Readers Choice 2013: Health, Beauty & Fitness

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Health Club

The emphasis on health and fitness may seem like a relatively recent phenomenon, but Jewish community centers have been offering sports leagues, swim instruction, exercise classes and more for many years. The added benefit is that all the arts, culture and social programs promote health as well.

Joining the JCC of San Francisco’s Koret Center for Health, Fitness and Sport is not only good for one’s health; membership has other perks, too. Director of marketing and communications Nathaniel Bergson-Michelson says the warm and welcoming center keeps visitors fit with more than 160 group exercise, aquatics, yoga and Pilates classes each week in the 42,000-square-foot facility, which features 100 cardio machines, a 25-yard lap pool, a full-service spa and dedicated spin, Pilates and mind-body studios.

The Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto also offers members far more than merely a place to exercise — but what a place to exercise! At the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Sports and Wellness Complex, a multitude of classes for all levels starts early in the morning and continues right on through the evening; nine types of yoga instruction alone are offered. Swim lessons and water exercise are offered at the two pools, one indoor and one outdoor. Certified personal trainers and the wellness program help members define and reach their health and fitness goals.

At the Peninsula JCC in Foster City, excuses won’t work when it comes to finding the time or the activity to suit one’s needs. The 50,000-square-foot Byer Athletic Center not only has all the equipment, classes and instructors to get members moving, classes start at 5 a.m. weekdays and the center closes at 11 p.m. Three pools, stationary bikes, cardio and strength-training machines, trainers, a wellness program — the PJCC has got it all covered.

In San Rafael, the Osher Marin JCC’s Koret Center for Health and Fitness underwent a complete remodel and modernization a few years ago. The result? State-of-the-art equipment and a wide range of cutting-edge programs and services. The fitness offerings are similar to readers’ other favorite health clubs: lots of equipment so members don’t have to wait, a plethora of class options, certified instructors and trainers, indoor and outdoor pools. Done it all? Check out TRX suspension training, developed for Navy SEALs.

San Francisco

JCC of San Francisco

(415) 292-1234


South Bay/Peninsula

Oshman Family JCC

Palo Alto

(650) 223-8700


Peninsula JCC

Foster City

(650) 212-7522


North Bay

Osher Marin JCC

San Rafael

(415) 444-8000



Downtime can be a good thing, especially if used to take care of yourself. After all, if you don’t, who will? Readers recommend these spas for regular rejuvenation.

Stacey Parks, spa operations director at Berkeley’s Claremont Hotel Club and Spa, says, “We offer our guests an exemplary experience where they can ‘get away from it all’ without traveling far from home.” Visitors “enjoy our Spa Ritual — a hydrotherapy circuit … with incredible views” as part of their experience. The range of treatments — for men, too — includes a Tibetan sound massage, “in which Tibetan singing bowls are placed on and around the chakra points and rung to instill a deep sense of inner peace.” Ahhh…

The spa at the Peninsula JCC in Foster City is a popular place. “We have a fantastic team of nurturing and caring professionals,” says spa manager Ginger Watts. “We listen to what our clients need and tailor each session accordingly.” That includes facials, waxing and tinting, massage, a steam room and whirlpool. As one spa client commented, “It’s convenient to be able to enjoy a great massage right on the premises immediately after a workout … [adding] to my total health and wellness experience.”

For 10 years, Evo Spa in Mill Valley has concentrated on individual beauty inside and out, specializing in facials, massage, body treatments, waxing and other treatments, including detox treatments. Spa director Heather Daniels says, “We use state-of-the-art organic and natural products that feel great and are results-oriented.” Adds founder Gail Ann, “After 34 years in the spa business, I am still as passionate as ever about research and bring the absolute best products and treatments to our loyal and amazing guests.” (Evo was closed due to a fire but should reopen soon; check the website for information.)

East Bay

Claremont Spa


(510) 843-3000


South Bay/Peninsula

Peninsula JCC

Foster City

(650) 212-5722


North Bay

Evo Spa

Mill Valley

(415) 383-3223



Oral health is an important part of overall well-being. Readers trust these dentists to keep their smiles beautiful and healthy.

Pediatric dentist Dr. David Rothman in San Francisco attributes the comfort level of his patients and their parents to the fact “that we get kids in early enough that they enjoy coming to the dentist. My staff is well-trained and knows and understands kids.” Rothman specializes in treating a particular population: infants, children, adolescents and individuals with special needs. Emphasizing prevention is important, he says, but so is treating all children with respect. Parents seem to agree he does that with aplomb.

