“It’s the end of the world as we know it…and I feel fine!”
For some reason, every time we think of December 21, 2012, being the date the Mayan calendar marks as the end of an era (no, not the world), the tune of that R.E.M. song plays through our head. As the countdown to the supposed “apocalypse” is on, we’re counting down 10 Mayan-inspired spa treatments…because, hey, if it really is the end of the world, at least we’ll all be relaxed.
Photo courtesy of Esencia
Mayan Shawl Treatment
Where: Spa Grand Velas Riviera Maya – Cancun, Mexico
What: The Mayan Shawl Treatment’s traditional technique uses shawls or blankets, moving from one side of the body to the other to work with accumulated tension and emotions. The result? Relaxation and immediate release from these stressed feelings. The treatment ends with a calming massage.
Why: The spa experience is designed to aid in the alignment of posture, establishing an important, emotional connection and “creating a rhythm to activate relaxation and self-healing,” thereby activating metabolism. It’s also said to alleviate back pain.
Length: 80 minutes; contact the spa for specific pricing
Photo courtesy of Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Maya Abdominal Massage
Where: Sol Spa at The Phoenix – Ambergris Caye, Belize
What: Three of the spa’s therapists are qualified to perform the Maya Abdominal Massage, which is said to guide internal organs that may have shifted back into place and help increase blood, lymph, qi (energy) and nerve flow.
Why: The massage helps improve such conditions as digestive problems, infertility, headaches/migraines, lower back pain and more.
Length: The spa advises that you allow yourself at least two hours for the first consultation and treatment; any following therapies will only require one hour of your time. Contact the spa for specific pricing.
Mayan Fertility House & More
Where: Viceroy Riviera Maya – Playa del Carmen, Mexico
What: Traditional Mayan rituals and ceremonies at Viceroy include the temazcal, a traditional steam bath or sweat lodge to induce relaxation and detoxification; the Hunan Kab, a sweet honey and rain massage given in the spa’s special jungle-surrounded cabana; and the Xaman Ek South Star Fertility Treatment in the Mayan Fertility House, which includes a couple’s massage using the spa’s “love oil” to balance the chakras and reorder the energy between the couple, and an herbal bath inside a tub made from a Zapote Tree.
Why: The spa taps into the wisdom of ancient Mayan traditions and the potent healing benefits of local herbs.
Length: Temazcal, 90 minutes; Sweet Honey and Rain Massage, 50 minutes; Xaman Elk, 80 minutes; contact the spa for specific pricing
Photo courtesy of Viceroy Riviera Maya
Mayan Luxury Signature Ritual
Where: Mayan Luxury Spa – Barcelona, Spain
What: The Mayan Luxury Signature Ritual includes a massage of hot herbal sachets applying special essential oils.
Why: This service makes it easy to engage the senses, providing you a state of wellbeing and leaving the body and soul balanced and revitalized.
Length: 90 minutes; contact the spa for specific pricing
Photo, right, courtesy of Mayan Luxury Spa
Saká Purification Ceremony
Where: Yaxkin Spa at Hacienda Chichen Resort – Yucatan, Mexico
What: This corn body wrap and cleansing ceremony begins with the blessing of sak (corn paste made fresh at Yaxkin Spa) and a deep tissue massage, followed by the application of corn paste and a Mayan leaf wrap. An exfoliating rhythmic massage removes the corn paste before your treatment concludes with an herbal infusion to soothe the skin.
Why: Corn is sacred to the Mayan people, who perform a revered holistic corn ceremony, Saká, before each crop season and work in the milpas, or small fields.
Length: 60 minutes; contact the spa for specific pricing
Photo courtesy of Hacienda Chichen Resort
Mayan God’s Ritual with Tiger-Eye Stone
Where: Gem Spa at Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancún – Cancun, Mexico
What: This hydrating ritual begins with a copal exfoliation, followed by a facial using jade and tiger’s eye stones.
Why: Copal resin incorporated in ancient Mayan and Aztec spiritual ceremonies is said to revitalize the spirit.
Length: Contact the spa for specific length; US$376
Where: Kinan Spa at Maroma Resort and Spa – Riviera Maya, Mexico
What: Many of the spa treatments at Kinan (the Mayan word for “the healing energy of the sun”) are based upon ancient Mayan healing. This particular ritual infuses indigenous herbs and hot sheets wrapped around your body to release unwanted toxins; then, a full-body exfoliation crafted with local honey and salt precedes a four-hands massage.
Why: Kinan Spa’s menu showcases rituals and treatments based on herbs and plants grown in its on-site garden; the flora in the Yucatan Peninsula has 2,000-plus species of plants, with approximately 250 of them utilized for medical purposes, according to the spa.
Length: 120 minutes, US$375
Photo courtesy of Maroma Resort and Spa
Holistic Twilight Ceremony
Where: Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
What: The ceremony begins at 6 p.m. each evening, as candlelight and crystal bowls resonating with harmonic tones set the mood, and an energy cleansing ritual, or limpia to Mayans, is performed with sage smoke and shaman prayers.
Why: The ceremony is aimed at filling you with positive energy balance.
Length: Approximately 120 minutes; contact the spa for specific pricing
Photo courtesy of Las Ventanas al Paraiso
Ritual de Limón
Where: Aroma Spa at Esencia – Xpu-Ha Beach, Mexico
What: The Ritual de Limón massage energizes as your therapist alternates the use of lemons (or in some cases, limes) with dynamic hand strokes.
Why: Mayan healers used lemon/lime, considered a natural element for purification, to absorb illness and inner body heat.
Length: 50 or 80 minutes, US$130-US$180
Plus, discover Aroma Spa’s three-day Ritual Kukulkan, inspired by the Mayan calendar, and read about our visit to Esencia.
Photo courtesy of Esencia
Balche, The Sacred Drink of the Mayas
Where: JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa – Cancun, Mexico
What: Balche, The Sacred Drink of the Mayas, combines a brown sugar-and-cinnamon body scrub and massage using a mixture of oils from Mayan sacred herbs and balche.
Why: Legend has it that balche, a Mayan sacred beverage made from soaking and fermenting the bark of a leguminous tree in honey and water, was an essential element in connecting with the cosmos and nature, and in curing illnesses.
Length: 80 minutes, US$180
Photo courtesy of JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa