WELLNESS WHERE YOU ARE
Written by Victoria Chase
Countless feature articles in Sophisticated Living have extolled the benefits of indulging in spa treatments at resorts around the world. Today, "wellness" means so much more than a rejuvenating facial or massage. "Self-care is so important right now," said Kristi Dickinson, Spa Director at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in Rancho Santa Fe, California. "Instead of buying into fear and feelings of hopelessness, it's important to focus on what we can do, and that's building our immune system," she added. From diet and exercise to designing our home environment, take these tips from the pros until we can once again experience the restorative serenity offered by our favorite spa.
One of the most important things that we can do in a stressful time is ensuring that our homes are a comfortable, calm place," said Amelia Hill, spa director at Spa Terra at Little Palm Island Resort & Spa in Little Torch Key, Florida (littlepalmisland.com). She emphasizes that it's essential to keep your home clean and free of clutter to create an open feel that will contribute to a feeling of calm.
You can make a concerted effort to begin each day on a positive note by adopting the Morning Ritual from Eden Roc Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic (edenroccapcana.com). Start with five minutes of meditation followed by 15 minutes of guided yoga to help stretch out your body (short guided yoga sessions can easily be found on YouTube or different apps). "Follow this with a 'silent breakfast' - we call this culinary meditation," explained Pedro Castillo, the resort's spa and wellness director. "Listening to how you chew your food and following it from the moment you put it on your plate to the swallowing process allows you to appreciate what you are putting in your body." A five-minute 'wellness' meditation finishes off the ritual to refocus your mind and set intentions for the rest of the day.
An even simpler start, according to Cherie Rodriguez, director of the spa at Pendry San Diego is a cleansing glass of lemon water first thing in the morning. "As the body sleeps, we go into 'rest and digest' mode, mentally and physically processing everything from the day before," she explained. Lemon water "is the perfect morning ritual to wash everything away and has the added benefit of boosting the body with vitamins." She added that by throwing in a daily affirmation, such as I let go of all that no longer serves me, you're both mentally and physically ready to take on the day.
Livia Reddington, Director of Spa Montage, Palmetto Bluff , recommends pulling out candles, oils, or other bath products picked up while traveling to take your senses on a journey to your favorite destinations. She's a fan of Lola's Apothecary products, carried at Spa Montage, and in particular, their "Sweet Lullaby" scent. "To quote Lola's, they call it their 'hug in a bottle,'" she said.
Ilana Alberico, CEO and Founding Partner of ISM SPA, which oversees all signature Poseidon Spas within Kessler Collection hotels, says that soothing sounds can be a salve for the spirit. "Soaking in a tub (trying to relax) can get boring quickly, so have some gentle music or a guided meditation playing in the background," she said. She suggested checking out the 'Power Animal' and 'Heart Center' meditations on Privai.com.
Michele Paty, Spa Manager at Ama Spa at The Edwin Hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee, recommends Thieves Oil. This powerful blend of clove, rosemary, lemon, eucalyptus, and cinnamon bark has been in use since the 12th century by perfumers and spice traders looking to protect themselves from the plague. "It helps reduce stress, neutralize bacterial and viral pathogens, reduce inflammation, lower fevers and strengthen the respiratory system," she explained.
Dickinson said essential oils can be used to create an at-home aromatherapy system. "I enjoy using frankincense right now as it is one of the most beneficial oils for respiratory infections and one of the best pulmonary antiseptics," she explained. Add several drops of essential oils to boiling water in a large pot or a heatproof bowl. Cover your head with a towel, and breathe through your nose for no more than two minutes at a time. Be sure to keep your eyes closed to prevent eye irritation.
Don't forget your feet! "Feet are under-appreciated warriors that carry us through each and every day without the slightest bit of thanks," said Nicole Colavita, Spa Manager at Ivy Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland. She recommends an Ayurvedic foot rub to stimulate reflex points and Chakra Energy Wheels, and to combat feelings of being touch-starved. Spa Pendry Corporate Spa Director Patrick Huey mixes one cup of Listerine with one cup of both vinegar and warm water for a 30-minute pampering at-home foot soak.
