Cocktail Recipes, Spirits, and Local Bars

Elixir of Life: 5 Beer Spa Treatments

Elixir of Life: 5 Beer Spa Treatments

So, apparently, beer is good for you. Apparently, lounging around in bubbly hops has a whole wealth of benefits, from skin rejuvenation to detoxification.

Unfortunately, filling your bathtub with beer and jumping in it like the frat boy you are at heart won’t have the same effect as a high-end beer spa treatment. Here are some of the world’s best beer spas that are worth getting off the sofa for.

Adventure Brew Hostel, La Paz, Bolivia

Since La Paz is the world’s highest capital city, it seems only fair to say that this is the world’s highest beer spa. On the rooftop of the Adventure Brew Hostel you can hop in the beer spa for free — as long as you buy a jug of beer — and while away the afternoon with one of the best views in town, up to your chin in hops!

Esperanza, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Opting for the Mexican beer and lime facial at the Esperanza is like lounging in a classic gentleman’s club and sipping on a Corona by the beach at the same time. Beer is combined with egg yolks and other natural ingredients before being plastered all over your face. Apparently, this beer face mask is ideal for plumping your skin and tightening those pores!

Four Seasons Resort Vail, Colo., United States

The spa at the Four Seasons in Vail teamed up with local Crazy Mountain Brewing Company to create a whole new treatment menu made out of beer, from foot baths with crushed hops to a stout scalp treatment that moisturizes and balances your pH levels. Prices start at $45.

Spa Beerland, Prague, Czech Republic

Below the streets of Prague hides a little piece of beer heaven. With two private spas, you can lounge the night away in a steaming tub of beer while pouring yourself endless pints of Pilsner. Spa Beerland is just minutes from Charles Bridge, and the treatments come complete with your own bed of straw to cool off on when you’re done. Be sure to book in advance!

Starkenberger Brewery, Tarrenz, Austria

Much better than a spa, the Starkenberger Brewery, a castle high in the Tyrolean mountains, houses seven beer-filled swimming pools in its 700-year-old castle vaults. One of the pools is made up of over 42,000 pints of the good stuff. Remember, drinking from the pool is not recommended — order from the well-stocked bar instead.


‘Used With Constant Success’: Animal Ingredients in Eighteenth-Century Remedies, and their Success in the Beauty Industry

It’s Halloween, so it’s fitting that I’m writing about slimes and sticky oozes, though somewhat misleading. This post considers three common animal-derived medicinal ingredients found in eighteenth-century recipes. Earlier this week, Lisa Smith looked at a relatively unusual ingredient: puppies. Today’s ingredients, however–snails, honey, and asses’ milk–were staples in domestic medicine.

Although my research is on eighteenth-century domestic medicine, I also have a personal blog on lifestyle, baking, and beauty. Here we’ll explore the historical uses of these ingredients, and you can visit my blog to find out why these same ingredients are celebrities of the beauty community – I do my best to put their efficacy to the test!

One of my favourite pastimes is experimenting with skincare and makeup, and it’s intriguing that ingredients once treasured for their medicinal and beautifying properties have had resurgence in the beauty industry. A historical perspective certainly makes me think about modern cosmetics differently, especially in relation to their medicinal properties and efficacy claims.

Jennifer Sherman Roberts has written on the efficacy of an early modern pimple remedy, and the work of Michelle DiMeo, Rebecca Laroche, and Edith Snook investigate the use of animals in medicinal recipes, and cosmetic practices in early modern England[1].

Snails:

The garden snail was one of the most used animal ingredients in eighteenth-century remedies. In my doctoral research, where I examined 5,000 recipes from 27 eighteenth-century manuscripts, I found 104 references to snails (4% of all animal ingredients).

The snail was claimed to be ‘one of the cleanest feeders in the world’,[2] and seventeenth-century physician and herbalist Nicholas Culpeper noted that ‘the reason why they cure a consumption is this Man being made of the slime of the earth, the slimy substance recovers him when he is wasted’.[3]

In today’s cosmetic industry, snail gel is used as a moisturiser and skin brightener (see my blog for details), but the most common use of snails in eighteenth-century recipes was in the form of a distilled water. This was prevalent remedy for respiratory conditions like consumption.

A mid-eighteenth-century recipe book belonging to the Arscott family from Tetcott, Devon has two consecutive snail water recipes. The first, titled ‘for a Consumption’, used a peck of grey snails wiped clean and distilled in both asses’ milk and red cow’s milk alongside dates, raisins, liquorish, and aniseed. A second recipe, attributed to Lady Robert Russell, noted its efficacy by claiming that she had ‘experienced good in Cough, Heatick, Heals a Sharpness in the Blood’. Lady Russell received this recipe from Dr Francis Willis (famous for treating the madness of George III).[4]

See Jennifer Sherman Robert’s post on snail waters and spa treatments.

Honey:

Honey was the most frequently cited animal-derived ingredient in my research. It was used for plasters, poultices, and ointments, and was a sweetener. Honey was used for treating swelling, cancers, ulcers, and eye complaints. ‘A poultis for a Swelling by My Aunt Dorothy Pates’, for example, used honey as a binding agent.[5] Another recipe, said to be ‘approved by the best doctars [sic]’ used a clove of garlic saturated in fine English honey and put in the ear for eight days to cure pain and restore hearing.[6]

Honey has long been valued for its restorative properties, and today it’s a ubiquitous ingredient in hair conditioners and skincare. It also featured in eighteenth-century hair treatments. The Duchess of Marlborough was claimed to have ‘preserved her hair good to her death’ by using a hair water created from two pounds of honey distilled with rosemary flowers and wire of the vine [grape stems?]. This hair wash was said to thicken and ‘give it a gloss’.[7] On my blog, you can see how a similar hair wash using rosemary and honey turned out!

Asses’ Milk:

Another animal-derived ingredient that has been used since ancient times is asses’ milk. It was used in the eighteenth century to treat respiratory ailments. Lisa Smith has also written about the medical uses of asses’ milk on The Sloane Letters Project.

Returning to the Arscott Family, Mrs Arscott (Thomasine) suffered from breast cancer and her husband John recorded several cancer treatments in their collection. It’s unclear from the records exactly what kind of cancer she had, but it’s evident she was in pain. Mrs Arscott tried different remedies prescribed from physicians, ranging from cardus Benedictus (thistle) to opiates.

A Mr Ranby advised in December 1748 that she must ‘never omit Asses Milk’ in her cancer treatment (and also not omit opiates). This description is followed by a detailed account of Mrs Arscott’s experience with the treatment, which did not agree with her and she had a ‘terrible return of her complaints’.[8]

It was also common practice to create an artificial variety, and Sally Osborn has written about the creation of artificial asses’ milk. Once again, the snail proves his worth as it was used to make this mock version (more information see here). Both genuine and artificial versions of asses’ milk treated respiratory problems.

For treating a ‘hectic or inward heat’, a recipe from Dr Ratcliff found in multiple recipe collections called for snails with pearl barley and candied eringo root, boiled and strained.[9] The frequency at which both snail based and genuine asses’ milk were recorded in recipe books, alongside claims of their efficacy, is testament to the credibility of these animal ingredients.

From slime and ooze to elixir of life, animals (and their derived products) held great significance in medicine and cosmetics in the eighteenth century. The snail, honey, and asses’ milk were clearly valued for their medicinal properties, and it’s fascinating that they have renewed purpose in the beauty industry. Today’s miracle anti-aging elixirs, hair tonics, and brightening creams don’t contain revolutionary ingredients. They are in fact, old news – tried and tested since 1700!

[1] Michelle DiMeo and Rebecca Laroche, ‘On Elizabeth Isham’s “Oil of Swallows”: Animal Slaughter and Early Modern Women’s Medical Recipes’, in Jennifer Munroe and Rebecca Laroche (eds.), Ecofeminist Approaches to Early Modernity (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 87–104 Edith Snook, ‘“The Beautifying Part of Physic”: Women’s Cosmetic Practices in Early Modern England’, Journal of Women’s History, 20, 3 (2008), pp. 10–33.

[2] As stated in M. Mascall’s late 18th–early 19th C. collection: Wellcome Library, London, MS 7875, f. 96.

[3] Nicholas Culpeper, Pharmacopoeia Londinensis: or, the London Dispensatory (London, 1708), pp.108–9.

[4] Arscott family, ‘Physical Reciepts [sic]’ (c. 1725–76). Wellcome Library, London, MS 981, ff. 8r.-v.

[5] Abigail Smith and others, ‘Collection of medical and cookery receipts’ (c. 1700). Wellcome Library, London, MS 4631, f. 7r.

[7] Grizel, Lady Stanhope (née Hamilton), ‘Recipe Book (culinary and medicinal)’ (1746), Stanhope of Chevening Manuscripts. Kent History Centre, U1590/C43/2, f. 75r.

[8] Wellcome Library, London, MS 981, insert.


The most unusual spa therapies in Europe

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‘Used With Constant Success’: Animal Ingredients in Eighteenth-Century Remedies, and their Success in the Beauty Industry

It’s Halloween, so it’s fitting that I’m writing about slimes and sticky oozes, though somewhat misleading. This post considers three common animal-derived medicinal ingredients found in eighteenth-century recipes. Earlier this week, Lisa Smith looked at a relatively unusual ingredient: puppies. Today’s ingredients, however–snails, honey, and asses’ milk–were staples in domestic medicine.

Although my research is on eighteenth-century domestic medicine, I also have a personal blog on lifestyle, baking, and beauty. Here we’ll explore the historical uses of these ingredients, and you can visit my blog to find out why these same ingredients are celebrities of the beauty community – I do my best to put their efficacy to the test!

One of my favourite pastimes is experimenting with skincare and makeup, and it’s intriguing that ingredients once treasured for their medicinal and beautifying properties have had resurgence in the beauty industry. A historical perspective certainly makes me think about modern cosmetics differently, especially in relation to their medicinal properties and efficacy claims.

Jennifer Sherman Roberts has written on the efficacy of an early modern pimple remedy, and the work of Michelle DiMeo, Rebecca Laroche, and Edith Snook investigate the use of animals in medicinal recipes, and cosmetic practices in early modern England[1].

Snails:

The garden snail was one of the most used animal ingredients in eighteenth-century remedies. In my doctoral research, where I examined 5,000 recipes from 27 eighteenth-century manuscripts, I found 104 references to snails (4% of all animal ingredients).

The snail was claimed to be ‘one of the cleanest feeders in the world’,[2] and seventeenth-century physician and herbalist Nicholas Culpeper noted that ‘the reason why they cure a consumption is this Man being made of the slime of the earth, the slimy substance recovers him when he is wasted’.[3]

In today’s cosmetic industry, snail gel is used as a moisturiser and skin brightener (see my blog for details), but the most common use of snails in eighteenth-century recipes was in the form of a distilled water. This was prevalent remedy for respiratory conditions like consumption.

A mid-eighteenth-century recipe book belonging to the Arscott family from Tetcott, Devon has two consecutive snail water recipes. The first, titled ‘for a Consumption’, used a peck of grey snails wiped clean and distilled in both asses’ milk and red cow’s milk alongside dates, raisins, liquorish, and aniseed. A second recipe, attributed to Lady Robert Russell, noted its efficacy by claiming that she had ‘experienced good in Cough, Heatick, Heals a Sharpness in the Blood’. Lady Russell received this recipe from Dr Francis Willis (famous for treating the madness of George III).[4]

See Jennifer Sherman Robert’s post on snail waters and spa treatments.

Honey:

Honey was the most frequently cited animal-derived ingredient in my research. It was used for plasters, poultices, and ointments, and was a sweetener. Honey was used for treating swelling, cancers, ulcers, and eye complaints. ‘A poultis for a Swelling by My Aunt Dorothy Pates’, for example, used honey as a binding agent.[5] Another recipe, said to be ‘approved by the best doctars [sic]’ used a clove of garlic saturated in fine English honey and put in the ear for eight days to cure pain and restore hearing.[6]

Honey has long been valued for its restorative properties, and today it’s a ubiquitous ingredient in hair conditioners and skincare. It also featured in eighteenth-century hair treatments. The Duchess of Marlborough was claimed to have ‘preserved her hair good to her death’ by using a hair water created from two pounds of honey distilled with rosemary flowers and wire of the vine [grape stems?]. This hair wash was said to thicken and ‘give it a gloss’.[7] On my blog, you can see how a similar hair wash using rosemary and honey turned out!

Asses’ Milk:

Another animal-derived ingredient that has been used since ancient times is asses’ milk. It was used in the eighteenth century to treat respiratory ailments. Lisa Smith has also written about the medical uses of asses’ milk on The Sloane Letters Project.

