Spa Gift Vouchers: The Convenient Christmas Gift

2012 has been a strange year. For all the jubilation and activity of, well, jubilees and the Olympics, there's been just as much doom and gloom speculation and phrases including 'double dip recession' and 'job cuts' cluttering up news headlines. For large swathes of Europe summer failed to arrive – or, at least, stay for longer than a day or two, and now, surprisingly, it's almost time to bid farewell to this year and move on to the next.

Inevitably as the end of the year approaches so too does Christmas and the realization that it's coming around faster than an express train on roller skates. Conversations are already being hijacked by talk of the festive season and the gloats of the varying stages at which other people's Christmas shopping is. If you're reading this with a sense of creeping despair at the incomplete – or even un-started – state of your own Christmas shopping then here's something that just might help you when it comes to spending so much time wondering what to get someone that you run out of time: spa gift vouchers.

Let's face it; there's always at least one person for what the ideas for the perfect gift simply are not there and heading to the shops for inspiration results in nothing more than miserable wandering from store to store before settling on something that might just as well do. A spa gift voucher is the ideal way to combat just such problems while showing someone that you genuinely care – even if, really, you're not all that bothered.

These days spa gift vouchers are available in a range of denominations to suit all budgets or even certain treatments and – of course, whole spa days. Getting someone a voucher that will give them even half an hours treatment will bring a smile to their face while getting them a voucher for a whole spa day is a sure-fire way to create a very happy gift recipient come Christmas morning.

Ordinarily a gift voucher can seem a tad cold, a “I had no idea what do you got but did not want to give you cash so here's a bit of paper that'll get you ten quid off your next book purchase wrapped in a generic store card “.

A spa gift voucher, however, says “I want you to feel special, enjoy some relaxing, tranquil bliss and come out feeling better.” It's a day of pampering in an envelope and does not even need wrapping. However, until they're opened they do not appear as impressive or thoughtful so it may well be that the intended recipient is expecting to open the envelope finding the aforementioned gift voucher. Correspondingly, the sense of surprise when they open the card and find such a thoughtful and unexpected gift voucher will certainly be up there. Instead of a voucher for books or music they're now in possession of a voucher entitling them to some relaxing indulgence.

There's even the convenience that the vast majority of spas let you buy a gift voucher online – so creating even less time spent trudging round shops avoiding the elbows of last-minute-dash Christmas shoppers.

So for those caught by surprise by the progress and the march toward Christmas, rather than being left without ideas and searching for a last minute gift, spa gift vouchers are not only easy and convenient to buy but are a great way to give someone a gift that will show that, really, you care.

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A Few Recommended Spa Treatments for Men

A trip to the spa is typically associated with females; however, there is plenty for men to enjoy at the spa too. A session at the spa is not only good for relaxing; it can be good for your health, skin condition and general well-being as well. Everyone desires to look and feel their best so there are a number of spa treatments available which are perfect for men to lie back and enjoy.

Grooming for Feet

Although feet are normally kept tucked up in warm socks, it is still important that they are kept in good condition. Grooming for feet is the ideal treatment to enjoy after a hard few months of keeping on your toes at work. The process involves relaxing the muscles with the therapeutic aromatherapy oils and conditioning the skin and nails so that they are replenished with the necessary moisture for healthy feet.

Back Massage

A back massage is the kind of treatment that you never knew you needed until you have had your first massage. The feeling of stresses and tensions being rubbed out of your muscles is simply incredible, and after you will feel like the spring in your step (or back!) Has been given a new lease of life. The massage expert can provide a massage which is tailor to your needs, so it is an excellent spa treatment for experiencing a personal treatment. And remember, James Bond was partial to a back massage or two!

Hot Stone Therapy

When used correctly by expert hands, hot stones can be a gateway to ultimate relaxation. The healing powers of stones have been used for centers, and experts know exactly what key energy points to place the hot or cold stones on to create the greatest sensation of both relaxation and rejuvenation. When combined with warm oils too, both your body and mind will benefit from the rebalancing powers of the stones.

Scalp Treatment

At work, you may sometimes find yourself rubbing your temples in search of a bit of a break. With a scalp treatment, you can professionally massage away all of these stresses and also treat your hair and your skin too. Massaging with essential oils not only soothes the brain, it also conditions and strengnts hair, adding shine and vitality from root to tip. It is not recommended for anyone with migraines or any kind of scalp disorder, but it is a truly wonderful experience for those who cango it.

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How Does a Far Infrared Sauna Work?

