A Cup of Tea A Day Keeps the Doctor Away

It can help in battling cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It can be a weight-loss aid. It can lower cholesterol. It can improve one’s mental state.

What is this magic elixir? A simple cup of tea.

Adding a cup or two of tea to your daily routine is a great (and easy) way to stay healthy. Here are just a few examples of the powerful benefits of tea.

  • Research shows that two cups of black or green tea daily will lower women’s risk of ovarian cancer by 46 percent.
  • Green tea can help you lose weight — it’s heavy in epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which experts say can speed up your metabolism.
  • White tea is a bacteria killer. Two cups daily vastly lowers your chances of getting strep and pneumonia.
  • Green tea may help to reduce the risk neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
  • Oolong tea is rich in antioxidants, and can strengthen bones structure and protect teeth from decay.
  • Green tea is a fantastic substitute for coffee. It contains less caffeine, but still helps with mental alertness and reduces anxiety.

De-Stress With Verbena

Let’s face it: the holidays can be extremely stressful. Verbena can help.

Verbena (Latin: Glandularia Bipinnatifida) is commonly used to relieve physical ailments as a sedative and muscle relaxant that is soothing to the nervous system. Most people who work with the plant will build a simple, pleasing and mild relationship with it to relieve aches and pains and aid in sleep.

For those who are overworked and overstressed, however, the plant will work deeper on emotional issues. Verbena is especially effective at bringing ease and relief to those who tend to take their work home with them or are in a very competitive workplace and are fighting to keep up. (Oddly, often those who can benefit from Verbena the most tend to resist it the most.) This plant will help you bolster against cold and flu and can be used with Bee Balm (Latin: Monarda Fistulosa) to move mucus and clear the sinuses.

Verbena loves people and grows well in disturbed soils all over the country. It is likely you can find this plant near your house.


Usually Verbena greens and flowers are used to make fresh tea and tinctures and the flowering tops can be used in salads. The roots are stronger and are only used in more extreme situations.

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Spa Lover

Give the gift of relaxation this year.

  • Hand in Hand Sea Salt Bath Salts and Lavender Soap – These aren’t just fantastically soothing bath essentials, they’re also ethically sourced and Hand in Hand donates to third world countries with every purchase.
  • Travaasa Spa Robe and Neck Pillow – Give a little bit of Travaasa with these cozy gifts. After a long day, nothing feels better.
  • Primavera Face Wash and Moisturizer – Nourishing, therapeutic and natural care for your skin during the dry winter months.
  • KYPRIS Beauty Elixir – Skin care that brings out your beauty.
  • bkr Water Bottle – Stylish water bottles that are perfect for on-the-go types.
  • 80 Acres Blood Orange Candle – This clean-burning soy candle is packaged in a 100 percent recycled paperboard box.

All items are available at the Travaasa Spa Boutique. 

Winter Fresh: Men’s Skincare Tips

Admit it, guys. Your skin needs some TLC, too — especially during the winter months. Don’t know where to start? Mike Bruggeman of Organic Male is here to help.

Common Problems Men Face

  • Not so ironically, many skin problems men face are related to the shaving process. Ingrown hairs and shaving related sensitivity are common problems. Good shaving technique is paramount in preventing male skin concerns, coupled with products that feed and nourish the skin to help prevent aging.
  • Another problem stems from the fact that the top three shave brands in the U.S. contain either Isopropane or Butane to create foam. These chemicals dry the skin, which in turn causes premature aging.
  • Additionally, nearly every man as some sort of combination skin due his oiler skin by nature — 20% oilier than female skin. Larger pores and increased oil produce an oily T-Zone, while many shaving products dry the shaving zone.  Rebalancing the skin is a critical step after shaving.

Why a Skin-Care Routine Is A Must — And How Organic Male Can Help

Organic Male OM4 believes in simplicity and the brand mantra – 4 PRODUCTS | 4 STEPS | 4 MINUTES | 4 MEN. Each product in OM4’s color-coded by skin type and numbered systems is formulated for the biological differences in male skin. The system takes less than four minutes to complete.

