Floating Away at Float Valley

I was recently in Jamaica, floating in a pool on my back, looking at the big blue sky and feeling very zen as pool water sloshed around in my eardrums.

This was not that.

I didn’t know what to expect when Nadeem Jiwani, founder and owner of Float Valley in Markham, invited me to try float therapy. Float Valley is like a hyperspecialized spa – they only have the one treatment (two if you count their meditation room), but the decor is very spa: soft blue lights, clean white surfaces, a plethora of gourmet teas in the relaxation room, and another separate room where they offer yoga classes.

I actually began my first ever float therapy in a very zen-like state. As the lights came down I closed my eyes and focused on breathing deeply. I marveled at the way the 800 pounds of magnesium-rich Epsom salts buoyed my body in the few feet of water in the float chamber.

I had heard weird stories about float therapy and sensory deprivation in general. I expected dizziness and disorientation, which I did not experience. What I wasn’t expecting was to feel restless after just 20 minutes in the chamber. By around the half hour mark I was experimenting with the light switches – one that turned the blue underwater lights on and the other an overhead changing starscape of coloured lights. I got out of the tank once to take a bathroom break and come back, but my concentration was broken.

Side note: because of the Epsom salts, float therapy can really dry you out after a while, so it’s important to drink water before and after; the problem is if you’re in the tank and you have to pee, that really stands in the way of reaching that higher plane of consciousness!

Maybe it was the fact that it was the middle of the day and I was heading back to work afterwards, or maybe I just missed my smartphone too much, but I couldn’t make it the full hour of the treatment. I felt a little like a two-year-old in a bath after a while and I was a little ashamed that I wasn’t doing it right.

“It takes practice,” Nadeem remarked when I told him afterwards. Float therapy is a good way to get used to meditation, he said. It’s like the mindfulness gateway drug, and I really do want to get hooked. Next time I plan to go on my day off, fight the smartphone withdrawal and Om my way to a zen state. Hopefully practice will make perfect.

Here’s why you should drink water

By Carmelina Karas

The Basics

Water is essential for life. Our bodies are made up of approximately 60% of it! We need water for vital organ functions, to replenish ourselves after exercise or while working in a hot climate, and for amazing looking skin. You may have heard that 8 cups per day is sufficient for the average human being. However, when has anyone really fallen into the “average” category when it comes to height, weight, body type, level of physical activity and underlying health conditions? We know drinking water is good for us, so why is it so hard to drink it?

According to Wikipedia, the amount of drinking water required is variable. It depends on physical activity, age, health, and environmental conditions. In a temperate climate under normal conditions, adequate water intake is about 2.7 litres (95 imp fl oz; 91 US fl oz) for adult women and 3.7 litres (130 imp fl oz; 130 US fl oz) for adult men.

Did you know that women need more water than men? In fact, men need over 11 cups of water per day and women need over 15! Feeling thirsty? This is very different than the 8 cups I was brought up thinking that I needed.

Enhancing the Taste

Companies have created flavour boosters to enhance our water, since it seems that “plain water” is boring. Health experts have asked us to add lemon to our water to help detoxify internal organs. Did you know that lukewarm water is actually better for you than cold, as cold water can shock your system? 

The bottom line is, we need to drink more water. I have yet to meet someone who has been hitting or passing their water-drinking goal on a daily basis. Keeping a cup or water bottle by your desk, making sure you are adequately hydrated while at the gym, and choosing healthy foods with higher water contents will all contribute to an overall healthier lifestyle. Your body will thank you and your skin will look amazing!

Local Flavour at the Spa

InterContinental Presidente Cozumel

When you visit a new country, are you the type of traveller who searches out familiar dishes or are you looking to try local delicacies? If you identify more strongly with the latter, you might appreciate these spa treatments featured at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts around the world. These regionally-inspired spa packages reflect the unique cultures that they are embedded in:

Cozumel, Mexico

The spa at InterContinental Presidente Cozumel Resort & Spa offers treatments that allow guests to experience the mystery and magic of Mayan culture, including the 170-minute Mayan Lovers Ritual. This treatment begins with a traditional Mayan Temazcal, a sweat lodge concept dating back centuries to when Mexico’s Mayan Rivera was wilderness and Mayan civilization was at the peak of its power. Guests embark on a private journey with their loved one while they relax in a generous soaking tub containing aromatic salts and essential oils, finished with a side-by-side massage.

