November 24, 2010

ISPA Celebrates 20 Years of Wellness

The International SPA Association wrapped up its 20th Annual Conference and Expo in Washington, DC after four exciting days of education, insightful keynote speakers and the latest products and services in the spa industry.

“Spa professionals came out to celebrate our 20th anniversary, reminiscing about ISPA’s past and setting the vision for the future of the industry,” said ISPA President Lynne McNees. “We far exceeded last year’s attendance and we’re looking forward to the next 20 years of providing valuable networking events, and cutting-edge education and resources.”

The Expo floor featured more than 200 booths, representing 163 companies, and more than 50 new products. The ISPA Foundation Live and Silent Auction raised more than $70,000 to benefit the educational initiatives of the Foundation.

Attendees from 41 countries chose from 25 Professional Development Sessions on topics including marketing, menu engineering, human resources, profitability, integrative medicine and more.

The daily General Sessions featured insightful guest speakers including Award-winning filmmaker Eric Saperston alongside multi-platinum recording artist Edwin McCain. Saperston captivated the audience with the help of McCain’s music by sharing how he set out to find meaning in his life through the advice of others. By interviewing top executives, ex-presidents and movie stars Saperston funded the documentary film The Journey by selling “sexy kind grilled cheese sandwiches made with love for $1.”

One of CNN’s Top 10 Heroes of 2009, Doc Hendley moved the audience with the encouragement that even average individuals can make a difference. Hendley, a former bartender, began the organization Wine to Water after being inspired by the 1.1 billion people who don’t have access to clean drinking water. He explained, “Water is no longer a passion for me, it is the burden of my life.”

Management guru Marcus Buckingham helped attendees realize their strengths. Buckingham explained that most people spend time trying to improve their weaknesses rather than focusing on what they do best, “Only 14 percent of your day is spent doing something you’re really good at.”

The closing session included a lively discussion from a Visionary Panel moderated by Peter Yesawich and made up of Precor’s Paul Byrne, HelmsBriscoe’s Roger Helms and Women for Hire expert Tory Johnson. The panel discussed the future of the industry by offering insights from their respective areas of expertise. Topics ranging from time poverty, managing different generations and comfort vs. convenience were all covered.

The Association honored the founder of Rancho La Puerta and The Golden Door, Deborah Szekely, with the ISPA Visionary Award; Doc Hendley, founder of Wine to Water, received the ISPA Alex Szekely Humanitarian Award; and John and Karen Korpi, two spa professionals who helped found the association, received the ISPA Dedicated Contributor Award.

Incoming ISPA Chairman Deborah Waldvogel, Director of Spa Development & Operations at Sedona Resorts, set the pace for next year by pledging to focus on continually evaluating ISPA’s resources and services, forming alliances to strengthen global outreach and influence the future of preventative health care. Waldvogel said, “One of the most important parts of our evolution over the next two decades will be continuing to strengthen the educational aspect of the spa experience.”

For more on the 2010 ISPA Conference and Expo, visit the Conference Web site.

The 2011 ISPA Conference and Expo will be held at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, November 7-10, 2011.

November 23, 2010

Oscar the Grouch Sends TSA a Message

If you are one of the thousands of travelers fed-up with the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) search and search some more policy at U.S. airports - you're not alone. Oscar the Grouch has issued his own warning to TSA officials thinking about frisking his can.

No word if Oscar is planning to boycott travel on Wednesday Nov 23.

November 19, 2010

Internet will connect all aspects of Human behavior

A brief, but interesting interview with Nikesh Arora. Google’s Vice President of Europe, Middle East and Africa. Nikesh is responsible for Google’s business across 25 offices in EMEA and is managing, scaling and building a team of over 2000 people. He is developing and deploying Google's products and marketing strategies in these markets and is working with advertisers to help them target and engage with consumers on the internet.

November 10, 2010

Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa

Set against the Santa Catalina Mountains in the High Sonoran Desert, Tucson's Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa has been offering wellness programs to people from around the world since 1996.  Today guests came to Miraval individually or with family and friends to relax, refresh, and learn to live and feel better. There are no strict regiments. Instead, choice is the guiding principle, with a wide range of programs and experiences designed to create overall well-being and help guests become more aware of themselves and their surroundings. Miraval's success is driven from a philosophy that life is more meaningful and enjoyable when physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual components are in balance.

Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa

October 28, 2010

Love to Spa? Tell us and win one of three Ontario spa escapes

Award-winning Vintage Hotels and the spa-travel website Spas of America are giving away one of three spa escapes to Southern Ontario’s Vintage Hotels. An interactive contest has been launched at

Entering is simple and easy, plus everyone who enters receives a special invitation from Vintage Hotels and Spas of America. Spas of America president Craig Oliver says, “This is one of our most exciting contests, where entrants are encouraged to discover each unique Vintage spa experience, complete an entry, and finally, to share their favourite spa experience. Selected responses will be shared on Spas of America’s Facebook page.

Vintage Hotels Vice President of Sales & Marketing April Brunet says, “Three prizes are eligible to be one won. The Grand Prize includes two nights’ accommodation in a deluxe guestroom with fireplace; a three-course dinner for two; breakfast for two each morning; two 50-min. Spa treatments per person; and two Vintage Hotels bathrobes. The first runner up prize includes: a 50-min. Couple's Massage in a Private Spa Suite and a three-course lunch for two. And finally, the 2nd runner up prize is an 85-min. Couple's Deluxe Pedicure in Self-Massage Chairs served with Wine and Cheese.”

Prizes can be taken at any one of Vintage Hotels’ spas - 100 Fountain Spa, Pillar and Post, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario; Millcroft Spa, Centre for Well-Being, Alton, Ontario; and Secret Garden Spa, Prince of Wales Hotel, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

Entering is simple and easy, and everyone who enters receive a special invitation from Vintage Hotels & Spas of America. Contest closes December 20, 2010. Enter online at:

October 1, 2010

Celebrating 33 years - The Oaks at Oaji

Happy Birthday to the The Oaks at Ojai, a destination health spa once known as the original fat farm of the late 1970's.  Today, The Oaks at Oaji is a delightful, stress-free place that still focuses on healthy weight loss and wellness along with a wide array of relaxing spa treatments.

A visit to The Oaks is more than a spa vacation - it's a life affirming experience. The Oaks is mostly women that get a chance to leave the designer sweats at home; this is a place where you can let your hair down and take in all the positive, nurturing elements of a healthy lifestyle...

The Oaks at Oaji

July 6, 2010

Pala’s Play & Stay Giveaway

Everyone deserves a little Pala Time. And here’s your chance to win some.

With the Pala Time Giveaway you can experience all the fun, relaxation and rejuvenation of Southern California’s Four Diamond Award Winning Pala Casino Spa & Resort. Set against the tranquil backdrop of the Palomar Mountains, Pala lies just one hour north of San Diego.

Enter to win one of three Grand Prizes that include a one-night (Thursday-Sunday) stay, a romantic dinner for two at Mama’s Cucina Italiana and treatment for two at Pala’s world-class Spa. Contest closes August 31st, enter today.


July 4, 2010

Whistler's Scandinavian Spa Experience

One of my personal favorite spa experiences is the Scandinavian Spa... coupled with lots of time.

Situated just north of the Winter Olympic village of Whistler, B.C. wrapped in a forest on the edge of Lost Lake and Spruce Grove parks, this unique spa overlooks incredible mountain vistas and valleys. Invigorate and cleanse your body and mind in the hot baths and refreshing waterfalls, melt away with a relaxing massage, and breathe in the invigorating fresh-mountain air.

Whether you choose to favor the steam bath or sauna, or partake in the full traditional Scandinavian experience of warming-cooling-relaxation, you are sure to feel the endless benefits of nature’s healing properties. Cleanse your skin, improve your physical condition and rediscover your health with the help of our Finnish wood-burning sauna, eucalyptus steam bath and hot baths, thermal and Nordic waterfalls, solariums and relaxation areas with outdoor fireplace.
The ultimate relaxation is enjoyed when baths are coupled with a warm and soothing massage. Plan to stay with us for at least 2-3 hours to fully benefit from the experience.

Scandinave Spa Whistler

July 2, 2010

Win a Grail Springs Health Retreat for Two

You could be heading to Grail Springs Health Spa and Wellness Retreat for a 7-night, all-inclusive Body, Mind and Soul experience for two.

Grail  Springs Health Spa & Wellness Retreat

Travel to Wellness has partnered with Grail Springs, Positive Fabulous Women, The Passion Test, and Naturally Savvy to offer readers a chance to win an all-inclusive escape to one of Canada's top Mind, Body, Spirit retreats.

Value $7,000 CDN (including taxes)

Here's what you could win:

The Restoration Retreat for Two at Grail Springs
• Sunday shuttle to and from Toronto International Airport
• 7~nights accommodation
• vegetarian-based pH balance meal plan
• optional: choose to integrate 5 days of juice fasting during your stay to fast track your detox/weight loss objectives
• guest room amenities: robe & slippers, Austrian moor and Himalayan bath salts
• complimentary WIFI

Enter today

May 23, 2010

Virtual Spa & Wellness Show Launches May 26

Spa Hospitality Expo 2010

The first virtual trade show for professionals in the global Spa & Wellness Market opens May 26, live and interactive on the Internet, the show runs for 90 days.

Hosted by Healing Arts Guide, Spa Hospitality Expo takes the most successful elements of traditional events and brings these elements into a virtual world. Attendees at a very high level have registered to enjoy free education, product demos, event networking, presentations and prizesMore then forty of the best suppliers are exhibiting in two virtual trade show floors. Attendees will be able to chat live with executives from each company, source new products, receive free education and discounts on first orders from most brands.

Jeffrey Hollander, Founder & CEO of Seventh Generation will deliver the Key Note address on May 27. The topic of his presentation: The Responsibility Revolution, How The Next Generation Of Businesses Will Win. “We are excited to have Jeffrey deliver the Key Note address for the first virtual exposition in the Wellness Market”, said Jed Horowitz, founder of Healing Arts. “Responsible capitalism is a topic we have covered extensively since our inception six years ago.”

“Advanced digital delivery of content is an imperative for the Spa & Wellness market,” said Mr. Horowitz. “SHE gives brands exposure and reach at a fraction of the cost of traditional shows, eliminates travel and creates linked integrated solutions for suppliers. We are delivering a new low cost high reach program for our sponsors and connecting them with buyers around the globe in a new dynamic platform.”

For more information and registration visit

May 16, 2010

New World Comfort, Old World Charm - Secret Garden Spa

Often called the “Prettiest Town in Canada,” Niagara on the Lake, Ontario is famous for it’s history, charm and stunning gardens. Beautiful baskets hang from historic lamp posts and seasonal flowers dot the landscape in this turn of the century town. Niagara on the Lake’s floral charm is carried through the Prince of Wales Hotel, where uniquely coloured roses can be seen and smelled at every turn.

The Prince of Wales Hotel is the jewel of the Vintage Hotels group, located in the heart of Niagara on the Lake, just steps from the Shaw Festival Theatre. With a strong British influence carried throughout the property from spa treatments to traditional afternoon tea, the four diamond Prince of Wales Hotel is a regal oasis.

With only four treatment rooms, the Secret Garden Spa is small in size, yet big in comfort. An inviting fireplace, tropical aquarium and intimate conversation areas create a relaxing space to await the start of a treatment. My treatment was early on a rainy Sunday morning, so a warm herbal tea from the offering table and cozy fireplace were welcome.

On this visit to the Secret Garden Spa, I enjoyed the Pineapple-Colada Tea Wrap. Speacialtea Treatments at the Secret Garden Spa incorporate red, green and white teas. Its the perfect blend of traditional tea and indulgent spa treatment. Beginning with an invigorating scrub to slough off dry winter skin, my entire body was wrapped in a delicious smelling cocktail of pineapple and rooibos tea. While I relaxed into the soothing warmth of the wrap, complete with heated blankets, my therapist performed a pressure point scalp massage. This treatment was completed with a hydrating and anti-oxidant coconut massage cr̬me. What a perfect way to start my day! I was left with silky smooth skin. The only thing missing was a mini-facial Рmy face definitely felt a little neglected. The mini facial would have been the perfect compliment to the wrap.

The Head to Toe Tea Taster, combines three of the Secret Garden Spa’s “Specialtea” treatments. These tea-infused treatments include the Silk Road Tea Facial, the Green Tea and Sugar Cane Pedicure and the Pineapple-Colada Tea Wrap. Definitely the thing for this tea-totaler to try on the next visit!

Guests of the Secret Garden Spa may also use the sauna, steam, whirlpool and indoor pool. Lush robes and slippers are provided on arrival for guest use as well. I love the touch of slippers, rather than traditional spa sandals. This little touch definitely makes you feel more at home.

Prince of Wales Hotel, Secret Garden Spa

~ Jennifer Houtby-Ferguson, Spas of America. When not experiencing spas in Hawaii, Jennifer spends her time whale watching on Vancouver Island.