Step 1: WASH. Encompass the skin-type specific cleansers which address the over oil production issue. Textures are different depending on the need from gels, to a French Green Clay mousse for oily skin and a creamy Sea Bucktorn Oil and Caldenula based cleanser for dry and mature skin.

STEP 2: BALANCE. It’s one of the most important steps after shaving. Rebalancing oily and dry combination skin with a single splash while bringing down sensitivity is the goal of our pH Balancers/aftershave splashes.

STEP 3: BIOACTIVATE. Simply said, don’t leave the spa without it if you want healthy, younger looking skin. One drop of OM4 serums suspended in a fractionated molecule medium, go where moisturizers cannot to provide a daily dose of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids to feed male skin which is 30% thicker and more dense than female skin.

STEP 4: DEFEND. These skin-type specific moisturizers lock in the benefits of the entire system and provide a matte clean, masculine finish.

Fight the Common Cold With Echinacea

A winter cold can put a serious damper on your holiday cheer. This year, try to battle back with Echinacea.

Echinacea (Latin: echinacea purpurea) stimulates the immune system and thus increases one’s overall resistance to disease. The herb can be useful in treating the early phases of bacterial or viral infection. Echinacea speeds the resolution of colds, flu, and many forms of upper respiratory infection. Bonus — it can also be used as an anti-inflammatory and to treat infected stings, bites, or wounds from reptiles and insects.

This is a very strong a powerful herb. Some herbalists recommend using small doses of Echinacea as preventative care during cold and flu season, while others only use it in stronger doses to treat one after becoming ill.

Echinacea is a cone flower that can be found in many parts of North America, but especially on the plains. This is a great flower to cultivate in your garden. During the growing season harvest flowers, stems and leaves. The roots are the strongest part of the plant but should be harvested minimally to ensure the survival of the plant from year to year as it is a perennial. A portion of a healthy Echinacea plant can be dug in late fall of winter and tinctured for use when one because extremely ill with a flu like symptoms.

Trouble Sleeping? Essence of Vali Just May Do the Trick

Too many visions of sugarplums dancing in your head while you try to sleep this holiday season? A good night’s rest is vital for getting through these busy times. A natural solution is Essence of Vali.

Valerie Bennis of Essence of Vali explains why.

Why should you use Essence of Vali? It is 100% natural and contains soothing essences from plants.

What does it do? It is a synergistic blend of sedative plant essences that help you relax and eases you into a peaceful sleep.

How does it help you? It helps you relax so that you can get to sleep. The blend of lavender, marjoram, cedarwood and ylang/ylang is soothing, grounding, anti-anxiety and sedative.

Citrus Healing: Lemon Balm

Soothe your #HolidayProblems-induced nerves with a a dose of lemon balm.

Lemon balm (Latin: Melissa Officinalis) is a lovely, calming nervine without the sedative effect that many nervines have. This plant is related to mint and basil and is easy to grow in a garden or pot. It can be used for headaches, to aid balanced thyroid function, for opening the heart and healing sadness. Topically, lemon balm is a wonderful anti-viral that is known for healing cold sores. This plant will aid in perspiration and can help one sweat out a fever. It tastes great a fresh tea or tincture is relaxing and is safe for pregnancy.

Health Tips: A Lemon a Day Can Go A Long Way

Fighting off colds in the winter is hard to do, but if you start each morning off with hot water and lemon juice, you’ll help your body make it through!

Here are a few of the reasons to sip on this hot beverage:

  • It strengthens the immune system, thanks to vitamin C.
  • Potassium contained in it stimulates brain, nervous system and controls blood pressure. So it helps your body and mind to relax.
  • It encourages your liver to produce acids required for digestion, helping to clean it of toxins.
  • It cleanses the skin, and even more, reduces wrinkles. A natural antiseptic contained in lemon helps to treat skin problems.
  • Lemon refreshes morning breath.
  • It helps with coughs and breathing problems.
  • It cleanses intestines of the remaining food from the previous day.
  • It provides vitamins and minerals.
  • It helps to treat stomach problems such as nausea, heartburn, bloating, constipation.

So what are you waiting for? Drink up!

