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The Best of the Valley: Health & Beauty

Kate Evans, Carolyn Jung, Anh-Minh Le, and Lydia Lee | January 9, 2017 | Story Best of the Bay

Read more from the Best of the Valley 2017 here.


Pilates: RockSalt
San Mateo
Approaching the RockSalt Pilates studio in downtown San Mateo, the faint murmur of music can be heard. It’s full on, pulsating, once you open the door and step inside to encounter the eight reformers situated next to a small retail area with RockSalt-branded wares. As student after student walks in, owner Adrian Ramirez warmly greets each by name. Ramirez launched the business four years ago, with only a handful of clients in a tiny room in San Carlos; he now has a customer base of more than a thousand. “In 2013, we moved into a bigger space [in San Carlos], and when that took off, we started San Mateo,” he says of the outpost that opened last April. He’s now scouting for another spot in Palo Alto or San Francisco.

Ramirez employs 10 instructors across the two RockSalts and splits his time between them as well. “I fell into Pilates after I got injured doing a triathlon. I loved it, but I got so bored teaching it,” he recalls, noting the often quiet and serene nature of the practice. He yearned for a fun and upbeat atmosphere where there was a sense of community too. “In a traditional Pilates class, you do one set and then you rest,” he says. “Here, it’s: ‘Okay, you’re done with that first set? On to the next!’ We do sets of three or four, and you go to the beat of the music. It’s kind of like a dance party—on a reformer.” The RockSalt program consists of three types of classes, each 50 minutes: RockReform Stretch, which focuses on flexibility, with light cardio, and is ideal for newcomers; RockReform Strength, a combination of reformer and mat Pilates that aims to tone and sculpt the body; and RockReform Sweat, the studio’s signature offering that mixes a cardio workout, strength resistance training, reformer exercises and coordination techniques. From $37 for a single group session to $450 for a 15-pack, private and semi-private instruction available; 837-A Industrial Road, San Carlos; 306 E. Fifth Ave., San Mateo; 650.394.7771


Health App: Simple Habit
The stresses of the startup world prompted Palo Alto’s Yunha Kim—whose Locket app was acquired by Wish in 2015—to turn to meditation. And that led to her next endeavor: Simple Habit, which is now available for iOS and Android devices, with a web application as well. The app offers five-minute audio meditations, so even the busiest among us can carve out a bit of mindfulness. “I tried a lot of things out there that are known to reduce stress—including exercise, massages, therapies, lavender oil baths—and of all those options, I found meditation most effective and easily integrated into my routine,” says Kim. “I built Simple Habit to help others with busy, high-pressure lifestyles reduce stress and live happier.” To date, dozens of teachers have created the meditation content, some of which is free, with paid subscriptions allowing access to premium material.


Spinning: SoulCycle
Los Gatos
Soon—Feb. 2, to be exact—South Bay denizens will be able to work up a sweat at their own SoulCycle. After opening at Stanford Shopping Center a few years ago, SoulCycle is expanding in Silicon Valley with a downtown Los Gatos location. The new studio will offer 59 bikes, along with the motivational coaching, high-energy music and calorie-burning 45-minute rides that have made the indoor cycling chain a fitness phenomenon. 212 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos


Peripatetic Spa: Wilo
Wilo Spa is taking pampering a step further with its in-home treatments. Last fall, Manjeera Patnaikuni launched the business with manicures and pedicures. “The inspiration behind this has a lot do with me being a new mom and a busy working woman,” she explains. With groceries and car rides available “at the tap of a button on your phone,” she wondered why the same couldn’t be done for personal care. A $60 deluxe mani-pedi at your home or office includes a lavender foot soak with essential oils, followed by an organic scrub and a massage with hot stones and lavender shea butter. Wilo is staffed by seven cosmetologists and is available in Silicon Valley cities from San Mateo down to San Jose. For 2017, Patnaikuni is eyeing additional services for women and men, such as haircuts, coloring, blowouts and waxing.

Originally published in the January issue of Silicon Valley

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