Linda Illingworth, RDN, the nutritionist at Rancho La Puerta in Tacate, California , emphasized that it's vital to get at least seven hours of sleep each night to fortify the immune system. Her top diet tips include mixing a half-cup of parsley into salads, soups or juices to get 50% more Vitamin-C and 16x the antioxidants of kale; drinking vegetable or bone broths with a pinch of sea salt to stay well hydrated; and, nourishing your gut bacteria with lots of fiber-rich vegetables and fruits. "These bacteria are your first line of immune defense," she emphasized.
"To stay healthy during this time, I recommend consuming a blend that includes lemon balm, wild orange, and peppermint," said Martina Zecca, Spa Director at T Spa at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo on Italy's Lake Como (grandhoteltremezzo.com). Based on the Officina Santa Maria product line designed specifically for T Spa, this Vitamin-C-rich immune booster can also be applied to the face as a natural anti-bacterial treatment.
Sometimes it's the smallest things that make the biggest difference, as Carnah Collins, Spa Manager at The Shore Club Turks and Caicos points out. "Gratitude is a simple practice to express thanks to colleagues, friends, and family. Daily practice strengthens the immune system, lowers blood pressure, and makes you feel more alert. Be sure to take time to appreciate the small things that make life great!"
THE AMANYARA Cooler Mocktail from Amanyara in Turks & Caicos
Immersion Manager David Melladew said, "Grapefruit and lime juice are both high in Vitamin C and other antioxidants that can help to boost the immune system, as well as having anti-microbial properties such as being anti-viral and anti- bacterial. They are sour in nature, which helps to generate and astringe fluids in the body, keeping the body cool in warmer weather. Mint also has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. In traditional Asian medicine, it is often used to 'soothe the liver', which promotes calmness and relaxation."
Ingredients for one serving
3 oz. of fresh grapefruit juice
3/4 fresh lime juice
Fresh mint leaves
Option to add honey for sweetness
Mix the fresh grapefruit juice, lime juice. and mint leaves
Strain into a tall glass over ice
Top with club soda
Garnish with a slice of grapefruit and fresh mint leaves
Scalp Treatment from Serenity Spa at Westgate Resorts (westgateresorts.com)
1/4 cup brown sugar combined with 1/4 cup coconut milk, coconut oil or olive oil
Put a towel in the dryer
Massage the hair mask onto your scalp, providing a gentle exfoliation
Once complete, wrap a heated towel around your head, lay down, and close your eyes for at least ten minutes or until the towel is cool.
ALPINE MOUNTAIN Scrub at Spa Edgewood / Lake Tahoe
For the essential oils, spa manager Whitney Tabor recommends Naturopathica's Inspire Aromatic Alchemy. "The mix of balsam fir needles, juicy pink grapefruit, red mandarin, and mood-balancing St. John's wort encourages self-confidence and grounds the emotions!"
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly chopped pine needles (optional) 12 drops of essential oil* (optional)
Developed by Laura Russell, Spa Director at The Resort at Paws Up in Montana
Blood Orange Lip Scrub This edible lip scrub is a sweet and fruity scrub that helps promotes emotional balance and immunity.
1 blood orange
1/2 cup of sugar
2-5 tablespoons coconut oil
Lemon Honey Scrub This scrub is a clear and sharp smelling scrub that promotes physical energy and purification.
1/2 cup of honey
1/2 to 1 cup of salt
5-10 tablespoons of any oil
Lavender/Rosemary Scrub This scrub is a calming woodsy smelling scrub that helps promote consciousness, health, love, peace, and a sense of well-being.
1/2 to 1 cup of salt
Rosemary leaf or rosemary from your spice rack
5-10 tablespoons of any oil