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Anitra Brown

Anitra's Spas Blog

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On Earth Day, The Green Spa Movement Blooms

Tuesday April 22, 2014

I was in New York City yesterday for a press event held by Organic Spa magazine, and it was exciting for someone who loves green spas and natural beauty. It's easier than ever to find top-quality green skin care and beauty products. Some of my favorites from the event:

  • Africology, a luxury line from South Africa that uses indigenous healing plants, including rooibos, aloe ferox, marula and African potato. Right now it's mostly purchased by women who travelled to Africa, discovered it in a spa there and are in on the secret.
  • Shamanuti, a botanical line out of Boston that uses North Atlantic kelp and blue green algae in its seaweed toner. It mostly uses American ingredients, but there are a few exceptions, like the essential oil of neroli form Malaga in Creme No. 1, a blend of beautiful plant oils and butters amped up with hydrolized silk.
  • Me & The Girls uses certified organic cupuacu butter that is sustainably harvested from the Amazon rain forest in Brazil. The line was created by a critical care nurse Sharon Hackney-Robinson (above, with a photo of the cupuacu seed), who worked with premature babies, and realized that what is good for their delicate skin is the perfect treatment for dry skin.
  • Zao, a certified organic makeup line from Europe, uses organic silica and Read More...
  • Spa Lifestyle: A 21-Day, $59 Cleanse

    Thursday April 17, 2014


    I'm a fan of virtual detox programs that help you make important lifestyle changes and link you to a cleansing community even when you live in a remote setting. I had a good experience with Conscious Cleanse a few months ago. And while I'm still drinking my green smoothies every day, I could use another round of learning and support.

    Next up: The 21-Day Detox Program from Hilary Thing, an accomplished acupuncturist and herbalist based in Accord, New York. The program includes a 21-day Detox Guide that leads you through the program, which culminates with a three-day juice fast from day 14-17.

    You receive emails every three days with recipes and advice; three group coaching calls on topics like cleansing the liver, cleansing and weight loss, and the benefits of fasting, and access to a private Facebook book where other cleansers are share their experiences. Right now the $99 program is on sale for a very affordable $59, and I'm in.

    Hilary says that fresh vegetable juicing is one of the foundational elements of her cleansing and treatment protocols. Why?

    1) Fresh vegetable and fruit juices provide a concentrated amount of enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients.

    2) Juicing amplifies the life force energy and healing power that comes from whole vegetables and fruits, making this the best way to utilize their medicinal value.

    3) Fresh juices are readily absorbed into the bloodstream with minimal digestive processing, creating a net gain in energy.

    Kim Kardashian, Spas & The Price of Celebrity

    Wednesday April 16, 2014

    The Daily Mail recently wrote that Kim Kardashian got six hours of spa treatments a day while staying with her family at the Iniala Beach House resort in Phuket, Thailand. Kim angrily denied it in social media.

    "Never once did I get a manicure or any other spa treatment," she fumed. "NOT ONE! So I really don't appreciate false info making me out to be a diva.... Buuuuut even if family members got spa treatments they should because we were on vacation!"

    I think I see the problem. The hotel source told Mail Online that each villa has its own spa, "with six hours of treatments every day." This sounds like six hours of spa treatments are part of the package, not necessarily what any one person got.

    In any event, I'm with Kim. Why not get spa treatments on vacation? But six hours would be too much. I did it once (for work) and ended the day weeping.

    Iniala is a ten-suite private residence situated on Natai Beach just 20 minutes north of Phuket Airport. Guests have their own personal spas inside their villas, which have incredible views of the beach and the Andaman Sea. It costs $80,000 + per week to stay there.

    Celebrities get a lot of perks that are out of reach for normal people, but they have to put up with much more scrutiny. Continuing the indignity, the article said that Kardashian tried butt, face and breast slapping to tone up for her wedding day. (This wasn't on property, since Iniala doesn't offer it.)

    Tata Massage in San Francisco offers the Thai treatment, which involves being "slapped" (this is an exagerration) by a masseuse. It is said to reduce wrinkles and firm the skin, mostly likely by moving energy or qi, relaxing muscles, and stimulating the lymphatic system -- just like a good facial can.

    Spa Resources and Stress Management

    Thursday April 10, 2014

    April is Stress Awareness Month, and I'm looking for spas that are offering resources to help you cope with stress. Nina Smiley, Ph.D., co-author of "The Three Minute Meditator" (and the director of marketing for Mohonk Mountain House) has created a one-minute guided mediation you can play right now. The benefits of mindfulness a just a few breaths away.

