Spa experts reveal what makes their most requested rubdowns so relaxing and restorative.
What is your most popular massage service?
Doug Elman, director of massage therapist training at Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, headquartered in Trevose, Pennsylvania: Our signature Hot Stone Massage (50 or 80 min./$79.95 or $99.95, depending on location) helps soften muscle tissue and offers deep relaxation. Clients say the service is a lot different from what they expected— they love that we actually massage with the stones, rather than just place them on the body.
Daniel Finch-McCaffrey, director of spa and fitness for Eforea Spa at Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock in Sedona, Arizona: The Signature Full Circle Massage (90 min./$223) is inspired by the four directions—considered sacred by many indigenous cultures—and focuses on addressing guests’ emotional, spiritual, mental and physical conditions. It starts with gentle exfoliation, followed by a therapeutic massage and heated stones. Then, the guest is wrapped (loosely or more tightly, per their preference) after an application of one of our essential oil blends, and the service concludes with harmonizing healing energy work and chakra balancing.
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Malia Taylor, lead massage therapist at Spa del Rey at The Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, California: Our Fountain of Youth full-body treatment (60 min./$185 or 90 min./$250) incorporates HydroPeptide’s Invigorating Body Wash, Active Body Scrub and Blueberry Nourishing Body Wrap. Then, the brand’s Stimulating Relief Balm, Power Lift and Firming Moisturizer are applied to comfort tired muscles, while tightening and rejuvenating the skin. Guests continue to feel the cooling effects of the products’ peptides for hours after this service.
Amanda Backs, director of esthetics for MassageLuXe in Fenton, Missouri: Our Luxe Deep Relief add-on consists of targeted heat and cooling massage therapy: We use Prossage’s warming oil to relax and release muscle tissues, and cooling Biofreeze to provide deep muscle relief, decrease inflammation and boost circulation. Our therapists frequently provide this treatment to give clients a more customized service.
Finch-McCaffrey: We use our essential oil blends specifically created for the four directions: East (ylang-ylang, basil, lavender, clary sage) for spirit, fire and inspiration; South (grapefruit, orange, ginger, rose geranium) for heart, water and movement; West (cedar, catalpa, vetiver, vanilla) for body, earth and connection; and North (peppermint, rosemary, lemongrass) for mind, air and breath.
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Elman: The marble stones we use during our mini and 25-minute cold stone face massages are a therapist favorite. Clients who come in with headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome or sinus issues benefit tremendously, often with dramatic and immediate results.
Taylor: A favorite among therapists and clients alike is the HydroPeptide Stimulating Relief Balm, which creates a tingling sensation and penetrates fatigued muscles to alleviate soreness. We even use it in our Fire & Ice Athlete’s Massage or Pedicure; guests find the cooling balm mixed with the warmth of hot stones incredibly relaxing.
What are some of the lesser- known benefits of massage?
Taylor: One of massage’s greatest gifts is body awareness: By working with a skilled therapist, a guest is better able to listen to their body and understand what’s needed to bring about deeper healing.
Elman: Although clients tend to book massages to relax, studies have shown that a simple shoulder and/or neck massage can help reduce the number and duration of chronic headaches; massage can also help boost the immune system. The benefits are cumulative, so receiving regular treatment offers more noticeable, longer-lasting results.
Backs: Massage can decrease anxiety, enhance sleep quality, improve concentration, stimulate circulation and reduce fatigue. Clients often report a sense of perspective and clarity after a service as well; that emotional balance can be just as vital and valuable as the physical benefits.
– by Tracy Morin