Health& Wellness

Published on Thu, Oct 12, 2006
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Health & Wellness

Local spas offer body detoxification services

By Tara Nelson

Fall is the second best time of year – second only to spring – to engage in detoxification and purification treatments, according to naturopathic physician Summer Beattie.

Beattie, a massage therapist and certified naturopath at Whisper on the Bay spa in Birch Bay, along with spa owner Ellen Shea, have jointly developed a series of detox treatment programs aimed to help individuals get clean inside and out.

“We’ve been offering detox services such as our seaweed body wraps for some time but now we can offer our programs under the medical supervision of a licensed physician,” Shea said.

Naturopathy describes a practice in which treatments such as herbs, homeopathy or diet and lifestyle changes that complement the body’s natural healing processes.

Beattie said she incorporates spa treatments, diet and lifestyle counseling and nutritional supplements to help individuals reach their goal.

The programs were created in response to client demand, said Shea. “We’re collaborating with Beattie to offer our guests a more complete detox program.”

Beattie agreed, adding that she has noticed a shift in the spa industry toward holistic health and wellness as opposed to just relaxation and pampering.

“That’s not to say we’re not going to pamper you,” she said.

Why detoxify?
Unless you live in a remote island in the Aleutian chain, toxins are most likely an inadvertent part of your diet.

Everything from foods grown in contaminated soil, heavy metals in municipal drinking water sources, to vehicle exhaust – not to mention preservatives in processed food – can contribute to an overload of impurities.

“Even our own metabolic processes create by-products that, if not properly eliminated, can act as a toxin,” Beattie said. “So it’s not just stuff we’re taking in, it’s just everyday living.”

Beattie said symptoms of a body weighted with impurities often result in symptoms such as frequent headaches, bloating or flatulence or lack of energy and depression. Skin rashes, breakouts, and allergies are also common.

To complement the programs, Shea said she has added a set of mineral baths ($45) and body wraps designed to stimulate sweat glands, improve metabolism and encourage the elimination of toxins through the skin ($85 for one or $300 for a set of four).

The Spa at Semiahmoo also offers a variety of body wraps designed to facilitate the elimination of toxins, said Kassie Guglielmino, an esthetician and spa services director there.

Guglielmino said one of their most popular wraps is the Sothys seaweed wrap ($75) that employs seven types of sustainably-harvested seaweed.

“It works like osmosis,” she said. “The toxics come out and the nutrients go in. It’s an excellent way to jumpstart a detox program, plus you’ll feel better.”

The spa’s lymphobiology drainage massage ($65) also helps to drain the lymphnodes (which Guglielmino calls “the garbage disposals of the body”) helping to remove excess fluids and waste.

To aid in the detoxification process, Beattie also recommends six to eight hours of sleep, drinking plenty of water and at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day.

In addition, clients are encouraged to eat organic foods whenever possible, choose nourishing foods over damaging foods and use natural home and health care products rather than conventional ones that often contain sodium laurel sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate, two commercially-manufactured cleaning agents that are known to cause cancer in laboratory rats.

Whisper on the Bay is located at 7862 Birch Bay Drive and can be reached at 371-3660. Their website is

The Spa at Semiahmoo is located at 9565 Semiahmoo Parkway and can be reached at 800/770-7992. Their website is

?Seven tips for detoxification

1. Fluids: Drink plenty of filtered water to flush toxins from the system and to ensure proper hydration. Lemon juice adds flavor and helps to loosen and break up mucus in the body.
2. Eat fresh and unprocessed foods such as brown rice, oats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and raw juices.
3. Eliminate red and fatty meats and minimize meats treated with nitrates or growth hormones such as poultry. Wild-caught fish such as salmon and halibut is acceptable. Other protein suggestions include tofu, beans and lentils.
4. Refined sugars such as white sugar, corn syrup, crystallized fructose and honey, as well as processed white flour encourage yeast in the bowel and should be eaten sparingly.
5. Powdered psyllium husks used in the amount of one to two tablespoons in liquid 30 minutes before meals can help the process of elimination. Other colon-cleansing foods include ground flax seed meal, sunflower seeds, dark green vegetables and fresh apples. A gentle laxative tea and dry brushing of the skin with a loofah is also helpful.
6. Exercise – even a short brisk walk daily – increases metabolism and helps speed up the detoxification process.
7. Eating food in the right combinations can also aid in digestion and the proper absorption of nutrients. Proteins or starches should be eaten with salad or vegetables but proteins and starches eaten together are more difficult to digest.