With an ever-increasing amount of internet information sources it looks that you have more and more of an opportunity to have the same “key word” sales terms thrown at you again and again. So what I would like to do is get past the catch phrases and actually explain to you what a Far Infrared Sauna is and how it works.

Let's start by addressing “What is a Far Infrared Sauna?”. A Far Infrared Sauna is simply a sauna that instead of heating water to make hot steam to heat your body it emits an electromagnetic wave of non-visible light that penetrates your body and is directly absorbed by your tissues. At this point you might be worried about the side effects of an electromagnetic wave penetrating your body. Well, do not worry the energy of a Far Infrared Sauna wave is less than that of visible light. So you'll be damaging your body more by using lightbulbs than by using a Far Infrared Sauna. In fact out of the infrared spectrum the Far Infrared wave refers to the wavelength of infrared light that has the lowest energy and yet the most penetration.

Let's take a minute to talk about the electromagnetic spectrum to clarify what I'm talking about. The electromagnetic spectrum is basically a scale of the different types of energy ranging from radio waves up to Gamma rays, which are the kind of radiation that in a cartoon would make you glow in the dark. The lowest energy level waves are radio waves, then infrared, then regular light, then ultra-violet, then X-ray and up to Gamma rays. Energy and wavelength, the distance between wave peaks, are oppositely related so the higher energy the smaller the wave and the lower the energy the longer the wave. It's also the same for frequency, so if someone starts throwing out Hertz (Hz) and they're talking big numbers then they mean high energy and lower numbers are lower energy. Like on your radio, 100 FM is the frequency in Mega-Hertz (or millions of Hertz).

Anyways, I'm sure you're aware that radio waves can pass through objects, and that's because they have a longer wavelength. The shorter wavelengths can not pass through things, that's why light that you can see can not pass through doors. But the infrared light has a large wavelength so it can penetrate certain distances. That's why a far infrared saunas waves can penetrate your body and heat your tissues directly.

Please notice that the infrared area is in between visible light and radio waves and is pretty harmless. It's when you go to the past the visible light energy level and start going into Ultra-violet that you're talking tanning and skin cancer. Actually, “Far Infrared” refers to the lowest energy level of the infringed groups. Actually infrared is broken into three (3) groups by wave length, Near wave (NIR) – highest energy, Medium wave (MIR) – middle energy and Far wave (FIR) – low energy level.

You might be wonder why the lowest energy level is a good thing at this point. Well, it's good for several reasons. First, it's safer and secondly it will penetrate farther into your body. You might also be thinking that penetrating into your body might be a bad thing, but really its good. Why? Because skin cancer and sunburn are caused by the higher energy waves crashing into your skin and passing all their energy it the top layer of tissue. It's like a tsunami hitting a beach, mass destruction that leaves scars. But the lower energy passes through your body and the energy is gradually absorbed at all levels of your tissue so the energy spreads out and does not hurt anything. Also, the energy is less to begin with so not only are you absorbing it over a larger area but also your not even absorbing the same amount.

So now you know what people are talking about when they say “Far Infrared”, now lets talk about the “How” part of the Far Infrared Sauna. As Far Infrared waves are similar to radio waves a Far Infrared Sauna works similar to a radio. For a radio you use an electric current and you run it through an antenna and it produces radio waves. Well, the Far Infrared Sauna does the same thing but the antenna's a different material. For a radio the size, shape and material of the antenna decide what wavelength is created and the same goes for a Far Infrared Sauna. There are several types of infrared antenna's used in saunas, there are specially coated metals, ceramic, carbon and depending on the quality, shape and material used they can produce medium wave to far waves. The medium wave saunas are less energy efficient and produce a more intense heat and the heating element or “antenna” can get warm or hot to the touch. While a Far Infrared Sauna heating element generally stays cool to the touch and produces a gentler heat.

If at this point you're freaking out, and have the general idea that you're cooking yourself with a radio oven then take a deep breath and calm down. Think back to our discussion, or scroll up, and realize that you do not worry about your car stereo, you do not worry about your light bulbs and you do not worry about your cell phone, ipad and wifi, so you needn 't worry about infrared either. Actually the earth is pretty well covered in naturally occurring waves in the range of visible and below, while the harsher rays are absorbed or distorted by the earth's atmosphere. I would still suggest sunscreen though as ultra-violet from direct sunlight can still cook you and skin cancer is not a joke.

