Archive for January, 2015

Spa Diet

Thursday, 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

Friday, 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

Monday, 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.

 


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