When I first moved to the Santa Ynez Valley 14-years ago, there wasn't much offered here in the terms of wellness. You could take a yoga class or get your standard Swedish massage, but the depth and breadth of treatments was limited. Fast forward to 2017, and this Valley has transformed into a mecca of health and wellness with a plethora of possibilities.
1. Infrared Sauna at Nirvana Institute A few years ago, I bought a package of infrared sauna treatments at Nirvana and sweated more than I thought possible (which is A LOT). They have two saunas onsite which you’ll have to book ahead. Once there, you’ll change into a terry cloth wrap, spa slippers, and sit in the sauna from 45-mins to an hour. The staff will bring you coconut water to drink and stay hydrated. If you’re not familiar, infrared saunas omit infrared light waves that create heat in the body, causing you to sweat and release stored toxins. The benefits range from anti-aging effects, increased detoxification, pain reduction, joint and muscle support, and cardiovascular healing. Located in Solvang http://nirvanahbo.com/
2. Green Juice at El Rancho Market This local market recently added a juice bar to their coffee house in the front of the store. They use produce from a local organic farmer and have a wide variety of juices to choose. For the most antioxidants, try a green juice like the Green Machine (kale, cucumber, celery, romaine, apple, spinach, ginger, lime). You can also stop in here for a quick wheatgrass or ginger shot. Located in Santa Ynez http://www.californiafreshmarket.com/
3. The Chakra Balance Massage at Spa Elan I was treated to this massage last month and it was transcendent. Each chakra (energy center in the body) is paired with a vibrationally attuned oil and you’re given a word and a color to focus on as that part of your body is massaged. It’s aromatherapy, it’s bodywork, and it’s amazing. Located in Los Olivos http://www.spaelanbeauty.com/
4. Tighten Your Core at Bilancia This serene Pilates studio with large open rooms and natural light has both mat and reformer classes. These classes will help you find balance in your body and build a strong foundation. So you’ll work up a sweat, but walk away feeling calm. A win-win! Located in Los Olivos http://www.bilanciapilates.com/bilancia_pilates_studio/bilancia_pilates.html
5. Tour Local Farm Stands One of the best things about living in this Valley is the abundance of local fruits and vegetables that are grown here. I love taking my kids on a farm stand tour where we visit all the local produce stands and buy what looks best. There are quite a few to choose from, but it’s best to start at one end of the Valley and work your way through them all. Start in Buellton at Something Good Organics on Santa Rosa Road (the strawberries here are so good they’ll make you cry). Then jump over to Folded Hills Farmsted located off the 101-freeway near the Nojoqui Pass (try their organic watermelons and heirloom tomatoes). Then make your way to the Finley Farms stand in Santa Ynez. Here you’ll find everything from bell peppers, zucchinis, cantaloupe, and fresh flowers. Finish your tour at rustic and unassuming Summerset Farms in Santa Ynez. This organic farm will let you pick your own raspberries and blackberries and also sells seasonal fruits and veggies. http://www.somethinggoodorganics.com/
6. Restorative Yoga at Bloom This sumptuous yoga class will leave you feeling deeply nourished. You’ll use bolsters, blankets and blocks to prop the body in various poses. The poses are held for 5-10 minutes without effort so that the body can activate the relaxation response. When the body and mind relax, healing can begin. Restorative yoga benefits anyone who needs to release stress, recover from injury or feel balanced and integrated again. Located in Solvang http://bloomyogasolvang.com/
7. 20-min Foot Massage at Little Rainbow This is the best kept secret in the Santa Ynez Valley. I think most locals think this is only for travel-weary tourists, but they’re missing out. My husband and I end our evening dates here (they stay open late) with side-by-side foot massages on individual bed-like cushions. It’s amazing how such a short massage can leave you feeling so relaxed. Located in downtown Solvang.
8. Hydradermie Double Ionization Facial at Alisal Resort Spa Last year, I tried this facial when it was first debuted at The Alisal. I knew it was special when the rep for the company who makes the ionization machine said I’d have to drive to LA or San Francisco to experience this because it’s so exclusive. Thankfully The Alisal now owns this ahead-of-its-time machine and we don’t have to drive to a big city. The 50-min treatment uses two metal rollers. One roller issues positive electrodes and the other negative. The rollers ionize a hydrating gel on your skin and you’ll feel a tingle as the treatment is absorbed. Then a glass wand, filled with gas, lights up in a red and orange light, as the high-frequency current stimulates the micro-circulation. My skin never looked better after I had this done. Located in Solvang http://alisal.com/relax/facials/
9. Dip in the Natural Hot Springs at Gaviota Located in a State Park, this hot springs is a bubbling gem. After a long hike up Gaviota Peak, strip down and soak in the warm natural hot springs. Thanks to some 1960’s-hippies who built the masonry around the spring, there’s an actual pool where you can sit. This experience isn’t for the faint of heart. There’s a sulfur smell. And leaves/dead bugs you may need to sweep off the top of the pool. And you’ll be sitting in charcoal-colored dirt on the bottom. But if you can overlook all that, it’s a natural experience unlike any other you’ll get in the SYV. Located in Gaviota State Park http://www.santabarbarahikes.com/hikes/frontcountry/gaviota
10. Mini-Retreat with Vineyard Yoga I offer private vineyard yoga classes to couples, companies, and groups of various sizes. I offer everything from a 1-hour class at a winery to a full Day of Wellness mini-retreat. I’ve planned 40-person retreats with yoga class, followed by a 3-course lunch and exclusive wine tastings. I’ve also created a romantic vineyard yoga and meditation class for couples followed by wine tasting and picnic. Click on Private Classes for more information.