Spas Offering Practical Solutions for Reducing Stress

[Image: Courtesy of Gaia Retreat & Spa][Image: Courtesy of Gaia Retreat & Spa]Today’s high-stimulus environments can take a toll on every aspect of our being, right down to the most basic human inclination: intuition. But unless we take drastic measures— say, hiding in a cave forever—it’s crucial that we find practical solutions to reduce stress. Thankfully, spas are responding to this need by adopting techniques drawn from ancient practices, which help to clarify the mind, improve decision-making abilities and nurture an inner connection.

Australia’s Gaia Retreat & Spa offers an Intuitive Massage (90 min./$148). Tuning into the client’s energy levels during an initial consultation, the therapist further intuits through massage, tapping and energy work. “When a therapist works with a guest’s body, they begin to feel and understand what’s going on within the person,” says spa manager Mel Kuipers. “Some guests need to release a stress or trauma, whereas others need to move energy blockages. As the healing unfolds, the guest’s true self and inner light shines forward.”

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The results can be profound. “Guests report that the benefits can be felt up to days afterward, and can even result in a life shift,” Kuipers says. Some experience an emotional release; others, an energetic rush through the third-eye chakra, symbolic of reawakened intuition

[Image: Getty Images][Image: Getty Images]Jiva Grande Spa in Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, India, provides treatments rooted in Ayurveda, that ancient system of medicine believed to restore equilibrium through diet, herbal remedies and yogic breathing. Its signature yoga service, Samattva (120 min./$38), which means “balance” in Sanskrit, “takes guests through a profoundly contemplative and meditative journey, leading to a heightened state of well-being,” explains spa manager Dr. Savita Yadav.

Following a consultation with a yoga instructor, the client is guided through a customized series of postures and controlled breathing exercises before partaking in steady flame gazing, which opens the third-eye chakra—an energy center located in the pituitary gland behind the center of the forehead.

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The session also includes gemstone visualization to restore the body’s seven chakras; intention setting based on a chosen contemplation card; and a guided meditation aimed at achieving conscious deep sleep, which “amplifies a relaxed state of being and offers pristine moments of lucidity,” explains Yadav.

[Image: Courtesy of Burke Williams][Image: Courtesy of Burke Williams]Southern California day spa chain Burke Williams recently added three Ayurvedic treatments to its menu. Shirodhara (80 min./$215) “really helps guests to live in the moment instead of focusing on what’s next,” notes Diane Hibbard, vice president of treatments and development. The service begins with an all-over massage using a balancing oil specific to the guest’s dosha (body constitution) before running the oil in a steady stream over their forehead and third eye. “When our mind is able to relax, our body will follow. This in turn gives our mind and body the ability to listen to each other and heal from within,” adds Hibbard.

–by Marina Kay

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