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Destination Ranch Country: The Hills Health Ranch
Written by Fresh Vancouver   
Guest ranch spa and wellness retreat.

The Hills Health RanchThe Hills Health Ranch destination spa is situated amidst 20,000 acres of ranch lands in the heart of British Columbia’s spectacular Cariboo region. This one-of-a-kind resort spa boasts the largest number of health professionals of any resort in Canada, working alongside cowboys, wranglers, and hiking guides on the vast ranch lands. The destination spa offers a unique blend of traditional spa experiences plus horseback riding, biking, wellness and weight loss programs, fitness instructors, and more.

With over 150 kilometres of well-marked trails for horseback riding and hiking, plus 15,000 acres ready to be explored by horse or mountain bike, not to mention fishing and canoeing on nearby lakes, your wilderness experience is second-to-none in this stunning setting. In the winter, hiking is replaced with snowshoeing and cross-country skiing over miles of groomed Nordic ski, dogsled, and snowmobile trails.

The spa features an extensive selection of daily fitness programs plus 18 consultation, massage, and spa treatment rooms. Choose from yoga, pilates, aerobics, aqua fitness, and a complete fitness centre; work with kinesiologists, nurses, personal trainers, nutritionists, body therapists and comprehensive lifestyle counsellors to meet your total wellness goals.

The Hills Health Ranch is a complete spa, fitness and lifestyle learning center in a guest ranch setting, providing the environment, the support, the professionals, the services and the fun you need to refresh your mind and renew your body. At the ranch you can go hiking, biking, horseback riding, or you can be guided, nurtured, educated and enlightened by a full-support staff intent on helping you make healthful changes. From nutritional consultations to stress reduction; fitness assessments to personal training; nutritional symptomology to gourmet, healthy meals, the Hills Health Ranch will work with each person’s very individual lifestyle and needs.

Specialty spa treatments include rosehip facials, scrubs and anti-aging treatments using a proprietary cold-pressed Canadian wild rosehip oil derived from organic rosehips that are grown on the ranch lands at an elevation of 3,400 feet to enhance nutrient concentration. The potent vitamin C, bio-flavonoids, minerals, and essential fatty acids of rosehip oil build and strengthen body tissue and enhance the vascular system to facilitate the prevention and healing of broken capillaries.

One of the many popular packages, the special “Inches Off” package, provides a complete fitness and wellness holiday to kick-start your wellness program, enhance your nutrition philosophy, and give you a well deserved break from the day-to-day stresses of your life. The package includes a lodge room or a cozy chalet, a nutritionally and calorically balanced meal plan, plus complete fitness and lifestyle consultations. With full access to all fitness amenities and a daily schedule of exercise classes and guided hikes, you’ll leave trim, refreshed, and re-energized.

Just a one-hour drive from the Williams Lake airport, the resort and spa can also be accessed via private or charter plane to a nearby airstrip located two minutes from the lodge.

More information on the widely varied programs and services offered by the Hills Health Ranch can be found on the website at Ask about tailoring your own custom package, too, and take part in this luxurious wilderness experience exactly the way you want it.

Sex Etiquette
Written by Dr. Trina Read   

How loud is too loud in the bedroom?

sex etiquetteHave you ever noticed that there is no Miss Manner's etiquette regarding the appropriate level of sex noise? What is the suitable conduct for both the listener and the maker of noise while there are sexual relations going on?

Respect Thy Neighbour?

A couple of months ago I was staying overnight in a hotel. About 1:00 a.m. I woke up to a couple having zealous sex in the next room. It then happened again at 1:45, and then again at 3:10. As thrilled as I am about people overtly enjoying their sexuality, I do not believe it should infringe on my sleep time.

That said, the rules garnering hot and loud sex are fuzzy in a hotel setting. It is an expected for couples to let loose at a hotel, hoping the people in the next room are heavy sleepers.

Outside of this setting, what does the average person feel about making sex noises with other people in close proximity? My observations show two camps: the first camp is too terrified to have sex because they might make the slightest noise and everyone would know. The second camp is turned on by the adventure.

