As Seen on More.Com – Beauty Picks

24 09 2009

40 is the New 20 – Take a Look at Some Great Products for Women.

Murad Face Serum

This first thing that I need in the morning is a pick me up face product. One that works great for women of mid age, and myself as I’m coming into the age of ’40’ is the new ’20’, is a dual face serum and silky make up primer.

Thats why I love Murad’s Perfecting Serum.  Don’t let the “Age Reform” trademark throw you.  Beautiful, confident and strong women don’t need reforming, but the product does what it says in perfecting and priming the skin for your day.

More Magazine  recently listed its 12 top fall picks for your beauty bag. I also use several of these products, so I thought I’d share them with you. New York Beauty Editor, Nikki Ostasiewski, reviewed the products listed and gives you her comments on . I suggest keeping up with this self proclaimed “lipstick wrangler”.  A soul twin, as the one thing I don’t leave the house without is a good, bold lipstick.

As many of you know with over 11 years in the spa, wellness and beauty industry, I receive tons of products for review, do secret shopping checks, help others formulate their own products and follow product trends to use as sponsors of many events.  Murad is a line I’ve come to appreciate, and it works for my skin. Do more shopping with them now., focused on anti-aging and acne.

I’ve known several spas that have used this line in their retail mix, and added some to its professional mix. Including, International Day Spa & Healing Center, and Essential Day Spa, with other famous spas in Las Vegas on board as well.

Howard Murad, the skin science expert, has been involved in the spa industry for some time.  Much of their more recent focus has been an increased use and sales of their line to spas, salons and medical spa centers. With an expansion into its own Murad Inclusive Health Centers, it looks like it will continue to lead in anti aging and cellular repair. They have my vote.

Another tasty product highlighted by the “lipstick wrangler” is Kiehls Body Balm.  I just ordered my own supply of this one, since I couldn’t locate here in the Mediterranean.  A friend is bringing a whole supply of products in my goody bag when we meet up in Paris next month.  (I just love birthdays)

You can purchase their products and review more by creating your own mini home spa.  This is a deliciously scented hydrating balm, perfect for keeping skin supple, and youthful. I find myself needed more and more hydrating, even with all the wonderful access to traditional Mediterranean thalossotherapy.kiehls body balm


Keep following as we will be bringing in more highlights of products, especially as I do a new review of the wellness factors in the Mediterranean for the next Health Tourism Magazine issue. As always if you have more suggestions, a product to review, or are looking for a lab to help you formulate your own scents and ingredients, let us know.

We source many producers in the U.S., Europe and Thailand. In the meantime follow More Magazine, a new favorite of mine for reinventing yourself, inspiration, lifestyle and beauty.

Have a beauty day! Ciao.


Refresh Your Sleep. Increase Your Sales.

18 08 2009

sleepDid you sleep well last night?  You may be one of those who can fall asleep anywhere (parks,class, movies, weddings, while driving….) and partakes of the famed “siesta.”  A very serious subject in the Mediterranean. Try to do your errands or get some shopping done during siesta” time. (2-4 p.m.) Fuget’  da ’bout it!

While I’ve been fascinated by sleep and dreaming since primary school days, I’m not one of the lucky ones who has ease with the mistress of sleep.  Besides I’ve often thought it was a waste of time. Just think how much you could get done if you didn’t require the need for sleep.  However, until I’m part bionic, I still require, sleep, food, and water. Ahhhh….

LA CAIXA 16Babies sleep when it calls, then we pass through the sleepless days of adolescense and return to the need for more sleep in our maturing years. (sometimes not voluntary) What ever your sleep “patterns”‘ are they determine your efficacy during the day, your weight, and the quality of your life, among other things.

It’s been medically proven that sleep affects every aspect in our lives.  There are severe sleep disturbances  such as sleep apnea, or more superficial disturbances such as reapeated waking through out the night.  All of them can be measured with a simple sleep study.  Sleep studies monitor if you  reach REM sleep, where your concious being is allowed to rest or if you  sleep on a more superficial level, leading to a night’s rest that leaves you feeling….well…..sleepy!

