I waited. I waited for the scent of the cedars to liven my senses, for the warm oil gliding over my forehead to wash away my worries, for the touch that would make me walk taller, straighter. I waited for the words to describe the three nights I spent experiencing the best of Kootenay spas, the unique offerings and special places I was privileged to visit.
I waited, I cleared my mind and I was rewarded. Eventually, even the words came.
Pleiades Wellness Spa: Warm oil gently slid into my ear and noisily awakened the river within my own body. An optional component of Abhyanga, or warm oil massage, it magnified the network of life pumping inside me and forced self-awareness.
A river runs beneath Pleiades at Radium Hot Springs pools and if you’re open, its current will pull you into deep relaxation. Diana and her staff at Pleiades know how to soothe your soul and body with their wide range of ayurvedic treatments, including Shirodhara. During Shirodhara warm oil is steadily dripped onto your forehead. A friend joked I was going for a classy water torture session, but I felt a warm, firm hand pressing down on my head, coaxing me into a place of comfort and safety.
Island Lake Lodge: It was the smell of the place that struck me first. I stepped out of my Subaru, stretched and deeply inhaled the bright scent of old growth cedar and spruce. I hadn’t left the parking lot but my spa experience had already started!
Mom and I (and our ugly feet) were at the lodge, in Fernie BC, for an outdoor pedicure in one of the most beautiful places on earth. We relaxed on cushy loungers, sipped herbal tea and took in the view of the Lizard Range while our feet were expertly scrubbed, moisturized and polished.
Silver Water Spa: As I lay on the massage table at the new Silver Water Spa at Cranbrook’s St. Eugene Golf Resort & Casino, I knew I was going to walk out of there standing taller. Silver Water Spa, located in the pool house between the big red barn and the historic mission building, specializes in Deep Flow Massage.
A modern therapy, deep flow uses a combination of massage, breath-work, and mindfulness to bring the body and spirit back into alignment. With her extensive training in yoga and massage, Nicole also shares yoga stretches and poses to bring relief to your problem areas.
Each spa I visited left me with an incredible sense of well-being and peace, and a determination to invest more time and money on my own well-being in a continued exploration of local spas and wellness centres.
~ Story and photos by Julie Brannigan's. Julie's daughters would love to throw her Canon in the river! If she isn't taking photos for local businesses in the Cranbrook area, she's busy at her full time job as a legal assistant. Julie spends her downtime rafting the St. Mary's River, playing hockey and enjoying her multi-generational family. (Top image courtesy of Island Lake Lodge)