Hear that calming melody in the background?

By Laura Jackson

Even the sound of the word “spa…aahhh” feels good coming off the tongue. It encourages that extra breath hanging on at the end of the word. Say it slowly and you can conjure up images of soothing relaxation from head to toe. You can almost feel the soft , plush robe, smell the soothing lavender and taste the fruity hibiscus tea. Hear that calming melody in the background?

Today we survive in an overscheduled world in which we are connected by phone, text, email, or any number of electronic media 24/7. Our nervous systems, however, were never really designed for that level of overstimulation. Although most of us just get used to operating on overload on a daily basis, our bodies still require regular times to rest and reboot the system once in a while. Scheduling some well-deserved spa time may be the perfect relief from the chaos.

Since the Roman times, tired souls have been going to Spa for rejuvenation. Spa is actually the name of a beautiful city in Belgium famed for its natural mineral water springs. With the 16th Century came widespread attention to the area and the allure of medicinal bathing. Travelers came from all over Europe to soak up the healing waters. Th e word “spa” is believed to have originated from the Latin words, “espa” which means “fountain”, and “sparsa” meaning “to bubble up”.

Today, there are still a wide array of therapeutic water-based spa treatments to choose from including hydrotherapy, Vichy shower treatments, mineral soaking tubs, and indoor relaxation pools to name a few. Plus, there are so many other unique treatments to choose from. In fact, there is a spa treatment for just about any specific need you can imagine from anti-aging facials, to detoxification wraps, reflexology, aromatherapy and more.

“Massage contributes to the release of certain “feel-good” chemicals in the body.”

You can also look forward to many spa menus unique to Park City, including treatments using local clays and salts native to Utah, Native American inspired massage and stone therapies, alpine-themed treatments and après ski sporting relief.

The benefits from all these treatments are even more numerous. And there are almost as many theories about the benefits as there are treatments. The Gate Control Theory suggests that massage may provide stimulation that helps to block pain signals sent to the brain.

Several other theories suggest that massage contributes to the release of certain “feel-good” chemicals in the body such as serotonin and other endorphins. Heat therapy, hydrotherapy and massage have all been shown to reduce the level of the stress hormone cortisol, which as a result can slow your heart rate, improve circulation and reduce blood pressure. Relaxation in general is of course known to be invaluable to maintaining a healthy heart.

Saunas and other heat related therapies can help improve your breathing and serve to strengthen your respiratory system. Many spas offer yoga or Pilates, which can also help you b-r-e-a-t-h-e…

Many types of spa services promote detoxification, which eliminates toxins and excess bodily fluids that contribute to a loss in energy, bloating and water retention.

Building your immunity has been touted as added advantage of time devoted to self-care and rejuvenation. And finally, research shows that relaxation pays off at the end of the day in improved sleep patterns over the long term.

So, the next time you are looking for justification for spa time, remember the importance of taking a time out from the hustle and bustle of everyday life— your body will thank you.