Lavender is to spas what Mozart is to classical music: it’s on everyone’s top ten list. Perhaps no other ingredient has such a universal appeal.
Native to the Mediterranean region, the Romans used lavender to disinfect and perfume their baths. Indeed, the genus name for lavender is from the Latin, lavandus, or “to be washed.” Use of this fragrant herb spread throughout Europe, and colonists brought it to America to make the New World feel a bit more like home.
But lavender is much more than just a fine fragrance. Its medicinal properties are remarkable. A natural antiseptic, it is commonly used to treat minor cuts and burns, bee stings, allergies, acne, and sleeplessness, to name a few. “Research is now validating what herbal healers have long known,” says Elson M. Haas, MD, founder and director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, California. “For instance, a study in the scientific journal, Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior confirmed that the active constituents of lavender reduce anxiety.”
At Rainspa at the Place d’Armes Hotel in Old Montreal, Canada, lavender is ubiquitous. Lavender-scented candles fragrance the relaxation lounge. Pedicures include a rejuvenating lavender-chamomile paraffin treatment. Lavender oil is the most-requested ingredient in the customized Essential Nature Massage.
“Lavender’s wide range of beneficial properties make it the first choice for relaxing body and mind,” says Rainspa Spa Director Galia Zagury. “It calms our guests’ tensions and discomforts, soothes their sore muscles, and invigorates their skin.” Plus, because of its universally pleasing scent, this virtuoso spa performer is also versatile: lavender can either shine as an elegant soloist, or harmonize beautifully with other herbal ingredients.
By Katherine Stewart
Relaxing Lavender Bath
Recipe courtesy of Spa Director Galia Zagury
Rainspa, Place d’Armes Hotels & Suites
4 cups distilled water 3 tbs. jojoba oil 4 drops lavender essential oil
Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly, then store in a sealed container until ready to use. Pour under hot running water, and enjoy this relaxing, indulgent soak. This bath is ideal before bedtime, as lavender promotes a restful sleep.