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Envisage Renew: Natural Facial Toning

Posted by on Sep 26, 2015 in Health and Wellness, News, Product Reviews | 0 comments





Envisage Renew

Envisage Rene Envisage Renew: A Natural Toning Device


Until recently, I believed that the only way to stimulate collagen was to cause injury to the epidermis. But when I was presented with a sample of the envisage device, I learned that it could stimulate collagen by exercising the facial muscles, just as I would (theoretically) exercise abdominal muscles in the gym. (I say theoretically because it has been a long time since I hit any gym.)

I have tried some invasive and somewhat-invasive anti-aging options: various forms of dermabrasion, acupuncture and filler injections So I was  eager to experience any non-invasive method that promised to work six key areas of the face: forehead lines, saggy eyelids, smile lines, double chin and saggy outer jaw line and neck.

I didn’t have major problems in all these areas, but I was interested in perking up the eyelids and smoothing out the smile lines and those between the brows (the  so-called “Number 11s”). However, since there was bound to be some synergy in the results, I decided I would do all the exercises.

As explained in the instructions and the online videos, the exercises were fairly straightforward. With a commitment of five minutes twice a day I could expect results in about four weeks; with five minutes once a day, results would show in six or eight weeks.  (envisage actually gives a three-month guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with the results, the company will refund your money, minus any shipping charges.)

As I knew I would not sit still to work my face out twice a day, I made a mental commitment to one time.

Unlike the many devices that use micro-currents to stimulate muscles, envisage doesn’t require the use of creams or gels. The battery is quickly and easily rechargeable and the two pads on the device need to be replaced every eight to twelve months.

According to the instructions (there’s also a video on the website), I only needed to spend five minutes doing the exercises. If I did them twice a day, I could expect results in about four weeks. (Envisage offers an impressive three-month trial!)

My commitment was to once a day. So on day one, I began with the Cheek Lifter.  I would have to work this area to see results as the cheek muscles are somewhat weak. As instructed, I squinted, felt the muscle, then tipped the envisage and placed the pads on the cheekbone just below the eyes, pressed the pads into my cheeks and down toward my chin. I pressed the vibration button, raised my cheeks up by squinting my eyes and maintained pressure for 10-15 seconds. I did this 15 times. (As always, the recommendation is for 10-15 times or until muscle fatigue occurs.)

Next, Droop Defeater had me working on my forehead. This had me placing the pads above my eyes over the outside edge of my browline – then pulling my forehead muscles up, as if I had been surprised. Again, as with all the exercises, I held for 10-15 seconds, repeating 10 times. I could really feel the vibration on the first round on this exercise.

For the Jowl Lifter, the pads went below my mouth, on either side of the lip area. For the exercise, I had to lift my lower lip up, toward the tip of my nose. This was easily accomplished by imagining I was sliding my lower up over my upper lip. I found this difficult to repeat for the requisite 15, so I stopped after nine.

There’s a second, similar but more intense, Jowl Lifter for more tightening around the jaw, but as this was not an area of concern, I skipped it.

For the Chin Smoother, I placed the pads under my chin at the bend of my jaw, pressed the vibrator button, opened my mouth and pressed my jaw back against the pads. I definitely felt the muscles tensing around my jaw and neck. First time out, I was only able to do this 10 times.

There were a couple of complementary exercises – for the lips and eyes– that didn’t require the envisage. These were simple, so I did them when I had time.

First time out, it took me considerably longer than five minutes to do the requisite exercises, mainly because it took time to place the envisage correctly. When I became more adept at getting started, I usually finished in under 10 minutes.

I started to see some results after about three weeks. By six weeks, my facial lines had definitely smoothed out considerably and my eyes seemed to open wider. I thought these were great results for something that was non-invasive, chemical free – and which felt so “healthy” to do.

The challenge now is to keep up maintenance faithfully, just as I would at a (theoretical) gym. As the envisage does not require any travel, I’m confident I’ll be able to do it.

Envisage is priced at just under $150, though Amazon often runs special promotions that offer considerable savings. For more information, check the website or call  855-924-4343


Before using Envisage

Before using Envisage


After using Envisage

After using Envisage



Yoga with a View

Posted by on Sep 17, 2015 in Health and Wellness, News, Resort and Hotel Spas, Tips | 0 comments


Yoga with a iew; Celebrate National Yoga Month in September

While there is no shortage of great yoga studios where you can celebrate National Yoga Month, there aren’t many where you can do your poses while enjoying gorgeous views.