There was a group of couples who went skiing. Their rented chalet had only one bedroom and so all slept on the living room floor in sleeping bags. Jokingly, one couple started to make sex noises just as everyone was drifting to sleep. The group laughed and then went to sleep, at which point the couple followed through with silent sex. When I asked if they woke anyone up, they just smiled at me. They would be the adventuresome type.

When YOU Are the Neighbour

The question remains, how does one approach someone else on keeping their screaming to a minimum?

The first person I ever confronted was my university roommate, who would often bring loud girls home to sleep over. Between me being a light sleeper and our apartment's thin walls, I would have my very own front row seat to his goings-on.

After enough sleepless nights I challenged him: "Would you mind keeping it down when you bring guests over?"

"Huh?" was his initial response, followed by wholehearted laughter and, "You're joking right?" There was no way my 22-year-old roommate was going to quiet down an enthusiastic bedtime partner. I bought a pair of earplugs.

The next phase of my life came with having houseguests. Granted, most of my guests have been discreet. A few have not. This is especially awkward when the guest bedroom is directly below the master bedroom, with a heating vent connecting the two rooms.

Last summer at about 2:00 a.m. I was awoken by my guests' loud sex noises. Said couple went about their business for about an hour, during which time I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to go back to sleep. It did not work. In fact, it took a few more hours for me to drift back to sleep.

As a side note, I was both annoyed and nevertheless in admiration of this couple,  as they have been married for over 30 years!

The next morning as I dragged my butt into the kitchen to make some blessed coffee, the couple in question came bouncing up the stairs. They were laughing, slapping, and teasing one another.

I thought the black rings under my eyes and thoroughly tired demeanour would tip them off to my sleepless night. Nope. They were still in their sex-induced love haze.

Having slept through the entire performance, my husband could not understand why I was miffed. He said, "You're the sex expert. Shouldn't you of all people be open to folks having loud sex?"

"Of course," I stated for the record, "I am totally in favour of people having loud sex, just not when I am trying to sleep." I then came up with this analogy: "It is the same as them going into our living room in the middle of the night and turning our TV on full blast, waking up the entire house. You just don't do it."

A Neighbourly Conclusion

If this couple were to come and visit again, would I mention before bedtime to keep the noise level to a minimum? I would rather stick my hand in a tank full of piranhas.

I have come to the conclusion that there is no tactful way to ask rambunctious couples to keep it down while having sex. If this should happen to you, go directly to the bathroom, roll up a wad of toilet paper, and stick it in your ears. Or, even better, start having loud sex (even if you are by yourself) to drown out their noise. At least you will have fun while you’re waiting for your guests to finish.

Destination Spa - Kingfisher: Discover the Jewel of the Comox Valley
Written by Fresh Vancouver   
Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and SpaMmmmm... A scrumptious and distinctly west coast spa experience awaits.

Located on the eastern shore of Vancouver Island in the Comox Valley, Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa showcases the essence of west coast vacationing with 64 beachfront and ocean view guest rooms, full service spa, Pacific Mist Hydropath® and award-winning dining room. Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2009, the resort has gone from a small campground and restaurant by the sea to a world-class oceanfront resort and spa known for its spectacular natural setting, one-of-a-kind spa experiences, exceptional dining and accommodations.

Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa is proud of the vacation experience they offer guests and have been delighted to receive recognition for their achievements. In 2007 the resort received the Best Workplaces in Canada Award. This award celebrates Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa’s commitment to providing each and every employee with an exceptional work experience and recognizes innovative employer strategies.

WestJet Up! Magazine readers voted Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa an Up! Magazine Value Resort in both 2008 and 2009, recognizing the property’s value as a top destination for WestJet travellers.

Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa has been at the forefront of sustainability initiatives since its inception. During initial resort and spa construction, special care was taken to preserve the natural beauty of the property. Stands of old growth trees and natural green spaces were left standing and the beach was left completely untouched with no development.

This insightful forethought has resulted in a property that continues to offer guests from around the world a pure representation of the Canadian west coast. Guests can enjoy Anne Marie’s Walking Trail, which winds through the resort gardens and natural spaces and pays tribute to the memory of the resort’s previous owner who took great care to preserve the natural landscape of Kingfisher for future generations. Additional sustainable initiatives are constantly being added for continued environmental sustainability, including increased water conservation methods minimizing potable water consumption and maximizing re-use and recycling.