Let's close with a little summary and a look at the benefits of a Far Infrared Sauna as compared to a steam sauna. A Far Infrared Sauna is simply a sauna that uses a type of ceramic, carbon or special coated metal to emit an electromagnetic wave that is directly absorbed by your bodies tissues. It's low safe energy will not harm you, and the Far Infrared heating elements should not even be hot to the touch. What does this mean when talking about the benefits of a Far Infrared Sauna. Well, because it's directly heating your tissues it's much more energy efficient and therefore more of a green technology sauna. Also, it works faster as you're not waiting to heat water, then the steam heats your skin, and then you skin transmits the heat deeper into your body and it takes forever. Because there's no steam some people who have skin conditions that do not like steam can still enjoy a sauna experience without it effecting their condition. Also, you should sweat more as the water content in the air is less it will absorb the sweat off your body more and stimulate additional sweat in comparison to a humid air sauna. The one downside is that Far Infrared Saunas are more expensive due to the specialty manufacturing of the heating elements, but if you want an inexpensive sauna you need a portable sauna anyway and there is a large range of affordable Far Infrared Portable Saunas.

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Types of Massage Treatments You Can Get From Spa Deals

Massage treatments are some of the most popular spa services offered by many health and wellness establishments. However, most of these treatments are priced beyond what the average person is willing to spend on a regular basis. Fortunately, there are spa deals from group buying sites such as Groupon and Living Social that allow individuals to enjoy a much-deserved pampering without the hefty price tag.

Spa vouchers and deals allow you to indulge in different kinds of massage treatments such as:

Swedish massage
Known to be the most popular all massage types, Swedish massage uses soft, long kneading strokes and light, rhythmic tapping hand movements.

The four fundamental strokes used in Swedish massage include effleurage , a gliding stroke used to relax soft tissue; petrissage , the squeezing or kneading hand movement after effleurage; friction , a circular motion that causes layers of tissue to rub against each other to increase blood flow and break down scar tissue; and tapotement , a short, alternating tap done with capped hands, fingers, or the edge of the hand.

Swedish massage is usually recommended for those experiencing massage for the first time. It is relaxing, energizing, and offers relief from muscle tension.

Shiatsu massage
With its name derived from two Japanese words – “shi” meaning finger and “atsu “meaning pressure, Shiatsu massage is a style of bodywork in Japan that uses varied rhythmic presses to stimulate the body's acupuncture meridians. It is similar to Chinese acupuncture, but it uses fingers instead of needles to invigorate and restore the healthy flow of energy in the body.

Thai massage
This type of massage is similar to Yoga, but with a therapist moving, stretching, and pushing your body into a sequence of postures. Thai massage includes the compression of muscles, mobilization of joints, and acupressure. It effectively reduces stress, improves flexibility, relieves muscle and joint tension, and helps balance the body's energy systems.

Aside from massage treatments, many spa deals also come with beauty deals such as body scrubs, facials, and manicures. When the flash sale period for a spa promotion is over, you can go to a secondary marketplace online, where there are no set no time limits for purchasing deals. These websites also sometimes allow shoppers to use the deals right away, which is ideal if you wish to be pampered on an extra stressful day.

With daily deals from group buying sites and secondary marketplaces online, pampering yourself is no longer a luxury you can only get if you're willing to spend a lot.

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Stuck For Gift Ideas? What About Spa Gift Vouchers

As the turn of the clocks sends us into winter, the shops are already stocking and promoting Christmas and the number of those expanding on the commencement – or even completion – of their Christmas shopping is growing. Whether you're a fan of the festive season or not this can prove frustrating, especially for those who have the family member that's a nightmare to shop for and, let's face it, we all have at least one.

While there's a wealth of gifts seeming designed for such a relative or friend – does anyone buy the Guinness Book of Records for any other reason? – the old faithful fallback of a gift voucher can seem a bit impersonal and is, really, only a slight touch of 'could not be bothered' above stuffing some cash in an envelope. However, there is one gift voucher which does not fit into the “I had no idea what to get you” category and, while a really simple and straightforward purchase, manages to suggest a lot of consideration went into the gift: a spa gift voucher.

It's strange but it's not something that's thought of until someone else receives one and is usually followed by the thought “I wish I'd thought of that instead of a subscription to Boring Monthly”. Who does not want to be pampered and treated to a bit of luxury and indulgence? Giving someone a spa gift voucher suggests that they deserve looking after and spoiling.

Gone are the days when spa treatments were something indulgent ladies of a certain wealth enjoyed too. These days spa treatments can range in cost from the tens of pounds upwards and the gift vouchers vary in price accordingly. That means that you do not have to break the bank to treat someone to a bit of relaxation and a facial or massage.

