“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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  • August 30, 2010
    6:45 am

    I believe taking proper care of the largest organ of our body is a requirement…and if you can combine that with a little quality mental healthcare. How can you go wrong??!!! I love my spa days!! Never feel guilty!!! That bath/shower routine sounds heavenly!!!Alison Sherman

  • August 30, 2010
    4:02 pm

    This sounds like such a great recipe! I absolutely LOVE hummus. And the spa treatment sounds like a dream, I wish I lived on the west coast!Andrea Schlegel-Wallace

  • August 30, 2010
    4:08 pm

    Andrea, you can get a good deep tissue massage in any city – that alone, still rids the body of toxins and helps rejuvenate. It is so good for you to take care of yourself like that once in a while if you can't do every week.

  • August 30, 2010
    5:01 pm

    I try to get massages as often as I can, even just a 15-minute chair massage when my budget is tight. It's absolutely worth it. And I don't begrudge myself as much alone time as I think I need. Sometimes it's PEOPLE that exhaust me more than anything, and I need a break from them.

  • August 30, 2010
    5:09 pm

    Funny you should mention that Kathy – I'm finding as I shed toxins from my body, I need to shed the toxic people in my life too.

  • August 30, 2010
    7:37 pm

    thank you so much for the hummus recipe… i am going to make it tomorow!!!! Jewels you are truly inspiring… thank you for your blogs. I enjoy reading each and every one of them :-)namaste'laura

  • August 30, 2010
    10:47 pm

    Thank you for the hummus recipe! I've always wanted to make it, but wasn't sure what ingredients were best to make it healthy. This is on my to do list for Tuesday. Hope my sister likes it, because it's going to be in my fridge all the time. I'm drinking lots of water now that I've got the Brita filter & pitcher. I fill up my bottles every night with the water and juice of 1/2 a lime and drink throughout the day and replenish the bottles as I empty them. Should really buy a few more bottles to make it easier. Sitting here reading for the past hour, I've gone through 16 oz. of water, not bad for someone who wouldn't drink it unless it was made into tea or coffee. :) Thank you for making me realize that I need to make doing things like eating better and drinking water not just something to do during a cleanse, but all the time out of habit, because I deserve to feel the best that I can. Thank you for the kick in the butt! As for getting toxic people out of my life, that's going to be difficult.

  • August 31, 2010
    12:01 am

    Haha! Looks like my post the other day triggered an idea for a blog topic! Cool! I will do my best to take your advice, although I still have doctors I have to go to because I'm still undergoing treatment for some complications. (cancer-free though). I also have lots of doctor bills to pay and I don't make much as a newspaper journalist so money is tight.Lara Coker Hayes

  • August 31, 2010
    12:02 am

    I feel you Lara – after 9 months off work for surgery then broken ankle, trust me money is tight here too. I'm lucky, because Asian spas tend to be much less expensive than your average day spa. I think it boils down to priorities – I would rather pamper myself than buy that new dress or go out for dinner.

  • August 31, 2010
    12:02 am

    PS. You ALL inspire both me and what I write. It is a pleasure to get to know you all.

  • August 31, 2010
    11:46 pm

    Dear Jewels, Thank you for the great motivation on creating a cleaner and healther diet. Any tips on the toxic people? Hugs, Diane

  • September 1, 2010
    1:32 pm

    We belong to a local spa "spa club" too. With our stressful jobs, his especially, we figure unwinding is truly preventive medicine. Therefore worth the investment. :)

  • September 1, 2010
    11:36 pm

    i need this i have too much stressShannon Marie Moyer

  • September 1, 2010
    11:37 pm

    Listening to music that I love, excercise (especially a walk in the redwoods or along the coast, fresh air makes a big difference), cooking, cleaning (believe it or not) reading, taking naps. These things generally work for me. Although, I'm not much of a stesser.Kim Phillips Cuccia

  • September 1, 2010
    11:38 pm

    Step back and breathe. I learned a good msg during my almost disastorous trip to KCCarly Guerrero

  • September 1, 2010
    11:38 pm

    QiGong and EFTLuis Barrera

  • September 1, 2010
    11:39 pm

    Luis – you are the master of stress management! How was KC Carly?

  • September 3, 2010
    1:27 am

    Wow Julie Anne….you look totally refreshed and relaxed. I bet you could have kept going.Sounds absolutely divine.I find walking a great stress relief for myself and also gardening. I absolutely love getting my hands in contact with mother earth. Aussie Mum