All too often I book myself a massage to dial down the stress, but end up arriving late (and frantic), and then can’t mute my to-do off. Kinda defeats the purpose, I know. But enough’s enough. For my afternoon at Solitude Spa at Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa in Jackson Hole, I decided to finally learn to spa like a pro. The goal: Turn off the mental noise and really tune into my body. So I tapped the expert mind Spa Manager Anthony Accamando to help me map out my plan of spa-attack – and boy was I glad I did! Read on for tried, tested and true tips to turn you into a spa pro…
1) Know before you go. Click through the spa website to find all the perks and extras. And when you book your appointment, ask question. The gal behind the desk not only knows the spa menu inside and out (ask about standout treatments), she knows the lay of the land and can give you info you may not find in the brochure or online. That way you can plan out visit (yoga + whirlpool + steam room) and know exactly what to pack. Insider tip: Let the spa know if you have any special needs, whether physical or health related. If you’re pregnant or have any medical condition, certain treatments are not recommended.
2) Arrive 45 minutes early. Forget the 15 minutes early they suggest, I say 45 minutes. That way you can fully get into the spa frame of mind and really take advantage of all the amenities. Yes, there’s the steam room and sauna, but there’s also tea to sip, magazines to read and lounging to do. Insider tip: Bring your swimsuit to enjoy the hot tub or steam room before or after your treatment.
3) Don’t ignore the spa boutique. I absolutely love spa boutiques for their standout products. Take Solitude Spa: I found Farmaesthetics, LING Skin Care and dōTerra Essential Oils – and want to try them all. And I’ll let you in on a little secret: I always ask for samples. So before my massage, I slathered on a sample of the LING Oxygen Recovery Mask, and left it on while the magician worked her massage magic. It was like getting a facial and massage in one! Insider tip: Most spa boutiques have product samples available – take advantage!
4) Add an add-on. Think of add-ons as the icing on the cake. They’ll make your already divine treatment that much more delicious – and they don’t always cost a lot extra. So instead of just a deep tissue massage to iron out my sore ski muscles, I upgraded to the Arnica Sports Rub add-on, the spa version of Vicks to really penetrate my overworked muscles and reduce inflammation. Other popular add-ons: Hand a foot massage, scalp massage, aromatherapy, eye rescue. Insider tip: Always check the spa website for specials and deals.
5) Tell your therapist in advance. I’m extra ticklish. This can quickly turn a massage into a torture session. I learned to always tell the therapist first, and I spell it out: Light strokes make me tense and ticklish; deeper is better. For some reason it’s much more difficult to divulge this kind of information when you’re in the middle of the treatment, so get it out of the way first. You’ll be glad you did. Insider tip: When getting a facial, make sure to let the spa know if you have sensitive skin.
6) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Do you know why your therapist tells you to drink water after your treatment? It’s because massage manipulates muscles to release toxins. Drinking water helps flush things out, plus it prevents next-day soreness and that sluggish feeling that can come with after a massage. Insider tip: Make your own spa water at home by adding cucumber slices or berries.