I decided to give my sleep the test. I had nothing to lose, and every edge to gain. I volunteered for a new sleep program launched on the island of Mallorca.  If nothing else worked, I would have at least enjoyed breathtaking surroundings, and gotten out of my daily routine. That alone was worth the asking price of the all inclusive program at 3,500 euros. (approx. $4,760)

It came at a great time too, since I’ve been researching corporate health, competitive edge, and the success patterns of high level CEO’s to include in a new book. The title CEO demands creativity and the ability to carve out your own path. It also has given way to some little secrets of the successful, and uber rich. High level executives seek out healthy programs that can offer an edge. Since not a single one of us, is completly balanced ALL of the time, even execs, presidents, and  famous althetes seek out coaching, training, and exclusive programs to help them stay on top. Sleep programs are a trend in the area of “edge”.

The reason? IT WORKS. People who are required to stay fresh and lithe mentally, need an edge, and time to download all of the gathered info.

Many employers, corporate health supporters and fortune 100 CEO’s are finding that paying attention to each of their own unique sleep-wake cycles can improve their competitive edge. Clear mind, inceased creativity, and an effective focus.

 View my candid sleep journal and night “cam” during my own medically supervised sleep study while visiting a 5 star spa in the beautiful Mediterranean island of Mallorca. As I lay down at 11.15 p.m., I record some of my thoughts on what the expectations are.  (Be warned I look like I’m recovering from a hospital stay)  Tomorrow at 8.00 a.m. the doctor and sleep guide are scheduled to be in my room (swanky private hotel suite) to wake me, remove the electrodes, and ensure I do the first step of my 10 step program for the day. Stretching!

Click here:   Spa Sleep Program, Mallorca Spain

 My medical consultation and polysomnography results showed I didn’t sleep so bad afterall, but my oxygen levels where down, I had several unnecessary “arousals” throughout the night. Plain language, waking up for minutes at a time, pulling me out of REM, and lessening my deep sleep. My sleep hygiene needed to be altered to increase my productivity.

  • NO more computer in bed
  • NO more eating in bed. (yes on occasion and don’t say you don’t do it too)
  • NO more late night TV watching
  • NO more doubling the bedroom for an office, daycare, visiting room, or anything else.

In short, among others, I had to develop a habitual sleep routine.

There are many spa sleep programs and the buzz is growing.  Find out more under sleep hygiene or our links in this blog., or by joing the “Learn To Sleep” program in Mallorca.

Sleep may seem like a huge waste, but there must be a reason that 1/3 of our lives is spent asleep.  So retreat to your man cave, your boudior, sun patch, beach hammock, or massage table, and sleep, sleep , sleep away.

It wouldn’t hurt to get your sleep study results and change patterns in your life either. I helped me.

In the end, refreshed sleep will increase your sales, and leaves you more efficient throughout the day.


Robert DeStefano Sleep Seminars

Learn to Sleep Mallorca

“Wellness is in your water”

2 09 2008

My friends had been talking about this Alkaline Ionized water for the past few months, and my husband and I finally decided to give it a go for a month to see the effects for ourselves.  Our friends have been giving us the water for free so it would be living proof that the water did what it said it did.  Then, I wanted to do a review on this blog, since topics surround health, and to let the public know about this water.

So, my initial research on the water and my own personal experience of this water was incredible.  The water is called “Kangen Water”, and just “tasting” the water was different from any other bottled water or tap water I have ever tasted, and this also includes filtered water out there as well.  The water tastes pure, and devoid of any chlorine or Lye, as is found in our lovely local water. 

So, to start with, My husband and I attended a demonstration to see the effects of this water against other waters on the market, and wow, it was amazing to see what we were actually drinking.  The demos were completed using chlorine testers, ph testers that were bought at local pool stores, and what a difference!  Kangen water uses a PH Chart of Alkaline and Acidity, and according to PH charts our PH level should be more on the alkaline side then acidic, and most of our bodies are on the acidic due to our environment and foods we eat on a daily basis.  This unit seperates the acidity in your tap water from alkaline, and you get the alkaline for drinking instead of the acid.  The alkaline reaches deeper cellular levels according to my research, thus flooding your body with pure and healing water. 

