While I could turn myself into a pain-minimized human prune just sitting in a tub of water all day, fancier water-based spa treatments abound across the world. Some of them actually have names that include the word “hydrotherapy.”
Calistoga Mud Baths
This treatment mixes volcanic ash, organic matter, and local hot mineral water to create Calistoga’s signature spa treatment. The result is…unique. I was taken aback on my first trip to a mud bath room, what with the big tile boxes of dirt, the industrial hoses, and the drains in the floor. The next weird part was getting into the mud. The spa attendant explained how to wriggle and squoosh down into the big box of hot wet dirt, personal center of gravity (butt) first. During this wriggling, the mud found its way into every crack and crevice of my body. It took three showers and a bath to get the stuff back out and off of me.
Next time I’m in Calistoga, I’ll probably stick with a plain ol’ mineral bath.
Thalasso hydrotherapy involves big, lush pools filled with highly regulated sea water, plus showers and waterfalls that cascade over specially designed and placed seats to create optimal healing and relaxation. This article on a fab new blog I found last week, Health *Conscious* Travel, describes Thalasso hydrotherapy in detail. I’ve gotta check this out sometime, though apparently it’s still necessary to go to France, Spain, or Tahiti to find a Thalasso spa. Maybe I’ll try the one in Mexico–at least it’s on the same continent I inhabit. Whether it cures me or not, it looks deliciously luxurious.
A Vichy shower is a bunch of shower heads lined up in a row that hang above a spa table. The showeree lies on the table (which is usually covered in plastic) and enjoys the sensation of a full-body shower lying down.
Frankly, the Vichy shower apparatus doesn’t look all that relaxing. But the sensation makes up for the industrial appearance of the equipment–it is precisely the most relaxing multi-jet shower I ever took lying down. Plus I usually close my eyes as the shower starts up.