Gone too are days when spas were only for the fairer sex. The majority of modern spas have treatments aimed at both men and women. From mens facials and massages to mens grooming – there's plenty of treatments available for men to spend a voucher on. This is ideal if you're looking to buy for a couple as it means they'll be able to enjoy their gift together.

The majority of these vouchers have pretty long validity periods so will not have to be used within a couple of weeks and can be used post New Year in the February lull, to beat the late-Winter blues.

There's also a sense of surprise to be had in giving a spa voucher. The vouchers are not large or cumbersome and so opening an envelope will usually be associated with a card or – as mentioned earlier – somewhat uninspiring gift vouchers or even cash. The element of thoughtfulness and consideration coupled with the promise of pampering will be one that's sure to make the recipient offer a pretty decent grin after their surprise.

So those people already bereft of ideas for that certain someone and worried they'll end up grabbing an obvious last-minute gift would do well to consider buying spa gift vouchers – a unique gift that's practically guaranteed to go down well and bring a bit of festive cheer to all.

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Guide To Infrared Saunas


Traditional saunas have been around for many years. They work by generating hot steam that warms the body to soothe aching muscles and relax the mind. The moisture generated by the sauna can promote different health conditions like fungal infections and burns. How can you decrease these risks while still getting a great spa treatment? Infrared saunas may be the answer.

What is an infrared sauna?

IR saunas work in a similar manner to traditional saunas. You sit on a bench inside a chamber, and you warm your body. The difference is the means by which that heat is generated. Instead of warming the air by firing of heated water, infrared radiation is used to warm the body directly.

Infrared radiation works in a gentle way by causing the chemical bonds in your body tissues and water to vibrate. This increases the overall temperature of your body directly. This method of heating does not rely on hot coals or water vapor, and so it presents several benefits over traditional sauna technology.

Comparing steam to infrared saunas

What is the difference between a steam and infrared sauna? Is one really better than the other? Consider the problems associated with a steam sauna. The high moisture content inside produces a nice breeding ground for fungal infection. This can be mitigated in an infrared sauna because there is no steam involved. The only source of moisture in the box will be sweat that is given off by the skin of people sitting inside. This can easily be cleaned after the session.

Let us also consider the problem of burns and heat tolerance. Controlling the temperature of steam in a sauna can be very tricky. It is very easy to get the water vapor so hot that it burns the skin. Some people are more sensitive to others. Infrared saunas can be adjusted at will to increase or decrease the intensity of the radiation. By decreasing the intensity, the heating of tissue is significantly lessened. You do not have to wait around waiting for steam to cool to a comfortable level, and you never have to worry about overheating. Infrared radiation heats tissue up slowly, so you have plenty of time to decide if the intensity is right for you.


Overall, some limited clinical studies have indicated that infrared saunas can have an impact on health disorders like hypertension, heart failure, and arthritis. These studies need to be verified with larger cohorts, but they have been proven safe so far. If you want the experience of a sauna without the uncomfortably high water temperatures, then an infrared sauna may be the solution you have awaited.

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Reasons To Head To The Spa

Once upon a time spas and spa days were considered the retreat of the wealthy; pampered trophy wives and ladies indulging in a day or week's worth of being spoiled and valued to facials and manicures. Now, however, spas are quickly becoming considered a key to wellness and relaxation and, contrary to other comments on the matter, are not a pointless indulgence or waste of money. So, why should you bother visiting your nearest spa?

The most obvious reason for visiting a spa – be it alone or in a group – is to relax; kick back, unwind and feel the stress melt away. Whether you're indulging in a full body massage, a facial or steam, spas are designed with tranquility and relaxation in mind – hanging on to stress in such an environment is practically an impossibility.

Once you've had that stress cleansed from your mind, the next step is to remove it from your body. A therapeutic massage will loosen up all those tense muscles and soothe away all the tightness that modern life will clog you up with. Given that stress and tension have such a negative impact on life, getting rid of such factors seems like a no-brainer. It's shown to help blood circulation, ease blood pressure and help with sleeping disorders.

Loosening up mentally and physically will help you feel great and boost your mood, energy, self-confidence and self-esteem but while a foot scrub or the therapeutic pedicure will help put a spring in your step a bit of detox will help your health out too .

Detoxification will help purge your body of all harmful toxins along with excess fluids in the physique. It can help get rid of bloating and water retention – which will inadvertently help you feel a bit lighter and better – and can also include juice fasting and colon cleaning to help completely flush your system through and leave you feeling significantly better.

