Anti age your spirit…

4 April 2012

Stepping into Fivelements, with its lush greenery and secluded location, has an immediate calming effect and I gulped down the fresh air with relish. Made up of only seven exclusive suites, this is just what city dwellers like me – who are sick of crowds, maddening traffic and endless skyscrapers, need. Here, you get the soothing sound of water from the Ayung river which surrounds the entire resort and monitor lizards for company. Even the rooms are designed to ensure that you leave all your modern living habits behind with no television and worktable for you to set up your laptop. But with a view of a beautiful waterfall in front of my room, who needs Facebook?

I was invited to partake in a water blessing ceremony by a Balinese priest to “cleanse my spirit” and prep myself for the array of treatments that have been customised for me based on a questionnaire sent before my arrival. First up, a Balinese Boreh which consists of a full body massage with virgin coconut oil followed by a cinnamon coffee scrub. This treatment is meant to relax and cleanse my body so that I am “pure” and ready for healing. I count myself to be a spa veteran but I was completely blown away by the skills of Ayu, my therapist. She turned me into putty with her strong yet soothing strokes and I had to fight to keep awake just so that I could experience the full massage!

Fivelements embraces holistic Balinese-inspired therapies administered by traditional healers using ancient wisdom passed down from their forefathers. I was booked for a muscle release massage with Pak Pangat, one of their resident healers, the next day. He managed to seek out knots hiding deep within my back and gave me a vigorous massage that made me feel like I had just done yoga. Besides these healers, guests can choose from an array of spiritual treatments that incorporate meditation, breathwork, aura protection, metaphysical healing, TCM and chakra balancing. Also in my healing programme, a Macha Tea and Clay Detox Cocoon, an anti-aging treatment to tone and detoxify as well as their signature Fivelements Super Food Facial which uses delicious homemade products such as Bali-grown neem, pineapple serum, aloe vera, spirulina and seaweed. These products looked and smelt heavenly and I was lulled into a state of oblivion by my therapist’s expert touch.

I am a foodie so even if my mind and spirit are appeased, I will turn into a monster if my tummy is not. Thankfully, that was not the case here with Fivelelement’s award-winning raw and organic restaurant. Here, they have turned food into art with tasty concoctions designed to nourish the body. Whether it is a healthful breakfast of Tofu Florentine, Super Food Smoothie made of organic cacao, maca, goji berries and bananas or scrumptious dinner of Live Lasagna encompassing layers of zucchini with almond cheese and fresh vegetables, every meal was a delight for all my senses.

It is the little touches that have wowed and created an indelible impression for me here – from starting each treatment with a floral foot-bath and reflexology, hot ginger tea with lime served post-treatment, energy balancing with my therapist before starting my massage, spirulina shot after my facial, cool cucumber water served at the restaurant and piped in spiritual music in my room, just to name a few. Fivelements is just what the doctor ordered and more, and I left the resort feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world!

Room rates start from SGD 712++ (approximately USD 475++) per night while treatments cost from SGD 127++ (approximately USD 85++) for a 90-minute Balinese massage.

Fivelements at Puri Ahimsa

Banjar Baturning Mambal Bali Indonesia 80352

For more information, check out their website: http://www.fivelements.org

Anti Aging Tip: Do 108 Sun Salutations Daily

19 August 2011

For the last 2 weeks, I’ve been starting my Sundays with 108 sun salutations. The first time I did it, I nearly left the yoga studio halfway and felt wobbly and weak after (could also be due to a particularly tough yoga class the day before). Surprisingly, I sailed through the poses the second time, feeling strong and enjoying every minute of it. My yoga teacher informs (or tried to motivate) us that 70-year-old yogis in India do 108 sun salutations every day. In India, it is a method of self-improvement used to harness the full potential of the mind, body and breath for a variety of benefits, including reversing the effects of aging.

Over your lifespan, the physiology of your body begins to change. One effect of aging is decreased elasticity of the lungs, which diminishes your body’s ability to use oxygen, resulting in fatigue and poor immunity. Also, you will lose muscle tone and experience an increase in fatty tissues. Your bones will begin to lose their density, making them more fragile. The activity of your thyroid will decrease, your metabolism will slow down, and the strength of your digestive system will weaken.

Surya namaskara, or sun salutations, is a sequence of yoga poses that are said to be almost universally beneficial, with benefits that counter many of the effects of aging. Use sun salutations to maintain muscle tissue and flexibility throughout your life, to boost your metabolism by stimulating the thyroid, pancreas and pituitary glands, to alleviate indigestion and ailments of the liver and the pancreas, and to strengthen the spinal cord and cells of the nervous system. Practicing sun salutations regularly will give you more energy and more focus throughout the day.

