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Massage at Arden HillsHealthy Bodies, Healthy Minds

Arden Hills massage instantly becomes a life-enriching experience

by Duffy Kelly


If you’re anything like me, the end of summer brings on a giant pit in the stomach. The beach vacation is over. Lazy hot days and red, ripe watermelon fade away like that flip-flop tan on your feet. And another school year is about to start, which really only means parents are simply another wrinkle wiser. To top it off, that pearl-cheeked baby who used to sleep angelically in the bassinet beside you is now headed to a college campus in a far-away state.


But we here in the Arden area have nothing to worry about. Because if there’s any place in town that surprisingly seems to know exactly what many of us are going through, it has to be Arden Hills. Whether you are a member or not, the club has come up with a mixed bag of unique wellness ideas to address all these types of “bluesy” issues that threaten to take away our peace of mind and erode our sense of well-being.

I decided since I was not prepared to idly let summer end that I would look into a few new offerings at Arden Hills. One such event was Wellness Seminar: College Transition, which helps guests address the unique concerns facing families when kids go off to college.

I also decided to try my hand at, shall we say, somebody else’s hand. I’m talking about getting a massage. But not just any massage. A body-scrubbing, exfoliating, moisturizing, rejuvenating massage that revs up your attitude and sloughs away skin (you don’t need this kind of skin, I swear!) while leaving you silky smooth and ready to take on September. That’s what I call a treat!

I must admit the only time I have ever exfoliated was on vacation when I got slammed into the shoreline while body surfing.

“Welcome to The Spa at Arden Hills,” said my personal “Could this possibly change my life?” I asked my personal masseuse, Melissa Sargent.
I was about to find out.

My masseuse escorted me into a dimly lit room where a bed with a waterproof sheet awaited. And so it began.

A slow and gentle scrubbing with tiny sugar granules suspended in an oily vitamin-infused potion while the smell of something amazing floated around the room.
She  then turned on the warm showers. Hot, gentle, soft and steamy. Like a steady waterfall or rain shower with thousands of little droplets gently pouring down from high up along the ceiling.

Next, she massaged into my skin a thick, thick layer of silky lotion. I realized this wasn’t just a body scrub, it was a slice of magic.

Next she wrapped me in a circle of special plastic sheeting that sealed the cream against my skin. Then came drapes that were a series of hot towels floating one after the other across my body.

When she returned she gently unwrapped me only to begin yet another oily hot rain shower. Then came the long and final massage—kneading a finishing lotion into my skin. Fabulous!

The club’s interest in wellness of the mind (not just the body!) is spawning all sorts of treatments as well as events, seminars and demonstrations designed to help us stay healthy while living our busy lives. Many of the events and offerings are for both members and non-members, and some of those offerings are complimentary.

In addition, the club is jumping on the region’s farm-to-fork frenzy as an official sponsor and will be hosting several events the week of Sept. 23, with live chef demonstrations. At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25, guests will be treated to a cooking demonstration featuring foods from farmers markets. At 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29, the chef will present Sunday Funday in the Garden.

And for the football enthusiast, Monday nights might never be the same. Nonmembers are invited to watch “Monday Night Football” in the members lounge for a guest fee of $20. The evenings start at 5:30 throughout the fall, offering big-screen action, food, drink specials, and raffle prizes.

For families and couples planning a wedding, the club is hosting a complimentary bridal open house, complete with a sampling of hors d’oeuvres and special tours of the on-site spa, salon and bed and breakfast, The Villas. The club’s signature restaurant, The Olive Branch, as well as the salon and spa services are open to the public throughout the year.

For more details, call the club at 482-6111 or go to ardenhills.net

Simone; White LabA Sheriff’s Dog’s Tale

Have you ever wondered if reading a book out loud to a dog could make a difference in this world? What about turning your dog into a canine sheriff, complete with an officer’s badge and sheriff’s deputy vest?

Well, Officer Simone of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department’s Youth Services Unit is a brown-eyed, golden retriever yellow lab mix who is living, four-legged proof that when it comes to kids, working like a dog works magic. She’s a highly trained certified community therapy dog handled by Deputy Dana Vicory and Simone’s trainer, Point West Rotarian Mary Lyn Kagan.

As part of the sheriff’s unit, Simone high-tails it to schools in the Arden and Arcade areas wearing her uniform. Once there, she has a way of making kids come alive with tenderness and a desire to be close to her. So it was a natural fit, Kagan said, to mix a child’s love of animals with the goal of teaching children to read.

Turns out Simone loves to be read to. And she’s the first to understand that learning to read is, well, ruff. Kids who otherwise might not read aloud seem to open up to her like they would never open up with an adult or their peers. Seems Simone has a unique way of not embarrassing the early reader, or caring too much about a fumbled pronunciation. In fact, she’s all ears, no matter what the story sounds like, and she shakes mistakes right off and keeps on listening.

This special canine reading program is giving kids the reading practice and confidence they need to excel, Kagan said.

Simone even carries her own “baseball card” along on her tutoring gigs. The card shows her photo on the front and displays a special message to kids on the back: “Simone wants you to know you are important to her and those around you. She hopes you will work hard in school and that you will be respectful to your parents, friends, teachers and neighbors. She wants you to say ‘no’ to drugs and gangs, help in your community and do what is right so you can grow up healthy and happy.”

The program is just part of how the department’s Community Impact Program is making strides with Arden-area youths. Simone patrols school campuses along with deputies.

