The Rhythms of Fall

Lower Your Stress to Enjoy Your Life

September offers an excellent time of year to take stock of where you are in your life. The rhythm of life starts to have a certain cadence with school starting back up and the summer activities slowing down. As we fall in step with this changing rhythm, it’s the perfect opportunity to make sure we are heading in the right direction!

Stress is a big factor for many people. Much of how deeply it affects our health and happiness is, surprisingly, decided by us. One of the goals we have here at The Spa is to help our clients realize that they have a good amount of control over how much stress hits them. While we admit there are things that are indeed out of our control, how much energy we spend worrying creates more stress.

How do you perceive where you are in your life right now? Are you pleased with the efforts you make and the results they bring? Do you allow yourself the time to relax and take care of yourself so that you don’t keep spiraling to being more stressed instead of less? If you really look at where you stand right now, most likely you’re pretty ok. Allow yourself to realize that and remember to try to be in the moment of where you are – not worrying about what is coming or what has already happened.

This September take a step back before the holiday season hits. Are you respecting and nurturing yourself in the big and small ways? If the answer is “I don’t think so”, make a plan to start. Do the little things first, make sure you dedicate yourself to them, and soon you’ll find that you have stopped walking the path of stress and started in the direction of wellbeing!

The Meaning of “Love”

Most people consider Valentine’s Day to be an exclusively romantic holiday. One dedicated to lovers, intimate dinners and decadent gifts. We don’t fault that point of view; there is a lot to celebrate in regards to such things! (We even offer some whimsical and fun gift choices for those particular kinds of evenings this time of year.) But, don’t you feel that we should expand on the definition, especially for a day set aside to pause and take time to let those who you care about know how you feel, to encompass other forms of love other than only those of a romantic nature?

Perhaps we should also look at love of family, friends and ourselves, too. As an establishment focused on the wellness and happiness of our clients, we’d like to invite you to think about Valentine’s Day in a different light this year. Oh sure, take all the romance you can get! But, ALSO take a moment to reflect on what kind of love brings you the most joy in your life and celebrate that as well. And, please, don’t forget yourself!!! Far too many of us dote on others and give a tiny, if not nonexistent, amount of devotion to ourselves.

Taking care of and respecting yourself is not a selfish thing. It allows us to be the most whole and feeling being we can be. And, do it in a loving and nurturing way for this particular day. Avoid the “I will eat better and exercise more” thought line; celebrate you for who you are at this very moment in your life. Write down what’s great about you. Buy yourself a special gift. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but make it personal. A beautiful cup to enjoy your tea or coffee, an elegant candle that gives you peace of mind when you relax with it, or any special something that reminds you to reflect on the positive, and be happy for a bit.

Whatever way you choose to celebrate, we hope this February brings you some of whatever kind of love you desire most. Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Anti-Aging Powerhouse Everyone Should be Using

by Patti Rice, Owner, The Spa ~ Los Gatos

As the owner of a well known day spa, I am often times asked, “What is the most important thing you can do to help your skin stay younger looking?”

There is an extraordinary variety of products, technological breakthroughs, and treatments employed in the battle on aging skin, but I would have to honestly say the number one thing you can do is use sunscreen. Yes, that simple. Preventing damage caused by the sun by using a powerful, effective sunscreen is the singular most important anti-aging habit you can cultivate.

These days there are some excellent choices in facial sunscreen; it’s no longer necessary to have a nose covered in glaring white zinc oxide.  Now you can choose from a variety of SPF levels, tinted lotions, physical blocks, and luxurious smelling options – for both men and women. (Yes, it is just as important for men to use sunscreen as it is for women.) I cannot stress it enough – get a good quality sunscreen and use it every day. Every single day – rain or shine. My personal favorite is Jan Marini’s Daily Face Protectant, SPF33.  Smells wonderful, luxurious feeling as you put it on and is actually provides a very nice base for make up. It is my husband’s first choice as well. Many people also like the Epicuren line as it is all-natural and feels nice (not greasy or heavy) on the skin.

For those of us who already have sun damage (I do, from growing up in Santa Cruz – where baby oil for the skin and lemon juice for the hair were standard beach supplies), quality skincare products at home are powerful tools to help reduce the visual effects of damage already done.

With so many product lines to choose from – drug store brands, department store lines, professional brands at spas and skin care stores, the latest fads touted by celebrities – it could be a full time job figuring out which one would work best for you. My recommendation is to stay away from fads and trust well-established, researched professional lines. The cheapest choice isn’t always the best value.  The most substantial difference between professional skin care and drug/department store lines is the percentage of the active ingredients. The professional lines usually cost more because there is a much higher level of active ingredients and this usually ends up being a better value because you actually use less and get better results.

By all means, get outside and enjoy the day, but please remember to make sunscreen a part of your every day skin protection ritual!

What is a “True Day Spa Experience”? 

It seems that there is a day spa on every corner with new ones springing up left and right. The range of what you see and get when you walk into any one of them can be vastly different from one to the next.

Day spas first came about as an offshoot to the destination spa; places where you go to spend a certain amount of days for a beauty and wellness experience. They were known as the vacation to take when your nerves needed rest and you needed some clear reviving of body, mind and spirit. These types of vacations were (and are) expensive and not everyone had the time or money to dedicate to them. So, along came the idea of a place where you could go locally to have a massage, facial or body treatment that was the same quality as the destination spas. Day spas were born.

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As the popularity of the day spa increased, so has the diversification. Some hold true to the roots of being a retreat and a place of restoration. Other businesses are more of a quick stop or a single room in the back of a salon. Some offer a more clinical approach to address only the skincare aspect of customers needs. And, as often times happens, many places have begun cutting corners in the areas of product quality, treatment offerings and staff wages to increase profitability.

Holding true to its destination spa roots, The Spa ~ Los Gatos offers its clients what they call “a true day spa experience.” Within the compass of what owner Patti Rice sees as a definition of day spa, that phrase means an establishment that offers:

  • Highly experienced and professional therapists and staff
  • An environment which welcomes you to relax and take your time
  • No high-pressure sales tactics or memberships you are asked to join
  • A wide array of services so that individual needs can be met
  • Well researched, brand name products to ensure quality and effectiveness

With the devotion to this philosophy, The Spa ~ Los Gatos weathered the economic downtown while many other spas closed. “We have a very dedicated clientele and staff who stay with us. When the down turn hit, we all worked hard to maintain the quality of not just our services, but the whole spa experience. Neck warmers in the library, refreshments, an array of quality products to use in the lounge areas, cool lavender compresses, individual private steam showers complimentary with every massage… these never went away and we never started charging for them. We are the hosts and hostesses to our clients and these things help us to say ‘your comfort and care and is important to us.’”

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For those looking to support their wellness and beauty needs, The Spa ~ Los Gatos offers a nice balance of efficacy and nurturing. At other spas, you may find yourself alone in your facial room under a steamer or with a masque on while the aesthetician “steps out.” Not so at The Spa ~ Los Gatos. “The time it takes to steam or allowing product to work is the perfect time for an aesthetician to enhance the client’s experience. We use that time to incorporate neck, shoulder, hand and foot massage. Making the service both clinically effective for the skin and deeply relaxing for the clients, is our goal.” says Patti.

“On the subject of becoming a member at spas I feel that there is too much emphasis in selling the membership than taking care of the clients.  While that may work well for some, we offer a rewards program instead. There is no signing up and no ongoing financial commitment. If you have ever had a service or bought a product at The Spa, you have accrued points that may be used like cash. It’s an automatic system and is quite beneficial to our regular clients.  Everyone loves it.”

It’s not hard to feel the difference at The Spa ~ Los Gatos. As soon as you walk through the swinging door from the lobby into the treatment area, you’re transported by sight, sound and scent into a roomy sanctuary designed and devoted to bring you a true day spa experience.