Thursday, August 14, 2014 | return to: supplement, readers' choice awards


Readers’ Choice 2014: Health, Beauty & Fitness

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Because a warm smile creates a warm first impression, and healthy teeth are essential to overall well-being, it’s important to find a good dentist. These are favorites with J. readers.

Dr. David Rothman’s 27-year-old San Francisco dental practice specializes in infants, children, adolescents and patients with special needs. He advises bringing children in to see him early — between ages 1 and 2 1/2 — “so they enjoy coming to the dentist.” The goal is not only to look for signs of decay, but more important, to discuss “the many causes of cavities and how to prevent them,” according to the website. The staff prides itself on understanding children and treating all with respect. If needed, the office uses “many forms of behavioral training to help a child get through a visit.”

Serving families for more than 25 years, Dr. John Schulz is the head practitioner at San Francisco’s Stonestown Galleria Center for Cosmetic Dentistry and Dental Implants. In addition to comprehensive dental care for patients of all ages and periodontal disease treatment, services include porcelain veneers, bonding and teeth whitening. The office also custom fits nonsurgical anti-snoring aids and has an on-site denture laboratory.

Dr. Eric Citron, who has been practicing since 1985, provides family dentistry at his Berkeley office. For children, he offers sealants, which protect teeth from decay. Other services include orthodontic treatment, root canal procedures, treatment for chronic jaw pain and veneers. His focus is to help patients improve their oral health and maintain it through home care. Reviews on Yelp say Citron takes the time to explain procedures, easing anxieties. “I learned quite a bit about plaque and random trivia about the dental craft,” writes one new patient.

Dr. Dean Clark, who has a full-service practice in Palo Alto, says his goal is to nurture patient relationships, providing “gentle, compassionate care.” In addition to general dentistry, he provides root canal treatment, implants, invisible braces, teeth whitening and cosmetic treatment. “Our program is designed to help prevent new cavities, preserve teeth that have been restored and manage periodontal disease,” according to the website. One formerly dentistry-phobic patient writes this review: “If you’re looking for a great dentist who not only takes care of your teeth, but also you as an individual, this is the place for you.”

Dr. Tanya Manyak’s San Mateo practice provides cosmetic and general dentistry to families and kids. Believing that “aesthetics and good oral health go hand-in-hand,” Manyak Dental Group places “equal emphasis” on science and art, enhancing “overall wellness and beauty through dental care.” She is joined in her practice by Drs. Sylvie Galerneau and Linda Yip. Services include invisible braces, bonding and veneers, whitening (either in-office or through a take-home kit), oral cancer screening and halitosis treatment. The office also provides snore guards as well as laser and gum treatment, including the treatment of cold sores.

Dr. Martin Sinai Rayman was formerly a full-time professor at the University of Pacific School of Dentistry before opening his San Rafael office in 1980. Marin Pediatric Dentistry, which serves infants, children and teens in Marin, Petaluma and San Francisco, now includes Dr. Aparna Aghi. “Since the day we opened our office we have prided ourselves on offering preventive, noninvasive pediatric dentistry in a comfortable environment,” Rayman says, adding that he and Aghi “encourage parents to be present with their child during all phases of treatment.” Rayman also teaches in the College of Marin Dental Assisting program and is an invited speaker at continuing education programs.

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. Dean Clark

Palo Alto

(650) 326-5861

Dr. Tanya Manyak

San Mateo

(650) 342-9941


North Bay

Dr. Martin Sinai Rayman

San Rafael

(415) 459-1444



Beauty may be skin deep, but caring for skin is a matter of health as well as aesthetics. Our readers recommend a San Francisco dermatologist with two offices in the city.

A board-certified dermatologist and an associate professor of dermatology at UCSF Medical Center, Dr. Lawrence Kaminsky is also affiliated with the California Pacific Medical Center and the California Skin Institute. He was a National Institutes of Health fellow in AIDS research at UCSF, where he went on to complete his residency. His practice includes all aspects of dermatology, including cosmetic procedures and diagnosis and treatment of skin cancers. Patients on Yelp suggest writing out questions and concerns before seeing the doctor, who addresses issues “professionally and with care.”

San Francisco

Dr. Lawrence Kaminsky

California Skin Institute

(415) 831-5600 / (415) 923-3066


Health Club

Health clubs focus on fitness as well as fun, with opportunities to socialize and keep in shape. Our readers enjoy exercising and playing at these facilities.

The new 42,000-square-foot Koret Center for Health, Fitness and Sport at the JCC of San Francisco provides members a place to swim, work out and participate in a choice of 200 group fitness classes. “I think the thing that we’re most proud of is the fact that we have many ‘studios’ under one roof — one for cycling, private Pilates training, mind-body (yoga) classes, small group training and group exercise,” says Jennifer Morrice, director of programs and service at the fitness center. Because the center is within the JCC, which has preschool programs, art classes, cultural offerings, a spa and child care, “we are part of the [members’] overall lives, not just their workout routine,” she adds.

