Thursday, November 22, 2007

WE Beauty - Creating Your Own At-Home Spa Experience

by Carol A. Allen

Juggling family, work, school, and extra-curricular activities, often prevents us from taking some pampering time for ourselves. And, while a day or two at the spa to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul may sound appealing, a limited budget may deter a visit to a spa facility. However, with a little bit of time and a few inexpensive but essential products, you can create your own energizing at-home spa experience.

Allocate anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour where you will not be distracted by telephones ringing, children, pets or unnecessary noise. It's "you" time, your opportunity to enjoy and pamper yourself.

Aside from using a bathtub or whirlpool, it's recommended to keep the lights dim, and have access to soft and soothing music. Nowadays, there are lots of light-tempo tranquil moments cd's that you can purchase with sounds of nature or running water. Or, just tune in to a mellow radio station, ensuring that the radio is far distance from the water.

Before you get started, you need some specific items. Some may already be in your home, but others you may have to purchase in advance. Ideas include: four or five scented candles that can be set in the bathroom and/or along the bathtub; a loofah sponge or nylon net scrubbing puff; terry cloth washcloth; bath and shower gel/body wash; body scrub or sea salts; bath and body oils; body moisturizer; an inflatable pillow; a towel; a bath robe; slippers; green tea; and chilled water.

Once you've gathered all of the necessities, you can create an aromatherapy environment by filling the bathtub with tolerably hot water and adding essential oils. This has become very popular over the last decade as aromatherapy uses flower, herb and tree extracts also known as botanical oils, to promote well-being and good health. Good products can include oils with lavender, peppermint, lemon, and rose. These essential oils can relieve stress, tension, fatigue and pain as well as comfort the skin.

You can add a bath and shower gel or body wash to the water and scrubbing puff, washing the skin thoroughly. Use a body scrub or sea salts with the loofah to exfoliate the dead skin cells all over the body. You can even use your hands to massage it into the skin. Whenever possible, try to use organic spa products to ensure that you are getting a quality, all-natural experience. An inflatable pillow is optional, but either way, lay back and relax your head.

If you feel that you want to go all out, this is also a great opportunity to incorporate a facial treatment. Cleanse the skin first with products for your skin type, then use a facial scrub to remove dead skin cells or a mask treatment to pull out toxins in the skin and follow up with a moisturizer. This will help your face feel fresh, relax the facial muscles and make your skin glow. You can even wash and treat your hair with your favourite products, then wrap it into a towel.

For about 30 - 45 minutes, you just want to clear your mind, enjoy the soothing sounds and scents around you and the warmth of the water. If you have jets in the whirlpool, take full advantage of it's massaging capabilities. Take a few deep breaths and incorporate relaxation techniques if you desire. Drink sips of green tea, which increases antioxidant activity in the blood, or chilled water to maintain hydration and eliminate toxins.

Once you've finished and rinsed off, be sure to put some kind of moisturizing body lotion or body balm on the skin to keep it soft, smooth and nourished. Wash the mask or scrub off the face with the washcloth and follow-up with a toner and facial moisturizer. Throw on your slippers and wrap yourself into a robe which you may want to put into your dryer for extra warmth ahead of time.
Once you've completed your special pampering time, get comfortable, go to bed, or do absolutely nothing. Remember, you may only get to treat yourself like this once in a while, so make it special.

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