May 2, 2010

Saskatchewan spa closed over health concerns

WATROUS, Sask. - There's a storm a-brewin' at a luxury resort north of Regina where health inspectors ordered a mineral spa closed this weekend over health and safety concerns.

Dwight Hayter, CEO of the Manitou Springs Hotel and Mineral Spa, said Saturday he's got "24 layoffs and a hotel full of unhappy guests" on his hands.

"We don't think this was necessary," he said, acknowledging there are problems with the spa but insisting he wasn't given enough time to fix them.

"To have another month, month-and-a-half extension on such an important issue as this, we didn't think was a stretch."

But deputy medical health officer John Opondo said the spa has been on probation for more than two years.

"We have been working with them progressively, we've had provincial partners involved in a peer review process to really try and bring them into compliance," said Opondo.

"There's a risk of disease transmission, there's a risk of injury, there's a real risk of death."

The resort's pool licence was revoked after inspectors found the water filtration system wasn't working properly.

The issue lies with the pool's 23 skimmers, which circulate the water through a central filter.

Engineers say that because of the high amount of minerals in the water, 19 of them are no longer working.

On its website, hotel management noted that the resort itself remains open — only the pool is closed.

"Manitou Springs agrees that most of our skimmers are plugged with a very hard encrustation, resulting from 23 years of mineral salt build-up, on the inside of the skimmer piping," said the notice.

However, hotel officials said they are actually running the water through the filters nearly four times more than the regulations require and are draining off water every night and topping up the pool with fresh lake water.

"Our management team would like to express that we are doing everything within our power to try to resolve the situation so we can open up our spa once again," said the notice. "We will be attempting to clear the block skimmers very soon with a special liquid and we are optimistic with the results."

Hotel officials stressed there's no record of anyone becoming ill from the golden waters of the mineral spa — "at least not within the last 10 years for sure."

"We ultimately view this as an unfair attack on what we feel is a world-class resort and spa."

(CTV Regina, The Canadian Press)

April 29, 2010

Canadians healthier, outliving Americans

Canadians tend to lead longer, healthier lives than Americans on average, say researchers who point to lack of universal health care in the U.S. as one reason.

The study in Thursday's online issue in BioMed Central's journal Population Health Metrics was based on data from the 2002-03 Joint Canada/United States Survey of Health, which offered comparable data on the health of the population in both countries.

'I think that Canadians can look at these results and get some affirmation that the investments that they have made in reducing inequality and in having a health-care system with universality have paid off.' — David Feeny

David Feeny, a dual Canadian/U.S. citizen and investigator at the Center for Health Research at Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland, Ore., and his U.S. colleagues calculated health-adjusted life expectancy, which takes into account not only mortality risk but also the health-related quality of life, such as being free of disability.

The study's authors found a 19-year-old in Canada could expect to enjoy 2.7 more years of perfect health than a 19-year-old in the U.S. In this case, someone in perfect health would have a top score of 1.00 on the Health Utilities Index Mark 3.

The index lowers an individual's score depending on their level of disability in eight areas: vision, hearing, speech, ambulation dexterity or ability to move, emotion, cognition, pain and discomfort. The lowest score is 0.00 for death.

About two-thirds of the gap was because mortality rates in Canada are lower and the remaining one-third was thanks to lower rates of morbidity or disease in Canada —differences Feeny called "quite substantial" with policy implications on both sides of the border.

"I think that Canadians can look at these results and get some affirmation that the investments that they have made in reducing inequality and in having a health-care system with universality have paid off," said Feeny, who worked for more than 30 years in Canada at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., and the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

"I think it underscores the need for additional vigilance on emerging issues such as child poverty in Canada that will eventually affect population health," he added.

The survey itself did not say why Canadians are healthier, but the study's authors pointed to two major potential explanations:

  • Differences in access to care between the "prenatal to grave" health service offered by provinces and territories compared with the non-universal American access that is typically through employee coverage or Medicaid or Medicare for those with low incomes and seniors.
  • The higher degree of social inequity that is more pronounced in the U.S., particularly among seniors.

What the U.S. team found is consistent with what most other studies have also concluded about the cost effectiveness and better outcomes in Canada, said Raisa Deber, a professor in the department of health policy, management and evaluation at the University of Toronto.

Barriers to access care

"I would suspect that a chunk of it is the ability to pick up chronic conditions while they are still treatable," Deber said.

For Canada, the results run contrary to the debate of starting user fees, both Deber and Feeny said.

