When I first found out I was pregnant, I felt the usual rush of emotions: joy, excitement, a little bit of fear, and of course, absolute euphoria that I now had an iron-clad excuse to indulge myself completely! For me that means more spa days. Fortunately, I was in the right business, having opened the country’s first maternity spa, Barefoot & Pregnant in 2003.
After my pregnancy, I realized I wanted to bring the wonderful nurturing and pampering feeling to more women. By putting together spa recipes in my book, “Spa Mama”, I wanted to make it easier for women to pamper themselves at home. Each recipe has been formulated to give you all the mental and physical benefits of a luxurious spa treatment without actually having to leave your home! So get comfortable, relax and get ready to make the most out of the opportunity to pamper yourself.
Baby Your Face: Relaxing Facial Massage
This is a great way to relieve headache or sinus pain. All you need are your own two hands and a comfy place to sit or lie down.
Forehead. Using the fingertips of both hands, stroke your forehead from the midpoint towards to the temple as if you were drawing four rows between your brow and your hairline.
Eyebrow ridge. With both hands poised above the bridge of your nose, inhale deeply. Pinch your eyebrow ridge as you exhale. Inhale and move your fingers to a new position along the ridge. Exhale as you pinch, and so on.
Nose and cheekbones. Using both hands, draw your middle and index fingers down either side of your nose, pausing where cheekbone meets nostril. Inhale and press your fingers towards the back of your head. Continue tracing underneath your cheekbone until you reach your temples.
Jawbone. Make small circles with your fingertips from the temple down along the jawbone until you reach the tip of the chin.
Cheeks. With your hands in a loose fist, use the flat part of your fingers to make soft circles in the fleshy part of your cheeks.
Ears. Pinch the edge of your ears from the top ridge down to the lobe and back, gently pulling as you do so.
Head. With flat fingers, push up from the corner of your jawbone to your temple. Continue up and over your ears, and down along the underside of your jawbone finishing under the tip of your chin. Then massage your whole head with your fingertips as if you were shampooing.
Sweet and Simple Facial Mask: Bye-bye break-outs
Although it doesn’t happen to all women, acne is a fairly as we age. Try this natural and gentle facial mask designed to unplug your oily pores without irritating your skin.
- 2 tablespoons bran
- 1 tablespoon baby applesauce
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dried peppermint
In a small bowl mix the ingredients to make a paste. Spread the gooey (and fairly yummy-looking) mixture on your face. Treat yourself to a quick 20 minute nap and then rinse the mask off with lukewarm water.
Lullaby Time: Moisturizing night cream for normal skin
Use this combination of apple juice, glycerin and sweet almond oil every evening and you’ll wake up with glowing, healthy skin. Apple juice works wonders on fine wrinkles and cracked skin, while the sweet almond oil combats dryness and reduces the appearance of scarring and skin imperfections.
- 1 tablespoon apple juice
- 1 teaspoon glycerin
- 1 tablespoon sweet almond oil
In a pan, mix all ingredients over a low heat to create a viscous liquid the texture of pouring cream. Transfer the cream to a small, sterile plastic container. To use, massage a few drops onto your freshly cleansed skin before going to sleep.
Read on for delicious, spa-inspired dishes to complete your perfect Spa Mama day…
Salmon with Lemon Pesto: A healthy feast
This salmon dish is low in fat, high in protein and just bursting with the essential fatty acids.
- 2 salmon fillets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic/lemon seasoning
- 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 tablespoon pine nuts
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar (or honey or maple syrup)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse and pat dry the salmon fillets, and set aside. In a blender combine the rest of the ingredients to make the pesto. Cover the salmon fillets with the pesto and place them in an oiled and oven-safe glass pan. Chill for 30 minutes and then cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until firm. Brush the salmon with any extra pesto and olive oil before serving.
Asian Cabbage Crunch Salad: The yummiest way to get your greens
Cabbage not exactly in your top ten list of vegetables? Try this fabulous salad and you’ll become a fan. Savoy cabbage offers fiber, mint balances the acid in your stomach and the almonds help calm your nerves. Kelp is pretty much a wonder food. It’s high in calcium, iron and protein.
- 2 cups red cabbage, shredded
- 2 cups Savoy cabbage, shredded
- 1 cup Dutch head, shredded
- 1/4 cup scallions, chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup mint, chopped
- 1/4 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
For the dressing:
- 3 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon kelp flakes
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil, toasted
To make the dressing, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, salt and kelp flakes in a small mixing bowl or a food processor with a fitted blade. Slowly drizzle the oil into the mixture. Taste and add more lemon juice or salt. Cover and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Then, in a medium size bowl, mix the shredded cabbages together. Add dressing to taste and toss well. Finally, throw in the scallions, cilantro, mint and almonds.
Iced Berry Lemonade: A nutrient-packed zinger
What a super-efficient fruit the humble raspberry is. So small, yet crammed with powerful properties, both antioxidant (protecting the body’s tissues from oxygen related damage) and antimicrobial (helping prevent yeast infections). Raspberries also contain folic acid and Vitamins B6 and C, and research suggests that they contain cancer-fighting nutrients too. All of which may explain why this delicious all-natural lemonade packs quite a punch.
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 decaffeinated tea bags
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 3 cups water
Combine the lemon juice and honey in a small saucepan over a low heat just until the honey has melted. Remove from heat, add the tea bags and let steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove tea bags. Then, puree the lemon, honey and tea liquid with the blueberries and raspberries, adding water until the mixture is very smooth. Chill thoroughly and serve.
Stacy Denney is the mother of Maxwell and Ryan, and the owner of Barefoot & Pregnant, a day spa in Marin County, Northern California. She is also the author of Spa Mama and Fit Mama, both from Chronicle Books, and available at amazon.com. For more on Stacy, check out her site: www.barefootandpregnant.com
Stacy will be demonstrating her Spa Mama pampering techniques at a special event, the Luxury Wellness Retreat Program, in celebration of mothers and mothers-to-be at the Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley, in Palo Alto, California. The weekend program, Friday, May 16 to Saturday, May 17, specifically caters to new moms and moms-to-be, and includes a gentle yoga class, An invigorating water fitness class, and plenty of free time for spa services, a light nap, or relaxing by the hotel’s tranquil pool,
For pregnant moms, the Four Seasons will offer Barefoot & Pregnant’s signature Cast Away Belly Cast, a 90-minute spa service during the retreat. This is a special way to honor and preserve your pregnant form in all its blossoming glory. Expert practitioners will paint your torso and abdomen with hypoallergenic molding material that, when dry, creates an exact replica of your beautiful belly! (An additional charge will apply for this unique treatment.)
For rates and availability please call 1.650.566.1200 or visit www.fourseasons.com/siliconvalley for more details.