Elemis Spa Treatment

The end of the year is a ton of fun. Lots of holiday parties to attend, lots of family and friends to see. But it can also be a lot of stress. Lots of Christmas shopping to get done, lots of last-minute deadlines to finish up.

I’ve been feeling the grunt of hard work lately, with my entire body wounded tight like a knot.

That’s when you know it’s time to go to the spa!

I checked in at Bliss Spa at the W Hotel in Hollywood and was hooked up with an Elemis Exotic Lime & Ginger Salt Glow for my entire body. It was (for lack of a better word) bliss.

After changing, I was offered some yummy champagne and crackers and cheese.  Then, I was led to the massage room where the treatment began.

I’m not gonna lie, I’m kind of a newbie at this whole body treatment stuff and it’s definitely a vulnerable state to be in.

Think about it, you’re naked and a specialist is dripping warm oil luxuriously all over your body.  Then, the exotic lime and ginger salt glow scrub is brushed on.  I kind of felt like a chicken getting ready to get baked.  (But in the best way possible!)

All of my anxieties subsided once I got on the massage bed.  Elemis is known for some of the most exotic and indulgent spa-therapies for face and body and it was definitely an unbeatably relaxing experience.  Catering to all my senses, I got to smell and feel the tranquility of the Elemis spa treatment for an entire hour.  It was far too short, if you ask me!

Bliss is also offering take-home versions of Elemis’ skin and body treatments available in all of its 15 U.S. locations and internationally in its London spa. I walked away with a goody bag full of them which I will be trying out over the next couple of weeks.  Updates coming up!

For more information on Bliss and Elemis spa treatments, check out here and here.

Asian Women Don’t Get Breast Cancer?

Photo by Richard Cavosora, courtesy of Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum’s “A Book of Hope: Stories of Healing to Honor Asian American & Pacific Islander Cancer Survivors.”

We may be nearing the end of October, but that doesn’t mean breast cancer awareness stops here. The most commonly diagnosed cancer among Asian American women is something we have to be vigilant about year-round. Here, a personal story about one woman fighting for awareness in the Asian American community.

“Asian women don’t get breast cancer.”

What if you heard these words from a medical professional? Susan Shinagawa did in 1991 after finding a lump in her breast during her monthly self-exam. Today, it’s those words that drive the work she now does. Shinagawa wants to make sure that no other woman of Asian descent will hear these words and that all women regularly get screened for breast cancer.

A decade ago, Shinagawa was working as a program administrator at an academic cancer center in San Diego, Calif. She says that, at the time, she knew very little about cancer even though she worked at the center. A friend of hers was giving breast self-examination (BSE) workshops and asked Shinagawa to attend. So she went to support her friend.

At the workshop, Shinagawa’s friend mentioned several risk factors for breast cancer that caught her attention. She had a couple of those risk factors and decided that she should start doing BSE. She began doing monthly BSE and recorded what she felt each month on a breast map.

“After several months of doing monthly self-exams, I felt something completely different in May 1991 than I’d ever felt,” Shinagawa says during our phone interview. “It was really obvious and just underneath my skin. I could even look straight down and see this lump sticking out.”

Shinagawa was preparing to take a leave of absence from work to join her naval pilot husband in Florida for a year. Before she left, she decided to get the lump checked out.

Her mammogram came out negative. However, says Shinagawa, at that time, 40 percent of all pre-menopausal women had false negative mammograms. The diagnostic radiologist decided to do a sonogram, which showed Shinagawa’s lump to be a solid mass, and not cystic. So Shinagawa went to see a surgical oncologist, who told her that she had fibrocystic breast disease, a.k.a. lumpy breasts. He told her that she had nothing to worry about, that she was too young to have breast cancer, she had no family history of it and besides, “Asian women don’t get breast cancer.”

“At that time, I really didn’t know anything about breast cancer or cancer statistics. So his comments really didn’t hit me,” says Shinagawa. “All I was thinking was, ‘I’m young and this is what I want to hear.’” But a little voice inside Shinagawa’s head kept telling her that something was going on.

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