Archive for the ‘Health Beauty Fitness’ Category

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.

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.

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!

Luxurious Spa Gifts

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

There are a number of amazing spa gifts you can get for your friends and family this year, but if you’re looking to go the extra mile by shelling out the big bucks you might consider one of these luxurious spa gifts:

1. Crystal Massage Therapy: For centuries people have worn crystal and jade because of the belief that they contained healing properties. These treatments are widespread across Asia and are spreading into Europe and western society. Although there is no medical proof that crystals, diamonds or jade hold any healing benefits, if the person that you are giving this gift to believes that they do have healing benefits, then it’s as good as if they have been proven by the medical society. You can purchase these services at a number of high end spas, including the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, Twelve Apostles Hotel and Sanctuary Spa in Cape Town and Twelve Apostles Hotel and Sanctuary Spa in Cape Town. Read more about Crystal Massage Therapy here.

Crystal Massage

Crystal Massage

2. Gold Facial: The 24 Karat Gold Facial has become more and more popular in the past decade, because of it’s ability to reduce file lines on the face and to prevent aging. This treatment is only available at a handful of spas and beauty centers in the country, including the Veronica Spa in Malibu California, where they use 24 Karat Gold, Gama PGA and Nano Mist technology to help lighten, brighten and hydrate your skin to leave it firmer and younger feeling. The Willow Stream Spa At Fairmont Newport Beach also offers a gold facial using the same technique as the Veronica Spa. Read more about gold facials here.

Gold Facial

Gold Facial

3. Luxury Spa Retreat: Who wouldn’t want to get away from it all, to have nothing to worry about but relaxing and enjoying high end treatments and services? There are hundreds, if not thousands of luxury spas in the country, all which offer nothing but the highest level of service with their luxury treatments. You can find a full, complete list of luxury spas in the US through the use of Spa Finder’s search tool.

Two Bunch Palms Resort

Two Bunch Palms Resort

4. Installation of a Steam Shower – The ultimate spa gift is having your own luxury steam shower. A steam shower will bring with it an added luxury that will not only increase the value of your home, but also increase your enjoyment and add endless home spa options to your home relaxation. Steam showers can be affordable, but make sure to have the pros install it if you don’t trust yourself with the installation because no gift should turn into a project gone wrong.

Steam Shower

Steam Shower

Top 5 Spa Back Treatments

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Many of us have had to battle with back pain and headaches due to back and neck issues. We have tried many different techniques and treatments, but one treatment still remains the most effective and safe in our minds. Take a look at our list of the top treatments to find out which one is our favorite!

Note: We are not medical professionals and this article is simply an opinion piece, and not to be taken as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before using any of these treatments.

5. Chiropractic Adjustments – Many people swear by the relief they receive from Chiropractic Treatments. Personally, however, we are not necessarily fans of this practice, as it is the only really invasive treatment on the list (besides perhaps acupuncture). We feel that we owe it to our readers to include it though, because if all of the other options on this list have been exhausted then it is worth a shot and may work for you.

4. Somatic Exercises- Somatic Exercises, Hanna Somatics or Somatic Education are all a type of treatment that has been generally used to help people who have back, neck or head pain due to accidents.  We feel that this therapy and education should not be limited to those who have chronic pain, but also those who are looking to improve their health. The practice is fairly complex, but put simply it is a way to renew the control of your muscles through use of the voluntary motor system to alleviate pain. Typically one would receive hands on education and training to teach this method, but there are also books and CD’s that help teach how to relieve and heal through this process where people learn to recapture control of their muscles and movements. The brain is the control center for your muscles, so through this process you learn how to unlearn familiar tension habits and unhealthy muscle movements.

3. Swedish, Thai & Deep Tissue Massages – New studies have shown that weekly deep tissue massages have drastically reduced back pain for people who suffer from chronic lower back pain. This is not a new idea, and many doctors have prescribed massage as a treatment for back pain, now the studies are showing that this treatment is proven to be effective.

2. Acupuncture – According to a new study, Acupuncture, the ancient procedure of inserting and manipulating filiform needles into various points on the body to relieve pain or for therapeutic purposes, may be better for relieving back pain then medications or physical therapy. The study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine this past summer and shows how men and women with chronic low back pain who had never had acupuncture before improved greatly compared to the group who didn’t have Acupuncture, or Acupuncture like techniques.

1. Craniosacral Therapy aka Cranial Osteopathy or Craniosacral Therapy- This treatment is an alternative form of medical therapy that is much more popular in Europe and often performed by doctors (osteopaths) as well as by massage therapists, naturopaths, chiropractors, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. A session begins with the patient laying on their back while the therapist or doctor places their hands on the hands or feet of the patient and begins massaging softly. The doctor then moves to the head of the patient, and massages the back of the skull, relieving any restrictions of the nerve passages and allowing the cerebrospinal fluid to flow back into the spinal cord and be recirculated back through your nervous system. The doctor then works their way all the way down your body, performing this light massage on all of your nerve passages and spinal cord, ensuring that your entire nervous system is replenished and recirculated throughout your body.

