The Experience: The Ultimate Holistic Facial

 
 photo of daria werbowy by mikael jansson

photo of daria werbowy by mikael jansson

I have been a loyal devotee to the Tammy Fender Holistic Skincare line for years. Like, way before I was a nutritionist and really thought about or cared what went into my body + onto my skin. The brilliant plant-alchemy and thoughtful, therapeutic pairings behind the products weren't so much on my radar at the time. I just knew that they were gentle on my sensitive yet unruly skin and extremely effective, leaving me with a clear yet somehow still hydrated complexion. 

Years later, I am more obsessed than ever with Tammy, her botanical line of skincare products, and her healing + holistic in-person treatments. While the medley of varied yet of-equal-amazingness products can be purchased from anywhere in the world, the Tammy Fender spa in West Palm Beach is truly where the magic happens. The little gem, tucked away inside a historic waterfront Palm Beach 'house', is home to the world's best holistic facial. 

I don't say this lightly - the treatments Tammy + her team offer are truly unparalleled. Tammy Fender has long been the go-to facialist to the stars, with clients traveling from far and wide to visit the Palm Beach skincare enclave. Yet unlike the majority of current skincare treatments, Tammy relies solely on plant botanicals and essential oils to treat + heal the dermis (and beyond). Nothing harsh, artificial, or invasive here, yet still undeniably effective. Tammy is a total legend, and basically started the plant-based skincare craze. 

I snuck in for one of these coveted treatments last week, and it honestly blew me away. I wouldn't even classify the treatment as a facial. Yes, my face was pampered for 90 minutes and I did leave with seriously glowing skin, but I also emerged with an elevated spirit and a recalibrated body. It was more of a mind-body-soul experience than anything else. 

Before the treatment began, I was invited to smell a medley of different essential oils, each hand-selected by Tammy for their noteworthy therapeutic health benefits. From this group, I was to select the three scents that most stood out to me. In this way, we allow the senses to guide us towards which oils will most benefit the body and it's needs that day. These oils will then be incorporated into the treatment to customize the experience to your specific needs. Your selection also informs your practitioner of where imbalances may lie, and where to direct that session's energy and care. Swooning yet?

The facial itself utilizes the very products that have earned Tammy Fender her devoted following - all derived from organic, food-grade plants of the highest quality. Each product is believed to be infused with the living energy of the plant(s) used, and therefore reconnecting us with the life force "chi" energy within and around us. Tammy's signature products and practices are based on the ancient sciences of Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and holistic medicine, and each treatment is designed around this ethos. 

About halfway through the facial, another practitioner enters the room to begin reflexology on the feet. It was unreal. As we know, reflexology is so much more than a mere foot massage, but an ancient art used to restore internal balance to the entire body + mind. This, paired with the acupressure point face, head, and neck/shoulder massage, left me floating and virtually tension-free. 

I am actually not one to naturally prioritize self-care (though it's something I'm actively working on), but this treatment was able to shift my perspective on caring for and luxuriating myself. I emerged feeling brand new, totally restored, and deeply connected, and proceeded to have a really positive and productive day and week. FROM A FACIAL.

Given the truly transformative mind-body shifts experienced from my treatment, it almost feels superficial to mention that my skin looked and felt the best it had in years. I was in the midst of a pretty hormonally-taxing week and my skin was in no way hiding this, but the next day I woke up with healed, smooth, and glowing skin. I've committed to making this treatment part of my monthly routine, because it really felt like medicine for my body, mind, and soul. 


With all of that said, it fills me with so much joy to be able to invite those of you here in Palm Beach to experience the deeply healing magic that is a Tammy Fender treatment at our upcoming Radiance Retreat. Tammy and I have collaborated to craft a blissful half-day retreat designed to purify, energize, and restore radiance from the inside out. The afternoon includes a 60 minute Tammy Fender facial treatment, meditation + breathwork session with me, and sound therapy (one of my favorite healing modalities). I'm also preparing an organic + seasonal lunch for the group (chocolate will be included). 

We're limiting the retreat to a cozy eight guests to ensure you're treated to the individualized care needed to experience true mind + body re-balancing, so I suggest reserving your spot while we still have the space.

Booking details located below, or email kate@solfulhealth.com. 

 

The Experience: Far Infrared Therapy

 Photo of Daria Werbowy by Mikael jansson

Photo of Daria Werbowy by Mikael jansson

Far Infrared Therapy and infrared saunas have long been a ritual in my personal healing + self-care practice. While attending college in Charleston, I interned at an Eastern medicine spa and wellness center that, among many incredible healing modalities and offerings, housed an infrared sauna. Hopping in for a 30-60 minute sweat became part of my daily routine and initiated a lot of physical + mental healing during a period of imbalance + unwellness for me (because you know, college). 

More recently, one of my favorite local S. Florida wellness spots, Choosing Transitions Float Studio (which is a must try if you've never been), began offering infrared sauna sessions and I could not be more excited about it. Though daily sessions are no longer possible for me time wise, I make it a point to stop in at least once a week for a thorough detox and recharge. Because I've received quite a few messages + questions about infrared therapy and it's benefits, I wanted to take this opportunity to share the science behind the modality and the benefits I've personally experienced. 


WHAT IT IS

Though Far Infrared Therapy has only just recently become mainstream here in the West, heat therapy has been utilized as a healing modality across various cultures + traditions for thousands of years. Sweating is incredibly therapeutic and healing for nearly all our systems + bodily functions. Infrared saunas (and other far infrared therapies) utilize a combination of heat and light to warm the body's core temperature and facilitate detoxification. Far Infrared Rays (FIR) are actually light waves that, while invisible to the naked human eye, are able to easily + immediately penetrate the body. What sets infrared saunas apart from more traditional saunas is that instead of just heating the air around you, FIR are able to penetrate deep into the body to raise your core temperature directly, which is far more beneficial and effective. 

WHAT IT DOES

The benefits of Far Infrared Therapy feel nearly endless. Because it is heating + detoxifying the body from the inside out, you are eliminating on average about 7x more toxins than if you were to sweat in a traditional sauna. These light rays are actually able to reach our cells on an individual level, working to alter our cell membranes and mitochondrial activity, which results in dramatic + positive changes in our body chemistry. This therapy allows us to to sweep our cells and bodies clean of heavy metals, endocrine disrupters, inflammation, and disease.

DETOXIFICATION  | The rise in our body's core temperature stimulates the production of sweat, which of course is a major mode of detoxification. Accumulated toxins within the body are forced out, freeing up our energy for deep + long-lasting healing. These healing light rays are even able to eliminate some of the electromagnetic toxins we take in from our phones + other technologies. With that said, be sure to make this a phone-free space.

HORMONE BALANCE | Infrared heat stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which serves to reduce stress and promote calm on a physiological level within the mind and body. Activation of this system has a wide range of positive effects on both mental + physical health, as we know how truly detrimental and destructive chronic stress can be. Similarly, Far Infrared Therapy reduces the production of cortisol, our body's stress hormone that keeps us feeling perpetually stressed out. For these reasons, this modality is a really effective tool for healing adrenal fatigue and other stress- and hormone-related  issues. 

IMPROVED CARDIOVASCULAR FUNCTION | FIR increase circulation, decrease inflammation, and normalize blood pressure, setting the scene for improved cardiovascular function and healing.

REDUCED INFLAMMATION | Because infrared heat works on the cellular level, it's an effective means of reducing inflammation within the entire body. Those suffering from inflammation-related disorders of any kind will see improvements, and many report dramatic decreases in (and elimination of) joint, arthritic, and chronic pain. 

CLEANS + CLEARS SKIN | Infrared heat is incredibly healing for the skin. The pores are detoxified, inflammation is reduced, and increased circulation brings fresh and nutrient-rich blood to the skin's surface. FIR also stimulate the production of collagen, which we know is the ultimate skin-healer and beauty-booster. 

SUPPORTS WEIGHT LOSS | The rise in core temperature increases our metabolic activity, and we actually go into calorie-burning mode during the process. Most us will end up burning 600-1200 calories per 60 minute session. 

INCREASED IMMUNITY | The healing frequencies of FIR paired with the rise in our core temperature (essentially mimicking a fever) result in the elimination of disease-causing microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, and infections) within the body. Anytime I feel a cold coming on, I head straight to the sauna and almost always feel back to normal the following day.