Now, this PH chart has colors on it, from yellow to deep purplish-blue, and Kangen alkaline water tests on the deep purplish-blue, while acidic water tests on the more acidic side, yellow, yuck, do we really know what we are drinking?  Our local Tap water tested neutral (green), however, the reason for this is the city has to add so much Chlorine to make the PH levels test out appropriately.  Sooo, when the tap water was tested for Chlorine levels, it was off the charts, along with lye levels, this is what we drink from the tap around my area.  Now, for bottled water, every single water that they tested was acidic, so again, maybe we should be performing these ph and chlorine tests at home right?  Putting more acid in our bodies is certainly not the answer or healthy for that matter. 

To explain this unit further–Kangen water is a water treatment system that attaches to your faucet, and has different levels (for drinking, for cleaning, for taking medication), and you adjust the level on the unit to what you need for use.  This unit also talks, well at least the top end unit talks, however if you cannot afford that unit, then the smaller unit does the same job for less money, just no talking, and this is the junior unit.  The unit lasts 15-20 years and comes with a 5-year warranty.  Kangen also comes in commercial size use, for businesses and restaurants, wouldn’t it be nice to know that we are receiving the best in water?  Every business should have one of these units, in my personal opinion:)  Especially after my testing for the past 1 1/2 months.  You can only pick it up from a distributor, so check in your area. 

The effects of the water have been incredible.  The health benefits of Kangen water show that it works in clearing toxicity, weight-loss, acid reflux, digestive issues, candida problems, helps diseases such as cancers and diabetes, etcetc.  This is all on their site at  A medical doctor invented the unit in Japan, and brought it to the USA in 2003 according to the reports on-line.   I have had excellent results in clearing my digestive system and toxins in my body, have lost further weight on this water, and it has cleared my skin and improved my mood as well as PMS symptons. 

Now, that is me, everyone is different, so take this review into account and see for yourself.  I am passing the word along because it is beneficial, and a good independant rep will let you try this for free so you can see for yourself.  I plan on buying a unit soon myself.  It is definitely worth it. 

Hope this helps someone!  My husband is having good effects as well.  Going back to bottled water is not an option now. 

Also, reminder to join us on our Breast Cancer Awareness Cruise and event of the year, setting sail October 13th-18th!  Check out to register or contact Liz at for any questions.  We would love to see you in attendance and time is winding down.

Organic Beauty At Home..Creating your Own “Spa” Feel

25 08 2008


Create that ‘spa’ feeling in your home, block out the outside “noise” just for a while & have time just for you…  I wanted to include some information and sites to peruse through that have natural organic based products that are chemical free, AND great for your skin and home!


TIME FOR A BATHROOM OVER-HAULCreate that spa atmosphere by going “green”

  • Clean up that bathroom first. You need a peaceful place, and that means clean and green as a great alternative cleaner. Use a cleaner devoid of toxins, such as  (no synthetic ingredients, no petroleum-derived ingredients, no synthetic fragrances, biodegradable)
  • Fluffy spa towels add to a spa feeling, and you can get great deals at “Linens and Things” or Bed, Bath and Beyond”, and for those on tighter budgets, “Target”, “Costco”, “Sams Club” or Walmart” offer significant savings.
  • Non-Toxic Clean-Burning Candles (to give a relaxation serene environment) –put these around your tub (if there is room, keeping safety in mind!).  You can find these type of candles at sites such as  (Soot-free, natural materials from American Farms, burns clean)
  • Bubbles, LOTS of bubbles, again, there are great alternatives with no chemicals, such as making your own at home! Try this website at  There are many methods of home recipes for everything from skin to hair to facial and more. 
  • Mud Mask for your face, Hair Masque for conditioning, and a Body Scrub for your skin.  I found this organic website that is fabulous, located at or  The products are completely natural.  If this is above your budget, try somewhere like “Bath and Bodyworks” in the mall, OR go to another site on-line to peruse other websites that are eco-friendly.  This is located at  The other site at also has great recipes for home recipes. 
  • Slap on the masques, light the candles, turn on the music, put a fluffy towel beside your bath, and lay back with your favorite book, and RELAX! If you have a jacuzzi tub, then perfect, if not, then one can buy a makeshift one that can be plugged in the wall and lowered in your bath for the same effect of swirling water around you. 