"I think given that we're back to the debate about should we start having user fees, I would say this is evidence no we shouldn't because we don't have those sorts of gaps," Deber said.

Likewise, Feeny questioned the usefulness of user fees "for anything but raising revenue."

Its not possible to ascribe the differences in health care to the difficulty some Americans may face in trying to receive health insurance coverage because of a pre-existing health condition, but that is an example of a barrier to accessing care, Feeny said.

On Wednesday, three health insurers in the U.S. pledged to limit the circumstances under which they cancel coverage when a customer falls sick. UnitedHealth Group Inc., Humana Inc. and Blue Shield of California all said they will drop or rescind coverage only in cases where a patient has committed fraud or intentional misrepresentation.

For the U.S., the findings offer support for the health-care reform legislation that is coming online, Feeny said.

The study did not include people who are institutionalized, and the researchers consider their findings an underestimate given the poorer telephone response rate in the U.S. survey, 50.2 per cent, versus 65.5 per cent in Canada. People in poorer health may have been less likely to respond.

With files from The Associated Press

April 24, 2010

Obamas hit the spa in North Carolina

Don't call it a vacation, the White House says. It's a "getaway," or a "weekend away" or maybe just a "break."

Whatever you call it, President Obama and the first lady made it clear to their staffs that there would be no interviewing of Supreme Court nominees or big briefing books in advance of long meetings.

Instead, the Obamas took a step off the Washington treadmill from the moment they arrived here. They chowed down on some North Carolina barbecue and escaped for a Blue Ridge Mountain hike within moments of getting off their plane.

That's not to say that real life doesn't always intrude just a bit for Barack and Michelle Obama, even when the White House is temporarily tucked away in the side of a mountain, surrounded by lush forests and rolling green hills.

The president issued a statement on the anniversary of the slaughter almost a century ago of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks, for the second time passing up an opportunity to use the term "genocide," despite promising during his campaign to do so. Activists and officials from across the spectrum were quick to express disappointment.

On Sunday, Obama faces the grim task of eulogizing the 29 miners who died in West Virginia April 5 after an explosion rocked their coal mine.

But at least for a day and a half, aside from a few briefings, the president's usual packed schedule of meetings, speeches, motorcades and public events was replaced with more relaxing activities.

He had hardly checked into the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa Friday afternoon before he was on the links for a quick nine holes, finishing after nightfall. Saturday morning, he was up at dawn for another round, this time a 5 1/2- hour full 18 holes.

Reporters were kept away from the action, though a handful were allowed to watch his final hole Friday night. The president took the wheel of a golf cart, steered it up near the green of the 10th hole and made several warm-up swings before putting.

The ball fell a bit short of the hole, but fellow golfers Marty Nesbitt, Eric Whittaker and Marvin Nicholson allowed him to take a gimme.

Asheville was ready to welcome the Obamas as it had previous presidential vacationers. In an eyeglass store in the quaint downtown, a sign read: "Welcome Mr. President. We can help you SEE the way out of the Recession!" A spice store announced: "Hey Mr. President, check out the spice girls. We voted for you."

The local newspaper, the Asheville Citizen-Times, blogged in real time about the president's activities. At one point, the paper noted the Twitter comments from deputy press secretary Bill Burton, whom the paper identified as "the official White House twitter person Bill Burton."

But for most of the weekend, the Obamas stayed within the secure confines of the resort, venturing out only for dinner Saturday night.

Michelle Obama played tennis Saturday morning, aides said. There was no official confirmation that she availed herself of the spa facilities, but several people reported stern-looking Secret Service agents standing outside the spa entrance Saturday.

The Obamas are expected to return to Washington on Sunday evening after the memorial service in West Virginia.

April 8, 2010

April's Organic Facial Giveway

Join Spas of America on Facebook in April for your chance to win an organic skin facial. All fans will be entered to win a 60 minute organic skin facial at Vancouver's belmondo spa studio. Belmondo, a boutique spa in Vancouver's South Granville neighborhood, uses natural and organic skin loving ingredients, including shea butter, cocoa butter, organic sugars, aloe vera, and essential oil. Prize is transferable.