Of course, there is a more vain reason for visiting a spa and it's one to which we're all part to worry about – it'll help prevent the effects of aging and make skin look a little younger without consulting a plastic surgeon and ending up looking like something from a wax museum. Facial treatments, body treatments and skin care will help improve the condition of skin while looking after yourself and your body, staying relaxed and stress free (something, as previously mentioned, spas are designed for) will all help not only when it comes to feeling younger but looking it too. Not only that but most spas will be able to provide plenty of help and advice when it comes to looking after your skin and how to best limit the effects outside of their tranquility haven.

A visit to a spa is sure to yield a wealth of benefits for all – male or female, young or old – beyond the old conception of it being a waste of money for the wealthy. Those looking for a quick fix to the blues, a way to feel pampered and healthy in the middle of a stressful day would do well to find their nearest and book up a session or two.

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Developing Your Own Wellness Chart

While visiting my fifth grader grandson, I was able to observe him doing some homework. He was working on a Wellness Chart where he would list things in his life which were needed to provide wellness in four specific areas which were: Spirituality, Morality, Mental, and Physical. A wellness chart can help a person stay on course in keeping the body active and the mind alert.

Developing your own Wellness Chart may be a good thing to do in order to bring balance and direction into your life. Senior citizens, depending on their age and station in life, may feel that it is too late to develop such a chart. They may feel that it is unnecessary and something which would not help. However, everyone of any age can benefit from evaluating where they are headed and what things could be beneficial for them.

In the area of ​​Spirituality, a belief in God or some higher power helps a person stay well. Trust and faith in one's own abilities can have beneficial results. Meditation and prayer to stay in tune with the spiritual side will help keep balance in life.

The area of ​​morality is important for the wellbeing of every person. Honesty and integrity in all dealings with one's fellowmen greetings peace. Upholding the values ​​which a person holds dear will help a person to live a moral life. Temptations will come to all people, but it is important to be strong enough not to give in to the temptations to do wrong and commit immoral acts.

The mental state is most important in wellness. Stretching the mind and the thinking processes by regular study and reading will help a person to keep progressing mentally. Using games and puzzles helps to keep the mind active.

Some of the Japanese Americans and immigrants of Japanese descent who were unjustly incarcerated in camps during World War II kept records. The older adults had little to do in the camps so time was available to them. They probably did not have wellness charts or keep track of the exercise they were getting, which was probably minimal. Those were hard times when it was easy to become discouraged. There were cases of mental problems stemming from the treatment that they endured.

It is difficult for most people to enjoy life if they are not feeling well. The physical part of life is an area in which people can often have a lot of influence by simply adhering to certain methods of caring for one's body. Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help anyone maintain better physical health. Exercising regularly to keep the body working well is a difficult matter for many people, but it is very important in staying fit and trim which makes a difference in wellness. There are many commercial products which also may help a person stay well physically. The body is a miraculous thing, but it does wear out with age. There are products on the market which may help with the aging process. Trying some of them could be beneficial.

Keeping track of the things one should do to keep well will help to stay focused on the important aspects of life. Regular evaluation of one's progress can bring more happiness and fulfillment into daily living. Developing your own wellness chart could pay off.

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Get Pampered With Relaxing Spa Treatments

Getting a spa treatment is more than just a relaxing process, it is all about how it makes you feel afterwards as well. There are many treatments that not only leave you feeling amazing; they will also have you looking great too.

Relax With a Massage

Whether you opt for a Swedish, Deep Tissue, Shiatsu or Thai massage, you are guaranteed to leave the spa feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Massages are great for anyone who suffers from stress, poor circulation or aches and pains.

This is because, using a variety of techniques, a massage therapist can apply pressure to certain parts of your body to help with your flexibility, increase endorphin levels and improve your circulatory system.

Remove That Hair!

Feeling properly waxed and smooth is a great feeling to have – and is definitely worth the momentary 'ouch!'. Whether you are going to a special event, going on holiday or just having your regular waxing appointment, waxing is a great way of staying silky smooth for a longer amount of time than shaving.

Get Gorgeous Skin

If you want your skin to look beautiful, a facial is a great way to set off your natural glow. There are many different types of facial treatments available including anti-oxidant therapy, balancing facials, galvanic, aromatherapy and collagen.

Choose the type of treatment that would best suit your skin type and lifestyle and relax for an hour as your skin is valued to the time of its life!

Make the Most of Your Lashes

If you are fair skinned and haired or you need to add a little drama to your look, opting for an eyelash or eyebrow tinting treatment is a great way of making your features stand out.

Lash or brow tinting is not only a great way of enhancing your facial features; it is also a great way of saving yourself time. Instead of applying, removing then reapplying mascara, eyeliner and eyebrow liner every day, with tinted brows and lashes you already look made up, saving you lots of time in your daily routine.

