Ayurveda is the 5,000-year-old medical system of India. It is also a philosophy that offers keys for creating harmony and balance in life. The ayurvedic physician studies for five years and is supervised for one year in a hospital.

Although there are some spas in the United States that are designed as ayurvedic medical centers, most ayurvedic spas do not focus on the treatment of disease. Instead they adopt elements of ayurveda that focus on positive life choices, general detoxification, relaxation, enhanced spiritual awareness, and gentle exercise.

Sole to Soul: Sweet Feet Treats

Spa Elan

Treatments for feet have evolved beyond the classic pedicure. My feet and legs, for instance, have been slathered in nourishing golden moor mud at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel Spa, scrubbed with oatmeal at a New Jersey Aveda spa, and coated in freshly grated coconut at the Intercontinental Moorea Resort’s Helene Spa in Tahiti. They have been scraped, squeezed, smothered, poked, and polished with salts, sand, wine, coffee, tea, fruit, and vegetables around the world. Today’s foot treatments are more than just the application of toenail polish.

Spa Styles

Pure, Smorgasbord, or Fusion

A French restaurant doesn’t serve Chinese food,” explains the owner of a traditional Indonesian spa in Whistler, British Columbia. “So why should we offer Indian or Thai spa treatments when we are presenting a pure Indonesian experience?” While the Taman Sari Spa in Whistler clearly opts for the authentic experience, other spas mix a variety of traditions and techniques into a particular service, offering a fusion or combination practice. And many larger destination and resort spas prefer a smorgasbord of various traditional side-by-side offerings on their spa menus.

The Breath Within the Stone

Understanding the Healing Power of Rock

Some of the most progressive healers in the world have begun using stones in their massage work — not to replace healing hands, but as an adjunct to traditional massage, facials and healing treatments of all kinds. Stone massage is an ancient, enduring form of therapeutic bodywork using heated and cooled stones as extensions of the hand. It is a harmonious collaboration of healing energies between the client, the therapist and the stones.