LPM Staff

Post-holiday R&R

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Vista of Talking Stick Resort. Photo courtesy of the Talking Stick Resort

If you’ve been crazy-busy over the holidays, chances are your well-being is the last thing on your mind or on the laundry list of urgent matters needing your immediate attention.

Whether you’re mortified over the work you left undone over the holidays or frazzled and sleep deprived after all the fiestas, a little rest and relaxation can do you good and help you start the New Year with a positive outlook. 

Don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself; we all need time to recuperate once in a while. And now may be a great time to de-stress, indulge in some pampering and leave all your worries on the massage room floor at one of Arizona’s spas. 

One of the world’s premier spa destinations is the Miraval Resort, nestled in the Catalina Mountains just north of Tucson, Arizona. At the Miraval, you can treat yourself to a full range of spiritual and physical activities, all while surrounded by 400 acres of Sonoran Desert landscape. 

If you’re looking for an experience that transcends the standard faire, the Miraval is an ideal and environmentally friendly destination. To help you rejuvenate and combat stress, the Miraval’s spa offers more than 100 unique facial, body and beauty treatments. Many of the treatments on the spa menu draw ingredients directly from the neighboring environment. For example, you can revitalize your skin with an exfoliation followed by a gentle, prickly pear scrub. There’s also a Sonoran mud wrap that combines a desert rain treatment with the application of a mineral-rich clay, desert sage butter and botanical mixture for the entire body, to relax muscles and nourish your skin.

When you’re done unwinding, you can partake in activities designed to challenge your physical and spiritual well-being. The resort’s services include personal “dare” challenges such as the Swing and a Prayer, where you ascend to the top of a 35-foot pole and concentrate on balancing your weight on the narrow platform rested on its apex. When you’re ready, you’ll leap off the platform and soar through the air with the aid of a harness fastened to your lower body. Some may recall Oprah Winfrey and gal pal Gail King’s memorable participation in this exercise during their 2007 visit to the Miraval Resort.

When you’re secure in your balance on the platform, your appointed challenge facilitator will encourage you to listen to your inner voice. The discomfort of balancing atop a 35-foot pole in total silence is intended to facilitate difficult emotions you normally prefer to avoid, so you may acknowledge them. Prior to jumping, your appointed challenge facilitator will continually ask you your goals for participating in the exercise, especially during any moments of hesitation right before leaping. The underlying idea is to identify what you want to overcome, whether it’s a fear of heights or the need to be in control all the time; or as in Oprah’s case, simply invite more joy into your life by having some fun. The hesitation to leap off the platform is meant to be figurative of something holding you back in your own life, and the act of jumping off is symbolic of what you can achieve by simply letting go.

The Westward Look Resort and Spa is another inviting Sonoran spa destination. Situated on 80 acres of land at the base of the Catalina Foothills, the Westward Look spa also offers environmentally friendly accommodations that draw from its lush surroundings. Guests can practice meditation by walking the outdoor labyrinth, consecrated as a special space in nature and blessed by a Tohono O’odham elder. Ancient techniques and remedies inform the massage therapies, specifically the 5,000-year-old Indian medical tradition of Ayurveda. The massage services include an Abhyanga massage therapy, which involves rhythmic, long palm strokes using specially formulated Ayurvedic oil containing a variety of herbs ($119, 60 minutes). The Abhyanga massage does not penetrate deep tissue, but is rather a highly customized Indian massage meant to detoxify and nourish the skin. The Abyhanga can be coupled with a Shirodhara massage, a treatment that involves the dripping of warm, aromatic oil onto the “third eye” or forehead ($119, 60 minutes). 

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