By SpaFinder | May 22, 2013
by Vanessa Voltolina
While many of us look forward to the longer, warmer days of summer, sometimes it can be too hot, forcing us to retreat into air conditioning or take a dip in the pool. And according to Ayurveda, summertime–known as the “Pitta,” or fire season—can require specific cooling spices.
For those unfamiliar with the ancient art of Ayurveda, doshas are biological energies found throughout the human body and mind, said to govern all physical and mental processes and are associated with each individual’s health and fulfillment. Doshas are derived from the five elements: Vata is composed of Space and Air, Pitta of Fire and Water, and Kapha of Earth and Water.
According to Naina Marballi, B.S.A.M. DAC, Ayurveda physician at Ayurvedas World in New York, Pitta “rules metabolism, particularly digestion, and is in charge of all processes of transformation in the body.” She goes on to explain that Pitta has the most in common with summer, since it’s made up of primary element fire, and secondary element water. Pitta can lead to excess inflammation, acne, rash, sweating and even heatstroke, if we’re not careful.
Although Pitta is associated with summer, you don’t have to battle these uncomfortable qualities. Integrate one—or all—of these five cooling spices into your warm weather meals and beverages so you’re better able to enjoy everything that summer has to offer:
1. Fennel increases digestive and gastric juices without aggravating Pitta, explains Marballi. According to Ayurveda, fennel alsoreduces inflammation of the stomach and intestine—which is said to increase in summer—and helps absorb nutrients. It also has antacid properties, which help maintain pH levels in the GI tract. “It is excellent to use fennel in food,” she says, “which helps to protect eyes from inflammation and has very good cooling effect in summer.”
2. Rose petals improve digestion by remaining cooling for the fiery digestive tract of most Pittas. “The astringency of rose petalsdirectly cools digestive irritation and inflammation,” Marballi says.
Try this: Whittard’s China Rose Petal Loose Tea (make it iced for summer!)
3. Mint can be used to lighten and improve the appearance of sun-damaged and pigmented skin, says Marballi. Herrecommendation? “Grind mint leaves, mix them with rosewater and lemon juice, and apply it [the mixture] to the affected areas,” she says. It can also provide relief from heartburn in the initial stages. “It is an excellent remedy for Pitta aggravation,” she says. “Mint helps to sooth Pitta by dispersing heat and cooling you down by opening up your pores to encourage sweating.”
Try this: Mint Lemonade
4. Turmeric has excellent astringent qualities, making it a very good cooling spice during the summertime. “It is a liver cleanserand blood purifier, helping control cholesterol, as well as anti-inflammatory, anti-allergen, and anti-bacterial,” she says. This gives turmeric excellent qualities of cooling off summer-heated skin.
Try this: Kamalaya Recipe: Happy Tummy Tea
5. Dill is excellent digestive tonic, says Marballi, helping to reduce acid reflux and calm stomach upset. The “green color of dillleaves have an amazing capacity to fight free radicals,” she says, “and have the very good quality of being anti-bacterial.”
By SpaFinder | May 22, 2013
by Jessica Remitz
Whether you’re looking for a new class at the gym or hoping to take advantage of the great outdoors this summer, cycling is a great activity to add to your fitness routine. Here are just a few ways cycling can improve your health, plus tips for starting a routine and a few routes to try.
In addition to being an easy and efficient way to travel to and from work, cycling has health benefits for your heart, waistline and joints. Taking a long, fast-paced ride or signing up for an indoor cycling class will torch calories and build strength while improving your aerobic and anaerobic capacity, said Danielle Hopkins, group fitness manager and indoor cycling instructor at Equinox. Increasing your aerobic and anaerobic capacity will help whittle your waistline and improve your cardiovascular health, which help keeps your risk for heart disease down.
Because cycling is primarily a non-weight bearing activity, it reduces the amount of stress on your joints and helps keep wear and tear on the body at a minimum, Hopkins said. Riding a bike also helps to tone and build lower body muscles while remaining a low-impact form of exercise—an important part of your fitness routine if you’ve sustained a hip or leg injury.
Starting a Routine and Where to Ride
As with any new activity, there may be an initial learning curve as your body adapts to being challenged in a new way, Hopkins said, but the nice thing about biking is that you can set your own pace and intensity both out and indoors. “Indoors, keep the resistance a little lower [on your bike],” she said. “Outdoors, pick a shorter course with fewer hills and watch for a measurable improvement as you add time and distance on the bike.”
If you start with an indoor class, be sure to get there early and have the instructor help you get set up on the bike, Hopkins said. Maneuvering a bike outdoors is a little bit more difficult, with traffic, other cyclists and changing terrain to contend with. Your best bet? Start slowly, take your time to learn how to work your gears and brakes and be aware of your surroundings. Joining a local cycling group can help teach you the necessary skills and organize team rides depending on your skill level.
