Posts Tagged ‘Bath & Body’

Take a Relaxing Bath to Melt Away Stress

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Take a relaxing bath to reduce stress. Flickr user Dennis Wong.

Studies have shown that women experience stress differently than men. If stress in women is different, then it makes sense that women would need different stress relaxation techniques than men too. When women are stressed, they tend to want to talk about it and they want to nurture themselves and their loved ones, whereas men tend to go into fight or flight mode. Shelley Taylor, PhD has coined the phrase “tend and befriend” to describe the way women respond to stress differently than men. If nurturing is an important part of the way women cope with stress, then it makes sense that my girlfriends and I compulsively want to visit spas and take relaxing baths – a different approach than the men in my life tend to take.

Managing stress can be stressful in and of itself. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need a quick fix, there are a few simple things that can instantly make you feel better within the comforts of your own home. I often feel like I’m having a Calgon moment – a million stressful things going on at once and a need to escape them all, if only for a moment. Calgon was definitely on to something with their “Calgon, take me away!” commercials, “The traffic, the boss, the kids, the dog!” I’ve never actually used Calgon, but growing up seeing their commercials taught me that you can melt away stress by taking a relaxing bath.

From bath salts to bath oils, there are many different types of bath products that can help you create a relaxing bath. An aromatherapy bath will take advantage of the relaxing powers of certain scents, in addition to soothing and pampering your skin. SpaRitual organic bath salts will help you relax naturally while providing aromatherapy benefits. They offer variety of scents, but if you want the most relaxing option, I recommend the Geranium Oil-infused Close Your Eyes Organic Bath Salts. Geranium Oil is known to have a comforting and healing effect and promotes stability and balance. Learn more about Geranium Oil here. Another good choice — Pevonia Botanica makes Anti-Stress Bath Salts with Essential Oils that are infused with Lavender and Ylang-Ylang for a calming effect.

Bath Oils are great if you want to moisturize your skin during your quest for tranquility. Decléor is a French skin care brand that was started by aromatherapy experts over 30 years ago. They incorporate aromatherapy into many of their products, and have a great post-bath treatment oil that you can apply to your skin after a bath or shower – but I like to make this product do double duty and I pour a couple caps of the oil into my bath water. Learn more about Decléor’s Aromessence Spa Relax – Relaxing Body Concentrate at our favorite beauty ecommerce destination DermStore.com.

Several brands also feature bath products that are more of an elixir. We’re fans of Kerstin Florian’s Krauter Kamille Bath. Chamomile isn’t just for drinking! The chamomile flower in this bath soak will improve your state of mind and help you relax deeply. This is a great choice before going to bed.

Aside from having the right product in your bath water, make sure you create a relaxing atmosphere as well by lighting a few candles – personally I turn off all the lights and bathe by candlelight alone. A cup of your favorite tea, or even a glass of wine is a great companion for this experience. And if you’re up for it, some mellow music – but silence can be very fulfilling as well.

What’s your favorite way to relax?

Detox Spa Treatments: Japanese Enzyme Bath

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
Wood shavings are a key ingredient in a Japanese enzyme bath

Photo by Dravir.B

This past weekend a girlfriend and I decided to try a Japanese enzyme bath at Willow Spa in Santa Monica. It sounded unusual, and was something new even for me (a beauty professional and self-professed spa junkie). I have experienced many different types of spa treatments all over the world, and some have been strange and usual, but nothing prepared me for this. The Japanese enzyme bath is a dry bath made up of wood shavings, rice bran, and fruit and vegetable enzymes. The combination of the ingredients generates a tremendous amount of heat so when you step in it’s very warm and toasty. As my therapist Yuki was burying me in a large pile of hot dirt and wood chips, I couldn’t help but call out to my friend “I’m having a very LA moment right now!” I mean, where else would people pay to be buried in what is basically a large, hot pile of compost?

All kidding aside, I was very curious to see what the whole experience was about. It is a detox spa treatment, and I am always game for a little detoxification. When we arrived at the spa we were treated to a warm foot bath with fresh rose petals and grapefruit slices and a pampering foot massage. They also gave us a shot of an Akatsuki Enzyme Drink (very thick and sweet tasting, but supposedly a good internal complement to the external enzyme treatment we were about to receive). The enzyme drink is made from fermented vegetable and fruit extracts and contains over 400 enzymes. Enzymes are essential for good health, but apparently many of us suffer from an enzyme deficiency. Learn more about how enzymes work here.

While our therapists massaged our feet they described what was going to happen next and warned us about the smell. As we approached the treatment room we quickly understood what they were talking about – it smelled like garbage. With our bathing suits on, we stepped into the dry bath mixture and they proceeded to cover us fully from the neck down (like when your big sister buried you in the sand at the beach). It starts off warm, but after a while you start to feel very hot. The therapists come in and check on you every 5 minutes and give you water to drink through a straw and blot your face with a cold compress to help keep you cool. The maximum time for a heat treatment like this is 20 minutes. We both stuck it out for the full time, but we had to pull our hands and feet out after a while because we were getting too hot.

I must admit, as strange as the experience was, there was something very comforting and relaxing about the way the treatment made me feel. After our 20 minutes were up we proceeded to take showers to wash off all of the dirt. This is no easy task, I assure you. After our very long showers we were taken to a massage treatment room and received lovely Thai massages. As we left we were instructed to drink lots of water to hydrate and to help the detoxification process. We were also told to eat lots of protein, (but not meat) and fresh fruits and vegetables. We took that as an opportunity to treat ourselves to sushi.

The Japanese enzyme bath treatment made my friend feel relaxed, but it made me feel more energized. I am in the process of moving which has left me in a constant state of exhaustion, and when I arrived at the spa I felt drained and tired. After the dry bath, I felt more awake and relaxed at the same time. I’m not sure if it actually detoxified my body (I’m not sure how I could know that), but it did have an instant effect on my energy level and feeling of well being afterwards. We both had a nice glow to our skin too.

If you are interested in getting this type of detox spa treatment, you may have to travel. According to Willow Spa, they are one of 2 spas in the United States that offer the treatment. There is also a location in Northern California called Osmosis. Otherwise you’ll have to visit Japan.

What’s the strangest spa experience you have had?