April 7, 2010

Healing Seaweed ~ Halele’a Spa, St. Regis Princeville Kauai

After spending a week on Kauai, I already felt relaxed and rejuvenated. I lounged on the beach, bought and ate fresh fruit (chicos, mountain apples and sweet peas) at the Hanalei Farmers Market (Tuesdays @ 2:00) and chatted with locals, whose demeanors convey a “chill” attitude. Even meeting a woman named Ku’uipo (Sweetheart) who made a fresh plumeria lei for me and a windsurfer named Chester who shared his wisdom as a beekeeper on the island, all gave me a perspective of calm and inspiration.

What a serene and sweet island – the lush environment and joyful people and yet despite my hesitation of getting back to reality, I was even more delighted to spend my last day on Kauai at Halele’a Spa at St. Regis in Princeville, the Northern part of the island.

Although relaxed in my mind and spirit, I arrived wind-blown, a bit sun-burned and dehydrated. I was taken aback simply by arriving to St. Regis; the resort sits on the edge of a cliff overlooking the turquoise-blue waters and I was welcomed with its open-air and sophisticated architecture and atmosphere. It appeared that there was a pleasant rainfall at the entrance of the spa, but it was a crystal, lighting fixture with tear-drop shaped glass which greeted me and got my attention. A meeting of friendly faces walked me through the spa; I noticed instantly the feeling of health and well-being.

I indulged in the Halele’a Signature Treatment – Voyage from the Sea 4 Hands Lomi Lomi Massage and Facial, a 90-minute treatment. As if one practitioner isn’t divine enough, this treatment entails two practitioners – that’s four hands instead of two; that detail alone equals bliss. The treatment started with a scalp treatment using oil and seaweed extract, perfect for wind-blown, dry, sun-damaged hair. By the end of the treatment, my hair was silky soft … softer even than when I started my vacation.

The voyage continued with the Lomi Lomi massage done by both practitioners; Lomi Lomi is a traditional Hawaiian massage in which the therapist uses the forearms to massage as well as their hands. It’s difficult to find words to describe this sensation (yes, you should just fly to Kauai and see for yourself), but it’s a more “complete” and deeper massage healing than just Swedish. And to have four hands instead of two gave me a sense of ultimate relaxation. Along with detoxifying seaweed extracts, aromatherapy was incorporated in the massage oil – clove and patchouli oils gave an invigorating and conditioning lift to my senses and skin.
One therapist continued with massage and reflexology for healing and relaxation; I could tell also that the pressure points and knots from sleeping on the plane were being addressed by the therapist intentionally. At the same time, the other therapist (the esthetician), incorporated a facial using an organic seaweed line – Voya—from Ireland.

Seaweed on the skin is healing, hydrating and detoxifying, which after a week of sun splurging, I could certainly use. The facial cleanse and massage was both thorough and refreshing to my parched skin. The technique and intention of each therapist was noticed and felt by my relaxed muscles and supple, newly hydrated skin.

After the treatment, I indulged in just “being” in the lounge area with a cup of detoxifying tea offered by the therapists as part of the treatment. I was replenished completely; 90 minutes went by fast…just as fast as my short vacation on Kauai, but it did leave me with the knowing “I must return soon and complete my vacation with the Voyage at Hanele’a Spa.”

Halele’a Spa, St. Regis Princeville, Kauai

By Melissa Mellott, M.Ed., L.E., Spa Defined,

March 25, 2010

Ride this... Spectacular Freestyle Mountain Bike Ride

Spectacular mountain-bike downhill/freestyle. Amazing course, riders and cinematography. Enjoy!

March 23, 2010

America Gets Calorie Count Disclosure with Health Care Bill

One aspect of the health care bill that is taking effect immediately is that restaurants with more than 20 locations will be required to prominently display nutrition information. This could be a significant step in changing the food landscape in America.

The AP Reports:

More than 200,000 fast food and other chain restaurants will have to include calorie counts on menus, menu boards and even drive-throughs.

The new law, which applies to any restaurant with 20 or more locations, directs the Food and Drug Administration to create a new national standard for menu labeling, superseding a growing number of state and city laws. President Barack Obama signed the health care legislation Tuesday.

The idea is to make sure that customers process the calorie information as they are ordering. Many restaurants currently post nutritional information in a hallway, on a hamburger wrapper or on their Web site. The new law will make calories immediately available for most items.

This rule will also apply to vending machines carrying convenience foods.

So how might this change the American food system? There have been many recent news events and cultural moments in the US that are educating people to be more informed about what is actually in the food they are eating, and the impact that has on both their health and the environment.

