I rarely schedule trips to the spa. The last time I had a real massage was a chair massage at the mall, and I think my tight neck muscles frustrated my masseuse. However, my recent day of indulgence taught me a lot about myself and how I view my needs.
To have the time to explore my issues with relaxing, I scheduled a full day at Santa Barbaras Salt Cave Spa. While this location is in beautiful California, I hope this post inspires you to seek a spa near you!
I found the Salt Cave Spa after my therapist suggested I go on a retreat and plan something fun for myself. The retreat I chose was the Wester Spirit Ranch, which you can read about HERE. It was fun all by itself, but I found myself with some free time, and I decided to look into a full day stay at a spa. Out of all the ones in the area, “Salt” sounded interesting!
So before we go any further, it might be useful to explore why something like a Himalayan Salt Spa would be so appealing in the first place. The owner Pam McCaskey imported over 60 TONS of Pink Himalayan salt from Pakistan to create this beautiful spa. Even if you don’t believe all the health benefits of being exposed to Himalayan Salt and it’s over 27 unique elements, I promise you’ll love how this place looks. To me, the soft pink tones were soothing mentally, and the staff was unbelievably kind.
I signed up for their signature salt scrub massage, which included a 45-minute meditation in their salt cave where salt was infused into the air, and you enjoy it from a zero gravity chair. I then got a quick lunch and returned for a Glyco-Ionic gel peel. I could sense that the staff there wanted to really offer their patients a healing experience.
While there, I had a lot of time to think about how I relax, and the truth is, I’m bad at it. I would rest my body and then about two seconds later I’d notice it start to tighten up again. It became a struggle back and forth to relax. Since this was happening while I was on a spiritual retreat, I had to ask myself what was causing this level of stress. The truth is, not only do I have trouble letting go physically in the moment and relaxing, but I have trouble letting go emotionally to feel what comes up. I realized that I didn’t often schedule beautiful things like spa trips for myself because, in some ways, I felt like I needed to exhaust to justify it.
I think culturally (at least in America) we’re getting to this place of feeling like we always need to be working to justify the slivers of time we have to ourselves. I hate commercials talking about the medicine you can take so you can get back to work faster with the flu. I hate hearing stories of people who haven’t gone on a vacation in 5 years because if that’s how they’re treating themselves, how can I count on them to treat me any better?
Going to the spa and just allowing myself to enjoy being pampered was something I had to get used to. Allowing myself to let go of the tense feelings and enjoy meditating in a beautiful salt cave, or noticing the texture of my feet touching the crushed salt floor (yes, that’s not sand in the picture, but salt) and taking in the moment for what it was. Being in the moment is something that so many people I think find it hard to do but our lives are made up of moments. I think just having time to think about my thoughts was so needed and the comfort of having a massage while I did that helped me feel not so alone.
I also loved the products at Salt. I got one of the sphere salt lamps shown in the picture above as well as an at-home spa kit, and this very cool Himalayan salt roller. Similar to a lot of the gemstone facial rollers that have been coming out, this patent-pending Himalayan salt roller is unique in that you can heat up or cool down the roller for whatever you need. Nothing feels better than using the cooled salt on my face after I wash it with hot water.
Often I don’t consider getting a massage when I need it. It stays in the realm of “I would love a massage, but not enough to schedule one or research affordable spas in my area.” Somehow I feel like I can’t justify pampering myself once in a while, but that thinking has also spilled into other areas of my life like going to the gym or doing a lot of self-care things! This experience showed me how healing an hour-long massage can be, not just to my body, but my psychology as well. Just having an hour to focus on my breath and letting go as someone rolls out the stress in my back and neck is enormous. Afterward, I felt I had been kind to myself. I had surrounded myself with the soft beauty the Himalayan salt brought and allowed myself to be in that beautiful moment.
If you’re in the Santa Barbara area, you need to look up the Salt Spa. If you’re pressed for time (or cash), I highly suggest going in for just a cave session. You can rest in their zero gravity chairs and listen to relaxing music while being surrounded by Himalayan salt as well as breathing it in. The cave meditation runs around $25 for 45 minutes, and let me tell you; it’s super relaxing. If massages and facials aren’t your things, they also have yoga classes you can sign up for as well as sound baths of all kinds that can help you meditate or balance your chakras. If I hadn’t needed to get up at 4 am to catch my flight back home, I would have signed up for the yoga in a heartbeat!
If you’re not in the Santa Barbara area and live for example in Boston (like me), then I still recommend finding a spa that you love, which makes you feel special and maybe even putting some cash aside for a seasonal massage once in a while. You must make yourself a priority.
If this article has helped you in any way or you’d like to talk more about it, please drop me a line below, I enjoy talking to my readers. If you are in the Boston area and would like me to check out a spa, please free to contact me either here, over email, or on my social media pages. As always, please consider making yourself and your happiness a priority today. No one deserves love more than you. -Heather Astaneh