Go For the Whole Package

Why just stick to one treatment? A range of spa treatments are available from any number of spas, and if you book more than one you may even be able to get a discount. More than one treatment also can leave you feeling even more revitalized and beautiful and full relaxed – and these treatments are a great gift for your friends too.

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Spa Treatments To Pamper You

It does not matter what time of year it is or what day it is, it is always the right time to treat yourself or a friend or loved one to a relaxing day at a healthy spa center. The amount of people going for a relaxing day at a spa has increased tremendously over the last few years. You can get rid of all the stresses and strains of everyday life with all the pressure that goes with your job, leaving you refreshed and raring to go.

With Christmas coming up this is the perfect time to buy a ticket for yourself or someone you know as a present which you know they will enjoy. Just imagine spending the day being pampered with a massage or one of the many treatments on offer.

Listed below are some of the treatments that you can expect at some of the spa center's, as well as overnight stays so you can make the most of your stay.

Mud Treatment

These have been used for thousands of years with the most noticeable being the Egyptions. Mud treatments offer yet another way to exfoliate and nourish the skin in a natural way as well as being organic.The mud is usually applied by hand and is left for a period of time before taking a shower to get rid of the mud.


This is a popular treatment especially for women but it has been known for men to have this treatment as well. First your skin has a light brushing then warm oil is put onto your body before the desired treatment is applied. Some of the different style of treatment include ginger salt treatment, exotic lime to name but two. Then the skin is cleansed followed by a moisturizer, then after this your skin will look glowing and replenished while feeling much better.


Facials are one of the most popular treatments, possibly because the facels offer fantastic value for money plus the fact that it is done in a relatively short amount of time. This value for money appeals to those of you on a budget and there are a variety of facials to choose from. These cater for different skin types including dry or oily skin as well as anti aging treatments to help restore your skin for a more natural look.

As with any treatments there are limitations to what results you can expect to get and if you have any medical conditions you are advised to consult your doctor before having any treatments. Make sure that the spa center knows about your condition and any medication you are on before having the treatments.

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Birmingham Spa Treatments

If you have ever thought of planning a weekend away, whether it be for you and your partner or yourself and some friends then why not try a relaxing weekend away at one of the many spa centers in and around Birmingham. There are a number of things to do to keep yourself occupied and then you could have a relaxing massage or some other treatment after wards.

You could start off on Friday night by having a few drinks and a bit of dancing, then you could do a spot of shopping on Saturday. Finishing off on Sunday, with a relaxing day at the Spa having different treatments. Birmingham has a lot to offer and all in one central location should you want to do any of the above.


With all the students in Birmingham there are always people around day or night. There are some great bars, clubs and restaurants scattered around the city which cater for any body's taste. At the Mailbox for example there are numerous places to eat and drink and if you are looking for something more stylish take a look at the Mechu or Apres clubs.

Along broad street it is always busy with a great atmosphere, with all the different bars and clubs there are enough to keep anyone happy from an Irish bar to disco.

Just off broad street there is brindley place with a lot of restaurants for a more relaxed feeling.


There are lots of different shops in Birmingham city center to cater for all sorts of people from independent shops to complete shopping centers with all the high street names you could think of. There is the Bull Ring Shopping Center that contains all the main shops as well as some obscure ones that cater for all tastes.

The Mail Box is another center that is by the water so when you have had enough shopping you can sit down and have a bite to eat and watch the world go by. If you are looking for a nice piece of jewelery then you need look no further than the jewelery quarter, with over 400 shops and businesses you can be sure that you will find what you are looking for.


Spa-loving ladies are really spoiled for choice in and around Birmingham, home to a great spa with lots of different treatment. A lot offer great deals for groups so do some research before setting off.

In the city center Solace Spa is housed in a beautiful brick building. The treatment rooms are very spacious and relaxation areas are plush and very comfortable. Some of the treatments include hot stone massages, reflexology and reiki.

Clover Spa has both a large indoor pool and an outdoor pool. A few of the more unusual treatments include Hopi ear candles and holistic total body care.
So there you have it if you fancy a relaxing day or a weekend break look no further than Birmingham Spas.

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Epsom Salts: How It Works

Over the years, I've often recommended a epsom salt bath for clients who are experiencing sever soreness or inflammation after a sporting event or injury. But it's not just because it will feel great, there's science behind it!

Now for a little lesson! Magnesium sulfate, more commonly known as epsom salt, is a naturally occurring mineral that plays an important role in the body. It is a neuro-chemical transmitter that aids in muscle excitability.

