Preparing for Bliss - Rancho La Puerta
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Preparing for Bliss

So, you’ve booked a treatment in one of the three Health Centers at Rancho La Puerta. Congratulations on making time for self-care! If you’re like me, you want to get the most out of that 50- or 90-minutes, and you may be wondering how to best prepare yourself for your hour of bliss ahead. Treatments become less effective if you go into them stiff or anxious, so it’s a good idea to spend some time quieting your mind and loosening your muscles beforehand.

Here is a brief checklist of available spa services and how to maximize their benefits:

It is recommended to spend 10 to 15 minutes in the steam room or sauna before getting a facial to open your pores and make them easier for the esthetician to clean. Also, avoid direct sunlight after getting a facial and to apply sunscreen to your face (including lips!), neck, and decolletage.  

Deep Tissue
If you are getting a Ranch Classic, Deep Tissue, or Intensive Relief massage, it is a great idea to spend some time in the spa before the treatment to do a circuit (or several!) of steam, sauna, hot tub, and cold plunge, as these will help loosen your muscles for a better massage result and will help you from feeling sore the next day. Alternate between these, spending three to five minutes in each so you can do a few rounds. If you have the time, and are at the Villas Spa, I recommend this circuit which takes about an hour to complete. Infrared saunas and cold plunges are great for circulation, oxygenating the body, and for cell regeneration. Read more about the benefits of infrared saunas here.

Please note: The only cold plunge at Rancho La Puerta is found at the Villas Spa. Infrared saunas are available at the Men’s and Women’s Spa Centers and require a sign-up in advance. Do not spend more than 30 minutes at a time in an infrared sauna. Always be sure to rinse off before getting into the hot tub.

Body Scrubs and Wraps
No heat is needed before a body scrub or wrap, but if you are looking to relax your mind before the treatment, try resting in a gravity chair with your legs up to release muscles. You can also spend some time meditating in a hammock to release your mind and your back. If your treatment is scheduled for the Men’s or Women’s Spa Center, you may consider walking the reflexology path as a walking meditation and to relax into your whole body. Try it barefoot!

The important tip here is regarding what to do after the treatment rather than before. After a body scrub, limit your exposure to direct sunlight and always apply sunscreen (do that even if you haven’t had a body scrub that day; your skin will thank you!). The vulnerable, freshly revealed skin needs to heal and cannot do that in the sun.

Please note that the spa staff does not recommend guests to have a wrap, mountain sage massage, and/or body scrub on the same day due to possible skin irritation.

For every treatment, before and after, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Take advantage of the delicious water infusions offered in the lobbies of each health center to quench your thirst and replenish electrolytes.

Swimsuit rules at the Spa Centers:
The Men’s and Women’s Spa Centers are always swimsuit optional. I love the freeing feeling of being outside or in a steam room or sauna in my birthday suit and not getting my clothes sweaty or having to dry my swimsuit after. The upstairs of the Villas Spa Center is where the steam, sauna, gravity chairs, and cold plunge live. It is often women-only upstairs, at which point swimsuits are optional. For a few hours, several days a week, the roof is a co-ed space, at which time swimsuits become mandatory.

Thank you to Nayeli at the Villas Health Center for sharing these expert tips and tricks to get the full benefits of spa time with me so I can share them with you.