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Spas That Feature Herbal Body Treatments

by Sandra Ramani

From bush medicine to Balinese herbs, our hot list of new and notable herbal body treatments
“People are taking increasingly good care of their faces and necks in an effort to stay more youthful looking, but we often ignore the skin on the rest of our body,” cautions Ella Stimpson, spa director at Georgia’s Sea Island Resort.
Stimpson reminds us that our skin is the body’s largest organ—not something we should ignore—and that good skin health is not only about moisturizing. “It’s also about using gentle products that naturally assist in the removal of dirt and dead skin, so that the beautiful skin underneath can be uncovered.”
With that in mind, here are five hotel spas with herbal body treatments that use wholesome ingredients to nourish the skin, while also relaxing the body and mind.

Sea Island

This 65,000-square-foot spa’s recently redone menu includes Indonesian-inspired treatments with products by Jamu Organic Spa Rituals, which crafts natural and organic Indonesian ingredients into products based on traditional herbal medicine recipes.
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The 90-minute Lift starts with a Kelapa Lemongrass Coconut body scrub to gently slough off dead skin, increase circulation, firm and “lift” the skin. After a shower, enjoy a Balinese-style massage with lemongrass-, mandarin- and orange-infused oil; the scent energizes and lifts the spirits, while the brisk techniques help hydrate and tone the skin. seaisland.com

Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge

A member of Starwood’s Luxury Collection, this Charlotte, NC, hotel has partnered with La Bastide des Lavandes, a lavender farm in South Carolina, to create treatments that showcase
indigenous ingredients.
Included in the Carolina Lavender Collection menu is the 100-minute, multi-service package, which starts with a body scrub and wrap, both made with the locally sourced purple flower; the antiseptic and antimicrobial properties of lavender help heal minor skin imperfections.
A 50-minute massage with aromatic lavender oil eases sore muscles, hydrates skin and soothes the mind. The treatment is topped off with a cup of lavender and honey tea made with honey harvested by a hotel staffer. theballantyne.com

The Mayflower Grace

The spa at this popular New England retreat recently launched a separate Elemental Wellness menu based on the idea that each person has a unique constitution and biochemical makeup and that we are all made up of the same elements that can be found in nature—from the oceans to the stars. Guests take a brief questionnaire to determine their general constitution, then therapists will customize each service using blends made with marine elements, wild algae, wild herbs, medicinal clays and organic essential oils.
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Elemental Wellness treatments feature the beautiful Earth Matters Apothecary line, and include the 90-minute Rites of Purification, with a dry body brushing, a nourishing wrap in your personalized formula, an herbal soak with head massage and guided meditation, and a relaxing body massage. The result is smoother skin, increased cellular regeneration, and a sense of well-being inside and out. gracehotels.com/mayflower

The Cotton House

On the idyllic Caribbean island of Mustique, visitors can either stay in private villas or at The Cotton House, a 17-room hotel that also acts as the island’s unofficial social hub. For the breezy Cotton House Spa, organic line Ila has created an exclusive range of treatments that highlight local ingredients—from moringa and baobab to ylang-ylang, jasmine and frangipani—and bush medicine traditions.
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The two-hour Mustique Immersion starts with a body scrub with turmeric (known for its anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and oil-regulating properties), followed by a drenching with virgin coconut oil to leave skin super-hydrated and nourished. Next, a massage with native plant-infused oils, then a taste of bush medicine tea sweetened with Mustique honey. cottonhouse.net

The Farmhouse Inn & Spa

This Northern California boutique hotel is committed to celebrating Sonoma County’s rich natural bounty in both its award-winning restaurant and its spa.

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Ingredients from the Personal Apothecary treatment at The Farmhouse Inn & Spa

Relaunched in late 2014,The Spa at Farmhouse Inn by Francis & Alexander features a farm-to-table menu that highlights local and estate-grown ingredients like heirloom cider apples, Spring Forest honey and herbs from the kitchen gardens. In the signature Personal Apothecary treatment (75-, 90-, or 120-minutes), guests first take a quiz via a specially designed iPad app. Based on your answers, the therapist will then select the appropriate exfoliants, body butter, and therapeutic oils to create a customized skin-polishing scrub, nourishing wrap, and/or hydrating massage, depending on your needs and the length of the service. farmhouseinn.com

Earth Matters Apothecary

There are a few meanings behind the name of this natural bath and body line, which is both available for at-home use and featured in spa treatments around the U.S. At one level, it is a reminder that the earth matters, that it’s important, relevant and needed. On another, it speaks to the matter, the elements, that make up the earth—and us. 

“We are composed of the same chemical elements of all creation,” reminds Earth Matters Apothecary (EMA) Founder, Anne Bramham, a practitioner, teacher, and spa program developer with over three decades of experience.  “Magnesium, iron, phosphorous and a host of other cell-building elements pulse through our veins, and it is in this organic, life-sustaining matter that our physical-emotional body is cleansed, nourished and sustained.” 


Drawing on homeopathic practices, Bramham designed the line to follow a “constitutional approach,” which means that each product and treatment is tailored for a specific body/ personality type. Our constitution is “the sum of the whole which makes up an individual,” explains Bramham, “including our character, shape, thoughts, tendencies, inherent traits and environment.” To help identify their appropriate services and formulas, clients first take a Constitutional Profile questionnaire quiz (either online or at the spa) to determine if they are an ENDO, ECTO, or MESO—EMA’s three main constitutions.  

Staying natural and sustainable is also key for Bramham, given that everything  we put on our body can have a profound effect on our insides, too. “The skin, our largest organ, is a great communicator,” she says. “It transmits messages to our control center, has the ability to absorb transdermal nutrients, and reflects our inner vitality.” Accordingly, the EMA products are formulated with potent raw materials that help “remineralize and rebalance any deficiencies,” and essences that “have a direct effect on our emotional body and our vitality, and support immunity.” 

In taking this approach, EMA is able to offer personalized therapies in a spa setting, and help support constitutional balance at home. It’s all about focusing on the elemental and bio-chemical needs of the individual—something that definitely matters. earthmattersapothecary.com 


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