Here are some recipes I found at the, for more, go to their website and look around:

Relaxing Foot Soak:

Big Bucket Hot Water, 1/4 Cup Rosemary Leaves, 1/4 Cup Desired Bath Salt

**pour in the Rosemary Leaves and Bath Salt to the hot water, and enjoy

Arthritus Relief Bath Oil Recipe

2 ounces of carrier oil of your choice (sweet almond, grapeseed, olive, etc.)
5 drops White Birch essential oil
5 drops Ginger essential oil
5 drops Juniper essential oil
5 drops Marjoram essential oil
5 drops Rosemary essential oil
liquid food coloring (optional)

Blend the oils together and store in an amber or cobalt glass bottle. After you have drawn your bathwater, add about 1/4 ounce (7-8ml) of the bath oil blend to your bath water.  ***Notes: Do not use all 2 ounces of bath oil in one bath.

Apricot Lanolin Cuticle Cream (nails)

1/2 teaspoon Apricot Kernel Oil
2 teaspoon Lanolin
1 drop Essential Oil (your choice)

***Melt oils together, add essential oil, pour into jar and let set.

Avocado Deep Conditioner (Hair)

1 small jar of mayonnaise (preferably organic)
1/2 avocado

Peel avocado and remove pit. Mix all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl with your hands until it’s a consistent green color. Smooth into hair being careful to work it to the ends. Use shower cap or plastic wrap to seal body heat in. **Leave on hair for 20 minutes. For deeper conditioning wrap a hot, damp towel around your head over the plastic, or use a hair dryer set to a low to medium heat setting.

Healing Lemon Green Tea Bath Tea Recipe

1/4 cup Green Tea
1/4 cup Calendula Petals
1/8 cup Mint
1 TBS Olive Oil
1/2 tsp JoJoba Oil
1/4 cup Ground Almonds
3-5 drops Lemongrass Es. oil or grated peel of 1 lemon

Mix together and package. This should be enough for 2-3 bathes.
Packaging ideas = Package loose in jars or tin-tie bags and include a reusable muslin bag or two.

**The method of using herbal teas is to simmer the herbs for 5 minutes, steep them for 10 minutes, and then pour the mixture directly into the tub through a strainer. This method is very satisfactory. The “tea” is stronger and does a better job, plus the fact the fragrance created by simmering the tea is a beautiful bonus.

***Recipes above were taken from Interesting ideas and home remedies at your disposal. 


A reminder for Breast Cancer Awareness month coming up in October!  Go to and click on “wellness cruise” to register for the cruise event of the year!  October 13-19th sets sail, join us in celebration of this phenominal event and cause.  Sponsorship forms also available.  Feel free to also call me at 888-223-0633 x102 or email at for any questions on the cruise, upcoming events, as well as questions on the spa industry.  We are happy to be of assistance whatever your needs are! 


Why are we so sick? Healing naturally….a new way of life.

11 08 2008

Why are we so sick? Healing naturally….a new way of life.  


Because holistic healing has become a passion of mine, I was pondering why the majority of Americans are so sick in health, body and yes, even spirit today. With all the alternative methods of healing out there, why are we not utilizing them more effectively?


Diseases are on the rise, and as we celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness in October, the topic of healing naturally came to my mind as some suggestions to live a healthier lifestyle.  Also, as a side note for Breast Cancer Awareness, please support the event cruise of the year by visiting Your sponsorship and/or attendance is highly appreciated and valued. 


One answer to change is to get back to the basics by healing from the inside out. I have compiled a list of suggestions and items one can research to determine what combination best suits them.  If one has pain, depression, weight issues, disease, or just in need of a boost of life, a lifestyle change CAN help and in some cases, reverse what is going on, and slow down the aging process as well, so I urge everyone to do their research and try the suggestions below:


  1. Healing Spa Resorts are going green and being sensitive to the environment and the community.  Healing spas are set-up to relax, renew and refresh your body, mind and spirit.  You can go to these resorts just to get away from your busy lifestyle, and with the resorts on the rise, there are plenty to choose from.   

