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Transformational Treatments

by Becca Hensley

ABOVE: Head, Neck and Shoulder Massage—Mii Amo

Once alternative, even fringy, these mind-body spa therapies are now edging toward the mainstream

“Meditation is the new yoga,” says Ashiko Rupp, my spa therapist at Mii Amo, in Sedona, after we’ve spent some time meditating under the shadow of a mountain in collective harmony. She leads me through a treatment called Red Rock Inspiration, a session meant to fortify focus and balance through a mindful, slow walk and guided meditation, which takes its cues from nature.

In our silence, we fall into a comradely trance together, infinitely at one with the peaks before us. When birds fly over, they seem to give their two cents. The breeze, too, speaks to us. Even the sweet scent of the grass has a voice. When our quietude ends, something invisible and as ephemeral as air chokes me quite suddenly—just for a second. Then, it exits into the universe. A palpable clarity washes over me, a euphoria as caressing as rays of warm sun. I feel sadness and regret cleared, replaced by a state of simple, pure contentment. Ashiko looks over and smiles. She feels it, too.

Change happens everyday, whether we’re aware of it or not. Sometimes that’s a difficult concept. But, when we embrace it, we grasp that the other side of change can be transformation—and that this process of ends and beginnings continues forever. The key is finding some rapture and hopefulness in that concept; the journey is immersing in it, crossing thresholds and slipping through open doors.

Today, many spas offer tools to aid us as we shift from place to place; treatments and safe arenas that allow new perspectives, which switch old thoughts for new. Trust and vulnerability may be required to try new things; skepticism must be put aside to search for truths. Following are some modalities and their portals to soothe and direct your mind, body and spirit.

LEFT: Carillon Yoga Studio  RIGHT: Gem Spa Cancun

Tarot Card Reading

Dating back to medieval times, possibly even to ancient Egypt, tarot is a pack of playing cards, illustrated with characters (such as The Empress or The Fool), each holding a certain significance. They can reflect the subconscious and conscious state. How they are pulled from the deck can be interpreted by a skilled reader.

At Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn’s Willow Stream Spa, this service helps elucidate issues of love, finance or career. The spa also gives intuitive readings, with the purpose of overcoming obstacles. fairmont.com/sonoma/willow-stream/spa-services/mind-and-body

Sauna Master

Called different names in various countries, and popular in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Scandinavia, this 20- to 60-minute group sauna experience is intense, addictive and detoxifying. Led by a trained sauna master, who inspires with stories, meditations, dramatics and sometimes song, participants sit in a hot sauna, dip into cold water and breathe in aromatherapy-infused mist. At Denmark’s Kokkedal Castle, a Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Danish SaunaGus (sauna master) champion Anders Lund Hage provides sessions meant to “ground the spirit and boost the immune system.” slh.com


Dating back thousands of years, healing with gemstones remains a constant modality of Eastern medicine. Proponents believe gems and crystals hold specific vibrations, which can be used to tap into negative energy, remove it and replace it with something positive. Specific stones speak to certain traits, and work best for particular goals. Gem treatments often work in conjunction with the chakras or chi, the energetic life force. Cancun’s Gem Spa at Fiesta Americana takes gem healing seriously, with treatments such as its Amber Amulet Ritual. gemspacancun.com

Chakra Balancing

Around and within our solid, material bodies, unseen energy wheels flow. Many refer to these as chakras. Divided into seven distinct home areas in our bodies, represented by colors, pertaining to traits and tendencies, they symbolize the unseen outposts within which energy moves.

Most often discussed in conjunction with Ayurveda, chakras can be blocked or sullied. A chakra cleaning or balancing can shift energy, bring harmony and release emotional pain. The Spa at Carillon Miami Wellness Resort offers Chakra Repairing, a treatment aimed at eradicating depression to bring insight. carillonhotel.com/wellness-and-spa/spa/signature-experiences


Conceived by Englishwoman Vicky Wall, a blind pharmacist and herbalist who couldn’t see colors but felt their vibrations, Aura-soma, a color-led therapy, uses botanical tinctures to yield meaningful information for clarification and affirmation. A guest “randomly” chooses bottles filled with color. The colors and the order they’re picked help the reader to prognosticate and intuit aspects of the guest’s journey.

Healing and helpful for solving issues, Aura-soma has been a steadfast offering at Mii Amo for more than a decade, while the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay’s Healing Village Spa has recently instituted a Chakra Balance Massage with Aura-Soma. miiamo.com, fourseasons.com/jimbaranbay

Violin Meditation

Not what you would expect to find in Las Vegas, meditation is having a moment in Sin City. Counterbalancing the chaotic bling of the strip, silencing the noise, The Spa at Red Rock by Well & Being offers Violin Meditation, meant to reset and recharge the body, mind and soul.

The pacific vibrations of live violin music and gently whispered visualizations by Rebecca Sabine (a violinist in Celine Dion’s orchestra and a member of the Las Vegas Philharmonic) ensure this treatment becomes a threshold to awakening and peace. rr-spa.com

Astrology and Numerology

In Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote, “To thine own self be true.” That’s essentially the goal of both astrology and numerology, two practices that rely on the birth date to reveal tendencies, proclivities, strengths and weaknesses.

With astrology, a symbolic map of the heavens mirrors your individual journey; using numerology, practitioners can point a direction for you to follow according to your birth date reduced to a single digit. Avail of either or both at the spa at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa. sanctuaryoncamelback.com/spa-fitness/spa-treatments/specialized-treatments

LEFT: The Spa at Red Rock  RIGHT: Mii Amo Crystal Grotto

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