Archive for the ‘Health Beauty Fitness’ Category

Fall Detox

Thursday, 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.

thermasol-steam-shower

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…)

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!)

The Perfect Spa Vacations

Wednesday, 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.

Spa Trend: Ganban’yoku

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

ganban-yoku

For thousands of years, Japan has been leading the way in the health arts and sciences. Strong proponents of holistic medicine and treatments, the Japanese are naturally drawn to spa-like amenities that utilize heat to correct imbalances in the body; one such treatment is ganban’yoku.

A ganban is a sizable piece of granite that is inserted into the floor and heated up to a low temperature. Under a trained therapist’s care, a patient can lay on the ganban, allowing their bodies to gradually heat up. The ganban’yoku treatment is often referred to as “bedrock bathing without hot water” and the amount of sweat that is emitted from the body during a session is said to be more than what would be emitted during a hot sauna session. Unique to the ganban’yoku are infrared rays and negative ions which pass through the ganban stones; such elements are said to have a number of positive effects on the body. Even a single ganban’yoku session can begin to improve blood circulation, skin composition, immunity to disease, stiff joints, back pain and mental stress. It can also have a positive effect on metabolism, weight loss and detoxification. In recent times, the ganban’yoku spa trend has moved westward to top-notch spas, gyms, hotels, golf courses, ski resorts, hospitals and even into peoples’ private homes. In fact, the new Las Vegas Aria Resort and Casino features a luxury ganban’yoku that is extremely popular with guests.

True to all other holistic therapies, ganban’yoku utilizes simple, natural elements to offer its users an authentic experience that can potentially heal on a deep level. Undoubtedly, ganban’yoku is a spa trend that is here to stay.

Spa Detox: Recipes for Juicing Away the Toxins

Friday, February 24th, 2012

spa juice detox

There’s a good reason why many spas have a juice bar available to their guests; juicing fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs is not only a great way to get a rapid infusion of vitamins, minerals and other plant based nutrients into your system, it’s also a highly effective way to rid the body of toxins built up from poor diet and environmental factors. Juicing is great for cleansing the liver and it also improves the health of the heart and cardiovascular system. Vegetable juice alkalizes your system, making your PH level less acidic; as a result, brain function improves and the aging process slows down. Juicing is also great for skin, hair and nail health. The best part about juicing is you don’t always have to pay the exorbitant prices spas charge for juice – you can just make it at home with a juicer from the local appliance store. Here are some of Talk Spas favorite recipes for juicing away toxins:

Watermelon Ultra- Detox

Watermelon is a fruit that is excellent for detoxification. The strawberries are added into this recipe to boost vitamin C and the blackberries are a great source of folic acid.

Ingredients:

6 oz watermelon
5 strawberries
10 blackberries

Juice all ingredients at a cool temperature. (more…)

Top 5 Sea Salt Scrub Recipes

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Salt Scrub

Sea salt is a common ingredient in beauty products because it is proven to do wonders for the health and purity of the skin. It contains minerals that exfoliate, it helps to improve circulation, flush out toxins and also reduce inflammation of the skin. Sea salt is derived from evaporated water and when mixed with essential oils, makes the ultimate natural beauty product. Using a sea salt scrub is as simple as using soap; just put some on the tip of your fingers and gently rub the skin in a circular motion. This action, done regularly over time, removes dead skin cells and reveals fresh, living skin beneath. The best part is you don’t have to buy some overpriced name-brand sea scrub; you can just make your own at home for relatively little cost. The Talk Spas editorial team is thrilled to share 5 of our favorite sea salt scrub recipes:

Rosemary & Peppermint Sea Salt Scrub

Ingredients:

Coarse grain sea salt (2 cups)
Olive Oil (1 cup)
Liquid glycerin soap (1/4 oz.)
Rosemary essential oil (5 drops)
Peppermint essential oil (5 drops)

Preparation:

Heat the oil and soap in pot until warm. Then stir in the salt and add the rosemary and peppermint essential oils. Allow to cool before use. (more…)

Splish & Splash: Best Water Therapies for the Mind, Body & Soul

Monday, January 23rd, 2012
thalassotherapy

Thalassotherapy, a form of water therapy

Since the dawn of civilization, water therapy has been used to not only relax the mind, body and soul, but also to alleviate acute, transient, and chronic conditions. Water therapy, which comes in many different forms, can improve muscle strength and tone, increase cardiovascular function, reduce stress, decrease swelling, enhance circulation, increase strength and endurance, facilitate better range of motion and flexibility, and increase balance and coordination. There are many different approaches to water therapy, some influenced by culture, others by nature, and still others by advancements in technology. The Talk Spas editorial team is big on water therapy and we’ve put together the following list of the best water therapies out there:

Thalassotherapy

Thalassotherapy is a therapy in which the properties of seawater are utilized to benefit the body through the pores of the skin. The therapy is applied in various forms, including: showers of warmed seawater, application of marine mud or algae paste, or the inhalation of sea fog. Many spas make hot seawater and provide mud and seaweed wrapping services. Thalassotherapy
is used to help treat stress, cellulite, rheumatism, arthritis and a variety of skin conditions

Sitz Bath

The sitz bath is a highly effective and noninvasive form of hydrotherapy. It involves sitting in a shallow pool of hot or cold water, which rises up to the hips, and may contains essential oils or bath salts. People with hemorrhoids, menstrual problems and some forms of urogenital infections may benefit from the use of sitz baths. It works by keeping the affected area clean and increasing blood flow.

Watsu

Watsu
is a form of balletic shiatsu, a therapeutic bodywork for the water. Supported by your therapist, you are moved through a warm water pool in a manner that your limbs are flexed and stretched for ultimate relaxation. Watsu opens up both the body and mind, and helps to release physical and mental tension. (more…)

Steam Showers for Better Health in 2012!

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

In 2012, many people have made New Year’s resolutions to improve their lives; using steam showers for better health should undoubtedly be a part of those resolutions.

Silky Smooth Skin

Steam benefits are innumerable and there is almost nothing that is better for the health of skin, both on the surface and beneath the epidermis, than the heavy sweating produced by spending time in the steam shower. Even more so than washing with soap and water, you can use steam showers for better health of the skin, awakening and opening up pores, and forcing deep-seated dirt, oil and dead skin cells to be thoroughly flushed out. This method also goes a long way towards leaving skin feeling clean and silky smooth. Additionally, you can use steam showers for better health by increasing blood circulation, bringing vital nutrients like vitamins and minerals directly to the skin surface and significantly enriching it. All it takes is one look at an individual who regularly spends time in the steam shower; their healthy and glowing look will be proof that fantastic skin is a great benefit of steam showers.

Stress Buster

Our daily lives and environment cause us numerous stresses; the rigors of work, family life and financial pressures can cause enough stress to make us sick. Thankfully, you can turn to steam showers for better health and utilize them to lower stress instantly, and with regular use, potentially eliminate your stress all together. A steam shower benefits the unwanted condition of stress in several ways including: lowering high blood pressure, reducing the severity of cardiovascular disease, easing migraine headaches and melting away muscle tension. All it takes is spending 15-20 minutes sitting in a steam shower. Additionally, you can utilize steam showers for better health because they reduce stress by promoting relaxation, calming the mind and facilitating a deep, restful night of sleep. In this day and age, stress is commonly referred to as the “silent killer,” but by utilizing steam showers, stress can be a thing of the past.

Detox Rocks!

Polluted air, water and food results in some pretty nasty things happening within our bodies. What do you do about it? You use steam showers for better health and detoxify all the pollutants. Detoxification is a prime benefit of the steam room and in most cases, far easier and more effective than other methods including dieting, fasting and taking questionable detox supplements. The human body has approximately 3 million sweat glands and during a typical steam room session, 25 to 30 percent of toxins can be sweat out. The benefits of using a steam showers to detoxify cannot be overstated, as the long term negative effects of environmental pollution have the ability to cause significant damage to the body. Steam showering can reduce those risks through detoxification and keep the body functioning at a high level. Additionally, steam showers can be utilized in conjunction with other detoxification therapies in order to enhance the overall effect of toxic elimination. With a detoxification plan that incorporates steam showers for better health, the road to wellness in the New Year doesn’t have to be a long and arduous journey

Modern Health Features

In addition to providing soothing steam, you can use steam showers for better health in ways you may have never imagined. Music can be very relaxing for the mind and some modern steam showers, like those by ThermaSol, come with audio devices or are equipped to handle external audio devices to enhance the steam shower experience. ThermaSol products also factor in to the theme of steam showers for better health because of the holistic features in their steam showers. They offer an aromatherapy oil well where once you place a few drops of oil, it merges with the steam and provide a sensational experience. An additional feature that can be added to the steam shower is chromatherapy light, believed to balance energy.