I would look for a spa setting that is peaceful, clean, serene, and has every treatment one is looking for, as well as qualified staff.  Personally, when I go to a spa resort, I always look for comfort, how the staff treats me when I walk in the door, how the space is set-up, and generally my gut feelings upon entering.  If I don’t feel right, then I leave. 


There are many healing spas in other countries that also offer a broad base of services and have package deals that are affordable.  If finances are concerning, then look for a day spa in your area, and ask for specials going on, or just buy the packages you can afford, such as 4 hours for $99 (one of the specials that was running for a full beauty and massage treatment in my area).  Look for deals that suit your needs.


  1. Organic Products & Food are being utilized more than ever now, starting with shopping at your local farmers market seasonally, and going to an organic store, such as Whole Foods, New Seasons, or whatever alternative store is in your area. Looking for foods that have sea salt instead of refined salt, or cane juice instead of sugar is just a couple of items that you can effectively change in your diet, easy, more tasteful as well.  

Ask lots of questions when you go to these alternative stores, such as what can replace dairy? One solution is turning to goat milk, cheeses, goat yogurt, etc.  Goat cheese is extremely tasty and I have completely switched over myself from cow products. Using soy milk or rice milk to replace regular milk, even in cooking is another substitution one can make.  Using eggs that have omega3 and are cage-free would be a healthy substitution for regular eggs that are not organic. 


Using products that are fragrance free is worth exploring, or if you like the good smelling lotions, shampoos, look for natural ingredients that have a pleasant smell like grape seed extract (smells like grapefruit).  Basically, if I cannot pronounce OR understand the ingredient list, then I don’t buy it anymore.  The ingredient list should not be long either, the shorter the list, the better it is for you, at least in my research.  Your skin also soaks up anything you put on it, like lotions, so keep this in mind, when you are buying products, especially with chemicals in them. 


Bottom line, change doesn’t have to be painful, just baby steps, making simple substitutions, and one will find a whole new healthy world out there. 


  1. Raw Food Industry is a different way of living than even organic.  Going “Raw” entails LOTS of research, buying a dehydrator or finding a store that carries “raw” products.  Raw food is just what it states, eating raw, not cooking the food, but using a dehydrator, making sure your food never goes over a certain temperature.  I am not an expert in this area, but I did try it for a while, however it didn’t quite work for me as I like meats (fish and buffalo primarily) and I like my food warm for the most part. 


However, there is a whole lot of health information one can find and incorporate into their lifestyle by eating raw veggies, and fruit.  This doesn’t require a dehydrator, and I love raw veggies and loads of fruit. 


So, again, incorporating different methods into your routine, even small ones, goes a long way.  I have lost 50 lbs in 4 months just by eating fruits, veggies (mainly raw), no processed foods, including no sugar. Eating fish, buffalo meat, goat cheeses, nuts (almonds, walnuts mainly), and pretty much nothing synthetic or chemical based.  I feel great, the food is wonderful, and my skin is looking good.  This was the easiest “diet” I have ever tried, and sticking to eating “clean” the rest of my life.  


  1. Detox Methods are a buzz word in society today.  I would highly recommend a natural healing doctor that will detail a detox schedule that works for your body.  For me, I went through a lot of books, on-line products, before I found what worked.  There are so many things I could say on this subject, but not enough room to write it on this blog.  However, talk to a natural doctor for cleansing from heavy metals, parasites, chemicals and food, as well as colonic treatments. There is another form of detoxing called hydrotherapy, which is very effective in some cases as well.  Any detoxing should be tailored to what you “need” rather than what is the trendy thing to do. 


  1. Some other known areas of healing to consider and research, and they can defy our human mind, but Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, NAET treatments for allergies, Herbal Healing (dealing with supplements in the body), Energy Healing, Kinesiology, exercise such as Pilates, swimming, walking.  Laughter and affection plays a part for healing your whole self, so find something that brings this out in your daily life.  

