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.
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.
Tamalpais CrossFit's coaches are not content to teach the same curriculum day in, day out. Instead, the CrossFit specialists mix up their routines on a regular basis, linking innovative sequences of exercises that increase strength and prevent fitness plateaus. Whether leading students through deadlifts, pull-ups, or lunges, the trainers keep students on their muscle-bristled toes. In addition to leading training sessions at various levels, the gym's fitness experts dish nutritional advice for complete body-revamping programs.
Rustik Chef's organic cupcake class weds chemical-free ingredients with sugary splendor in the children's cupcake-crafting class. Each technique and ingredient furthers children’s familiarity with the chemistry of baking as they work together in three groups to craft delicious treats. Each group uses a different flour, including rice and coconut, broadening the scope of creation and arming bakers with allergy-combating recipes. Although the class is geared toward kids between the ages of 6 and 15, parents envious of their progeny's future cooking prowess are welcome to sit in and glean baking tips.
Dance Arts Studios' instructors get fleet feet flying with a panoply of dance classes set within a studio that Pacific Sun named the best place for dance lessons in 2007 and 2008. The accommodating schedule of ballroom, Latin, and swing dances lets beginners and more sure-footed students build stepping and twirling skills with social dance classes. The Dance for Fitness course centers around fun, upbeat routines that strengthen cores and improve flexibility, teaching students to stylishly retrieve fallen items with a graceful dip. Although not included in today's Groupon, guest instructors and 2011 U.S. Argentine-tango stage champions Gustavo Hornos and Jesica Salomon help to inspire more seasoned dancers to take their tango to the next level in an intermediate/advanced Argentine-tango class.
In an effort to share his passion for cycling, Pelo Cycling and Fitness founder Alan Roberts looked to the peleton, the close-knit group of riders clumped together during a road race. His studio aims to recreate this closeness by fostering an easygoing atmosphere where people can workout and hangout.
Before class, riders reserve a bike online then head into the studio to pedal mile after mile against an auditory backdrop of high-energy music. Each stationary bike is outfitted with a proprietary system that adjusts to match the fitness level of the rider sitting atop it. Classrooms are also stocked with an abundance of absorbent, micro-fiber towels, which can sop up sweat or celebratory Gatorade baths for the instructor at the end of class.