The steam routine is a lifelong commitment that takes time and dedication. However, the benefits of taking the time to relax the body, get the circulation going, detox impurities, enhance the health of the skin, and in general pamper the body and mind in the New Year, are well worth the effort.

Benefits of Bath Oils

Monday, January 16th, 2012
The benfits of bath oils

The benfits of bath oils

Bath oils have probably been around a lot longer than you think; the people of the Stone Age were known to combine olive and sesame oils with fragrance to create a soothing bathing experience. There is documentation that most cultures utilized bath oils for both luxury and aromatherapeutic benefits, as well as to counter dry skin.

Today, the use of bath oils has been refined to a science and it is well known that when oil is mixed with water, it has an ability to penetrate deep into skin tissue and provide rejuvenation. Oil bathing is commonplace in South Asia, especially India, but it is also commonly practiced in the Western world, too. Spas all over North America, Canada and Europe offer various oil treatments, and individuals who practice home spa rituals also make use of bath oils. Aside from rejuvenating skin tissue, many claims have been made about the benefits of bath oils. Prevention against cancer is one claim, though there has been no substantial research to support it. However, oils baths are believed to build stronger immunity to viral and bacterial infections, and skin conditions. Due to there intrinsic warmth, they also improve blood circulation by dilating blood vessels; benefits include reduction in fatigue and stiffness in joints, and increased range of motion in joints. Another obvious direct benefit of taking an oil bath is the resulting health and glow of the skin. Oil keeps the collagen in the skin supple and the result is a younger and fresher look for a longer period of time. There are a plethora of different types of oils that work well in the bath – far too many to name here – but here are a few of the most popular to give you an idea:

Lavender – Well known for its calming properties, lavender is among the best oils to use in the bath as it is known to have some anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.

Sandalwood – This is a fragrance that is often used to enhance other fragrances in perfume and it has a similar effect on other fragrances added to the bath. Sandalwood has been said to work well in treating anxiety and it also may have anti-depressant properties.

Tea Tree – This highly potent oil has antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties and as such, makes an excellent choice for use in the bath.

Frankincense – For an incredible aroma that is sure to make your bath a pleasurable experience, use frankincense. As an added benefit, the oil may improve your digestion and have a beneficial effect on your muscles and joints.

Additionally, sesame oil, coconut oil, mustard oil and apricot are some of the best oils for rejuvenation. The next time you take a bath, just remember that all it takes is a few drops of oil to transform your bland bath into a dynamic home spa experience.

Full Circle: From Ancient Swedana to Modern Steam Showers

Friday, December 30th, 2011
Swedana

Swedana steam therapy

Steam therapy dates back thousands of years to numerous ancient cultures all over the world, among the oldest being India. Though we’ve made technological strides in the “steam” field, all the way up to the most modern steam showers designed and manufactured by companies like ThermaSol, it’s always fascinating to look back.

Swedana is an ancient Ayurvedic healing technique that was first mentioned in holy Indian texts. Still practiced today in India and spas all over the world, the treatment involves sitting in an enclosed, herbal-infused steam box or tent for around 30 minutes. The custom herbal preparations, created by an Ayurvedic physician, stimulate oxygen flow through the body as the steam opens up the pores and triggers the body’s natural sweating process.; once the pores are open, deep seated toxins can be released. Other immediate benefits of swedana include: enhanced skin, increased circulation, ease of muscle pain, and a state of relaxation. In Ayurveda, the larger purpose of swedana is to relieve excess doshas from the body – one of three bodily humors that make up one’s constitution – establishing a state of balance that promotes general health.

Building upon the knowledge of ancient cultures that utilized steam therapy on a regular basis, today we have modern steam shower manufacturers who bring a high level of design and technology into peoples’ homes with their products. ThermaSol, the leader in the steam shower industry, offers customers the only 100% digital networked steam systems in the world – the safest and most reliable technology. They go the extra mile, offering customers a combination of quality and value, with standard features like: FastStart™ Technology, providing steam in seconds; whisper quiet functionality; constant steam at a constant rate, meaning no interruptions in steam; all metal controls with advanced PVD lifetime finishes; superior style, including matching controls, remotes and steamheads in traditional and contemporary styles; a lifetime warranty; and all the green benefits of steam.

Modern steam shower by ThermaSol

Modern steam shower by ThermaSol

Steam therapy, in combination with an overall healthy lifestyle, is a method of achieving and maintaining a state of well being that has been proven over the course of thousands of years. With modern steam shower technology, it’s also a method that is easy to bring into the home bath environment.


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