Friday, January 16, 2015


For over twenty years, I’ve been covering all-things spa.  The only genuine way to experience a spa and benefit from its overall environment, including treatment experiences, is to actually go to one and experience it.  It is possible, however, to replicate aspects of spa treatment experiences while in a home setting, provided planning, organizing, conditions and product mix come together as one, but again, it isn’t meant to replace an actual spa experience.  For example, just in the area of a treatment experience at the hands of a highly skilled, trained and experienced spa technician, it is impossible for one to replicate that individual’s touch and skill. 

The spa experience is sensory-driven and should engage the five senses of tactile, taste, auditory, visual and olfactory.  Then there are innate senses, such as emotion and psyche, which greatly rely on perception and imprinting recall.  When one’s senses are engaged, the efficacy of the experience is elevated.

Following are a number of products I recently tried that effectively transform your spa at home experience to one that captures the essence of a spa experience, as if you’re at one.  I’ve also included a few DIY tips and treats for you to also consider as part of your spa at home experience.  The products, tips and treats are all based on engaging various senses throughout the experience to magnify one’s sensory acuities.  So, get ready and go and get your spa on…..


In General ~ Set aside time to disconnect from reality and create a new one that’s filled with relaxation and restorative indulgence.  Consider the type of relaxation music you want to listen to and then have it ready to play throughout your special time.  Prepare ahead of time the healthy fruit or veggie infused waters you’ll refresh yourself with throughout the day.  Begin your day with simple stretching movements, followed by introspection and contemplation.  Plan a light and healthy breakfast, such as green tea or an herbal tisane, Greek-style yogurt with fresh fruit and a nutrient-dense healthy muffin (same for a healthy lunch of a hearty salad).  Plan your time accordingly and block out any outside influences and the extraneous that might be disruptive to your relaxed rhythm.  Take the time to go for a walk and get reacquainted with nature and just having some personal time without anyone else seemingly bothering you.  If you have children, make arrangements for someone to take care of them while you’re restoring yourself.

Dry Brushing ~ If you don’t have a body brush with firm bristles, consider buying one; in lieu of a firm-bristle body brush, a Loofah chunk or mitt is recommended.  Using one of these on dry skin is great for exfoliating and revving up the circulation.  Using circular small motions, begin from the feet and work your way up the body, towards the heart.   Make sure to avoid any sensitive areas, especially areas with broken skin.  Do not dry brush to recently shaved or sunburned skin, otherwise irritation will result.

Facial Scrub & Hydrator ~ You’ll need a gentle oil, such as almond, jojoba or olive, as well as corn meal.  Place a small amount of corn meal in the palm of your hand and to this add a small amount of the oil, or enough to make a paste.  Apply this to face and gently rub the skin using small circular motions with the fingertips.  Gently rinse off with warm water and blot dry.  The oil will provide sufficient hydration to the skin.

Pedi Soak ~ You’ll need a large bowl or basin (I use a large stainless bread mixing bowl), Epsom salts (or baking soda), a scented essential oil (optional), marbles (floral or conventional), Pedi paddle or super-fine grade sandpaper block (or a dish scrubby), and a gentle oil (almond, jojoba or olive).  Fill basin/bowl with warm water.  Add Epsom salts (or baking soda, or both), and any optional scented essential oils; mix all ingredients thoroughly.  Add marbles.  Soak feet in mix, taking time to gently rub the soles of your feet over the marbles to stimulate and revitalize the circulation; this is also great for giving oneself a foot massage.  After twenty to thirty minutes of soaking, remove feet and then dry; gently exfoliate any calloused areas (use a Pedi paddle, sandpaper block or dish scrubby); apply the oil to feet and moisturize (or use one of your body moisturizers); to keep the feet protected and to seal in the moisture, wear cotton socks.  This is an ideal treat prior to retiring for the evening.

Rosewater Toner ~ A culinary-grade Rosewater (available at specialty stores, Indian or Middle Eastern grocery stores, or in mass retail grocery chains with an import section) is an inexpensive alternative to facial-grade Rosewater, and it’s a very refreshing facial toner.  Transfer the Rosewater to a fine mister for ease of applying.  The culinary-grade is wonderful when chilled and sprayed on the face throughout the day as a quick pick-me-up. 

Witch Hazel & Rosewater Astringent Toner ~ Mix the culinary-grade Rosewater with Witch Hazel.  The gentle astringent property of the witch hazel in combination with the rosewater makes for a gentle finishing toner.  I use this mix especially during the summer or after a vigorous workout.  This is ideal for cooling down an over-heated face and as a refresher throughout the day. 


P. Allen Smith ~ Here’s a link to a YouTube DIY for a scrub and bath salts from this lifestyle, garden and food expert.  Both are double duty, since you can make them for yourself or make as nice gifts for someone special.

