Holiday De-stress Just over the Bridge

SenSpa Wellness Center at 1161 Gorgas Avenue just below the Letterman building in the Presidio, is a therapeutic mini vacation. A five-minute drive from the Golden Gate Bridge, no stress parking, makes this an easy trip from Marin. I recently went to experience the Simply Organic Facial, a customizable treatment using natural and holistic ingredients. My therapist, Stephanie Coyle, who has been with the spa since 2013, and a licensed aesthetician since 1999, could easily teach university level ‘skin care’ courses. While I usually like to tune out during treatments, I took the opportunity for some take home lessons on the efficacy of certain organic ingredients. She simplified her list of the “heavy hitters” in the natural category:

Willow Bark – natural exfoliate that helps to shed the outer layers of skin and dislodges follicle impactions.

Soothing Botanicals (lavender, chamomile, calendula, camphor, green tea) – anti-inflammatory, reduces redness, soothes irritation, neutralizes free radicals, act as carrier molecules to maximize penetration into the skin

Avogen (avocado molecule) – high antioxidant properties (ORAC value), lipid soluble so it works deeper into the skin, breathable occlusive that prevents water loss and increases NMF’s (natural moisturizing factors), aids in reduction of pigmentation

Ceramides, glycerine, jojoba oil – all high quality moisturizing agents that help to protect the skin by supporting healthy barrier function, increasing both water and oil hydration levels, prevents dehydration and decreases permeability.

The treatment is part of the new offerings, which includes The Winter Fire Purification, another one that caught my eye. Touted as a fire inspired, spirit-cleansing, body warming ritual, it starts with an offering made to a cleansing candle, followed by a stagnation slough to allow for fresh new skin and intention to be revealed. Then a massage and warm stone wrap as facial marma points are lightly stimulated, re-setting energetic pathways throughout your body, mind and spirit. And then for the Monty Python-esque wafer, let crystal stimulation to the third eye and heart center to awaken clear vision and open heartedness. 

We are on the look out for holiday de-stressers – have we missed your favorite? Send to [email protected] or comment below.


Mimi Towle

Mimi Towle has been the editor of Marin Magazine for over a decade. She lived with her family in Sycamore Park and Strawberry and thoroughly enjoyed raising two daughters in the mayhem of Marin’s youth sports; soccer, swim, volleyball, ballet, hip hop, gymnastics and many many hours spent at Miwok Stables. Her community involvements include volunteering at her daughter’s schools, coaching soccer and volleyball (glorified snack mom), being on the board of both Richardson Bay Audubon Center. Currently residing on a floating home in Sausalito, she enjoys all water activity, including learning how to steer a 6-person canoe for the Tamalpais Outrigger Canoe Club. Born and raised in Hawaii, her fondness for the islands has on occasion made its way into the pages of the magazine.