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How to Meet Your Ideal Spa Treatment

You’re finally on the way to that top-echelon destination spa you’ve been dreaming of — but now you have to select which treatments you want out of the dozens of heavenly options on the menu.

How do you decode the descriptions to discover which services will be worth your investment?

Some of the most exclusive spas give you the opportunity to speak to staff who will discuss your goals for your spa experience. When your spa of choice offers this level of service take advantage. Still, it’s good to have a basic vision of the end result you seek.

First, check in with yourself to know exactly why you’re choosing to go to a high-end spa. Do you simply want to take some time for yourself to feel pampered and cared for, or is there a specific issue you want to address, whether it’s a cluster of age spots on your arm or a tension in your shoulders that never quite goes away?

A full-service spa offers massages, facials, skin treatments, hydrotherapy and aromatherapy. Many host fitness classes and may provide food and nutrition counseling. Do some research on how each of these types of therapy work and what troubles they address. Keep your expectations realistic.

There are specialized treatments within each category. Take massage, the most popular and broadest of all treatment categories. Here are offerings from a few top-tier Arizona spas to illustrate the contrast between types.

SWEDISH MASSAGE

This classic form of massage uses a gentle touch during a full-body treatment, addressing tension and promoting relaxation. Many outlets call these “relaxation massages,” including Sedona Amara Spa in Sedona: “Utilizing long, fluid strokes, this classic Swedish massage relieves muscle tension and improves circulation creating a sense of calm inner peace and serenity,” according to its website.

HOT STONE MASSAGE

The masseuse uses warm stones to increase blood flow and alleviate pain, sometimes alternating them with cold stones. These are ideal for those dealing with pain or heightened tension in specific parts of their body.

The Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort’s signature services include the Himalayan Salt Stone massage, described as a “restorative massage (that) uses warm stones to soothe sore muscles and naturally replenish the body with vital minerals, restoring balance and removing toxins.”

DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE

These involve deeper, more forceful strokes and are designed to address chronic pain, injuries and tight muscles from anxiety. While more forceful, they should not cause pain or discomfort.

L’Apothecary Spa at L’Auberge de Sedona explains: “Deep tissue massage focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. The techniques used are performed slower and the pressure is deeper to ensure concentration in areas of tension.”

CRANIOSACRAL MASSAGE

This treatment requires a light touch as the masseuse explores the membranes and movement of fluid around the central nervous system and aids the release of the fascia, or connective tissue that surrounds internal organs. It may improve chronic pain, migraines, multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions.

The Spa at Canyon Ranch in Tucson says: “This soothing treatment adjusts the subtle rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid as it circulates around the brain and spinal cord. … This encourages optimal fluid movement throughout the body. The result is a deep sense of calm.”

AROMATHERAPY

This combines the light touch of Swedish massage with the emotional healing provided by soothing scents from essential oils or other sources.

At the Omni Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Montelucia, aromatherapy is offered as an “enhancement,” with three Lotus Wei massage serums infused with flowers and essential oils to choose from.

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