As I’m sure you’re well aware, I love sharing my experiences about all things local. Whether it’s an in-depth fitness class review, coffee shop, or outdoor adventure, my goal is to help you navigate our beautiful city. I also share about my travels, favorite products, and even some lifestyle tips that I hope to include here as well. Expect a new ‘Sweat in GR’ volume every week focused on keeping you up-to-date on my weekly adventures, spots I’m loving, and local opportunities!

Fitness

On Sunday, I tried out total body conditioning for the first time at Barre Code Grand Rapids. I took the class with Hailey (rock-star instructor!) and was definitely sore for a few days. I really enjoyed the class format, that it was more of a challenge and the overall ambiance + fun vibe. BTW–Barre Code GR is celebrating their 1-year anniversary this week and offering a FULL week of free classes! Head over to their website and be sure to sign up. Also, in case you missed it, here’s the Total Body Conditioning Class Review that I posted on Instagram:

barre code class review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Wednesday I took the 6 am class at FLEXcity Fitness and got my butt kicked (again!) What I love about FLEXcity is that they incorporate an awesome balance of cardio and strength training in their workouts. We started out doing some HIIT on the floor then rotated from the treadmills to the bikes. We cycled through twice and ended class with some ab work on the mats. Stay tuned for an awesome promo I’m launching with FLEXcity Fitness next week!

Local Highlights

First, the much anticipated Rise Authentic Baking Co. had their grand opening last week and I was elated to be one of the first customers in line. They teamed up with Squibb Coffee and the space is absolutely adorable. If you don’t know anything about Rise Baking (which pretty much has a cult following in Grand Rapids) all of their delicious baked goods are vegan, soy, and gluten free. Rise doughnuts are my personal favorite (hello chocolate peanut butter!) and you can’t go wrong with their cakes, cookies, and cupcakes.

Make it over to the West side (right off Fulton) and check out this spot ASAP.

Another discovery I stumbled upon this week is the Plant Parlor located off Wealthy in Eastown. The moment I walked in, it was love at first site. There are plants EVERYWHERE and they’re all luscious, vibrant, and beautiful. This spot is seriously like a mini oasis with all the good vibes. Danny (the owner) helped me navigate the many options and even planted my new babies for me! He gave detailed instructions for proper care and was so helpful. As if it couldn’t get any better, they even offer wellness events and plant care workshops. The Plant Parlor is officially Sweat in GR approved and I can’t wait to go back!

Hope you enjoyed my first ‘Sweat in GR’ weekly recap. Stay tuned for more & stay warm my friends–spring will be here before you know it!

Charming. Serene. Gorgeous. Just a few words that come to mind after experiencing multiple services at Wanderlux Beauty & Wellness Co. Jessica Geerling, owner and talented esthetician, recently relocated to a spacious, beautifully renovated home off Wealthy St. in Eastown. The space is shared with Kula Yoga, which occupies two lovely yoga rooms on the 2nd floor, and Wanderlux services are offered on the main level. As soon as you walk in the door, you’re greeted with a warm ambiance, pleasant aromas, and energetic vibe. The staff is beyond friendly and will help you navigate the many services offered to determine what’s right for you. While waiting, relax in the cozy nook complete with a fireplace, soak in the calming atmosphere, and enjoy some tea. You literally will not want to leave.

spa Grand Rapids

Wanderlux Services

Wanderlux offers a variety of services and I’ve had the luxury of experiencing several over the past few months. From facials and peels to brows, lashes, and body waxing/ sugaring, they have it all!

Facials

spa grand rapids

If you’re skin needs some extra TLC, Wanderlux caters to a variety of skin types and customizes each facial so you’ll see amazing results. Treatments target pigmentation, fine lines & wrinkles, anti-aging, acne, skin tone, and rosacea.  Choose from the following:

Facials Options

Ultimate, Hydrating, Deep Detox, Organic Gemstone, Acne Corrective, Sensitive Skin Facia, Back, and Celluma Red/ Blue Light Therapy Facials  

Peel Options

Vitamin C Enzyme, Pumpkin Enzyme, Mystiq Elite ‘Party Peel’, Lactic Brightening, Retinol, Ultra Detox, Glycolic Detox

spa Grand Rapids

If you want some extra self-love, choose a few add-ons like red light therapy, ice globe treatment, gemstone massage, foot soaks, and hand, arm, foot massage.

spa Grand Rapids

Jessica and her team genuinely care about each client and use only the best products: organic, natural, and effective. After a thorough skin analysis, they’ll cleanse, exfoliate, and target your concerns. The therapeutic massage and seasonal mask were heavenly and my skin was glowing for days!

Brows

spa Grand Rapids

Every three weeks I stop in Wanderlux to get my brows mapped and colored. I’m very picky and prefer a more natural, fuller look. Madelyn, Julia, and Jessica are so talented when it comes to eyebrow shaping, mapping, and consulting. My brows are never over-plucked and after using their brow serum, have grown so much. I also love tinting my brows for a little more drama. By consistently working with the team at Wanderlux, I’ve achieved my desired results with a simple, affordable, and low maintenance brow regimen.

Lashes

spa Grand Rapids

Whether you’re looking for something more natural or glam, Wanderlux has you covered. I scheduled an appointment with Julia for an eyelash lift & tint and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. She basically permed and dyed my lashes to enhance my natural look . It’s not damaging, really opens up your eyes, and you can even ditch the mascara. It lasts for about 6 weeks and is completely effortless–right up my alley!

If you’re wanting to take your eyelash game to the next level with more permanent results, then eyelash extensions are an awesome option as well! Wanderlux offers Novalash full-set classic lash extensions and lash fills.

Body Waxing & Sugaring

spa Grand Rapids

Let’s face it, shaving is a pain and we all have unwanted body hair. If you want to remove hair effectively with little discomfort, sugaring is a must. It’s 100% natural (even edible) and a great for sensitive skin. It’s safe for the entire body and face.  

Massage

spa Grand Rapids

The newest service on the Wanderlux menu is massage therapy and body treatment services with the fabulous massage therapist, Anita. I’m so excited to try warm bamboo massage therapy, which uses bamboo sticks to roll and knead your tissue to help melt away tension and stress. If you’re an athlete or need relief on targeted areas, cupping will leave you feeling euphoric and less achy. Wanderlux also offers pregnancy massage, full body or sea salt or sugar scrubs, and therapeutic/ deep tissue massage.

Reiki Energy Therapy

spa Grand Rapids

Becky Haderer-Tamburello is a reiki practitioner at Wanderlux and passionate about empowering and healing women. After a few energy sessions with Becky, I felt entirely relaxed, peaceful, and at ease. I also experienced newfound mental clarity which lasted for days. She truly has a gift and will cater each therapy session based on your needs. With her intuitive soul coaching and profound questioning, I felt more confident tapping into my feminine energy and recognizing my potential. Becky’s goal is to share and practice the powerful, ancient teachings of reiki so every women can live a life physically, emotionally, and spiritually aligned lifestyle.

Yoni Steam

spa Grand Rapids

Practice deep self care with a Goddess Yoni steam session at Wanderlux with Becky. Your first appointment includes a thorough consultation, 20 minutes of reiki, a card reading, and a yoni steam with a personalized and theraputic herbal blend.

spa Grand Rapids

If you’re nervous about the process, Becky will make you feel right at ease. She’s informative, gentle, and reassuring. She also educates you on women’s health and empowers you to honor and serve your body. She thoroughly explains what to expect and walks you through the whole process. The actual yoni steam felt so theraputic and was a meaningful, sacred experience. I never expected it to be so magical! I highly recommend connecting with Becky to schedule a session so you can reap the many health benefits of yoni steams and Reiki energy healing!

