the hawaiian-inspired Spa
?tory by shannon wianecki
Maui has a way of unwinding tension. Something in the
the salty ocean, the volcanic soil, the tangled riot of fruit trees, flowers,
and our defenses. We get accustomed to feeling good.
why, when the occasional knot creeps up my back or my skin starts
to lose its glow, I head to one of the spas for a treatment inspired
by indigenous wisdom and ripe with locally grown remedies.
My first stop is the Sheraton Spa at Black Rock, so named because
it nestles against a dramatic promontory of black lava that punctuates
Beach. Native Hawaiians called the formation and
believed it to be a a leap of the soul. While
not ready to dive into infinity quite yet, I would like to jettison my worldly
cares, and this is just the spot.
The spa itself is small and elegant. No hot tubs or steam rooms, but
what it lacks in water features, it makes up for in skilled therapists, solid
treatments, and great product lines. As I wait in the stylish lobby for my
therapist, I discover a collection of cosmetics by Queen Bee Productions so
delicious nearly edible. The own aesthetician, Kether Quinlan,
handcrafts this line of luxurious body butters, toners, and masques with raw
wild honey she harvests herself. I make a mental note to try her Meli Meli
Queen Bee to this my next visit.
For this occasion, booked the Maui Mikana body treatment:
an all-in-one experience that includes a scrub, wrap, and scalp-and-foot
massage. following that up with another fifty minutes of lomi lomi
(traditional Hawaiian massage). Bliss is all but guaranteed.
My therapist, Kristin, arrives and offers me the choice of an outdoor
treatment room, completely private, with natural lighting and breeze. But
in a hibernating mood, so I opt for a cozy indoor room. The treatment begins with a sugar scrub. Mikana is Hawaiian for Papaya
and pineapple enzymes combine with organic brown sugar, coconut oil,
rice bran, vitamin E, and green tea to create a naturally exfoliating scrub.
Kristin applies this to my body in circular motions, sloughing off dead skin
cells, and preparing my skin for deep nourishment.
Once been sugared from head to toe, she steps out of the room
to allow me to rinse off. Next lathered in luxuriant cream: organic shea
butter, aloe, coconut and jojoba oils, scented with papaya and pineapple.
While my skin laps up the cream, wrapped comfortably in blankets and
given a choice of a foot or scalp both. Feet have numerous
pressure points corresponding to internal organs, so a thorough foot rub
can be truly therapeutic. Kristin has a strong touch, which I appreciate.
Moving to my scalp, she applies a special coconut oil cooling and
will add shine to my locks.
Next: a full-body lomi lomi massage. Indigenous Hawaiian healers
have been easing aches and pains with this practice since antiquity. Lomi
lomi is characterized by fluid, rhythmic movements down the length of
the touches that are meant to penetrate the bones. Kristin
uses her forearms as well as her hands to work on my body as a whole,
rather than in isolated sections. It feels reminiscent of gentle waves rolling
across my surface. As Kristin finds the tense or ticklish spots on my
back, I remember to breathe into any discomfort. A therapist can dig into
my shoulder knots all day long, but if I refuse to relax them internally, no
change can take place. Breathing deeply and continuously into the areas
that are being worked on makes all the difference. Kristin clearly knows
how to work within her breathing patterns; it becomes an intuitive
exchange between us.
By the time I emerge from the spa, the sun has dipped toward the
ocean. The nightly procession along is about to
fitting end to my healing adventure.
The atmosphere at the nearby spa at the Westin Maui Resort is equally
serene, but far more active. Treatments here include all-day access to the
splendid facilities: male and female locker rooms equipped with saunas,
whirlpools, and steam rooms, and a relaxation lounge stocked with herbal
courtesy of sheraton maui resort spa
The Spa at Black Rock