Across the boulevard from the Pacific, in a wing of Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, is the open-to-the-public Spa del Mar. Opened in May 2008 as part of the hotel’s makeover, Spa del Mar offers a potpourri of treatments, uses only regional products, and often updates its bodywork menu with specials and the latest therapies. The spa has recently added to its bill of fare a bamboo massage and a whole-body dry-brush treatment.
The Power of Bamboo: Rolling pins. Multiple-sized bamboo rolling pins. These are the tools of the trade for Spa del Mar’s newest treatment—the bamboo massage. The only spa around to offer such a rubdown, the power of bamboo takes the always pleasurable—and sometimes blissfully painful—deep-tissue massage experience to places hands and feet simply cannot tread. Smoothed-out, hollow sections of bamboo stalk are skillfully rolled and crisscrossed over your entire body, pushing and pulling fasciae to and fro, and working out troubled tension spots like no massage I had experienced before.
With the flowing, rolling strokes also comes a wonderful detoxifying side-effect: Lymph nodes are drained, circulation is stimulated, and sensory nerves get a wicked recharge. Allow yourself to relax into the more painful spots during the 90-minute massage, and a curious combo of relaxation and energized cerebral rejuvenation is sure to stick with you well past the end of your visit. But user beware: There is a good chance this massage is going to teach you about some tension spots in your body you never knew existed.
A Good Brushing: Brushing your teeth and hair are daily (we hope) routines for most folks. Now doctors and massage therapists are recommending you add another brushing to your list. It’s called dry brushing and is said to result in not only glowing skin but also myriad other health benefits, including strengthening the immune system, removing cellulite, cleansing the lymphatic system, and improving the function of the nervous system.
European spas have been offering dry brushing for ages, but it’s just finding its way to Santa Barbara. Spa del Mar offers the technique in its Total Body Rejuvenation massage, and I had the pleasure of being brushed on a recent Wednesday afternoon.
The brush is made with natural fibers; it is gently swept over your dry body in continuous movement exfoliating dead skin cells. The bristles are soft but firm and leave you feeling, well, brushed. But that was just the first step. Next came a foot and hand scrub that included hot towels and a blend of Moroccan, jojoba, and organic coconut oils massaged into the skin. An aloe mask was applied to my face, and while that did its rehydrating magic, I relaxed with a scalp massage and hot-oil hair treatment. It was an amazing hour and, as its name suggests, a rejuvenating experience for the whole body. I don’t know about the other health effects, but I’m a big fan of shiny things, which is exactly what I was when I left the spa.
Create-a-Treatment Contest: Spa del Mar is asking the public to submit ideas for a new, unique “signature” spa treatment for 2011. Entries should include the name and description of the treatment and the type of product(s) the treatment will need. Participants have a chance to win the grand prize of a Half Day Spa Retreat valued at $365, as well as a 20-percent discount off gift certificates and retail products until December 24, 2010. To see what types of treatments the spa already offers, check out santabarbaraspadelmar.com. For more info, call 884-8540.