The late Swami Vivekananda, a prominent yogi in India, had once said: “The result of this branch of Yoga is to make men live long; health is the chief idea, the one goal of the Hatha-Yogi. He is determined not to fall sick, and he never does. He lives long; a hundred years is nothing to him.”

My First Detox Retreat

12 August 2011

Say ahhhh....

I’ve always wanted to go on a detox retreat. Why? I’m not exactly sure as I am already eating well and exercising regularly. Maybe being on a detox retreat kinda fulfills my superstar fantasy where personal chefs prepare healthy, wholesome meals for me daily, and I get 1-on-1 yoga classes with instructors giving me personalised attention and coaxing my limbs into submission. *daydreaming*

Mucky goodness

Anyhoo, I will be headed to The Farm in the Philippines in two weeks where I will be doing my first colonic cleansing! Can’t wait to get my ass there (no pun intended!) and intrigued about what will come out of me. Besides getting my pipes cleaned, I will also be pampering myself with a plethora of healing and beautifying treatments at this gorgeous retreat. The Farm offers Prevention and Recovery Retreat programmes that focus on medically guided detoxification as a way to jump start the body cleansing process. Psycho-emotional detoxification is an integral part of this cleansing programme – as they say, if your tummy is not right, your thoughts will be clouded too. For those with more serious health conditions, The Farm medical staff will design a Recovery Retreat programme with their licensed medical doctors tailored to your individual specific health needs.

Look ma, no food!

Look out for my review when I’m back!


Surprising Habits That Make You Old

29 April 2011

Are you accidentally making yourself older? Check out what these choices are doing to your body:

Choosing organic

We don’t have a problem with choosing organic when it comes to fruit and vegetables. The trouble is when you think “organic” is synonymous with “healthy.” Sorry – organic potato chips are still potato chips and contain aging fat and extra calories.

Just dealing with it

If you tend to treat pain with a stiff upper lip rather than a pill or a doctor visit, it’s like playing catcher without a mitt: It feels lousy. About 75% of pain sufferers do not receive adequate treatment, and if you’re one of them, you’re at risk for depression, irritability, fatigue, and an overall diminished quality of life. Treating pain early – we like to start with RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation of injuries) coupled with an NSAID in pill or patch form – is an important step in regaining your quality of life. Call your doctor right away if it doesn’t get better quickly.

Eating in front of your TV

 If you’re doing TV dinners, chances are high that you’re having fast food or an equally unhealthy hawker equivalent - that’s the most common TV food. And that means you’re getting aging saturated fats in your bloodstream.

Extracted from RealAge.com

Aesthetics & Beauty Guide July 2011

8 April 2011

Planning the new issue of Aesthetics & Beauty Guide (ABG) is always a fun process – I think about all the treatments I want to get, and contact the relevant places for it. Well…that’s part of the process, it’s actually a lot of work as I have to research online and in forums to find out what is new and relevant, then develop topics to cover those themes.

Working for a bi-annual magazine also makes me think way ahead, and considering that July is already mid-year, I’m sure many of you are tired from work and in need of a break. That’s why I decided to make ABG July a wellness issue, covering pampering treatments at spas as well as the latest rejuvenating treatments to revive tired miens. Everybody say ahhhh….

The latest trend now is also about treatments with little or no downtime. With technology advancing at a rapid speed, more super machines are being developed that promises to erase all your problems with no interruption to your hectic social life. Who can afford to stay home for a week these days to recuperate from treatments? We want to zip into the clinic and out to our limousine ready to be whisked to our next soiree!

ABG is still first and foremost an educational guide to the complicated world of laser machines and aesthetic treatments, and with July’s issue, readers can once again look forward to our in-depth treatment reviews and further explanations of even more industry jargon. Fun, fun, fun!

Slow Down Aging By Cooking With This Juice…

2 April 2011

Whatever you put in your pan for dinner tonight, make sure you add a few squeezes of this: lemon juice. A new study shows that marinating meats in lemon juice – or vinegar – can help greatly reduce the production of harmful compounds linked to aging and chronic disease.

Cooking Compounds
All foods — but especially ones derived from animals – contain varying levels of compounds called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These compounds are known to cause inflammation and may open the door to faster aging. Cooking – especially high-heat methods – increases formation of AGEs. But now new research suggests that marinating foods in an acidic, low-pH liquid – like lemon juice or vinegar – may help slow that formation down significantly. AGEs in beef were cut in half after marinating for an hour – but shorter amounts of time may help, too.

How AGEs Age
Meats and full-fat cheeses contain the most AGEs, followed by fish and eggs – although even fruit, vegetables and whole grains may contain small amounts. Marinating your food is one way to minimise AGEs. Another option: Cook over low, moist heat. Boiling, poaching, steaming, and stewing are all great choices.

