Beyond the Massage Table:
The New Generation of Couples' Spa Experiences
Jennifer DiFrancesco, spa director at The Well Spa at Miramonte Resort in Indian Wells, California, notes, "Nowadays the couple's experience has to be about learning something or experiencing something together that creates a memory. It can no longer be about just being together in the same room" A handful of resorts and destination spas have taken the couples treatment to new and very creative heights. From the sexy to the spiritual, these memory-making treatments will help you get to know your sweetie (and yourself) even better while still allowing each of you all the therapeutic benefits of the service.
Looking to deepen your connection, understand each other better, and discover your individual strengths and obstacles in a relationship? Mii amo Spa's Aura-Soma Relationship Reading provides all of this and more. Aura-Soma is a non-invasive tool for revealing your true self (and that of your partner) through the selection of vibrantly colored Equilibrium oils. Of the 106 color choices, each individual chooses four unique bottles. The colors you are drawn to are seen as a reflection of your innermost self. With oils in hand, the couple enters a private consultation room to meet with a trained therapist for an interpretation of their individual color choices and to learn what the colors mean in regards to their relationship.
Because color is universal, the bottles chosen express each individual's gifts and challenges as well as opportunities for growth or transformation. The treatment allows partners to see each other in a new light, to recognize one another's innate strengths, and to better support each other through difficulties. It also reveals what you can learn from one another, and brings your own true potential to the surface. Bhakta, the Aura-Soma therapist at Mii amo, remarks, "Even people that are very close are not always able to fully understand and 'see' their partner. This beautiful color healing system allows us to see the potential, the essential qualities, the 'light' the other person carries and helps us to fully understand the other person and what that person brings into our life."
A form of aquatic bodywork, Watsu (Water Shiatsu) is performed in a warm pool or tub at a depth of three feet. An intimate, highly relaxing, and therapeutic style of massage, Watsu uses synchronized breathing, passive stretching, and compression to release tension, increase range of motion, and alleviate pain. Because Watsu is known to release buried emotions and induce an almost trance-like state of consciousness, therapists are trained to create a safe space for clients and just 'be' with them.
For these reasons, Watsu makes an excellent couple's experience. A handful of spas provide Watsu as a couple's treatment, where each partner receives an individual massage and then your therapist teaches you to 'float' each other. Imagine cradling your dearest in your arms, consciously synchronizing your breath, and then moving gracefully through a series of stretches and postures designed to improve flexibility and well-being. The Spa at Bellagio in Las Vegas, offers a Couple's Reflection Package that includes Watsu, and The Well Spa provides pairs with two hours of hydrotherapy heaven through the resort's Aqua Well service. While you enjoy their signature Riverbench water feature, your sweetie experiences Watsu, you then trade places, and eventually meet together to learn to massage each other.
For the creative, young-at-heart, or hands-on couple, The Well Spa at Miramonte Resort also offers Pittura Festa per Due (Painting Party for Two). The spa's signature treatment, Pittura Festa per Due allows you and your partner to get down and dirty in a wholesome way. Upon entry into one of The Well's private outdoor treatment cabanas (complete with outdoor shower) you are given a palette of muds, two paint brushes, and half an hour of private time to brush, smear, and bake in the sun before a therapist signals it is time to shower.
The warm muds include green sea clay, red mountain clay, desert gold clay, and activated charcoal clay, all of which have different therapeutic benefits for individual skin types. All clays are cleansing to the skin, drawing out toxins and impurities to create a more vibrant tone, and each is packed with trace minerals essential to good health. For the most therapeutic benefit, target problem areas with specific colors or let intuition be your guide and paint freely, making each other into works of art. The party winds down with either a lotion application and face massage or a full body couple's massage in the cabana. Fun, beneficial and original, this is one treatment you are not likely to forget!
