At the luxurious Banyan Tree Mayakoba, a unique beach resort just south of Cancun, the focus is on relaxation and a reconnection of mind, body and spirit. And when guests aren’t hanging out in their own hammock, swimming in the ocean, eating shrimp tacos and grouper ceviche or sipping passion fruit martinis, they can usually be found trying to detox and rebalance body and mind in the spa.
We often think of a day at the spa as an occasional treat to pamper ourselves, but Asian wellness philosophies dictate that steam rooms and saunas and hot and cold water therapies are essential on an ongoing basis to both stimulate and purify the body, eliminating everyday toxins (accumulated by everything from pollution to poor diet) and re-balancing both inside and out.
In addition to massages, scrubs and facials, the spa at Banyan Tree offers a unique, 60-minute hydrotherapy circuit called “the Rainforest Experience.” Comprised of eight different water-based treatments, the Rainforest offers the following components:
1. Rain Walk: The first element in the Rainforest is a curving path of stones that stimulates the entire body through foot reflexology and also cleanses the body through a series of warm showers.
2. Aroma Steam: This first steam room is hot and scented with eucalyptus, which opens the lungs and pores and helps to decrease tension. A salt scrub leaves your skin feeling unbelievably soft.
3. Finnish and Infrared Saunas: Herbal aromas relax your mind as your body heats up in this conventional sauna. After this, hop into the infrared sauna, which simulates sunlight but without harmful UV rays.
4. Ice Fountain: As soon as you emerge from the double sauna whammy, you’ll likely feel both more relaxed and slightly light headed. Cool yourself down and wake yourself up by rubbing fresh ice all over your body, starting at the feet and working up towards to shoulders.
5. Rasul Chamber: This might have been my favorite part. In this steam room – where the benches are too hot to sit on without a towel – apply mineral mud (which offers a further level of detoxification) all over your body and watch it melt off.
6. Brine Cavern: Steam and salt work together to improve respiratory function and purify the body.
7. Experience Showers: Along the circuit, there are three showers that provide completely different experiences and help to readjust body temperature. The Summer Storm, Arctic Mist and Tropical Rainbow offer different sounds, colors and temperatures.
8. Vitality Pool: The last element is a mineral pool with three different acupressure healing elements, including water jets, which are beneficial for treating stress, muscle aches of all kinds, headaches, tension and sleeplessness.
Hydrotherapy is an extremely old practice and a longtime staple of European and Asian spas – and its benefits don’t end with the healthy glow and extreme relaxation it confers. Cold treatments are thought to stimulate the thyroid, improve circulation, firm skin tissue and maintain a healthy heart rate. Hot treatments are believed to remove toxins (especially heavy metals and pollutants) through perspiration, lower blood pressure, increase circulation and oxygen supply in all parts of the body, provide pain relief and improve both immune and cardiovascular function. Many health practitioners believe that using these therapies on an ongoing basis will not only address specific health concerns, but also provide protective, preventative benefits.
According to Body Blitz, a women-only spa with therapeutic water treatments in Toronto, you should pay attention to the needs of your skin; not only does it regulate the body’s fluid balance and temperature, but it’s the passageway for both excreting toxins and absorbing moisture and nutrients. The accumulation of those toxins have been linked to all kinds of disease and infection – including cancer. Body Blitz adds that the best way to fight any ailment is to stop it before it begins. Remember: your skin is your biggest organ and it needs TLC on a regular basis.