A Different Spin on Spa in Scottsdale

This story originally appeared on Experience Scottsdale

A different spin on spa in Scottsdale

Some people are wine connoisseurs or foodies, but if you’re a spa aficionado who is always on the hunt for the unusual, you’ll find nirvana in Scottsdale. With the highest concentration of resort and day spas in the country, the breadth of spa experiences here is unrivaled. I recently tracked down some of the best and most unusual services to enjoy during your stay. For a different spin on spa in Scottsdale…

A different spin on spa in ScottsdaleANIMAL SPIRIT MEDITATION

What could be more Southwest than a meditation in a Tipi with a Shaman? That was exactly what awaited me at the Spa at the Boulders Resort. As we walk to the tipi she stops and explains that it’s important to observe the sights and sounds of nature – babbling water, birds chirping and the butterfly that flies by us.  She tells me that her ancestors would do three-day vision quests, working through a problem and fasting before coming to meet the medicine woman. She asks me to focus on an area of my life I need clarity, and we make an offering of cornmeal and salt to the spirits before entering the tipi. Once inside, the shaman hands me a deck of animal spirit cards and asks me to pick one. I draw the salmon. My first thought is “Oh geez, I ate my spirit animal last night!” When she asks me what the card means in the context of my problem it immediately pops into my head that like the salmon, I’m swimming upstream. I’m fighting the flow of the universe. I need to let go. We do a meditation where she asks me to consider the salmon and its characteristics. During the meditation more things become clear. The service ends with the Shaman walking me to the nearby labyrinth, explaining it and leaving me to walk it at my own pace.



Tui Na massage has been used for over 2,000 years in China to effect energy. At Agave, the Arizona Spa at The Westin Kierland the treatment follows the ancient art of rhythmatic compression along the body’s meridian channels to unblock stuck Qi (energy) to return balance to the body. The massage has an odd effect of relaxing and waking up the body at the same time. It is a modality that is especially good for chronic pain, which is the reason I select it. The therapist uses gliding, kneading, pulling and rocking techniques to encourage Qi to flow freely through my knotted neck and shoulders. While Tui Na feels a lot like a Western massage, it works at a deeper level because it effects not only muscles, but also energy meridians. I leave feeling more movement in my upper body than I have in weeks.

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