With the world around us becoming ever more chaotic and stressful, spa-goers are constantly reminded to slow down and practice mindfulness. One way in which spas are helping guests do that is by offering treatments that encourage guests to set an intention as part of the overall service. “Spa-goers today are looking for a deeper experience that transforms them mind, body, and spirit,” says Simon Marxer, corporate spa director for Miraval Spas. “Setting an intention gives guests a more meaningful experience, and because of that, we envision spas integrating work or mindfulness exercises into their spa menus to complement the healing powers of intention setting. Also, we see more and more spas hiring shamans and spiritual healers to guide guests through the practice of setting an intention and performing more alternative treatments.”
Miraval (Tucson, AZ), which has been at the forefront of the mindfulness movement, recently launched Vasudhara ($285, 50 minutes), a groundbreaking water treatment that begins with the therapist asking guests what they wish to leave behind in their lives. The therapist then lights a floating lantern to symbolize letting whatever that is go. As a result, guests are able to surrender to the soothing treatment. At Agave, The Arizona Spa at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa (Scottsdale, AZ), guests are invited to put their troubles inside an Apache Burden Basket, which is located outside of each treatment room.
According to Yael Alkalay, founder of Red Flower, intentional beauty treatments address the need to be present. “Culturally, we are beginning to acknowledge that a distracted, stressed mind takes away from savoring life,” she says. “Intentional beauty calls you back into the moment through an immediate and deep reconnection to the senses. Intentional beauty speaks to valuing the time you take for yourself, and with value comes attention to the subtle detail of the space you create, the ingredients you use, and the technique of touch, the consideration of natural quality of ingredients being used.” Alkalay is a fan of incorporating intentional beauty practices into skincare, as well. “That is why I start any face treatment by lighting a Spanish Gardenia candle and setting an intention—just as one might say grace before a meal—to pause and appreciate with gratitude and presence the bounty before you.”
At Eau Spa at Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa (FL), three signature intentions Pause, Play, and Perfect are woven throughout the spa experience. Spa-goers are invited to set their spa intention at a candlelit wishing well in the bronze rotunda, and then the appropriate Red Flower aromatherapy scent, color therapy, and curated music are paired with their chosen intention.
These symbolic rituals and the growing number of treatments that incorporate the setting of intentions are a natural extension of the trend toward mindfulness and provide a host of mind-body benefits. “Setting an intention intensifies the physical, mental, and emotional benefits that are an intrinsic part of the spa experience,” says Marxer. “We all feel fresh and rejuvenated after a spa treatment, but setting an intention makes those feelings even more meaningful.”