If you’re ready to hit the road, be sure to take a look at a few of these great rides:
- London - Choose from 5 brilliant routes, ranging from easy to advanced, with Time Out’s guide to London cycling routes.
- Devon - Discover the lush countryside on your bicycle, using Devon County Council’s map of cycling trails.
- Edinburgh – The Guardian maps out cycle rides past the castle, beach and old railway tunnels.
- Cork – The annual Cork Cycling Festival takes places in July 2013, open to all ages.
- Britain – Can’t decide which city to cycle? The Telegraph charts cycling routes across Britain, from the River Valley in Birmingham to Swansea’s coastal route.
By SpaFinder | May 22, 2013
by Jessica Remitz
As you get ready to fire up the grill and head outdoors for another summer of alfresco dining, be sure to fill your plate with some in season and nutrient packed fruits and veggies. Here are five can’t-miss items, their health benefits, and how to cook them, straight from the experts.
“Summer is one of the best seasons when it comes to healthy fruits and vegetables,” said Vandana Sheth, RDN, CDE, registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Antioxidant-rich blueberries are one of them. In addition to helping strengthen the body’s ability to fight infection and disease, blueberries can help reduce plaque build up, which leads to decreased risk of heart attack and stroke. They may also help with bone health and reduce the risk or slow down the development of neurodegenerative diseases, Sheth said. A recent study from New Zealand also suggests that the antioxidants found in blueberries may help ward off muscle fatigue.
Enjoy them in: your morning yogurt, cereal, or delicious porridge.
This delicious tropical fruit is packed with vitamins A and C—which are beneficial for good eye health and boosting our immune system to help fight against disease. Mangoes are also high in fiber, which can help increase a feeling of fullness, and potassium, which helps with heart health, Sheth said.
Enjoy them in: salads, salsa, or Kohler Waters Spa’s pomegranate, raspberry & mango smoothie.
Over 90 percent water, watermelon is an excellent source of hydration on steamy summer days, Sheth said. Watermelon also contains lycopene, a powerful carotenoid pigment that helps keep our skin clear and healthy. Because of its high water content, snacking on watermelon can also help create a feeling of fullness.
Enjoy it in: salads, homemade ice pops, and blended into juices
Another superfood rich in lycopene, tomatoes are also known to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic properties, Sheth said. They’re rich in vitamin A, C, E, Folate and potassium—nutrients many of us are deficient in—and are also beneficial to heart health. Their antioxidant properties may also help with bone health.
Enjoy them in: an array of soups, stews, sauces, and healthy summer salads.
Low in calories and high in a variety of vitamins an minerals, bell peppers contain phytochemicals and carotenoids that have been associated with a decreased risk for heart disease, age-related eye disease and some cancers. Just ½ cup of bell peppers provides more than 230 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin C for only 20 or so calories, according to Sheth.
Enjoy them in: soups, stews, and grilled kebabs.
Tags: healthy recipes, nutrition, superfoods
By SpaFinder | May 22, 2013
By Kate Phillips
When it comes to luxury, these spas do it best. Part of the prestigious Leading Spas collection, they’re some of the industry frontrunners for opulence, wellness, and relaxation. Travel with us as we highlight some of the top luxury spas around Europe, from the rolling hills of Tuscany to the stylish decadence of the French Riviera.
Overlooking the gulf of Saint Tropez and the seven beaches of Pampelonne, Chateau Hotel de la Messardiere is said to resemble a castle on a hill, and its fairytale ambience invites you to live happily ever after at the majestic Chateau Spa, adorned with carved stone vaults, stained-glass windows, and wrought-iron railings. Before treatments (which use La Prairie and Cinq Mondes products), step out onto the spa terrace, which opens to a lovely Italian-inspired garden.
Against a Tuscan countryside backdrop, Fonteverde is a place of renewal thanks to Ferdinando I dei Medici, a natural hot spring named in honor of the founder of the first spa on the site Fonteverde now occupies. Today, its spa is all-encompassing, with 100-plus treatments that vary from Mediterranean-inspired and Ayurvedic to anti-aging and esthetic.
Surrounded by soaring pine trees, bordering the Trois Vallees ski slopes in the Jardin Alpin, Hotel De Charme Les Airelles and its magical setting is like a storybook unfolding, complete with interiors evocative of Austro-Hungarian allure (think wooden balconies, charming window nooks, and a fireplace in the lobby). The luxury ski-in/ski-out alpine resort is also a winter enthusiast’s paradise, with a ski valet, ski technician, and private ice rink—even its Cellcosmet Spa for Les Airelles comes complete with a purifying snow cave, perfect following a day schussing the slopes.