Skincare 101: DIY Facials

No time in your hectic holiday schedule to make it to the spa? Our spa experts share tips, tricks and their favorite products for giving yourself a facial at home. Finding a little time to take care of your skin is important, especially during the dry winter months.

For the most benefit from a DIY facial, first you should be relaxed. Run a bath and add Jojoba oil, sweet almond oil or a Lavender or Rose Sallow bath oil from Primavera. This will soothe your senses and moisturize your skin, setting the atmosphere for your facial.

Cleanse your face with a hydrating cleanser, rinse then gently exfoliate with your favorite exfoliant using circular upwards motions. After rinsing apply a moisturizing or hydrating mask. We recommend Primavera Antioxidant Mask, but you can also make your own:

  • For dry skin: mix an Avocado with a touch of extra-virgin olive oil and apply to your face. It will provide your skin with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and softening agents.
  • For oily skin with large pores: smooth a beaten egg white all over your face. It will tighten your skin and bring a healthy glow.

While your mask is on, lean back and relax or read a book, taking in the wonderful aromas of your bath. After 15 minutes rinse or wipe off your mask. Once you are out of the bath, apply lotion or oil to your body and a rich moisturizer or Intensive seed oil capsule to your face. You will feel refreshed and look radiant.

Best Skincare Products for Winter

The cold winter months are so harsh on our skin, resulting in dry, itchy skin. Here are some of the best skincare products our spa experts recommend using for silky smooth skin that you’ll instantly love!

Dry Hands & Elbows: Anakiri Flower Fusion Hand Cream. This rich hand cream soothes dry elbows and hands, exfoliates and deeply moisturizes.

The Body: Pinot Honey Ginger Body Oil or Primavera Rose Sallow Body Oil. Apply these to the skin after you shower for smooth skin all winter long.

The Face: Primavera Seed Oil Capsules. The Moisturizing Intensive Seed Oil capsules with neroli, cassis, rose hip and borage seed oil is a perfect dose to maintain hydration. The Revitalizing Intensive Seed Oil capsules with organic rose, pomegranate, sallow thorn and rose hip, deliver anti-aging benefits with a perfect does of hydration.

The Lips: Moisturizing Lip Bal with neroli, cassis shea butter and jojoba is a must have.


Health Tips: Beat the Winter Blues

Oh, the weather outside is frightful! Which means you just want to curl up on the couch with a blanket, a movie and probably some not so healthy treats. It’s important to stay positive and healthy during the winter months. Here are a few ways to bite the winter blues and ensure you enjoy the beauty of the holiday season:

  • Get Sunshine – even if just for a few minutes, go outside!
  • Socialize – fight the urge to stay in and go out for dinner with friends or do some holiday shopping.
  • Get a Massage – it’s important to take care of your body and get the toxins moving around. You’ll be so glad you took some time to pamper yourself.
  • Keep a Daily Gratitude List – little reminders keep the soul warm.
  • Practice Conscious Acts of Kindness – the holiday season is all about giving. Put a smile on someone’s face with a simple act of kindness.

Winter Health Tips: Manzanilla Camomile Tea

It’s hard to avoid catching ill over the winter months, but we have a few employees at Travaasa who swear by Manzanilla Camomile Tea! It’s a very powerful, all-natural tea we recommend you drink daily. Here are some of the reliefs it aids in:

  • digestion
  • sleep
  • allergy relief
  • asthma
  • bacterial infections
  • burns and sunburns
  • colds
  • nausea
  • ulcers
  • morning sickness
  • stress relifer
  • restlessness
  • heartburn


5 Stress Relieving Activities to Get You Through the Holidays


Yoga remains one of the most sought after stress reducing activities in Resorts and Spa around the world.   Studies have shown that consistent yoga practice improves sense of well-being, increases strength and flexibility, while lowering blood sugar and blood pressure.


Increased immunity, improves emotional balance and sense of well being, lowers blood pressure, calms the nervous system, reduces stress, improves sleep.

Hula Hooping

Hula Hooping is a fun, exciting way to get a whole body workout.  You can utilize the hoop as a tool for exercise, dance and self-expression.  Maybe even learn a trick or two?  Hooping is great for beginners or anyone looking to dive into learning something new!

