Health

Do You Use Protection? Sunscreen That Is!

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This week we’ll be answering some of the most common questions that we get regarding sun protection.

 
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Chemical sunscreen uses ingredients that absorb into the skin and work by absorbing the UV rays, converting them to heat and then releases this heat back into the environment. These sunscreens tend to be thinner formulations that don’t feel as heavy on the skin but few chemicals used for sun protection provide broad spectrum protection, usually failing when it comes to UVA.

Physical sunscreens sit on the surface of the skin and reflect the UV rays, these tend to be thicker formulations that can cause a white cast and need to be worked into the skin however they are the best option for full spectrum protection.

Always make sure that your sunscreen provides broad spectrum protection - it just so happens that zinc is the best broad spectrum sunscreen ingredient on the market.

 
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UVA and UVB refer to UltraViolet A & B, there’s also UVC although that isn’t talked about much. The A, the B and the C refers to the wavelengths of light. A helpful shorthand for understanding how they affect you is that the A stands for Aging, the B stands for Burning and the C stands for Cancer. It’s worth noting that this is a very basic shorthand and that all 3 wavelengths can cause all 3 kinds of damage with prolonged exposure. 

Generally the UVA is not absorbed by the Ozone Layer so most of the radiation damage we receive comes from UVA, it is not usually affected by cloud cover. UVB is mostly absorbed by the Ozone Layer and what does get through can be blocked by cloud cover so this form of UV usually affects us during direct sun exposure. UVC is almost completely absorbed by the Ozone Layer but some does get through, especially in areas with a compromised Ozone Layer such as Australia.

 
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You absolutely can! You need to be using sunscreen EVERY day.

While the cloud cover cuts out most of UVB, UVA still gets through and with prolonged exposure, you can still burn, especially if you are fair. This bigger issue with exposure on overcast days is the aging ability of the UVA on you skin. The Free Radical damage that is happening on a cellular level is causing your cells to age at a much greater rate so because you’re less likely to burn or feel the damage, it’s super important to get into the habit of wearing sunscreen daily. A good quality Vitamin C Serum is also a great idea from the age of about 20 to help support your SPF by being a powerful antioxidant the directly fight the free radical damage caused by UV exposure.

 
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SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and that is your baseline burn rate based on your own skin. For example, if you burn after 20 minutes of exposure that’s your natural SPF rate.

SPF ratings on products refer to the fraction of sunburn-producing UV rays that reach the skin. In this example a product with an SPF of 20 will mean that 1/20 of the burning radiation will reach your skin provided that you have applied you product correctly (and we will get to application shortly). This means that it will take 20 times longer for you to burn so proper application of a sunscreen with an SPF of 20 will give you 400 minutes or about 6.5 hours of protection before you will burn. Most sunscreens will require you to re-apply every 2 hours or more frequently depending on your activity level but once you have reached 6.5 hours you will begin to burn no matter how much sunscreen you reapply.

This fraction also refers to the percentage of UV that is blocked. An SPF of 20 blocks approximately 94% of UV, an SPF of 30 blocks approximately 96% of UV and an SPF of 50 blocks approximately 98% of UV so you can see that once you hit 30, the difference is much smaller so our advice is to find a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 20 that you like to wear daily, and stick with it. If you are outdoors, we recommend upping that to at least a 30 as well as wearing a hat.

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You should apply sunscreen about 15 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every 2 hours or more frequently if sweating or swimming. Sunscreen are tested for effectiveness at 2mg per centimeter of skin. What does that mean? The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that an adult uses an ounce of sunscreen for a full body application. The Cancer Council of Australia says that’s approximately ½ a teaspoon for face, head and neck, same for each arm and same for each other section too. If you think that sounds like a lot, it’s actually because at a lower rate than this, sunscreen protection is spotty and doesn’t provide consistent protection. If your current sunscreen is too greasy or white or too expensive to apply at this rate then we suggest you find another sunscreen that you like or can at least tolerate the dry down, smell and feel of so that you can use it daily at the right amount to protect your skin. Most people tend to apply about ½ (or less!) of the correct amount meaning that they get less than ½ of the protection listed on the label.

Remember though, once you have hit your maximum protection (SPF x your natural burn rate) you will burn no matter how much sunscreen you re-apply.


