A couple months ago, I woke up to a rainy, cool Seattle morning and felt a pang of the blues. From all the years I’ve lived in Seattle, I’ve realized that when it’s your nth grey, rainy day there’s nothing you need more than just to relax and bathe in some heat. So now as we’re heading into the fall, I wanted to share one of my favorite pick-me-up finds in the city- Vida Spa at the Pan Pacific Hotel– and specifically their line of Ayurvedic treatments which could relax and reinvigorate anyone.
In addition to standard massage options, Vida Spa offers a unique lineup of body treatments that are based on the principles of Ayurveda, a 5,000-year old system of holistic Indian medicine. When I was in college at the UW, I often survived the dreary weather by spending a lot of time at hot yoga, which is where I first learned about the therapeutic healing powers of Ayurveda and heat. The principles of the philosophy strive to attain well-being by creating balance of mind, body and spirit. Since most of the treatments are based around Ayurvedic philosophy, prior to any treatment, clients are asked to fill out a short personality survey and the technicians use the right blend of essential oils, fragrances and massage techniques to help counter your imbalances.
Ayurvedic massage is unique in that it uses generous amounts of warm oil throughout the massage and focuses a lot of attention on the head, neck and scalp- places where we hold a lot of tension but are rarely focused on during massages. I was naturally concerned about washing the oil out of my hair and my specialist taught me a foolproof trick- be sure to lather up your hair with shampoo before you step into the water. From persona experience, a strong formulation like Pert Plus works best.
When I went to Vida Spa, I opted for the Swedana treatment which combines Ayurvedic massage with a cedar steam bath and a dry brushing/exfoliation. I would say it’s the grand dame of the Ayurvedic treatments- the massage to relax the body and work out tension, the steam bath really helps to calm the mind and provide that much needed heat boost, and the dry brushing helps to drain fluids and soften the skin. The steam bath is a unique treatment that applies steam to your body to allow it to detox as well as provide the therapeutic benefits of heat. Unlike saunas or steam rooms, the heat is only applied to the body with the head free to breathe at room temperature, and thus preventing that “I’m cooking” feeling. (You can see the bath in the image above)
As with any other luxury spa, Vida offers the utmost care in presentation, comfort and service. I loved how beautiful and quiet (and new!) the treatment and waiting rooms were. For more information on Ayurveda and other treatments at Vida spa, be sure to visit their website!