Monday, June 28, 2010

Spa Girls Friend sets sail on the Queen Mary 2

I have a friend who shares many of my own passions. When I first launched Spa Girl blog she dropped off a big silver bucket of spa goodies. Imagination and friendship are wonderful gifts.

Well this same friend just sailed on the Queen Mary 2 and sent me a big package of goodies, including information on the amazing 20,000 square-foot spa on the QM2.
Canyon Ranch SpaClub® on Queen Mary 2 is an expansive, beautifully appointed spa that travels with you to exotic ports of call. Wherever you are in the world, you can enjoy the best pampering spa treatments, rejuvenating body rituals and personalized fitness training.

Choose from endless possibilities for relaxation and healthy living, including signature Canyon Ranch services that reflect our emphasis on wellness. Learn about healthy living and savor Canyon Ranch resort's award-winning spa cuisine at lunch and dinner in the Britannia Restaurant.
For those who read Spa Girl on a regular basis you will know I am a big fan of Canyon Ranch Spas, not only for the treatments they offer, their stunning architecture and attention to detail, but their amazing spa cuisine!

The Spa on the QM2 offers a full range of rejuvenating Aqua Therapies such as a thalassotherapy pool, neck fountains, waterfall, whirlpool, herbal and Finnish saunas and aromatic steam room. Definitely to do's before your spa treatment or after a good work out in the fitness centre on your own or in one of many classes offered-- yoga to aerobics, Pilates to indoor cycling!

After your spa treatment or workout you can join Canyon Ranch chefs for a signature Canyon Ranch dinner held in the Chef’s Galley Demonstration Kitchen. You learn how dishes are prepared, their nutritional value, and watch a live cooking demonstration – then of course you get to enjoy the delicious result.

It’s like several divine holidays all rolled into one heavenly ocean liner. Thanks for the virtual holiday Indigo!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Spa Girl loves a Strawberry facial

I don’t have a big garden, but almost everything in it you can eat, from tomatoes to eatable flowers. This year I have an abundance of strawberries, which I eat on my cereal or as a treat with my yogurt.

Strawberries are well known for their medicinal properties and have also been used in face products, particularly in face washes and facial masks. History has it that the Romans prized wild strawberries for their curative qualities and with more vitamin C than other citrus fruit (like all foods rich in C) they may even lower cancers of the gastrointestinal tract—according to the American Cancer Society.

The salicylic acid and antioxidants found in strawberries, if used in a facial, help reduce pore size, exfoliates the skin removing dead cells, and makes your skin brighter and shinier. As well, strawberries reduce facial redness and swelling and enable the skin to absorb more moisture. And best of all the antioxidants help to repair damaged skin and counteract the effects of age--and who doesn't like that!

The largest organ of the body, your skin produces millions of new cells every day and fully regenerates itself every 30 to 40 days. As we get older this rejuvenating process slows down. Applying a strawberry facial helps your skin to weather the aging process, but like all skin routines, you have to be consistent.

In addition to the strawberries other natural ingredients used in facial masks such as honey, brown sugar, finely ground oats, essential oils, heavy cream, plain yogurt, eggs whites and lemon juice lend their own natural healing properties. Check out my blog from Cardboard to Face, Works for Me…

Generally your esthetician will recommend that you apply a facial mask once a week in order to keep the skin soft and glowing.

Here are some great recipes for strawberry facials:

  • Mash or puree 1/2 cup of ripe strawberries, add two teaspoons of heavy cream (or yogurt) and 1 tsp of honey. Apply to face avoiding the lips and eyes. Leave mask on for 15 minutes then wash off with warm water and pat dry. If you have an allergy to strawberries, try a small text spot to make sure you don’t react!

  • Mash together ½ cup fresh strawberries, 1 tablespoon milk and 1 tablespoon of rice flour or cornstarch to make a smooth paste. Apply to face and neck and leave mask for 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water and pat dry.

  • If your skin is looking dull and dry, mash together 1/c cup of fresh strawberries with 1 tsp of brown sugar. Gently rub the mixture into your skin with your fingertips, and leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water and pat dry.

  • If you skin is oil,y puree a cup of ripe strawberries with 1 tsp. of lemon juice, 2 egg whites and several teaspoons of honey. Leave it on for 15 minutes then rinse off with warm water and pat dry.

For some great strawberry facials and how to videos Spa Girl says check these sites out:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Spa Girl loves a good scrub!

I love making my own spa products and anything that ends in a hot bath works for me! Salt scrubs can be expensive, so I generally make my own. I also enjoy a spa treatment with a Vichy shower, definitely not as much work, and very relaxing.

I always use salts from the Dead Sea and combine them with one of my favourite carrier oils, sweet almond and avocado are my favourite, but you should select one that suits you. Carrier oils offer different therapeutic properties and characteristics and should be selected based on the benefit you want to achieve.

Here is a basic receipt to make your own scrub, but experiment and have some fun.

  • ½ cup of sweet almond oil—or your preferred choice

  • 1 cup Dead Sea salts—don’t use table salt, but you can substitute sugar instead of salt

  • 8 drops of your favourite essential oil, or a preferred blend—as you know I love lavender and rosemary 

Mix the oil thoroughly into the salt until moist, then add your essential oils and combine. Sit on the edge of your bath, moisten your legs and apply the salt scrub in a gentle circular motion and move up your body. You might want help for your back. Shower off.

Once a week salt scrubs exfoliate layers of dead cells and help to keep your skin healthy and beautiful. Enjoy Spa Girls...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Spa Girl discovers Ortho-Bionomy

Yesterday was a glorious summer day and a group of friends I have known for a long time all gathered to walk in the Relay for Life to raise money for cancer research. We all have been affected by cancer in one way or another, so helping to raise money to find a cure is so important.

