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Feb
12
2007

Albuquerque Named Fittest U.S. City

Albuquerque, N.M. moved from 13th place last year to be named American's fittest city this year in the March issue of Men's Fitness magazine.

The other top 10 in the nonscientific survey of 50 cities are: Seattle; Colorado Springs; Minneapolis; Tucson, Ariz.; Denver; San Francisco; Baltimore; Portland, Ore.; and Honolulu, the Associated Press reported.

The magazine said this year's top 10 fattest cities are: Las Vegas, Nev.; San Antonio, Texas; Miami; Mesa. Ariz.; Los Angeles; Houston; Dallas; El Paso, Texas; Detroit; and San Jose, Calif.

The survey results are based on various lifestyle factors in each city, including the availability of bikes paths or gyms, commute times, fast food restaurants per capita, amount of television watching, along with federal statistics on obesity-related illnesses and injuries.

Magazine editor Neal Boulton told the AP that the list is published each year "to motivate folks to look at the simple things in their lives they can do to be healthy."

HealthDay News, February 9, 2007

Feb
08
2007

Luxury Travel Company Identifies Top Spas of 2007

The online luxury travel resource, Luxury Link, recently named the winners of the 2007 World's Best Spa Awards. Identified by a panel of discerning travel editors, the 25 winners were chosen based on service, facilities, location, uniqueness, and overall levels of luxury. The winners are:

Adler Thermae Spa and Wellness Resort, Tuscany, Italy
Avanyu Spa, Manchester Village, Vermont
Brenner's Spa, Baden-Baden, Germany
Canyon Ranch, Lenox, Massachusetts
The Earth Spa by Six Senses, Hua Hin, Thailand
The Hualalai Sports Club and Spa, Hualalai, Hawaii
One & Only Spa, Los Cabos, Mexico
Spa Montage, Laguna Beach, California
Spa and Sanctuary, Namale, Fiji
The Spa at Huvafen Fushi, Maldives
The Spa at the Crescent, Dallas, Texas
Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami, Florida
Victoria-Jungfrau Spa, Interlaken, Switzerland
Amandari, Bali, Indonesia
The BodyHoliday at LeSport, St. Lucia, West Indies
California Wellbeing Institute, Westlake Village, California
Carita Spa, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Worldwide
The Golden Door Spa, Carefree, Arizona
Miraval Life in Balance, Tucson, Arizona
Six Senses Spa at Puntacana,  Dominican Republic
Spa Without Walls, Kohala Coast, Hawaii
The Spa at Four Seasons Resort, Chiang Mai, Thailand
The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, New York
The Spa at the Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Spahalekulani, Oahu, Hawaii

Jan
31
2007
Jan
31
2007

International Trends: Redefining Indigenous

By Richard Williams

Embrace the culture of your country and provide a unique experience for your clients.

Jan
31
2007
Dec
29
2006

Cosmetic Wrinkle Filler Approved

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new treatment for moderate-to-severe frown lines, medically called nasolabial folds.

BioForm Medical issued a statement describing its Radiesse as a longer-lasting alternative to existing wrinkle fillers. The company said its calcium-based microsphere technology not only fills in facial folds and depressions, but also stimulates the body to produce collagen, the fibrous protein that gives the face its structure and fullness.

The drug was also newly approved to improve the appearance of people with AIDS-causing HIV who have significant facial fat loss (lipoatrophy), the San Mateo, Calif.-based company said.

Radiesse was first FDA approved in 2002 for use in facial reconstructive surgery.

HealthDay News, December 28, 2006

Dec
19
2006

Spas Give Shopping Malls a Face-lift

Amy Andrade had been thinking about Botox for a while. So when she spotted a spa-like "cosmedical" clinic in an upscale mall in Dallas, she was immediately interested.

When she learned the clinic was connected with one of Texas' leading medical institutions, she was sold.

She had Botox injected into her 32-year-old forehead and near her eyes to smooth out infinitesimal wrinkles.

"It was great. I felt like I was getting a facial," said the furniture showroom manager.

Medical spas like the one at Dallas' NorthPark Center are booming. The number in the United States has jumped to about 2,500 this year from 50 in 2002, when Botox injections won federal approval.

Such spas offer minimally invasive cosmetic procedures such as injections of Botox, which relaxes facial muscles to make lines fade, and fillers like Restylane, which add volume.

Not all medical spas have ties with a major medical institution like the Klinger Advanced Aesthetics Cosmedical Center, Spa and Salon, which has teamed up with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Some "cosmedical" clinics don't even require their practitioners to be plastic surgeons or dermatologists.

Dr. Richard A. D'Amico of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons said the procedures may look like simple injections, but serious complications could result if someone isn't properly trained.

And Kate Parsons, director of the Center for Ethics at Webster University in St. Louis, said she is worried that as such services become more widely available, people will be less inclined to examine why they want to look younger.

"I guess my concern is that we're not examining that as much as we could be," Parsons said. "It is becoming increasingly accepted as one more option among the array of cosmetics and fashion."