Check out Spa Sophia’s picks for this Summer available now at Spa Sophia…

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  1. TiZo Fusion Sheer Botanicals Non-Tinted SPF 45 $41.00

  2. Epicuren Discovery X-Tream Cream SPF 45 $43.00

  3. TiZo Fusion TiZo2 Primer/Sunscreen Non-Tinted SPF 40 $41.00

  4. Epicuren Discovery Zinc Oxide Perfecting Sunscreen SPF 27 $43.00

  5. Epicuren Discovery Active Sport Treat SPF 30+ $35.50

  6. TiZo Fusion Ultra Zinc Tinted SPF 40 $41.00

  7. ISUN Antioxidant Sun Butter SPF 27 $40.00

The Beginner's Guide to Ayurveda

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Spa Sophia is proud to be one of the few places in Los Angeles to offer Ayurvedic treatments. On top of the Ayurveda Massage, our resident massage therapist and Ayurvedic practitioner Megan Darwin offers treatments such as Nasya, Abyhanga, Therapeutic Steam and an Ayurvedic Detox Program . Want to know what exactly Ayurveda is, and why it's so good for you? Read our little Beginner's Guide to Ayurveda...

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old lifestyle philosophy and comprehensive natural healing system from India. It's a Sanskrit term and means "science of life" or "practices of longevity." Ayurveda is all about the person as a whole, physically, mentally and spiritually, and teaches that these three things are intricately connected. Ayurveda also emphasizes a person's place in his or her environment, and the world. Through natural medicinal treatments, mediation, nutrition, yoga, massage and essential oils Ayurveda aims to prevent and cure diseases and help you live a balanced life to reach your fullest potential.

Three Elements of Ayurveda

In Ayurveda there are three doshas, which are biological forces in the body believed to govern life. Pitta includes the elements fire and water, which are responsible for heat, appetite and digestion, while Kapha is characterized by the elements earth and water, which are responsible for structure and stability. Vata is the biggest life force and derives from the elements of space and air, which constitutes the energy of movement. When the three doshas are in harmony, you are in optimum balance and health. Symptoms of mental and physical illnesses are seen as doshic imbalances, which can be healed through Ayurvedic medicine and therapy.

ayurvedic practitioner ayurveda los angeles treatments massage detox venice abbot kinneyTreatments of Ayurveda

Ayurvedic practitioners believe mental and physical health are inextricably connected, and equally important. Since Ayurveda places big emphasis on our place in the world around us, things like changes in weather, society, economy, lifestyle, diet, work, financial status, emotions and relationships are also considered. That's why Ayurvedic healing - on top of herbal treatments - almost always includes lifestyle interventions. Think of a healthy diet, sleep pattern, and yoga, but also skin care and hygiene.

Contemporary Ayurvedic Treatments

Contemporary Ayurvedic practitioners, such as Spa Sophia's Megan Darwin, focus on attaining a healthy metabolic system, maintaining good digestion and releasing toxins. The combination of specific massage techniques, diet, oleation, lymph drainage, steam and purgation makes Ayurvedic cleansing an incredibly comprehensive and successful process for detoxifying and rejuvenating the entire system.

Ayurvedic Massages

Ayurvedic massage with warm therapeutic herbal oils can open up the channels in our bodies through which all of our fluids flow. Without healthy flow, these channels will accumulate toxins that will eventually lead to disease. Spa Sophia offers several Ayurvedic massages with essential oils, that will leave you feeling totally relaxed and renewed. Here are just some of the benefits of Ayurvedic massages: Building immunity, decreasing stress, cleansing the body, achieving overall balance, improved sleep and glowing skin. Want to discover Ayurveda in Los Angeles at Spa Sophia? Book a treatment online, email us, or call (310) 564 6676to set an appointment! For more information on the 5 Day Ayurvedic Detox Program, email Megan directly at megan@spasophia.com

How To Stay Healthy During The Holidays

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Oh, the holidays. We look forward to them all year, but they can also stress us out. And we're not just talking about the stress of organizing. The abundance of unhealthy food and overeating can be a source of anxiety. Most people gain 1 to 3 pounds over the holidays. Not a big drama on its own, except that many people never lose those extra pounds. How do we make the holidays a little healthier, so we can enjoy it guilt-free. Here are 7 tips...