Infrared Sauna

spa Grand Rapids

The infrared sauna space at Wanderlux is simply divine. The ambiance of the room, calm music, and peace & quiet feels luxurious. They also provide a robe and towels incase you prefer to shower after your session. The sauna is complete with chromotherapy (light therapy) and you can read about each color and the associated benefits. I love switching up the colors, cranking up the heat, and just allowing my body to relax and detox. There are SO many health benefits to adding the Infrared Sauna into your weekly wellness practice, including detoxification, lowering blood pressure, cellular health, weight loss, improved circulation and pain relief.

Contactspa grand rapids

If you haven’t made it over to Wanderlux Beauty & Wellness Co. yet, you’re seriously missing out. This spot is just darling and offers a varitey of services that will make you look and feel your best. To book a service at Wanderlux or to contact for further information, visit their wesite for pricing and scheduling options: http://wanderluxgr.com

Or follow along on social media: 

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Traveling is a huge passion of mine and I’m always planning my next adventure. Over the years, my ideal vacation schedule has definitely changed and I now appreciate a more relaxing, low key trip. I also pay more attention to my physical and mental health and avoid overdoing anything. My energy level is way higher, I don’t feel sluggish, and I’m actually recharged when I get home. I certainly enjoy a few adult beverages and don’t count calories or anything like that, but I do try and take care of myself and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few tried and true tips that help me feel my absolute best and stay healthy on vacation:

  1. Plan Ahead. A day of travel can be tricky to navigate. Thankfully, I’ve seen healthier options at airports, but they are pricey and hard to find. I recommend packing a few snacks (cut up veggies, dried fruits, your favorite crackers), and have them ready to go in a backpack or carry-on. Also, I usually opt for hot green tea instead of coffee, especially if I have a long flight, as traveling can be super dehydrating and hard on your immune system. Drink five times more than you think you need in flight. Avoid airplane snacks and meals–usually processed, sodium-rich, and cheap. Carry hand sanitizer (I use EO organic) and take natural immunity supplements. If possible, sweat when you get off the plane (a quick workout, sauna sesh, or walk/ run) to release those toxins. Also, melatonin is known to help with jet lag.
  2. Sleep. This is imperative and non-negotiable. We lead such hectic lives and are often sleep deprived. When I’m on vacation, I don’t set an alarm and just wake up naturally. I even squeeze in nap time and just let my body relax. Especially after a day of traveling (time zones, carrying luggage, etc) it’s important to give your body a break. If you have a daily itinerary, try to schedule enough sleep to recharge and conquer your day. Sleeping for hours is beyond rejuvenating and much needed.
  3. Hydrate. Drinking H20 can be easy to forget if you’re out of a routine and exploring new territory. I pack a stainless steel water bottle in my backpack that I take everywhere (the airport, beach, excursions) and try to constantly refill. For every alcoholic beverage you consume, chug a glass of water. You really will feel better and your body will thank you.
  4. Find balance with food. When traveling, I like to try new foods and authentic, cultural cuisine. I definitely deviate from my normal diet to thoroughly enjoy tasty treats and flavorful dishes. I don’t beat myself up over some indulging, but I do try and swap out certain foods for healthier options when I can (especially for breakfast and lunch). For example, if the burger comes with fries, I’ll order with fresh fruit instead or just opt for a vibrant, colorful salad or smoothie. I don’t believe in a restrictive diet, especially on vacation, but I stay aware of my body which typically craves nutritious food.
  5. Do your research. Scope out local restaurants that offer healthy + tasty options (farm to table or restaurants that value sustainability) and use good judgment. A restaurant that looks unhealthy probably is. If you’re cooking for yourself, even better! It’s so fun to check out local produce and plan a healthy, delicious meal. Or, opt for a picnic where you can scoop up your own groceries–this is a great way to stick with those nourishing staples. Pro tip: Having issues with digestion? Take SBO probiotics to help get things moving!
  6. Get active. Go for a run or walk on the beach, explore a new city on foot for miles and miles, hike some trails, or crush a quick workout. Sometimes I’ll take my yoga mat to the beach and relish in a few sun salutations or just take off for a quick jog.  I also love finding local studios when I travel or taking classes at the resort (water aerobics anyone!?). Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a workout or need a break; however, don’t underestimate the power of movement…even if it is a short walk or stretch break to keep you energized. Just have fun while doing it!
  7. Protect Your Skin. If you’re traveling somewhere warm, have that sunscreen ready. There’s nothing worse than getting burned the first day of vacation –it can literally ruin your trip. I buy sunscreen in advance (they’re usually overpriced at the hotel) and opt for natural lotions and sunblock. I don’t settle for anything less than SPF 30, slather on every couple hours, and I swear it’s kept my skin looking young and vibrant. I also wear a sunhat and take extra care of my skin so I don’t feel uncomfortable or dry.
  8. Unplug from technology. Vacation is the best time for a digital detox. If you’re constantly glued to your phone or computer, switch to airplane mode and give your tech a rest. Pick up a book instead or soak up every second of a foreign, vibrant culture. You’re much less likely to worry about what you’re missing back at home or sending everyone updates. There’s time for that later–just live in the moment and enjoy your travel adventures–it goes by so fast!
  9. Practice gratitude. Whether it’s a quick road trip or a luxurious getaway, having the means to travel is a blessing. I genuinely appreciate the opportunity to escape, explore, and decompress. Take time to meditate, pray, take a solo walk, practice yoga, or whatever grounds you.
  10. Know your essentials. When traveling, so many things are outside of our typical routine. Go into a trip knowing the top three things you need in order to feel good—your bare essentials—and do whatever it takes to protect those essentials. Mine are good sleep, a decent amount of vegetables, and some sort of movement. If these essentials are met, then I can be flexible with everything else.

Hopefully, you find these tips helpful as you prepare for your next travel adventure. Have a blast, stay healthy, and enjoy every minute!

Are you wanting a more personalized approach to medicine and natural therapies? Whether you’re wanting to focus on weight loss, thyroid, gut health, blood pressure, or even mental wellness, Root Functional Medicine can create a customized wellness plan for you.

About Root Functional Medicinefunctional medicine

Root Functional Medicine was founded by Dr. Erica Armstrong, a practicing family medicine physician, and Kelsey Stricklen, an integrative and functional nutritionist. Both Dr. Armstrong and Kelsey are dedicated to providing answers with the most advanced care and prevention. Root Functional Medicine considers your unique genetic and biochemical make-up, microbiome, environment, lifestyle, and nutrition. You’ll feel empowered with the right information and they’ll support you on your journey to heal from the inside out. They offer both functional medicine and nutrition consultations with the option to combine the two in their recommended “Get to the Root” program. Discover all the options and programs available here.

My Experienceroot functional

The Root Functional Medicine office is located off Louis St right downtown Grand Rapids. The building is bright, airy, and refreshing. During my initial appointment with Dr. Armstrong, we thoroughly discussed my health concerns and goals. We also reviewed my medical history and determined what lab tests would be most beneficial. I was so impressed with the level of detail and more holistic approach. Dr. Armstrong is personable, attentive, and incredibly knowledgeable. She answered all my questions and helped me feel more confident in approach to preventative health.

