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.
Craig Fruchter and Stephanie Schreiber, a husband-and-wife duo, team up with an impassioned troupe of instructors to lead students toward mental and physical health through a lineup of Bikram and power-yoga classes. Their dual locations swirl with balmy temperatures to loosen tight ligaments and help students ease deeper into the tension-relieving stretches. The warm air pricks beads of sweat on shoulders and brows while flushing out toxins and the spleen's discarded Funyun bags. With an eye on preserving the environment, both studios are scrubbed with nontoxic cleaning products each day and feature textured rubber floors and fresh-air ventilation systems. Marin Magazine in 2010 named Red Dragon one of the best yoga studios in Marin, and Pacific Sun named the business the best Marin yoga studio in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Most gyms don't limit their membership enrollment, which is why Meridian's Bodies in Motion does. By managing their member count, the workout areas are less crowded and visitors can step right up to machines without wasting precious calorie-burning minutes waiting in line. The staff can focus on keeping the facility clean and getting acquainted with clients, adding personal touches such as greeting members by name every time they enter and swipe their membership card, which means "hello" in several languages.
At each facility, a team of certified fitness instructors encourages exercise efforts during an array of group classes, including Zumba, spin, yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, and cross-training. The certified personal trainers devise customized workout routines and monitor exercisers' forms as they carve muscles lifting free weights and slim down on cardio and strength-training equipment from Icarian, Hammer Strength, Precor, and FreeMotion. Special features—such as racquetball courts, swimming pools, saunas, indoor basketball courts, boxing rings, childcare, and cuddly kitten pits—vary depending on location.
Arjay Parker came to yoga as a result of an intervention to help her deal with stress in the workplace; Jefferson Parker started while seeking a way to heal his body from a crippling injury. In the practice of Bikram and Power yoga, they not only found what they were looking for, but they also found each other. Soon teamed as husband and wife, the duo decided to open a dual yoga studio of their own. The newly christened Bikram & Power Yoga San Rafael boasts two classrooms, specifically designed for and dedicated to the classes that happen in each one.
Today, the Parkers enlist the aid of other talented instructors they've met throughout the years to bend bodies with both kinds of yoga seven days a week. Their dedication has earned them Pacific Sun magazine’s Best Yoga Studio award for five years running and part of Pacific's Hall of Fame for three consecutive years, as well as countless high-fives from their appreciative students.
Big Jim’s BBQ entrances diners with a menu of tempting contemporary and barbecue cuisine arranged by chef Jim Modesitt. Like the annual westward migration of wood-smoking grills, the sauce-slathered bill of fare unites gourmet California treats with rustic southern cooking traditions, pairing juicy pulled pork, chicken, ribs, and brisket with hearty risottos, traditional cornbreads and beans, assorted cheeses, and crostinis. As clients sup on the tasty bounty or enroll in courses to learn the dark arts of cookcraft from the kitchen’s professional chefs and caterers, rich flavors and aromas lavish the nose and palate with a sensory celebration of fine food.