Arizona-Inspired Spa Treatments

By: Lisa Kasanicky

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November 18, 2012

Savor an Arizona spa day with treatments that incorporate the state's native plants, rich cultures and local lore.

About the author

Lisa Kasanicky

Lisa Kasanicky

Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Girlfriend Getaways, and the creator of Arizona Spa Girls ( - a girlfriend-to-girlfriend guide for the new generation of spa enthusiasts - Lisa Kasanicky's writing career spans more than 20 years. She is a recognized spa expert, having been interviewed on ABC News and Martha Stewart Living Radio. In 2006, she co-founded the annual Summer Spaaah Series, which tours Arizona spas to educate the public on wellness while supporting a local charity. For her work as the "Spastress," Lisa was named among the coolest people in the Valley of the Sun by Phoenix Magazine in 2008. She and her husband (aka, the "spa boy") currently reside in Scottsdale, Arizona. She can be reached at and

Start with a stew of native plants and flowers, add a handful of indigenous herbs, spike it with a dose of American Indian wisdom, and you have yourself an authentic Arizona spa experience.

While you’ll be happy to note that Arizona’s innovative resort and destination spas do offer traditional services such as massages and facials, many have spiced up their menus with uniquely Arizonan treatments that merge time-honored traditions with essences plucked from the landscape. The result is a statewide selection of tantalizing Arizona spa soothers.

Pulp Nonfiction: Citrus Grove Facial

One thing we don’t lack in the perpetually sunny state of Arizona is vitamin D. A tall drink of vitamin C, however, can do wonders for the skin’s natural ability to fend off the skin-aging side effects of all that sunshine.

At the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix, discover the soothing properties of one of Arizona’s signature crops – citrus.

The highlight of Alvadora Spa’s 80-minute Citrus Grove Facial is a protective vitamin C application. The refreshing antioxidant helps combat premature aging and gives skin a visible glow.

You’ll also be treated to a facial massage, hand and foot treatments, and a nourishing ampoule to take home to keep you beaming.

Rolling Stones: LaStone Therapy

LaStone Therapy, more commonly known as hot stone massage, was born right here in Arizona, founded by a Tucson massage therapist who was lead by her inner spirit to integrate hot stones into her therapy work.

The LaStone Therapy treatment at Agave, The Arizona Spa, at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, not only incorporates this Arizona-born relaxation method, it also utilizes a local tradition. The journey begins as spa-goers mentally place their troubles into American Indian burden baskets, which guard each of the treatment rooms.

The 70-minute deeply therapeutic massage features smooth, heated basalt stones and cold marble stones to reduce inflammation and restore balance.

Spiritual Trek: Havasupai Falls Rejuvenation

Havasu Falls in Grand Canyon National Park is arguably among the most scenic spots in the state. Visiting the falls, however, requires a 20-mile round-trip hike that winds deep into the remote Havasupai Indian Reservation.

Listed by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the best spas in the nation, Willow Stream at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess offers an alternative to the trek in its Havasupai Falls Rejuvenation experience – a 120-minute journey that doesn’t require hiking boots.

The treatment starts with a dip in the Waterfalls Oasis pool followed by a body exfoliation with desert salts infused with indigenous essential oils, a warm bath with herbal foaming bath salts, a jojoba body butter rub, and a final relaxing warm-oil massage.

Well Water: VACHK Indigenous Water Treatment

Don your swimsuit and free your mind during this rhythmic in-water massage at the Aji Spa at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa in Chandler.

For the Pima and Maricopa people who settled the Gila River Reservation land upon which the resort sits, water was the lifeblood of survival. This 80-minute journey pays homage to this vital life source.

As a massage therapist gently leads you through rejuvenating in-water light massage and movements, your job is to simply let go and allow yourself to be stretched and relaxed.

Power Scrub: Desert Morning Dew Body Treatment

Head to The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Dove Mountain, and prepare for 75 minutes of being scrubbed, rubbed and massaged into a state of bliss at this Sonoran Desert Tucson-area retreat.

Using mineral-rich crystals imbibed with indigenous herbs and fruits, the Desert Morning Dew Body Treatment first exfoliates your body to increase circulation and slough away dead skin cells. Then, a final full-body moisturizing massage seals in the good vibes, leaving skin dewy and quenched.

Muddy Waters: Terra Roja Healing Clay Wrap

If you’re scratching your head and wondering what to do in Sedona, a dip in the mud at Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa is well worth consideration.

With a nod to the Sedona red rocks that mark this scenic city, the 60-minute Terra Roja Healing Clay Wrap from Eforea Spa features a detoxifying red-clay mask that is painted across your body after a dry exfoliation.

The silky clay is then rinsed away by a five-headed Vichy shower that pours over you as you relax in a reclined position.

Your newly rejuvenated skin is treated to a final application of aromatic rosemary cream, and – refreshed and renewed – you’ll be all set to hit the Sedona vortexes.

Total Package: Spirit of the Southwest

For a total Arizona spa immersion, the Spirit of the Southwest package at The Boulders Resort’s Golden Door Spa in Carefree takes the cake.

This five-hour journey includes a 75-minute LaStone Therapy, a 75-minute Turquoise Wrap, an 80-minute Golden Harvest Facial and a nutrition-packed lunch at the Golden Door Café.

Among the elements of the package, the Turquoise Wrap captures the spiritual side of the Arizona-inspired experience.

Prized by American Indians as the color of protection and self-confidence, turquoise is the star of this treatment. Your skin is first buffed with Hopi blue cornmeal, then painted with a warm, ionized turquoise clay.

As the clay works its magic on your skin, your therapist performs a rain stick ritual and uses traditional essential oils to cleanse your spirit as well.


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