Walnut Creek’s Renaissance ClubSport offers the amenities of a fitness center within a hotel, with restaurants, a bar and meeting rooms. Activities include Pilates classes, guided intense workouts, swimming, nutrition and weight management, sports clinics and tournaments. Racquetball, handball and squash are complimentary. ClubSport also offers fitness and swimming classes for kids, child care for ages 6 weeks to 5 years, specialty camps and teen activities. The facility includes a full-service spa, an aquatic center, adventure training and cycling classes, plus running, biking and triathlon clubs.

With an NCAA regulation-size gym, indoor and outdoor pools, swim programs and more than 100 weekly group exercise classes — including indoor cycling, yoga, Pilates, TRX and Zumba — the Peninsula JCC in Foster City offers a wide selection of fitness options for all levels, ages and interests. Wellness programs include nutrition lectures, personal training and mindful meditation. It is also the only facility on the Peninsula to offer the Pink Ribbon Program, a postoperative movement class for breast cancer survivors designed to enhance recovery, says Vicki McGrath, fitness and wellness manager. The “comprehensive fitness services,” she adds, “address all the needs of our community.”

At the Osher Marin JCC in San Rafael, the 30,000-square foot Koret Center for Health and Fitness has three swimming pools, both indoor and outdoor, a hydrotherapy program and arthritis exercise, classes for babies and adults, and a lifeguard and water-safety training program. In addition to state-of-the-art equipment for personal workouts, the JCC offers myriad group classes, including yoga, tai chi, TRX, Pilates and Piloxing, which combines the power and speed of boxing with the flexibility of Pilates. Zumba, belly dance, salsa lessons and dance-cardio fitness are among the fun movement offerings. For a break in the routine, try evening or Saturday pick-up basketball.

San Francisco

JCC of San Francisco

(415) 292-1234


East Bay

Renaissance ClubSport

Walnut Creek

(925) 938-8700


South Bay/Peninsula

Peninsula JCC

Foster City

(650) 212-7522


North Bay

Osher Marin JCC

San Rafael

(415) 444-8000


Plastic Surgeon

Before undergoing plastic or reconstructive surgery, it’s critical to get input from a variety of trusted sources. Our readers recommend these Bay Area surgeons.

Kind-Chang Plastic Surgery specializes in breast enhancement and reconstruction, body contouring, hand surgery and facial procedures. Dr. David Chang, a former assistant professor of clinical surgery in the UCSF Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, continues on the clinical faculty as a volunteer. He has a particular interest in breast reconstruction. Dr. Gabriel Kind, who has a subspecialty in hand surgery, is an associate clinical professor in the UCSF Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and a clinical instructor in plastic and reconstructive surgery at Stanford School of Medicine. Writes one patient: “After the emotional whirlwind of having a bilateral mastectomy and the removal of breast implants due to breast implant complications, I didn’t know what to expect. … Dr. Kind relieved my fears and gave me hope.”

A Harvard-trained plastic surgeon, Dr. Bryant Toth has been in private practice for 30 years in San Francisco. He has an in-office operating room accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities and has an anesthesiologist present for all surgeries. In addition to cosmetic surgery, he operates on children with facial deformities at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. “I find that my training in facial reconstructive surgery has made me a better cosmetic surgeon,” he says. He also gives presentations at international meetings, which “enables [him] to keep abreast of new techniques and refinements in surgery and to interact with colleagues from all over the world.”

Dr. Joshua Korman, who has plastic surgery practices in Mountain View and Carmel, is an adjunct professor at Stanford University School of Medicine. He says he “gives each of his patients devoted care,” including his cellphone number. With a background in body sculpture and 20 years of cosmetic surgery experience, Korman provides “advanced noninvasive techniques as well as state-of-the-art surgical procedures. … Beauty with confidence is my goal.” He began the Clean Slate program in San Jose, helping former gang members rebuild their lives by removing tattoos that represent their past. He also volunteers with Breast Cancer Connections in Palo Alto and has extensive experience working as a plastic and reconstructive surgeon in developing countries.

San Francisco

Kind-Chang Plastic Surgery

(415) 565-6884

Dr. Bryant Toth

(415) 923-3008


South Bay/Peninsula

Dr. Joshua Korman

Mountain View

(650) 254-1200



Sometimes, we just need to slow down and pamper ourselves. Massages, facials and other spa treatments are good for body and soul. For a well-needed lift, readers recommend these spas and salons.

At Dimitra’s in San Francisco, facials begin with a complimentary skin consultation to determine the appropriate treatment and follow-up. Whether the client is seeking treatment for acne or the wear-and-tear of aging, Dimitra’s offers procedures ranging from deep pore cleansing to peels, microdermabrasion, Botox, cold laser and light treatment. Need a massage? This salon provides traditional Swedish and Eastern treatments. Dimitra, trained in Greece, has more than 35 years of experience in aesthetic treatments.

