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A Trio of Massage Treatments

The Herbal Balancing Treatment from Miraval

By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: October 28, 2011, from the November 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Editor’s note: Skin Inc. magazine recommends that skin care professionals obtain the proper training before offering any new treatments or services.

According to Associated Massage & Bodywork Professionals (ABMP), Swedish massage therapy is the most requested service in spas, and spas are the most common place to receive a massage (43% of all sessions). Although there is a time and place for Swedish massage, perhaps it is time for your facility to go above and beyond to meet your clients’ needs for complete relaxation of the mind, body and spirit. Consider reaching deeper to offer a variety of therapeutic and beneficial massage services to your clients. Following are step-by-step how-to massage treatments to get your imagination pumping, supplying you with guidance from three top spas about the logistics of offering these services, along with marketing and retail advice, and the history behind them to help you decide if they are a good fit for your business.

Herbal Balancing Treatment: The Spa at Miraval Resorts, Tucson, Arizona

The Herbal Balancing Treatment is designed to help connect the mind and body through abhyanga massage, or ayurvedic oil massage, in addition to balancing with marma, or energy points. According to Simon Marxer, spa director at Miraval Resort, the treatment has been derived from techniques of the ayurvedic system. “Part of ayurveda is that it recognizes that people have individual issues, so therapists offering this treatment should be trained to identify constitutional characteristics to determine what kind of oil to use in the treatment, depending on whether clients are stressed, irritable and overheated, or sluggish and depressed,” explains Clinton Horner, massage therapist and ayurvedic practitioner at Miraval Resort. “You need to look at the person and make an assessment based on conversation and visuals, and select the appropriate oil.”

According to Horner, because oil massage takes up the bulk of this service, it is crucial to select the correct oil. “When you oil the body with herbal oils, they are rubbed in and penetrate deeply to help loosen up toxins and work for the client’s body type. The oils have a sedating, grounding effect,” he says. After oiling the body, the treatment involves 10 minutes of marma point therapy based on the client’s constitution, followed by a body wrap to help heat the body, loosen the tissues and help with circulation.

“In order for a service to be successful, there has to be a level of authenticity,” emphasizes Marxer. “It is important to bring in a professional to provide training and education to your staff members about the principles of ayurveda so they truly have an understanding of what it is doing.”