Americans' appetite for cheap processed foods and factory-farmed meat impacts everything from carbon emissions to water quality to pesticide and antibiotic use on farms. The Oscar-nominated documentary 'Food, Inc.' made a huge splash with informing people about the problems with the industrial food system. Oprah had author and food expert Michael Pollan on her show to discuss the film, which she called thought-provoking and eye-opening.

Michael Pollan also appeared on The Daily Show and told Jon Stewart in January that he thought the passage of health care reform would have a big impact on changing the way people eat, because health insurers would have a financial motive to keep people away from eating unhealthy foods that can cause long-term health problems. "Suddenly the health insurers will have an interest in your health, which they don't have now," he told Stewart.

Michelle Obama has also become a public face of increasing access to real food, gardening and fighting childhood obesity with her Let's Move campaign. Last week she spoke to the Grocery Manufacturers Association about completely rethinking the junk food they sell. "We need you not to just tweak around the edges but entirely rethink the products you are offering, the information that you provide about these products, and how you market those products to our children," she said.

The Wall Street Journal points out that there could be delays in getting all of the rules about labeling into effect because the FDA has to write several of the rules before they can be enforced.

However, this could be seen as a historical turning point in the American consciousness about actually having awareness about where food comes from and what goes into how it gets made. As the trailer for 'Food, Inc.' intones, "The industry doesn't want you to know the truth about what you are eating, because if you knew, you might not want to eat it."

Calorie information may be the first step in knowing. Good move America.

March 10, 2010

Win a Spa Trip to Hong Kong

Our friends at Travel to Wellness are giving away a trip for two to Hong Kong.
Enter here to win

Contest closes midnight (EST), May 6, 2010.

For a SECOND chance to win, tell Travel to Wellness in 50 words or less, why you think YOU should be heading to HONG KONG in 2010 and your name will be entered TWICE

Write to

Good Luck!

February 11, 2010

A spa fit for an Olympian

Scadinave Spa Whistler

The Scandinave Spa experience can now be enjoyed at Whistler, home of alpine events of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Situated only 1.5 km (1 mile) north of Whistler Village, The Scandinave Spa is the first of its kind in Western Canada, and the largest and greenest yet in the Scandinave Spa portfolio. The three east coast spas are located in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Old Montreal (Vieux Montreal), Quebec and a franchise in Blue Mountain, Ontario.

Representing a $9 CAD million investment, Scandinave Spa is introducing the age-old Finnish tradition of Scandinavian baths to Whistler. This spectacular spa, engulfed in a forest of spruce and cedar, overlooks the peak of Mount Sproatt and is located on the edge of Lost Lake and Spruce Grove parks. This year-round activity offers a true relaxation experience in harmony with nature.

Introducing 20,000 square-feet of facilities integrated over three acres of natural landscape, Scandinave Spa Whistler was designed as a unique landscape-derived activity guided by principles of sustainability. “From vegetated “green roofs” to high efficiency furnace equipment, and passive solar heating, the design is meant to harmonize with its natural setting, minimizing where possible its impact on the environment,” explains Pierre Brisson, President.

A forested pathway leading to the reception area invites a sense of wellbeing upon arrival, and welcomes guests to the most scenic spa experience in Whistler. Committed to local suppliers, the Scandinave has engaged in partnerships with Whistler-based Mountain Galleries to provide the artwork showcased throughout the reception, and Bearfoot Bistro to deliver the catering. Renowned for the modern haute cuisine of its Executive Chef Melissa Craig, Bearfoot Bistro was voted Whistler’s Best Restaurant 2009 by Vancouver Magazine.

Annique Aird, General Manager, says: “While the baths have a rich history, the concept is still surprisingly unknown in North America. This is why we have decided to offer this unique new thermal experience in Whistler to people seeking a better physical and spiritual life balance.” Aird adds: “What makes the project all the more interesting is that it favourably positions Whistler in the health and wellness tourism market by offering a product that differs from the various spas in British Columbia.”

Scandinave Spa Whistler will be a welcome retreat for both spectators and athletes for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Scandinave Spa Whistler, British Columbia

January 12, 2010

Best of the Best - Top Spas of 2009

The spa travel website Spas of America today announced their annual ranking of the Top 50 Spas of 2009, based on consumer traffic on their website. “From the red rocks of southern Utah to the white sand beaches of Hawaii, this year’s list is a unique collection of resort, hotel and destination spa experiences,” says Spas of America president Craig Oliver.

