Tuesday, September 2, 2014

In the waters with Alison Carson

Tell us about your first experience with body blitz?

I first heard about Body Blitz from a friend and we decided to make a day of it. I had been to spas in Europe, in Hungary and Germany, but I wasn't sure what to expect from downtown Toronto. I was really impressed by the layout, the decor, and all the little details that make the environment efficient, clean, and relaxing. 

How often do you visit the waters?
With the summer waters pass I've been trying to come once or twice a week. 

How has your health changed since using the body blitz therapeutic waters?
Overall, this year had a lot of ups and downs. I teach English, dance and drama, and on top of regular teaching and marking, I run our school's yoga club, dance team, Gay-Straight Alliance, and choreographed our school musical, which had 18 dance numbers. I also worked on a film that my wife produced, and had weekly rehearsals with a dance company of my own (PushPULL), which is a fantastic creative outlet, but puts a strain on my body. Unfortunately I sprained my ankle during one of our performances and have been working to build my strength back up. To top it all off, I got married this year, so I was definitely in the market for a new routine that would help me reset and get ready to go back to work in the fall feeling rested and rejuvenated!  

Why do you love being a teacher?
I love being a teacher because my day is always different. Although it has a lot of structure, with bells and time tables, the kids bring so much energy and unpredictability to this job that you really don't know what the day will be like. I find the environment challenging, in the best possible way, and the feedback you get is immediate. I love my subjects (dance, drama and English) and getting to share that with my students is really special. I can't think of another job where I would get to see, on a daily basis, the future taking shape. Seeing students grow, especially if I have taught them through multiple grades, is amazing and you watch it happen right in front of your eyes. They are so vibrant and even though this job keeps me on my toes, can be extremely stressful, and comes home with me each night, I love being plugged into the kind of energy that young people bring to the equation. I feel really lucky that I am constantly learning and getting to share my passion for education with my students. 

What do you learn from your students? 
By definition, I'm supposed to be the expert in my subject, but I think the learning certainly goes both ways. I am constantly gaining new insight from them and am really inspired by the students that I work with. I learn about myself by watching them learn. I think that many adults forget what being a teenager is like. On a surface level, they are always teaching me about new technology, new apps, music and dance styles (the pop culture stuff) - but what I really love is seeing them learn about communicating, building their confidence and finding ways to solve problems. As a teacher, I ask kids to do things, which are second nature to me - public speaking, sharing ideas, resolving conflicts, performing in front of their peers.  I'm constantly asking them to take risks, try new things and be brave. I should be willing to do those same things, so that I don't forget how it feels to be in their shoes. I try to model that process of risk taking and share my own experiences of success and of failure, to show them that taking chances, making mistakes and persevering are part of the process. 

If you could, what advice would you give yourself  20 years ago?
Assume positive intentions, don't take things personally and appreciate the process. You can only control how you react, not other people. I am a sensitive person, so I spent a lot of time when I was younger rehashing things that I couldn't change and worrying. I'm still working to apply the advice of just going with the flow and welcoming what life throws at you. 

Proudest accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment is not just one moment; it's the accumulation of all the good parts of life - that amount to living well. I can pinpoint certain things that I am proud of, like going to live abroad for a year as a teenager, the scholarships and recognition that I have received academically, or the career I'm building. Mostly, I am proud of my relationships and that I have people in my life who are sweet, generous, funny and who challenge me. My best accomplishment is creating and working hard for a life that feels really authentic. Getting to be yourself and be surrounded by people who value you, as you are, is what brings me the most happiness. It lays the ground work for all the other good things to happen.

Who is your role model or mentor?
My parents are one of my most significant sources of inspiration. They really modeled the kind of dedication, patience and love that go into raising a family. My mother is such a strong, creative, charismatic woman and she has stayed involved in theatre and art throughout my life. She was also a teacher, so I grew up really admiring her talent and leadership; watching her have a career that was so personally rewarding really set the bar for me. It was impossible not to look up to a parent who was so admired by her students. My father is an engineer and although I have less insight into what his career entails, as I got older, he has emerged as the quiet hero in my life. He is a resourceful, intelligent man who always put his family first. He created this amazingly open space for me to grow and develop a voice as a young woman. He welcomed debate and raised me with unconditional love. I was never afraid to take chances because he has supported me every step of the way. Coming out as a teenager was so much easier with parents like them. My brother and I were so lucky and one day I hope to make a home that is as loving and free as theirs was to grow up in.


