A classic massage or mani-pedi are relaxing spa treatments, but some spas have even more interesting offerings. From cold therapy to Eastern medicine, spas across Canada offer many types of treatments that can be just as stress-reducing and beneficial – and something to definitely say you’ve done.

Vichy Shower Massage
What on earth is a Vichy Shower you ask? It’s basically heaven – with seven adjustable shower jets that caress your body under an invigorating waterfall. During the treatment, you lie on a padded table, with the shower jets positioned above you. Your therapist will adjust the pattern, placement and temperature of the jets to achieve a whole-body water massage, which particularly effective following a body scrub or wrap. The effect of so much water movement on your skin increases blood circulation, hydrates the skin and soothes the nervous system, enabling your body to balance and relax.

Hammam
Also known as the Turkish Hamam or Turkish bath, the hammam is the Middle Eastern equivalent of a steam bath, kind of a wet relative of the sauna. The hammam ritual involves several steps aimed at cleansing and relaxing, beginning in a steaming hot room where you bask in the humidity to being vigorously and thoroughly scrubbed by an attendant, followed by a rinse process and massage. Be sure the book the whole day off!

Ultrasound Massage
An ultrasound machine is meant to penetrate and stimulate the tissue beneath the surface of the skin using sound waves, so it follows that a therapeutic treatment could increase blood flow to injured ligaments and muscles, reduce swelling, and even soften scar tissue. Therapeutic ultrasound is a treatment tool commonly used by physical and occupational therapists, but spas are increasingly offering the service as well.

Moxibustion
This treatment is said to rest ailments ranging from muscle pain to arthritis while strengthening the immune system, and possibly curing colds. How? This Chinese practice involves rubbing a burning aromatic herb called Mona made from the leaves of the mugwort plants, over acupuncture points across the body.

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Moxibustion therapy is the use of herbs to warm acupuncture points and meridians for therapeutic benefit. Moxa is made from the leaves of the mugwort plant (Artemisia argue) and is processed into various forms. It provides a deep penetrating heat that is healing and comforting. Its use predates written history and is thought to have paved the way for mapping out the acupuncture channels that we use today.⠀ ⠀ Benefits: Increasing energy, improving circulation, easing nerve and muscle pain, balancing hormones, calming nervous system, promoting healthy menstrual cycle, enhancing fertility, assisting breech and posterior positioned babies.⠀ ⠀ How to Use Moxa: Light one end of the moxa stick with a lighter or hold over a candle. When lit, there will be an orange ember at the tip and a pleasant radiating warmth. Hold the lit end of the stick over the area to be treated, taking care that there is never any direct contact with the skin. ⠀ ⠀ The moxa stick is moved slowly over the area being treated and the area will begin to feel pleasantly warm. Ash that forms on the end of the stick is brushed or tapped off on the edge of the jar, so that the moxa remains hot and the ash does not fall off and burn the skin. Re-light if there is no longer any heat coming off off the moxa stick. Never touch the lighted end of a moxa stick even if it no longer appears to be glowing. ⠀ ⠀ When finished, place the moxa stick in a glass jar with dry rice or sand, with the lit end pointing down. When the lid is screwed on firmly the moxa stick is deprived of oxygen and cannot burn. The moxa stick can then be re-lit and used for repeated treatments.⠀ ⠀ Common areas treated: low back and hips, lower abdomen, inner ankles and calves, soles of the feet.⠀ ⠀ Learn more about Moxibustion at our Stoking Winter’s Heat workshop this Saturday with Dennis Von Elgg @the_redwood_needle. ⠀ ⠀ Still a few seats available on our website. ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #herbfolkcommunitymedicine #hfcm ⠀

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Cryotherapy
If your idea of a relaxing spa treatment is closing your eyes for a soothing massage, then cryotherapy – getting blasted by subzero temperatures in your underwear – will come as quite a shock. For those daring enough to try it, sessions in the cryosauna at Spa Cloud in Montreal are said to relieve joint pain, inflammation, arthritis and skin ailments.

Chocolate Bath
A chocolate lover’s dream, you literally immerse your body – solo, or with a partner – in a tub filled with a special chocolate and essential oils mix to detox the body and reduce stress. Cocoa is believed to be good for your skin, and we all know chocolate releases those feel-good hormones similar to those we feel when in love. Plunge in!

Fanny Facial
Otherwise known as a Bikini Bottom Treatment, this is literally an exfoliating facial for your rear-end, resulting in smoother and more supple skin.

Gua Sha
A traditional Chinese medicinal practice, this treatment involves oiling and then scraping your skin. It can result in bruising and abrasions but is, ironically, intended for pain relief with inflammatory conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia, as well as those that trigger muscle and joint pain.

Salt Cave
The therapeutic usage of salt caves began in Poland in the 1800s and has been used ever since, known now as halotherapy – the inhalation of micro-sized salt particles – and speleotherapy – exposure to a subterranean atmosphere. Halotherapy can assist in treating a variety of respiratory illnesses by breaking down mucus build-up and congestion, reducing inflammation, cleansing airways, and disinfecting bacteria in the sinuses and lungs. Most salt caves feature tonnes of Polish Pink Salt, dimly lit by salt lamps with gentle music. You’ll likely want a blanket – they are also quite cold!