Whether it's a Javanese Wedding Ritual, Indian Ayurvedic-based treatments or a bathing ritual just the way the Japanese do it, themed international treatments are the latest thing beckoning spa-goers to their favorite spa, says Spa Finder ( With many Americans reluctant to fly long distances, they are trading in their passports for exotic journeys that evoke distant lands and cultures at local spas.

'Spas are recreating a vast array of treatments and mind/body therapies that have previously been available only to those who travel extensively,' says Susie Ellis, Vice President of Industry Development for Spa Finder, a leading marketing services company for the spa industry. Though spas have long been known for offering such imports as Swedish massage, Finnish sauna and Italian mud treatments, the new trend is to offer themed treatments, designed to transport the spa-goer to distant locales without leaving the spa. 'It's more about rituals of health and beauty now ­ not just one isolated treatment,' says Ellis.

The Javanese Wedding Ritual (also known as the Lulur Ritual) is one of the most popular such rituals, recreating the pre-marriage rite of a young Javanese bride-to-be to prepare her for her wedding. The treatment sequence is designed to soften, sweeten and scent the skin while relaxing and nurturing the recipient. Starting with a frangipani or jasmine-scented massage, followed by a skin exfoliation using a mixture of turmeric, rice and spices, and then a skin-softening rubdown with yoghurt, the ritual concludes with a soak in a flower petal-filled tub and a final frangipani blossom moisturizing massage. Unlike its Javanese counterpart, which is repeated for 40 consecutive days prior to the wedding, the American version is done once over a period of 80 minutes to two hours and is considered one of the most pampering experiences available to spa-goers.

An essential aspect of these themed treatments is that every element provides a sensual stimulation to suggest the environment being recreated, from the music played to the fabrics and decorative elements in the room to the indigenous ingredients and materials used to administer the treatments. An Arizona spa offers Ayurvedic-themed treatments using services and ingredients indigenous to India -- a massage with warm herbalized oils, an Ayurvedic herbal powder dusting and wrap, and Shirodhara, a signature Ayurvedic treatment in which warm oil is poured in a steady gentle stream over the forehead to melt stress and alleviate tension. A renowned day spa in Los Angeles offers a complete Japanese bathing ritual experience ­ from kimonos and green tea to a soak in an authentic furo (deep soaking tub) and a choice of body treatments utilizing authentic Asian ingredients such as ginseng, ginger, and ground cucumber.

The Aboriginal rituals from Australia at one Florida spa incorporate organic Tasmanian peat and bushland essential oils, tropical island-themed treatment sequences at another spa bring volcanic clay and tropical fruit oils into play, while a resort spa in California performing Balinese Rituals uses brilliantly-colored Balinese cloth, incense and a spice body mask to bring Bali a little closer to home.

'Ultimately, this is about the spa industry going global -- gathering the best of what's out there and translating it into something that is appealing to American spa-goers, while still retaining the flavor of each distinct country and culture,' says Ellis.

The expert consultants at Spa Finder can help you find your own exotic rituals. Call 1-800-ALL-SPAS for the latest news in spa treatments and trips or log onto

About Spa Finder

As the world's leading spa publisher, spa travel reservation service and spa marketing company, Spa Finder is considered an authority on all things spa-related. In fact, The New York Times recently cited the 1986 founding of Spa Finder as a milestone in the growth of the worldwide spa industry. Spa Finder, with offices in New York and San Francisco, publishes Spa Finder Magazine, the leading publication devoted to spa travel and healthy lifestyles. The company operates Spa Finder Travel, which handles requests and reservations for a quarter-million spa vacations annually, Spa Finder Gift Certificates, and