1. Exercise More the Weeks Before

How not to worry about the small weight gain during Thanksgiving and Christmas? By shedding some extra weight beforehand! Start doing adding some cardio exercises the weeks before, lengthen your existing workouts, and/or eat smaller portions than usual. Possibly the simplest and most reliable way to stay healthy on track during the holidays, and diminish guilt.

2. Throw in Walks

You may not have time or motivation to go do full workouts, but a nice stroll can be very fitting holiday activity! Take the family for a walk in nearby nature and burn calories while enjoying the fall and winter weather. The cosier it is inside afterwards! If you are at a big party, there are always some people who are down for a little after-dinner walk.

how to stay healthy and guilt free during holidays los angeles spa sophia3. Eat Beforehand

While you might be tempted to skip eating all day on Thanksgiving and Christmas to "save" some calories that way, it is actually wiser to eat something small before. Research has found this prevents people from binging on food. So don't let yourself go hungry, eat a fulfilling breakfast with a small portion of protein.

4. Choose Calmly

When you see all that food everywhere it's tempting to load up your plate with everything, but try to take a moment before. What dishes are there? What are your favorites? Which dishes are special? Go for only the things you really like and that you don't already have weekly. There is no need to try everything. And know that plain turkey, pumpkin pie and roasted veggies are healthier than gravy loaded red meat, chocolate cake and bean casseroles.

5. Be Mindful

When you do eat, savor! Put your fork down after every bite and eat consciously. Perhaps have a sip of water every few bites. Be present in the moment and really enjoy your food. It takes your mind about 20 minutes to realize you're full, so don't rush. Talking to people is also great to take your mind off the food. Traverse the room, speak to all those you haven't seen for a while. Enjoy!

6. Drink Water

Drink plenty of water throughout the day. It detoxes, helps move your food down to digestive tract, and also makes you feel satiated more quickly. If you can, try to drink water instead of soda, sugary juices, and alcoholic beverages. Drinking water on top of those is still a great idea, though. Add a little lemon or lime juice for an extra kick.

7. Use Healthy Holiday Recipes

You may not be able to control what others bring to the table, but you can control what you bring, so make it worth your while. There are many healthy holiday recipes around, but here are some quick tips:

  • Grill, roast, broil, stir-fry, poach and steam food instead of frying or deep frying.
  • Season turkey and other meat overnight with spices, rather than using creamy, heavy sauces
  • Use fat-free chicken broth for gravy.
  • Use fruit purees instead of butter and oil for baked goods.
  • Use plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream for creamy dips, mashed potatoes, and casseroles.

Need a little relief from all the holiday craziness? Spa Sophia is offering 20% off all Zents products with the purchase of a Zents massage! Find out more here.

5 Easy, Healthy Breakfast Recipes That Keep You Full

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Mornings can be chaotic and rushed, and breakfast may be turned into a quick bagel with cream cheese, a coffee, or even nothing it all. But  remember what your parents said? Something along the lines of "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day?" Don't want to listen to your folks? Then listen to us! Or, well, science. Because studies have shown that people who eat their biggest meal at breakfast have a smaller chance of gaining weight, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease, and are less likely to regain lost weight. Eating a good breakfast prevents you from splurging later on, and gets your metabolism going. So no matter what your nutritional goals are, it's very important to get a healthy breakfast.  A healthy breakfast consists of proteins, fiber and vitamins, and is calorie conscious. Here are five of our favorite easy, healthy breakfast recipes that keep you full...

Leek & Goat Cheese Frittata

This savory breakfast recipe has tons of protein, and can be refrigerated and served cold later on. It's one of our favorite healthy breakfast recipes that keep you full, because you only have to make it only once or twice to have a delish nutritious breakfast all week.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 tbsp olive oil
  2. 3 large eggs
  3. leeks
  4. 1 bell pepper
  5. spinach leaves
  6. brown onion
  7. crumbled goat cheese
  8. pepper
  9. salt

Prep: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, crack the eggs and whisk with pepper and salt. Cut the veggies and fry them in a small saucepan until the spinach leaves have shrunk and the onion is golden brown. Pour over the egg mixture and stir, then let it sit until the egg begins to set. Take the pan off the stove and sprinkle crumbled goat cheese on top. Put the whole thing in the preheated oven. Let it bake for about 10 minutes, and voila! Un frittata!