After receiving my lab results, we scheduled my follow-up consultation to discuss a long-term plan. Dr. Armstrong reviewed my stress profile and cortisol awakening response, metabolic rate, stress markers, and nutritional profile. She also provided a portfolio with several pages of results and explained the data. It was so interesting to learn about my vitamin deficiencies and how to focus my supplement intake. Also, she sent me a personalized wellness profile with a recommended supplement schedule and protocols. I learned about what areas need attention and it no longer feels like a guessing game. Since incorporating Dr. Armstrong’s advice and supplement schedule into my daily routine, I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my energy levels and mental clarity.

Group Program: Grounded and Nourishedfunctional medicine

If you’re new to Functional Medicine and not sure where to start, on February 6th, Root Functional Medicine is launching their first group program: Grounded and Nourished.  If you want meal plans, shopping lists, and a holistic wellness plan to get healthy, this 6-week program is for you! Here’s what to expect:

  • 6-weeks dedicated to establishing healthy roots and feeling great in 2019
  • Focus on prevention, weight loss, focus, energy, and digestive health
  • 3 in person one hour group visits lead by Dr. Erica Armstrong, Wednesday evenings from 6-7pm on Feb 6, Feb 20, and Mar 6
  • Learn a true functional medicine approach to wellness
  • Private Facebook group, with the ability to watch sessions if you cannot make it in person, and shared tips, ideas, and support
  • Food log app to be reviewed weekly by the Root Team with recommendations
  • Root customized food plan and shopping list
  • Work through your own functional medicine matrix with group support
  • Learn how to heal your gut
  • Option to purchase functional medicine adrenal health saliva test and hear tips to improve cortisol (stress) levels
  • Reduce inflammation, improve gut health, nutrition, and stress management which leads to a healthy weight

Learn to use functional medicine alongside group support to accomplish your health goals. Whether you are stuck in a weight plateau, want to improve digestive and gut health, or you just want to feel amazing, this group will help you get on track. The total cost of this pilot program is $249 which is an incredible deal considering all that’s included.  Sign up here to reserve your spot.

If you have additional questions about Root Functional Medicine or just want to learn more, head over to their website: rootfunctionalmedicine.com or follow along on social media:@rootfunctionalmedicine.

A few years ago, I felt bored with my workout regimen and wasn’t really seeing results. When my friend shared a NYT article about Kayla Itsines (link), a mega-popular trainer, I was super impressed with her genuine personality and perspective on fitness. After browsing her Insta page (which now has 10.9 million followers) and seeing the jaw-dropping transformation photos, I decided to jump on the BBG (Bikini Body Guide) bandwagon. Kayla’s program is one of my favorite home workout routines and I’m so excited to share about why I love it. 

The SWEAT App

BBG App

When I first started BBG in 2016, Kayla just launched the app and it’s definitely evolved. It now includes workouts from other trainers, like Body & Mind by Sjana Elise, PWR & PWR Post-Pregnancy by Kelsey Wells, BUILD by Stephanie Sanzo, and FIERCE by Chontel Duncan. I’m sure the SWEAT app will continue to add more programs and trainers which is a pretty cool feature. I’ve mainly stuck with the original Kayla workouts and challenges. I just genuinely love them and haven’t felt compelled to explore the other programs yet.

BBG app

You can now choose from the ‘Something Different’ menu and use a newer training style if you want more variety. I’ve found that these generally include more weights and equipment. You can do several of the workouts with basic equipment, like dumbbells, a jump rope, and a bench, but some of the added programs require more full-scale gym equipment. If you’re at the gym and not sure where to start, the Full-Body strength program would be a great option.

bbg app

The app also offers food suggestions and meal plans, like what to eat for a morning or afternoon snack. Each day comes with a new menu and it’s pretty thorough with recipes, ingredient lists, and diet types. I haven’t used the food feature, but I’m sure it could be helpful for someone just starting out or who could use some healthy food inspiration.

If you’re interested in tracking your activity or overall progress, the app also syncs this data. I also don’t pay attention to these or even the community feature (where you can find BBG social media accounts and encouragement), but if you’re die-hard or need that extra motivation, it’s a fun platform and unique concept. There are thousands of Instagram and Facebook pages devoted to BBG transformations and progress. I follow a few and it’s amazing to see the results of so many women who are clearly stronger and have taken their health and fitness to a whole new level.

bbg app

The app is pricier than most fitness apps out there, and I think this deters a lot of people from giving it a try. If you’re using the app religiously, then it’s pretty reasonable and a smaller investment then a studio or gym membership. A monthly subscription costs $19.99 or you can save more by paying quarterly, half-yearly, or yearly (up to 50%, which breaks down to $9.99 a month).

BBG Programbbg app

Every week, the goal is to complete 3 resistance workouts (legs, abs, and arms) alongside a few low and high-intensity workouts. The low-intensity workouts can include running, biking, walking, jumping rope, or whatever recreational activity you prefer. For the high intensity, you can do intervals, like sprinting, for a 10-20 minute window. I never knew how much I loved sprinting until I started BBG. It’s quick, efficient, and torches calories.

bbg app

Each resistance workout is made up of 4 circuits, 8 exercises total, that alternate between 2 different 7-minute sets. I usually complete a resistance workout within 33-40 minutes (including a stretch). It’s super convenient that the app times the workouts, buzzes when you’re finished, and tracks everything so you don’t have to think about it. The workouts are super challenging, efficient, and effective. They’re pretty easy to learn and there’s a thorough explanation for each exercise. During the workout, you can pause to read directions if needed.

I’ve been using the BBG app for almost 3 years, so I’ve literally tried almost every workout or level. Each one offers something unique and becomes increasingly challenging. Sometimes the exercises can be repetitive or you may get sick of a certain ab move, etc. I just adjust accordingly and add weights or modify if needed.

bbg app

Also, I now have a home gym in my condo building which is awesome, but when I first started I literally did every workout in the living room of my very small apartment. I just had a mat, bench, and some weights. You can easily do these workouts anywhere and they’re super accessible.

My Progress

When I first started BBG, I followed the program for 24 weeks straight and rarely missed a workout. Here’s my first transformation pic after finishing week 12, round 1, of BBG. I did not anticipate sharing these so I apologize for the low quality haha. I was thrilled with my progress and it was the first homework I ever tried where I noticed results.
BBG transformation

There wasn’t a huge difference, but I felt stronger, more toned, and could finally see my abs peaking through! Here are a few more progress pics from when I completed BBG 2.0:

BBG Transformation

BBG Transformation

These pics were taken after completing 4 months of consistent BBG workouts and I felt AMAZING! My body looked more toned than ever and  I was beyond happy with my progress. Interestingly, I did not lose weight; in fact, I gained a few pounds (GASP! I’ll let that sink in…) This is an important reminder to  NOT focus on the scale, as my clothes did fit better and I could see increased muscle in my glutes, hamstrings, arms, back, and legs. Strength training and toning is way more important to me than being a skinny-minny. I also don’t worry about the scale because I maintain a healthy balance of eating clean/ sticking to whole foods and being active. Consequently, I’m stronger, more confident, and not obsessed over my weight.

bbg app

Now that I mix up my routine with more studio workouts, I usually do about 1-2 BBG workouts a week. I highly recommend BBG and it’s really an awesome, effective program. I’ve also tried quite a few home workouts/ fitness apps that I plan to review and share this year. If you’re contemplating creating a healthier habit or amping your fitness routine–go for it! Focus on the reward and stick with a routine.  You’re more capable than you realize and don’t let excuses hold you back!

 

 

During the winter months, I always seek out wellness services that help my body feel rejuvenated and more lively. Self-care is so important in the winter, especially given the shorter days, lack of sunlight, and frigid temps. I’m so glad I discovered Refresh Wellness and the variety of natural, holistic services they offer. The moment I step in the door, I immediately notice the calm and serene environment. The colors, decor, and music are relaxing and peaceful. Also, there’s a designated room for each service with plenty of privacy,  so you can easily zen out and enjoy time to yourself.