 Drinking plenty of filtered water throughout the day to stay hydrated would be one of my top areas of healing your body.  Check out alkaline water units that balance out the alkalinity in your body. There is much to be said about this hot topic of too much acidity in your body that can lead to disease, as reports state.  Healing by finding time for yourself would be a top priority as well, lock yourself away from any stressful areas of your life for a moment and come out renewed. 


Create a spa like feel in your bathroom, take a bubble bath, immerse with a book, put candles around the tub, soft music in the background, and make it about you.  This will take the edge off stress for those who like baths. 


The above is my “condensed” favorite list above for anyone needing to find a different way to live.  My best advice—have fun while making that lifestyle change, it is not painful, but joyful in discovering different ways of healing and great foods to eat that come from nature itself. 

PS–Think P.I.I.N.K and join us in celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness in October. Go to for information & upcoming events.

How Costa Rican Spas Rate in Global Standards and Quality

11 04 2008


With tourism being a large attraction and vital currency source of Central American countries, including Costa Rica, it is no surprise there is also a surge in North American influences and foreign investments. When it comes to amenities and bringing our creature comforts, as they say, to less developed countries, there is definetly a demographic that appreciates luxury living. There are already a variety of destination retreats, spas and training centers in operation with more “spa communities” with on site spas, currently in development. While some have gained recognition, and are backed by a management company that ensures quality standards, there are still quite a few who have yet to receive recognition in the industry, or provide key quality standards. With healthy living, on the rise, it is almost a pre-requisite for any medium to large hotel or destination spot to include their spin on the benefits and uses of the local indigenous flora and fauna, and entice you with promises of tropical spa delights. Whatever the location you find yourself in, I encourage you to be aware of the level of spa standards and the training of the staff, after all you are paying good money your experience.


I have reviewed 10 popular spas in Costa Rica, and will leave it up to you to make the final decision. Since I have been based in one of the most popular destination spots, on the Central Pacific coast of Manuel Antonio for the past four years, I took an in depth look at our local community spas, and how they have followed trends, or not, and where they fall in global standards ratings. I have also reviewed some major players in the Central Valley, and north to Playa Herradura, Papagayo, and Playa Grande. With the International Spa Association, and Spa Quality LLC, who both provide assessment and monitor compliance with internationally recognized standards, as my guide, I will be looking at the following main points. Experience of the therapists, number of treatments offered, customer care, quality of environment, extent of facilities, health and safety, nutritional or medical consultations, water based therapies, along with display of trade association memberships, and accreditation logos. Accreditations are usually displayed quite openly, since it is a way for spas to differentiate themselves from other non-accredited spas, and boast high standards, that is a perceived added value for clientele, which is always good for business.


During my reviews I always keep in mind the current and past trends in the industry. As stated in Massage Magazine; some of the top trends to watch in 2008 include;

Feng Shui’ed gyms;Spas’ décor will inform gyms, and waterfalls and fine art will share space with swimming pools and weight benches.

Luxury Detox and Bootcamps;Many spas are beginning to treat weight loss and detox less as punishments and more as celebrations. Dovetailing with this trend is the “spa-ification” of drug-and-alcohol rehabilitation centers, which are incorporating massage, fitness, nutrition and meditation into their programs.

Spa Condo and Spa Community Living;There are now more than 250 residential communities with a spa/healthy living component in the United States. Including one on our Costa Rica list; Serenitas Medical Spa Community, is not in development of luxury tropical villas for $30,000.00 each with a spa membership.

Hydro and thermal super experiences: An increased appreciation for the benefits of water therapies combined with spas’ desire to offer staff-free treatments is leading to a renaissance in taking the waters. Whirlpools, waterfalls and specialized showers are increasingly popular at spas. *find out more at

Sleep Health; spa and resort packaged offered to elicit much needed sleep in key environments. 2008 trends will continue with other insights, according to Susie Ellis of Spa Finder. “This morning, I received a press release with this headline: “NEW YORK STATE HOTELS AND INNS HELP GUESTS GET A RESTFUL NIGHT DURING NATIONAL BETTER SLEEP MONTH” It seems there are a variety of hotels offering packages and products to guests in May for Better Sleep Month. These are “designed to celebrate the healthy quality of life difference that only a good night’s sleep can provide.” Susie Ellis, April 2008

These trends sound pretty familiar, and alright with me. One luxury we have in the spa industry is the ever evolving treatments, spas, styles, training, and leaders to better provide for a growing clientele. For more trends check Spa Finder or Massage Magazine, and check back here.


