August 10, 2012
A nourished body and healthy mind are reflected in a glowing appearance, and nothing brings out your inner radiance better than a soothing day at the spa. Spa treatments are one of the best ways to pamper and nourish the body and soul, striking a healthy and harmonious balance between our inner and outer selves. Wellness expert Dr. Susan Biali, MD believes that “taking care of yourself in this way is truly essential to your health and success,” due to a range of mood-boosting benefits that contribute to overall well-being.
Perhaps the most well known side effect of spa treatments like massages or facials is a reduction in stress hormones, which, according to Biali, also helps to slow your heart rate and brings down blood pressure. This decrease in stress can also help bolster the immune system. “By reducing stress and stress hormones, massage boosts the levels of ‘natural killer cells’ in your body, which are your first defense against invaders,” she says. “Imagine how much happier a place this world would be, if all women were treated to a spa visit a minimum of once a month?”
While regular spa visits may not be within reach for all of us, recreating that relaxing and rejuvenating environment at home is something anyone can do. Creating a home spa doesn’t require a costly master bath overhaul, but rather is about making some simple switches to create a peaceful haven you can enjoy as often as you like. Use the following tips when planning your home spa makeover, and take pampering your mind and body from splurge to necessity.
Soft, low lighting is key to bringing a soothing and peaceful feeling to your spa. The harsh fluorescent lighting or bare bulb light bars found in many bathrooms can easily be toned down with low wattage or rosy incandescent bulbs, or consider installing a dimmer switch for maximum versatility. Candlelight is another great option that imparts an extra sense of luxury and tranquility.
One thing that may draw you to your favorite spa or salon is the way it smells. Aromatherapy is a great way to unwind, and it’s easy to customize the scents to your mood. Tea tree and eucalyptus are revitalizing and refreshing, while ylang ylang and neroli are perfect for bedtime. Try adding a few drops of these essential oils to an Epsom salt bath for a soothing mineral bath that also stimulates the senses. Lavender is a favorite for relaxation, so opt for a vase of this fresh cut herb instead of artificially scented candles.
Perhaps you prefer to listen to quiet classical music or the sounds of nature such as rain or ocean waves while you indulge in your spa ritual. Whatever your preference, keep a selection of your favorites and a small CD player within easy reach, attractively stored in a teak box or a basket.
For a sense of ultimate luxury, switch out your everyday bath towels for thick, fluffy, oversized bath sheets. These are especially pampering when warmed on a towel rack or in the dryer so that you can wrap yourself in head-to-toe warmth and softness when you emerge from the bath. Also, keep a richly textured cotton robe within easy reach, and a plush bath mat at your feet.
To top off a night of ultimate relaxation, don’t forget the chocolate! In addition to being delicious, chocolate has health and mood boosting benefits, too. According to Prevention, the phenethylamine contained within chocolate triggers the release of endorphins to leave you feeling happy and content while the compound anandamine acts to alleviate stress. We recommend a delicious drink of Nightly Beauty; the calming blend of L-Theanine, chamomile flower, and valerian root extract promote the same relaxing benefits. With flavors including Chocolate Bliss and Chocolate Chai Renewal, a cup of Nightly Beauty is the perfect end to a perfect home spa experience.