Rated one of the top spas in the country, Berkeley’s Claremont Spa offers head-to-toe treatment: acupuncture, massages, facials or a Salute to the Sun yoga class. A pre-spa hydrotherapy special includes 90 minutes of sauna, steam, whirlpool and multihead showers. The massage menu includes therapeutic, deep tissue, shiatsu, aromatherapy, hot stone and Tibetan sound massage, which is a full body massage accompanied by Tibetan sound bowls placed on the chakra points. Facials and acupuncture round out the offerings.

After a healthy workout at the Peninsula JCC in Foster City — or even without one — visitors can treat themselves to a spa treatment, which includes massage, facials, waxing and tinting, and a number of services just for men. Facial selections include the Sun Lover (for sun-damaged skin), hydration, microderm polishing, peels and adolescent skin treatment. How about a foot scrub or foot wrap for tired feet? “We have an amazing team here dedicated to providing excellence in every service we offer,” says spa manager Ginger Watts. “We strive to help our clientele meet their wellness goals by providing them with caring, nurturing treatments as well as education in self-care.”

Evo, opened in 2004 in Mill Valley, is based on the idea that the “body can heal itself, when provided with nurturing and caring therapies,” according to the website. Adds Elizabeth Bevil, spa director: “We aim to provide the highest level of services, use the best products available and create a sacred space of healing that can be shared with every person that walks through our doors.” In addition to a variety of facials, the spa provides makeup application, brow and lash tinting and eye, hand, scalp and foot treatment. Tibetan singing bowl and hot stone massages, waxing and acupuncture are also on the menu.

San Francisco

Dimitra’s Skin Care and Medi-Spa

(415) 731-8080


East Bay

Claremont Club and Spa


(510) 843-3000


South Bay/Peninsula

Peninsula JCC Spa Services

Foster City

(650) 212-7522


North Bay

Evo Spa

Mill Valley

(415) 383-3223


Vision Care

The eyes are windows on the world. Our readers say these optometrists keep theirs healthy and shining.

Leona Landers, O.D., has been in practice in San Francisco since 1986 and her office has fit more than a million contact lenses. Landers, who is past president of the San Francisco Optometry Association, is also a member of the American Optometry Association and the California Optometric Association. The California State Board of Optometry selected her to be an expert examiner, helping to determine the qualifications of new graduating doctors. One online reviewer is grateful that she visited and got a “full eye check-up for the first time in years.” The “high-end equipment found and photographed a burst blood vessel inside my eye.” Staffers, she adds, were friendly and professional. “They did not rush me through but took time to explain things in detail.”

Robert DiMartino, O.D., a professor of clinical optometry and vision science at U.C. Berkeley School of Optometry, has practiced with the Lafayette Optometric Group since 1986, providing primary eye care, medical treatment of eye disease, and diabetic, glaucoma and cataract care. His strong points, he says, are “a combination of three factors: compassionate care, knowledge and training, and an office with the appropriate instruments to provide comprehensive and primary eye care.” Writes one patient: “Dr. DiMartino has been my optometrist for years. He is always thoughtful, friendly and a pleasure to be around. He patiently always ensures I walk away with the correct prescription.”

Based in Santa Clara, Silicon Valley Eyecare has been serving the region for more than 60 years, says Deborah McBride, O.D., one of five optometrists. The full-service clinic provides vision and eye medical exams, specialized contact lenses and a variety of frames. “We are very proud of our proficiency treating eye diseases such as glaucoma, pre-post surgical Lasik and cataract management as well as dry eye problems. We manage diabetic eye care and ocular infections. We are also proud of our CRT [corneal refractive therapy] program, which prevents progression of nearsightedness in children with the use of nighttime rigid contact lenses.”

Marin winner David Grisham, O.D., at Rising Star Optometry in San Rafael, has served as a clinical professor and lecturer at U.C. Berkeley School of Optometry for more than 30 years. He was chief of the binocular vision and visual skills clinic for 20 years and is the co-author of “Binocular Anomalies: Diagnosis and Vision Therapy,” fourth edition. Services include vision therapy, orthokeratology (a nonsurgical treatment for near-sightedness), as well as pediatric and adult examinations and contact fitting. Through the VOSH program (Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity), Grisham has organized and participated in service projects in the Philippines, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Peru, Thailand and Chile.

San Francisco

Dr. Leona Landers

(415) 908-2733


East Bay

Dr. Robert DiMartino

Lafayette Optometric Group

(925) 283-3821


South Bay/Peninsula

Silicon Valley Eyecare

Santa Clara

(408) 296-0511


North Bay

Dr. David Grisham

San Rafael

(415) 459-2020


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