Mission

refresh wellness

The mission of Refresh Wellness is to inspire health awakening within everyone and to promote healing and preventative self-care practices. The team, Andrea and Michelle, are so welcoming and dedicated to helping you achieve and maintain your health goals. Andrea, the owner, recently took over Refresh Wellness and is originally from Grand Rapids. She’s passionate about natural healing modalities and incorporates many into her own life. If you’re hesitant about some of the services or not sure what to expect, Andrea and Michelle will walk you through everything and make you feel completely comfortable. Here’s a little more about each service offered and why they’re so beneficial.

Red Light Therapy

red light therapy

At first glance, you might think it’s a tanning bed, but there’s nothing harmful about getting your rehab on with red light therapy. The bulbs use low-level wavelengths to reach all layers of the skin, blood vessels, and lymph system. It has a therapeutic impact and helps to restore our cells. It also increases collagen production (yay for healthier, younger skin), helps with muscle recovery, weight loss, reduces inflammation, joint pain, and much more! If you need a boost during the winter, the red light reduces depression, fatigue, and SAD (Seasonal Depression Disorder).

red light therapy

After my first 20 minute session, I felt more energized and way less sore–it feels great after a hard workout. I try to schedule time every week in the red light bed. It gives a much needed mental boost and I love the therapeutic effects. Just laying in the bed feels heavenly and truly rejuvenating during the winter season.

Ionic Footbathswellness

Soaking your feet in a tub with plastic lining and an electronic gizmo may seem alarming,  but it’s completely safe and really detoxifying. Ionic foot baths energize the cells and organs by electrically charging the electromagnetic fields within the body so that they can carry out their function. Since our bodies are electric by nature, you can think of it as charging your batteries.

A few benefits of the Ionic footbath include improved circulation and lymph flow, balanced energy pathways, and increased energy levels. It also boosts immunity, improves quality of sleep, helps relieve migraines and headaches, and stimulates the body to detoxify chemicals and heavy metals.

ionic footbath

ionic footbath

During my footbath, it was fascinating to watch the tub turn colors according to the area of my body being detoxified. Mine was definitely a more brownish/black color, which means that I was mainly detoxifying the liver. It actually felt really relaxing and the little tingles of electricity were energizing and restorative. I loved all the plants in the room, the comfy chairs, and the salt crystals–the perfect ambiance for healing and relaxation.

Detox Mineral Wrapdetox mineral wrap

If you’ve ever wanted to give yourself a quick and efficient whole body detox, then you must try the Detox Mineral Wrap. Mineral wraps are great for shrinking fat cells, increasing circulation/cardiovascular function, lymphatic drainage, smoothing and tightening the skin, reducing cellulite, energizing, and detoxifying. Michelle, an experienced technician at Refresh Wellness, made me feel completely comfortable and was very thorough in explaining the process.

Mineral wraps work by compressing the body in soft, porous, wraps that are soaked in an all-natural mineral solution. The minerals infuse the body with an incredibly high-quality, absorbable form of minerals that help the body release toxins stored in fat tissue. They’re released through the skin by sweating while laying in a dome infrared sauna.

Michelle initially took my measurements from my legs all the way to my chest. She wrote down about 15 total to compare the before and after of inches lost. Then she carefully wrapped me head to toe and poured the mineral solution over the wraps. I did not feel suffocated or uncomfortable; both the wraps and solution were warm and calming. I relaxed in the sauna for about 30 minutes and Michelle checked on me a few times to see how I was doing. You can easily fall asleep and it feels so good.

Afterward, she unwrapped me and documented my measurements again. I lost 8.5 inches total off my body and about 1 inch off my waist–I was truly amazed! This is not a temporary loss –you will see permanent results and you’re encouraged to schedule three mineral wraps for optimal results. Afterward, I felt lighter and the wrap had a noticeable, almost euphoric effect. Drink a ton of water and be sure to take it easy, as your body will be in detox mode for the next 24 hours.

Infrared Sauna Therapyinfrared sauna

There’s nothing better than resting in an infrared sauna and getting that sweaty glow. The sauna at Refresh Wellness feels like you’re at the spa and it’s super zen. After getting situated in my plush, comfy towel, I love cranking up the heat, zoning out, and just giving my body some much-needed self-care.

Infrared saunas can release 20% of toxins through sweat alone (like heavy metals and environmental stress)  compared to only 3% with traditional saunas. They also raise the core body temperature and penetrate several inches into the tissue. I usually book a session anywhere from 30-40 minutes and relish in the many benefits:

-Detoxification
-Pain relief and inflammation
-Weight loss (can burn 600 calories per session)
-Skin purification (mine literally glows when I’m finished as has that healthy flush)
-Helps fight infection and improves immunity
-Improves circulation and cardiovascular function
-Relaxes and restores

infrared sauna

You’ll love the lack of distractions and it’s seriously such a treat. Afterward, towel off, enjoy some lemon water and conquer the rest of your day with that post-sauna glow.

Upcoming Classes refresh wellness

Refresh Wellness also offers wellness events and classes to challenge and inspire you to prioritize self-care and natural healing. Here are some upcoming classes that you’ll definitely want to check out:

Weight Loss, Nutrition and the Psychology of Eating with Laura Burkett
Tuesday, February 12, 6:30 pm: $15

Join Refresh Wellness with Holistic Nutrition and Eating Psychology Counselor Laura Burkett for this one-hour community class for women. Explore a nutritional and psychological approach to body weight. You’ll learn the fascinating variables that impact body weight (many that you won’t often hear in a gym or a doctor’s office). We’ll draw on Laura’s 10 years of experience doing counseling and coaching work with women. Come to learn and feel inspired.

Sign up: Weight Loss, Nutrition, and The Psychology of Eating $15.00

Results Driven Natural Skin Care and Tech Tools
Thursday, February 7th, 6:30 pm

If you are passionate about keeping up-to-date on new and improved products and tools available for natural anti-aging skin care, then you do not want to miss this event! Join us for a fun evening with the fabulous Joy Pratt as we sip wine and sample results-driven, award-winning products and tech tools, including the LED facial mask, Instant Face Lift, Micro-Needling device, and the Transforming Eye Treatment.

Sign up: Results Driven Natural Skin Care and Tech Tools

Change Your Fascia, Change Your Life
Tuesday, February 19th, 6:30 pm

The intricate web of connective tissue that lies beneath our skin is a key system in the overall health of our body. Aging, injury, and repetitive use causes the fascia to become denser and less flexible. This causes illness and disease in the body. If you take care of your fascia, you will take care of your health.

In this workshop, Jennifer Feldman will give you an overview of fascia and what it does, why it is important, and how to take care of it. You will learn movements that help you connect with your connective tissue and strategies for self-care. Be ready to discover more about yourself and your body.

Jennifer Feldman is a therapeutic bodywork practitioner and owner of Limitless Movement in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As a trained classical musician she had an injury that lead her to seek out a way to heal herself. After years of study, Jennifer now works with others to help them find freedom in their own bodies and minds. In addition to her bodywork practice, she teaches yoga at Cascade Yoga Studio.

Sign up: Change Your Fascia, Chnage Your Life

I cannot emphasize enough how much I love Refresh Wellness and their amazing wellness service. If you haven’t stopped in, be sure to book your next appointment ASAP. 2019 is the year of self-care, and holistic + natural wellness is the best way to treat yourself. They offer several new client specials and packages that are reasonably priced and definitely worth your time. You can find all the information on the Refresh Wellness website or give them a call (616-430-2254) to schedule your 1st appointment!

