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SpaTherapies: Demystify Treatments-Find the Best for You

Spa therapies are as varied as the number of spas on the planet. There is a treatment to fit anyone’s time, cost, or need. The key is to know what you want to experience – and it is an experience, not just a treatment!

Although there are an exquisite number of different treatments to titillate the most jaded spa aficionado, for our purposes treatments can be classified in to six broad categories:

BODY TREATMENTS | MASSAGE THERAPY | HYDROTHERAPY | SIGNATURE TREATMENTS | FACIALS | SALON

To be sure, many of these therapies blur the categories as they seek to discover the most glorious blend of water and massage or the most thrilling combination of firm and soft; but by and large, all treatments you may encounter can be described in these terms.

Lets take a look at the individual categories, come up with meaningful descriptions, and find real world examples so you can better come to grips with what’s best for YOU! When we're done here, you’ll be primed for the experience of your life!

BODY TREATMENTS

Scrubbing and wrapping – exfoliating and detoxifying. This is the best way to think of body treatments. Designed to strip old skin and to purge toxins from your body, these treatments come in a mind boggling variety and number.

A unique quality of scrubbing and wrapping is that the individual treatments often incorporate the properties of local plants; this not only has a medicinal and restorative aspect but also provides a kind of union with your local surroundings. A wonderful example is the The Montage. It offers a refreshing sea salt scrub which helps re-mineralize and invigorate the mind and body. Still another example from their repertoire of wonderful excess is the warm clay wrap. This mineral-rich material draws out the body's impurities while soothing sore muscles and nourishing the skin.

Looking at the offerings from the Mandarine Oriental Miami, we find a similar but still strikingly unique blend of wraps and scrubs based on natural and invigorating ingredients! Oh, my! The Salt and Oil scrub is to die for! This scrub is an experience that will leave your body refreshed and cleansed and your skin smooth and revitalized. Carefully blended sea salts and essential oils are combined to help remove dead skin cells and improve tonicity. I swear they made my body feel as new as a baby’s behind!

The Mandarin’s wraps use Marine Algae which is known for its hydrating and detoxifying properties and is particularly beneficial when needing to speed the elimination of toxins prior to the absorption of essential oils and plant extracts. It’s a glorious sensation after one of their invigorating scrubs!

This is just a small sampling of what is available, there is far too much to cover it all, but much more is covered throughout this site. Lets move on and find out about massage therapy!

MASSAGE THERAPY

When we think of spas, often its massage that first comes to mind; I know it’s the first treatment that jumps to my mind. What many people don’t know is that the types and experience of massage are as varied as every other kind of therapy found in today’s spas.

What used to be thought of as a simple vigorous treatment to relax sore muscles, has now become a journey to rejuvenate the entire body musculature and bring a new sensation of suppleness and elasticity.

What makes the massage philosophy so different today as compared to any other time is the depth and quality of the experience and the introduction and combination of hybrid techniques. Gone are the days when one lays on a table, gets a half hour “sports” rub on the major muscle groups, and then presses on with the rest of the day.

Oh, never in life! The glory of life is massage today!

From the “Sports Rub” to the lymphatic massage, there are countless ways to work out that kink or chase away the soreness of a days fun. The type and variety of massages will very depending on the spa type you enjoy (i.e. day spa, resort spa, destination spa) but one thing that is universal is that they feel oooohhh so good!



The Spa at Cranwell in Massachusetts is a perfect example of the creative blending of different therapies. Using the generally mild Swedish style massage, Cranwell incorporates a self heating thermal clay with the massage to re-mineralize, detoxify and enhance relaxation. The result of this is a sensation of returned elasticity and physical rejuvenation. Believe me, it leaves you “noodle like!”

This very same spa also offers a sumptuous aromatherapy massage. Using pure essential oils with a unique sensitive touch technique, this gentle massage will leave you feeling balanced and renewed. The biggest challenge is trying not to fall asleep! But hey, so fall asleep!



is a magnificent getaway. Between the views of the Grand Teton and the breath taking views of the valley, it occurs to you that spiritual rejuvenation is just as important as the physical. The treatments they offer here will reinforce the both those notions.

Using stones from the Snake River combined with restorative oils, the TML Signature Hot Stone massage relaxes tight muscles, relieves sore joints and improves circulation while evoking a deep sense of calm and peacefulness. This is their signature massage and it is like a natural drug that just dissolves away stress. Give me more!

But hold on just a minute, what if you don’t have time for the signature treatment or, lucky you, you don’t really need a full body massage? Well the Mountain Lodge Spa will provide the answer to your needs! The Essential Head, Neck & Foot Massage. If you are not into a full body massage, this is the perfect treatment for you.

Enjoy the benefits of a targeted head, neck & foot massage. This treatment leaves you in a total state of relaxation. This is a perfect massage for any 19th hole stress or, better yet, after a hard day shopping!

There is simply a bottomless selection of massage treatments for aching feet to tortured sinuses, if it is sore, stiff, hard or feeling just a little abused, there is a massage to make it go away. I just wish we could cover them all here!