Apple Coconut Bowl

This is one of our fave healthy breakfast recipes that keep you full because it's so fresh, and made within 5 minutes. It can also easily be eaten on the go. The nuts and yoghurt add some protein while the fruit and chia seeds gets you your vitamins.

Ingredients:

  1. Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
  2. 1/2 cup Plain non fat/low fat yogurt
  3. Chia seeds
  4. 10 oven roasted almonds
  5. 2 Apples

Prep: Grate your apples with a cheese grater into a bowl, add chia seeds, almonds, coconut flakes, yoghurt and that's it: you're all done!

Veggie Omelet

Another  one of those savory, healthy breakfast recipes that keep you full all morning, and takes maybe 10 minutes to make. Cut the veggies on Sunday and bag and refrigerate them to save time, or just buy chopped veggies.

Ingredients: olive oil 1/2 zucchini 2 green onion 1/2 bell pepper 1 large egg 3 large egg whites 2 tablespoons shredded Gouda cheese pepper salt

Prep: Whisk eggs, egg whites, salt, pepper, some water and cheese in a bowl. Cut veggies and heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add veggies and a pinch of salt to the pan and sauté until they're crisp-tender. Remove from heat. Then heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and coat pan with olive oil. Pour egg mixture into pan and cook until edges begin to set (about 2 minutes). Lift the edges of the omelet and tilt the pan to allow uncooked egg mixture to cook. Add the veggies to one half of the omelet and sprinkle with cheese. Then fold the omelet and  enjoy!

Walnut & Banana Cereal Combo

This sweet, fruity breakfast can be made within a minute and is super delicious. While low on calories, the nuts and Greek yogurt add protein and the bran flakes fiber, so you'll feel satiated all morning. Probably one of the easiest healthy breakfast recipes that keep you full.

Ingredients: 1 banana 10 walnuts 1/4 cup bran flakes 1/4 cup Greek yogurt 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Prep:

Cut the banana into pieces, throw them into a bowl, and add cinnamon, walnuts, bran flakes and yogurt. Yup, that's all. So you really have no excuse to skip breakfast ever again, you!

Breakfast Quesedilla

On of those very California healthy breakfast recipes that keep you full, and we're sure nothing new for our Los Angeles spa clients. But unlike restaurant versions and breakfast burritos, this one is low on calories, full of fiber, and low on carbs!

Ingredients:

cooking spray 1 whole grain tortilla 1 large egg 2 tablespoons chunky salsa 1/2 avocado 1/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar

Prep:

Whisk the eggs and spray a skillet with cooking spray, then heat over a medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add eggs, scrambling until cooked through. Take off heat. Spread one half of the tortilla with salsa, scrambled eggs, avocado and cheese. Then fold op. Grill in a frying pan or on a grill and take off when both sides are brown. Yum!

Combine your healthy diet with relaxing massages or Ayurvedic treatments from Spa Sophia to achieve full inner beauty. And while beauty starts within, nothing beats a good facial ;) Book your Spa Sophia treatments online or by calling (310) 564 6676.

Sleep Tips: 5 Natural Ways to Improve Your Sleep

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sleep tips 5 natural ways to improve sleep Sleep is one of the most important things when it comes to staying healthy, both mentally and physically. During sleep our bodies and brains recover. Sleep helps with processing memories, growth, and restoring the immune system. Making sure you get an adequate amount of sleep every night is therefore very important. Modern life can make this challenging sometimes though. Many people therefore opt for sleeping pills, but sleeping pills come with dangerous side effects, plus the risk of developing a dependency.  Luckily there are also many natural ways to improve your sleeping habits. Spa Sophia selected the five best sleep tips...

Sleep Tip 1: No Bright Screens Before Bedtime

Laptops, TV, iPods, phones: They all mess with your melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone secreted in your brain that plays a big part in what is often called your internal clock, your circadian rhythm. Melatonin levels are influenced by light: When it gets dark, melatonin levels rise, making you feel tired and sleepy. When it's light melatonin levels are low, keeping you feeling awake.

Brightly lit screens lead to a delay of the rise in melatonin levels, which is why you'll have a harder time finding sleep if you look at bright screens before sleeping. One of the best sleep tips is therefore not to play video games, watch TV or anything else that involves a bright screen up to an hour before sleeping. So yes to eye pads and no to iPads!