 

Finding the right yoga studio can be tough to navigate. Some appreciate meditative, calming yoga, while others prefer sweltering heat. Fortunately, the yoga movement is thriving in Grand Rapids and there are plenty of fantastic studios where you can practice. Here are 16 tried-and-true list places with a brief description for each that will make it easier for you to find your flow!

Funky Buddha Yoga

yoga studios

Funky Buddha Yoga was the first hot yoga studio in Grand Rapids and has since become an institution in West Michigan. They offer hot yoga that is ridiculously fun, sweaty, and relevant to everyday life. This place is all about getting active: you will sweat, and you will work! The studio has a Bohemian-Esque vibe complete with an artistic chalkboard wall, strung lights, and lively color. Given the popularity, the classes are typically packed, so get there early. During the summer, they host free yoga in the park and stand up paddleboard yoga. You can find a Funky Buddha studio in Holland, Eastown, and Forest Hills.

AM Yoga

yoga studio

Through service, community, and love, AM Yoga’s mission is to help you discover who you are by removing what you aren’t. As their name says, AM is practicing the state of I AM – Sadhana (daily spiritual practice) + Satsang (sacred gathering) + Seva (selfless service). The 60-minute Vinyasa classes are the perfect balance of stretch and strength training. If you’re in need of a longer, deeper stretch, then try out Yin Vinyasa. Carve out time to meditate with classes like Meditation Vinyasa and New Moon Meditation. Spice up your routine & hit up one of their community classes at hot spots like the GRAM or Donkey Taqueria.

Yoga Fever

yoga studio

Yoga Fever combines the ancient science of yoga with contemporary warm and hot vinyasa yoga classes. The tastefully decorated studio has a spacious lobby and practice room. Their vigorous classes deliver exceptional results and continual advancement in a supported environment. You’ll have room during class to focus your energy and get stronger in each pose. The instructors really take the time to explain what your body should be doing. They also pay particular attention to the history and philosophy of yoga. Check out Yoga Fever for a yoga studio that is inclusive, diverse, creative, and positive!

Kula Yoga

yoga studio

Looking for a hip studio where everybody knows your name? Then Kula Yoga is the place to be. They aim to provide quality yoga instruction and it’s great for those on a budget. Kula is an inclusive, judgment-free zone. Yogis are encouraged to explore their practices under the guidance of knowledgeable and nurturing instructors. They offer different types of classes like Buti Yoga (awaken the chakras & power within!) as well as frequent workshops designed to enrich your knowledge, practice, and foundation of yoga. They recently moved to the heart of Eastown beautifully renovated home shared with Wanderluxe Beauty & Wellness Co. The new space is bright & airy, tastefully decorated, and totally zen!

Twisted Hot Yoga

yoga studio

If you want to turn up the heat, head over to Twisted Hot Yoga. Twisted’s classes are 99 degrees and 45% humidity, to be exact! Their Push and Chill classes are not heated, but there is residual heat, which keeps the room nice and warm. They also offer a super encouraging environment with friendly and positive instructors. Each teacher has a slightly different specialty, but all are knowledgeable and passionate about yoga. The studio is the perfect balance between not too big and not too small. BONUS: the cool lavender towels at the end of class are HEAVENLY. Check out one of their locations at Knapp’s Corner or  Caledonia.

Grand Rapids Healing Yoga

yoga studio

If you’ve experienced trauma or want to use yoga as therapy, then Grand Rapids Healing Yoga is the place for you. They offer group yoga and private practice for transformation and empowerment. Instructors encourage self-care, learning to befriend the body, and connection to the present moment. All teachers strive to protect students from physical, emotional, and psychological harm. The instructors are carefully trained and follow a complete code of ethics. Be empowered in your body, mind, and spirit.

From the Heart Yoga & Tai Chi Center

yoga studio

This studio is guaranteed to give you a fun, challenging, and potentially eye-opening workout for both your body and heart. Founded by Behnje Masson and Rick Powel in 19971, From the Heart was one of the first studios opened in Grand Rapids. The expert instructors attract multiple internationally known teachers every year. The alignment-based principles will make you stronger, more flexible, and empowered. From the Heart is a beautiful and serene space with a welcoming atmosphere. They offer explicit instruction, a great workout, and time to get focused and relaxed. You will also learn yoga in a way that prevents injury.

The Yoga Studio

yoga studio

Practicing since 1979, the Yoga Studio is Grand Rapid’s first yoga studio.  Instructors are trained in the Iyengar system of hatha yoga. They focus on precise alignment and use props (blocks, straps, bolsters, blankets, the wall), so there is less risk of injury. Teachers of Iyengar Yoga are held to a high standard of knowledge that is rigorously maintained through ongoing study. The Iyengar philosophy connects both the body and mind through its holistic approach. Class sizes are small, so each student receives individual attention and guidance. The Yoga Studio will encourage your pursuit of self ­knowledge while providing a well-rounded practice.

Lotus Jo’s Yoga

yoga studios

Lotus Jo’s recenently opened and is so adorable–it feels more like home than a yoga studio. It’s community-oriented & will meet you wherever you’re at in life. Their rates are SUPER affordable & they offer great drop in prices too.  Love the free CBD restorative yoga class and the essential oils + heavenly aromas.  The zen vibe radiates the moment you walk in the door and it’s beyond cozy (complete w/blankets & tons of props). Go check it out – it’s perfect for all-levels and you won’t be intimidated.

PeaceLab Yoga

yoga studio

The Mission of PeaceLab Yoga is to create a warm, inviting yoga community where yogis of all experience levels can come together to share in the Art and Science of Yoga. They aim to empower each student on their path towards wellbeing, growth, and personal fulfillment. PeaceLab Yoga strives to offer the highest quality yoga programs in a serious, yet playful, environment. They accept you as you are and know when to challenge what you thought you couldn’t do. PeaceLab will also help you slow down and deepen your practice, work on peak poses, and learn about the elements of yoga history and philosophy. Peacelab is located in Grandville!

Yoga Blue Studio

yoga studio

This hot yoga studio’s admirable mission is to support the police, fire, medical professionals, their families, and the communities they serve. Yoga Blue offers a counterbalance to high-intensity, high adrenaline work days through breath and mindfulness. A unique feature is that they provide Broga, yoga for men, which combines core-strengthening, muscle-toning, cardio-working, stress-reducing, clarity-enhancing yoga postures with functional fitness exercises. Love the cause & mission of this awesome studio!

Renew Mama Studio

With a niche focus on motherhood, Renew Mama Studio provides a variety of yoga classes, services, and resources to both prenatal and postnatal mothers. Their classes are taught by instructors who are specifically trained in this area. They also aid in the physical and emotional demands of labor, birth, and motherhood. Come in for a little “me time” or bring your baby for a great bonding experience. Renew Mama Studio is hyperfocused on building community and supporting women during their motherhood transition. BONUS: They also offer child care and a calming lounge where moms can decompress, get some work done, or find some much needed rejuvenation.

Seva Yoga

yoga studio

Seva Yoga in East Grand Rapids offers a variety of classes that can be physically challenging or more calming and meditative. The teachers, atmosphere, and culture of Seva are all-inclusive and nurturing. The studio has a lively energy, like-minded people, and fun music! It’s a wonderful space for a breath-based, soulful practice. Great teachers, community, and the studio itself is beautiful and relaxing. No matter your style, no matter your experience level, there is a class for you.