WHERE TO GO 

Here in Palm Beach, Choosing Transitions is my go-to. In addition to the infrared sauna, they also house a sensory deprivation float tank (!) and ionic foot detox (another favorite of mine). It's a sweet little hideaway for healing + restoration.

Another local must-try for infrared healing is Haute Yoga's new Jupiter studio, which uses infrared heating panels for a deeper, more effective sweat + detox. You can catch me teaching there Mondays + Fridays at 7 am, and practicing in the healing heat nearly every day of the week. 

When in New York, I'm a Higher Dose devotee.

There are infrared saunas popping up everywhere, so be sure to explore your local community to find one nearby.  

Inspired Weekend Plans: Swank Farm-to-Table Dinners

Truthfully, nothing excites me more than a good meal. This love of food is the driving force behind my career (that is, how to make healthy food taste good), this Journal, and about 90% of my trips out of the house. Those of you who know me personally know this to be all too true.

Rationally I know it's much healthier to prepare food at home, and I usually follow my own advice during the week, but on weekends I really can't resist the lure to be wined + dined. Instinctively, I seek out restaurants that combine thoughtful, inventive preparation with fresh, organic, and local fare. The farm to table movement is crazy trendy right now and I'm so not complaining - it's truly my favorite way to cook and eat, and the health + environmental benefits are unparalleled. 

So naturally, when Swank Speciality Produce invited me to attend their upcoming farm dinner, I was beyond in. The farm has been one of my go-tos for organic + locally grown produce since moving back to South Florida, but for whatever reason I had yet to make it to one of their events. Each season, the Swank family + farm host monthly dinners on the farm grounds, inviting the area's best chefs to come and prepare the just-grown food. Swoon. Talk about farm to table. 

Admittedly, the events are more 'party' than 'supper' (not complaining), with an incredible selection of wines handpicked by a sommelier and fresh, produce-inspired cocktails. From start to end, we were not without a drink or food in hand the entire evening. And let's be real, that's my M.O. at all times. 

As expected, the food was absolutely next level. Each of the dinners have a theme that informs the menu, entertainment, and vibe of the night, and ours was a Chinese New Year celebration. Fresh dumplings, local fish crudo, noodles laced with farm veggies and tropical fruit, and a turnip 'cake' I'm dead-set on recreating were just a few of the evening's standouts. Everything was served family style to encourage conversation and connection, which is very much my jam. 

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Part of what made the evening so special was being on the actual farm. Aside from providing the most picturesque backdrop (with a killer view of the sunset), it felt like an adult playground of the best kind. Between sips + bites, we explored the grounds, held baby chicks, and danced around in a sunflower field (yes, really). The entire evening was thoughtful, romantic, and delicious. 

I found myself wondering why the hell have I not done this before a number of times throughout the night. What the Swank team is doing out there is truly something special. Lucky for us in South Florida, there's still a few events left this season that have yet to sell out (!) and I'm hoping to make it to their Vegetable Feast themed dinner on March 26th. For details on these magical evenings of outstanding food and impeccable vibes, head to the Swank site here.

And for those of you outside of Florida, I encourage you to explore your local options, as many farms are hosting these types of not-to-be-missed events. File under: more creative and inspired weekend plans.

The Experience: Sensory Deprivation

Imagine yourself in complete and utter darkness and silence, floating weightlessly in what could easily be imagined as outer space. It can be a terrifying thought for a lot of people, being left alone with nothing but your thoughts for an hour. But I’m here to tell you that once you push past the initial anxiety and fear of the unknown, it is heavenly.

For those of you unfamiliar with this trendy yet otherworldly new wellness service, I’ll back up a bit. Sensory Deprivation Tanks, also referred to as ‘float tanks’, are quite literally just that - a tank of water that you enclose yourself in to escape all things external. Each tank holds about 8-10 inches of warm water and 1,000 lbs. of medical grade magnesium salts, on top of which you float. It’s completely light- and sound-proof, and when paired with the seemingly gravity-defying aspect of the heavily salted water, you’re left with virtually no external or physical distractions. And if the thought of all this scares you a little (or a lot), I totally feel you. Prior to trying it myself, I was undecided about whether this sounded like a fantasy or a nightmare. 

