that will leave your mouth watering and your skin aglow? Look no further than the chocolate body wrap, a service popping up on spa menus faster than you can say “Willy Wonka.” While you’re (sadly) not head-to-to in cocoa (the wrap is usually a sea clay infused with the essence of chocolate), the benefits are still delicious. Chocolate naturally softens the skin, detoxifies pores, and don’t even get me started on the aromatic value. Check out the Deluxe Chocolate Body Wrap at the Carnegie Hotel in Tennessee (carnegiehotel.com).

And While We’re on the Subject… While chocolate is by far the flavor of the hour, the fusion of food and body wraps is taking a close 2nd on the spa-dometer. So if cocoa isn’t your thing, keep your eyes peeled for wine-infused wraps, mojito-inspired treatments, and even a turmeric & yogurt wrap. (And yes, that’s a spa treatment, not lunch.) The medicinal powers of these fruit- and herb-based treatments benefit the skin and body in fantastic ways, so look for the one best suited for you.

Make Mine a Combo Body wraps are quickly becoming the “plus-one” item to add into your spa package. While everyone’s done the traditional facial/massage combo, body wraps are now taking their turn in the spa combo spotlight. Next time you have a spa day, opt for a massage immediately following your body wrap; it’s the perfect moisturizing and energizing complement to the detoxifying and cleansing power of the wrap.

Customary, Customized. In my book, simple is always trendy. And what better way to detoxify your skin than being layered in richly infused oils? Herbal body wraps are an always-relaxing and decadently aromatic treatment that provides equal pleasure from nose-to-toes (while also helping to improve the appearance of stretch marks, and toning the skin). The trendy side to this classic treatment? Customizing your wrap with your favorite infused oils and scents – just ask at your spa before you go in!

Think East: The Asian Spa Revolution

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009
Gold Sauna Room

Gold Sauna Room

It was just over a year ago when I first went to Spa Castle, an Asian spa emporium in New York (nyspacastle.com). I’d heard about it for weeks from an enthusiastic friend who promised to take me on my first outing. You’d think she was making a commission the way she described it. So in my typical jaded fashion, I walked in, awaiting disappointment, mediocrity, and perhaps a whirlpool bath or two, when I saw the grandeur in front of me and never looked back. I was hooked.

Let the Asian spa revolution begin.

Cucumber Facial

Cucumber Facial

A surprising combination of typical Asian saunas and luxurious European spas, Spa Castle, and others like it (including Spa Castle’s branches in Dallas and the Poconos, and similar Los Angeles incarnations like Olympic Spa (olympicspala.com) offer a wonderful fusion of east and west, for a spa experience like you’ve never had before. And I don’t say that lightly. That’s because the Asian spa isn’t for everybody. Modesty must be checked at the door (along with your shoes and clothes, which are tucked away separately in neat locking compartments). Most spas issue robes or comfortable outfits to wear as you drift between saunas, pools, quiet meditation rooms, invigorating treatments, and the requisite restaurant (filled with Korean delicacies, and, of course, tea). Some, like Spa Castle, are co-ed, while L.A.’s Olympic Spa only allows women. But both offer relaxation like you could not imagine.

LED Sauna

LED Sauna

Saunas abound – that should be Spa Castle’s motto. With seven sauna rooms (ranging from the L.E.D. room that incorporates color therapy as a means of improving your mood, to the Iceland cold sauna room which improves blood circulation after being immersed in heat), there’s literally something for everyone. And at Olympic Spa, their carefully designed treatment areas leave you renewed, refreshed, and cleansed. From their Charcoal Therapy Room (where naturally formed stone emits oxygen, detoxifying the skin) to the warm mineral pool and oriental clay dry sauna, can you imagine a more rejuvenating and unique experience? And all for a flat day rate. That’s right – admission to the spas include access to all rooms, for nearly as long as you’d like. For anything extra (like massages, reflexology, shiatsu, and skin scrubs), you simply pay-per-treatment.

Different? Absolutely. Amazing? Without question. A day at an Asian spa is a wonderful and relaxing experience, and a fascinating look into spa fusion of the future.

Jade Stone Massage Therapy at Le Petite Retreat

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009
Jade Massage

Jade Massage

Much like a hot stone massage, Jade Stone Massage Therapy is a similar treatment which uses hot and cold Jade stones to loosen up your muscles. One of our favorite day spas that offer this service is the Le Petite Retreat day spa in Los Angeles which offers this massage as their signature treatment. Their hands-on Swedish-Deep combo massage incorporates hot & cool stones that are massaged into your body.  The heat helps to relax your muscle tissue & the coolness helps reduce inflammation & flushes out toxins through your lymphatic system. They also integrate Shiatsu & Thai massage strokes for therapeutic results which tend to make this massage last longer than other massages. This is a great treatment for individuals and couples, and is the only massage of its kind in LA. The cost of this massage is $150 for one hour at Le Petite Retreat.