Miami, United States

MySpa at InterContinental Miami introduces travelers to the wonders of citrus grown in the state with the Gentlemen’s Ginger-Lime Scrub. Men are invited to relax after a day of activities in the vitamin D-rich Florida sun, with this citrus treatment designed to calm and awaken all of their senses.

InterContinental San Juan

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Travelers can pamper themselves with an amazing combination of treatments that take them on a wellness journey at Akua Spa at InterContinental San Juan. The Caribbean Indulge treatment, inspired by the island, starts with a coconut sugar exfoliating scrub paying homage to one of Puerto Rico’s most popular foods, coconut, which is followed by a soothing mango wrap. The treatment ends with a relaxing Swedish massage or organic glow facial.

Cancun, Mexico

A treatment at InterContinental Presidente Cancun Resort’s Ikal Spa includes the Signature Mayan Honey Exfoliation that allows guests to pamper themselves in a delightful blend of local honey and fresh yogurt. The experience melts tension away and instantly revives dry skin. The locally produced Mayan honey is recognized for its extra sweetness and health benefits.

 

Massage: The Good, The Bad, and The Funky

By Heather West

I remember my first massage vividly. It was almost 20 years ago. I was in the midst of planning a conference and my CEO at the time could see the stress building. She asked if I’d ever had a massage and when she found out I hadn’t, she recommended a trip to her therapist, conveniently located two doors down from our office.

That massage was transformative. Not only did it relieve the tension I was feeling; it turned me into a massage junkie. It became the first of many, many massages. I’m a sucker for the whole scene now. I love the soothing soundtrack, aroma of essential oils, and the sound of trickling water when I walk in. Even before I get my massage, I feel the tension begin to slip away, and I’m like a kid in a candy store waiting for my turn.

I have had a lot of wonderful experiences, a few mediocre ones and one doozy that will be forever etched in my brain. In most cases, I dread the end. I always wish the therapist would lose track of time and I would get away with a few extra minutes. However, on the occasion of my worst massage, I was watching the clock waiting for it to end.

I was at a high-end retreat with my mother and sisters. We’d been looking forward to our get away for some time. We were giddy filling out our information on the clip boards waiting to see who would be greeted and taken into their room first.

I should have known when the gentleman who greeted me arrived with bare feet. In my Zen state of mind, I shrugged it off. That was until I laid face down on the table with his feet directly below me. No amount of essential oil would mask that odour. It’s not very relaxing to hold your breath during a massage, but that’s what I did until he moved out of that position. The smell was still there, but at least it wasn’t directly below me.

Then there was the temperature in the room. When I first walked in, I commented on how cold it was. It was winter. The window was wide open. Even with many layers of blankets, I was freezing. I mentioned it again, but he still didn’t close the window. I started to seize up.

The kicker was his massage technique. I always request a full-body massage. I don’t have any issues, so I don’t have special requirements or need “therapy.” However, he started to twist and contort my body in really physically uncomfortable and unusual ways. I felt like an athlete being prepped for the Olympic trials. I asked him what he was doing, but by this point, I was so flabbergasted, I don’t even recall what he said. Although, I do know that it wasn’t anything along the lines of, “Oh, I’m sorry. Would you like me to stop?” Or, “What technique would you prefer?”

It was the longest 60-minute massage I’ve ever had. It created tension that wasn’t even there when I arrived. Thankfully, that tension melted away when I regaled my mother and sisters with the story over wine and peals of laughter.

Heather West, principal of Fresh Communications, is an executive communication consultant and writer who helps leaders and organizations build trust with effective communications. She can be reached at www.freshcomms.ca, by phone at 416-884-5741, or email at hwest@freshcomms.ca. 

 

Up All Night: Club D’Elite Spa Review

By Kelly Townsend

Club D’Elite has several charms. The tropical decor, complete with palm trees and a clear blue sky overhead in the lounge area, immediately instilled a feeling of relaxation and comfort. When my colleague and I visited the spa in November, we felt immediately transported stepping into the warm waiting area on a chilly evening.

