South Bay Spas for Mas
By Kathy Chin Leong

I have just come off of one of the toughest seasons of my life where so many people in my immediate and extended family faced a serious medical issue or emergency.

Every week it seemed as if our lives were part of a reality TV series, where producers would throw all kinds of trials at us to see if we would crack. Before I hit the wall, I hit the spa, Preston Wynne in Saratoga to be exact.
"Anything I need to know before your massage?" asked Mary, one of those heaven sent, solid, mother-earth type of grounded human beings.

"Well, I’ve had a lot of stress lately. It’s been hard." And with that, she proceeded to nurture me- lifting my head in her hands and steering it left, then right; she unknotted my neck kinks and shoulders with confident motions. Refreshed and refocused, I believe that session did more for me than anything else I can think of.


You don’t have to wait until a crisis slams you before you sign up for a spa appointment. Consider this: performing the regular duties if motherhood, aside from usual life circumstances, takes a significant toll on the bod. If you have an infant, I can bet that you are not sleeping.

There’s a gem of a bath house spa called Watercourse Way in Palo Alto with individually decorated rooms with whirlpool tubs, a shower, and a daybed where you can rest and relax for $18 an hour. You have absolute privacy.
Now let’s move on to toddlerhood. You’re chasing and lifting your kid constantly. It’s the ultimate 24x7 workout with human weights. Park days are back breaking as you execute The Perfect Picnic hoisting umbrellas, lunches, and clothing to and from the car. Instead, how about going to BurkeWilliams Day Spa in Santana Row for a body treatment and then picking up dinner afterwards at one of the local restaurants to enjoy with the family right there on the Santana Row park lawn?

Elementary school kicks in. You sit in the car… a lot. Your vehicle morphs into a mini motor home as you adjust to your new role as soccer or math-letics mom. Driving in that question-mark position ruins your posture and strains the eyes as you squint in the noonday sun. More wrinkles, anyone? I suggest a facial at The Spa of Los Gatos that will address the cloying attacks of air pollution and sun damage.

Moms, there’s relief and sanctuary for you at pamper palaces that will handle you gingerly. Have someone watch the kids for a couple of hours while you literally plan your escape. The Berkeley Claremont Resort & Spa offers a free, on-site daycare program that will take infants while you get a treatment or two.

Stretch your buck at hotel spas. Many of them have workout rooms, steam rooms, pools and Jacuzzis so that you can sneak in a short 30-minute treatment and still enjoy the rest of the facilities. At Hotel Valencia in San Jose, the Ayoma LifeSpa soothes guests with a special $55 foot soak called the Padabhyanaga. Sitting among vivid pillows and artifacts from India, you are treated to a foot washing, foot massage and exfoliation while your achy peds are immersed in a copper basin.

Meanwhile, the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay and Preston-Wynne have introduced a lineup of pre and post natal products under the Mama Mio brand name excellent for helping stretch marks and skin toning. While many spas offer pregnancy massages, according to spa director Melina Milner, the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay therapists address the face, feet, stomach, scalp for specific head-to-toe experiences geared towards motherhood.

Also on the general menu is the "Make Today A Sundae" pedicure. Picture indulging in an ice cream sundae while the therapist plops ice cream scented fizz balls into your foot soaking tub and layers a creamy chocolate mask on your feet and lower legs.

Over at the new no-frills InSpa day spa in San Jose, clients can walk right in without appointments (although that is preferable). The no tax, no-tipping policy means that you pay only for the service, no more, no less. There are no amenities, but if you are in a hurry to get a quick facial or massage or manicure, you’ve found the right place.
As this heat saps our resources and we become the career taxi drivers we never envisioned, be good to yourself. Men and women in Korea pay regular visits to public bath houses to destress. Patty Rice, owner at The Spa of Los Gatos , reports that in European countries, medical doctors recommend spas as treatment, and certain insurance companies cover costs. "It’s part of the wellness regimen there."

Self care with a spa day is good preventative medicine. By the way, my doctor said my chest pains that ushered me into the emergency room may have been due to stress. And if you think paying $100 or more for a one-hour massage is too much, my bill from El Camino Hospital for my three-hour visit came out to be $12,000.


And since you’re busy, here’s a handy resource list:

Day Spas

Burke Williams, San Jose – or  408/241-0071 
InSpa, San Jose – or  408/246-7722 
The Spa at Los Gatos, Los Gatos - or  408/354-5901 
Preston Wynne, Saratoga - or  408/741-5525 
Watercourse Way, Palo Alto – or  650/462-2000 

Hotel Spas

Claremont Resort & Spa – or  800/551-7266 
Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley- or  650/566-1200 
TOVA Day Spa, Fairmont San Jose – or  408/292-8682 
Ritz-Carlton Spa, Half Moon Bay – or  650/712-7000 
Ayoma Spa La Valencia Hotel, San Jose –  408/423-5424 

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