With my visit to Bath, England last October, I saw for myself the impressive lengths the people of our past went to, to enjoy the traditional taking of waters for health, and the history behind it. At Agua Sulis the ancient natural hot baths, water provided social and physical health benefits, and the aesthetics that surrounded it, suggest the first ingenious influences that create the serenity of spas today. Spas today still turn to tradition with hydrotherapy treatments, such as thalassotherapy, watsu, and water therapies, and continues to be a rating standard for global affiliation.. The renovation of the ancient Bath Spa, projected to open this year is eagerly awaited.

As a spa image advisor, who has also put my time in as a body worker, spa manager, trainer, speaker, and sports clinic owner, I am able to asses a wider scope of key points that can qualify a location as a major world class spa. In my personal experience, there are key things that suggest a caring and knowledgeable staff, which are consistency, cleanliness, certifications and the experience level of staff. In other words, a back room, or one massage table under a “toldo”, does not a spa make.

Industry trends for past years and our current 2008 have a growing list of treatment offerings, and spa concepts. This also contribute to the changing face of spa tourism and spa travel. According to Spa Finder, and Massage Magazine, arising trends and evolving demand include some of the top 10 listed above and highlights from past year’s, such as, acutonics, spa culinary schools, peptides, skin brightening, manaka tapping, idebedone, indigenous ingredients, eco-spa, detox, and other exceptional and less known treatments.


I have provided the spas and their locations from my review below, and given them a rating on the amount of points it met in my experience and the where they stand in trends and quality. Five points being they met the most standards of treatments, therapists, amenities and property, with one & two needing some work.

Spa Uno, Manuel Antonio: Overall rating 4

Serenitas Medical Spa, Guachepelin Overall rating 4

Serenity Spa, Manuel Antonio: Overall rating 2

Pacifica Spa, El Parador, Manuel Antonio: Overall rating 3 ½

Raindrop Spa, Manuel Antonio: Overall rating 2

Los Suenos Fitness & Spa, Marriot, Playa Herradura: Overall rating 4

Pura Vida, Alejuela: Overall rating 4 ½

Martino Resort & Spa, Alejuela: 4

Nosara Retreat, Guanacaste: 3

Four Seasons Spa, Papagayo Peninsula: 5


Overall not many of the reviewed spas, provided many of the rising, trendy treatments on our list, or had the training support for it, though many provided great treatments of their own. More innovative spas have jumped on board for more training and new treatment design. Fours Seasons Hotel and spa is one of the leaders here, having launched a key training program for it’s Spa Director’s that includes international internships, training and support for a year to return with new outlooks for increased spa benefit. Spa Uno is also a leader here, having opened a local massage and spa training center to ensure a minimum level of training before working on clientele and strict protocols.

There were some spas on our list who had a form of hydrotherapy or water therapy, detox, anti aging, and indigenous ingredients, but they didn’t provide a separation within the global standards, or boasted many accreditations. That is not to say they are not working towards meeting more of those standards, and we can agree that the spa arena is an ever developing industry that demands keeping up on development. One thing that seemed to be repetitious was the type of treatments offered on spa menus, too many of the same thing, more focused on the indigenous product than accrued benefit or creativity. Though I agree if something works, don’t fix it, it is also sometimes nice to distinguish yourself, and if you are a spa adventurer looking to try several Costa Rica spas, you may find yourself choosing from very similar versions of the same thing. This is most likely due to the remote areas of some, and the lack of resources to provide training or product, and in some cases a lack of knowledge. I would suggest that where needed, spas should invest in follow up training or certifications to keep staff knowledgeable and consult a professional when necessary. With a more remote location, it is sometimes difficult to entice qualified therapists, which makes the overall quality less. It also shows at a larger volume facility, when they are not able to get staff up to date on the variety of menu services they offer, or keep up with staff turn over, they may not be ready for the investment of training, or upgrading.