Eastern cultures have been using sensory deprivation for centuries to combat pain and bring balance to the mind + body. Recent studies have found that it reduces physical stress by lowering cortisol levels (our bodies’ stress hormone), in turn balancing the entire endocrine and immune systems. During sensory deprivation, our autonomic nervous system is nourished and relaxed, resulting in improvements for those suffering from a myriad of health issues, including chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure. Float tanks also provide a super unique and easily-accessible way to increase your magnesium intake. Magnesium is a critical mineral for overall well-being, helping our bodies regulate over 325 different enzymes, yet is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies among Americans. By soaking in magnesium salts during sensory deprivation, our bodies are able to easily absorb and assimilate this vital nutrient. 

Like most of you, I can personally attest to how stressed-out and utterly over-stimulated I feel on a daily basis. With a large portion of my work work (along with a growing number of Americans’) taking place via social media and the Internet, it can sometimes feel like there’s no escaping technology’s grip. This, of course, is a huge part of why I retreat to my yoga + meditation mat daily, but I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I’m left seeking more. More solace, more stillness, more disconnection from it all, and more connection with myself. The promise of a space to cultivate this sort of stillness and connection grew increasingly appealing, so much so that I was able to lay my anxieties aside and take the plunge.

For my inaugural float, I hopped over to Choosing Transitions Float Studio, a sweet little space tucked away in North Palm Beach, FL. Along with a float tank, the studio also boasts a Migun Massage Bed + Ion Foot Bath, two holistic health services I swear by - but we’ll save those for another post. Though I had heard a lot of buzz within the wellness world about sensory deprivation, I showed up pretty clueless about what the actual experience would entail. After filling out a bit of paper work (and asking a million anxiety-fueled questions), I was led into the float room - a dimly-lit, private space fitted with a shower, toiletries, a spot to sit and unwind, and the float tank. At this point I’m totally anxious with a steady stream of crazy ‘what if’ scenarios running through my mind. But I keep it together - I undress, hop in the shower to rinse off, and slip into the tank. 

For the first few minutes inside I’m totally mesmerized by the sensation of floating. My body feels weightless and effortlessly buoyant. I lie my head back and for the first time probably ever, I just allow all the overworked and perpetually tense muscles in my neck and back to let go + relax. It’s a really surreal feeling. So I spend another 5 minutes or so wiggling around in there, playing with lifting and releasing different body parts into the water. Then I begin to settle in. I immediately notice how dark it is. It’s a little unsettling at first, but also really soothing. Even in the dead of night, my apartment is illuminated by the city lights outside my window and the unrelenting glow of technology - charging phones and computers, microwave clocks, dishwasher machines, whatever. No matter how hard I try, I’m never truly in complete darkness.

It’s also like, really quiet. Which again is briefly unsettling, but I soon relax right in. By my rough estimate, I probably spent the first 20 minutes getting used to everything. As in any situation, when I began to feel my anxiety and fear heighten, I turned to my breathe. Long, deep inhales and exhales, each breathe allowing my mind’s tight grip of control to slowly soften. By the 25 minute mark (again, totally estimating), I had settled into the stillness. 

My remaining time in the tank is kind of a blur. I don’t think I fell asleep (which is totally normal, Rochelle assured me), but I definitely wasn’t entirely conscious of my surroundings. Everything, both external and internal, was silent, dark, and still. I felt safe, warm, at ease. When Rochelle knocked on the door to let me know the 60 minutes was up, my mind quickly jolted back to reality. I couldn’t believe the hour was up (I swear, time flew by in there), and I definitely could’ve stayed in longer.

I emerged from the tank to a hot shower, and took my time easing back into the real world. I felt calm and quiet. The steady and seemingly-endless stream of thoughts that normally runs through my head was (to my utter surprise and amazement) not there. I felt alert yet relaxed, both in mind and body. It was as if I had emerged from the yummiest yoga class + deepest sleep simultaneously. In sum, I felt incredible. One float and I'm completely hooked, committing to make this dreamy service a regular part of my wellness routine.

Ready to get your float on? You can catch me zenning out at Choosing Transitions here in South Florida, but for those of you outside of the sunshine state, here are a few solful spots in your area:

LIFT FLOATS, NYC
FLOAT, BOSTON
HOPE FLOATS, DC
LEVITY, ARIZONA
FLOAT LAB, LA
REBOOT, SAN FRAN