Although this treatment is still looked at with speculation, we have personally undergone this treatment and feel it is the best type of treatment when compared with all others. The first time you have the treatment, you feel as though you are floating on your back on the massage table, as all the restrictions in your nervous system are released. It is thought that the body carries stresses in the nervous system from as far back as your birth, causing health problems down the road. This treatment is extremely successful the first time you have it done, but the more often you go the less of an impact the treatment has on your body as your nervous system is not as out of whack the more times you have the treatment. Regardless, we highly recommend this treatment and hope that it helps many of you out there that have back pain, or even just feel out-of-whack.

Easy Ways To Stay Healthy & Look Younger Longer

Monday, November 9th, 2009

BeautyWe all love going to the spa as often as possible, but those age defying treatments are not free so they can soak up your spa funds, as well as your time. There are plenty of things you can do everyday that will help you look and feel younger and healthier. The first thing you can do is moisturize your skin as often as possible. If you moisturize your skin daily or even a few times a day, you will lock in moisture, and alleviate dryness and potential future dryness, itchiness and rashes. To soothe your skin you can use the less expensive moisturizer as long as you apply often. Apply the moisturizer to your face, hands, feet and elbows in order to preserve your skin, keeping it moisturized and looking young.

When you are enjoying a long soak, hot tub or sauna make sure to hydrate yourself. We love the spa, but if you don’t replenish the life blood of your body, water, then you will shrivel up like a dried out raisin. Most people should be drinking at least a few liters of water a day, but to check exactly how much water you should be drinking you can use this excellent water calculator: Click Here For Calculator

In addition to drinking water, you can also drink apple juice for the added benefit of lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Tom Shea, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts feels that there might be a connection in an unknown component of apple juice which may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. Apple juice also has a high level of water, and plenty of vitamins and minerals that are also good for your health, so it can’t hurt!

We all love to tan, but the truth of the matter is that it ages your skin, and those that use tanning beds develop skin cancers easier. Natural sunlight is good for you, so if you can find a happy medium between tanning in the sun and self-browning creams, your skin will thank you. The key is to tan in the sun without getting too much sun, and then use self-browning creams to attain that darker brown color. By using this technique your skin will stay looking younger longer, and you will be reducing your risk of skin cancer.

Stress is a leading factor in premature aging, as well as a leading factor in health problems. I know it’s hard, but you’ve got to find a way to relax, and relieve the stress in your life. There are tons of suggestions and ways you can relax, such as through the use of chromatherapy, aromatherapy, Thalassotherpy, sound therapy and much more.

If you are married or in a committed relationship where you cause each other, and also share stress, try relaxing and engaging in relaxation techniques together so that you have this time to bond. In addition to growing closer in moments of relaxation, you will also double the benefits you receive from reducing the stress in your life, causing the stress you cause each other to also be reduced.

If your life is stressful because you don’t even have a second to relax, then you can try chewing gum. It sounds silly, but chewing gum can reduce stress and improve overall performance, leaving you with more time to relax. According to a new study, those who chewed  gum while performing a stress test produced 16% less of the stress causing hormone cortisol. Chewing gum also boosts the blood flow to the jaw and possibly the brain, helping your mental sharpness while leaving you less stressed.

We hope these tips were helpful and will give you a starting point to begin to improve your health and keep you looking younger longer. Until the next time, stay young and healthy!

Try A Pumpkin Facial Mask This Halloween

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

If you get a moment to yourself this weekend then you might want to take a moment for yourself and whip up a nice organic pumpkin mask. Pumpkins are filled with antioxidants, beta-carotene and are also great for exfoliating your skin. Some spas offer these treatments because they contain such valuable vitamins and nutrients. Treatments you may see in the spa include a pumpkin enzyme scrub, which is a popular treatment in the spa any time of the year. You can purchase a pumpkin facial product or even a pumpkin peel, but if you have some pumpkin guts laying around and have a minute try this recipe:

 

-2 teaspoons cooked or canned pumpkin puree

pumpkin

Pumpkin Facial Mask

-1/2 teaspoon honey

-1/4 teaspoon milk

Moisturizer for Dry Skin:

– 1/4 teaspoon heavy whipping cream

-or-

– 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

Moisturizer for Oily Skin:

– 1/4 teaspoon apple cider

-or-

– 1/4 teaspoon cranberry juice

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients together and mix gently. Apply to face and let sit for 10-15 minutes for a gental, nourishing, condishing face mask. .Rinse with warm water and apply the appropriate moisturizer for your skin type.

