Ohhhh this is a good one ladies! My FAVORITE wellness expert in California, author Margaux of Well + Away, has taken the time to write down all her thoughts on the coolest and WEIRDEST wellness therapies and experiences out there. I for one find this so interesting and I knew other VFers would love it too. Margaux has worked in wellness and wellness PR for years now. She goes on retreats, does write ups, reviews… all the time, you name it- she’s trying it- and has an opinion. Be sure to check out her website! She has a killer newsletter too. If you love fun wellness events- you’ll love Margaux! She puts on the BEST events. And know of the coolest ones going on. Take it away Margaux! So happy to have you on VF.
Hi babes! Nice to ‘meet’ you here on my favorite Bay Area blog and lifestyle advisor Violet Fog! My name is Margaux and I started the first series of healthy printed guidebooks, called the Well + Away VitalGuides, and I also advise hotels and private clubs on what’s hot in wellness now. Which means I’m on the road about 40% of the time as a wellness guinea pig: trying everything from ancient body work practices to Silicon Valley style biohacking.
Katey kindly invited me to share my most memorable 2017 wellness adventures – good and bad – and those I’m most looking forward to in 2018.
2017’s Greatest Hits
As much as the medical community is not into it, practitioners and fans of craniosacral therapy are aggressive in singing the praises behind it. I love exploring controversial wellness modalities and so when a chance came up to give it a try, I was all over it. During my experience, which I tried at the beautiful Joya spa in Scottsdale, I passed out. Depending on who you talk to, the treatment is either meant to move craniosacral fluid in and around the brain or energy throughout the system around with super light pressing on specific pressure points. I honestly don’t know if it did anything other than relax me enough to the point of passing out (nearly a first for me on a body worker’s table), but it was an interesting combination of weird and nice and luxurious feelings. Recommendation factor? If you’ve tried everything else on a spa’s menu and you just want a curiosity fix, go for it. But if you’re looking for something more effective than featherweight touch – I’d book a plain old massage.
Cannabis + yoga together
Okay, the first time I tried combining cannabis and yoga (yes, smoking/eating/vaping/dabbing marijuana then hopping onto a yoga mat) the host seemed to forget about the yoga (not much of a mystery why that happened). I ended up leaving before we even rolled out our mats because it was honestly all a little much for me. The second time, I really paced myself with the pre-yoga vape from my new favorite (favorite favorite) Pure Vape pens. The host Eliza Maroney of Lucky Box Club was an expert yoga spirit guide. She taught the most perfectly gentle, non-judgmental and a little bit giggly yoga class. It was a fun way to challenge balance and just the right amount of stretching and light movement. Everyone left smiling.
25-min Lagree class (reformer pilates)
I was doubtful that a 25-minute class could really kick my tush. I mean… that’s like a warm-up plus 10 min, right? Wrong. The Lagree flagship studio teaches 25-minute classes on their new, proprietary supraformer machines that have incline abilities. There was no warm-up or cool down, just twitching muscles and sweat all over from minute three until the last second. I was sore for two days after and ate my words on how tough I thought this length of a workout could be.
DNA and metabolism testing
So, it’s not the cheapest #treatyoself buy, but it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than these tests would be pre-Habit launch. A $300 test that includes a DIY blood test, a shelf-stable and 1,000 calorie shake to chug within five minutes and a few other goodies are what make up Habit’s metabolism and DNA test to identify how to optimize your diet to be your best self. I hated (hated) the test, mostly how I felt after drinking the evil shake, but the results were amazing. I think I now show them off at every dinner party I attend. I learned about dietary sensitivities: dairy and caffeine but not gluten, how I process different macronutrients and my ‘hero’ foods. It’s the simplest gateway test into the world of biohacking, and the one that got me hooked. Recommend? So much so that I got my whole family to purchase the test!
Edgy Veg Cookbook
A friend of a friend represents Candice of Edgy Veg, a fun and whimsical Youtube channel based on making vegan comfort food. Her videos are so engaging and approachable that even my borderline anti-vegan mother loves them. This October, she released her first cookbook. I’m not even that much of a cookbook person but this thing has been in such heavy rotation in my kitchen that I think I’ve already prepared 70% of the dishes in here and now have people regularly inviting themselves over for brunch to try Candice’s waffles, scramble and clever take on grilled cheese.
I despise the cold. Give me Palm Springs in summer with no misters over an over-conditioned restaurant any day of the week. Cryotherapy is another one of those trending wellness modalities that I was suspicious of. The medical community opinion is mixed, and I don’t think there are any real clinical trials on the efficacy of cryo. Oh, and did I mention that I cannot handle cold? I was at a Canadian wine country wellness resort -Sparkling Hill- in Kelowna where they have the only full-body cryo machine in North America – it would have been rude to decline an invitation to freeze. So I strapped on my least spa appropriate suit, because who knows what kind of suit to bring to Canadian deep winter, some gloves and a face mask and FROZE for three whole minutes. Full experience details on Sparkling Hill cryotherapy here. I was shocked to realize that for six weeks after my session I felt no pain in my lower back from an old Soul Cycle tweak. Like zero pain when normally I would feel it a few times throughout the day. The medical community may not be fully on-board but I’m a convert.
2018 Can’t Misses
Fertility age testing from Future Family
As someone who thinks I can ignore the realities of biology as long as I just eat enough vegetables, the reality is that I am a 33-year old woman in a long-term committed relationship who should probably at least start thinking about what’s happening down in my uterus. Future Family does the easiest fertility age testing ever – they mail you a prescription to get blood work done in a lab to test for three specific hormones and then a nurse practitioner calls with the results about a week later. EASY. And yes, they just launched a similar test for men, too!
“Lovely” the sex wearable to track who knows what
I’m honestly just really curious, about everything. What is it tracking? Is this thing sharing my sex data (whatever that might be) with a group of dudes somewhere? So many questions, I really just need to try it to know. It looks weird but cute, the illustrations showing how to use are kind of adorable – my curiosity is so piqued.
Microdosing with LSD
I have friends that have great experiences and ones who have had ho hum ones. The benefits are said to include less anxiety, more creativity, more energy and more spiritual connection. I mean, sign me up. What is microdosing exactly? It’s taking a dose of LSD or any psychedelic that is sub-perceptual. You’re not going to be tripping like your parents in the 70’s.
2018 is the year of recovery. I feel like the past few years were all about pushing it to the next level with tough as hell workouts and even super athletic yoga. We weren’t so much talking about the rest that’s so necessary to maintain those boundary-pushing fitness routines. Now, I feel like there are so many creative approaches to recovery out there, including my current favorite: stretch studios. StretchLab in LA has locations throughout the city, and now similar studios are popping up throughout New York and I’m sure other cities will be on their heels in coming months.
Toasting with my girl Katey with good wine (that’s actually actually Weight Watchers friendly too)
I love a great glass of Napa Sauvignon Blanc, or Oregon Pinot Noir, but my body feels best when I’m putting low or next to no sugar into it. I recently learned about a crazy new wine brand made by Sonoma’s Truett Hurst winery called Cense. They’re launching with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that is supposed to be lower in sugar and calories than traditional Sauv Blancs, and is three points in Weight Watchers language (don’t know what that translates to irl, but sounds like not too many points!)
Do your eyes and ears feel open to these new possibilities or what?! Thank you SO MUCH, Margaux. Such a perfect gal to have on The Violet Fog! Be sure to check her out at Well + Away!