The addition of the Pacific Mist Hydropath® spa experience to the existing spa in 2004 was an innovative leap benefiting both the resort and local area. The Kingfisher Pacific Mist Hydropath® is unique to North America, an hour long hydrotherapy experience moving through eight sandstone sculpted water features that relax, detoxify and remineralize. Over 15,000 visitors from around the world experience the Hydropath annually.

Rounding out the west coast experience, Kingfisher’s dining room is known for memorable dishes designed to enhance the resort’s ambience. Specialty dining events take place throughout the year, including wine pairing evenings and exceptional seafood buffets.

An extremely successful marketing initiative that remains popular to this day is Kingfisher’s Girlfriend Get-Away packages, launched in 2004. This innovative package has given Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa a lasting reputation as a standout girlfriend getaway destination for over five years. Girlfriend Get-Away package options include accommodation, oceanfront dining, spa treatments and the Pacific Mist Hydropath and are flexible to include alternate choices that address changing trends such as yoga, healthful eating, body treatments and wellness seminars.

When a potential tourist looks for a Canadian ‘west coast’ vacation, they typically search for ocean views and picturesque beaches; access to outdoor activities including skiing, kayaking and golf; unique spa treatments and great dining featuring local produce and fresh seafood. Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa brings all these elements together at one resort, providing memorable Vancouver Island vacations to every guest.

Is It Really Mismatched Libidos?
Written by Dr. Trina Read   
Trouble in the bedroom? You need to ask yourself: Is it really a matter of different libidos, or is "mismatched libidos" a convenient excuse that masks an unresolved relationship issue?

According to Michele Weiner Davis' book The Sex Starved Marriage, one in every three married couples struggles with problems associated with mismatched libidos. This statistic piqued my interest and I began exploring it further. Interestingly, while doing my research, a common thread became apparent: most of the time, mismatched libidos have little or nothing to do with sex.
I've put together a list of nine typical libido-dampeners. See if you fit into any of these categories.

Libido1: Body issues

One partner does not like his or her body and feels uncomfortable being touched by the other partner – and so avoids sex. Conversely, one partner may no longer find the other desirable after a significant weight gain.

2: Prolonged unresolved issues or arguments

There is nothing that can throw a big wet blanket over a sizzling sex-drive faster than bottled up anger. If you and your partner have ongoing unresolved issues, or arguments that never get settled, it will likely affect your sex life.

3: Power struggles that result in passive-aggressive tendencies

This is a big one. Money and sex can bring out raw feelings of lack of control that translate to unspoken power struggles. When one person feels they do not have any control or power, he or she may show power in other ways. For example, the more one woman gave into her husband's demand for sex, the more mess she would intentionally create in their house. Or the more one partner "bugged" the other to have sex, the more the other silently shut down.

4: Major change or unrest

A couple undergoing major changes like job promotions, having a baby, or moving to a new home may experience a disrupted sex life.  It makes sense that with change comes disruption to what was once an orderly routine. Couples often then struggle to form new habits around their sexual practices. Unfortunately, because the disruption in the bedroom is typically not discussed, the couple feels disconnected and this creates mismatched libido habits.

5. Boring sex

Are you and your partner stuck in a rut and unwilling to try new things?  The repertoire of sexual tricks a person brings into a new relationship is usually pretty limited. Once that bag of tricks gets used up, the sex is like eating the same meal for supper every night. Missionary style again? Yawn.

6. The natural ebb and flow of life

In the wise words of John Grey's Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, sometimes men and women go into caves or become rubber bands and just want some time alone. Over time it gets tricky and often discouraging to align two peoples’ natural ebbs and flows. That is why long-term relationships relying solely on libido and spontaneous sex never work.

7. Different priorities

The stress of daily life takes the focus off the relationship and puts it onto other things. Then, once every couple of weeks, the couple feebly tries to reconnect with fifteen minutes of rushed sex. After time, the sex becomes less and less appealing, and the other priorities become more fulfilling.

8. The birth control pill

Too many women lose their libido from being on the pill. In fact, there is a new study being conducted to find out if long-term use of the pill negatively affects a women's libido for the rest of her life. Scary stuff!