For couples that need to turn their passion up a notch, or for those that just have an equally strong passion for chocolate, Aphrodisia's Chocolate Invigoration at Maroma Resort's Kinan Spa is just what the therapist ordered. This indulgent, sensual treatment for two begins with a full body cocoa exfoliation, using both the inside and outside of the fruit blended with cocoa butter. After that mixture has been gently brushed off, you are massaged with warmed bittersweet Mexican chocolate (spiked with a bit of peppermint to encourage circulation) and then wrapped in hot linens to bake in the decadence.
With the smell of melted chocolate percolating through the air, your therapists provide facial exfoliations with sugar and geranium and top it all off with a heating cafe mocha mask. If you're not already seduced, here's the best part. After the chocolate cocoons are removed, you are given jumbo-sized sponges and left alone for a lover's shower. You return to the table for a concluding 15-minute massage with chocolate-coconut oil, which, like the rest of the treatment, boosts your circulation. The aphrodisiac element of this service is so successful that the spa sends couples straight back to their guest rooms (skipping the relaxation lounge). From there, it's up to you.
If you are looking to connect with your mate on a soul-level, the Temazcal may be for you. This ancient Mesoamerican rite is traditionally performed by a Shaman or trained Temazcalero in an earthen hut heated with fire-roasted stones. Much like a Native American sweat lodge, the Temazcal is an intense, deeply detoxifying and spiritually symbolic experience. Offered at select spas in Mexico and Latin America (see sidebar), the service isn't explicitly for couples, but it is a bonding as well as a physically and spiritually demanding option for those who are open to it.
The ritual begins with an offering to the four directions. Then, after entering the dark, round Temazcal, the Shaman kneels near a pile of hot rocks, a stack of aromatic herbs and a cauldron of water within his reach. As the door closes, your small circle is enveloped in darkness. As the steamy heat increases, fresh water and fruit are available for nourishment and the Temazcalero introduces chanting, musical instruments, meditation, and full belly howls to release deep-seated fears and energetic blockages. The intensity of the heat and darkness help to peel away layers of ego and bring physical and spiritual toxins to the surface. Typically performed at dusk, the session ends when the door opens for the last time, and you are greeted with a refreshing hibiscus drink and in some cases, led to a pool or the ocean for a cool plunge.
Spa & Treatment DetailsAura-Soma Relationship Reading
Mii amo at Enchantment Resort
Aqua Well for Couples & Pittura Festa per Due
The Well Spa at Miramonte Resort
Indian Wells, CA
Couples Reflection Package
The Spa at Bellagio
Las Vegas, NV
Aphrodisia's Chocolate Invigoration
Kinan Spa at Maroma Resort
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Where to find Temazcal:
Hacienda los Laureles
Tabacon Grand Spa & Thermal Resort
Arenal, Costa Rica
Enhance Your Relationship through All of Your Senses:
If you can't make it to the spa, here is one way to bring the sensual, pampering, and nurturing experience home compliments of Lana Holstein, M.D. Holstein leads the monthly Partners, Pleasure & Passion workshops at Miraval Resort. In her courses, couples learn daily practices and special activities in order to boost their intimacy both physically and emotionally. One of the 'assignments' she gives her clients is to exchange a sensual pleasure experience. One partner sets the scene by creating a stimulating environment for all six senses - sight, smell, sound, taste, touch, and movement - and invites the other into this safe, pampering world.
For example, you tell your partner to arrive in the bedroom at 9 p.m. The lights are dimmed, perhaps candles are lit, and after he enters, you blindfold him to eliminate that sense, and energize the other five senses. First, perhaps, you address his nose by introducing enticing scents from the kitchen, or by rubbing his scalp with essential oils. Next, while he's still blindfolded, you incorporate sounds like ringing bells, before turning on some music and dancing or swaying together. Taste and touch conclude the experience, so lead him to the bedside table for a strawberry, a peach, or a chocolate truffle, followed by a full body caress with feathers, silk, or cashmere. The idea is to provide a completely sensual experience, allowing your partner to be fully in his body, with you as his loving guide. This could well become an evening of memorable lovemaking, but could also subside into a cozy night of restful sleep. Next week, of course, it's his turn to treat you!
For more information about Partners, Pleasure, and Passion visit www.miravalresort.com