Aqua Aerobics

A fun way to kick off your day!  Whether at Travaasa Hana or your local gym, you can get wet while enjoying the standard benefits of any exercise. The enhanced weightlessness of aqua aerobics protects the body and reduces the risk of muscle or joint injury, placing less stress on the joints when stretching, and can allow a greater range of motion. Aqua aerobics is safe for individuals who prefer to keep their heads out of water. You do not even have to be a strong swimmer to participate in aqua aerobics!

Morning Walk/Jog & Stretch

Start your day with a walk/jog in the great outdoors (whether its your neighborhood, city park, the beach or the mountains). Stop along the way to take in the natural features around you as you wake up your body for the day ahead. This non-static technique known as active isolated stretching helps improve circulation, increase the elasticity of muscle and fascia, develop joint range of motion, and reduce stress.


Adventurous Spa Treatments: Thai Massage

Feeling adventurous this holiday season? Break away from your usual spa treatment and try something new, like a Thai Massage.

Traditional Thai massage uses no oils or lotions, and the recipient remains clothed during a treatment.  There is constant body contact between the practitioner and the client, but rather than rubbing on muscles, the body is compressed, pulled, stretched and rocked in order to clear energy blockages and relieve tension.  The practitioner uses thumbs, palms, forearms, elbows, knees and feet to create a dance of movement on the body of the recipient.  Joints are opened, muscles and tendons are stretched, internal organs are toned, and energy is balanced.  The overall effect is one of deep relaxation, rejuvenation, and physical and mental well being.


  • Massage therapy with twists and turns that cannot be applied in a typical massage.
  • Improved posture, balance, flexibility, range and ease of motion.
  • Removes aches, pains, stiffness, and tensions, stress of muscle, fascia, connective tissue, joints, vessels, nerves, channels the mind.


Dry Skin Remedies to Get Your Through the Winter

With the change of seasons and much cooler temperatures of winter comes the-ever-dreaded dry and itchy skin. Never fear, our spa experts our here to solve all your dry-skin woes with these daily remedies:

  • The heaters in our cars and houses are very drying to the skin, use a humidifier to put moisture back into the air.
  • Licking your lips makes them drier! Keep a lip balm in your purse or close at hand to soothe dry cracked lips.
  • Use a hydrating cleanser for face and body.
  • At night use an oil based moisturizer or seed oil capsules to protect your skin from moisture loss.
  • Exfoliate your face and body once or twice a week to remove dry, dead skin cells.
  • Moisturize your face and body within 2-3 minutes of getting out of the shower or bath while your skin is still damp.
  • Never forget, sunscreen is still important in the winter!


Resolution Solution: Eat Healthier

One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to try and eat healthier. While it’s a great change to make in your life, it can be hard. Try these tips to make a healthy change in your lifestyle.

  • Drinks lots of water – Perhaps the most important step to eating healthier, water is important. Water makes you feel fuller and aids digestion. Often when you think you’re hungry, you’re really just thirsty (but stay away from the soda).
  • Be open to new foods – Even though many of the foods you probably love are healthy, it’s good to be open to new foods too. Bland foods can be made more exciting with spices and herbs. You never know- you may find your new favorite food.
  • Don’t skip breakfast – Many times people don’t feel the need for breakfast or don’t feel hungry early in the morning. If you skip breakfast, it’s easier to overeat at lunch to compensate. Remember that a small breakfast is better than no breakfast at all.
  • Practice moderation – Giving up your favorite chocolate cake isn’t the whole solution to eating healthier. It’s okay to have your favorite food if you eat a small amount of it instead of the whole plate. Try to vary your diet so you eat some of everything.
  • Slow down – It can take a few minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it’s full. If you eat slowly and start feeling satisfied, that way you haven’t consumed too much extra.