If you would like more information on massage, why not take a look at

Full Body Massage Online , I think you'll find many more interesting articles on the subject.

But for now, lets take a look at another therapy - hydrotherapy - its out of this world!

HYDROTHERAPY

Who hasn’t enjoyed the relaxing embrace and the tranquil serenity of the simple private bath? This is the essence of Hydrotherapy; it has the power to relieve strain, ease soreness, enhance circulation and aid digestion. Hydrotherapy is all of this!

And it is more. Hydrotherapy is actually a complex weave of treatments that includes not only “hot” but “cold” as well. Essentially, heat relaxes and eases the body, quieting the activity of the internal organs. Cold, by comparison, stimulates and energizes, increasing activity. If experiencing tense muscles and anxiety from stressful situations, a bath would be helpful. But if feeling worn and stressed, a warm bath followed directly by a short, stimulating cold bath might help invigorate body and mind.

Water therapy has been around for centuries. From the ancient Greeks to modern day, water has been an integral tool to ease the spirit, body, and mind. The restorative and curative powers of hydrotherapy have not gone untapped by modern day spas, in fact, this therapy is more alive today then ever before!



The Golden Door is a destination spa with many locations, such as Scottsdale, Arizona and Telluride, Colorado. This spa has several very relaxing hydrotherapy treatments.

The Ocean Water Bath as a soothing soak is excellent for restoring devitalized and dehydrated skin. There is also the Detoxifying Soak. This natural bath contains a highly concentrated form of seaweed extract, selected especially for its detoxifying and slimming properties. Lastly, there is the Blue Spruce Herbal Soak Experience, a soaking bath ritual combining the healing properties of natural solar salt and soothing blue spruce.

Just like you can find the Golden Door in different locations around the country, you will also find their therapies vary from location to location. All of them, however, provide a glorious hydrotherapy experience!

SIGNATURE TREATMENTS

Some believe Signature Treatments typically are a spas marketing ploy to draw you to them instead of to the “other guy.” But that’s too cynical to be really useful, to say nothing about untrue. It’s been our experience that most spas believe in their individuality and seek to express that in signature treatments.

Another fact is that signature treatments are typically not an ordinary therapy renamed. On the contrary, most spas take great pride in devising a heretofore little known treatment. These spas seek out local elements and ingredients to provide the spa guest an intense, natural and local experience.

Arguably, the signature treatment is the best reason to try numerous and different spas. I like to think of the signature treatment as the defining feature or flagship treatment of the spa. I would recommend everyone give the local accent a try!

You’ll find that signature treatments will be found at just about any kind of spa. You will also find that they span the range and variety of treatments. The signature treatment is limited only by the skill and imagination of the spa's creator and the gifted staff that implement it.

There is little to compare to a spa that reaches the zenith of sophistication, service, and expertise. Such a spa is the Nob Hill Spa in San Francisco, California.

Nob Hill Spa has created a 110-minute massage experience that will send you into paradise. During this treatment, the therapist works to combine the ultimate in elements to create a truly unique and gratifying massage.

This massage allows you to indicate the type of massage you would like and add aromatherapy (such as Eucalyptus). There are a plethora of additional complimentary treatments that may be added to the massage. I have always been partial to the scalp massage with hot oil drip. Its sensation and effect on the nerves under the scalp and the neck must be experienced to be fully appreciated.

If the oil is not to your liking, there are other choices that will suit you well. The Herbal Tea Hot Pack is glorious (from what I am told). There is also the Ashi Hand and Foot Massage, an Acupressure Facial Massage, and an Almond Foot and Hand Smoother.

Together these treatments conspire to explode your understanding of ecstasy and work in combination to send you to heaven. When I get back home to San Francisco again, I am heading to Nob Hill!

FACIALS

Your face is the mirror of your health. Upon your face is written the joy, happiness, as well as the hardship of your life. Just as you drink and eat only that which nourishes your body, so to should you be concerned what happens to your face. This is not the most attractive image; however, consider the font grill of your family car. When the family comes home after a long day trip on the road, doesn’t the front of your car look like it’s had better days? Between the heat, the exhaust, the dirt and dust, and simple oxidative stress, the grill of the family wagon could really use a wash! To a lesser extent, so can our faces.

Dust, grime, heat, sunlight, and smoke assault our faces on a daily basis. Should we even talk about the effect cosmetics can have on our face? The fact is our make-up may be as big a contributor to this assault as the other factors. Too many people believe that a facial is something rich women do when they are bored or just something you go do to relax, to get away from the grind. Of course there is some truth to this and it is doubly so if it’s just a neighborhood salon. But the whole picture is something much different.

When you go for a facial at a spa you are going to have your skin cleaned, exercised, regenerated. In a way its like a jog and a bath for the face! And just like any form of exercise, you need to keep at it. A facial is not a cure all or a quick fix strategy. There are different recommendations for different conditions. Were I to have my druthers I would have a basic facial once a week. But others recommend once a month as a minimum. For special treatment, i.e. acne, you may need to go more often (Remember: this website is for information only – see your doctor or dermatologist for advice and direction!). But no matter for what reason, be sure your facial is determined by an analysis of your skin. No self respecting, professional spa would think about giving a facial to a first time client without first doing the analysis.

