Answers to Your Spa Questions
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By Susie Ellis
November / December 2006
Q: Can you suggest a holistic alcohol detox or rehab program in a spa environment?
A: Some spas focus on overeating or food addiction, but they don't treat drug or alcohol addiction. Medical spas, such as Sanoviv in Mexico, generally have extensive staffs and hospital-like facilities. Some of these offer detoxification programs, but that refers to ridding the body of toxins produced by environmental or lifestyle factors, such as air pollution or unhealthy eating habits. There really is no spa equipped to treat alcohol or drug addiction. That requires a dedicated treatment program with a specially trained staff, psychological counseling and education to overcome addiction, and medical experts who can manage withdrawal.
But it's interesting to see that recovery centers are incorporating more spa elements. For example, Hazelden, which is based in Minnesota (www.hazelden.org), includes fitness in some of its facilities and uses the healing power of community. The Betty Ford Center in California (www.bettyfordcenter.org) offers exercise and massage. The program at the Essence Recovery Center in North Carolina (www. essencerecoverycenter.com) is very spa-like and includes spa cuisine, massage, and hiking in a beautiful setting.
Recovery is a long process, and spas can play an important part in it. Many experts recommend a holistic approach, treating the addict as well as the addiction with preventive and positive "maintenance" measures. In this regard, destination spas have much to offer, such as education about healthy living, stress management, and nutrition. Some spas, such as Canyon Ranch in Arizona and Massachusetts, offer daily support-group meetings to keep people in recovery on track. One caution: Not all spas are alcohol-free, so check before booking.
Q: I'm looking forward to my first spa experience, a pedicure, but I have problems with my toenails and don't want to be embarrassed or refused service.
A: Nail professionals are used to seeing many problematic toenails but sometimes must refuse service if the problem is contagious. Your best option is to have a pedicure at a medical spa, where a dermatologist or podiatrist works with the nail technicians.
I've just visited...
Assawan Spa & Health Club, Burj Al Arab, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
What I loved Chatting with fellow guests about life and spa-going in Dubai. The tiled turquoise infinity pool with flame-stitch columns and mosaic-tiled walls. The pool's 18th-floor view of Dubai's coastline.
What's unique The impeccable service (the staff-to-guest ratio in the hotel is 7 to 1) in this self-proclaimed seven-star hotel and spa on a man-made island in the Arabian Gulf. The decor, full of opulent and bold colors, ingenious shapes, and the ubiquitous gold that makes you stop and say, "Wow!"
What I didn't like That the spa facilities--workout room, steam room, whirlpool, swimming pool, treatment rooms--and menu were quite generic. I was hoping to find something unusual, perhaps distinctively Arabic.
Make sure you Don't ask to see the fenceless "floating" outdoor tennis court atop the hotel, where Andre Agassi and Roger Federer were photographed playing tennis. It was only for the photo shoot, built on the helicopter pad to promote the Dubai Duty Free Men's Open and taken down afterward. Disappointing--but brilliant marketing!