Sleep Tip 2: No Caffeine After 2PM

This may be one of the most well-known yet most ignored sleep tips. Seriously, people. We know you love your coffee, afternoon tea, and soda, but any caffeine after 2PM will make finding sleep at night much harder. It takes your body about 6 hours for deplete 50% of an 8 ounce caffeine intake. That's 6 hours for your regular small Starbucks coffee. Think of what a venti (20 ounces) will do to you!  So opt for herbal tea, decaf coffee, or other caffeine free drinks after 2PM.

Sleep Tip 3: Get Moving

Exercise is the miracle medicine for many problems in life: lack of energy, depression, cardiovascular diseases...we could go on and on. And it also helps you sleep better! This is one of those sleep tips we probably don't even need to get into the science of - we've al felt how tired a good workout can make us - but research has proven that sleep improves drastically when people pick up some aerobic exercise.

Sleep Tip 4: Get On a Regular Sleeping Schedule

Like we described in the first one of the sleeping tips, melatonin plays a big part in creating a circadian rhythm. And sticking to this rhythm really helps you find sleep every night. Wether you're a night owl or morning person, try to go to sleep and get up at around the same time every day. Even in the weekends. The occasional all nighter is okay, as long as you have some sort of routine.

Steep Tip 5: Don't Eat Before Sleeping

Eating right before going to bed - especially food with a high glycemic load - will flood your blood with glucose. This in turn will cause your heart rate to go up and free energy for your body. Which is exactly what you don't need right before going to bed. So say no to those late night snacks.

Want to enjoy ultimate relaxation while awake? Book one of Spa Sophia's amazing healing massages online or by phone by calling (310) 564 6676.

Ten Best Foods For Beautiful Skin

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ten best foods for beautiful skin almonds spa sophiaWhile facials and good skin care products can help your skin tremendously, beauty starts from the inside. Unhealthy habits can undo many of the benefits facials and external skin care create, particularly smoking and a bad diet. That's why Spa Sophia recommends a healthy, balanced diet for clients who are serious about skin care and want to create long term effects. Want to know which foods are the best for your skin? Read our list of  the 10 best skin foods...

1. Kale

Kale is all the rage, and for a good reason. Kale contains carotinoids, which in a clinical study were proven to enhance complexion and skin color. People therefore rated the skin of people who ate more kale as better looking.

2. Pomegranate

Pomegranates are full of polyphenols. What? Polyphenols are antioxidants that fight free radicals, protecting your skin from damage. They also regulate your skin's blood flow, giving you an healthy, rosy tone. When applied directly to the skin pomegranate also moisturizes and fights wrinkles. Bring out the pomegranate juice!

3. Avocado

Angelenos love their avocados, and thankfully they're full of health and beauty benefits too! Avocados contain lots of vitamin C, E and K, which are essential for a healthy skin. It also has plenty of antioxidants, so go ahead and enjoy that guac!

4. Greek Yogurt

Yogurt and dairy products in general are nice for your skin, as they calm irritation and reduce dryness, but Greek yogurt is especially beneficial due to its protein content. Proteins keep skin firm and wrinkle resistant, and Greek yogurt often has twice the amount of protein that regular yoghurt has. Add some berries and granola and turn Greek yoghurt into your breakfast.

5. Almonds

These verstatile seeds are full of vitamin E, which helps protect against sun damage. Studies even found that people who ate more almonds got less sunburned. Add them to salads, that Greek yoghurt breakfast, or go with peanuts as a suitable replacement.

6. Carrots

Just like kale, carrots contain a lot of carotinoids, which improve your skin color and complexion. On top of that carrots also contain heaps of vitamin A, which reduces overproduction of the outer skin layer and the resulting clogged pores and breakouts.

7. Flaxseed

Flaxseed is full of Omega-3, which reduces redness and irritation, and makes skin absorb more moisture. This in turn leads to less wrinkles. Add some flaxseed to your smoothies or sautee your veggies in flaxseed oil. Fish are also a great source of Omega-3.

8. Spinach

Popeye knew what he was doing. The water in spinach and most other greens passes the skins' cell membranes, making it look more plump and healthy. More importantly though: The folate in spinach helps protect against skin cancer by preventing and restoring DNA damage. People who eat lots of greens have been shown to have half the amount of tumors.

9. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are total health champs. They contain boat loads of Vitamin C that increases collagen production. In fact, sweet potatoes have been proven to lead to 11 % less wrinkles if eaten over a long time. Carrots also do the trick!

10. Tuna

Just like flax seed tuna contains Omega-3 which - like we stated before- reduces redness and irritation, and makes skin absorb more moisture. On top of that tuna also contains selenium that preserves elastin. More elastin means less wrinkles, so add some tuna to your diet!

Want to really treat your skin? Get one of Spa Sophia's cutting edge facials. Book one online or call us at 310.564-6676.

How To Pick Healthy Carbs: The Glycemic Index

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how to find healthy carbs glycemix indexFollowing a healthy, nutritious diet can sometimes seem like a day job. Proteins, sugars, carbs, gluten, fat, omega-3, mercury: There are so many things to pay attention to. Especially sugar and carbs have gotten a lot of attention. While we used to look at just the amount of sugar in food,  it later became carbs as a whole. Then it was the amount of simple carbs versus complex carbs, and recently it became all about the Glycemic Index, Glycemic Load and Insulin Index. What are these things, what do they teach you about food, and what should you pay attention to? Spa Sophia explains.

The Importance of Glucose

Carbs and sugars are so important because they create blood sugar, also known as glucose. Your body uses glucose for energy, but stores whatever is left over as fat. High levels of glucose can lead to diabetes, stroke, obesity and other cardiovascular diseases.

Eating large amounts of carbs is therefore never a good thing, but not all carbs are created equal. Some carbs are digested very quickly, flooding your blood with glucose, which makes you feel hungry soon after. These carbs are found in candy and junk food, and are the ones that can and leads to aforementioned health problems. Other carbs release glucose more gradually though, which is healthier and also keeps you feeling more satiated. Fruits and vegetables are examples.

The Glycemic Index

The Glycemic Index (GI) has recently gained a lot of popularity because it takes this difference between carbs into account. The GI is a number that describes how quickly glucose rises after eating certain foods. Foods with high GI scores (in the 70-100 range) cause quick glucose spikes, while food with low GI scores (55 and under) have a gradual glucose release.

The Glycemic Load

While the GI is a better measure than just looking at carbs, the GI doesn’t take into account how many carbs of a food are typically eaten. For example, white pasta has a GI of 46 and apples a GI of 50. That doesn’t mean white pasta is healthier though, because people typically eat 100 calories of an apple, while they eat about 500 of white pasta. That’s why the Glycemic Load (GL) was invented. The GL looks at both the GI and how many carbs are typically eaten in one serving. A GL of 20 or more is considered high, while a GL of less than twenty is considered low.

The Insulin Index

With the popularity of the GI and the GL came the criticism that it only takes into account food with carbs, while other food can also influence glucose levels, due to their effect on insulin. For example protein heavy foods like steak. While the GI and the Insulin Index scores are often quite similar, some foods do trigger a disproportionate insulin reaction. The insulin index, just like the GI, doesn’t account for the amount of carbs usually eaten per serving, though.

So How To Pick Healthy Carbs?

It’s good to educate yourself about things like the GI, GL and Insulin Index, but don’t worry about adding another checklist item to following a healthy diet. Because the foods with high GI, GL and insulin scores are the ones you probably already know are unhealthy. And the same goes for those with low scores. So stick to as much fruit, veggies and raw, non processed foods as you can, and you should be good!

Want to go about your health and beauty holistically? Book an all natural facial, wax or massage at Spa Sophia’s online or make an appointment by calling 310.564.6676.

Ten Tips For De-Stressing

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ten tips for de-stressing - spa sophiaStress is not only unpleasant, it’s also very unhealthy. Stress breaks down your immune system and can lead to depression, digestive problems, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain, and memory and concentration impairment. On top of that stress can make your skin thinner and less capable of restoring itself. At Spa Sophia we therefore place a lot of emphasis on making our facials and waxes completely stress free, and we also offer a variety of healing and relaxing massages. To help you continue to feel stress free at home and at work, here are ten tips for de-stressing…

1. Put Things in Perspective

If there’s a specific thing that’s stressing you out, ask yourself: How important will this be a week from now? A month from now? Even a year from now? Think about it in the grand scheme of things.