Friday, August 1, 2014

In the waters with Lorainne Wright

We sat down with long time member of the body blitz community, Lorraine Wright, and asked her a few questions about her body blitz experience and about her life. 

How long have you been part of the body blitz community?
I have been part of the body blitz community for 8 yrs.          

Tell us about your first experience with body blitz?
My first experience with body blitz was one of relief. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I had recently been diagnosed with severe arthritis in the hips and knees and had started walking with a cane.  My friend Fred lived across the street from the first body blitz location and watched it being built. She could hardly wait for it to open. Her membership was # 5. As a child she was the victim of a car accident that left her partially paralyzed and she grew up with a walking challenge. She wasted no time in inviting me on her guest pass to enjoy the water treatments.  A few months later I had both my hips replaced and body blitz was part of my recovery.                                                                                                                                                                    
How often do you visit the waters?
I visit the waters once a week.                                                                    

What is your favourite part of the water circuit and why?
My favorite part of the water treatment is the hot Epson Salt pool because I can feel the pain and stiffness being sucked out of my body ... and my tub at home is not long enough to immerse the whole body.    

How has your health changed since using the body blitz therapeutic waters?
My health since using the water is mostly evident in my mobility.          

What is your best beauty/health secret?
Keep it moving & smile.                      

Top 3 pieces of advice you would give to other women?
- Life is a learning curve.
- Accentuate your positives.
- Have gratitude.                                                  

What’s your favourite indulgence?
CHOCOLATE!    

What is your career?  What do you love most about it?
My career was teaching and it wasn't until much later that I realized it was a calling! My students taught me so much about myself and now that I am retired, I feel that I am living my best life lived!!!!                                                  



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Rub a dub dub ... three ladies in a tub

Actually, it’s three ladies in a really cold tub. Technically, it’s three ladies in the cold plunge pool, one of three therapeutic pools at body blitz, health by water. Quite frankly though, this little urban Arctic soiree between strangers is not going to last long. In fact, sixty seconds to be exact.

The circuit instructions posted indicate I should spend one minute in the cold plunge pool. I will obey this suggested time limit but not one second longer. I flap my arms quickly as I count to sixty. I make sure my neck is submerged because I am told this is good for the thyroid. I have seen ladies linger longer as if they are polar bears and this frigid water is their natural habitat. Others dunk their head. Me? - I flap, count and exit.

I am at body blitz east and tension, stress and the noise-in-my-head begins to slither out of my body. I am teetering on becoming a lethargic blob which is ok because there are comfy lounge chairs along the wall just waiting for mushes like me.

Submerge body in warm Dead Sea salt pool, lie on cedar bench in infrared sauna, shower, sixty seconds in cold plunge pool, laze on lounge chair, drink protein shake, shuffle into aromatherapy steam room, breath deeply, shower, drift into oblivion in hot Epsom salt pool, waddle to lounge chair, drop horizontally, read book, daydream, meditate, power snooze – whatever one's vegetated body and soul fancies.

It’s as simple and glorious as that - madwoman to womb-toasty sloth in under an hour. However, most visitors follow the posted ‘water circuit’ a few times, no doubt feeling a sense of melting as the wicked witch did in the Wizard of Oz…only in this movie-in-your-head, it is a melting of physical and mental stiffness. 

This water circuit alone is perfect for thawing the outside world, healing and rejuvenating the body however I want more. My skin is rough and snakeskin-like, so I have booked a ‘sweet ginger + milk body glow’. Not only do I want to continue my downward spiral into internal tranquility, I want my skin to be smooth and silky.

I lie on the lounge chair by the hot Epsom salt pool as I wait for my spa therapist. Only women are allowed at body blitz and the owner has brilliantly created an environment where woman can feel safe - safe in their vulnerability of body and emotion, no matter their state of dress (or undress) and spirited well-being.

