Archive for the ‘Spa Reflections – Experiences, Rituals, History’ Category

The Most Expensive Spa Treatments in America

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Looking for the ultimate luxury indulgence? Look no further with these super-expensive, over-the-top spa treatments:

1)    The Evian Bath Treatment at Spa V at South Beach’s Hotel Victor costs $5,000. It consists of a soak in a tub sprinkled with rose petals and filled with 1,000 bottles of Evian water.

Evian Spa Bath

2)    The Dream Girl Diamond Massage consists of $1 million worth of loose diamonds being laid on your back during your massage. Courtesy of Jeweler Hearts on Fire and Spa on Location in Santa Monica, California.

Diamond Massage

3)    If you’re a foodie try “Desert without Calories!” from Aroma-Listic Day Spa and Salon in Agoura Hills, California. This out-of-the-ordinary treatment is a 60-minute pedicure which is preceded by a 70 minute White Chocolate Rasberry Truffle body scrub.

Pedicure-in-White-Chocolate-Rasberry-Truffles

4)    For something a little more down-to-earth try: “The Art of Indulgence at  Mandarin Oriental–New York – a five-hour treatment consisting of an Oriental Harmony rubdown–during which two aestheticians massage your skin with essential oils like ylang ylang and sweet orange — and an Awaken facial, a reviving treatment that involves an upper-body and facial massage that helps to increase circulation. The session is followed with an exfoliating, paraffin wax manicure and pedicure for the overall sum of $1,034.

The-Art-of-Indulgence

The Benefits of Cold Spa Therapy

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Arctic Ice RoomAfter looking at some of the amenities spas offer, I noticed that cold spa treatments are on the rise. When I think of a spa I think of warmth and heat, being a native of Southern California I find anything below 60° F unbearable. Although it sends chills down my spine just thinking about it, cold spa therapies are becoming increasingly popular in the United States. The health benefits of these therapies range from alertness to increased circulation to a stronger immune system. Going from hot to cold is a shock to the nervous system. The initial shock causes blood vessels to constrict and then expand once the body reaches its normal temperature. The process helps to increase circulation, rid the body of toxins, and boost the immune system, which can help fight off colds and allergies. This type of treatment has also been used by athletes for some time now to help reduce swelling and ease aches and pains. Want to try it out for yourself? The Qua Spa in Las Vegas has a room that snows. It’s called the Arctic Ice Room (pictured left) and the temperature is set to a chilly 55° F and the air is infused with the scent of mint, which also has a cooling effect.

The Standard Spa is another spa that offers cold spa threapy. This spa is located in Miami offers Hot + Cold Stone Massage treatments, which helps bring balance to the body and relieve stress. If none of these treatments appeal to you, you can always take a cold shower at home to see if you will like it.

Making Scents – Instant Aromatherapy

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Homemade AromatherapyAromatherapy: the science of smells. It’s a word that’s become as common in spa vernacular as “sauna” or “facial.” But what does it really mean? And more importantly, how can you use it to attain instant relaxation?

While I consider closing my eyes and breathing in the intoxicating smell of maple-syrup-poured-over-a-warm-stack-of-pancakes a form of “aromatherapy,” the art of scents goes far beyond the notion of “smells that we like.” It’s a form of alternative medicine based in the healing and restorative power of essential oils, concentrated liquids extracted from plants, herbs, and flowers that we come in contact with on a daily basis. Basil, lemon, lavender, rose, thyme, cinnamon, citronella … the list is endless, but oh so familiar. Which actually makes everything about aromatherapy all the more appealing and all the more instant: there’s almost no plant, no herb, no essential oil whose primary ingredient you haven’t heard of. Who knew that aromatherapy could be as easy as a trip to your pantry?

Before leaving a world of non-scents for an olfactory nirvana, first figure out what type of oil or fragrant element you want to use (different scents for different gents). Every aroma has a unique and fantastic effect, from alleviating stress and fatigue, to relieving pain and elevating your mood. A quick cheat sheet:

  • For headaches: Basil, Lavender
  • As an aphrodisiac: Jasmine, Rose, Sandalwood
  • De-stressors: Lemon oil, Peppermint, Chamomile

With aromatherapy, the options are about as limitless as the fragrances! Purists say that using essential oils is the only true form of aromatherapy, but don’t limit yourself. Candles, incense, bath beads, infused lotions – even grated citrus zest in a bowl – can be part of your aromatherapy experience. Want real instant aromatherapy? Place sachets of herbs or flower petals in the pockets of your bathrobe, or dip cotton balls in your favorite herbal tea and leave them (inconspicuously!) around your bathroom. Doesn’t get much more instant than that.

Essential oils sound more intimidating, but I promise, they’re just as quick and easy to use. My favorite application is to infuse fragrance into my towels with essential oils; there’s nothing better than stepping out of a steam shower and wrapping yourself in terry cloth towel kissed with a hint of lavender. Before you dry your next load of laundry, put some drops of your favorite essential oil on a small washcloth and toss it in with your wet towels for instant aromatherapy! Or add a few drops to water in a spray bottle for the quickest air freshener you’ll ever find. And any unscented candle can become instant aromatherapy when you add a few drops to the hot wax as the candle burns. Just remember: with essential oils, less is more. You’re looking for the essence of rose, not a garden growing out of your steam shower.

Aromatherapy – it’s a big word for a really simple notion: fragrances with restorative powers. And in your home spa, there’s no easier way to make scents.