Each experience is your own, and I encourage people to try whatever is within their reach. You may enjoy your experience at a lower rated spa, but I would recommend looking for some of the points listed above, and don’t be afraid to ask questions, your therapist or the director should welcome it. One thing you may not be aware of, is you will be paying prices comparable to the U.S., so you want to be sure to get the best value and your money’s worth. To be fair, staff, standards, treatment, and overall experience may have changed. Though at the time of publishing, everything was up to date.

If you would like further information on spa suggestions, including the destination details of the spas reviewed in this article, my favorites, or locating and researching a spa or retreat for your next vacation, please feel free to contact me with your questions. I am also happy to provide information for other types of retreats, and medi- spa treatments.

If you’d like to share your own spa experience in Costa Rica or anywhere, please post it here, or contact me personally. My best to you in your travels, and happy tropical spa adventuring!

Salt Lake City Consulting Company to Take on International Contracts in Costa Rica and Guatemala

14 07 2007

July 5th 2007, Salt Lake City — Toiling over your new business CAN be rewarding, when you finally land that great contact! After relocating her Spa Development company from Costa Rica to Salt Lake City, Liz Galloway, President of Lotus Effects Consulting, was prepared to work 70 hour week’s to launch her new business been an exciting and sometimes unknown road, the past year.” says Galloway as she recounts the time and effort put into making great alliances and providing key services for her market. She works with not only local, and national clients, but international as well. She can now add management of international spas to her list of “things to do.”

Lotus Effects Consulting has aligned with Costa Rica based Med Spa, Laboratorios Masc, or Masc Skincare Laboratories owned by Luis Sandoval,, to handle the remote and on site management services, training and standards needed to build a great spa and great service. Excited to continue working in Costa Rica and Latin America, Ms. Galloway is currently looking into the details of more international contracts as her spa management services expands. Laboratorios Masc provides everything from nutritional services, to on site housing, doctors, personal trainers and personal chefs. The goal is to provide a full menu of amenities for the locals or people who are visiting, along with taking advantage of the popular medical tourism sector. Working with a top U.S. Plastic surgeon you can have a cosmetic procedure and then enjoy a private recovery at the spa. Working both in Guatemala, Sandoval’s home country, and Costa Rica, the home base for the Med Spa, this team of professionals will cater to your needs. Galloway will be the public relations face for the Medical Spa in the U.S., along with increasing investment opportunities for the spa’s development.

Creating consistent, accurate practices that are followed with strict care and guidelines, is the backbone of Galloway’s consulting services. Having worked many years in Spa Development in Costa Rica, before returning to the U.S., she knows how things work, what needs to be done, and has the contacts and language to function as a local. “I’m happy and appreciative, to be doing what I am, and I look forward to the continued growth of my company, and providing quality service to my clients.” Galloway says of her business. “I’m back in the great Salt Lake, but I’m still international.” This partnership will be a mutually beneficial result for both companies.

There is a lot of development in Costa Rica both in economic and sustainable growth, along with the spa, resort and wellness sectors. We are not only taking on a new alliance with this Medical Spa, but opening up investment opportunities for individual people who want to take advantage of owning a little tropical piece of heaven. As we expand the location into long term stay facilities, medical tourism retreats, and a full service wellness location, we are also looking into offering interested investors in a guaranteed vacation spot each year, and an on site spa they can visit while making a smart financial investment.

I have a big personal interest in the area, and along with working here, I try to give back to the local communities. One way of doing this, is working with a non profit called Domes for the World. We locate groups of need and help them with sustainable housing and self sufficient lifestyles. We are currently in touch with an indigenous group called FUNDEICO, who represents the local tribes in need of support and assistance in this area. “I recently visited the director of this foundation, and one of the designated sites for building.” Galloway said recently. “It was great to be able to get directly involved, and help launch this project, rather than just donating money somewhere.” I look forward to it’s success.

Contact for more information, interviews or business services at 801 637 5235. Check out a short photo clip below of MASC Med Spa.

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