Throughout the park there were the tents for all the team members to relax and get out of the sun, many had not only decorated there tents, but dressed for the occasion in all kinds of fun and funky outfits. There were also several food concessions and water stands a fitness tent and low and behold a massage therapists tent. Don’t you just love it when you least expect it, the spa girls are out and about!

Well as you know I cannot resist a good massage, so I booked myself in and ended up with a lovely woman who offered a variety of modalities. I decided to try an Ortho-Bionomy massage as I had never had one before.

The therapists told me Ortho-Bionomy was developed by a Dr. Arthur Lincoin Pauls, a British osteopath who wanted to work with the body in such a way that honoured its inherent wisdom. He found through his osteopathically-based work that by exaggerating the body’s preferred postures permitted the body to find its own balance and to heal itself. On further research Dr. Pauls began teaching Ortho-Bionomy in the US in 1976, and has also taught extensively throughout Europe.

Ortho-Bionomy is a gentle, non-invasive, osteopathically-based form of body therapy which is highly effective in working with chronic stress, injuries and pains or problems associated with postural and structural imbalances. The practitioner uses gentle movements and positions of the body to facilitate the change of stress and pain patterns. A strong focus is placed on the comfort of the individual, no forceful manipulations are used. The practitioner also suggests home exercises that individuals can do to further facilitate the neuromuscular re-education process begun in the session. Ortho-Bionomy is very effective in helping alleviate both acute and chronic pain and stress patterns by reducing chronic muscle tension, soothing the joints, increasing flexibility, improving circulation, and relaxing the entire body.

The term "Ortho-Bionomy" comes from "ortho" meaning correct or straight, "bio" meaning life, and "nomy" meaning the laws of or study of. Dr. Pauls defined the term then as "the correct application of the laws of life." He stated "[Ortho-Bionomy] is really about understanding your whole life cycle. Naturally, we focus on the structure because that is the literal skeleton upon which our life is built. When your structure works right, your circulation works better, you feel better, you think better." (Kain and Berns, 1992)

As the massage therapist gently worked on me I felt an incredible heat, which she said was my own body healing itself. She used gentle compressions to find which way my body wanted to move and then held that position for a while before moving on to another location. Ortho-Bionomy is used to stimulate inner awareness and to awaken our natural balance and well-being both physically and emotionally.

All the while I was lying on a table, the sun splashing through an oak tree we were located under, and a lovely summer breeze blowing the sheets. It was heavenly, and when I closed my eyes I could picture being at the beach with the waves rolling in, the warm wind blowing and the most relaxed feeling coming over me.

Enjoying a fabulous summer day with good friends, raising money for cancer research and discovering Ortho-Bionomy, I’d say it was a pretty darn good day.

If you would like more information on Ortho-Bionomy check out these sites:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Spa Girl asks... What's a Sun Goddess to do?

Its pouring rain and cold and all I can think about is summer! But what’s a sun goddess to do when relaxing (OK tanning) is not the best way to take care of your skin? Summer wardrobes definitely need to be seen with a little sun-kissed glow so Spa Girl went on the hunt for the best way to achieve that “I’ve been to the beach” look.

I’ve decided given all my research tanning beds are definitely out, as is sitting in the sun for extended periods of time without a really good sun block. Like so many other sun goddesses, I have become very interested in self-tanning products. But what are they and are they safe?

Remember QT a “Quick Tan” product introduced in the 1960’s by Coppertone. I know, I date myself, but I do remember using this product; oh my, tinted palms, streaking and let’s face it a rather fake-looking orange tan. But self-tanning products have come a long way.

"They're easier to use than ever, the color appears more natural, and some lotions even contain sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF)," says Stanley B. Levy, MD, adjunct clinical professor of dermatology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill.

Self-tanning products work by temporarily dyeing the surface of the skin, this happens because of a chemical reaction with amino acids found in the skins surface cells. These products to not damage the skin as they only affect the outermost cells of the epidermis. Dihydroxyacetone or DHA, also known as glycerine, used in these self-tanning products, is a simple carbohydrate derived from plant sources. Once applied the tan accelerates over two to four hours and will continue to darken for 24 to 72 hours, depending on the formulation type. Your tan will fade gradually over 3 to 10 days, in conjunction with the skin's normal exfoliation process unless you reapply.

The Skin Caner Foundation cautions...

Don't be misled when products sound like self-tanning lotions — "Tanning amplifiers," "tan accelerators," "tanning promoters," "tanning enhancers," and worst of all, "tanning pills." Many of the products interact with the sun to create the tan, so they actually end up accentuating the damage done to the skin. The pills — which are commercially banned in the U.S. — are the worst.

“Read the ingredients on the label of all these products carefully," says Dr. Levy. "Unless their active ingredient is DHA, they're not bona fide sunless tanners, and they could very well be harmful for your skin."

DHA was permanently added to the list of approved cosmetic ingredient in the 1970’s by the United States Food and Drug Administration, the Canadian Health Ministry, and most of the EU member nations. Dihydrozyacetone is the main ingredient in all sunless tanning products with concentrations ranging from 1% to 15%. Most products offer self-tanning formulation ranges from light to dark, the higher the percentage the darker the tan. I recommend starting off with lighter formulation as the darker products can produce an uneven look to your tan.

DHA-based sunless tanning has been recommended by The Skin Cancer Foundation, American Academy of Dermatology Association, Canadian Dermatology Association and the American Medical Association. Those are pretty darn good recommendations!

Make sure you check out all the additional information about self-tanning products, there proper use and precautions at: