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What's Up Magazine

Spa Experiences

Sep 06, 2012 05:18PM ● Published by Anonymous

Whether you care to make it a couple's retreat, a weekend away with the girls, or simply some back-to-back "me" time, a spa vacation can be just what you need.

And with an array of products and professionals ready to please, the spa world is your oyster, and you pick your pearl.

Hands-On Relaxation

To many, the spa is first and foremost the home of the massage. If it's attention to your tension—stress in your shoulders, neck, back, and other muscles—a 60- or 90-minute massage, even daily during your mini vacation, can be everything you wished for.

But at many spas, there are an array of other services designed to meet your specific wants and needs.

If you're not typically able to let the stress go, or, you're not accustomed to pampering yourself, consider adding aromatherapy, or scent-filled oil enhancements—they're designed to help put your mind at ease so your body can reap the full benefits of the spa experience. The same relaxation boost can be obtained with a massage that involves hot stones, the warmth of which can encourage relaxation similarly to the way a heating pad would.

If you wish for more general attention to your extremities, don't be afraid to ask for some massage attention to your scalp, feet, or hands.

You might read about a reflexology treatment on the menu. No— this is not like at the doctor's office where they tap your knee with a rubber hammer. Reflexology is a system of massages that work with specific pressure points on your feet, hands, and head that are believed to be linked to your organs. Reflexology can be a great option for someone who is not a fan of oils, and perhaps an option for someone who'd rather not relax in the buff. The idea behind it is not only to relax but to improve your health from the outside to your core.

Turn the weekend from relaxation to re-beautification with an array of other services, like a facial or waxing treatment. Add a mani/pedi and perhaps a salon treatment to rejuvenate everything from the hair on your head, to the nails on your toes.

You can even escape to a tropical paradise—or at least that's what your senses will have you believe—when you indulge in a sea salt scrub or an exotic mud wrap.

Culinary Components

The "foodie" concept is booming and now more than ever, consumers are demanding quality, tasty food. Not only are our taste buds raising their standards, but our health values are climbing as well. With the farm-to-table phenomena moving from the trend to the expectation, so too, the terms: Organic, fresh, gastronomic, local, seasonal, and sustainable are becoming part of our everyday food vernacular. And now that we're demanding more accountability on the part of our dietary health, it makes sense that consumers are looking to combine that element with their holistic health.

If you're going to make nutritional eating a part of your healthy lifestyle, it's not enough to seek out the right restaurants.

These days, resorts are taking hold of this wave of personal health accountability and combining spa sessions with cooking lessons, and the concept is thriving.

Accountability? Lessons? It doesn't sound like the fun, relaxing experience you so desire, but when you consider what they boil down to in this scenario—delicious eats and luxurious spa experiences—it's a combination that soothes the soul and the palate.

The concept of spa/culinary packages is far from new, but with the increasing popularity of online escapes and getaway coupon deals, weekends that include both massages and cooking classes are being snatched up left and right.

Locally, the trend is subtle and the packages vary, but Bay Country communities can keep up with the best of the big cities when it comes to having a good time. In fact already this year, Food Network Challenge winner Chef Parker was welcomed in Chesapeake Beach for a demonstration as part of a packaged spa weekend, and a Cambridge-based chef shared his secrets with guests partaking in another weekend of luxury. Inns across the Shore offer cooking lessons and demonstrations to be combined with their established spa treatments. Even Italian cooking lessons are on the menu at a bed and breakfast in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.

Imagine the weekend: Check in Friday evening after a long week of work, and relax with a cocktail, possibly a meet-and-greet with the chef, and a gourmet dinner before turning in for an amazing night's sleep. Saturday morning, wake up refreshed and head to a 9 a.m. manicure and pedicure. Break for a lunch made of organic, local ingredients, followed by more relaxation and an afternoon massage. By dinner time, join a group of fellow weekend spa dwellers for a two-hour cooking lesson—either hands on, or demonstration, depending on the package. Take it all in: technique instruction, ingredient tips, and general how-tos. When the meal is prepared, feast on the resulting three to four courses of foodie food, sip a glass of perfectly paired wine, and browse your booklet of new recipes, tips, and tricks.

Picking that Pearl

Any combination of these weekends sounds like pure bliss, right? Whether you opt to take your significant other, your best gal pal, or head for a solo escape, the stakes are low and the reward is paradise. Whether it's an all-on-site resort, a bed and breakfast with spa, or a hotel stay with a spa outing, you can build a weekend to meet your every desire. Pack your bag, leave your to-do list at home, and indulge! Monday will come quickly, but the weekend is yours.

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