Anne, my spa therapist, walks into the pool area. She greets me with a handshake and immediately puts her hand on my shoulder as she guides me upstairs to the scrub rooms. She tells me to take off my robe, put on the disposable thong and lie face down on the padded scrub table. She leaves the room and returns only when I am settled.

She tells me what to expect during this treatment: she will wash my body before she scrubs me with a sugar, ginger, cardamom and sweet orange scrub. After rinsing with water, she will massage my body with a mixture of warm milk, sweet orange, vanilla and grape seed oil. Another rinse and the finale – grape seed oil infused with sweet orange rhythmically applied to my body.

I suppress my glee as I envision the hour ahead. In fact, I suppress all that is inhibiting me. I simply lie there and allow Anne’s spell to infuse me with her magic potions. I don’t lift a finger or an arm…she moves them gracefully, particularly when she scrubs my underarms, which by the way is totally decadent. The warm water spray hose douses my body between wash and scrub, and again after the warm milk mixture. I feel as if all that is layered on my skin is swirling down the drain. I am scrubbed, kneaded, tickled (my feet are ticklish) and polished.

A sensation of floating into a blissfully drowsy state takes over. It is like I am being lifted into a universe of sweet smelling vanilla, orange and ginger…a place where one can turn off the brain and just be in the moment.

My galaxy experience has come to an end and I could easily have stayed on this scrub table for at least another hour. Anne gently assists me in sitting up, putting my feet into my flip-flops and tying my robe. It occurs to me that in the past hour, I have felt like a young child. I did not have to wash myself, dry myself off with a towel, moisturize, put on my shoes or tie my robe. Anne did all that for me like a parent does for a child.

My experience at body blitz was not that of a typical spa. It is different. It is classy yet comfy. It is not stuffy. It is visionary. It is a European-style health by water spa with a personal spin. It is decadent, yet necessary. It is special.
Beverly Anne 


Monday, June 2, 2014

Summer at body blitz

During the dog days of summer, the heat, the humidity and the city grime can make you feel listless and lethargic.  Using our therapeutic waters in the summer is a great way to beat the heat and remove sweat and dirt from your skin while staying cool and refreshed.  To make summer blitzing easier, we are now offering a summers water pass that includes unlimited access to the waters during July and August for only $300!  Even if you make it to the spa only once a week, that works out to a little over $33 a visit.

A trip to body blitz helps to...

~ remove pollutants from your skin
~ unclog pores
~ stimulate the blog and lymphatic system
~ cool the body by sweating
~ boost the immune system
~ sweat the extra toxins from patio parties and barbeques
~ make you feel more energized during the hot humid days of summer

And don't forget to rehydrate by drinking lots of water.
Ice cubes not included...

Monday, March 31, 2014

In the waters with Andrea Nann

We sat down with contemporary dance artist and choreographer Andrea Nann and asked her about her profession and how she stays strong, physically healthy and limber  ...

1. What is your career? 
I’m a contemporary dance artist.  I choreograph, design, devise, interpret and perform.  I am also the artistic director of Dreamwalker Dance Company and produce a collaborative multi-arts creation and performance platform called The Whole Shebang.  In April we have shows in Guelph and St. Catharines and I'm also currently performing in he:she at the National Ballet School's Betty Oliphant Theatre with Peggy Baker Dance Projects

2. What do you love most about it?  
I love the ephemerality and the immediacy of a dance experience and the fact that the art form asks for participation, through awareness or consciousness, from everyone (performers and audience) who is part of that experience.  On a practical level, it’s pretty convenient to have constant access to one’s instrument.  Wherever I go, it’s with me!

3. If you could clear up one misconception about your profession, what would it be?
I wish more people could see dance as multifaceted with aspects that can connect all of us.  Dance is more than elitist art or entertainment or exercise. 

4. How do you integrate the water circuit into your training regime? 
Any time I train or rehearse I push my body to gain and achieve optimal strength, flexibility and range of motion for action, reaction, control and dynamic expression.  Dancers, like all athletes, are constantly managing body pain whether it be sore muscles, strained or pulled ligaments and tendons, joint pain, tissue swelling...you name it. The water circuit can be a great part of recovery because it follows a therapeutic sequence that alternately cools and heats the body, reducing swelling and promoting healing.  I always take full benefit of 'icing' my body, sometimes spending up to 5 minutes fully immersed in the cold pool.  On days when the waters feel particularly frigid I stay there by distracting myself, turning my attention to the shimmering reflections of the salt pool waters playing like the northern lights on the walls and ceiling...

The infrared sauna also offers huge toxin burning benefits and on particularly sore days, I end the circuit with 10 minutes in the Epsom salt pool, letting the salts do their work in drawing lactic acid out from my overworked muscles.  The Epsom salt pool is also a good place to give my muscles a final 'squeezing' massage, using my hands and my imagination to squeeze toxins out of my muscles before heading to the showers.

5. How do you do the water circuit? 
I have come to appreciate that the way I prepare to do something greatly impacts the quality of the experience I will have.  As odd as it might sound, I have even established an ‘entrance ritual’ to the water circuit.  If you are rolling your eyes as you read this then I suggest you move to the next question!  

I usually enter the pool room and stand off to one side so my ears can adjust to the sound of the room.  When I’m ready I slip quietly into the Dead Sea salt pool and move very slowly through the water, observing and responding to the buoyancy and the warmth.  I look into the water as I move so the underwater pool lights can soften my focus allowing my eyes to relax.  I take deep breaths and I sigh a lot!  I eventually find my way to one of the waterfall fountains and hold my fingertips directly under the stream, stimulating the nerve endings where the nails meet skin.  I do the same thing with my feet and lastly with the top of my head.  Then I make my way to a power jet to loosen the muscles of my back.  When I’m ready, I plunge my whole body under water and this marks the start of my circuit.  I do the rest of the water circuit at a pretty quick pace, always plunging myself wholly into the waters (yes even in the cold pool!) for optimal blood circulation benefits, often adding an extra loop between the infrared sauna and the cold pool.

6. What is your favourite part of the water circuit?  
My entrance ritual and the sauna and the cold pool loop.

7. Describe your perfect day. 
Any day that includes a d-e-l-u-x-e m-o-r-o-c-c-a-n s-p-i-c-e b-o-d-y g-l-o-w treatment.

8. How do you un-wind after a long day?  
Sitting at the kitchen table, drinking a glass of wine, listening to my husband and son talk about sports. 

9. What books on your nightstand?
The Orenda by Joseph Boyden, Light by Souvankham Thammavongsa, Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism and the Inner Life of Artists by Kay Larson. 

10. What’s your favourite indulgence? 
How do you spell d-e-l-u-x-e m-o-r-o-c-c-a-n s-p-i-c-e b-o-d-y g-l-o-w?

11. Early bird or night owl? 
I know every hour of the night.

12. Your ride?  The rocket?  Bike?  Car? 
I love my bike.

13. Who is your role model or mentor? 
My parents Richard Nann and Beverly Nann.

14. What advise would you give to young dancers? 
Be true to yourself.
To read more about Andrea and Dreamwalker Dance Company, visit dreamwalkerdance.com

Friday, February 28, 2014

The power of Epsom Salt


Epsom salt can also be used for many beauty, health and skin issues.  We have listed a few things you can do at home with this simple compound …

 Beauty tips:

·      Hair: Mixing a handful of Epsom salts into shampoo absorbs excess oil, allowing hair to appear fuller and feel softer. The minerals in the solution help to repair and strengthen split ends from over-styling and damage caused by heat.
·      Face: Skip the professional facial and take part in a do-it-yourself treatment by combining pinch of Epsom salts with everyday cleanser. Gently massage onto skin and rinse with cool water. The result is a refreshed, rejuvenated glow.
·      Body: Epsom salts can help reduce the appearance of bruises and spider veins with a simple compress. Start by soaking an old t-shirt, or a cotton cloth, in cold water and a handful of Epsom salts and apply directly to skin. If cellulite is more of an issue, rub some salts on the problem area; the magnesium in Epsom salts helps draw excess toxins and fluid out of the skin, leaving behind a softer, smoother surface.
·      Feet: After a long day standing or wearing uncomfortable shoes, prepare a foot soak of warm water and a handful of Epsom salts to help soothe aches and pains, as well as combat odor. The anti-inflammatory properties help reduce swelling and puffiness and the granular texture helps to soften the porous skin on the heels making it easier to remove with a pumice stone or foot file. 

