Palo Alto Weekly

- December 17, 2010

Happy, Healthy Holidays

Gifts for beautifying the body, soothing stress

by Kelly Jones

For some, the holidays can be a time of stress — or overindulgence in unhealthy goodies or activities. A gift that supports health, beauty or fitness may be just what the doctor — or Santa — ordered.

Over the holiday season, some local companies are offering discounts and gift packages for physical-fitness classes and wellness products.

For those looking to help a loved one relax or give their bodies a treat, spas offer gift certificates in a range of values and discounts on beauty products.

"We're all about giving the gift that they truly deserve. People are so busy with their lives they don't take the time to get a massage or a facial," Palo Alto's Destino Spa Director Christine Rivera said. "It's like giving them tranquility or serenity. They can work out their knots and kinks."

Each spa also offers its own package deals, such as Destino Spa's "Renewal Package" for $185, which includes an aromatic steam shower, a 40-minute "Destino Journey Massage" and a custom facial.

"We see a lot of new moms here who are overwhelmed and sleep deprived. A lot of dads and husbands who come in here want to make it special for them," Rivera said.

Spas can also offer makeovers, such as the LaBelle Day Spas and Salons' "Special Event Glamour Package." For $315, the pack includes an exfoliation treatment, brow shaping and tint, lash tint, glamour makeup, manicure and pedicure, and hair styling. LaBelle has two locations: Town & Country Village and Stanford Shopping Center.

Some people look for a more active solution to holiday stress and calorie overload, and gift certificates for fitness classes could be just what they're seeking.

A potential stocking stuffer offered by Avalon Yoga Studios is a package of 10 or 25 classes that can be purchased and given out individually. Recipients can choose which class they would like to attend as a free session, based on level of difficulty and yoga style.

"Yoga is a well-rounded practice," said Lina Chae, Avalon Yoga Studios manager.

"Not only is it good for physical fitness, but it helps with emotional and mental well being."

Chae recalled the time a manager came to the studio to purchase a set of classes and a yoga mat for one of her employees after learning the employee was going through tough times.

"It was one of the most thoughtful things I ever heard of," Chae said. Rather than just giving the employee a day off, Chae saw the manager was trying to actively help. Avalon, located on California Avenue in Palo Alto, also offers yoga mats, books, other accessories and gift cards.

For those who may be struggling with weight or nutrition, there is a holiday helper.

Greenlite Medicine is a physician-supervised weight-loss program with a location on Fairchild Drive in Mountain View. With the Greenlite "Gift of Health Holiday Special," clients receive a gift certificate for a personal nutrition/weight-loss consultation, body-composition analysis, weight-loss plan and a gift bag with a guide to getting started and helpful tips. The plan, which would normally cost $150, is on sale for the holidays for $50.

Another way to keep in shape over the holidays is a personal-trainer session at a local gym. Vivre Fitness on Emerson Street in Palo Alto is offering six TRX sessions for $160. Classes usually consist of five to eight people and are held once a week for six weeks. Using suspension straps that hang from the ceiling, students use the resistance of the bands to build power, strength, flexibility, balance and mobility.

With gifts that support fitness, beauty or relaxation, recipients can start the year off feeling and looking their best.

And as Rivera put it, "It's a non-materialistic gift that people can't re-gift."

Editorial Intern Kelly Jones can be e-mailed at kjones@paweekly.com.

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