August 2013

Beauty/Spa Section: How to Feel 20-Something at 30-Something

Author: Rebecca Edwards

A week before my 35th birthday, I had a mini freak out. Here’s why: When I would say “35,” to myself or to others (when prompted what big eminent number I was turning on June 13), I felt like I was mouthing the number “35,” yet the distinguishable, audible sound that my ears and others heard was “40.”

The disconnect was unsettling, and as a fighter by nature, I decided to fight. So, I dedicated the seven days leading up to the three-to-the-five to feel not so three-to-the-five. In the process (chronicled below), I met some awesome anti-aging assistants and came to a powerful, climatic conclusion about birthdays—and no it’s not your grandfather’s old and somewhat dark jest that, “birthdays are great; it’s the alternative that’s not.”

Day 1 (June 7): I woke up with a yogic mindset: “Okay, let’s meditate and see if I can get my head around agelessness.” I was not so successful on this one, but an interrupting cat on my yoga mat might have been part of the problem—plus it was time to get the kids up, dressed, and ready for camp. What did help was setting up an anti-aging attack game plan. Hilton Head Island is home to some great spas: Ahh Green Spa, All About Me, Faces DaySpa, Fountain Spa, Island Medical Spa, Le Spa, The Sanctuary, and Serendipity Medical Spa—just to name a few. Then there are holistic providers like Greg Schenkel (massage and Jin Shin Jyutsu) and Susan Hacket (cranial sacral therapy) at Jiva Yoga Center, Dr. Kelley LeBlanc (Kelley Chiropractic and Wellness), Molly Tomiczek (cranial sacral, energy healing, and massage therapy) and Jeanie Kelley (Rolfing) at Island Soma, and Peter West (acupuncture) at The Hickey Wellness Center—again, just to name a few. It was time to make some calls.

Day 2: I had met Jennifer Wolfe, MS, CSCS, CPT-PMA, owner of TrueFit Pilates and Training Center, while doing her Burn at the Barre certification. Since her undergrad days at Western Illinois University, Wolfe has dedicated her life to nutrition, physical therapy/training, and staying youthful “first and foremost mentally” and physically.

“I don’t allow my TrueFit clients to use age as an excuse,” Wolfe said. “I’ll accept physical limitations, but not age. For the most part, we can do anything we set our minds to at any age and at any stage.”

Wolfe, who just joined the three-to-the-five crowd, was not as forlorn as I was on or since her birthday. She believes a positive attitude (which entails laughing with friends and not worrying about your age, among other things) is critical to feeling happy, healthy and, yes, young at heart. “I would also say rest, too, even though I suck at it,” Wolfe added.

Wolfe, who is a dedicated mother of two young boys, wife and business owner (and thus does not sleep), also confesses to “momnesia,” (mom plus amnesia). To counteract momnesia and other age-related afflictions, she has spearheaded a few youth-reclaiming options which I quickly grasped. I started with TrueFit’s three-day catered cleanse (which equal $10-12 a meal). Wolfe and Tisha Chafer, a.k.a. Green Smoothie Girl, take the guesswork out of jumpstarting a revved-up metabolism and giving your kidney and liver a much-needed break. A typical day on the cleanse includes a veggie and fruit smoothie for breakfast, “massaged” kale salad for lunch, almond butter with organic celery or apples for snack, and a black bean and quinoa stuffed roasted red pepper for dinner. Everything is as locally grown and organic as possible, measured out, labeled as to what date/time to consume, and preserved in Be Green Packaging (a Hardeeville company).

Day 3: I continued the TrueFit prepared meals. I also finally received my first two turn-back-the-clock spa treatments: The Sanctuary’s bioslimming body wrap and age reducing facial. The Sanctuary has been in business for 16 years, and owner Lisa Murphy has been rejuvenating her clients for over 25 years. “Of course I want people to feel pampered here, and they do,” Murphy said. “But our treatments are more than just about pampering. We want people to leave here with long-lasting results.” And I did. After the bioslimming wrap, I lost one inch from my thighs, waist and stomach and had smooth, cellulite-free legs. The process was relaxing as Murphy applied aromatic and skin tingling creams and gels. Then I spent 30 minutes in the Alpha Environmental Capsule, which is like going back into the womb. As if I could feel more relaxed and youthful, Murphy finished the time-warping treatment with a cooling cream that made my skin feel downright giddy. Next, I felt the years fall away with my facial. This skin-plumping-o-rama included a collagen mask and enzyme peel on the hands, face and décolleté. (When I got home my husband said, “Not bad, for 35,” to which I replied, “Not bad for 25.”)

Day 4 & 5: Still on the TrueFit diet and feeling the effects of the bioslimming (I lost two pounds from both), I explored my energy therapy and fitness options. I enjoyed a cranial sacral session with Susan Hackett, who focused on a long-running and age-inducing neck injury. I pledged to exercise one hour a day, five days a week by buying fitness packages at Jiva Yoga Center, Core Pilates, and TrueFit (for barre classes). On Day 5 I did a once over makeover at Faces DaySpa. I got my eyebrows tinted, my eyelashes tinted and shaped, and an express manicure and pedicure. The combination of services proved to be inexpensive and transformative. When I saw a fellow mom in the grocery store, she commented, “You look so rested!”

“Ha,” I responded. “I haven’t slept in years, but thanks!”

Day 6: This is the day my husband took my anti-aging campaign to a whole new level. He booked a cottage at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff and scheduled a 90-minute massage for me, dinner at the Canoe Club and gourmet s’mores on the lawn. When we got back to the room, I soaked in a lavender bath and slept like a fully-satiated, pampered baby.

Day 7 (June 13, a.k.a. the Big Day): I returned home and hugged my daughters Ransom (six), Ruth Love (four) and Camellia (two). I had given my body and mind enough recharge time to be operating on full bars. I felt rejuvenated, in part, because of my treatments, but owe most of my newfound vibrancy to taking time for myself, establishing a new personal wellness plan and enjoying my family.

My take away harked back to something Jennifer Wolfe said to me in her interview. “If someone throws out a negative about their age, I will always come back with a positive. Age truly is just a number.”

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