Top Three Aromatherapy Essential Oils

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Many people look to aromatherapy as a natural healing method for the mind and body. We feel this practice can have powerful results in the wellness and health aspects of your life, and try to encourage people to use these products as part of their natural relaxation or meditation process. Here are some reviews of our favorite essential oils which can all be found at the ThermaSol Aromatherapy Store online at www.ThermaSol.com

By combining the Lavender scent from the French Lavender Essential Oil with your shower or steam shower you will experience a calming and relaxing feeling like none-other. This aromatherapy scent is made with true lavender, and is not made from synthetic materials. This will allow you to feel the true soothing effects that civilizations across the world have achieved for hundreds of years from this aromatherapy oil. Other benefits from this essential oil include skin beautification, the ability to aid in the healing of burns, headache relief, depression relief, nervousness and anxiety relief and helping to achieve deep, restful sleep.

French Rosemary Essential Oil has a fresh, herbaceous fragrance and naturally disinfects respiratory and sinus passages and improves sluggish circulation.  This scent’s origins also date back hundreds of years, and Shakespeare’s Hamlet even references “Rosemary for remembrance”. This reference to Rosemary refers to i’s ability to increase blood circulation to the brain when inhaled.  Rosemary Essential Oils also increase blood flow to the skin when applied topically.  Rosemary is wonderfully fragrant oil that can be massaged into the skin for muscle pain, soreness or stiffness.  It is also used to treat varicose veins that may feel “heavy.”  It also helps to relieve headaches, improve memory and concentration by increasing blood flow to the brain. It also acts as an astringent and will help regulate oily hair follicles which makes it perfect for mixing with your shampoo. For thinning hair, dry scalp or oily hair, you should add 2 drops of Rosemary Oil to your shampoo applications daily for a wonderful feeling.

Many of get a cold or flu this time of year and one of the best ways to aleivate the symptoms from the common cold are through the use of Eucalyptus Essential Oils. Eucalyptus is well known for its use in Vicks VapoRub, and has long been used in treating coughs or respiratory congestion.  Because of this product’s rich content of 1.8 cineol, it offers a solution for clear, cool and healthy breathing.  Eucalyptus is also a wonderful air purifier and can be diffused to kill germs in infectious or polluted environments.

The Benefits of Hot Stone Massage

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Hot Stone Massage

As the holidays are fast approaching, we at Talk Spas understand that many of you might be in need of a spa treatment BEFORE Christmas arrives in order to relieve some built-up stress and tension. One excellent spa treatment that is used to remedy holiday stress is known as a Hot Stone Massage (also known as Hot Stone Therapy). This type of massage uses heated, water-treated stones (such as basalt and lava rocks) which are placed at specific sites on your body to promote relaxation, and to help open up the energy pathways in your body. These stones act as a pre-treatment for your muscles, allowing the therapist to easily perform deep tissue manipulations. In some cases, the massage therapist may even alternate cool stones with the hot stones (read more about cold spa treatments here). Various massage oils may also be incorporated into the massage treatment to enhance the experience.

For centuries, Native Americans and Asian cultures have been using hot stone massage for its therapeutic benefits. The technique has been used as early as 1500 BC due to its ability to improve overall mental, spiritual, and physical wellness. Hot stone massage also helps to detoxify the body, find harmony and balance within the body, provide relief from injury, and relieve muscle aches and tension. Present day benefits of hot stone massage are still very similar to the age old benefits from centuries past.

Wellness Benefits

Hot stone therapy is an excellent treatment for those looking to achieve mental wellness. The heated stones are placed strategically along pressure points on the body to help melt away tension and create a calming feeling. This calming effect is excellent for the well-being of the recipient, as the stress of everyday life will diminish — or even disappear entirely from just one treatment. The deep muscle massage promotes tissue relaxation, alleviates stress, releases built-up toxins from your muscles, relieves pain and improves circulation; which will help make you feel better while promoting your psyche.

In addition to these wellness benefits, the use of aromatherapy oils is often used to help rejuvenate your mind. While the heat from the stones is seen as a positive energy flow into your body, and gives your body a sense of harmony and balance; the aromatherapy scents will bring you pleasant thoughts and feelings, helping you feel at peace. Some people also use hot stone therapy as a way to improve their spiritual wellness.