The Yoga Zen

yoga studio

If you’re looking for a yoga studio in the heart of Caledonia, then bee-line over to The Yoga Zen. This newer studio is an inclusive space for all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to learn and practice yoga. With over 7 different classes to choose from, including power vinyasa, you won’t be lacking options. They even offer kids, adult, and adapted yoga classes to accomodate physical limitations. BONUS: They actually have a Zen-Den. Schedule a  massage or body work with Reiki or AromaTouch where you can truly unwind, breathe, and relax.

Expressions of Grace & Cascade Yoga Studio

yoga studio

At Expression of Grace & Cascade Yoga Studio, the teachers work from their heart. Each class offers a different kind of practice and they’re all beneficial. Some of their unique classes include theraputics (for specific injuries), yoga for women over 50, and martial arts / self defense. The relaxed environment, positive vibes, and special classes (yoga with live music or meditation) all make this studio worth checking out. They also offer thai body work, massage, & energy therapy!

Iyengar Yoga Center of Grand Rapids

Iyengar Yoga Center

Iyengar yoga develops strength, endurance, and optimal body alignment, in addition to flexibility and relaxation. The Iyengar method also focuses on self-awareness, intelligent evaluation, and profound inward reflection. All classes at the Iyengar Yoga Center are taught by experienced, dedicated, and rigorously trained Certified Iyengar Yoga Teachers (CIYT). The Iyengar Yoga Center has a beautiful new facility and the classes will leave you feeling refreshed and energized.

 

If you’re on the hunt for the fitness fanatic, natural beauty guru, or wellness warrior in your life, this gift guide is for you! I’ve listed some of my favorites (both online and local) that will leave whoever’s on the receiving end with an elated smile. Or, treat yo’ self and add to your holiday cart. You’ll love the quality and uniqueness of everything listed. Happy shopping!

Beyond Yoga

holiday gift guide

These have literally been my favorite purchase this year. I own two pairs and they are so soft, high-quality, flattering, and versatile. I love that you can wear them for a lower impact class (yoga or barre) or even when you’re simply out and about. The material feels buttery soft and they’re just stretchy enough where you don’t feel suffocated. On the Beyond Yoga website, there are tons of options. The Spacedye Take Me Higher Long Legging is my fav pair and go with pretty much everything. I also have my eye on Plush Side Pocket High Waisted Long Legging (hello pockets!) and the Velvet Motion High Waisted Midi Legging –can you really go wrong with soft velvet leggings!? BONUS: Beyond Yoga has incredible company values that I really appreciate. They promote inclusivity by never retouching the shape of a woman’s body. Their sizes range of sizes from XXS to 3X. Two-thumbs up in my book!

To & Fro Activewear

holiday gift guide

Image via @tofroshop | Instagram

If you’re looking for a store that has it all, To & Fro Shop in Ada is your spot. They have SO much to choose from and you can pretty much gift anything you find. Think candles, water bottles, cute gym bags, leggings, jackets, hats–you name it! You’ll find plenty of stocking stuffers and quality merch for the busy woman on the go. To & Fro is a local store owned by military Veteran Carrie Papke. She has impeccable taste and is passionate about clothing that will help you love YOURSELF. They hand-select all of their clothing and carry over 18 luxury brands. They recently decorated for the holidays and the space is just beautiful. It will definitely put you in the holiday spirit. I own serveral pieces from To & Fro and wear them all the time. The quality, attention to detail, and style is on point. BONUS: They gift wrap too!

Simply Curated Candles

holiday gift guide

Image via @simplycurated | Instagram

The first thing I do when I’m ready to cozy up, plug away at some work, or just relax at home is light a candle. They are so therapeutic and make the perfect gift. I recently discovered Simply Curated Candles I’m obsessed with this company. First, they’re local (all candles are hand-poured in Grand Rapids) and are made with natural fragrances and essential oils.  They are also phthalate free & 100% soy. The candles themselves are beautiful–love the modern look and brass aesthetics. The comforting smell of Vanilla Lavender is my personal fav (I’m a sucker for anything vanilla) and burns up to 60 hours. They also have the cutest travel candles that are great for stocking stuffers. You can shop these lovely candles online or at Posh Petals, Jean Stoffer Design, Blackbird East or Schuler Books in Grand Rapids.

Fox Naturals

holiday gift guide

Image via @fox_naturals | Instagram

Holla if you’re a natural beauty babe! This is spot is not only adorable + local, but they ONLY carry holistic, healthy skin care products. Fox Naturals is committed to both quality and ethical standards. Their ingredients are vegan-friendly, use natural preservatives, and are listed on their website–no secrets or toxins! If you haven’t stopped by this adorable shop off Wealthy St yet, you’re in for a treat. Patrick (the owner) is beyond helpful, offers stellar skincare advice, and will guide you in the right the direction. Each product smells heavenly, feels fresh, and tailors to a variety of skin types. I’m hooked on the Rose Gold Facial Serum and the Charcoal Face Mask is divine. You can shop online or stop in–either way, you’ll easily find the perfect gift for the beauty guru or skincare junkie. BONUS: As we all know, skin care products can get REAL pricey. Fox Naturals is reasonably priced and you can find several items for under $30 (or shop their sets for even more of a discount)!

Amazon Teddy Coat

holiday gift guide

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, I’m sure you’re well aware that teddy jackets are pretty much the best trend ever. They’re incredibly soft and perfect for quick trips to yoga, girls night, brunch, a low key date, or even bundling up on the couch. I don’t recommend if you plan to spend extended time in frigid temps-they aren’t meant for shoveling the snow. But they are super convenient for running errands, etc. I found mine on Amazon and love it. The coat is longer and covers the bum (which I prefer), looks great with a cute scarf, and extra shaggy. I ordered in black (my go-to color), size medium (i’m usually a small but wanted a lil extra room) and it looks fab! Gift this teddy coat for someone who appreciates comfort and style–it’s only $50 and better quality than other options out there.

Hanky Panky BARE

holiday gift guide

These make for the best stocking stuffers and they’re pretty much miraculous. Anyone who gets super annoyed with having to constantly maneuver their underwear during a workout class (or in general) will LOVE the comfort and quality of this brand. I describe their thongs as ‘lace butter’ and they’re so beautiful. Scoop up a few pairs at To & Fro Activewear (they have a variety to choose from) or online–promise you’ll never go back.

Sorel Boots

holiday gift guide

I’ve had a few pairs of Sorrel boots over the years and love the quality, comfort, and style. Since I have a very active dog, I go on a ton of walks in the chillier temps and need boots that won’t leave my feet feeling cramped or cold. I do have a heavier pair for skiing or snowy trail hikes, but lately, I’ve been loving the Slimpack Lace Boot in black/kettle. They go with everything, are easy to take on and off, super warm, and great for brisk walks or running errands. I love wearing them with leggings and cute socks. If someone has a pair of boots on their list, then I highly recommend the Slimpack Lace by Sorel. Oh, and be sure to size up! I normally wear an 8-8.5 and ordered a 9.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35

holiday gift guide

I was way overdue for a new pair of sneaks and recently ordered this pair (well, a few) from Nike and these are my new go-to. They’re made for running, so expect a little bounce with the perfect amount of cushion. I have a higher arch and they conform really well to my foot. I love the rosé color (I’m a sucker for everything rosé ) and overall comfort and quality. I’ve owned many, many pairs of sneaks over the years (I’m an avid runner and always looking to upgrade), and these are definitely in my top 3. They’re worth every penny and make me look forward to a jog or longer walk.