The Spa has Gone to the Dogs

Monday, August 24th, 2009

C-A Doggie Spa PackThe Spa has gone to the dogs … literally. On a visit to a new groomer I was asked if I wanted the Spa package for my dog. I was somewhat surprised, but with doggie hotels, resorts, even an airline for pets, it was only a matter of time before spas started to cater to our pampered pooches. I have the pleasure of owning a high maintenance dog with sensitive skin so I went for it. She was lathered in an organic botanical shampoo and conditioner, followed by a gentle facial scrub to rejuvenate and remove dead skin cells. Then a paw-dicure consisting of a moisturizing paw rub and nail trim for those rough paw pads and nails. Doggie spas are popping up everywhere. The Ritzy Canine Carriage House in New York specializes in Fascia Released, Hydro & Acupressure Massage. The D Pets Hotel in Hollywood, CA features luxury modern suites and an upscale spa for the ultimate in pampering. For the budget conscious, there are plenty of spa products available for owners to give their dogs a spa treatment at home.

Here are some pictures of our happy dog, back from the spa:

Cinjun1

Cinjun2

Cinjun3

Spa Week Slurge

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Foodies know that the best time to try that new, swank (and usually unaffordable!) bistro everyone’s been talking about is during Restaurant Week, when deals are a-plenty and the dishes as delish as ever. Pretty good idea, right? Thankfully, this delightful notion has made its way from the dinner table to the massage table. That’s right – it’s Spa Week!

Spa WeekSpa Week has been around for a few years, popping up every spring and fall in select cities around the country. (Visit http://www.spaweek.com for a complete list of participating spas.) But navigating through the endless combinations of services, locations, and prices can be difficult and intimidating. For instance, is a $50 organic cucumber wrap a Spa Week steal or a Spa Week scam? Here are some ways to get the most out of Spa Week, after all, it should be relaxing!

1. Book early and book new! Most spas see a huge increase in business during Spa Week, so make reservations as soon as you decide on a service to avoid getting shut out of a deal. And don’t be deterred if the so-called trendy spas are filled by the time you call. This is the perfect opportunity to try a new place (and make everyone jealous when you score that coveted Saturday 10 a.m. massage appointment).

Coconut Spa2. And speaking of new… Sure you’ve heard of an oxygen-infused facial or an olive oil foot treatment, but is it really for you? During Spa Week, the answer is yes! At $50 for most Spa Week services, this is the time to sample a more out-there treatment, without worrying about the huge investment. And who knows, it could become your new favorite! As always, make sure to ask whether a service is right for you, and don’t go entirely overboard with the new stuff. Four coconut microdermabrasions in one week is three too many.

3. Do a Cost Spa-nalysis. Before booking anything, check to see what the original, pre-Spa Week, price of the service is. While some spas offer truly amazing Spa Week deals, other discounts aren’t worth braving the crowds for. That paraffin pedicure may be $10 cheaper during Spa Week, but it’s not really worth it when you can’t get in until 9:30 p.m. on a Wednesday. Save your splurge for a bigger bargain; they’re out there. Also, when factoring the cost of a Spa Week outing, it’s etiquette to tip on the cost of the original service, not the Spa Week price.

4. Spa Day- Spa Week – Spa Year! Spa lovers, rejoice! The benefits of Spa Week can go way beyond an hour-long treatment at a rock bottom price. First, take advantage of everything a spa offers when you book a service, even during Spa Week. Just because you’re only getting a mani doesn’t mean you can’t spend a day luxuriating. Show up early and try the gym, the steam rooms, the Jacuzzi, whatever they offer! Also, spas know that getting an appointment for the service you want at a decent time is most challenging during Spa Week. To compensate, many spas allow guests to purchase gift certificates at Spa Week prices that can be used year-round. And who wouldn’t want that 60 minute massage for $50, to be cashed in at your convenience? (Spa Week gift certs are also a great present, especially if you want people to shower you with hugs and say things like “You shouldn’t have!”)

Weekly Spa Tweets On Talk Spas

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Weekly Spa Tweets On Talk Spas

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Weekly Spa Tweets On Twitter

Friday, June 19th, 2009

The Cultural Progression of the Spa

Thursday, June 11th, 2009
Interior of the Cagaloglu Hamami, Istanbul

Interior of the Cagaloglu Hamami, Istanbul

The integration of a steam shower is one of the most popular luxury amenities to hit the housing industry. After all, it is a bathing ritual that has been historically practiced from Turkey to Russia, Finland and even by the American Indians.

The Turkish Steam Bath, or Hammam, serves as a social gathering place and ritual cleansing site, as well as an architectural structure. It is a cultural fusion of community, design and the art of relaxation. In a Turkish bath, one relaxes in a warm room and moves to a hotter room, before they conclude the ritual with a splash of cold water.

Similar to the Turkish Hammam, the Russian Banyas (steam houses) usually have three rooms: entrance room, steam room and washing room. The entrance room, called a predbannik or pre-bath, is a room in which to de-robe. Before bathers enter the steam room, a bucket of water is poured over heated rocks in the stove. Bathers often add aromatherapy scents to the water. The washing room features a hot water tap that uses water heated by the steam room stove, as well as a tap for cold water so that it can be mixed to a comfortable temperature for washing.

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Recreate the Fitness Club Spa in Your Own Bathroom

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Bring the Spa Bath from your Fitness Club Home

gymAny fitness buff will choose one gym over another because of its amenities and pampering perks. However, who wouldn’t be enticed by the relaxing oases that are being integrated into upscale gyms everyday? From eucalyptus-scented steam rooms to powerful rain canopy showerheads and sunken-in spas with body-contouring jet systems – these luxurious benefits are strategically-placed in gym bathrooms to keep their customers coming back. However, this same serene scene can be recreated in your home bathroom, and will work just as well at easing stress and releasing tension from tight muscles. (more…)


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