9. Health and wellness problems

When going through problems like depression, medical issues, or surgery, the body is compromised and often medication must be taken. Understandably, sex is not even on the radar at a time like this.

Every couple faces hard life issues. During these tough times, some couples may flounder, feel helpless, and naturally want to give their situation a diagnosis. The libido diagnosis is easy and convenient, while proactively dealing with the hard life issues is difficult. Too many couples focus on the bedroom dilemmas instead of the deeper issues. Yet when a couple deals with the tough situations, they form a stronger bond which translates into greater intimacy. Perhaps, in your relationship, one partner really does have a very high or very low libido. Chances are, though, that a mismatched libido is no more than a disparity in your relationship that needs to be worked through.

Hot Spa Trends for 2010
Written by Sherina Jamal   
Hot Spa TrendsWhether you’re an avid spa goer or spa professional, keeping up-to-date on what’s hot in the industry allows you to experience the latest and best treatments, ingredients, and spa products. But it’s important to distinguish between trends that are based on fact and those based on marketing gimmicks and misleading hype.

The majority of spa trends are ruled by one factor: the economy. These days, both spa goers and spa business owners want services that enhance well-being, but are cost-effective.  The following spa treatments top the list for hottest trends of 2010 and will appeal to both spa owners and their clients.

The “green” trend: revisited

Consumers and spa pros alike continue to seek out “green” and “eco-friendly” products that include natural ingredients, organics, recyclable packaging, and more. However, as budgets tighten, people are becoming increasingly wary as to the authenticity and value of exactly what they are buying. Many  skin care companies continue to use false marketing gimmicks to sell their products. Do what you can to validate a product’s “natural, green, and eco-friendly” claims to be sure that you are getting your money’s worth.

Also, be aware that a more natural product doesn’t always produce better results. For 2010, the focus is on products that are safe for you and the environment, but will also address skin concerns effectively. Savvy buyers will question claims made by skin care companies such as “preservative free” and “100% organic,” and become more educated on what makes a high-quality, natural, and authentic product.

Express services & mini-packages

As people continue to cut back on their spending, there is a tendency to reduce regular visits to their local spa. One trend that will keep you coming back is express services. Spas are now beginning to implement a wider range of express services and mini-packages to provide options for clients on a tighter budget. These services are more affordable than full treatments and provide the spa goer incentive to continue regular visits without compromising quality. So if you are in spa withdrawal because you are watching your wallet, contact your local spa to see what express services they have to offer that will fit your budget.

Prevention and whole-body healing

The focus on prevention and whole-body healing became trendy a few years ago, and continues to grow in popularity as the general public embraces age-old philosophies and healing techniques to fight aging and illness.  Recent trends in whole-body healing include “stress corrective” treatments using methods such as light therapy and energy healing. As stress plays a direct role in triggering many illnesses and imbalances in the body, reduction of stress through mind-body techniques is the gateway to the whole-body healing process.

Those seeking wellness-oriented treatments are also seeking more education. It’s not unusual for spas to offer guest speakers and consulting sessions on a range of subjects relating to natural health alternatives.

Part and parcel of a complete wellness program in a spa will be nutrition. The nutrition trend in spas already exists; however, we will see the introduction of expanded spa cuisine, not just in resorts but also in day spas.

Education-based services and customization

Better and more detailed consulting services are being offered by spas to address not only topical care, but also internal care. Providing education to clients is the key to supporting their wellness goals. Customized programs that combine treatments, products, and educational sessions will provide the guidance many clients are looking for.

You will see an increase in spas utilizing naturopathic doctors, nutritionists, and holistic practitioners either as guest speakers or as an integral part of the spa’s consulting and treatment services.

The tech-savvy spa

More and more spas are embracing technology as a way to create awareness and improve service to clients.

Social media will continue to be a great tool for spa owners and also spa goers looking for discounts and education. Social media tools such as Facebook can be used to provide special discounts and promotional offers, and to launch new treatments and products. Clients can even book online through Facebook.

Blogs are another easy tool spas can use to keep clients educated and inspired. A blog can be used to offer tips and information about the benefits of specific spa treatments, and encourage clients to post comments or questions. This interaction and sharing of knowledge is a win-win for both spa owners and spa goers.

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