The staff members were friendly and accommodating–if a little too eager to check in on us every few minutes–and each room we visited was clean and spotless. The food provided in the buffet area was savoury and a departure from the tapas-style meal offerings that have become quite common among spas. The buffet style meal is inspired by spas in Asia, according to Club D’Elite’s head chef.

The most damning flaw of Club D’Elite is its inability to serve all body types, instead catering to slimmer clientele. I am by no means a thin person, nor am I morbidly obese, but after several failed attempts to find a proper robe size, it was made clear to me they didn’t have proper attire available for women above a size 14. Staff members were apologetic, as I spent the rest of the visit in my street clothes, but it was disheartening to discover that not all spaces are designed for body positivity and inclusivity. Truth be told, I was ready to leave then and there, but stayed on for the sake of giving a full review.

The 45 minute back massage was not a relaxing experience. My colleague and I were informed beforehand that our two massage therapists had very different methods (one specialized in gentle massage, the other in deep tissue massage), essentially making it a coin toss for who would be waking up very sore the next morning (spoiler alert: it was me). The therapist made no attempt to learn if I had any focus areas needing attention and sparsely checked in to see if she was being too rough.

The foot massage, however, fared much better. While still rough at times, the ability to sit and enjoy drinks and a movie with a colleague while getting joint foot rubs was a luxurious experience. The spa is open until 2 AM, giving clients more than enough time to relax in their post-massage lull with drinks and a warm meal.

Club D’Elite is not for everyone, it certainly wasn’t for me, but for the clients it does appeal to, this spa is worth its very reasonable price tag.

 

 

Nominations Now Open for 2016 Canadian Spa & Wellness Awards

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Awards program continues to celebrate best of Canadian spa industry

Monday, September 19, 2016 – Spa Inc. magazine, in partnership with the Spa Industry Association of Canada (SIAC), is pleased to announce that nominations are now open for the 2016 Canadian Spa and Wellness Awards. The annual spa awards program celebrates creative and innovative spas, industry partners and educators that make the Canadian spa and wellness industry great.

Last year’s awards were a resounding success, with spas across Canada celebrating their awards through social media. Top New Spa winner iwa Spa included their award title on a billboard in Collingwood. “[This award] really gives us the validation that we’re on the right track,” said iwa Spa founder Michelle Udell.

Spa Inc. and SIAC are incredibly pleased with the success of this awards program, and thrilled to have the opportunity to once again honour the best of Canada’s spa industry,” says Susan A. Browne, publisher of Spa Inc. magazine. “I wish the best of luck to each nominee for the 2016 awards.”

Nominations for the Canadian Spa and Wellness Awards will close October 4, 2016. The nine award categories are as follows: Top 25 Spas, Top Destination Spa, Top New Spa, Top Day Spa, Top Medi-Spa, Top Sanitas Spa, Consumers Choice, Education and Top Spa Partner. The winners will be announced in early November. Please follow us on Twitter @SpaIncMag for future awards news and follow the hashtag #CdnSpaAwards.

Participate by either nominating or supporting excellence through sponsorship opportunities.
For more information, nomination queries or sponsorship package information, please visit
www.CanadianSpaAwards.ca or contact us at: awards@spainc.ca.


About Spa Inc.
Spa Inc. is the only bilingual Spa magazine in Canada reaching spa owners and the clients they serve with the latest trends, products and services. Valued by spa professionals and distributors as a comprehensive resource, our loyal audience frequently turn to Spa Inc. for the latest in the spa and wellness industry across Canada and abroad. To learn
more, please visit www.spainc.ca

About Spa Industry Association of Canada (SIAC)
As Canada’s national spa organization, Spa Industry Association of Canada (SIAC) provides support for the development of the Canadian spa industry and the promotion of Canada as the finest spa destination in the world. Led by a dedicated Board of Directors from across the country, SIAC represents the broad spectrum of the spa experience, from resort and day spas, destination, mineral springs spas to medical spas, schools and suppliers. To learn more about Spa Industry Association of Canada, please see www.spaindustry.ca

The Colour Wheel

Our Summer 2016 issue is all about beauty. In her piece on oncology esthetics, Morag Currin gives estheticians working with clients undergoing cancer treatment advise about using the colour wheel to find the best palette to suit their client. Whether you’re an esthetician or spa therapist helping a client look good, or you’re doing your makeup at home, you can use the colour wheel to enhance your beauty routine.