5 Amazing Destination Spas in the U.S.

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Planning a trip this fall or winter? If so, you might want to look at the below list of destination spas and resorts to add to your vacationing plans. Here are just a few of our favorite luxury spas in the United States:

Spa Chakra

Spa Chakra

Formerly known as Cornelia Day Resort, the Spa Chakra on Fifth is located on the prestigious Fifth Avenue in New York City. This spa features 60 therapeutic treatments for the face and body at one of Manhattan’s finest hair salons. The spa’s design, decor and surroundings are magnificent and the treatments are amazing. They use products from the June Jacobs Collection which are all natural, while being paraben and preservative free. If you are looking for the best of the best when it comes to Age Defying Enhanced Facials, this is the place to get the best treatment that will leave you looking flawless and just ecstatic about the results from your treatment.

Eleven Spa

Eleven Spa

If you’re looking for more of a glitzy and glamorous spa then you HAVE to take a trip to the Eleven Spa in Las Vegas. As one of the top spas in Vegas, the unique design of the spa alone is worth going for. Like everything in Vegas, this luxury spa is big, boasting 20,000 square feet and located on the Vegas strip in the 1.5 million square foot lifestyle center known as the Town Square. The spa has amazing features such as a fantasy pool area with crystal chandeliers that drip into the water, twenty-eight treatment rooms, six makeup stations, a signature brow bar and more. This is definitely a spa experience you will never forget.

Element Spa

Element Spa

The Elements Spa in Vernon, New Jersey was rated the #1 spa in New Jersey and was among the top 30 spas in the US. This luxury spa is a very special Shangri la, where the healing powers of the earth have been incorporated into breathtaking design and rejuvenating services. The interior of Elements Spa brings the beauty of the outdoors in, with hand-painted earthscape walls sparkling with bits of mica, textured stone surfaces, illuminated rice paper artwork, hammered copper fixtures, natural fabrics and truly unique rainwalls, dripping with thousands of silver beads.  The spa offers special golfer-friendly massages and pedicures. The signature treatment is the “Elemental Journey,” a salt scrub followed by a lounge in a soaking tub with its own little waterfall which is big enough for two. The spa has all the amenities of a large resort, including a nearby fitness center and seven heated indoor and outdoor regular pools. The spa also offers consultations with plastic surgeons upon request.

Canyon Ranch Spa

Canyon Ranch Spa

The Canyon Ranch Spa in Las Vegas is another must visit spa. We love this spa and wrote about it earlier this year (Canyon Ranch Spa). There are two Canyon Ranch spas in Vegas, one at the Venetian and one at The Palazzo. The luxury of this calming retreat incorporates the philosophy of a premier health vacation resort with their rejuvenating facials, soothing body treatments, relaxing massages, energizing fitness classes and expert salon finishing touches.

Mayflower Spa

Mayflower Spa

The Mayflower Inn & Spa is located in Washington, Connecticut, only two hours from New York, and is perfect for those who prefer a cozy, traditional, New Englander feel to their spa.  Here you can choose several ways to access an experience that provides the finest in nourishing, energizing, purifying and restorative treatments as well as soul-enhancing rituals and a vast array of classes. Outside the hotel and spa the gardens and surrounding areas provide a beautiful setting, the perfect environment to enjoy a relaxing stroll or just some peace and quiet. Their large list of treatments includes facials, eye and lip treatments, Soul-Enhancing Rituals such as a Thermal Sanctuary Experience, Scrubs – Rubs and Soaks, Massages, Activities, Mind and Spirit treatments and more.

“The Biggest Loser” Opens Spa

Friday, October 9th, 2009

The television show “The Biggest Loser” backed by its franchise (NBC Studios) has opened their own resort and spa. The Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge is a fitness spa in southern Utah that has partnered with the NBC franchise to provide services that promote weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. Guests can pay up to $2,000 a week to experience what the contestants go through on “The Biggest Loser.”

lounge

The guests are kept on a strict 1,200 calorie diet, and have to start their day at 6 a.m. and go to bed at 10 p.m.. Their days are filled with a number of activities and lesson plans such as: hiking, cooking, fitness and nutritional classes, and of course working out.

food

The resort and spa has a one week minimum stay, and is filled with plenty of tough trainers, (although the television show trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels will not be there). When Bob and Jillian were asked by the L.A. Times if “The Biggest Loser” experience could be reproduced at the resort and spa without them, Jillian motioned in Bob’s direction and said, “We are ‘The Biggest Loser’ experience.”

gym

The services at The Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge include various types of massage. The massages include Swedish, Deep Tissue, Reflexology, Reflexology Rocks!, Hot Stone, Body Polish, Shiatsu, Lomi Lomi, and LaStone Hot & Cold Stone Massage. The spa also has a salon that offers manicures, pedicures, waxing and more. Other spa treatments include facials and acupuncture. Take a Virtual Tour of the facilities by clicking this link.

pool

biggest-loser-gameFor those of us that are a little shy of the $2,000 per week fee to go to the new resort and spa, “The Biggest Loser” Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS fitness games are available for purchase.  The games feature workouts, cookbooks and much more. The games prompt you to choose a 4, 8 or 12 week program and the game will build a workout and nutrition plan for you based on your fitness goals. The game also features Bob and Jillian who can motivate and help you along the way.


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