Writers Picks: Health & Wellness

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Best Holistic Care for Those Who Really Need It

Healthcare, you might have heard, has a lot of people feeling quite nervous, especially now that the Republicans have moved ahead with a plan that the Congressional Budget Office says will leave 24 million people without health insurance. That's why the Community Holistic Clinic is such a valuable community resource.

Founded by chiropractor Laura Polak, the clinic provides chiropractics, massage therapy, acupuncture and herbal medicine to low-income Sonoma County residents. The clinic is held once a week at Colgan Meadows community center, a Burbank Housing apartment complex in western Santa Rosa. It's open to residents and the public at large. Holistic medicine is meant to treat the whole patient on a systemic level rather than focusing on individual symptoms.

It's a worthy goal, but in spite of its efforts of inclusiveness, holistic care often serves a narrow clientele because of its cost. Insurance often doesn't cover the kind of alternative therapies Polak provides at her Sebastopol clinic, Radiant Health. That's where the Community Holistic Clinic comes in. communityholistichealth.com.—S.H.

Healthiest Way to Get High

Coffee is already plenty good for you. Research has found that coffee helps your heart and protects against Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease and liver cancer. But Alaya Babineau and Sunali Sikand have made a good thing even better withHealthy High, a superfood-infused coffee. The Valley Ford–based company starts with spray-dried coffee and adds an apothecary's worth of beneficial ingredients, like maca root, mesquite flour, turmeric, reishi mushrooms, ashwagandha powder, cardamom oil and a whole bunch of other goodness. And as an added bonus, it tastes really good too, kinda like dirty chai. A six-ounce can will make about 30 cups of coffee. Available at Community Market in Sebastopol.6762 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol. 707.407.4020. healthyhighdrinks.com .—S.H.

Best Throwback Mystical Swim

Hollywood loves its spas. In Gore Verbinski's Cure for Wellness, the spa retreat is a mystical, terrifying place where nothing is the way it seems. In The Road to Wellville, with Jane Fonda and Matthew Broderick, similar aesthetics are paired with absurd comedy. In both cases, the kooky spa scenes are fun to watch. To experience a similar old-timey wellness atmosphere, minus the scares and embarrassments, head to Indian Springs in Calistoga. The historic resort's pool just underwent a major renovation, but the vibe remains the same: eerie, vintage, enchanted. The mystical effect might be due to mineral-rich, spring feed waters. Or maybe I watch too many movies. On a cloudy day, the steam coming up on the surface of the pool makes for a magical soak, especially if paired with light rain and a minimum of other guests. To complete the experience, a mud bath and post-mud soak in a retro claw-foot tub is a must. The resort, with its striped towels and quiet but attentive staff, makes it easy to travel back in time and get on the road to wellness—or at least relaxation. 1712 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga. 707.942.4913.—F.T.

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Best Way to Accept the Fact That You Can't Party Like You Used To

Parties are a socially invigorating experience, though they rarely translate to physical health. Any time old friends get together for carousing, they run the risk of reveling in fatty foods, alcohol and other risky behavior. That plays well in college years, where recovery times are quick the next morning. As the decades progress, however, so do the effects of hangovers and exhaustion. There's got to be a better way!

In Napa, there is. Located in a calm, quiet Victorian house right in the heart of the downtown district, Napa Valley Massage & Wellness Spa is a house of health and relaxation developed by owner April Rose, a registered nurse who opened the spa in 2010. Specializing in traditional treatments like aromatherapy and heat compression, the spa boasts a selection of classic products and packages that ease the mind and heal the body. And, yes, they throw parties. Not the kind one might remember from frat-house days long gone by. This is a spa, after all.

Though the center welcomes groups of up to seven to partake in customizable therapeutic packages ranging from facials and waxing to massages and various "feet treats," it can also host groups larger than seven, and they'll help cater and accommodate your party to your needs. The spa party is an especially enticing option for bridal parties, with extra treatments like an herbal pedicure and neck wrap offered to help the bride get ready for the big day.

If winetasting or oyster shucking is a must-do on your party list, then think of Napa Valley Massage & Wellness Spa as a great way to get the party started on a relaxing vibe. Once you've enjoyed a few hours of treatment, you can take your serene attitude, effervescent glow and herbal aroma to downtown Napa, only a short walk away. 1227 Coombs St., Napa. 707.363.1641.—C.S.

Best Mind-Body Steam Cleaning

It's been a tough week. You worked several late nights and ended up skipping a few dinners, subsisting on coffee and a few energy bars, when what you really need is a big salad and a tall glass of water. In your stressed-out state, you snapped at a few people you love. In spite of all your anxious energy, you probably weren't performing at your best. And given how busy you were, there was no time for the cleansing reset that comes from exercise. Thankfully, the weekend offers redemption. Thrive Yoga's weekend morning classes cut through all the physical and psychic crud that's been clogging your terrestrial body and give you the chance to connect with something infinitely larger. And you'll sweat. Oh, will you sweat. The tiny studio is heated to a drippy 90 degrees or so, but given the small size of the studio space and all those Lululemon-wrapped bodies, the yogis squeezed on to all available floor space would probably raise the temperature that high anyway. With the release of all that sweat and effort comes a sense of renewal and the feeling that everything is going to be OK. Just breathe. 6914 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol. 707.303.6980.—S.H.

Best Reason to Send Sen. Mike McGuire a Contribution That Rhymes with...

State Sen. Mike McGuire—he's on fire! The Healdsburg Hammer recently kicked out a prickly and confrontational press release that read, "Senator McGuire clashes with Pres. Trump over feeding CA's hungriest kids." He's clashing with Trump! Not directly, though that would be cool. Trump recently offered an "America First" budget that cuts everything from the National Endowment for the Arts, to senior Meals on Wheels programs, to free-lunch programs for kids—and that last one really got McGuire's goat, especially after Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, made the ridiculous claim that there's no connection between well-nourished students and their academic performance. Classic. You try and find the square root of 47 on an empty stomach. McGuire heralded in his missive the recent Senate Education Committee passage of SB 138, which moves to expand, by some 500,000 students, California's commitment to school nutrition programs. If the bill passes, 13 schools in Sonoma County (among others in the North Bay) would qualify for 100 percent federal reimbursement for free-lunch programs—if only the alternative-fact administration would reject the mularkey from Mulvaney. —T.G.

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