Here’s how it works:

This illustration is AI 10 EPS vector, well grouped. High resolution JPEG file included (5000 x 5000 pixels)

  1. Grab a hand mirror and try to identify the dominant colour of the iris of your eye
  2. Find your iris colour on the colour wheel
  3. The colour swatch that sits directly opposite your iris colour is your complementary colour. Example: if your dominant iris colour is blue, your complementary colour will be orange.
  4. Once you’ve identified your complementary colour, have fun with it! By all means, wear orange if your eyes are blue, or try out warm orange-inspired shades like coral and peach.

Not Your Grandma’s Permanent Makeup

Tina Davies HeadshotTina Davies is the owner and founder of Natural Effects Permanent Makeup in Toronto. I spoke to her about her microblading practice and the special tools she’s designed for it:

What is microblading?

Microblading is the newest hottest trend in permanent makeup. It’s really natural eyebrows that last for a year, a year and a half and then it just goes away. It’s not your grandma’s permanent makeup.

Is it like a tattoo? Do you use a special ink and tools?

Yes, it’s specialized ink just for permanent makeup and specialized tools, so it’s in a class of its own. I manufacture the tools [I use] but I don’t manufacture the inks.

When you are designing your microblading tool, what are you looking for?

For this microblading procedure typically, and what’s been done in the past few years, is you would use some kind of handle that looks like an X-Acto Knife handle. The artist would have to insert a needle into that handle, assemble it basically and then apply it to the skin. The way that I’ve designed my product is that there’s no assembly, it comes fully assembled, and it’s completely safe and disposable. So it’s only a one-time use tool and it has a ruler on the handle that helps with measuring.Harmony microblade

Where does the ink you use come from?

There are many companies…that manufacture the inks that are safe and tested for permanent makeup. They have a colour range that is broken into warm and cool colours so that you can find the right colour for, say, a blonde, a brunette, an Asian, a Black person. You would have to use your artistic experience and colour theory to choose the right colours for your clients.

How long have you been doing permanent makeup?

15 years.

Why do you think it’s such a hot trend right now?

I think it’s because of social media, because people now have access to information and educators have the ability to spread their knowledge. Like for me, I’m an educator, I can teach people, I can train, I can do webinars, I can do blogging, and then spread the word about permanent makeup. When I post pictures, people then have interest, more people come to have it done. There’s just more visibility. Literally estheticians every day are taking courses for [microblading], two-day courses in Toronto or wherever – but two days really isn’t enough. I’m actually against that, but where the money is people will go. People should get proper education.

Are there safety concerns?

Definitely. Blood-borne pathogens is a big part of it – cross-contamination. When people go to a tattoo shop they’re like “Oh my good, is this needle sterile? Is this safe? Are they touching me and touching someone else? What’s going to happen?” So people are very very concerned about cross-contamination. That’s why I made these one-time use disposable [microblading] tools that never existed. Safety is number one in tattooing, regardless. Number two, of course, is skill, the qualifications of the technicians. If you can combine safety and skill, then you’ve got a really good service.

It’s interesting, when I first heard about microblading, I had this image in my head of a cartoonish tattooed-on eyebrow, but when I saw the video on your website, I thought “Oh, actually that looks very natural”. 

It’s very popular! I’m literally booked a year in advanced – a year. And that’s me working with clients back to back.

Other than eyebrows, what other procedures do you do?

Eyeliner. I used to do lips but I don’t do that anymore.

So eyebrows are the majority of what you do?

Tina Davies harmony microbladeYes. It’s actually about 70 per cent of most people’s business, because eyebrows are something women cannot live without. If you don’t have lipstick on that’s okay, but if you don’t have eyebrows…

Do you have clients come in who have lost their hair to something like alopecia or chemotherapy?

