“Why aren’t you smiling, didn’t you enjoy the treatment?” my friend Yassi enquired. I’d just indulged in Pure Bliss – literally. It’s one of several miraculous rituals offered at my local Korean spa. “I’m squeaky clean from head to toe (they even scrub between your toes and behind your ears), softer than a baby’s bottom, and too utterly relaxed to summons the muscles to smile” I feebly acknowledged.
Julie Anne Rhodes for the Express Magazine
Julie Anne Rhodes for The Express

Warning: Leave your body conscious inhibitions or any shyness in the lockers with your clothes. The Korean baths allow no clothing inside. On my first trip there I realized how askew our narrow definition of beauty truly is. There were bodies everywhere in all different shapes and sizes, all them beautiful in their own unique way.

Just imagine releasing all the stress and toxic energy we build up in our daily lives as you enter this Aladdin’s cave of serenity. Arrive early to shed your clothes, shower and sink leisurely into the warm mineral pool to ease tension, the hot mineral bath to detoxify and boost immunity, then plunge into the cold pool to balance body temperature and tighten your pores. Detox further for a couple minutes in the dry clay sauna, carefully staying hydrated as you go, then let the herbal steam permeate your soul as you lounge in the Jade sauna. Another quick shower then back to the jacuzzi to relax until the main event.

Julie Anne Rhodes
Julie Anne Rhodes – Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner Press
Pure Bliss begins with an Akasuri body scrub to exfoliate the skin which in turn reveals the younger, healthier skin cells followed by a citrus joboba bead body polish. Next any residual tension melts away under a deep tissue Korean massage with aromatherapy blended oils. Peppermint oil makes your scalp tingle as it’s massaged, then a botanical facial massage, and a chamomile mask is applied while your hair is washed and conditioned. It can be difficult to muster the muscle coordination just to walk away, glowing and positively renewed. Now do you understand how aptly named this treatment is?
Stress abolished
Stress abolished: barely managing a grin after Pure Bliss
Decadent? Perhaps, but it is the penultimate in stress management. In just a couple hours I’m detoxified, rejuvenated, and poised to be twice as productive since I’m no longer burnt out. Luxury or not – it is still less expensive, and much more enjoyable than a trip to the doctor. Speaking as a ten year Crohn’s survivor in remission (without maintenance drugs), I believe in practicing preventative medicine, and consider it an investment in my health. How do you unwind and manage stress?

Humus

A few of you on the cleanse asked for my lower fat version of hummus, so here you go…

Hummus

This is easily one of my favorite snacks, lunches, or appetizers; cleanse or no cleanse. It is high in nutrients, filling, and it’s easy to make and grab on the run.

Servings: makes about 1 1/4 cups (one serving is 2 tablespoons)

Ingredients:

1 15 1/2 ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and 1/3 cup liquid reserved
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tahini (you can substitute raw cashew butter)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 pinch of cayenne (optional)
1 tablespoon flaxseed oil (optional, but great for the cleanse)

Directions:

In a food processor, add chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest, cumin, sea salt, and cayenne (if using). Pulse to roughly chop, then process while adding the 1/3 cup reserved liquid from the chickpeas and flax seed oil.

Serving Suggestions: I usually use it as a dip for crudités, pita chips, or spread it on rice cakes. I’ve used it in chicken salad, and it also makes a great spread on sandwiches when you want to kick them up a notch with flavor.

Variations: Try using ancho chili powder in place of the cumin and roasted garlic, or add in a couple chopped sun-dried tomatoes and garnish with toasted pine nuts (after you finish the cleanse).

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