2. Make Your Mornings Count

Mornings set the pace for the entire day, but too many people rush their mornings. Wake up even 10 small minutes earlier so you can get a little times for yourself, eat a healthy breakfast, and do some stretching exercises or meditation.

3. Take Sufficient Breaks

Always take breaks during work. You may feel like it will cost too much time, but not taking breaks decreases your productivity so you actually save time by taking breaks. Don’t take your breaks behind you computer though. Get away from work both mentally and physically.

4. Exercise

Working out releases all kinds of stress relieving and happy making hormones, so break a sweat, even if it’s just during a small walk, or by taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

5. Make To-Do Lists

To do lists ensure you won’t forget anything and can make the daily or weekly tasks more overseeable and less daunting. Plus, it’s so satisfying to cross things off that list!

6. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. We need sleep to keep us sane, healthy and productive. Therefore make sure you get enough sleep, even if you feel like you don’t have the time for it.

7. Eat Well

The foods we tend to crave when we’re stressed usually only make stress worse, since they trigger the same bodily reactions. Stress makes your heart beat faster and your blood pressure go up, and so do foods that have a high glycemic index, such as most candy and junk food. So snack on nuts, avocados, fish, fruits and dark chocolate instead!

8. Smile

Science has proven that even fake smiling will make you feel happier. Not to mention the benefits of laughter therapy. So put a smile on your face and not only look nicer, but also feel nicer!

9. Enjoy Some Nature

The great outdoors has been proven to have stress relieving effects, often because the lack of stimuli offers space for reflection. LA has so much great scenery to offer. Go enjoy a hike in the hills or a walk on the beach, and you’ll feel invigorated after!

10. Breathe

People who do yoga and meditation will already know this, but just paying attention your breathing, and making sure your breaths are deep and steady can work miracles for your stress levels. It may sound easy, but see how quickly you forget. So let go, and breathe.

Need a little extra help relaxing? Book one of our healing massages online or call Spa Sophia at 310.564.6676 to set an appointment today.

7 Health Benefits of Massages

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Did you know massages have been proven by science have a wide range of health benefits? Not that you needed any additional reasons, the benefits of a massage are quite clear when you’re on the massage table, completely Zen. But if you want to know what other benefits there are to massages, here are the seven health benefits of massages…

massages spa sophia los angeles venice beach abbot kinney1. Massages Relieve Pain

It’s not just imagined, a massage can lead to significant pain relief. A massage benefits sore muscles, stiffness, and sports injuries. They can also decrease chronic back pain and provide a better range of motion for people with osteoarthritis and other joint conditions.

2. Massages Reduce Anxiety & Depression

Massages have been proven to be able to reduce anxiety and depression. They stimulate the production of neurotransmitter serotonin, a substance in the brain that’s widely associated with feelings of happiness. Massages also reduce the production of cortisol, often called ‘the stress hormone’ and therefore massages can make you feel less anxious.

3. Massages Are Good for Your Blood & Cells

Massages encourage lymphatic drainage. This is the transportation of toxins out and away from cells so that there’s more place for nutrients. It also increases blood circulation. Both these things have great effects on your complexion and hair, which is why we always include a massage in our facials.

4. Massages Make You More Alert

Studies found that massages - even short ones that last about 15 to 30 minutes - increase alertness and problem solving abilities. So they’re a great way to start your day!

5. Massages Decrease Headaches & Migraines

Due to the beneficial effects of massages on stress, there are a lot of massage benefits for stress induced conditions, like tension headaches. But massage benefits aren’t limited to tension headaches. Massages can also lead to fewer migraine attacks and less painful migraine attacks.

6. Massages Boost The Immune System

Although the support for this finding isn’t very large yet, science does indicate that a massage benefits the immune system. Researchers have found more disease-fighting white blood cells in people who received regular massages. It’s not a surprising finding: Stress puts your immune system on hold, which can damage it in the long run, and massages decrease stress and thus this damage.

7. Massages Increase The Quality of Sleep

People who struggle with insomnia or other sleep problems should give regular massages a try. Massages can increase healthy sleeping patterns, something that’s thought to be due to the effect massages have on delta waves; brain waves associated with sleeping.

Want to enjoy these health benefits and get a heavenly massage? Call Spa Sophia at 310.564.6676 to set an appointment today, or book online.