Her mere presence alongside a deputy helps kids view deputies as friendly, approachable people.

By joining forces with business leaders, law enforcement agencies, faith-based organizations, rotary clubs, retired educators, parents and neighbors in the Arden-Arcade community, the sheriff’s program is now paving the way for young people to participate in a host of other free extracurricular enrichment activities, from journalism to art to baseball to boxing to tutoring.

For instance, this past year students attending Encina and Arden middle schools were given the opportunity to be part of a rugby development and competition program held at Encina High School’s football field. It’s all thanks to people like Kagan, officers like Simone and deputies like Vicory, as well as donations and grants from public and private entities.

The program organizers are relying on involvement from the community and welcome donations and grants as well as ideas and volunteers. For more information or to offer your ideas, go to sacscip.org or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Arden Little-League All-StarsAll-Star Summer for Arden Little League

Congratulations are in order for the ages 11-12 Majors All-Star Team from Arden Little League, which won the District 5 Championships in July for the first time in more than 50 years.

Manager Michael Koewler said the team then continued on to the Northern California Section 4 tournament, where it was eliminated in the third game.

At the end of each Little League season, an all-star team is selected by players and coaches. Coaches Bobby Siravo and Marcus Davis worked the postseason with 14 players representing Arden Little League against other local Little League all-star teams. The winning roster of Arden residents consisted of Max Davis, Mitchell Dixon, Josh Fowler, Bryce Heng, Dylan Huft, Nick Keller, Jack Koewler, Matt Lynch, Spencer Nitsos, Ryan Nixon, Nico Pedroncelli, Ben Siravo, Lincoln Tadewald and Jake Vujovich.

Day of Peace

Carmichael Park is the place to be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, as the community celebrates Day of Peace. The event features food, music, vendors, yoga and activities focusing on healthy, peaceful minds and bodies.

The day’s event are designed to foster an understanding of activities that nurture a sense of peace in the community and beyond, while offering information about what nonprofit groups are doing in the area to help promote peace.

Dr. Kate Bisharat and the Carmichael Recreation and Parks District sponsored the first annual Day of Peace in 2011 with local vendors, free yoga, and music. Shoes were collected and donated to Soles4Souls. Free yoga classes were offered by local yoga studios.

Free Hearing Test

Linda Fall, a board-certified hearing specialist from Avalon, will be on hand from 9:30 to 11: 30 a.m. Tuesdays from Sept. 3 to Dec. 3 to conduct free hearing tests at Mission Oaks Community Center, 4701 Gibbons Drive in Carmichael. For more information, call 972-0336.

Early Childhood Preschools

Sessions begin Sept. 3 for the 2013-2014 preschool programs Teddy Bears and Kare Bears through the Mission Oaks Recreation and Park District.
Teddy Bears will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays through June 2014 for children ages 3-4. Two sessions are available, with one in the morning from 9 to 11:30 and the other in the afternoon from 12:30 to 3. With parent participation, the fee is $95 per month. Without parent participation, it’s $120.

Kare Bears is for children ages 4-5 and runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon or from 1 to 4 p.m. Fees for this program are $120 with parent participation and $155 without.

Both preschools are held at 4641 Marconi Ave. in the north wing of Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer. For more information, call 972-0336.

Beer’s a Brewing

The Arden area Point West Rotary is hosting the 19th annual California Brewers Festival at Discovery Park on Sept. 21. Guests will be treated to unlimited tastings of more than 120 beers. The event also features wine, a local food truck fair and live music from Utz and the Shuttlecocks.

Point West Rotary has partnered with WEAVE (Women Escaping A Violent Environment) in an effort to raise funds for local and international charities.

Tickets are $30 prior to the event, $40 at the gate. Designated drivers can attend for $5. VIP tickets are available for $50 and include a T-shirt, commemorative beer mug, VIP parking and VIP entrance.

For more information or to purchase tickets, go to calbrewfest.com or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Old and Dying? Not Even Close!

When Gethsemane Lutheran Church Pastor Vernon Holmes was called in to minister at the Arden church a few months ago, he found a congregation in a bit of despair and seeking change.

“People said to me, ‘We are so old, so small and we are dying,’” Holmes says. But what he found was altogether different. Holmes brought a new outlook on growing old, the value of aging, the charm of a small congregation. And he came with bursting energy to help the church population see what a valuable resource they are for each other, society and seniors in the community.
“This may be a small congregation with the average age of members being 72 or 73,” he says. “But contrary to popular opinion, we are not all falling-apart derelicts.

We are alive and energetic and creative, and we are a positive service and home to an aging population. We are celebrating what we are: small and old. But we are not dying!

“We are not actively looking to be younger and attract new families and be everything to everybody. We won’t turn them away. But what we have is a unique congregation that celebrates the wonderful place seniors are in their lives.

“We are seeking to develop ourselves as the place to be for the aging population.”

So look out, Arden! Holmes is planning a host of events and activities that are designed to help seniors celebrate the positives about growing older. To name a few ideas on the drawing board, Holmes is hoping to feature periodic town hall meetings that offer church members a safe place to discuss important and relevant issues in society. Also, he’s designing a special sermon series on aging and spirituality with topics such as Aging Is Not a Disease, New Destinations, New Opportunities, Fear, Letting Go, Illness, Loss and Grief, and God Is Not Done With Us Yet.

The church is at 4706 Arden Way in Carmichael. For more information, go to glcca.org

Duffy Kelly can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.