Ooh la la! Hotel Fouquet Barriere’s location at the corner of the Champs-Élysée and George V avenues keeps you within a short stroll of famed landmarks, including the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, River Seine, and Louvre—granted, if you can pull yourself away from U Spa, where blissful, relaxing treatments like the Parisian Massage make the bustling city seem miles away (on the dining front, the celeb-fave Fouquet’s brasserie is also worth a visit!).
The Leading Spas of the World website describes Masseria as being “full of hidden wonders,” and we wholeheartedly agree. Among the secret treasures? Caves below the property formerly housed Apulian monks fleeing Moorish attackers during the Middle Ages. One thing that’s not a secret? The tranquility of Masseria’s thalassotherapy spa, which sources mineral-rich water from a natural hot spring underneath Masseria—and showcases treatments using organic olive oil crafted from the resort’s olive groves.
The Terme di Saturnia destination spa, tucked away within the rolling hills of Tuscany’s Maremma region, sits at the base of the village of Saturnia, famed for its thermal spring that predates the Etruscan era and remains at a constant temperature of 98.6° F (37° C). Carve out time to “take the waters” in one of the resort’s four pools, visit the medical spa, or try one of the spa’s many beauty treatments, including the ultrasonic Keralytic facial.
Picture this: a quaint Provencal village-esque setting within the lush hills of Provence, encased by medieval villages, valleys, and mountains—the five-star Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort on the French Riviera simply calls that reality. Not only does this all-suite-and-villa resort host two par-72 championship golf courses with views of the southern Alps, but it has a stunning spa, surrounded by cypress trees, that features Provence-inspired treatments, among other luxe amenities.
Tags: french spas, italian spas, luxury breaks, luxury spas
By SpaFinder | May 22, 2013
by Kate Phillips
Okay, all you brides-to-be out there (myself, included!)—I know you’re overwhelmed with flower arrangements and dress fittings and menu decisions (chicken or salmon?), and the last thing you need is me tacking on one more thing to your big-day to-do list. But because I also know we all want to look our most beautiful on our wedding day, you may want to keep these following tips and spa treatments in mind before you walk down the aisle.
Facial: Know you’re putting your best face forward by booking a skin-care treatment before the big day (a custom, to-your-specific-needs facial or the plumping oxygen facial come to mind). However (and we can’t stress this enough) it’s best not to get a facial in the few days before your I do’s. Creams and lotions have the potential to wreak havoc on your complexion if it’s overly sensitive, plus, many facials are designed to draw out impurities, which can leave you with a lovely breakout that even your wedding veil can’t mask. So simply schedule a facial at least one week prior; or, if you have problematic skin, maybe opt for a series of treatments to be carried out during a six-month period or longer prior to the big day. See the different types of facials.
Teeth whitening: When you want your smile as white as your wedding dress, try teeth whitening: See a complete list of spas offering this service.
Sunless tanning: Get a pre-wedding/pre-honeymoon sun-kissed look with a sunless tan, either in a spray booth or done by an esthetician by hand, airbrush, or mister. These spas offer sunless tanning.
Body scrub: Try a body scrub to slough away dry, dead skin cells and leave you with luminous skin. It’s the ideal precursor to a sunless tan (don’t get a scrub after!), or just a great pick-me-up that will leave you glowing. You can also indulge in at-home body therapies such as dry brushing or DIY scrubs.
Body wrap: Specific wraps are an excellent way to detox, diminish the look of cellulite, or provide slimming effects, perfect prior to saying, “I do.” Some of the more popular include mineral wraps.
Injectables: We know you’re swamped with wedding plans, but don’t be a procrastinator if you’re planning on a more invasive skin-care service; injectables like Botox, Juvederm, etc. may require an approximate six-week turnaround to take full effect. See a list of spas that provide injectables.
Waxing: If you aim on being silky smooth for your nuptials, schedule a wax—but we caution you to do so one week prior to the wedding. Waxing appointments can be booked here.
Lash extensions: Pump up the glam factor with lash extensions to make your peepers look wide awake and lovely. Spas featuring lash extensions can be found here.
Manicure: Everyone’s going to want a glimpse of your new wedding band (not to mention your engagement sparkler!), so make sure to polish off your look with a pretty manicure. Why not throw in a pedicure, too! See which spas offer nail services.
Makeup instruction/application: If the idea of applying your own makeup for your wedding day scares you to death (I’m right there with you—those pictures last forever!), schedule an appointment at your local spa that either offers tutorials, or can fit you in for a makeup session on your special day. These spas offer makeup treatments.
Couples massage: Chances are, all that planning has left you (and your fiancé) a bit stressed out. Surprise your sweetie by booking a couples massage to celebrate your upcoming nuptials and soothe any tension caused by all those last-minute event details. Discover various massage modalities here.