Sure, every spa treatment sounds divine, but what’s the magic behind all the salt, seaweed and service? Contributor Julie Mulhern takes a day of R&R to see why a spa day does the body good.
Mother. Wife. Owner of a dog who needs an obscene amount of exercise. The last time I took a whole day just for myself was in the waning days of last century. So, pulling up to the Spa at Briarcliff (4133 N. Mulberry Drive) for a full day of pampering felt a bit dream-like.
One fluffy bathrobe and a steaming cup of herbal tea later, I found myself in a rocky grotto for the spa’s European Bath Ritual. With three pools, each a different temperature to ease muscle tension and promote relaxation, plus three waterfalls, I was well on my way to forgetting the nagging to-do list that lurked in the back of my mind like “The Shadow.”
Next, I floated. As I bobbed around the mineral-enriched, temperature-maintained pool like a bit of cork, I tried, as instructed, to think about soothing mountain scenes––the wind whispering through the Aspens, my favorite view of Mount Sopris or the sounds of the ocean with waves crashing into the sand. I tried. Instead, I thought about the last time I spent an hour alone—no phones, no kids, no dog, no one asking me, “What’s for dinner?” After an hour of stimulus-free weightlessness, my body felt incredibly relaxed and my mind felt incredibly sharp.
I took a quick shower to wash away enough salt to clear my driveway and was led to my facial. I selected one of the spa’s signature services: a facial designed for sensitive, redness-prone skin. Michelle slathered something cooling on my face, wrapped me in a warm towel and informed me her facials included lots of massage. The second mask was so thick it had to be applied over gauze. The seaweed she troweled on my face felt amazing. After 50 minutes, two masks and some amazing work on the knots in my shoulders, the redness in my skin vanished. Wow.
I enjoyed a delicious lunch in a private dining room catered by the Café at Briarcliff Village. If I eat with others, I pay attention to them. If I eat by myself, I usually have reading material. I didn’t have company or a magazine, so I concentrated on my spinach and strawberry salad and practiced mindfulness and paying attention to each bite. It was the best salad I ever tasted.
Next up, a seaweed wrap. I was treated to a dry glove exfoliation to loosen dead skin cells and stimulate my lymphatic system. Then, heated seaweed was applied to my whole body and I was wrapped up like a slightly green Egyptian mummy in a solar blanket. According to Charmaine, the woman who mummified me, the wrap encourages maximum purification and is reputed to stimulate circulation, increase metabolism and reduce cellulite. All good.
I finished my day with a mani-pedi. Every woman knows there are mani-pedis and then there are mani-pedis. This one fell in the latter category. Think two hours of scrubs, skin masks, more massage and incredible attention to cuticles, rough skin and calluses. Perfect nails, smooth hands, smooth feet––bring on warm weather.
Driving home, I idly wondered, “What’s for dinner?” We went out. A certain 10-year-old who will remain nameless bemoaned my choice of restaurants. I felt too serene to care.