Returning to the Arscott Family, Mrs Arscott (Thomasine) suffered from breast cancer and her husband John recorded several cancer treatments in their collection. It’s unclear from the records exactly what kind of cancer she had, but it’s evident she was in pain. Mrs Arscott tried different remedies prescribed from physicians, ranging from cardus Benedictus (thistle) to opiates.

A Mr Ranby advised in December 1748 that she must ‘never omit Asses Milk’ in her cancer treatment (and also not omit opiates). This description is followed by a detailed account of Mrs Arscott’s experience with the treatment, which did not agree with her and she had a ‘terrible return of her complaints’.[8]

It was also common practice to create an artificial variety, and Sally Osborn has written about the creation of artificial asses’ milk. Once again, the snail proves his worth as it was used to make this mock version (more information see here). Both genuine and artificial versions of asses’ milk treated respiratory problems.

For treating a ‘hectic or inward heat’, a recipe from Dr Ratcliff found in multiple recipe collections called for snails with pearl barley and candied eringo root, boiled and strained.[9] The frequency at which both snail based and genuine asses’ milk were recorded in recipe books, alongside claims of their efficacy, is testament to the credibility of these animal ingredients.

From slime and ooze to elixir of life, animals (and their derived products) held great significance in medicine and cosmetics in the eighteenth century. The snail, honey, and asses’ milk were clearly valued for their medicinal properties, and it’s fascinating that they have renewed purpose in the beauty industry. Today’s miracle anti-aging elixirs, hair tonics, and brightening creams don’t contain revolutionary ingredients. They are in fact, old news – tried and tested since 1700!

[1] Michelle DiMeo and Rebecca Laroche, ‘On Elizabeth Isham’s “Oil of Swallows”: Animal Slaughter and Early Modern Women’s Medical Recipes’, in Jennifer Munroe and Rebecca Laroche (eds.), Ecofeminist Approaches to Early Modernity (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 87–104 Edith Snook, ‘“The Beautifying Part of Physic”: Women’s Cosmetic Practices in Early Modern England’, Journal of Women’s History, 20, 3 (2008), pp. 10–33.

[2] As stated in M. Mascall’s late 18th–early 19th C. collection: Wellcome Library, London, MS 7875, f. 96.

[3] Nicholas Culpeper, Pharmacopoeia Londinensis: or, the London Dispensatory (London, 1708), pp.108–9.

[4] Arscott family, ‘Physical Reciepts [sic]’ (c. 1725–76). Wellcome Library, London, MS 981, ff. 8r.-v.

[5] Abigail Smith and others, ‘Collection of medical and cookery receipts’ (c. 1700). Wellcome Library, London, MS 4631, f. 7r.

[7] Grizel, Lady Stanhope (née Hamilton), ‘Recipe Book (culinary and medicinal)’ (1746), Stanhope of Chevening Manuscripts. Kent History Centre, U1590/C43/2, f. 75r.

[8] Wellcome Library, London, MS 981, insert.


Ojai Valley Inn: Spa Food Elevated to an Art

Artfully placed lettuce leaves. Tomatoes carved into the shape of a rose. Chives propped up vertically. Let’s face it, spa food isn’t exactly known for being easy on the eyes or the palette. But 80 miles north of Los Angeles, is a spiritual oasis called the Ojai Valley Inn, where reality exists in a slightly altered, and altogether enhanced state. Settled by the Chumash people more than 10,000 years ago, the valley’s original name, “Awhai” (which translates as “moon”) is an homage to its splendid nighttime vistas. The Chumash people believed the mountain emitted a sacred, tranquil energy, and indeed, the rock formation is embedded with quartz which is said to generate positive vibrations. Each year, thousands of people flock to the Ojai Valley to witness a “Pink Moment” when the sun creates a luminescent sunset 6,000 feet above sea level on the Topatopa bluffs. But the area’s chief attraction is the Ojai Valley Inn, a splendid resort with landscaped gardens, an 18-hole championship golf course, tennis courts, swimming pools, and award-winning dining—even in its spa restaurants.