Source: Realage.com

Dr Georgia Lee’s new medical spa – DrSpa

14 January 2011

You can't miss DrSpa, located below TLC, Dr Lee's clinic

A medical spa is a hybrid between a medical clinic and a day spa that operates under the supervision of a medical doctor. Medical spa menus vary, but you can usually get medical spa treatments like laser treatments, laser hair removal, IPL (intense pulsed light) treatments, microdermabrasion, photofacials, injectables like Botox and fillers, chemical peels and skin tightening. Most medical spas also tend to have a more clinical atmosphere than day spas even though they offer relaxing services like massages and body treatments. Medical spas are ideal for people who would like a more holistic experience. Unlike aesthetic clinics where you zip in and out after your treatment, customers at medical spas can choose to top up their laser treatments with a massage and enjoy the relaxing amenities of the spa. This new hybrid blends the best of both worlds – a relaxing spa experience with the procedures and expertise found at a doctor’s office.

Love the Lego-like effect of the logo

It was only a matter of time before this celebrity doctor opened a spa to cater to her burgeoning patients, some of whom don’t have the patience to wait three months to see her (yes, she has a waitlist!). Now, they can enjoy her treatments in the comfort of her new spa – DrSpa.

Facial room at DrSpa

“I envisioned what I wanted in a spa and created treatments and services based on that, ” said Dr Lee. “For example, I don’t have the patience to lie down for more than one hour, and when I do a facial, I would also like extra treatments like a massage to lift my face. That’s why I have incorporated my facials with machine work whether it is to slim down or firm up. It is really a place for the time-pressed modern woman,” she explains.

Dr Georgia Lee showing the hair treatment room

One of the highlights at the stylish-looking spa is the hair treatment, where she has bought a special chair from Japan which allows the client to lie comfortably the entire time. The treatment uses patented technologies which Dr Lee has spent time researching, combined with growth factors to strengthen hair roots. A stickler for top-notch service, she has even concocted special teas that help slim the body, glossify hair and add a glow to your complexion. These teas will be customised and served complimentary to all clients before their treatment.

Treatment teas at DrSpa

Treatments at DrSpa don’t come cheap - with facials starting at $250 and a full body 90-minute massage going for $500. However, with extras thrown in like complimentary valet service, organic essential oils and even desserts made from bird’s nest, in the works. This is an indulgent experience that every woman should treat themselves to!

Goodie bag (or box)!

Hello 2011!

1 January 2011

I ushered in the new year on a friend’s boat sailing across Marina Bay, I’d like to think that this means I’ll have my head above water in 2011 no matter what happens! The day started off early in the afternoon and with more than nine hours to midnight, I had plenty of time to do some reflection (ok, I’ll stop with the water references!) on my life.

Blessed is the first word that jumps into my head when I did that. In my life, I have gotten most of what I wanted, and if I didn’t, those things were not important after a while. I won’t bore you with my super-long gratitude list, however, I must say that I am most thankful for my wonderful health, strong network of friends and family, fulfilling work that allows me time to indulge in my other past-times (yoga, etc) and being financially able to buy whatever I want and travel at whim. What more can a person ask for, really?

This past year has been amazing - workwise, I feel like I’ve really grown and expanded my repertoire, my fitness level is at its peak and I visited four countries. I always count my blessings mind you, but yesterday was somewhat more poignant as it was the cusp of a new year. 

Being quiet and listening to the people around me (which is what I like to do usually), our chatter centred around trying new experiences, wanting to travel more (or less!), starting a new fitness regime, how our pets did at doggy school, amongst other fun but mundane subjects. Not once did we talk about the scarcity of food, life-threatening diseases, recession, natural calamities or violent crimes – issues that are very pertinent around the world, even for our close neighbours. We are all indeed blessed! Appreciate your life as it is, because it will always be as it is – good or bad, it’s all in your perception.

In case you’re wondering what this article has to do with anti-aging? It doesn’t but you still read it right? Haha. Happy new year everyone!

Avoid Festive Bulge With These Tips

17 December 2010

‘Tis the season to be jolly….and weight gain, with parties galore and lots of festive bingeing. You don’t have to stay at home and be a recluse in order to maintain your  hard-won numbers on the weighing scale. Just follow these secrets of successful dieters and you’ll still be able to fit into your skinny jeans.