Yoga aboard the Spirit of New York

Yoga aboard the Spirit of New York

I love the idea of sun salutations at sea, especially around the island of Manhattan. Spirit of New York’s Yoga on the Water Cruise will keep New Yorkers in a Namaste state-of-mind. Classes are taught by Rae Broderick from NYC’s prominent Strala yoga studio founded by Tara Stiles, and Athleta provides yoga mats and special gift bags. After everyone perfects their downward dog on the outdoor deck, attendees can enjoy a light meal and a chance to take in views of the Manhattan skyline.

The W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island located eight miles off the coast of Puerto Rico, recently launched ENERGIZE by Tara Stiles. Offering exclusive access to a three- or five-day customized escape, the retreat features onsite experiences by renowned influencer, Tara Stiles and/or trained Strala Guides, twice daily yoga sessions on Paradise Edge cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at sunrise and sunset, nature escapes, made-to-order spa treatments and cooking classes.

Sandos Caracol Eco Experience Resort, in Riviera Maya, Mexico, welcomes guests to let the beauty of nature awaken their senses while practicing yoga in a harmonious setting within the Mayan Jungle. The classes are included in the property’s all-inclusive experience and take place on a natural wooden deck surrounded by the jungle and crystal-clear cenotes.

Hilton Hawaiian Village, Waikiki’s only beachfront resort, features a multitude of outdoor yoga activities. Offering views of the Pacific Ocean and Diamond Head Crater, guests can try their hand at SUP (stand-up paddle board) yoga at the world-famous Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon. The five-acre lagoon is named after Hawaii’s legendary Ambassador of Aloha, surfer and Olympic swimming champion Duke Kahanamoku.

Offered by The Finger Lakes Cider House once per season, farmscape yoga presents the opportunity to experience an organic farm and cidery in the heart of the Finger Lakes. The workshop explores the connection between the body-mind and farm’s ecology.

At five-star Acqualina Resort & Spa in Miami, YOGiiZa’s team of seasoned yoginis and wellness gurus provide a wide array of personalized health and fitness programs, including yoga sessions and health and wellness coaching against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean.

The waterfront oasis that is Montauk Yacht Club Resort & Marina offers beachside yoga with breathtaking marina views. Guests with advanced yoga skills are welcome to take their practice to the water while beginners receive instruction on land. Yoga mats, props and a complimentary Zico Coconut Water are provided to all participants.




Salt Cave Open in East Hampton

Posted by on Sep 16, 2015 in Health and Wellness, News, Tips | 0 comments


salt cave

New Salt Cave Opens in East Hampton, unique spa treatment

Dr. Margaret Smiechowski has announced the opening of Montauk Salt Cave. People in Montauk and the greater East Hampton area area now have the opportunity to visit this state of the art, high-end salt cave to help alleviate numerous ailments.

     “I am so thrilled to have designed this beautiful cave with the Coppolas and to bring Halotherapy to the Hamptons,” says Smiechowski. “Salt Caves are growing in popularity and Halotherapy is proven to be a dependable alternative for natural healing. I am honored to have assisted in designing it.”

     Montauk Salt Cave is owned by Peter and Shannon Coppola, a husband and wife team that decided to open this cave after learning about the benefits of Himalayan salt for their 4-year old son, Oliver.

     “Our son has battled with breathing issues since he was born. He had his adenoids removed, and has always been medicated for asthma and allergies,” Shannon Coppola says. “On December 15, 2014, we took him for a session of salt therapy in New Jersey. Since then, he has not coughed once and he is finally sleeping through the night.”

     After the Coppolas saw the dramatic and permanent benefits Halotherapy had on their sick son’s quality of life, they contacted Dr. Smiechowski, North America’s foremost expert on salt caves, to learn how to create their own salt cave. Dr. Smiechowski has extensive education and experience in both traditional and complementary medicine. She has worked tirelessly for over two decades to spread the concept of salt caves and Halotherapy in the U.S. Additionally, she has a successful track record of creating numerous, simulated salt caves, from Colorado to Vermont.