By Jamie Stengel, Associated Press, December 18, 2006

Dec
04
2006

Trends in the Spa World

By: Melinda Taschetta-Millane
Nov
03
2006

Aromatherapy: The Scent of Dispute

Aromatherapy is an affordable, accessible natural path to relief for a variety of health problems, ranging from arthritis pain to nausea to drowsiness, supporters insist.

But skeptics dismiss any claims that the use of essential oils from flowers, herbs and trees can promote health in any way.

And both sides are unlikely to relinquish their positions anytime soon.

Aromatherapy "works for so many different things, it is amazing," said Kelly Holland Azzaro, a registered aromatherapist in Banner Elk, N.C., and vice president of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an industry trade group. "You can experience aromatherapy by inhalation by putting one drop of an essential oil on a tissue and inhaling," she said.

According to the NAHA, aromatherapy is the "art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit." These essences are then distilled into "essential oils"—highly concentrated aromatic extracts—that are derived from a "variety of aromatic plant material, including grasses, leaves, flowers, needles and twigs, peels of fruit, wood and roots."

Among the most popular essential oils, which are widely sold at health-food stores and over the Internet, are eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, lemon, peppermint, rosemary, and tea tree, and according to the NAHA.

"Uplifting scents such as citrus can keep you awake at work," Azarro said. "To help increase alertness, use rosemary and lemon." And to combat nausea, try essence of peppermint, ginger and orange, she added.

While research into aromatherapy's benefits is limited, there are some studies that suggest certain treatments can help ease some symptoms.

For instance, in a 2005 study published in the journal Chronobiology International, researchers reported that lavender aromatherapy helped all 31 men and women feel more "vigor" the next morning, compared to the night they breathed in distilled water, an exercise that served as the control setting.

A study in the March-April 2006 issue of the Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health said that aromatherapy, combined with massage, helped new mothers feel less "blue" and anxious, compared to mothers of newborns who didn't get the treatment.

And a review published in Holistic Nurse Practitioner found that patients with postoperative nausea and vomiting can be helped by aromatherapy as well as acupressure and acupuncture.

But critics find little of value with scent therapy—or even label it as therapy.

"It's not a therapy, it's a set of products with odors," said Dr. Stephen Barrett, board chairman of Quackwatch Inc., an Allentown, Pa.-based organization that says it fights health fraud and quackery.

"If people like the odors and want to pay for them, I would have no objection," Barrett said. However, he added, don't expect much. "There is no evidence that aromatherapy can alter the course of any disease. There is no logical reason to believe that any such evidence will ever be found," he said.

As for potential risks, Barrett said: "Some people find certain odors irritating. People who use aromatherapy with the hope that it will cure what ails them will waste money."

Azzaro said that, currently, aromatherapy is unregulated in the United States. "And that's part of the issue," she said. People don't understand exactly what it is, either. "People think it's potpourri or a smelly candle."

There's also no state licensing for aromatherapists in the United States. Most practitioners incorporate their training with another profession, such as licensed acupuncturist or registered nurse, according to the NAHA.

If you're interested in pursuing aromatherapy, Azzaro said it's best to ask a practitioner about his or her specific training. "And when you purchase oil, such as from a health-food store, hopefully some educational materials are with the product," she said.

Be aware, too, there can be the possibility of allergic reactions to some treatments.

By Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay Reporter, November 2, 2006

Oct
02
2006

Beauty is Easy on the Brain

"Easy on the mind" rather than "easy on the eyes" may be a better way to describe something that’s beautiful, according to a new study.

Researchers found objects and animals that conform to a prototype rather than deviate from it are easier for the brain to process and, therefore, are perceived as more pleasing to the eye.

"What you like is a function of what your mind has been trained on," says researcher Piotr Winkielman of the University of California, San Diego, in a news release. "A stimulus becomes attractive if it falls into the average of what you've seen and is therefore simple for your brain to process. In our experiments, we show that we can make an arbitrary pattern likeable just by preparing the mind to recognize it quickly."

Researchers say the findings build a phenomenon known as "beauty-in-averageness effect," which was discovered in the late 1800s. The theory holds that prototypical images are rated as more beautiful or appealing than variations of the same thing.

'Beauty' Experiments

To test the theory, researchers had groups of students undergo different experiments. In one experiment, a group of students were presented prototypes of random groupings of dots. Then distortions of the dots in these prototypes were created and presented to the students.

In a second experiment, a group of students rated the attractiveness of random dot patterns and those that conformed to common geometric patterns, like a diamond or square.

The results, published in Psychological Science, showed that the participants categorized patterns quicker and rated them as more attractive when they were closer to their respective prototypes.

A third experiment had students looking at dots also, but this time also examined cheek muscle for smiling action and brow muscle for frowning action.

Researchers also found that the less time it took participants to classify a pattern, the more attractive they found it.

"This parsimonious explanation," says Winkielman, "accounts for cultural differences in beauty -- and historical differences in beauty as well -- because beauty basically depends on what you've been exposed to and what is therefore easy on your mind."

SOURCES: Winkielman, P. Psychological Science, September 2006; vol 17: pp 799-806. News release, University of California, San Diego.

By Jennifer Warner, WebMD, September 29, 2006