I've been spending quite a bit of time in San Francisco (mainly because I left my heart in San Francisco). And I've fallen in love with its charm, food, fitness and wellness. On my last trip, which happened to be in the midst of New York Fashion Week, I decided to visit some of my favorite wellness experts for the purpose of learning from them and sharing their wealth of knowledge with you. Scroll down for my breakdown of the Best of San Francisco: Wellness Edition. Hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.
San Francisco's Ultimate Pilates Workout
Training with MNT Studio founder Elaine Hayes
Naturally I asked a few friends for recommendations before deciding where my new go-to SF workout spot would be. Several friends recommended MNT Studio. The studio itself is beautiful-- open with great lighting and minimalist decor. The instructors are knowledgable and the studio offers a range of classes-- some of which are more cardio focused. The studio also offers a playroom for kids so Mom's can get their workout in even when they have their kids -- hello Modern Mother Who Does it All!
MNT Studio Founder Elaine Hayes in DANNIJO armparty
The MNT style of Pilates fuses the classical principles of alignment, fluid movement, and precision, with more contemporary athletic techniques to produce more noticeable results in a shorter amount of time. The studio offers four main types of classes: Reformer Pilates, Mat Pilates, MNTbarre, and Yoga.
I did both a Reformer Bootcamp class with instructor Alison as well as a private with founder Elaine Hayes. The Reformer Bootcamp class takes the principles of Pilates and combines them with the proven methods of bootcamp style classes. Set to upbeat and motivating music, this fast-paced class incorporates props, cardio intervals, and the jumpboard to keep your heart rate up, burn calories, and make you sweat, while continuously challenging and toning your core and other major muscle groups. Reformer classes are limited to 8 participants, so you get lots of attention and form correction from the instructor which is always important to me. It was a great fast-paced workout that left me feeling toned and energized.
Practicing Boxerina routine in Elaine's studio post Pilates session
For my private reformer session with Elaine we focused on alignment and form and she helped me modify poses so I could get out of my neck and shoulders (which tend to take over) and more into my core. Her body also happens to be insane (and she's a new mom) which always adds extra motivation to a workout. MNT has to be one of the cleanest, most organized and graceful studios I've been to securing it's spot on my Best of San Francisco list.
San Francisco's Best Facial
Getting a facial with Skin Remedy and Botnia skincare founder Justine Kahn
I discovered this gem of a place by asking a few local friends where to get a facial in SF, and they unanimously responded with Skin Remedy SF. The first time I experienced Skin Remedy and Botnia skincare was after New Years when I had violent bout of food poisoning and broke out as a result. After visiting Skin Remedy, my skin was glowing and calm within 48 hours and the red spots I'd made by trying to pop things myself (I can't be stopped) had diminished.
The spa itself is charming and airy, tucked away at the end of a tiny path off Sacramento St. The whole experience is personalized and zen -- which is a byproduct of the founder herself. Justine Kahn, founder of SkinRemedy and Botnia skincare, has a farm in Sausalito where she grows every product used at her spa as well as in her custom skincare line. She started off in 2002 working under some of the best estheticians in Los Angeles and 8 years later she launched Skin Remedy in San Francisco, and most recently Botnia skincare a year ago. My favorite discovery is the Gentle Hydration Mask which I put on before bed and before I get on a plane to prevent dry skin. It's magic potion.
Skin Remedy Spa in San Francisco
Skin Remedy's mission is to use 100% custom made products from their own raw ingredients and to offer individualized skin services. All ingredients that are available in the U.S. are OTC organic (the highest organic standard) and free of pesticides. Their products are also free of phthalates, parabens, carcinogens, and neurotoxins. If you're in need of a facial, I highly recommend SkinRemedy for a customized experience that fits your unique needs.
San Francisco's Healer: TMJ, Migraines, Joint Pain & Facelift Massage
I discovered Julie Lynge through another local friend who spends time between New York and San Francisco. I've been suffering from TMJ, neck and joint pain and migraines for some time. I didn't want to go to a doctor who would tell me to wear some sort of mouth device (I already wear a retainer at night because I grind uncontrollably), so I asked around to find a non-invasive therapy. All recs lead me to Julie Lynge.
Julie has magic hands and an incredibly calming aura. She treats her clients in a cozy cottage overlooking the water in Sausalito. When you first arrive she sits you down and asks you a series of questions pertaining to your pain and then she has you lay down and gets right to work. Her technique involves vertical work throughout the deeper tissue layers of the muscles, whereas most massage therapists focus on the top layer of muscle tissue while applying a horizontal massage pattern on the body.