     “Working with Margaret on this project has been one of the most beautiful experiences of our lives. We are eternally grateful for her expertise and cannot wait to help people here at Montauk Salt Cave,” Shannon says.

      The Montauk Cave has pink, Himalayan salt from Pakistan. The cave is temperature controlled to maintain the anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties of the salt. Additionally, this cave contains a salt fireplace, a sculpted ceiling, calming music, and special lighting, which promote maximum relaxation for patrons. One session of Halotherapy costs forty dollars and is for forty-five minutes. It is opened year round and perfectly situated at 552 W Lake Dr, Montauk, NY 11954.

     For more information about Montauk Salt Cave, call (631) 668-7258. To learn more about how you can experience the benefits of Halotherapy and create your own salt cave, visit the website  or email Dr. Smiechowski at:


Self Discovery Adventure at Cape Rey’s Wellness Retreat

Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 in Health and Wellness, News, Resort and Hotel Spas | 0 comments

Wellness retreat at Cape Rey

Wellness retreat at Cape Rey

Embark on an adventure of self-discovery at Cape Rey’s Inaugural Wellness Retreat, September 25-27; 

Resort offers a stunning beachfront setting for self-care weekend in partnership with PKNY Health

Feeling balanced and beautiful from the inside out is the focus of the latest adventure from Cape Rey Carlsbad, a Hilton Resort. The resort’s first signature Cape Rey Wellness Weekend entitled “Reset, Revive and Thrive” will take place Fri., Sept. 25 through Sun., Sept. 27 and focus on self care through food, movement, meditation and other activities.

“To be our best selves, we all need to take time out and look internally once in a while,” says Jeannette Handson, spa director at the hotel’s Ocean Crest Spa. “This wellness weekend encourages guests to pause and embark on a journey of self-discovery. We want participants to step back into their daily lives wholly reinvigorated.”

Cape Rey’s Ocean Crest Spa has partnered with PKNY Health to offer guests a weekend of resort-style renewal. Refreshing and inspiring yoga sessions, meditation and expert-led self-care workshops pair with a healing food lecture, delicious meals and healthy snacks to encourage wellbeing. Through healing movement, relaxing massage, sublime solitude and thoughtful self-exploration, guests will leave feeling nourished, balanced and revitalized.

Highlights of the weekend include

Radical Self Care Workshop: Led by Pegah Kadkhodaian, PKNY Health co-founder and a professional integrative nutrition and transformation coach who has studied under renowned experts like Deepak Chopra, this powerful session explores what self care really is and encourages participants to set a powerful intention for their lives.

Mediation by Music: Indian world music fusion and sound meditation artists Nadaka and Gopika perform a concert of meditative music and chants to uplift and awaken the soul.

High-Intensity Body Weight Resistance Circuit Class:  Kadkhodaian leads a high-intensity series of interval circuits combining body weight strength training and cardio. The class explores an awesome balance of strength, cardio and flexibility set to fun music.

Healing with Food: In this workshop, guests will be introduced to how food can directly affect the body and how to incorporate more fresh foods into their everyday diet. The session will cover how food can create harmful inflammation and how to eat for health and healing.

Graced by Grit Trunk Show: Based in neighboring Solana Beach, Grace by Grit is a growing active wear label offering fresh, flattering athletic apparel that can go from workout to workplace.

Reservations for “Reset, Revive and Thrive” can be made directly through Ocean Crest Spa at 760.683.5555 or

Participants are not required to stay at the hotel. Rates start at $425 per person for day access to all events, $875 per person for day access and overnight accommodations (based on single occupancy guestroom) and $1,299 for day access and overnight accommodations for two (based on double occupancy guestroom). Pricing includes parking and a special gift for attendees.

For more information or to book a reservation, visit

About Ocean Crest Spa

Inspired by the healing powers of the sea, the Ocean Crest Spa offers an environmentally sensitive spa experience and features exceptionally pure, naturally-sourced products. The intimate 5,600 sq. ft. spa features seven private treatment rooms including a spacious couple’s suite with tub and private outdoor area for the perfect romantic retreat. The spa also offers men’s and women’s locker areas and indoor/outdoor relaxation lounges. Guests can choose from an array of massages, facials, body treatments and facials. Visit the website for more information.