Yes, all the time! I probably have two or three alopecia clients a week. Chemotherapy is not as prevalent because they are waiting for their hair to grow back.

What is the response you get from your clients? 

They love it. I’ve had clients who have been doing this with me for 15 years. They come back all the time because it’s just something for a woman, on her face, it’s so important. You just cannot not have eyebrows and the clients that come are usually people that care. So people love the procedure and they love how natural it looks, that’s the main thing.

Learn more about Tina Davies and her microblading technique at www.tinadavies.com.

Test Divas: Lip Lock

SST Willpower

By Hermione Wilson

I used to think wearing lipstick required a sacrifice. You could have this bold, beautiful lip colour but in order to have that you had to accept the fact that your lips would feel dry and cracked the whole time, and have to refresh your lipstick every 10 seconds.

And yes, before you ask, I did put on lip balm first, but it didn’t seem to help. Inevitably I would start to feel the moisture leaching out of my lips and have to fight the irresistible urge to lick them. Pretty soon the lovely colour I put on at the beginning of the night was everywhere – my water glass, my napkin, my fingers – except on my lips.

Me in lipstick_RSZDSo needless to say, I didn’t really like wearing lipstick except on very rare special occasions. That is, until I discovered SST’s Signature Power Stay Lipstick “Willpower”, a lovely shade of matte red that give me a bold lip without being blindingly glossy. But the best part about this lipstick is that it contains Vitamin E and beeswax, so no dry lips!

I think I’m in love. I never get that horrible desert-dry feeling with the Power Stay Lipstick, eveSST Lipstick 2_RSZDn after it sets, and it doesn’t move around once it does, so no more smudges on my water glass! SST’s long-lasting lipstick has empowered me to start wearing lipstick more often, not just on special occasions. I never knew wearing lipstick could be so effortless and fun! I have tasted the sweet sweet fruit of a hydrating matte lipstick and I’m never looking back.

A Skin Care Convert

Photo by a james on Flickr

Photo by a james on Flickr

By Kelly Townsend

First, a confession: I’m utterly clueless when it comes to skin care and beauty regimes.

If you’d asked me a week ago, I couldn’t have told you the first thing about what exfoliating your skin does, or what skin toner even is. It hadn’t been much of a problem in my youth, but as I got older it felt like my skin was starting to cry out for attention. Finally, it got to the point where I decided to book my very first facial at Amanda Borys Aesthetics in hopes of soothing my weary skin. By the end of it I officially became a skin care convert.

Within the first few minutes, my esthetician, Amanda Borys, easily identified the problem areas with my skin. It was severely dehydrated, which explained why it was tight and irritated as well as embarrassingly oily at times. When I casually mentioned that my face gets flushed easily, she even went into detail about why it occurred and, for the first time in my life, actually told me how I can reduce it.

Part of what held me back from getting treatment before was simply embarrassment over how little I’d done for my skin. I’ve been to manicure appointments where the attendant would chastise me over my lack of nail care, and I wasn’t exactly looking for an hour of skin-shaming. As I went through the history of products and treatments I’d done, I awkwardly explained how little product ever touches my face. Surprisingly, Amanda reassured me that it’s far better to avoid product than to overuse them without educating yourself first. She told me horror stories about women who had severely damaged their skin just by overusing certain products.

Once we got into the facial itself, I slowly but surely felt myself easing into the process. Amanda was courteous enough to explain to me what she was doing as she was doing it, and never balked at my questions. As the session came to a close, I was so relaxed I ended up pulling my sweater on inside out.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was life-changing, but the experience really opened my eyes to what I’ve been missing out on by neglecting my skin. Once the appointment was over I could actually feel the difference in my face, as if it had been rejuvenated. Since then I have followed the suggestions made by Amanda and that irritated sensation that used to plague me hasn’t returned.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from this is that taking care of your skin isn’t as complicated as it seems, and there’s no need to feel embarrassed to ask for help. By taking a couple of hours out of my day I was able to identify problems that I never knew could be fixed and discover a quick and simple process to keep my skin from reverting back to its parched and oily state. What I thought could be another awkward spa experience ended up being one of the most relaxing and educational hours I’ve had in a long while.