Dr. John Schulz’s dental practice in San Francisco provides comprehensive care for children and adults. In addition to cleanings, fillings, crowns and bridges, he offers cosmetic dentistry. Schulz also treats periodontal disease, does dental implants and makes nonsurgical anti-snoring aids.

Dr. Eric Citron treats patients of all ages in his Berkeley dental practice. In addition to general care, Citron performs oral surgery, treats gum and bone problems, corrects misalignments with orthodontics and offers cosmetic dentistry procedures. Citron regularly attends continuing education classes to stay on top of the latest advances.

Dr. Tanya Manyak, whose dental practice is in San Mateo, believes that good oral health goes hand-in-hand with aesthetics. “We place equal emphasis on keeping our patients’ mouths healthy and making them look great,” she says. Manyak treats children and adults and does cosmetic dentistry as well, using state-of-the-art equipment and combining art and science. She emphasizes the importance of creating a partnership with patients to achieve their health — and aesthetic — objectives.

Dr. Melissa Rinck in San Rafael goes beyond basic dental care. In addition to general and preventive care, Rinck offers a range of services, including cosmetic dental treatments. She and her staff “strive to provide energetic and fun-loving service to each patient.” Rinck lectures to senior groups on the benefits of oral health and chairs the advisory board for the College of Marin dental assisting program.

San Francisco

Dr. David Rothman

(415) 333-6811


Dr. John Schulz

(415) 731-4058


East Bay

Dr. Eric Citron


(510) 849-1660


South Bay/Peninsula

Dr. Tanya Manyak

Manyak Dental Group

San Mateo

(650) 342-9941


North Bay

Dr. Melissa E. Rinck

San Rafael

(415) 479-4977



Skin — we’ve got a lot of it, but we may not give it much thought until something just doesn’t look or feel quite right. When that happens, readers call this favorite dermatologist.

In Menlo Park, Dr. Recia Kott Blumenkranz sees patients of all ages, and she enjoys her role as a dermatologist for the whole family. She treats a range of skin problems and conditions, but also encourages well-patient skin exams to ensure skin health. Additionally, Blumenkranz offers cosmetic procedures and products.

South Bay/Peninsula

Dr. Recia Blumenkranz

Crane Street Dermatology

Menlo Park

(650) 323-0276


Plastic Surgeon

Whether it’s reconstructive surgery or purely for aesthetic reasons, readers trust Dr. Gabriel Kind. The doctor says his practice is recognized for breast reconstruction for breast cancer patients. He and his partner, Dr. David Chang, “believe that a great result in plastic surgery starts with individualized care that comes from listening to the needs of our patients and paying attention to the details. We personalize our approach to each of our patients to achieve the best results possible.”

Dr. Lauren Greenberg says, “I was drawn to plastic surgery because of its complexity. There is no one way to approach most problems.” As a sole practitioner with a boutique practice, she meets directly with each patient at each visit. Board-certified by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Greenberg completed two surgical residencies in addition to fellowship training specifically in breast and cosmetic surgery. Educating patients is an important part of each procedure. “Much of what I focus on is repairing and restoring,” she says. “Mine is a subtle, natural aesthetic.”

San Francisco

Dr. Gabriel Kind

Kind-Chang Plastic Surgery

(415) 565-6884


South Bay/Peninsula

Dr. Lauren Greenberg

Palo Alto

(650) 617-9907


Vision Care

A change in eyesight affects everything. It’s comforting to know that these eye doctors do what they can to keep our eyes bright and vision clear.

San Francisco ophthalmologist Dr. Robert Stamper, MD, is on the faculty at UCSF Medical Center and is director of its glaucoma clinic. He specializes in glaucoma and cataract surgery. While Stamper may not see patients for routine eye exams, when it comes to diagnosing and treating eye disorders, his skill and expertise is invaluable in saving patients’ sight.

In San Rafael, Dr. Robert Levine, OD, has been helping people of all ages maintain eye health for 34 years. The Marin County native’s commitment to personalized patient care and excellent customer service makes Marin Optometric Group a favorite family eye-care practice among readers. Levine sees the children and grandchildren of his first patients. “Spanning three-plus generations, we are extremely proud to be a real, family eye-care practice,” he says.

San Francisco

Dr. Robert Stamper

(415) 476-3707


North Bay

Dr. Robert Levine

Marin Optometric Group

San Rafael

(415) 453-3812