Thank the Brits !; the magnesium sulfate compound got its name from one of the areas it was originally found in: Epsom, England. Both magnesium and sulfate play a very important role within our bodies.

Magnesium helps regulate enzyme activity, such as calcium production, as well as assist in bodily functions. It stimulates the release of that “feel good” chemical serotonin, which helps reduce stress and reduce the production of adrenaline, increases ATP production, eliminates toxins and reduces inflammation.

In layman's terms, here's how magnesium sulfate can benefit you:

– Reduces stress, adrenaline levels and blood pressure, leaving you feeling calm
– Increases energy and stamina through the production of ATP
– Draws toxins out of muscles, decreasing soreness and leaving you feeling loose and relaxed
– Reducing swelling and inflammation once absorbed through skin, great for post-event care
– Exfoliates and softens skin, especially on elbows, knees and heels
– Neutralizes foot odor (need we say more?)

Additional suggested uses of magnesium sulfate:

– Relieves constipation: epsom salts increase water in the intestines and draws water into the colon (much like a suppository) to allow easier passage. Consult a doctor prior to using.
– Homemade face mask: mix with honey, tea extracts, or use with water
– Cleaning agent
– Treatment for bee stains, sunburns, poison ivy and insect bites to reduce itching
– Fades bruises
– Fertilizes plants
– Prevents hardening of arteries
– Improves oxygen usage
– Forms joint proteins, brain tissue and muscle proteins
– Helps ease migraine headaches

To create your own epsom salt bath: run bath water to a comfortable temperature; add one to two cups of epsom salt underneath running water; let salts partly dissolve; add essential oils such as lavender, peppermint or ecuaplytus for a more relaxing bath. Soak in bath for 15-20 minutes. Scoop un-dissected salts and rub gently over hardened or calloused areas, such as knees, heels, and elbows.

Have you tried an epsom salt bath? Leave a comment below about your results and thoughts!

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Health Club – Safeguarding Your Valuables

A while back, I had just finished working out. It was 3:00 in the afternoon.
I was in the City of Glendale working as a personal trainer and was training during my lunch break.

I walked inside the locker room and saw my locker door half open.

I shouted out loud “the F word” as I opened the door completely. Only thing left inside was my broken lock. “C'mon! Cash and the music CD's I can understand, but why my clothes?” I said to myself. They could of at least left those items.

So, in a little over an hour of training, my gym bag and all it's personal goodies were GONE! (a handy of music CD's, $ 40 in cash, a calculator I traded, notebook, extra shoes, clothes, jacket – about $ 260 worth).

I did, however, did not stress too much about this incident. I'll tell you more about that in a second.

So, I ran to the front desk and reported the break in immediately.

First, if you can avoid it, do not bring valuable goods to your health club.

Here's what I did: A hip pack or sports pack. (yeah, called it a sexy fanny pack if you want) but yes, I carried a hip pack with a couple of small items: my drivers license, cell phone and debit card. That was the smartest thing I did that day. A was a life lesson reinforced. Carry your valuables.

What can you do to secure your valuables when going to the gym?

Please do not leave or bring important items to the gym like: Passport, Social Security card, all your credit cards, expensive electronic gadgets – iPod, iPads etc. or lots of cash.

If you drive to the gym, leave valuable items inside your car, out of sight. I leave my wallet in my trunk of car. I do not leave it where it's visible to the eye from the outside looking in.

Inside the gym locker room. Do use a high quality lock. Look at using a lock with Anti-shim technology.

Keep eyes open. If you happen to observe suspicious behavior or activity – anything weird or off, report that to the front desk.

If stolen, jump into action and report any credit cards to the bank, report to the police. Report your ID and wallet stolen to Equifax and Experian credit bureaus.

In any event, if something like this happens to you, I've given you some examples above. Be safe and by keeping your club safe. I would say, lock all valuables in the trunk but unfortunately, I've heard the same thing happening to parked cars at gyms. Best to leave at home if possible or carry it on you.

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Indoor Sauna – The Best Well-Being Partner

Indoor sauna is one of the finest alternatives when people have space and budgetary constraints. In fact, it is the best way to relax and detoxify your body at home only. You do not have to move anywhere, just sit in your indoor sauna and relax after a hectic whole day long working. This is the reason most of the working people go for indoor units to rejuvenate themselves and look more beautiful. Health conscious people often choose it as it has multiple benefits from stress recovery to pain relief. In fact, doctors also recommend sauna or steam bath in order to promote well-being.