Members of the International SPA Association (ISPA) have found a silver lining to the inevitable sugar cravings. Spas and product companies are using sugar as a scrub aid to help relieve stress.  According to ISPA President Lynn McNees, “Sugar has many health benefits in spa treatments. Sugar can be used to exfoliate, increase circulation, improve skin tone, moisturize and restore balance to your skin.  Using sugar to benefit your skin will leave you feeling less guilty about giving in to your sugar cravings.”

Following are some “Sweet Spa Treatments” ISPA members offer their guests.  My Take:  Maybe you’ll get a few ideas on how to DIY some of these indulgent treats at home for yourself! 

Agua Serena Spa at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells in Indian Wells, Calif. offers a “Kai Body Polish” pairing salt with sugar to exfoliate skin and finishing with a body butter. 
Chill Spa Hotel Terra in Teton Village, Wyo. offers a “Mountain Glow Treatment” invigorating skin cells using a sugar and lemongrass oil scrub to massage the back, shoulders and arms.
Eau Spa in Manalapan, Fla. offers “Champagne Shimmer Body Luster” which uses a brown sugar to scrub and warm champagne oil to soften and hydrate new skin.
G2O Spa and Salon in Boston, Mass. offers “Bikini Beauty,” incorporating a sugar wax, which is gentler than regular wax and organic.
Massage Envy Spa with multiple locations nationwide offers “Sugar Foot Scrub Therapy” using the Bon Vital Lavender sugaring product to soothe and smooth rough, calloused feet.
One Ocean Resort and Spa in Atlantic Beach, Fla. offers “Waterlemonade Refresher Body Treatment” which uses a fresh watermelon-basil and vodka sugar scrub.
Red Door Spa with multiple locations nationwide offers “Orange & Pomegranate Sugar Body Glow Treatment” which incorporates the spa’s signature sugar orange-pomegranate body scrub.
Spa at Desert Springs in Palm Desert, Calif. offers “Desert Journey Signature Treatment” a light brown sugar scrub mixed with a body butter to hydrate and exfoliate.
Spa Evangeline at the Epicurean Hotel in Tampa, Fla. offers “Body Elixir Polish,” a fine-grain white and brown sugar-based polish by FarmHouse Fresh to exfoliate skin.
Spa Réveil in Austin, Texas offers the “Moroccan Purifying Ritual” which incorporates a sugar-based scrub with black olive, coffee, crushed almond, neroli, orange and lemon rind.
Spa Shiki at The Lodge of Four Seasons Resorts in Lake Ozark, Mo. offers a “Mandarin Green Tea Sugar Scrub” that sloughs dead skin from feet and relax the entire body.
Springs Eternal Spa at Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford, Pa. offers “Sugar Maple Glow” including a sugar scrub and whipped body butter.
The Spa at Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, N.H. offers the “Herbal Body Treatment” including herbs from the resort’s own garden mixed with a sugar scrub.
The Spa at the Omni Homestead in Hot Springs, Va. offers the “Southern Harvest Apricot & Sweet Vanilla Wrap” with a sweet vanilla sugar scrub and an apricot body mask.
The Spa at Trump in Honolulu, Hawaii offers “Kaua’I and Clay Mask Treatment” by Malie Organic that works to slough off dead cells and ends with the clay body mask.
The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Va. offers “18th Century Colonial Orange and Ginger Scrub and Massage” which combines ginger and orange in a sugar scrub. 


Prior to your spa at home experience, plan what you want to accomplish and organize your approach, and remember that taking time to regroup, unwind, decompress, relax and restore isn’t hedonistic ~ it’s an investment in self.  Don’t regret the time you’ve set aside for yourself.  And while spa at home may be all about you, you’ve earned this time and you definitely deserve it!

That’s it for this edition.  Until the next one, remember to take care of yourself and those you love.

By Terry Herman

TERRY HERMAN is a recognized expert in the industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In the 1990s, she authored an extensive "Glossary of Spa Terminologies" and holds two copyright registrations.  Consumer and trade publications have also interviewed her as an expert.  She also conducted an extensive nationally broadcasted interview tour on aspects of creating an at-home spa, interior design, music, stress and time management.  Her work has been published extensively in print and digital in both consumer and trade publications.  In addition to writing, reviewing and being interviewed as an expert, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker.  She also served on the International Advisory Board for the former EXPERIENCE | PREMCHIT Journeys In Retreat To Wellness; the Advisory Board was comprised of ten international experts in various fields of wellness and spa.  She also served as a Group Manager for the popular LinkedIn group, The Spa Buzz.  Her social media outreach includes Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Tripatini.  Be sure to read her food, wine and culinary digital magazine, TERRY’S SECOND HELPINGS.  You can email her at, or


(Introductory photo from Spa and Salon Supplies Canada; all other photo credits as indicated.)

N.B.  Google’s blog platform is incompatible with my Mac OS X and Firefox browser latest software versions, which is why some web links appear in different colors and why when attempting to have embedded images their sizing is consistent and/or can’t be sized. 

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