Opened in 1923, the Ojai Valley Inn recently went through a months-long, $5 million renovation, including the addition of a spa penthouse suite. “As part of our commitment to being a premier getaway destination in California, we took time during the resort’s temporary closure to completely renovate several areas of the property,” says General Manager Chris Kandziora. “We look forward to welcoming guests back to the resort to experience the Inn’s warm hospitality amidst these reimagined settings.” Spa Ojai has five dining concepts including the signature restaurant Olivella, the only establishment in Northern California to hold both the Forbes Four Star and AAA Four-Diamond designations. The 240-seat restaurant features several private dining rooms and
a large patio which offer a perfect view of the famed pink sunsets. Olivella’s three-course menu—developed by Chef Andres Foskey—features locally-grown produce and wines prepared with techniques borrowed from traditional Italian cuisine. The food constitutes more than a mere meal: it is a gastronomic experience. Each dish is concocted with a complex flavor spectrum in mind and plated with exquisite artistry. Highlights include Pacific yellowtail crudo with orange and fennel, black truffle risotto with wild mushrooms and estate herbs, and California squab in pickled gooseberry.


The Ayurvedic Secret to Boosting Natural Collagen Production

Today, bone broth recipes and collagen-rich protein powders and supplements aim to replenish depleted collagen.

There are heaps of expensive collagen-rich skin creams on the market too, but what many are unaware of is that the collagen in these formulas is too big of a molecule to actually penetrate the skin’s phospholipid layer—so they just sit on top of the skin.

In Ayurveda, there are certain herbs that boost the body’s natural production of collagen. One such herb is brahmi (Centella asiatica), also known as gotu kola.

Brahmi has become popular in many skin creams to support healthy skin with natural collagen production, but still, it’s better to feed the body with collagen-boosters from the inside out, rather than from the outside in.

Ben Fuchs, the natural pharmacist who helped me create my Ayurvedic skin care line years ago, once told me that 80% of one’s outer skin health depends on the health of their inner skin, especially the skin that lines the gut.


Strawberries And Cream

Strawberries are rich in antioxidants and cream is nourishing. You can bring this wholesome goodness to your bath. To do so, first, you will require some dehydrated strawberries.

It is best if you can find them at the market, but as they are not that easily available, here is how you can dehydrate them at home. Hull the strawberries and cut them in half. Place them in a warm oven at gas mark 1.

Keep the strawberries in the oven overnight. Wake up to sweet-smelling dried strawberries! Coming back to the soak, you will need powdered milk (200 g), Epsom salt (100 g), strawberry fragrance oil (2-3 ml) and the dried strawberries (150 g).

Mix all the ingredients together and store. Use 2-3 tbsp of the mixture for each bath.


Before ‘raw water,’ radium water was the craze — and then people died

In our quest for health and longevity, we’re always looking for surefire shortcuts and miracle cures — whether through rigorously tested science or the fast-and-loose recommendations of an alternative-health website. Silicon Valley’s embrace of “raw water” is the latest expression of this obsession. For about $15 a gallon, you get a bottle of water that has come straight from a mountain spring, untreated and unsterilized, supposedly brimming with all of the vitality Mother Nature intended — but also likely carrying nasty pathogens that don’t have your best interests at heart.

In the early part of the 20th century, a different kind of tonic was making a high-energy splash: radium water. What could a glass of water infused with a radioactive element do for you? The clinical evidence was sorely lacking, to say the least, but the early buzz electrified imaginations and opened pocketbooks.

Though the science of radioactivity was in its infancy, doctors, laypeople and Tribune reporters were all quick to declare radium to be the grand bringer of health. Such intoxication over the latest, greatest thing inspired people to not only quaff an “elixir of youth” thought to banish all manner of disease — from anemia and high blood pressure to gout and arthritis — but also to put their trust in devices that promised to deliver therapeutic doses of radioactive energy continuously.

It would take decades and several deaths for the fanciful notions about radium and radioactivity to be dispelled.

When French physicists Marie and Pierre Curie unearthed radium in 1898, the scientific community quickly fell hard for it. The element, which constantly gave off energy without losing weight, didn’t conform to the known laws of physics, turning scientists (and society) quixotic over its potential applications.

“Radium is displaying new and useful powers with every step in its development,” a 1903 feature announced in the Chicago Daily Tribune. “There are men who affirm that … in fact, this yellow atom, so insignificant in appearance, eventually will prove one of the greatest boons to ailing mankind that ever was discovered.”

Among the miraculous medicinal effects the article cited to back up that stunning prediction were claims by a Russian scientist that he had cured two boys who were blind since infancy by exposing them to radium.

Radium experiments at a French veterinary school that succeeded in rejuvenating aging horses led professors there to ponder the possibility of extracting a serum from the animals that could be used to reverse aging in people, the Tribune informed readers in 1911.