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Wellness Enthusiast

  1. Fitness Class Coupon—What are their favorite hobbies? Gift certificates to their favorite climbing gym or yoga studio are great ideas for the fitness buff.
  2. Healthy Cookbooks—There are a ton of cookbooks that feature low-carb or low-fat recipes. Go to your local bookstore and search around. You’re sure to find one you like.
  3. Juicer—These are great because you pack a whole serving of fruits and veggies into one glass. Although they are a little pricier it’s sure to be a hit with anyone who’s health conscious.
  4. Heart-Rate Monitoring Watch—These can be found online and are not too expensive. Any health buff will love receiving this as a gift and keeping track of their heart rate while they work out.
  5. Great Workout Apps—If your on a smaller budget, give a iTunes gift card to download their favorite workout app. To make their work easier, give with a list of fitness apps including descriptions and ratings.

Holiday Stress Relieving Meditation

How would you like to start every morning on the beach? Or sitting in front of a blazing fire? With meditation, you can. Focusing on a calming scene for just five minutes every day will help you to clear your mind and prepare for the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Meditation is also a great tool to use for those days that are stress-filled and full of holiday commitments  Sneak away for a few minutes to ease your nerves and rest your mind. Here are a few tips to get you started on meditation to relieve that holiday season stress.

Focus. Concentration is essential to outstanding creative execution and performance. The simple act of focusing on your breathing everyday, will gradually improve your powers of concentration.

Patience. Meditation can be boring at times. For once in your life, you’re not trying to do anything or think anything, just sit there and pay attention to your immediate experience. And you will encounter all kinds of resistance to doing it. Zen priest Steve Hagen says, “If you can get past resistance to meditation, nothing else in life will be an obstacle.”

Calmness. At first, you’ll be surprised, maybe even horrified, to discover how busy your mind is – a nonstop stream of mental chatter. But if you stay with it, you should gradually find that your mind settles down as the months go by.

Clarity. Like calmness, this can be gradual and intermittent to begin with. But you are likely to notice moments and even periods of mental clarity, when you see things clearly and your mind is sharper than usual – which makes problem-solving and decision-making easier.

Insight. You’ve probably had the experience of suddenly realizing the solution to a problem, even though you haven’t been consciously thinking of it. Or you may have experienced a moment of inspiration, when a new idea flashes into your mind unbidden. If you’re practicing meditation regularly, expect this to happen more often.

Perspective. When you spend time just being present and observing your breath, thoughts, feelings, and moment-to-moment experience, you start to realize how trivial most of our daily worries really are. Even in the midst of the daily grind, you can let go of the small stuff, and keep the big picture in view.

Quick Fixes for Stomach Problems During the Holidays

Whether you’ve had too much to drink or too much to eat (or in all likelihood, both), try one of these quick fixes to get you back on track this holiday season.

Problem 1: Too much rich food.

From excessive portions to fatty dishes, an overload of rich foods can lead to everything from acid reflux to constipation to diarrhea. The most obvious solutions are over-the-counter remedies, but you can counter the abundance of seasonal treats by taking a fiber supplement, eating slowly or going for a walk after meals.

Problem 2: Too much to drink.

Ah, the hangover. It’s a malady that’s best avoided altogether, but hindsight is 20/20, right? Grab some coconut water for immediate replenishment of sugar, vitamins and electrolytes, and try to get some (mild) food in your stomach like bananas, rice, applesauce or toast.  And next time, try not to drink so much.

Problem 3: Too much stress.

All it takes is a trip to the mall during the holiday madness to get your stress levels skyrocketing. Nip stress in the bud by taking a yoga class or spending a few minutes doing deep, slow breathing exercises. Caffeine-free peppermint tea is another all-natural way to soothe rattled nerves and help alleviate nausea and stress-related stomach aches.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Gals

 With so many gifts to choose from how do you decide what to get your gal pal or significant other for the holidays? Here are five gift ideas that any girl is sure to love!

  1. Spa gift baskets or certificates—These are perfect for any girl in your life whether it be your daughter, friend or significant other. Put together a basket of her favorite smelling soaps, body wash and bubble baths or give her a certificate for a facial or manicure. Give the gift that’s sure to satisfy.
  2. Flowers of the Month Club—Great for reminding her how much you care each month. With twelve deliveries throughout the year, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
  3. Jewelry—You can never go wrong with jewelry because as everyone knows, diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Make sure you pay attention to what type of style she likes to wear—is it big and bulky? Simple and elegant? Get a piece that matches her style, and it’s sure to be a hit.
  4. A Big, Comfy Robe—This may not seem like a big gift but it is certainly a great one. She will be sure to enjoy it year-round and different patterns and fabrics make them customizable.
  5. Cook Book or Cooking Set—This is great because there are such a wide variety of options with this gift. For the woman who loves to cook infused olive oil sets, cooking classes and recipe books are available online and easily customizable to her favorite style of cuisine.