River Locks Pom Beanie

holiday gift guide

Stay cozy warm with this chunky knit beanie with a cute plush pompom from Free People. I love the black and white mix to spice things up. Most of my winter gear is black (surprise, surprise) so it goes well with everything.  The coral option is also adorable and would look great skiing or if you want to add a pop of color. I wear this beanie whenever it’s chilly and I’ve gotten so many compliments. This would def make for a perfect gift!

321 STRONG Foam Roller

Holiday Gift Guide

After a really tough work out or if I’m feeling extra sore, I foam roll. I’ve used a variety of foam rollers, but I really love the  unique massage zones of the 321 STRONG. It replicates the thumbs, fingers, and palms so you can get the exact massage you’re looking for. This would be an awesome gift for an athlete or for somone who just needs some extra theraputic benefits. Foam rolling is great for decreased recovery time from injuries, deep tissue massage, increasing mobility, healing damaged soft tissue, and reducing pain and soreness. I ordered this one in gray off amazon and highly recommend!

GR Natural Health

holiday gift guide

If you haven’t checked out my recent blog post about GR Natural Health, then read it over stat. They offer a variety of holistic health and beauty services including acupuncture, light therapy, health coaching, massage, organic facials, and even energy healing. Their team of holistic health practitioners and estheticians are incredible and I always feel amazing after stopping in for one of their services. They’re offering an awesome special for the holidays–purchase a $100 gift card for only $80. Treat that special someone to some much-needed self-care and rejuvenation. Or check out their online store of natural skin care and organic makeup products–they carry a variety of options with only the highest quality, organic ingredients.

I hope this helps with your holiday shopping and maybe you even found something you want to try out for yourself. Enjoy and happy holidays!

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Get to the heart of your healing journey, the natural way–that’s the idea behind GR Natural Health. A natural health center that focuses on patient-centered care, GR Natural Health does it all, really. Over the years, they have developed a collaborative team of practitioners who inspire their clients to restore all areas of wellness: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. I’ve visited these practitioners for a number of reasons, and can honestly say that everyone here is just amazing.

About GR Natural Healthnatural health

GR Natural Health is the only business in Grand Rapids that combines integrative health care with naturopathic medical professionals and natural healing methods such as acupuncture, health coaching, and energy therapy.

Practice Director & CEO: Kelly Peterson

natural health center

Kelly Peterson opened GR Natural Health inside a chiropractic office in 2012 after completing her doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine. Since then, the practice has moved to the west side of downtown. Her team of integrative practitioners and services and continues to grow. Over the years, Kelly has cultivated an environment that appeals to anyone seeking holistic wellness, clean beauty, spa services, and natural remedies.

What to Expect

natural health center

During my first visit, I instantly noticed the bright, clean, and relaxing ambiance. Plenty of windows and natural light create a beautiful environment that’s ideal for anyone’s health and wellness journey. The front desk staff is friendly, helpful, and make you feel right at home. Need extra guidance choosing a service or want to get to know a staff member? They offer complimentary 15-minute meet and greet consultations to get you on the right track.

natural health center

Ok. Let’s get a couple wonderings out of the way.

Acupuncture? Energy healing? Sounds a little woo-woo, I get it.

But, give it a try. I did. Stephen Durell, a National Board Certified acupuncturist who works out of GR Natural Health one day a week, treats a wide range of conditions.  After just one session with him, I felt totally refreshed, euphoric, and less achy. It was a serious difference and totally worth the investment.

natural health

I also had the pleasure of getting to know Chris Wheeler, an energy touch practitioner/ CranioSacral Therapist, and had an incredible experience. Her passion for showing people how the body can naturally heal itself was evident during my time with her.

natural health

By incorporating breath, spiritual guidance, guided meditation, and intention, she helps people recover from trauma, pain, and even disease. She has extraordinary testimonials from clients who have been healed through her spiritual energy work and the results are impressive.

Integrative Health Carenatural health

More and more people are realizing the importance of preventative and natural medicine. Being prescribed prescription medications without a long-term solution doesn’t fully treat the problem. GR Natural Health utilizes a medical director, David Johnson MD, and a team of naturopathic doctors to provide both conventional and alternative therapies. Naturopathic medicine decreases the need for medical interventions by improving your well-being, preventing disease, and enhancing your overall health.

natural health

Each doctor incorporates Integrative medicine, a healing-oriented practice that takes into account the whole person (body, mind, and spirit). Natural therapies include nutrition, exercise, stress/relaxation, herbal medicines, dietary supplements, and functional lab testing. Rest assured that you’ll not only receive sound medical advice but also additional support to enhance all areas of your life. 

Light Therapy

natural health center

LED Light Therapy offers serious benefits for the body, mind, and skin. LED stands for Light Emitting Diode.  It sends low level light energy into the deepest layers of the skin, which stimulates multiple functions of repair and regeneration depending on the color of the light used.  Each light produces chemical reactions throughout damaged blood and nerve cells, which enables healing and relieves pain. If you’re dealing with common concerns such as inflammation, slow healing wounds, depression, stress, or even fine lines and wrinkles, give LED Light Therapy a try!  It’s a safe, noninvasive, procedure to help your body heal itself naturally.

Health Coachingnatural health

Every staff member at GR Natural Health is invested in your health and wellness. For example, Andrea Hop, certified health coach, is passionate about making knowledgeable food choices and focused on improving all aspects of wellness. She really gets to the root of your nutritional needs and guides you through a comprehensive evaluation that determines how to take more control of your health through food, mental clarity, and daily routines/ habits.  She’s personable, educated, and empowers you to build healthier habits.

Holistic Spa Servicesnatural health

Claudia Ellenberger, the massage therapist, is phenomenal, and uses hot stones and cupping to help alleviate stress and tension. If you haven’t tried cupping, you must! It’s invigorating, therapeutic, and helps improve circulation. I’ve also been treated to many facials by their phenomenal team of Estheticians and holistic skin care specialists.

natural health

After months of treatment, I can say with confidence that they genuinely address your skin care needs, help you choose products that are most beneficial, and personalize each and every facial. GR Natural Health is committed to using organic, toxic-free products. The pumpkin and dark chocolate seasonal masks are heavenly. You can literally eat them, that’s how clean they are. Want to make your eyes really pop? They just added brow, lash, and waxing services.

natural health center

Treat yourself to a spa package for ultimate pampering and rejuvenation. If you need to restock, you can also purchase select skincare and makeup products via the GR Natural Health online store. I’ve used several from each line and LOVE the results. BONUS: They smell amazing and FEEL incredible. 

Plan a Visitnatural health center

GR Natural Health hosts fun and informative community events once a month including panel discussions that dive into healthcare concerns and trends. We especially loved the panel about cleansing and the many ways we can detox and give our bodies a break. Need a girl’s night out!? Stop by for their next beauty and spa event complete with appetizers, samples of skincare products, and mini facials!

Get Connectednatural health center

Want to schedule an appointment or learn more about the comprehensive services at GR Natural Health? Check out their integrative health blog or website, where staff regularly address a range of trending healthcare issues and controversial concerns. Schedule an appointment online or contact them anytime with questions. Oh! And you have to follow GR Natural Health on Instagram – they are all over it!

About the Author

Marjorie Behm founded GR Healthy Living in 2017 and has lived in Grand Rapids since 2006. She’s passionate about supporting local businesses that are positively impacting the community. She graduated from Hope College, has a Masters in Education, and loves anything health, wellness, and fitness related. When she’s not creating awesome content for GR Healthy Living, you can typically find her jogging Oscar the Weim (her sweet fur baby), exploring new trails on her road bike, planning travel adventures, and hanging with her friends and family.

