It’s hard to argue with the ahhhhh of an hour-long massage or the silken glow of a facial. But the newest generation of spa treatments reaches beyond the traditional aims of sheer relaxation and delicious indulgence – they’re looking to sharpen your mind, restore your spirit and boost your overall health.
That’s a tall order, but many spas are keen to respond to a growing interest in overall wellness. Sure, the traditional spa enticements are still going strong, but spa visitors these days will find far more than mere pampering, as wonderful as that might be.
Body, Head and Heart
Reaching a state of “wellness” may be an inside-out process. That’s why many spas have embraced a holistic approach to work on the mental and emotional as well as the physical.
Perhaps the most prominent and influential example in the spa industry today is at the La Costa Resort & Spa in San Diego, where Deepak Chopra, the endocrinologist who helped popularize the notion of a mind-body connection, heads the Chopra Center for Wellbeing. The center operates a variety of retreat programs that combine Eastern healing and meditative arts with Western medical practices.
In that vein, meditation programs have proliferated throughout the spa world, geared toward people whose daily lives are so busy and full of distractions that getting away is the only way to learn it properly. Spas also have embraced the full spectrum of yoga, from beginner basics to sessions for students seeking specialized instruction.
Miraval Resort and Spa in Tucson, Arizona features Integrative Wellness programs that promote a balanced approach to stress management, lifestyle approaches to help prevent health issues and much more.
Diet and nutrition are, of course, a large part of maintaining well-being and menus like the one at Agua Serena Spa in the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort in Indian Hills, California include fresh healthy food delivered upon request, along with opportunities to learn about proper nutrition during your spa day.
Arcic Ice Room
Into the Cold
Spas long have spotlighted such heat treatments as saunas, hot stones, steam rooms, etc. Newer on the scene are “chill therapies” that often alternate warmth with cold in an effort to ease inflammation and soothe aching muscles and joints. Some fans of these techniques claim that cold applications release endorphins that reduce pain and affect mood, or they may improve the circulation, among other touted health benefits.
A low-intensity approach is a “cold room” — like the Arctic Ice Room at QUA Baths & Spa at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Relax on a heated bench as you chill out with snow falling all around you.
Those Aching Feet
We ask a lot of our feet, whether we’re training for a 10-K, dashing to the office in stilettos or just hanging out in flip-flops. A revealing stat: The number of podiatrists in the United States is expected to increase by 20 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to a federal forecast. Spa foot programs these days may go far beyond a pedicure and some have dedicated “foot-health” programs to promote foot fitness.
Reflexology – a form of alternative medicine that massages specific pressure points in the feet in order to relieve stress – has become a common spa feature. For the ultimate in reflexology, indulge in a comprehensive foot massage from the experts at fifty four park street in Sydney.
That’s just a taste of what’s out there. Spa-watchers also see the industry evolving to accommodate family vacations, with exercise and meditation for parents as well as kids. You may even have an opportunity to sign up for the services of a “wellness coach” who’ll help make your healthy-living resolutions last by keeping in touch after you head home. In any case, just don’t forget to also pamper yourself a little bit along the way. You’re worth it.