Reduce Stress during the Holiday Season

The holidays are no doubt one of the merriest times of the year. However, they can also be one of the most stressful times of the year, too. Our experts at Travaasa have some tips to keep your holiday season stress free and organized.

  •  Plan ahead parties – Whether you’re the host or the attendee, parties can definitely be stressful. If you feel like you’re being pushed into attending or hosting too many events, try to prioritize which are most important to you.
  • Follow a budget – Financial problems can become overwhelming during the holidays, and can become a big stress point. Set a budget at the beginning of the season and stick to it.
  • Give yourself time to travel – Traveling can be stressful during a normal time of the year, but it just gets more stressful over the holidays. If you give yourself extra time to get through those security lines, the stress level will reduce.
  • Use lists and calendars – Calendars and lists may seem petty, but they’re a great way to stay organized. Make a list of chores, presents to buy, etc. so that you can cross them off when you’re done. Use calendars to keep track of your parties and events so you can plan ahead accordingly.

10 Tips for Reducing Stress and Staying Organized During the Holidays

  1. Make delegating easy. Before people come over for Thanksgiving dinner, write down a list of tasks that people can do. That way, when they ask what they can help with, you can just refer them to the list.
  2. Stock up on wine and liquor well in advance, as to avoid long holiday lines and irregular holiday hours at the liquor store.
  3. Stock up on baking/cooking essentials (butter, sugar, baking soda, flour, salt, vegetable stock) to cut down on last-minute trips to the grocery store.
  4. Share cooking duties by encouraging a potluck style Thanksgiving dinner.
  5. Make room for new gifts and purchases in advance, whether that means purging closets or reorganizing drawers.
  6. Schedule a cleaning service to help with post-party messes (or to get your house sparkling before out of town guests arrive).
  7. Stock up on easy appetizers – crackers, cheese, dips – to alleviate stress during gatherings and to accommodate last-minute gatherings.
  8. Make a list of people who you plan to buy presents for, and set a budget for each person.
  9. Shop online. Not only can you avoid long lines (and traffic and parking), but you also can have gifts wrapped and sent directly to the recipient.
  10. Set a deadline to have all of your holiday gifts purchased, wrapped and sent.

How to Get Better Sleep during the Holidays

With all the hustling and bustling around the holiday season it sometimes seems impossible to get any rest. Our wellness experts here at Travaasa have compiled a few easy tips to make your sleep easier and more effective.

  • Make sure you’re maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, even on the weekends. Going to bed and waking up at the same time will help you feel more rested and get to sleep easier and faster.
  • Skip the caffeine after noon and opt for decaf or switch to a decaffeinated tea. Also, avoid alcohol four to six hours before sleep as it interferes with REM, an imperative part of your sleep cycle.
  • Eat larger meals for breakfast and smaller meals at night. This helps your digestive system as well as allowing for a deeper sleep.
  • A cooler temperature is better for sleeping. Your body needs to cool down when you sleep, so make the job easier and turn down that thermostat!
  • Turn off the lights. Darkness allows your pineal gland to secrete more melatonin, which is a big factor in determining how well you sleep.
  • In addition, increase how much light you get in the day. Go outside for a walk in the sun and open your curtains. The more light you get during the daytime the better.

Cure Your #HolidayProblems with an Escape to Travaasa

This holiday season Travaasa’s experts are making sure you don’t get stuck in a rut with the most common #HolidayProblems, but we’re also looking to take it a step further with our #HolidayProblems Sweepstakes.

  • GRAND PRIZE: A three-night stay (for two) Vitality package at Travaasa Austin for a fresh, healthy start to the New Year and two $300 American Express gift card to apply towards travel expenses.
  • Weekly giveaways of two $50 Travaasa gift cards.

Share your #HolidayProblems with us and enter to win!