 

With 111 parks, scenic sites, and recreation areas, Michigan boasts the largest state park system in America. Recreation culture runs strong in the Wolverine State, and Michigan’s numerous public lands are certainly reflective of how much we value our natural assets. From the Saharan sand dunes of Silver Lake to the rugged profiles of the Porcupine Mountains, Michigan’s state parks feature a diverse array of natural beauty. It’s an ambitious endeavor to visit them all, but you can get a pretty good scope of the state parks within a one-hour radius of Grand Rapids. Check these out:   

White Pine Trail State Parkstate parks

Image via @jenna.lorae.photography | Instagram

Grand Rapids’ closest state park starts right here in the city! White Pine Trail State Park is one of several “linear” state parks across the Mitten. Whether you bike a mile through Riverside Park, or the full 184-mile round-trip to Cadillac, the White Pine Trail is sure to make for a satisfying experience. Experience a slice of small-town Americana and Northern Michigan charm—it all starts in downtown GR!

Bass River State Recreation Areastate parks

Image via @court.e.allen | Instagram

At the Bass River-Grand River confluence lies a true hidden gem: 1,665 acres of hidden bayous, pristine lakes, and winding trails. Mountain bike single-tracks lace the woods near the western entrance. Canoers, kayakers, and paddleboarders can choose a slow float, winding creek, or open water on which to paddle. Equestrian trails venture into the seldom-traversed heart of the park. When you’re done adventuring, cool off at one of the many rope swings on Max Lake.

Yankee Springs State Recreation Areastate parks

Image via @adventures_0f_ktod | Instagram

The hilly terrain of Yankee Springs state parks is a haven for backpackers, boaters, and bikers. Hikers on the 4,600-mile North Country Trail often stop overnight at Deep Lake, while Gun Lake hosts countless kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and sailboats daily. If you’re a mountain biker, test your skills at the annual Lord of the Springs event on 38 miles of glorious singletrack!

Ionia State Recreation Areastate parks

Image via @lindastouffer1 | Instagram

Most GR-Lansing commuters barely regard the Ionia exit on I-96, and that’s too bad. This charming small town on the Grand River is home to one of the most versatile state parks around. Fall is the perfect time in Ionia to pitch a tent or rent a mini-cabin! Hike the trails around Sessions Lake, or bike into town on the Grand River Valley Trail. In the winter, Ionia keeps the trails well maintained for cross-country skiers and snowshoers.

Hoffmaster State Parkstate parks

Image via @natalie_winter | Instagram

A 38-minute drive from downtown is all it takes to reach the golden sand beaches of Hoffmaster State Park. With its myriad of trails and dunes, it’s no wonder many locals call Hoffmaster one of their favorite Lake Michigan state parks. Hoffmaster is adjacent to Ottawa County Parks’ North Ottawa Dunes, so there’s always plenty of trails for hikers, skiers, and snowshoers to explore!

Saugatuck Dunes State Parkstate parks

Believe it or not, Saugatuck Dunes is actually a shorter drive than the beaches of Holland. And if you prefer to avoid the beach crowds, it’s a better option anyway. Miles of trails cut paths through the dunes, all leading out to a vast expanse of completely undeveloped Lake Michigan shoreline. If “long walks on the beach” is your thing, Saugatuck Dunes is your place.

Grand Haven State Parkstate parks

Image via @daisy.roux.mitten | Instagram

If one state park could be picked out of the line-up as the most quintessentially ‘Michigan,’ it’d be Grand Haven. You can’t beat those rosy sunsets at the pier, kite surfers bobbing on the waves, the smell of campfire smoke wafting over the beach… this is what being a Michigander is all about.

Holland State Parkstate parks

Speaking of iconic Michigan moments, taking in a sunset behind Holland’s “Big Red” lighthouse is definitely near the top. But there’s more to Holland State Park than the beach. Climb the steps to the top of Mt. Pisgah, rent a paddleboard on Lake Macatawa, or have a campfire and spend the night. Holland has a campground right on the beach, and another tucked back in the woods to suit all sorts of camping styles.

Newaygo State Parkstate parks

Image via @jesuz_28 | Instagram

“Up North” is a special phrase to Michiganders. It conjures images of towering pine forests, quiet lakes, and sweeping dune vistas. It’s the vacation capital of the Midwest. Just about any given Friday, there’s a long line of vehicles headed up 131, and for a good reason. The traffic usually disperses past Rockford, but you don’t have to go much further than that to experience one of the gateways to the north. Newaygo State Park is just 44 minutes from downtown, and it has all the Northern Michigan comforts you need to unwind from a week of fast-paced city life. A rustic campground on the shores of Hardy Dam Pond, lofty vantage points to take in a good sunrise, and thousands of acres of Manistee National Forest land all around you.

Muskegon State Parkstate parks

Image via @lllizzie | Instagram

If chilly weather doesn’t stop you from taking the tent or RV out for a weekend, head to Muskegon State Park. The campground is open year-round and sees few visitors in the offseason. If you’ve ever wanted a beachside campground all to yourself, you can make that happen here!

Across the street is where the party’s at. Just as camping and hiking season starts to wind down in Muskegon, winter sports are ramping up. The Muskegon Winter Sports Complex is one of the park’s best assets, complete with a luge track, hockey rinks, and trails for cross-country skiers, snowshoers, fat-tire mountain bikers, and even ice skaters. Yes, you can ice skate on a trail through the woods at Muskegon State Park! If you still need some coaxing on the merits of going outside in the winter, Muskegon will change your whole outlook on the season.

Duck Lake State Parkstate parks

Image via @steffyjoelle1 | Instagram

Another park just above that invisible “Up North” demarcation line, Duck Lake is a great place to see fall colors on the lakeshore. With acres of forests, undeveloped lakeshores, and one of the best beach views on Lake Michigan, Duck Lake State Park is sure to take your breath away.  

Kal-Haven Trail State Parkstate parks

Image via @theemilyforce | Instagram

For 33 miles, the Kal-Haven Trail cuts through orchards, blueberry patches, vineyards, and small towns along this former railroad corridor. As the name implies, you can find trailheads at Kalamazoo and South Haven, as well as at numerous villages along its route. Make sure you go through the covered bridge over the South Branch Black River!

Van Buren Trail State Parkstate parks

Image via @travis-worden | Instagram

Between the Kal-Haven Trail and the Van Buren Trail, South Haven is becoming somewhat of a biking hub of the state parks. This 14-mile linear state park heads through more vineyard-and-blueberry country on a southeast beeline toward Hartford. With fall colors peaking soon, it makes for a perfect day trip or out-and-back ride.

Van Buren State Parkstate parks

Image via @julie_lynn_rmz | Instagram

According to Google maps, Van Buren State Park is exactly 59 minutes from the corner of Fulton and Division. So if any of your go-to adventure pals are sticklers on the “one hour or less” rule, Van Buren is still in the cards. It’s worth the drive to see the towering dunes, the lofty overlooks, and the wooded trails. A paved spur trail connects the state park with the Van Buren Trail as it heads toward South Haven, making it easy to head into town for food, drinks, and things to do.

About the Author

Nick Meekhof  graduated from Calvin College with a major in writing and a minor in geography. A farmer for the first twenty-three years of his life, Nick currently works for the Michigan Department of Agriculture. When he’s not traversing the state conducting orchard inspections, he can be found exploring the rivers, forests, and small towns all throughout the Great Lakes State. His current goals include kayaking one hundred Michigan rivers, swimming in Lake Michigan during every month of the year, and visiting as many Michigan breweries as possible.Follow Nick’s adventures on Instagram: @puremichiganguy