    The meditation stems from Nina's Mindfulness in Minutes programs at Mohonk Mountain House, a 145-year-old Victorian resort located 90 miles north of New York City. The next one is coming up April 25-27. Nina will be available for private sessions to teach you simple techniques that can be practiced anywhere, and help you develop a personal plan to implement them in your life.

    During Mindfulness in Minutes: Never Diet Again on July 11-13, Nina works with you in private sessions to replace a deprivation (diet) model with life-enhancing empowerment as you learn to make mindful choices, one moment at a time. For more information, visit www.mohonk.com or call 855-665-3658.

    How Spas Can Help When You're Hurting

    Wednesday April 9, 2014

    I have been quiet lately because I've been at the trial for the man who shot my beloved brother in a Best Buy in July of 2012 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  It was a retaliation gang shooting on a sunny Saturday afternoon.  The intended victim was shot six times as he entered the store. One bullet found its way to my brother as he stood well inside the store with his daughter.  He was dead within minutes, while two women administered CPR, trying to save his life. Read More...

    The Mayo Clinic Guide To Stress-Free Living

    Saturday April 5, 2014

    April is National Stress Awareness Month and I highly recommend a new book called The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living by Amit Sood, M.D., M.Sc., a Mayo Clinic specialist in stress and resiliency. Instead of giving you  solutions you've heard before (start meditating every day, develop a routine, get plenty of sleep), Dr. Sood first analyzes the latest research about about how our brain works. And what he has to say will help you reduce negative thinking that leads to stress.

    Basically, when it is not focused on a task, the brain goes into "default mode," jumping around from thought to thought. "A brain that's not engaged in meaningful activity is usually planning, problem-solving, ruminating over the past or worrying about the future," Dr. Sood says. A ruminating brain is predisposed to depression (and it's harder for depressed people to suppress the default mode).

    The antidote is to ground ourselves more firmly in the present by drawing our attention to the external world. Our brains are drawn to novelty, so we train ourselves to pay attention to what is really going on in the moment, rather than just experiencing it as "routine" and letting our mind wander. "A wandering mind is an unhappy mind," he says. Another word for "attention training" is mindfulness.

    The second part of Dr. Sood's program is training how we interpret things. Instead of blindly accepting the brain's short-cut interpretations (like, "all strangers are untrustworthy"), we let ourselves be guided by the principals of gratitude, compassion, acceptance, higher meaning, and forgiveness. Dr. Sood believes all stressors in life can be healed using these five principles, and he offers a program to help you develop and sustain them.

    Great Spas With Hot Springs

    Monday March 31, 2014

    There are lots of ways to experience hot springs and mineral springs, including remote locations in the wilderness, rustic historic bathhouses, communal outdoor pools and private rooms in lavish hotels. No matter what experience you're looking for, there's a hot springs for you. Here are some of my picks for great spas with hot springs.

    The World's Oldest Spa Treatment

    Sunday March 30, 2014

    As long as there has been hot water bubbling up out of the earth at a comfortably warm temperature, people have been hopping into it to soak. And we're not the only species to enjoy the benefits. Macaques at Jigokudani Monkey Park in Japan are known for for visiting the hot springs in winter to warm up.

    Soaking in hot springs soothes muscles, improves blood circulation, and detoxifies the body's lymphatic system. Read more about how and where to experience hot springs.

    XpresSpa & The Rise of Airport Spas

    Sunday March 30, 2014

    XpresSpa is celebrating its 10th birthday this month. The largest chain of airport spas, XpresSpa opened its first location at JFK in New York City in 2003 and it has expanded rapidly. Today is has 56 locations in 22 major airports, with many more on the way.

    The great thing about XpresSpa and other full-service airport spas is that they can offer massage and facials in private rooms when you have a long layover or your flight is delayed. You can also get a quick chair massage, which can be a lifesaver when your body is about to go into spasm from travel-related stress. Nail and hair services are available when you need to freshen up.

    Spa Week Coming April 21-27, 2014

    Thursday March 27, 2014

    Spa Week is coming up April 21-27, 2014. That means hundreds of participating spas will offer $50 spa treatments that usually go for far more.   You can view and book treatments for the Spring 2014 event now.

    Some spas allow for direct booking on the SpaWeek website, while other you may have to call.  Be sure to specify you want to book your $50 Spa Week treatment when you call for appointments.

    You can save even more by buying Spa & Wellness gifts cards at a 15% discount offered to About.com readers. Buy a bunch of cards for $25 or $50 and you can use them as you spa-hop. Enjoy!  NOTE:  Not all Spa Week participants accept Spa & Wellness gift cards, though they are valid at more than 8,000 spas and  wellness locations across North America.

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