“Such a serum could be administered to the human being, as are the common smallpox and diphtheria vaccines today, in the hope that tissue might be softened and revitalized in the blood vessels … (that stiffen) with advancing age. . There is nothing extravagant in these hopes,” the article said.

A true fountain of youth? Nothing extravagant about that.

As testing of the element continued in academic settings, polite society was quick to catch radium fever.

In the cosmopolitan city of Paris, the latest fad to excite men and women was the “afternoon radium cure,” the Tribune reported in late 1911. It had all of the appeal of a modern spa or tea outing: Sit in a “spacious drawing room” for two hours, socialize or perhaps play a card game, and bask in the circulation of radium emanations.

“The invigorating effects of the radium give a pleasant sense of well being to the radio-activity absorbed by one’s body, which is retained for several hours after the treatment,” the article said.

Even more captivating to the affluent members of society was the introduction of radium water. According to a 1913 Tribune brief, the medicinal beverage was created by pouring water into an “earthenware receptacle” containing a small amount of radium, which eventually “charged” the water with emanations. The Tribune predicted that an apparatus for making radium water would become a must-have in a few years.

(The cost of a container may have been within reach of the average person, but radium didn’t come cheap in 1914, according to a doctor’s column in the Tribune, the market price for a single grain of radium was about $5,000. And it wasn’t in great supply.)

Renowned doctors touted the benefits of this “elixir of life” and its healing effect on their patients. Radium expert Dr. Luther S.H. Gable of the Detroit Institute of Technology reported to an audience at a 1931 lecture that a radium-infused beverage was the cornerstone of his health regimen. He regularly drank a radium “highball,” fruit juice containing emanations, to maintain peak physical condition, the Tribune said.

When a Tribune reporter paid Gable a visit in 1932, the Chicago-area resident offered his visitor a highball, assuring him that “the reported deaths from drinking radium water are due not to the presence of radium, but rather to a cheap (radioactive) substitute, mesothorium.”

But there most certainly was a dark side to radium. Deaths from repeat exposure were mounting. A celebrity death that same year, tied to radium water, would finally rouse government to action to halt the sale of medicinal radium preparations.

But years before that headline-making event, it was young working-class women who came to serve as the tragic bellwether for radium poisoning.

As early as 1925, newspaper articles noted the alarming case of female workers in watch dial factories suffering a degeneration of the tissues of the jaw. Medical attention in many cases failed to stop the horrifying decay, and several women died.

The culprit was the luminous radium-containing paint used to create glow-in-the-dark watch and clock dials. The women, as part of their routine, would place the paintbrushes in their mouths to “point” the bristles and in doing so would ingest a small amount of the radium paint.

Several sickened women sued the watch companies in two states, including Illinois, and won settlements. The affected women of the Radium Dial factory in Ottawa, 80 miles southwest of Chicago, became known as the “Radium Girls” and “Ottawa’s living dead.” Not all died premature deaths, but their suffering led to changes in industry.

What turned the tide against radium water and its sellers was the jarring death of wealthy steel mogul Eben M. Byers. The industrialist, advised by a doctor in response to his nagging arm injury, had been a daily drinker of the radium beverage Radithor for two years. Byers, at 51, was found to have “necrosis in both jaws, anemia and a brain abscess, all symptomatic of radium poisoning,” the Tribune reported a few days after he died in late March 1932.

Government response was swift. The Federal Trade Commission, which already was investigating the “radium cures,” promised to ramp up its inquiry, and health officials in major cities, including Chicago Board of Health President Herman Bundesen, vowed to crack down on sellers of radium preparations.

The glow of radium’s medicinal magic was fast fading. What was once trumpeted as an “elixir of youth” had become “bottled death,” as the Tribune’s Roy Gibbons said in a 1959 look back at the radium fad.


Spa Review: Ella di Rocco Wellness Medispa, Chelsea in London

With a growing trend towards the use of natural ingredients and more spas trying to cater to an equal male and female clientele, alcohol-themed services are popping up on the treatment menus of more and more spas around the world.

On Fulham Road in London’s SW10 is the UK’s first wine therapy spa, Ella di Rocco. Founded by Italian implantologist and maxillofacial surgeon Dr Anna Brilli and her daughter Sonia in January 2018, this medispa is the first of its kind, offering non-invasive treatments that focus on nurturing the body, mind and spirit as much as they focus on the cosmetic result.

