Your hormones might be throwing you off — here’s how to keep them in check

Thanks to glands of the endocrine system like the ovaries, testes, thyroid and hypothalamus, special chemical messengers known as hormones influence the health of our minds and bodies every day — whether it’s basic needs like hunger and movement to more complex systems such as puberty and reproduction. Hormones can also influence our emotions and moods.

Typically, the endocrine glands produce the exact amount of each hormone required for our numerous bodily functions. But it’s possible to experience hormone imbalances because of aging and certain diet and lifestyle behaviors.

Also, hormones don’t play favorites. Both men and women can suffer myriad adverse effects to their hormones, says Dr. Don Colbert, author of Dr. Colbert’s Hormone Health Zone, who’s based in Dallas and Orlando, Florida. And many of these hormone hazards are avoidable, he says. Learn how you can improve your hormonal health and feel and perform at your best.

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Chilling out at a cozy spa: Where to bliss out, warm up, and get your glow back

“I always look and feel my best in winter!” said nobody ever — except maybe Olympic ski star Mikaela Shiffrin. For the rest of us cold climate-dwellers, winter is the cruelest season. Even the latest Kylie Jenner Lip Kit can’t cure the winter plagues of chapped lips, static-y hair, and itchy, flaky skin — not to mention the perma-slouch you get from braving wind and weather. The fix: Step away from those half-price Valentine’s Day M&Ms and hit the spa. New England’s inn-based spas offer the perfect two-fer — a change of scenery and a big hit of Feel Good. Here are some places to escape into a cocoon of cozy, featuring luscious seasonal treatments that will warm you up, smooth you out, and make the long road to summer a bit more comfortable.

Wrap like an Egyptian: Gurney’s Newport Seawater Spa

“Everything about this treatment is warm,” said Arleen Sweeney, our therapist at Gurney’s Seawater Spa, as we settled onto a heated massage table for our Detoxifying Herbal Wrap. (Outdoor temp: Nine puny degrees.) You may not think of Newport, R.I., as a winter getaway, but the views are stunningly blue-on-blue at this Goat Island property; in fact, we had ocean views from our treatment room. Not for long, though. Sweeney had an eye mask on us in short order, and proceeded to whisk away our dead skin cells with a boar-bristle brush. We were definitely purring as Sweeney massaged us with locally sourced lavender oil. Next, she swaddled us in hot sheets of unbleached muslin soaked in an herbal potion. “People who are claustrophobic aren’t big fans of this,” she said, wrapping our arms to our sides. “This seems very mummy-like,” we responded. “If you come in here with a jar and a pair of tongs, we’re out of here!” we said, referencing ancient Egyptian burial customs. “Oh, that’s a different treatment,” Sweeney quipped.

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