Topping the list for 2009 is the recently re-branded Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge in Ivins, Utah. Set amidst the remarkable red rocks of southwestern Utah, the Biggest Loser Resort is categorized as a “destination spa,” offering an affordable, comprehensive health and fitness experience focusing on exercise, healthy nutrition and education.

Second place goes to 100 Fountain Spa at Pillar and Post, a deluxe historic hotel set in charming Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Only minutes from Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a year-round destination offering a wide range of cultural, historical and recreational activities.

Rounding out the top three is the Homestead, situated in the scenic Allegheny Mountains of Virginia. Built in 1892, the Homestead Spa is one of America’s most historic luxury spas, still fed by the original hot springs that have attracted travelers since the 1700s.

Spas of America’s Top 50 Spas of 2009 are ranked by unique page views generated by customers visiting the website throughout the year. The website’s audience is: 70% women; 80% United States/Canada; 25–65 years (35–55 core); $75K–$250K house hold income; leisure and business travelers; and health, wellness and lifestyle oriented. In addition to the U.S. and Canada, Spas of America draws spa travel consumers from Europe, Asia and South America. Over 750 spas are featured on the Spas of America website, and the Top 50 Spas of 2009 represents the top 7%.

The most popular searched regions in 2009 were California, Arizona, Florida, New York and Hawaii in the United States; and in Canada: Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec.

The most popular spa experience searches were Destination, Beach, Mineral, Desert, City, Ocean, Country and Wine.

Following are Spas of America's Top 50 Spas for 2009, ranked by the number of unique page views by visitors to their website.
1. Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge, Ivins, Utah
2. 100 Fountain Spa at the Pillar & Post, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
3. The Homestead, Hot Springs, Virginia
4. Living Waters Spa, Desert Hot Springs, California
5. Abhasa Spa, Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Waikiki Beach, Hawaii
6. Grotto Spa, Tigh-Na-Mara Spa Resort, Parksville, British Columbia
7. Turtle Cove Spa, Mountain Harbor Resort, Mount Ida, Arkansas
8. Wine & Roses, Lodi, California
9. The Heartland Spa, Gilman, Illinois
10. Pala Casino Spa & Resort, Pala, California
11. Rancho La Puerta, Tecate, Mexico
12. New Life Hiking Spa, Killington, Vermont
13. Aspira Spa, The Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
14. Secret Garden Spa, Prince of Wales, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
15. Miraj Hammam Spa, Vancouver, British Columbia
16. Red Mountain Spa, St.George, Utah
17. Bernardus Lodge, Carmel Valley, California
18. Two Bunch Palms Resort & Spa, Desert Hot Springs, California
19. Temple Gardens Mineral Spa, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
20. Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, New York
21. Spa Terra, Meritage Resort at Napa, Napa, California
22. Health Spa Napa Valley, Inn at Southbridge, St. Helena, California
23. Ancient Cedars Spa, Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, British Columbia
24. Hills Health Ranch, 108 Mile House, British Columbia
25. Golden Door, Escondido, California
26. Anara Spa, Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort, Hawaii
27. The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa, Carefree, Arizona
28. Crystal Spa, Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa, Thompsonville, Michigan
29. Crystal Springs Resort, Vernon, New Jersey
30. Spa Avania, Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort, Arizona
31. Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa, Hot Springs, Arkansas
32. Amerispa, Hilton Lac-Leamy, Gatineau, Quebec
33. Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach, California
34. Evensong Spa, Heidel House Resort, Green Lake, Wisconsin
35. WildSpring Guest Habitat, Port Orford, Oregon
36. Lorien Hotel & Spa, Alexandria, Virginia
37. Le Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain, Collingwood, Ontario
38. Haven Spa, The Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa, Sidney, British Columbia
39. Montage Resort & Spa, Laguna Beach, California
40. Stillwater Spa, Park Hyatt Toronto, Toronto, Ontario
41. Las Balsas Relais & Chateaux, Gourmet Hotel & Spa, Argentina
42. Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa, Whistler, British Columbia
43. The Tides Zihuatanejo, Zihuatanejo, Mexico
44. Stevenswood Spa Resort, Littleriver, California
45. Amerispa, Le Westin Resort & Spa, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec
46. Mandarin Oriental, New York City, New York
47. The Peninsula Chicago, Illinois
48. Amerispa, Sheraton Laval, Laval, Quebec
49. Mohegan Sun, Elemis Spa, Uncasville, Connecticut
50. Moana Lani Spa, Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

~ Google Analytics, January 1- December 31, 2009