People who have woven skin spores, heavy muscular aches, oil and dust on their skin surfaces, always prefer steam bath. It not only makes skin breathing, but also keeps it healthy and shiny. This is why saunas cabins are also known as the purveyor of good health. It helps in fast recovery from both physical and mental strain. People, who have less time to go away for saunas, often purchase indoor saunas to have its vivid advantage. In fact, indoor units is affordable and brings happiness through wellness.

Modern indoor saunas cabins are equipped with a convectional heater & Infrared heater in order to provide the most effective sauna heating. It simply amplifies user's experience and makes them feel better. Indoor cabins are ideal for 2-4 persons and because of its exceptionally calibrated modular design it can be easily assembled and disassembled in no time. This is the added benefit of these saunas; the other similar advantage is that you can choose its accessories for ultimate comfort. Most of the people choose indoor saunas that are fully equipped and have unlimited features like Grade “A” western red cedar, optional carbon fiber infrared heaters, light with interior on / off air switch, brush stainless steel straps and much more.

You can also expect hand sanded adjustable seats and modular design for quick assembly from modern indoor sauna manufacturers. Manufacturers construct saunas that are made from the finest quality timber using advanced technological methods. They create unique and designer saunas that can be easily placed in houses with its accessories.

Moreover, you can demand benches from your manufacturer to have full-fledged comfort in your own style. These benches not only give you comfort, but also accentuates the environment. It will provide strength and durability to the sauna cabin and make it ever-so-engaging and aesthetic in appearance. If you are thinking of purchasing a perfect indoor sauna for your home, just find an online sauna supplier having expertise in building and installing at the most economic rates.

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How to Apply Hot Wax for Hair Removal

There are essentially two types of Hot Wax available for the beauty therapist / esthetician to use. Traditional style Hot Wax takes its name from the temperature it has been heated to, it can feel quite hot on the skin. And the new style Non Strip wax.

Traditional Hot Wax It is applied using a wooden spatula in a figure of 8 motion adding additional layers to build up the thickness and ensure all the hairs are worn in the wax prior to removal. The wax does have a strong grip of the hairs, but when it cools it sets hard on the skin and is often very difficult to remove. In some cases it can feel like using a spatula to chisel away at the wax to get it off.

Most therapists are now moving to the new style of Hot Wax that was initially developed in the early 80's by a French chemist. This style of wax comes by various names such as Non Strip, Brazilian, Peelable, Hot Film etc. They all essentially work in the same way and with a much lower melting temperature which makes them a lot more comfortable for the client.

Before beginning the waxing check the area to be waxed, look at hair growth directions and where needed if the hair is too long (mostly over 1cm in length) using some clippers trim it down to about a grade 2 (6mm) – but no shorter .

Before applying the wax cleanse the skin using a suitable cleanser product on a cotton pad. Next prepare the area for waxing by using a very small amount of pre-wax oil. Several wax companies now make these, commonly with a jasmine fragrance. Using oil instead of talc is a much better way of preparing the skin, you create a lipid barrier between the skin and the wax which means it sticks to the hairs and not the skin. As a result removal of the wax is much easier and a lot more comfortable for the client. If the wax slips off when you apply the oil you have put too much on, wipe over the area with a strip and this will remove all the excess oil and leave the perfect amount behind.

To apply the wax scoop out a small amount from the pot onto your disposable wooden spatula and apply the wax in the direction of the hair growth as you would warm strip wax. The line should be fairly thin, but not too thin as it will break when removed. There is a little bit of an art to getting the thickness correct, and each wax is slightly different so play about with yours to practice this. If the wax is too thin you can apply some extra over the top to thicken it up. You can also extend the length of the strip by overlapping slowly and continuing down.

To save time you can apply a second strip to the skin, adjacent to but not touching the first strip. Once you have completed applying this strip the first one will be ready for removal.

Before removing the wax just touch it where it is thickest to ensure it is set, then start by flicking the end of the strip with either your finger or the end of a spatula. Now bracing the skin to keep it tight remove the strip, if it is a long strip do not remove in one pull! Instead remove a short section, move your bracing hand near the end of the wax you are removing and stretch the skin again. Continue this all the way up the strip. Once removed press your hand into the skin or rub over once to soothe it.

Once all hair has been removed apply a generous amount of oil and remove it using your cleanser product on a cotton pad. This removes any sticky residue and prepares the skin for the after wax lotion or products.

For very short stubborn hairs you can apply the wax against the direction of hair growth and then remove as normal. This can help to lift the hair into the wax to ensure they are gripped tightly in it.

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