The polyphenol in grapes has been found to stimulate circulation and detoxify the skin, leaving it hydrated and rejuvenated. It is not surprising, then, that vino therapy has been coined ‘the elixir of youth’.

Ella di Rocco Wellness Medispa is the UK’s first wine therapy spa

Cleopatra was clearly on to something when she bathed in tubs of wine over 2,000 years ago. Ella di Rocco encourages you to follow in Cleopatra’s footsteps by offering a range of vino therapy treatments, including The Merlot Body Scrub, The Merlot and Honey Body Wrap and the Sangiovese Bath, to name just a few.

Other therapeutic treatments are on offer at Ella di Rocco include osteopathy, Qi energy treatments and body diagnostics, but I visited this unique medispa to try out one of its bespoke facial treatments. After cleaning my face to remove any makeup and asking me about my skin concerns, the therapist examined my skin to determine which products and machines would give the best results to reduce my pigmentation, brighten my complexion and give me a more even tone overall.

The treatment started with glycolic acid. This was painted on with a brush then, using a cotton swap, the therapist rubbed the glycolic acid into my skin in mini circular motions to keep the tingling to a minimum and to help the acid penetrate deeper.

The medispa offers a wide range of treatments including osteopathy and Qi energy treatments

The glycolic acid was washed off and the oxygen machine was switched on. This blasted bursts of pure oxygen directly into my skin to brighten it. Living in a city can flood the skin with toxins and age skin cells prematurely the oxygen machine replaces these toxins and CO2 with pure oxygen to revitalise the cells.

Next, hyaluronic acid was massaged into my face and neck. This helps skin cells retain water so the face appears more hydrated. The hyaluronic acid was penetrated into the deeper layers of my skin using LED light therapy and heat.

Following the treatment my skin looked like glass. The next morning the acne scars on my cheeks were noticeably reduced and the skin itself was plumper.


5 ways to dissolve kidney stones naturally

Blood in urine, severe abdominal pain that radiates to the lower back, frequent urination are some of the symptoms of kidney stones. They can lead to severe urination problems accompanied by nausea, weight loss, fever, and acute pain in the lower abdominal region. Also Read - Simultaneous bilateral endoscopic surgery for kidney stones successfully conducted on a 56-year-old woman

What are the causes of kidney stones? Also Read - How to remove kidney stones naturally? 5 ways to cleanse your kidneys

Lack of water in our body can lead to the formation of kidney stones. These stones can either be as huge as a golf ball or pea-sized. They have a crystalline structure and are usually made of calcium oxalate and some other compounds. The stones in the kidneys are mostly removed by surgery. But there are some natural and effective remedies to remove the kidney stones from your body.

Water: Water helps in maintaining hydration levels. It is considered to be the elixir of life. Water helps the kidneys to speed up the process of digestion and absorption of minerals and nutrients. It also helps to flush out the unnecessary toxins from the body which might further harm the kidneys. People who have kidney stones should drink lots of water to flush out the stones through urine. Normally, it is advised to drink 7 to 8 glasses of water per day.

Pomegranate: This fruit is infused with several nutrients and it is extremely healthy. The pomegranate juice and the seeds are important for removing kidney stones as they are a good source of potassium. Potassium prevents the formation of mineral crystals that can develop into kidney stones. Due to its astringent properties, it lowers the acidity levels in the urine, reduces the formation of stones and flushes out toxins from the kidney.

Corn hair or Corn silk: Corn hair or corn silk is usually discarded and is found in the husk of corns. But it is extremely beneficial in terms of getting kidney stones out of the system. To consume this one must boil corn hair in water and then strain the solution. It is a diuretic in nature which increases the flow of urine and prevents the formation of new stones. Corn hair also helps in reducing the pain which is accompanied by kidney stones.

Lemon juice and olive oil concoction: The concoction of these two ingredients might sound a little weird but it is a very effective home remedy to flush out kidney stones of your system. People who do not want to go for surgery they should drink this liquid daily till the stones are removed. While olive oil acts as a lubricant for kidney stones to pass through the system without any irritation, lemon juice helps in breaking the stones.

Apple cider vinegar: This vinegar contains citric acid which is said to help the process of breaking down kidney stones and dissolving them into tiny particles. Apple cider vinegar helps in easing kidney stone removal through the urethra and flushing out toxins. Till the stones are completely removed from the kidneys 2 tbsp of this vinegar can be taken with warm water daily.


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