Now and then I have an occasion to fly to Hawaii. If you make it to Maui, try to get to the spa at the Four Seasons Resort in Maui ,they sport 12 different facials for your enjoyment, 8 “facial enhancements” and for pure unadulterated pleasure, try the Padma-Pushpa Ayurvedic face and scalp treatment. This involves warm Jasmine coconut hair oil, hot towels, and white, blue, pink lotus applied to your face using marma point therapy. Don’t pass it up!

The Four Seasons in Maui has a range of treatments, of which the Facials are only a small part. But their facial selection mirrors the location and imbues a certain exotic quality in all they do. Take for instance the Papaya Pineapple Ginger facial. Does this just sound like Hawaii? This treatment uses ocean seaweed, pineapple grape seed, Asian roasted green tea, and Hawaiian ginger. A polish and a mud mask to replace vitamins and minerals and soften skin and…oh, my, such a beginning. Go try them all! I could go on forever but as the saying goes: so many spas, so little time!

Sometimes I feel like I am repeating myself when I review various spas. Often I find myself gravitating back to familiar locals, when I should be exploring unknown vistas. But there are places worthy of countless return visits. Such a place is

L'Auberge de Sedona.

Right in the middle of red rock country, it has stunning views and as relaxing a local as you could ever desire. Sedona, Arizona is one of those places that can make you believe in a Creator. Certainly no man could be responsible for such grandeur and awesome beauty. As a location for a resort, and more to the point, a spa, it surpasses what most of us can hope for in the realm of peace, serenity, and soul deep comfort.

And as if that was not enough on its own, it’s a wonderful venue for facials! The Spa at L’Auberge is a fully equip spa in paradise. And they have a full round of wonderful facials for you to luxuriate in.

L'Auberage uses their exclusive French pharmaceutical line, Institut Estherderm, to provide an extraordinary facial called Lavender Harvest. This is an aromatherapy facial with lavender infused compresses, gemstones and acupressure. It will restore your skin's balance and sooths your senses. But there's more...

The Bee Pure Facial uses a pure propolis extracted from bee hives, it's a natural antiseptic, purifying the skin and has healing properties for breakouts. A concentrated serum of 50% propolis is followed by a propolis cream mask. This freshens the complexion. This treatment also comes with a complimentary hand treatment.

There is so much more to cover on the subject of facials, perhaps the most widely covered and thought out of all treatments, but its far too much to examine here. And besides, we still need to review Salons!

SALONS

Best Resorts and Spas has something of a snobbish interpretation of the term “Salon.” When applied by many, the term salon sometimes means a beauty salon or a nail salon. While theses descriptions are accurate enough, we believe the best use of the term salon is used when in conjunction with the offerings of a spa.

Please don’t misunderstand our interpretation: there are numerous beauty salons and nail salons that offer a varied and exquisit service. We have used many ourselves and have enjoyed the moment. But because of our having used both the beauty salon and the salons within the wonderful spas covered here, we have an enhanced understanding of the two. So it should be no secret: we prefer spa salons and encourage everyone to discover for themselves!

Within the spa salon will be found all the complimentary services that are either too broad or complex to incorporate within the more limited venue of the simple straight forward beauty or nail salon. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the spa salon is your ability to travel from massage, to facial, to yoga, to meditative gardens. A day of unparallel rejuvenation not to be missed and its healthful benefits not underestimated.

Salons as a part of a spa can be found in so many different establishments from destination spas to cruise ship spas . What they all have in common is that they effortlessly link the fashionable hair styling attributes of a salon with an expanded range of services only available in a full service spa.

Day spas are considered by some to be the most basic of the full service spa (a view we don't share). Yet even in these so called limited spas, you’ll find a combination of services to relax your mind and put a lazy smile on your face. The Blue Giraffe Spa

is an extraordinary day spa in Ashland , Oregon. Here you can experience the typical salon treatments such as hair styling, manicures, pedicures, waxings and cosmetic applications. But in addition, you may also enjoy reflexology, baths, saunas, and other body treatments.

In the end, it’s the culmination of enjoyment to be able to indulge in all of these treatments in one place. Day spas, however, are not the only kind of spa where you can find a salon.

The Red Mountain Spa is a destination spa that, though concerned more with health and fitness, they have not ignored the simple harmony of looking your best. And their salon comes fully packed!

Davines Purifying Scalp and Hair Treatment is a deep cleansing service to exfoliate and nourish the hair and scalp. This treatment is useful for those who suffer from hair product build up, dandruff, or other scalp problems. If you have ever used harsh hair products, you may find this a valuable treatment…along with the spa's hot Jacuzzi whirlpool!

We hope you have enjoyed this short expedition into the various spa treatments. In up coming articles, we will be examining other spas and resorts to highlight the tremendous variety of services available.