1. Eat and drink wisely

If you’ve lost weight eating nothing but lettuce and fat-free chips, this may come as a shock but the best weight-loss plan is also the one the healthiest. Most people think of weight management and healthy eating as two separate things. But when you’re managing calories, it’s more important than ever to have a good balance of foods. Fruits and vegetables, lean sources of protein, low-fat dairy and whole-grain, high-fibre foods are the elements of good nutrition and have also shown to help with satiety. You don’t have to reinvent nutrition when you’re trying to manage your weight.

 If you want to cut something out, start with the obvious – empty calories. Cut out sugar and soda if you had to get rid of two foods that would sabotage any diet in the stratosphere.

2. Fill up on low calorie foods

People eat a consistent weight or volume of food each day. So you can eat the same amount of food and get fewer calories by choosing foods that are less energy-dense.

Which foods fill you up and provide you with nutrition without a lot of calories? Fruits and vegetables, which are both rich in fibre and high in water content. Fat packs nine calories a gram, water packs none. When fruits and vegetables constitute the bulk of your plate (and I don’t mean French fries), you’ll lose weight and keep it off. It’s virtually impossible to get fat eating fruits and vegetables, there are less than 100 calories in a vat of spinach!

Lean protein (fish, white-meat chicken and lean cuts of pork and red meat) will also help manage hunger. And, it’s important to reduce fat, but not too much, since fats help you absorb vitamins. A drizzle of olive oil, a “good fat”, is okay. 

3. Slow and steady wins the race

You can lose weight on any fad diet quickly. The problem is that the human body hasn’t evolved beyond its feast-or-famine origins: When you crash diet, the body thinks it has to store fat to survive this time of famine. The answer is a slow and steady weight loss of no more than one kilogram per week, which doesn’t send up the internal red flags that cause our metabolism to slow down. 

You can also apply this concept to the pacing of your meals. First, don’t skip any. Dieters who ate breakfast reported working out more, making them more successful at shedding weight. So get into the routine of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner and two healthy snacks each and every day.

Second, don’t rush. It takes about 20 minutes for your body to register that you’ve had enough, so if you eat quickly, it’s easy to eat too much. 

 Here are a more clever suggestions to fight the temptation to polish off jumbo servings:

-      Buy small (25ml) plates to use at home. 

-      Drink out of tall, thin glasses. 

-      Split food portions with a friend or ask for half of your portion to be wrapped up in a doggie bag at a restaurant before it’s even brought to the table (and save it for lunch the next day). 

-      To avoid overeating when dining out at a restaurant, order a salad with light dressing on the side, broth-based soup or light appetiser and wait until you’ve eaten that to decide whether you want to order more.

However, if you still managed to pile on the kilos, look out for my next edition of Aesthetics & Beauty Guide, out end January 2011, where I review the latest fat-busting machines as well as the secret workout of Madonna, Kylie and Claudia Schiffer, that keeps them lean and mean, in half the time! Happy holidays!

How Pets Keep You Young

11 December 2010

Today, I’m going to talk about my pet topic – my puppy :)

More than just furry companions, your pet, whether it is a dog or a cat, can keep you youthful and healthy. I know for sure that I’m at my happiest when I’m with Mochi, just seeing her adorable face and funny antics makes me forget my work, and I’ve been guilty of choosing her company over friends on several occasions (sorry people!).

People and animals have a long history of living together and bonding. Perhaps the oldest evidence of this special relationship was discovered a few years ago in Israel—a 12,000-year-old human skeleton buried with its hand resting on the skeleton of a 6-month-old wolf pup. “The bond between animals and humans is part of our evolution, and it’s very powerful,” says Dr Ann Berger, a physician and researcher at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

On top of making you feel happy (which in turn keeps wrinkles at bay),  studies suggest that four-legged friends can help to improve our cardiovascular health. One NIH-funded study looked at 421 adults who’d suffered heart attacks. A year later, the scientists found, dog owners were significantly more likely to still be alive than were those who did not own dogs, regardless of the severity of the heart attack.

Another study looked at 240 married couples. Those who owned a pet were found to have lower heart rates and blood pressure, whether at rest or when undergoing stressful tests, than those without pets. Pet owners also seemed to have milder responses and quicker recovery from stress when they were with their pets than with a spouse or friend.

Several studies have shown that dog owners also get more exercise and other health benefits than the rest of us. One NIH-funded investigation looked at more than 2,000 adults and found that dog owners who regularly walked their dogs were more physically active and less likely to be obese than those who didn’t own or walk a dog. Mochi and I go for weekly runs at Botanic Gardens and I walk her several times a day (climbing up and down the stairs of my apartment).

Before you rush out to get a dog or cat, please bear in mind that pets, although cute and good for the health, is a huge commitment (at least 15 years of your life) and can be costly to maintain (if you are a doting mum like me).  If you can’t imagine that, best that you stick to fishes or hamsters.

Next Page »