Health Benefits

Hot stone massage also has actual physical and health benefits. Aside from the obvious relief that one gets from muscle aches and pain, the penetrating heat helps relieve pain associated with medical conditions such as arthritis, severe back pain, Fibromylagia, and Multiple Sclerosis. Hot stone massage also improves blood circulation, stimulating the flow of oxygen and nutrients in and out of your muscles and blood, helping your body to detoxify and heal while keeping your heart healthy. Some mental health conditions like insomnia, depression and anxiety can be relieved through the regular use of hot stone massage.

All in all, hot stone therapy is a wonderful treatment for the body, mind and spirit. The majority of medical and day spas offer this treatment on their menus, so it is easy for you to take the time to treat yourself to a relaxing hot stone massage during this stressful time of the year. If you are feeling stressed, treat yourself today, so you will have a truly happy holiday!

Spa Chakra Closing Down and Selling All Assets

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

We know times are tough, but the news from the global spa network Spa Chakra Inc., might be a bad sign for the spa industry. Today Spa Chakra Inc. announced that it is filing for bankruptcy and is in the process of selling all of its assets to Hercules Technology Growth Capital Inc.

As part of the filing, Spa Chakra has arranged for immediate financing from Hercules, which will be used by Spa Chakra to fund normal business operations during the sale process. Spa Chakra also said it has received the Court approval to honor and fulfill gift card and customer loyalty programs, and pay its employees, so make sure to use your gift cards now!

Here’s two other posts mentioning Spa Chakra:

http://talkspas.com/tag/canyon-ranch-spaclub/

http://talkspas.com/2009/11/17/spafinders-2009-readers-choice-awards/

Things To Consider Before Installing A Steam Shower

Friday, December 11th, 2009

The bathroom that you are planning on installing the steam shower in should be in good shape. You don’t want to spend money on a luxury item such as a steam shower if your bathroom already needs work. You’re better off investing the money into fixing up your bathroom.

Make sure your current bathroom fan is vented directly to the outdoors, and that it is big enough to move enough air to displace the steam from your steam shower. If your contractor thinks the fan is too small, then make sure to install a larger one.

Make sure you have a suitable location to install the steam generator, so that it will function properly and meet local codes. You’ll need an area where electrical and plumbing lines can be run to and from the unit and where you can get access to the steam unit itself. Most steam generators are fairly small, about 1 foot wide by 2 feet long, so finding a good installation space is usually not an issue.

You will need to install a “steam door” which is a special glass shower door that can completely seals the opening around the tub/shower area so the steam cannot escape. Depending on your setup, this door may have to be custom built, which may add even more money to an already expensive job.

Steam Shower

Steam Shower

How To Size A Steam Shower Generator

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

This post provided by ThermaSol Steam Showers

There are 2 methods for sizing generators:

Non-ThermaSol Steam Generator Sizing Method:
If you have ever bought a steam generator that was not a ThermaSol then you are well aware of the “formula”:

Provide Length x Width x Height of the room.
Adjustment to room volume for: natural Stones: natural marble, stone, shale, glass block or concrete. Multiply by X.
Ceramic or porcelain tile on cement board or mortar board. Multiply by Y.
Number of glass panels. Add X %.
Any windows or sky lights? Multiply by X.
Then add for outside walls, how many? Add Y for one, Z for 2 etc.
Add X % for ceiling height.
Now calculate your adjusted cubic footage.

After completing this formula that is the equivalent of filling out a “tax return”, chances for error are great and if you have a problem that the generator is not making enough steam, it’s your fault! And, as one of the steam shower manufacturer says… even if you did everything as requested, it’s only a recommendation and if it’s not correct it’s your fault. Other steam shower companies want you to physically send them the plans!

ThermaSol Sizing Method:
Simple Sizing: Length x Width x Height = Cubic Footage; then choose your unit from the Price Schedule.

Summary:
ThermaSol’s sizing method offers multiple advantages:

1. Simple and can be sized by anyone. (no complicated tax return formula)
2. Little chance to select the wrong generator size. (great potential for error with competitive sizing, and it’s your problem)
3. With a ThermaSol brand steam shower generator you can still buy the correct unit even if you haven’t chosen wall materials. (cannot be done by the competitors; they must know material to size the unit)
4. If you choose a type of tile and then change their mind, it’s no problem. (competitors unit will not be sufficient if they change to a more porous material; huge problem)
5. ThermaSol generator number provides added assurance since the number tells you how many cubic feet it does. (A Pro 240 does 240 cubic feet, a Pro 650 does 650 cubic feet, etc.)
5. For peace of mind there is only one sizing method that makes sense: Simple Sizing by ThermaSol.

ThermaSol, the choice of professionals worldwide since 1958.


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