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:: Finding Your Spa Personality
Jan 19, 2011 09:43 pm
Recently I posted an informal question for my Facebook friends: If you were a spa treatment, what would you be? The answers were as varied as my friends themselves.


From my watery Piscean pal: I would be thalassotherapy. Seawater. Salt. Slimming seaweed wraps. From an herbalist spa developer came the desire to be fresh-cut herbs heated into a wrap thats accepted through the blood-brain barrier to relax, soothe, and create more anti-oxidants. And from a Spa editor whos tried almost every treatment out there: Energetic/intuitive therapiesPolarity Therapy, Aura-Soma, and tarot card readings.


If I were to poll these friends a few months from now, their responses might be different. Thats because out of the three factors that come into play when thinking of an ideal spa experiencewhere you are physically, emotionally, and spiritually in your life journey; the terrain and ambience youre attracted to; and your physical body typethe first often changes. But while whats happening in your life this morning may dictate the treatment you want this afternoon, your underlying personality and body type indicate the type of place and treatment youll return to time and again.


Click here to take your own Spa Personality Test


Assessing Your Place in Lifes Journey Spa developer Shoshana Weinberg, president of Shree Spa Consulting, notes that your immediate spa preference could shift depending on your physical and emotional state. There are times I need pure pampering and choose a spa that offers amazing therapists and relaxation rooms, she says. Other times I need more of a physical treatmentafter flying long hours, for exampleand then I choose a spa known for its experienced and well-trained therapists. And when stress has taken the best of my spirit, I run to spas that offer healing waters and good snacks.


Think about where youre at right now. Are you in transition, questioning your life, and open to making significant changes? A destination spawhere you traditionally check in for seven days to hike, eat healthfully, exercise, have spa treatments, and clear your headmay be in order. Or are you an urbanite in the throes of your career, eager to escape the concrete jungle if just for a few hours? You may do well to check into your citys best hotel or day spa. Then again, maybe youre seeking a more social experience with girlfriends or a getaway with your family or significant other. A resort spa with its pamper-and-relax-me vibe may be ideal.


Finding Your Dream Locale Irrespective of your mood and where you are in life, there are likely certain types of locations that speak to you. According to spa consultant Sylvia Sepielli, the most harmonious spas are those inspired by their locale. One of her projects in Hawaii, for instance, channels the healing power of the nearby ocean. Relaxation lounges overlook the sea, product lines and treatments are seaweed-based, and the space feels like a casual beach house.


So, should a fan of the sea, seaweed-based treatments, and tropical weather always opt for a spa in an oceanfront location? Maybe, maybe not. According to Weinberg, who factors the Ayurvedic principles of climate and physical constitution into the spa-personality equation, the best spa for you could be dictated by your body type. Tropical weather and water will calm a thinner person with dry skin and hair or brittle bones; a more medium-built person, easily agitated, with a hotter body temperature, would benefit from the cool greens and blues of trees and water in the mountains or forest; and larger-framed people, who tend to have cold and clammy skin, will feel at peace in the heat of a desert spa retreat. Ayurveda promotes balancing the deficiencies in the body, Weinberg says. It would be a good idea to travel to a place that will allow your imbalance to correct itself.


Weighing in on Body Type Spa consultant Anne Bramham goes one step further, connecting spa-goers physical body traits not just to the locale of the spa but to treatments. She draws upon the practices of the late European homeopath Victor Gabriel Rocine as well as American psychologist William Sheldons somatotype theory, which posits that all people fall into one of three categoriesmesomorph, ectomorph, or endomorphbased on their body type and corresponding temperament.


According to Bramham, mesomorphs have muscular body typessquare shoulders, narrow hipsand are competitive and athletic, speak without hesitation, have strong opinions, and are drawn to action and movement. They would benefit from more dynamic treatments in the spa: deep-tissue massage, for example, as well as vigorous scrubs, thalassotherapy, and shiatsu. Red mud is recommended, along with cold sheet wraps to combat stress.


Ectomorphs have long bones and are often tall and lean. They tend to be cerebral, observant, and idealistic and are drawn to poetry, spirituality, and yoga. They are sensitive to suffering, think before speaking, and lean toward ritual purification and cleansing treatments in the spa. Energy workincluding Reiki, chakra balancing, and intuitive massageare appealing to this body type. For balance, ectomorphs should try aroma-reflex therapy, seaweed therapy, and treatments with essential oils or Dead Sea mud, which are purifying to the body.


Endomorphs typically have soft and rounded body types. Bramham describes them as being connected to the earth; they love creature comforts, feel-good experiences, and companionship. Nurturing and noninvasive treatments in the spafacials, mud wraps, aromatherapy, and stone treatmentswill help them be at their best. There are always variations, of course, says Bramham. An ecto may crave a deep-tissue massage; a meso, Polarity Therapy.


Sometimes we tend toward treatments that dont fit our body type because of whats going on in our lives, so if youre feeling particularly drawn to a specific type of destination, surrounding, or experience, listen to that inner voice. In the months preceding my divorce, for example, I was drawn to life-changing destination spasalways, always in the desert. Today, more balanced and centered, on my new life path, my cravings are more aligned with my physical constitution: I seek warm climates, energy-based treatments, thalassotherapy, and the sea. And while that time in the desert was healing, it sure feels good to be back to my ectomorph self.
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