About Cape Rey Carlsbad, a Hilton Resort

Located along the sunny San Diego coast directly across from Carlsbad State Beach, the 215-room Cape Rey boasts a modern, California Craftsman-style design with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Opened in June 2012, this North San Diego luxury hotel was honored with the AAA Four Diamond distinction in 2013. Guests of Cape Rey enjoy the best of the beach communities’ lifestyle. On property amenities include the sea-inspired Ocean Crest Spa, an expansive, ocean view swimming pool and Chandler’s Restaurant & Lounge, a stylish restaurant where guests can enjoy fresh, regional cuisine and stunning views. The perfect basecamp for exploring Southern California, Cape Rey provides easy access to the beaches, parks, shopping and dining in Carlsbad, Leucadia, Encinitas and Oceanside. Just 30 minutes north of San Diego, Cape Rey is minutes away from LEGOLAND California, Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Disneyland California and a variety of other fun attractions. Visit for more information.



Grotta Giusti Announces Pioneering Anti-Ageing Program

Posted by on Aug 24, 2015 in Bargains | 0 comments


grotta giusti

Grotta Giusti Announces Ground-Breaking ‘Longevity’ Program in Tuscany, Guides Guests Towards Optimal Wellness 

Italian Hospitality Collection’s Grotta Giusti, a luxurious and historic spa hotel in Tuscany, is pleased to unveil a week-long Longevity wellness program designed to tackle ageing. Grotta Giusti has been awarded ‘Innovative Medical Spa’ in the ESPA Innovation Awards 2015 due to its pioneering work with this trailblazing program.

The course, which has been developed and perfected over two trial years, is overseen by a team of medical and health professionals. It includes a seven night stay at the hotel and is based on rebalancing the immune, nervous and endocrine systems and strengthening the defence, cell repair and organ systems. The results direct guests towards healthy ageing, whilst reducing the risk of incurring chronic, degenerative diseases at the same time.

The innovative Longevity program includes blood testing, DNA testing, medical consultations, osteopathic consultations, medical-diet consultations and more, over a seven-day period. Daily thermal mud treatments are also carried together with steam baths in the millennial thermal cave; Giuseppe Verdi, the famed 19th century Italian composer, was a regular visitor to the villa and regarded the cave and its healing powers as the eighth wonder of the world.

How The Longevity ProgramWorks:

Longevity begins with a series of medical assessments aimed at outlining the clinical conditions and the genetic susceptibility of each guest partaking in the program, in order to personalize their food regimes and establish the type and duration of the physical and thermal therapies they require.

Based on the results of the nutritional and metabolic assessment, the dieticians at Grotta Giusti create a nutritional plan that is designed to teach individuals how to eat properly, according to their genetic needs identified in the genetic tests. The food regime is provided by a doctor, who administers food supplements that are tailored according to the results of the genomic susceptibility tests. Throughout the program guests are served the best in the Mediterranean cuisine, with fresh, local food prepared according to their individual meal plans.

Thermal mud treatments (47°C) and steam baths (34°C) are enjoyed daily in the thermal cave. The water running through the grotto is rich in salt, sulphate, and alkaline earth and comes out of the ground at around 34°C. Its vapors generate a steam bath that provides effective treatment for troubled skin, respiratory and circulatory complaints and musculo-skeletal pain.

The Grotta Giusti team advises and monitors each guest every day during the physical activity and therapy sessions. The specific exercises offered daily enhance cognitive stimulation for the prevention of cerebral ageing.


Each itinerary is personalised to suit the needs of each and every guest, with activities and tests tailored to the individual. Below is a sample Longevity program outlining the experience guests can anticipate:

Day 1: Upon arrival a welcome meeting and programme briefing is carried out.

Day 2: In the morning guests are booked in for blood tests, a medical consultation, postural consultation, osteopathic consultation, medical-diet consultation and an arm band application measuring an individual’s level of physical activity, energy used and states of sleep. The afternoon is comprised of an osteopathic session, a thermal Grotta mud treatment and fitness activities.

Day 2: In the morning guests are booked in for a cognitive behavioral test and osteopathic session followed by a thermal Grotta mud treatment and fitness activities in the afternoon.

Day 3: In the morning guests are booked in for a medical diet check-up and postural techniques followed by a neuromuscular massage, thermal Grotta mud treatment and fitness activities in the afternoon.

