Beauty: Atlantis Health Network and Body Lotions

Regular readers know by now that I subscribe, by way of experience, to the belief that inner peace and wellness are key to outer appearance. Atlantis Health Network offers services that affect both aspects. Primarily a wellness center, AHN is committed to integrating therapeutic modalities “to reduce stress…alleviate recurring pain, recover from injury and develop self awareness.”

With four locations to choose from, including Port Jefferson, Ronkonkoma and Shoreham, I chose the one at St. James. Set in a residential area just inside the bounds of “Old” St. James, the atmosphere was homey, with a small, cozy lobby and comfortable treatment rooms.

First up was a massage by therapist Dawn. She showed me to a room with beautiful stained glass windows that let in softly colored light while offering privacy. Dawn asked if I prefer deep massage or a softer touch, and I opted for deep. She made me comfortable on the table and proceeded with a combination Swedish/acupressure treatment.

She really knew her stuff! Dawn was extremely adept at zeroing in on the knots and weak spots, mostly in my back and neck. She also gave me one of the most soothing head massages I’ve had in recent memory. If all massage therapists are as skillful and instinctively accurate as Dawn, this is the place to come for stress-busting massages. I couldn’t imagine being any more relaxed afterwards. But then I tried their Classic Facial.

Mary, a certified esthetician, ushered me into one of those no-nonsense treatment rooms. She used Dermalogica products for this facial, explaining each step. She noted that a precleanse was important to remove any product left on my face, including sunscreen, remnants of which can stay on the skin for days. Then she used the ultra-calming cleanser and the rice-based “daily microfoliant.”

During the hydrating masque, Mary massaged my hands in a hydrating cream, wrapped them in plastic and put them in heated plastic mittens. She also gave my arms and neck a gentle massage, and all this would have lulled me to sleep if I hadn’t been asking questions. Finally, Mary applied a moisturizer and gave special treatment to the delicate eye and lip areas.

When I walked out of AHN that afternoon, I felt at peace with the world. My body was loose and relaxed, my skin was clean and balanced, and I felt great! Only one thing left to do now…drive over to the salon to get rid of what I call “massage head”—the wild state of one’s hair after a facial or massage! http://www.atlantishn.com.

Body Lotions

I am a confessed wimp in the cold and as far as I’m concerned, indoor heating is one of the best inventions ever. The only negative to this cherished convenience is the drying effect it has on skin, whether it be baseboard heating, one of the least drying, or forced hot air, which is the cruelest. In defense, check out these dead-of-winter body lotions.

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Alba’s original Very Emollient Body Lotion is hypo-allergenic and ph balanced. I appreciated this product for its light yet rich feel and its scent. Jojoba, sesame and avocado oils soothe and protect, while a blend of aloe vera, green tea, echinacea, chamomile and lavender helps with healing. This lotion is a great value at about $11 for a 12-oz bottle, and is available online and in many natural foods stores. http://www.albabotanica.com

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Jurlique, a high end line of skincare products often used in spas, has a wonderful Body Care Lotion that is available in three scents—Lavender, Citrus and Jasmine (the one I tried). I enjoyed this lotion for the non-greasy feel, and the scent is light enough to be sensual without overpowering. To moisturize, firm and protect, Jurlique uses jasmine, honey and marshmallow extracts. I recommend this luscious lotion if the online $38 price tag for a 10.1-oz bottle doesn’t deter you. http://www.jurlique.com

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Renew Intensive Skin Therapy is made by Melaleuca, a completely green company based in Idaho. With ingredients including Tea Tree Oil and glycerine, this is the most effective lotion I can recommend for severely dry skin, as well as some forms of skin conditions. I use this throughout the year to keep a few small patches of eczema at bay. A friend with a rare skin condition that left his entire body red and itchy discovered that long-term use of his prescription could lead to blood poisoning. Renew relieved his symptoms and keeps them away as long as he uses it twice daily. Only available online, the retail cost is $23 for a 20-oz bottle, but Melaleuca members pay $15.99. http://www.melaleuca.com

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Suave is known for their line of inexpensive but good quality beauty products. I found their Cocoa Butter with Shea lotion to be effective on less desperately dry skin. The cocoa and shea butters make this a lush and yummy scented option. It is an extremely affordable alternative to maintain normal to dry skin for those on tight budgets: It can be found in nearly any drug or department store, and if it works for you, it’s the best value at only $2 to $3 for 18 ounces. http://www.suave.com

toni munna

Toni Munna is a native Long Islander who is always on the lookout for products that fulfill their promise to firm, hydrate, slim, soothe, de-wrinkle, plump, relax, de-stress, and just generally make you look and feel better. She a firm believer that wellness enhances beauty and has been testing beauty products and reviewing spas for you since the fall of 2006. You can reach her with questions at toni@lipulse.com.