When Cliff Hodges, the founder and CEO of Adventure Out, graduated from MIT with a degree in electrical engineering, he knew a traditional desk job wasn't for him. According to Technology Review, he quickly gave up his engineering career for the wireless world of the great outdoors, where he began to hike, climb, and surf his way around the world, always staying true to his philosophy of environmental respect and protection.
His travels and business accomplishments have gained some measure of notoriety; he's coached on MTV's Made, consulted for ABC News, and was selected as one of four winners of the 2011 Santa Cruz County Civic Service Award: The Nextie. Adventure Out was also identified for meeting survival skills training standards by The New York Times best-selling author Tim Ferriss in The 4-Hour Chef.
Today, he and his program consultant Tom McElroy lead excursions into the California wilderness to teach backpacking and survival skills, including the tracking of animals and wild ice-cream trucks, and they also guide novices through surfing, rock-climbing, and mountain-biking sojourns. Through fundraising, Adventure Out has helped save Castle Rock State Park from closure and a portion of their proceeds is put directly back into the park.
Bee venom doesn't sound like a medicinal substance, but to alternative practitioners such as licensed acupuncturist Tamara Wolfson, it's a cocktail of healing compounds. Going back as early as at least 3,000 BC, ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Chinese doctors used the venom—known as apitherapy—along with honey, royal jelly, pollen, and beeswax to treat ailments that ranged from arthritis to multiple sclerosis. Today, the method of using bee venom is sometimes called "nature's Botox" and has even earned attention from mainstream publications such as Allure magazine. Practicing inside Living Medicines Holistic Center, Tamara integrates various hive-sourced substances into her therapies, which include community and private acupuncture, diet consultations, and herb therapy. She also posts resources for clients to use at home, such as tips for creating a holistic medicine cabinet or an entirely edible fort.
As Ross Valley CrossFit states on their website, they’re focused on creating a workout that’s “productive, not destructive.” That said, the CrossFit system is intense, and the trainers push their students to the limit during daily workouts populated with a variety of challenging but functional movements and exercises. Through the use of intuitive movements such as pushing, running, and pressing, they prepare class participants for anything the day can throw at them, from hauling groceries to fireman-carrying a large person, running a marathon, or climbing a mountain. They mix up routines each day to keep things interesting; students may perform pushups and deadlifts one session before swinging kettlebells and running sprints the next. Paired with nutritional advice, workouts help those of all ages and fitness levels slim down, enhance agility and flexibility, and build brawn across all muscle groups.
In 2003, Gary Wrona was injured in a severe motorcycle accident. Even after a year and a half of conventional medical treatment, he was unable to function normally without chronic pain and had only a limited range of motion. It was only after his doctors told him they had done all they could that he began to seek alternative healing, which helped him regain normal movement and a pain-free existence. Now a certified massage therapist and master of neuro-linguistic programming, he runs his practice with a holistic approach—one that doesn't simply focus on physical elements but, instead, analyzes the interactions of mind, body, and spirit like three philosophers in a cage match. Beneath the exposed wooden beams of a second-floor loft, he customizes massages with Swedish, deep-tissue, shiatsu, and cupping techniques, hoping to unlock the healing potential that he himself experienced.
When you walk into Eden Day Spa, you are immediately bathed in light from a crystal chandelier. Pure white walls reflect that light off an ornate mirror, teal mosaic reception desk, and delicate orchids, all of which are designed to create a serene mood. The spa extends this relaxing experience with a bevy of traditional and contemporary treatments including facials, massage, and skin care. During body glow treatments, a sunless tanner infuses the skin with antioxidants and botanicals, leaving it with a golden sheen, while Turkish body peels employ a loofah and imported liquid gommage to remove layers of dead skin. Calming facials give the skin an all-over burst of vitality, whereas semi-permeant lash extensions draw attention to your eyes, and a full range of massage modalities soothe the muscles with the help of herbs, therapeutic stretching, and reflexology.
Flourish figures that if doctors ask you to fill out questionnaires before they treat you, other people who influence your health should do so, too. That's why the studio's massage therapists—each of whom has hundreds of hours of training—do exactly that, using the information the client provides to determine an appropriate bodywork approach. And their toolbox is packed. Their signature and premium massages encompass Swedish, shiatsu, reflexology, and trigger-point modalities, among others.
Treatments take place in private rooms where soft music plays. They usually occur with the client covered only in fresh, clean sheets, but clients can wear as much clothing or as many pork chops as they need to feel comfortable.