Day 4: In the morning guests are booked in for a genomic and nutrigenetic tests evaluation, cognitive tests and evaluation and osteopathic session followed by a thermal Grotta mud treatment and fitness activities in the afternoon.

Day 5: In the morning guests are booked in for a medical diet check-up and postural techniques followed by a neuromuscular massage, thermal Grotta mud treatment and fitness activities in the afternoon.

Day 6: In the morning guests are booked in for a medical check-up and neuromuscular massage followed by a thermal Grotta mud treatment and fitness activities in the afternoon.

Day 7: Guests receive their ‘blueprint’ and have a departure consultation.


Results and Continuation:

Upon leaving, guests receive a personal “Blueprint” drawn up by the medical team so the food regime, behavior and physical exercise models carried out during the stay at the resort can be followed back at home. This blueprint will be the key to enabling the guest to live a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle following their stay at Grotta Giusti.

Guests will also have an online platform at their disposal which is dedicated to their follow up and includes an area where they can keep in contact with the medical team from home, for any reason or need.

The team:

Grotta Giusti’s multi-disciplined team is coordinated by Doctor Nicola Angelo Fortunati, Spa General Director at IHC Group with 30 years of experience in thermal spa medicine.

The program has been created by Grotta Giusti and a scientific committee spearheaded by Professor Giovanni Scapagnini, a Professor of clinical biochemistry at the University of Molise and the Scientific Secretary of the Società Italiana di Nutriceutica (Italian Society of Nutriceutics). Scapagnini has been carrying out molecular biochemistry research for many years, with particular reference to cerebral ageing processes. He contributed to important research in the fields of biochemistry and nutriceutics with publications in highly-regarded international scientific journals.

The team is complemented by the thermal centre and spa team, made up of medical tutors, dieticians, expert therapists in the field of physical therapy and metabolic fitness, and spa operators who supplement the course with exclusive mud therapy and cave treatments, according to the guests needs.

The seven-day Longevity Program at Grotta Giusti costs €3,137 to €3,934 per person in double room, depending on room type. Nightly rates at Grotta Giusti start from €200 per night in a Comfort Room on a B&B basis. Rates also include wi-fi, access to spa and fitness facilities. For further information please email or call +39 0572 90771


Spa Aboard American Queen: Big Surprise

Posted by on Aug 18, 2015 in News, Ship Spa, Spa Reviews | 0 comments


spa aboard american queen

Spa aboard American Queen was big surprise 

I wasn’t expecting much when I booked a massage on the sternwheeler American Queen, cruising the Upper Mississippi in August. I heard that there was only one therapist who provided all the spa services – hair, facials, wraps and massages. How good could this be?  But I hoped the treatment would get the kinks out and release some painful muscles around a knee injury. As long as I didn’t get hurt, what could be the harm?

I couldn’t have been more mistaken. What I got was one of the very best massages of my life, and living in New York with every imaginable modality available, that is saying something. And I have been known to get off the table and end the massage if I felt that the work was wrong or too rough.

Cheron  Molina Adams, American Queen’s therapist, obviously has extensive training, but what she has in addition is fantastic hands. In her light-filled salon and treatment room, after discussing my health issues and sensitivities,  she invited me to let her know during the massage if the pressure she used was too great.  I never had to say a word, although she worked quite deep in some areas. She instinctively went with my body, using  Swedish, deep tissue,  myofascial, Reflexology and some indefinable techniques so seamlessly that after a few minutes I just drifted out with pleasure. When I came back at the end, I had a new body.

My chronic knee pain had all but disappeared, soreness in my back and shoulders vanished and my entire body was integrated. And three days later, the effects are still there,  with uninterrupted sleep at night and practically no stiffness in the mornings.

Adams provides massage in 30-,  60- and 90-minute increments, and the longer treatments are a real bargain. Thirty minutes is $90, 60 is $110 and 90 is $140. River stone fusion massages run $115-4175. She also offers men’s and women’s haircuts for $35, cut with shampoo and blow-dry styling at $65, mustache and beard trims for $5. A 45-minute body scrub is $110. Hourlong microdermabrasion and facials run $100-130 and an express manicure is $35.

Probably not one of American Queen’s passengers had factored in top-notch spa services in booking the cruise. But they should have.