Saturday, October 22

A Day at the Spa

 From the Thermea Spa website at
This year for Mother’s Day my daughters gave me a gift certificate to a spa. It was kind of a surprise, because, really, I’m not a spa kind of person. I’m more of a “I feel guilty taking a day off to go to the spa because I should be working” kind of person. As you might have guessed from previous posts, I can be a little tightly wound at times. But the gift was given with love, so I was happy to accept.

Due to a busy summer, my younger daughter and I couldn’t fit in the spa day until late September, which happened to be her birthday. (Her older sister lives in another city and couldn't be with us.) So we had two things to celebrate – Mother’s day and her twenty-eighth birthday.

Let me tell you a bit about Thermea Spa. It's a Nordic Spa, based on the kind used in Scandinavian countries. There’s a Finnish dry sauna, scented steam rooms, a relaxation room, and pools that range from cold (like icy cold), temperate (still pretty cold) to hot (oh, thank goodness!). Did I mention that all of this is outdoors? The various buildings housing the saunas and steam rooms surround the outdoor pools. A main building contains a wonderful restaurant and the massage rooms. More on that later.

From the Thermea Spa website at
Rachel and I got to the spa around ten in the morning and there was already a line-up at reception. I had no idea this place was so popular. We were assigned lockers in the ladies change room that contained fluffy white robes which we were to wear over our bathing suits. Unfortunately, I got an extra-long robe. Of course the shortest person would get the longest robe. While everyone else’s robe was knee length, mine hung around my ankles. Oh well.

The first thing we tried was the steam room scented with eucalyptus. I made the mistake of wearing my glasses, and the instant I stepped into the room, they fogged up. But once I got my bearings and breathed in the eucalyptus, I felt my air passages opening up. And the relaxing began.

In a Nordic spa, you’re supposed to begin with a hot treatment, then follow with cold, then temperate, and then hot again. For best results, repeat three times. So after the steam room, I plunged into the cold pool up to my knees for about ten seconds and raced out. No way was I trying the cold waterfall! Then the temperate pool (I maybe lasted twenty seconds this time) and finally the hot pool. Heaven! We hung out here for a while, just relaxing and enjoying the beautiful fall day. By this time we’d worked up an appetite, so we went for lunch and had a celebratory glass of wine with our delicious meal.

Finnish dry sauna - From the Thermea Spa website at
Then we repeated the process, this time trying the dry Finnish sauna. At least my glasses didn’t fog up this time. After we’d done the cold/temperate/hot pools again, we made our way to the relaxing room, which turned out to be my favorite place. Basically we sat in heated lounge chairs, listened to music on head phones, and just – relaxed.

Relaxation room, my favorite place - From the Thermea Spa website at
By then it was time for our massages. We had adjoining rooms and we each had our own masseuse. I’ve had massages before, but never a hot stone massage, and I wasn’t sure how I’d like it. My masseuse Jenna told me if at any time I felt uncomfortable or it was too hot, I was to let her know. When she placed a row of hot stone down my backbone, on top of a sheet so they didn’t touch my skin, it felt wonderful. So warm and comforting and relaxing. Then Jenna used the warm, smooth stones in her hands as she massaged my muscles. It was honestly one of the loveliest experiences of my life.

After an hour and a half of bliss, we were done. Rachel and I showered and changed and headed home, both of us feeling very mellow. It had been a great day.

I learned a little something. It’s okay to take a day off now and then just to pamper myself. And I don’t need to feel guilty about it. Taking care of myself might even make me a better writer. At least it makes me a more relaxed one, for a while, anyway. After whining about how stressed I felt earlier this fall, I think I needed this.

What do you do to relax? Do you think taking a day off just to relax is important for your health?


  1. Wow--that sounds amazing! So glad you got this time with your daughter. Yes, it is absolutely vital to take a mental, as well as a physical, health day. We all need time to unwind and relax.

  2. Yes, it was amazing, especially since I got to share it with my daughter. I think, next year in May I'm going to take my husband. He's going to love it!

  3. I have never done this, although it's on my bucket list--everything is on my bucket list! It sounds fabulous!

  4. Jana, that looks and sounds amazing! The closest I've ever come is visiting the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, but I was only eight and didn't really appreciate what I was visiting. LOL It was just a girl scout adventure at the time.