Sleep Aid
For those of you suffering from sleep problems due to stress, hormonal changes or insomnia, soaking in a hot bath with Epsom salts before bedtime helps you unwind and relax so you can sleep better. Add a little lavender essential oil to the bath for added relaxation.

Beating the bloat
Whether you’re prone to a sensitive stomach or have indulged in a rich meal, soaking in a warm bath with Epsom salts helps reduce water retention by drawing out toxins and excess fluids through the skin.

Feel healthier on the inside
If you’re looking for a quick, safe internal detox, a teaspoon of food grade Epsom salts in room temperature water has a gentle laxative effect that helps to ease a cranky digestive system and occasional constipation.



Friday, January 31, 2014

In the waters with Laura Desiree



We sat down with Laura Desiree and asked her a few questions about performing, staying healthy and what it means to be sexy. 


1. What is your career?  What do you love most about it?
I am a Burlesque/ Cabaret Performer and Instructor. What I love most about it, is the opportunity to empower women by way of exploring their femininity, physical ability and poise, while traveling the world and staying connected to my first love, performance!

2. What do you think is sexy?
Sexy is celebrating the body and one’s character with immaculate posture and grace in one’s actions and one’s dialogue. I love to channel old Hollywood actresses that effortlessly exuded this confidence; Marlene Dietrich in her black Tuxedo, Rita Hayworth tossing her hair with those long black opera gloves, Barbara Stanwyck strutting down her staircase or Marilyn Monroe, standing tall and sassy above the subway vents.

3. What is your secret to staying fit?
Staying fit is not an easy task. I try to enrich my body with a nutrient and protein packed diet along with taking time to dance at least an hour a day (whether it be for rehearsal or in my Ballroom Dance studies). Dancing can be an incredible work out with great core engagement and flexibility training.  

4. How do you un-wind after a long day?
I absolutely love cooking shows. Quite often I will draw a bath and position my laptop on a stand at the foot of the tub and soak for a good hour of delicious and inspiring food fantasies!

5. What books on your nightstand?
Eartha Kitt’s “Confessions of a Sex Kitten”

6. Proudest accomplishment?
Taking the leap of faith into the world of performance, I meditate daily on what a privilege it is to entertain and create for an audience. I have been able to follow this dream by touring North America as a soloist and I am gearing up for an amazing adventure, touring Europe with the company of my twin sister.

7. Your ride? The rocket? Bike? Car?
When transporting to and from a show, always a taxi. Showgirls pack far too much to drag onto the TTC.

8. What’s playing on your iPod right now?
Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown, 1954. By far one of the most gorgeous versions of ‘Embraceable You

9. Who is your role model or mentor?
Certainly a great number of the women who built my industry and paved the way for performers like me to self-manage, book shows and tour independently. The legends league of burlesque stars; Gypsy Rose Lee, Lili St. Cyr, Zorita, Tempest Storm, April March, Bettie Page and Tiffany Carter.

10. Proudest moment in my career …
Performing at a sold out venue for a Holiday show that I produced and performed in, with my entire family and my boyfriend’s family in the audience.

11. Tell us about your first experience with body blitz?
A body blitz veteran friend of mine took me for my first venture into the water circuit. I love routines, so I was sure to follow every step. I felt relaxed, revived, and when I returned home, I remember curling up for the most incredible nap that had me question later in the day if it had really happened, or had I just dreamt it?

12. How has your health changed since using the body blitz therapeutic waters?
My stress has been reduced significantly. My concentration and focus has certainly sharpened throughout the day and for someone with very difficult sleep patterns, I need to be able to guide myself to a place of total relaxation in order to reach a state of deep sleep. I often channel the sensation of lying on the lounge chair, wrapped in my cushy robe and am whisked off to ecstasy.